Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Thank God for President Trump!

By economic historian Martin Hutchinson

This column has on a number of occasions been critical of President Donald Trump; his views on interest rates are especially unenlightened. Yet in two crucial areas, where corporate interests and the intelligentsia had spread a deep fog of deliberate lies to smother intelligent global discourse, Trump has acted as a mighty wind of clarity and illumination. I refer of course to those twin scourges of our times: global warming hysteria and excessive legal and illegal immigration.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) was released last week; it followed three previous NCAs, in 2000, 2009 and 2013, and is issued on behalf of a consortium of 13 government agencies. The process of producing it is thus not subject to proper political review, but merely wastes government money, whatever administration happens to be in power at the time.

Being unconstrained by commercial, political or academic considerations, the authors of the study are free to indulge their wildest fantasies. Every sentence of the language in the Executive Summary is extreme; there is no such thing as a moderate problem, and the study projects a temperature rise by 2100 of 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit, higher than even the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, another body whose members all lose their job if the climate change problem is decided to be a modest one.

I am not a climate scientist. But I was in my time a pretty fair mathematician, taking a considerable interest in the early iterations of large mathematical models. I spoke publicly at a 1971 meeting demonstrating the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth” model, pointing out that its simulations, run 40 years forward, all included error terms that had exploded exponentially off the page – I had experienced the same phenomenon myself; with the primitive computer science of that time it was difficult to cure. But it meant that, whatever unrealistic improvements in technology they inputted, catastrophe of one kind or another followed within 40 years, according to the model, i.e. around 2012. Needless to say, since the disasters were not even a figment of computer programmers’ imagination but an artifact of sheer random mathematical error, they have failed to occur.

I very much suspect that something similar has gone wrong with NCA4’s model. This could have two possible causes. One would again be exploding error terms (but surely, 47 years later, such eminent people know how to solve that problem by now.) The other would because there is a hidden factor in the model causing the equations to “fall off a cliff,” undergoing a mathematical catastrophe, and the modelers are either hiding this or inserted it by accident.

You see, I don’t have too much problem with NCA4’s “Higher” scenario (RCP 8.5) in which carbon emissions spiral out of control and the planet warms like a meatball in a wok, by 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Yes, that would be catastrophic, and if we see carbon emissions spiraling out of control, we must prevent them from doing so. 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit, NCA4’s “headline” number is probably too high, just because of the way these people operate, but I can’t prove them wrong.

No, the problem I have is with the much lower emission “Lower” scenario, in which emissions drop back somewhat from current levels, and overall average about the same level as they have over the last century. Almost all natural phenomena are approximately linear; indeed it is very difficult to make these models stray far from linearity, and if they do, you have probably done something wrong. So, if the input assumption is that carbon emissions are at the average level of the last century, then the “null hypothesis” output would be warming at the same rate as the last century. We are told that the planet has warmed by 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit between the 1900-60 average and the 1986-2016 average, a period of 70 years between the midpoint of those two intervals (there have been problems with climate scientists fudging temperature measurements in recent years but let that pass.) Hence in the 99 years between 1986-2016 and 2085-2115 (the period centered on 2100) the null hypothesis, given that carbon emissions have not changed, would be warming of 1.2 x 99/70 = 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.95 degrees Celsius. Such a large system will have a high level of hysteresis, so you can be pretty sure that the warming by 2100 would be between say 1.3 and 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit (0.7 to 1.15 degrees Celsius.) A warming of this magnitude would have little effect on our lives; the oceans would rise by at most a foot or so (so put sandbags on the levees) and some Northerly regions would become more fertile (you might consider a flutter in southern Greenland real estate!)

But the NCA4 model says that under the “Lower” scenario assumption, the temperature in 2070-2100 will be 2.8-7.3 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today, or somewhere between double and quintuple the linear rate of increase. That is frankly not credible. There is some assumption in the model which makes its output wildly non-linear, or its error term is exploding.

After 30 years, you would think that climate scientists could have devised a model that would operate plausibly and produce output values that a simple mathematical analysis as above could not prove to be invalid. The fact that they haven’t proves that they don’t want to; they are paid very well, at taxpayer expense to produce alarmist results, and they will use the model as a “black box” to do so and alarm the more gullible laymen. 30 years of this nonsense is enough; it is time that the immense expenditure of taxpayer resources and forest of immeasurably expensive climate control regulations were cut right back, or preferably eliminated altogether. An ordinary Republican President, a feeble Bush, McCain or Romney, would not have dared buck the consensus of expensive “experts” and point out that the climate change Emperor has no clothes. President Trump has done so, repeatedly and loudly, and therefore in this area at least we can say: Thank God for President Trump!


Trump Stands Tall at G-20 Summit, Refuses To Give In to Paris Agreement Pressure

President Donald Trump refused to sign the United States onto a non-binding agreement in support of the Paris agreement on climate change at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

The AP also reported the Trump administration changed the language on trade due to its ongoing tariff battles with other nations.

“Applause rose up in the hall Saturday as the leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, signed off on a final statement at the end of a two-day summit,” the AP reported.

“The statement acknowledges flaws in the world trading system and calls for reforming the World Trade Organization. It doesn’t mention protectionism however, because negotiators said the U.S. had resisted that.

“The statement says 19 of the members reiterated their commitment to the Paris climate accord but the U.S. reiterates its decision to withdraw.”

In terms of tariffs, the G-20 meeting also produced some movement on the trade standoff between the United States and China.

According to a statement issued by the White House, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached an agreement under which there would be a ceasefire of sorts in terms of new levies.

“On Trade, President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product at the 10% rate, and not raise it to 25% at this time,” the statement said.

“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries.”

In addition, the statement said that the two leaders “have agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.”

Xi also agreed to harsher criminal penalties on the production of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid of which China is a major producer.

On the Paris agreement, however, the Trump administration was going it alone — which should be fine when you consider that the United States reduced its CO2 emissions more than any other nation last year without being a part of the climate change agreement.

The rejection also came on the same week as an interview with The Washington Post in which the president disputed the findings of a government report on climate change.

“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers” in the impacts of man-made climate change, Trump said.

“You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean. “As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it.”


How the Trump Administration Flubbed the New National Climate Assessment

Last Friday the Trump Administration published the latest in a series of reports mandated by Congress called the National Climate Assessment. Like most anything concerning climate change, the report was primarily political in intent. The report emphasized all the allegedly adverse effects that climate change would supposedly result in and did not examine whether the cost of reducing warming would exceed the benefits of doing so. It was prepared by 13 Federal agencies and was set in motion during the Obama Administration. The Trump Administration claims that it never reviewed the report before it was published and that it represented the views of its bureaucratic authors from 13 different departments and recruited from the outside world. The report has been unusually strongly criticized by climate skeptics as highly inaccurate with false conclusions. This is highly unusual since major reports are normally reviewed with great care before being published for political and other viewpoints. President Trump has since said that he did not believe the report.

There is some indication that the report was not exactly an honest description of what the bureaucracy thought since the staff that prepared it included some climate activists and featured some research that was funded by noted activists like Tom Steyer. This suggests that a significant part of the problem was inattention by the Trump Administration. For this the Trump Administration itself bears the responsibility.

The Administration now has a problem since some Democrats say they will use the report to oppose a number of the Trump Administration’s attempts to weaken a number of the Obama climate regulations that they have proposed, including using the report to persuade courts to reinstate the original Obama Administration regulations. All this was quite foreseeable. So why did the Administration publish the report without reviewing it? Was it because it was not paying attention to what the bureaucracy was doing? This is hard to believe, but appears now to be the case. One obvious possibility is that they wanted to avoid the charge that they had “corrupted” the report writing process. But the costs are likely to be high. Another possibility is that Acting Administrator Wheeler did not want to endure questions about possible intervention at his confirmation hearing. But the evidence appears to suggest inattention by the Trump Administration was the major problem.

The more normal process is for an administration to make sure that major reports exactly correspond to its policy and technical views before publishing it. This is a far better approach in my view. Then there is no confusion as to whether the report really represents the Administration’s views and cannot be used against it. And it does not later have to disown it, as they have already started to do. It clearly would have been worth the extra effort in this case. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Trump Administration blew it.


Former Scott Pruitt Aide Cleared of Wrongdoing, But the Democrat Who Accused Her Remains Silent

More Leftist lies

Delaware Sen. Tom Carper has been silent on news that federal investigators could not substantiate allegations he brought against former EPA political appointee Samantha Dravis.

Dravis, however, called the allegations against her “unfounded from the start.” EPA investigators found no support for accusations she skipped work for a three-month period.

“The inspector general process should be used to investigate credible ethical breaches, not smear and destroy political enemies,” Dravis told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“This was an allegation that was completely unfounded from the start, and entirely contradicted by the record,” said Dravis, who served as the EPA’s senior counsel and associate administrator of the policy office.

Carper did not respond to multiple requests for comment, despite being the reason EPA officials investigated Dravis’ attendance while she worked for former Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Carper is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

A source close to the matter told TheDCNF that one of Carper’s staffers openly bragged about sparking an investigation into Dravis. That same staffer also asked Dravis’ associates for help accessing her personal photos on social media, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

Carper asked the EPA’s Office of Inspector General in March to investigate whether Dravis missed three months of work while still collecting a paycheck. Carper’s letter does not reveal his source, but Democrats eventually disclosed it was one among many accusations leveled by whistleblower Kevin Chmielewski.

Chmielewski gave Democrats a laundry list of accusations against Pruitt and his close aides, including Dravis. The former EPA official told Democrats “for a period of weeks, he did not personally see Samantha Dravis” at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Pruitt resigned in July as allegations of ethical misconduct and mismanagement piled up. However, a number of Chmielewski’s claims against Pruitt’s aides didn’t add up under closer scrutiny.

Dravis left the EPA in April while investigators were still investigating claims she was absent from work for three months. For months, Dravis and her family were distressed, and forced to spend thousands on legal fees to deal with the investigation.

However, the OIG could not substantiate Chmielewski’s claim that Dravis was absent for weeks at a time.

“Investigators interviewed witnesses, who stated that the employee was often in the EPA office and attended meetings during that time frame,” OIG wrote in a report submitted to Congress on Thursday.

“Investigators reviewed records, which showed that the employee worked during the time specified,” the OIG reported. “Witnesses also stated that the employee did not have subordinates conduct menial tasks. During an interview, the subject denied both allegations. The allegations were not supported.”

Dravis’ former co-workers took to Twitter to castigate Carper for sparking the investigation.


Climate Change carbon taxation leading to French Revolution II: Vive la France!

You may not have heard, but anti-government riots are breaking out in Paris, France as a consequence of climate change carbon taxes. That consequence, of course, is higher fuel prices, which have added additional financial burdens to one of Europe’s heavily taxed populations.

France’s socialist government has increased taxes on pensions, elevated estate taxes, and introduced employer income tax withholding.

In Paris, some 300,000 protesters, clad in yellow safety vests, responded by blocking traffic intersections at more than 2,000 locations. But the government in Paris has signaled it intends to continue enforcing its edicts to reduce the carbon footprints of its subjects.

France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, sounding a little like Marie Antoinette, tells a Parisian television station that… “… the course we set is good and we will keep it. It’s not when the wind blows that you change course.”

That’s socialist apparatchik for, “Let them eat cake.”

Hopping mad in Paris

A demonstration in France’s Le Puy-en-Velay turned violent when demonstrators set fire to government offices. Other protesters clashed with police on the fashionable Champs-Élysées. Vandals sprayed graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe, which honors those who fought and died in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Their message reading,

“Yellow Vests Will Triumph.”



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