Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

28 April 2019

Fake climate science and scientists by Paul Driessen

Alarmists game the system to enrich and empower themselves, and hurt everyone else

The multi-colored placard in front of a $2-million home in North Center Chicago proudly proclaimed, “In this house we believe: No human is illegal” – and “Science is real” (plus a few other liberal mantras).

I knew right away where the owners stood on climate change, and other hot-button political issues. They would likely tolerate no dissension or debate on “settled” climate science or any of the other topics.

But they have it exactly backward on the science issue. Real science is not belief – or consensus, 97% or otherwise. Real science constantly asks questions, expresses skepticism, reexamines hypotheses and evidence. If debate, skepticism and empirical evidence are prohibited – it’s pseudo-science, at best.

Real science – and real scientists – seek to understand natural phenomena and processes. They pose hypotheses that they think best explain what they have witnessed, then test them against actual evidence, observations and experimental data. If the hypotheses (and predictions based on them) are borne out by their subsequent findings, the hypotheses become theories, rules, laws of nature – at least until someone finds new evidence that pokes holes in their assessments, or devises better explanations.

Real science does not involve simply declaring that you “believe” something, It’s not immutable doctrine. It doesn’t claim “science is real” – or demand that a particular scientific explanation be carved in stone. Earth-centric concepts gave way to a sun-centered solar system. Miasma disease beliefs surrendered to the germ theory. The certainty that continents are locked in place was replaced by plate tectonics (and the realization that you can’t stop continental drift, any more than you stop climate change).

Real scientists often employ computers to analyze data more quickly and accurately, depict or model complex natural systems, or forecast future events or conditions. But they test their models against real-world evidence. If the models, observations and predictions don’t match up, real scientists modify or discard the models, and the hypotheses behind them. They engage in robust discussion and debate.

They don’t let models or hypotheses become substitutes for real-world evidence and observations. They don’t alter or “homogenize” raw or historic data to make it look like the models actually work. They don’t hide their data and computer algorithms (AlGoreRythms?), restrict peer review to closed circles of like-minded colleagues who protect one another’s reputations and funding, claim “the debate is over,” or try to silence anyone who dares to ask inconvenient questions or find fault with their claims and models. They don’t concoct hockey stick temperature graphs that can be replicated by plugging in random numbers.

In the realm contemplated by the Chicago yard sign, we ought to be doing all we can to understand Earth’s highly complex, largely chaotic, frequently changing climate system – all we can to figure out how the sun and other powerful forces interact with each other. Only in that way can we accurately predict future climate changes, prepare for them, and not waste money and resources chasing goblins.

But instead, we have people in white lab coats masquerading as real scientists. They’re doing what I just explained true scientists don’t do. They also ignore fluctuations in solar energy output and numerous other powerful, interconnected natural forces that have driven climate change throughout Earth’s history. They look only (or 97% of the time) at carbon dioxide as the principal or sole driving force behind current and future climate changes – and blame every weather event, fire and walrus death on man-made CO2.

Even worse, they let their biases drive their research and use their pseudo-science to justify demands that we eliminate all fossil fuel use, and all carbon dioxide and methane emissions, by little more than a decade from now. Otherwise, they claim, we will bring unprecedented cataclysms to people and planet.

Not surprisingly, their bad behavior is applauded, funded and employed by politicians, environmentalists, journalists, celebrities, corporate executives, billionaires and others who have their own axes to grind, their own egos to inflate – and their intense desire to profit from climate alarmism and pseudo-science.

Worst of all, while they get rich and famous, their immoral actions impoverish billions and kill millions, by depriving them of the affordable, reliable fossil fuel energy that powers modern societies.

And still these slippery characters endlessly repeat the tired trope that they “believe in science” – and anyone who doesn’t agree to “keep fossil fuels in the ground” to stop climate change is a “science denier.”

When these folks and the yard sign crowd brandish the term “science,” political analyst Robert Tracinski suggests, it is primarily to “provide a badge of tribal identity” – while ironically demonstrating that they have no real understanding of or interest in “the guiding principles of actual science.”

Genuine climate scientist (and former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology) Dr. Judith Curry echoes Tracinski. Politicians like Senator Elizabeth Warren use “science” as a way of “declaring belief in a proposition which is outside their knowledge and which they do not understand…. The purpose of the trope is to bypass any meaningful discussion of these separate questions, rolling them all into one package deal – and one political party ticket,” she explains.

The ultimate purpose of all this, of course, is to silence the dissenting voices of evidence- and reality-based climate science, block creation of a Presidential Committee on Climate Science, and ensure that the only debate is over which actions to take first to end fossil fuel use … and upend modern economies.

The last thing fake/alarmist climate scientists want is a full-throated debate with real climate scientists – a debate that forces them to defend their doomsday assertions, methodologies, data manipulation … and claims that solar and other powerful natural forces are minuscule or irrelevant compared to man-made carbon dioxide that constitutes less that 0.02% of Earth’s atmosphere (natural CO2 adds another 0.02%).

Thankfully, there are many reasons for hope. For recognizing that we do not face a climate crisis, much less threats to our very existence. For realizing there is no need to subject ourselves to punitive carbon taxes or the misery, poverty, deprivation, disease and death that banning fossil fuels would cause.

Between the peak of the great global cooling scare in 1975 until around 1998, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and temperatures did rise in rough conjunction. But then temperatures mostly flat-lined, while CO2 levels kept climbing. Now actual average global temperatures are already 1 degree F below the Garbage In-Garbage Out computer model predictions. Other alarmist forecasts are also out of touch with reality.

Instead of fearing rising CO2, we should thank it for making crop, forest and grassland plants grow faster and better, benefiting nature and humanity – especially in conjunction with slightly warmer temperatures that extend growing seasons, expand arable land and increase crop production.

The rate of sea level rise has not changed for over a century – and much of what alarmists attribute to climate change and rising seas is actually due to land subsidence and other factors.

Weather is not becoming more extreme. In fact, Harvey was the first Category 3-5 hurricane to make US landfall in a record 12 years – and the number of violent F3 to F5 tornadoes has fallen from an average of 56 per year from 1950 to 1985 to only 34 per year since then.

Human ingenuity and adaptability have enabled humans to survive and thrive in all sorts of climates, even during our far more primitive past. Allowed to use our brains, fossil fuels and technologies, we will deal just fine with whatever climate changes might confront us in the future. (Of course, another nature-driven Pleistocene-style glacier pulling 400 feet of water out of our oceans and crushing Northern Hemisphere forests and cities under mile-high walls of ice truly would be an existential threat to life as we know it.) 

So if NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio and other egotistical grand-standing politicians and fake climate scientists want to ban fossil fuelsglass-and-steel buildings, cows and even hotdogs – in the name of preventing “dangerous man-made climate change” – let them impose their schemes on themselves and their own families. The rest of us are tired of being made guinea pigs in their fake-science experiments.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and author of articles and books on energy, environmental and human rights issues.  I have published his article here at his request.

19 April 2019

What Do Freedom-Loving People Do When Government Comes to Take Your Arms

On 19 April 1775, the British army entered Lexington, Massachusetts on its way to Concord, Massachusetts to take weapons and rounds from the militia which Great Britain had come to fear.  The Americans were determined to prevent the loss of their ability to defend themselves.  The result that day was the battles of Lexington, Concord, and the severe punishment of the British troops as they retreated back to Boston.

Most of the people of Massachusetts outside of Boston were previously in a state of rebellion in that the Americans were no longer obeying many of the commands of the government of Great Britain.  The people had had enough of a legislature passing laws that did not have their interests in mind and that did not act to protect the exercise of their individual rights.  The British Parliament had too often restricted the means of Americans in earning their living in favor of businesses in Great Britain.  Great Britain was too ready to tax Americans, often claiming that Americans needed to pay more for British armed forces protections, which the Americans actually found highly wanting.  Great Britain was also acting to prevent Americans from owning huge areas of the continent.

Today, the federal government of the United States of America fails to protect the individual rights of Americans also.  Our Congress daily shows its contempt for the interests of most of the American people.  Our government too often tramples upon our efforts to exercise our individual rights.  The federal government restricts our ability to earn a living in many ways, with a great deal of help in doing this from state and local governments.  The governments too often grant privileges at the expense of the People to special interests such as labor unions, green energy companies, large financial institutions, excessively complex laws necessitating the hiring of highly paid lawyers and accountants, favoritism of educators, the fostering of hordes of bureaucrats who eat out the substance of the land, and huge grants to dishonest environmentalists and global warming alarmist scientists.  The federal government holds ownership of a huge fraction of the land area of the USA, preventing private ownership and its use in productive enterprises.  And the Democrat Socialist Party is an enthusiastic advocate of draconian gun controls and the confiscation of any significant weapon capability on the part of the People.

Few Americans today would stand up to their government if it were to come to Lexington and Concord or anywhere else in the USA and demand that they give up their weapons.  It is an amazing thing that 244 years ago, Americans had the strength of their convictions to stand up to the mighty army and navy of Great Britain and buy us a couple of hundred years of comparative freedom.  It is important to remember those brave and hardy freedom-loving men on this important anniversary.

The US-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement and Compounded Growth

The Associated Press has distributed an article claiming that the International Trade Commission, an independent federal agency, says that Trump's new USMCA trade agreement will only yield an increase to the GDP of 0.35%.  To claim that this is a negligible effect is to be ignorant of compounded growth and the many other possibilities that government has for avoiding putting burdens on the private sector that impede economic growth.

If the US private sector economy grows by 2.9% a year or it grows by 3.25% instead, this can make a bigger difference than most people think it will.  The average American is going to live another 40 years, so let us project the effects of this difference in annual growth rate over a 40 year period.  An economy growing at a rate of 2.9% rate will be 3.138 times larger in 40 years than it was at the start.  An economy growing at a rate of 3.25% a year, or a 0.35% higher rate, will be 3.594 times larger.  This projected higher growth rate economy is 14.5% larger than the projected slower growth rate economy is.  That is a substantial difference.

Now some readers are going to say that the USMCA trade agreement will not increase the economy's growth rate by 0.35% every year over 40 years.  That is probably correct.  A really good agreement might be able to do that, but the Trump agreement probably will not do that.  However, there are a plethora of ways that the federal government can take actions year after year that will allow the economy to grow by an additional 0.35% that year than it would otherwise.  The government can roll back expensive regulations with little rational reason to exist.  It can desist from instituting new regulations that cost more than they are rationally worth.  A decrease in the number of expensive and irrational regulations would give American companies much assurance that investing money in increased production in the USA will be profitable.  It is immensely damaging when a President declares that he intends to wipe out an industry he does not like and in so doing hurt supporting companies and the jobs of tens of thousands of Americans, as Obama did to the coal industry and his party threatens to do to the oil and gas industries.  It could stop over-withholding income taxes so that money could be circulating in the private sector economy at a higher velocity.  It can and should reduce taxes.  It should release many government employees so they can do productive work in the private sector.  It should release millions of acres of land it holds so that land can be put to much more productive use in the private sector.  It could take steps to greatly reduce absurd burdens due to excessive legal actions against companies simply because they may have deep pockets.

There are so many ways the federal government and state and local governments could act to see that future private sector growth rates are 0.35% larger year after year.  In fact, when Obama was suppressing the growth rates to levels of about 2%, the 40 year result compared to a 3.25% growth rate result is even more dramatic.  After 40 years at a growth rate of 2%, the economy is 2.208 times larger, while at a rate of 3.25% growth it is 3.594 times larger.  The higher growth rate economy at 40 years is 1.628 times larger than the Obama normal growth rate economy.  Imagine how much of an impact that added growth then has on the every day lives of Americans.  That larger society will provide much better medical care, produce much more advanced technology, have a much greater understanding of reality, provide individuals with many more options in life, and will surely allow a massive increase in charitable giving.

It is very foolish to minimize even seemingly small improvements in the economic growth rate.  The growth of the private sector is the basis for improvements in the richness and security of our lives.  We have the option of allowing the economy to grow at compounded higher growth rates that will make huge differences in the quality of our lives in our lifetimes and in those of our children.

09 April 2019

The price of electricity in Germany and renewable energy as manipulated by Physics World

According to Physics World on 27 March 2019, a publication of the Institute of Physics, 
between 2008 and 2015 renewable energy deployment “caused an electricity market price reduction of 24% in Germany and of 35% in Sweden”.
Yet, according to Clean Energy Wire:

We see that the average cost of electricity for a German household using 3,500 kWh/year of electricity from 2006 to 2019 went up 55.3%.  From 2008 to 2015, it went up 32.6%, which is a far cry from falling by 24% as stated by Physics World.  The only major component of the household cost that fell from 2008 to 2018 was the Aquisition/sales component and it fell by only 2.4%, not 24%.

The case for "renewable energy" even from the Institute for Physics and Physics World is much akin to the magician's use of misdirection.  There no doubt is some way to parse out energy costs that allows one to claim that an electricity market price reduction of 24% occurred in Germany between 2008 and 2015, but this is highly irrelevant to the consumer who has to pay for electricity.

Note in the graph above that the grid fee has gone up, which is exactly what one expects when one has to collect energy from many small sources such as wind generation and solar panels tend to be.  The value added tax went up, no doubt in part so the German government could use a part of that tax money to enforce a transition away from hydrocarbon fuels, pay for its own higher operational costs due to its higher electricity costs, and to pay for its extensive propaganda about how catastrophic man-made global warming justified forcing the nation to use more expensive and unreliable wind and solar power.

Note that the Renewables surcharge went up from 2008 to 2015 by 532%!  What was the purpose of that fee?  Why its purpose was to subsidize wind and solar power generation.  Why is there a need to subsidize renewable power generation if the cost of electricity is falling as Physics World claims it is?  The answer seems clearly to be that they are quoting a cost that has the subsidy paid out by the Renewables surcharge built into it.

So, let us just focus on the sum of the Acquisition/sales cost and the Renewables surcharge cost from 2008 to 2015 to get a more realistic understanding of the effects of the governmental push for renewable energy on the German consumer.  The sum of these costs in 2008 was 8.38 Euro cents per kWh/yr.  In 2015, the cost was 13.22 Euro cents.  From 2008 to 2015, the cost to the consumer went up by 57.8%, which is a very different story from going down by 24%.  From 2006 to 2019, this measure of the cost of the electricity went up by 227%.

No fear that the Physics World magician will saw the case for renewable energy in two.  Physics World will not spill any of its blood, no matter what measures of reader misdirection are required.  Note that it is most curious that an article published in 2019 terminated its cost claim with data from 2015.  But that is itself a small act of misdirection compared to ignoring such costs increases as the Renewables surcharge or the increased grid costs, which I am sure are among the added costs that make wind and solar possible at all on the grid.

I sure do hate to see the dishonesty of such institutions as the American Institute of Physics and the Institute of Physics, based in the United Kingdom on all matters pertaining to catastrophic man-made global warming.  The major institutions of physics have become sorry prostitutes, with far less necessity to justify their behavior than most prostitutes probably have.  There is no heart of gold there.  You only have to look at what they are perfectly happy to do to the German household consumer and how they want to extend that to everyone else in the world.

Who can you trust?  Not the major scientific institutions.  Real evil resides in the Institute of Physics, as it also does in the American Institute of Physics and many another professional scientific organization.  

01 April 2019

Why I Don't "Believe" in "Science" by Robert Tracinski

I recommend this excellent article by Robert Tracinski.  Here is a brief quote from it, but please read his entire article:

Some people may use “I believe in science” as vague shorthand for confidence in the ability of the scientific method to achieve valid results, or maybe for the view that the universe is governed by natural laws which are discoverable through observation and reasoning.
But the way most people use it today—especially in a political context—is pretty much the opposite. They use it as a way of declaring belief in a proposition which is outside their knowledge and which they do not understand.
And Robert also says:
The problem is the word “belief.” Science isn’t about “belief.” It’s about facts, evidence, theories, experiments. You don’t say, “I believe in thermodynamics.” You understand its laws and the evidence for them, or you don’t. “Belief” doesn’t really enter into it.
So as a proper formulation, saying “I understand science” would be a start. “I understand the science on this issue” would be better. That implies that you have engaged in a first-hand study of the specific scientific questions involved in, say, global warming, which would give you the basis to support a conclusion. If you don’t understand the basis for your conclusion and instead have to accept it as a “belief,” then you don’t really know it, and you certainly are in no position to lecture others about how they must believe it, too.

I have long maintained that most of the people who claim they believe in catastrophic man-made global warming and a scientific consensus that it is a proven theory, do not have a coherent understanding of the science or the economics to rationally support their beliefs.

For instance, those scientists said to constitute the consensus cannot even agree on the scientific basis for the claims themselves.  Those who create the climate computer models produce results which are highly divergent from one another and also highly divergent from reality.

There is a very good reason for this.  They do not understand the physics of the atmosphere and thermal radiation.  Their ideas are commonly in error and the very principles of physics they say they believe in are not consistently applied.  The resultant theories produced by those scientists who even try to put forth a theory have an incredible number of combinations of errors.

Given the bias toward catastrophic man-made global warming, any output that concludes there is significant warming due to carbon dioxide or other man-made infrared-active gases is said to support the consensus.  Garbage in -- dogma out.  There is no scientific consensus at all.