If the greens or those with a green agenda (which most political parties have) were truly interested in ecological issues, they would jump on insights like the below one (explaining how global climate operates as a viable self-creating order) - insights that require a veritably ecological way of thinking, and hence the ability to appreciate that ecological orders cannot be comprehended by ordinary deductive reasoning.
Ecological causality is complex and cyclical - the comfortable idea that an effect is always preceded by a cause does not hold. Complicated, constantly emerging feedback loops create a type of orderly system very different from simple causal mechanisms.
This, however, is beyond the green mind.
Ironically most liberals (European sense of the word) don't get it either. Worst are the anarcho-capitalists, who are given to the most naive rationalism, trying to reduce freedom to first principles, instead of understanding her as an emergent order, an evolutionary product that waxes and wanes with no need of an axiomatic origin to please the vanity of rationalistic control freaks.
Modern green thinking is simplistic, mechanistic, relying on causal relations simple enough to make command-and-control solutions appear credible. Nature is a machine, with the greens at the operating desk. For nature to be in a healthy state, she must obey the schemes that the green planners deem right. The communist penchant for command and control has been transposed by the green movement from the (hoped for but unsustainable socialist) economy to what they call nature (which is suffering at their hands as she did under outright socialism). In both efforts they are bound to fail for the same reason: neither do the greens understand the ecological nature of an economy nor of nature. They just want to be right - so as to be powerful. Intricate stories - as told by the genuine ecologist - are of little help on the march toward power.
If we lived in a truly ecological age (which politically we don't), the below story would be all the rage - and soon people would begin to realise that a free society and a free economy are ecological environments deserving to be respected and protected by us.
Ironically, we seem instead to marshall increasing amounts of societal wealth to uphold and cover-up anti-ecological untruths.
The fact that this has occurred is obvious from the 'basic physics' of the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, which states outgoing radiation from the Earth increases to the fourth power of temperature. This serves as a very strong negative feedback and acts as an automatic thermostat regulating Earth's temperature, relegating 'tipping points' and the 'runaway greenhouse' theory to the dust bin.
This may sound to some like an abstract question of scientific research. It is not. There are many, including the President’s science czar, who would like to make fundamental changes in our way of life — even dictating how many children we can have — in order to combat the threat of “man-made global warming.”
Posted by Georg Thomas on 02/13/2014 at 02:56 PM in "Goin' Green", Barack Obama, Books & Media, Congress, Current Affairs, Georg Thomas, Goin' Green, Media/Media Bias, Presidency, U.S., Pure Politics, Religion, Social Philosophy, Socialism Gone Wild, Taxes and Spending, Technology, Internet | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | | |
Depending on the subject matter, benefit-cost analysis (bca) may come more or less close to the precision insinuated by its numeric results - like the benefit-cost ratio of 50 : 1 (or even higher) estimated in the below bca concerning CO2 emissions.
Irrespective of its numerical precision, the one great virtue of bca is that it forces you to look at the vital issues of a project and attempt to determine to what degree of precision and confidence benefits and costs are ascertainable. It requires one to make his assumptions explicit and gives others a chance to acquaint themselves with these assumptions and probe into them.
In a word, if properly done, bca is a commendable auxiliary for a realistic, comprehensive and fair look at a project. It can be the basis for a critical discourse. For that reason, I tend to think, it is an important means to ensure transparent government decisions. We should ask of government agencies to disclose the bca underlying their proposals or decisions.
Bezden and Driessen demonstrate what a critical look at government bca can bring to light.
The IWG process hypothesizes almost every conceivable carbon “cost” – including costs to agriculture, forestry, water resources, forced migration, human health and disease, coastal cities, ecosystems and wetlands. Yet it fails to estimate any carbon benefits. Even more incredibly, the agencies have done this in complete disregard of EO 12866 and a recent OMB declaration that careful consideration of both costs and benefits is important in determining whether a regulation is worth implementing at all.
Bezden and Driessen conclude:
Prodigious amounts of fossil fuels will be required to sustain future economic growth, especially in the non-OECD nations. If the world is serious about lessening the need for human, animal, wood and dung energy, maintaining and increasing economic growth, reducing energy deprivation and human poverty, improving human and civil rights, and increasing standards of living, health and longevity in the non-OECD nations – then massive fossil fuel utilization will be required, for decades to come.
Achieving these benefits for billions of poor people worldwide – while also maintaining them for American, European and other developed nation families – translates into a simple fact: the benefits of fossil fuels far outweigh any conceivable costs, and will continue to do so for decades to come.
Similarly, the benefits of carbon dioxide emitted in the process of producing this energy also overwhelmingly outweigh the claimed and estimated costs associated with that CO2 – no matter which SCC estimates or assumptions are used. In fact, compared to the benefits of carbon dioxide for forest, grassland and food crop growth, the SCC cost estimates are relatively so small as to be in the statistical noise of the estimated CO2 benefits.
In this context, there is also a critical need far more a balanced, broad-based and honest assessment of “dangerous manmade climate change” claims. Literally thousands of scientists do not agree that human carbon dioxide emissions are a primary cause of climate change, or that any changes in our weather or climate are bound to be harmful, dangerous or even catastrophic. However, their views have been deliberately and systematically ignored and taken out of the policy-making process, because the process has unfortunately become political and ideological, rather than science-based and analytical.
These facts must be used to inform energy, environmental, and regulatory policies. Otherwise, the regulations will continue to be far worse than the harms they supposedly redress. For the Interagency Working Group, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior and other Federal agencies to continue ignoring the true costs and benefits, the requirements of law under EO 12866, and sixty years of informed benefit-cost protocols and practices, is illegal, unethical and contrary to the best interests of our nation, its citizens and all humans.
Posted by Georg Thomas on 02/11/2014 at 09:53 AM in "Goin' Green", Congress, Economics, Electoral Prospects, Film, Georg Thomas, Goin' Green, Media/Media Bias, Presidential Race--Then and Later, Pure Politics, Social Philosophy, Socialism Gone Wild, State/Nebraska Politics, Supreme Court, Taxes and Spending, Technology, Internet | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | | |
Make sure to read more on complex adaptive systems at the source of the above image.
As for this little chap, I couldn't agree more:
The global warming hype is a prime example of how bad politics is necessarily anti-ecological, and so is politicised science.
Ecological systems are complex, their intricate manner of functioning does not lend itself to sensational story telling with mass impact. Hence, demagogic politics will almost certainly reduce genuinely ecological issues to simple, improperly mechanistic formulae. Our social democratic age - based on a denial of the ecological nature of modern human civilization - is of a distinctly unecological spirit.
Having discovered "the visible hand", i.e. self-generating order, the philosophy of freedom is asking us to treat human society as an ecological order. Inconveniently, however, orders of the self-generatig kind are counter-intuitive, hard to understand and hard to "sell". This is the root cause why liberty is generally rather unpopular, often laughed at or even despised. People like simple stories. People like to think about society, the economy, in fact, everything the way they think about most matters that concern them in their daily lives: that is, they expect simple causal relations easily mapped by ordinary deductive reasoning.
Thus, the greens - communists who've forgotten their origins - will tell the ordinary propaganda consumer that CO2 emissions, temperatures, and industrialisation have increased in tandem, insinuating a simple story line: capitalism creates catastrophic warming.
By contrast, consider some of the key facts that strip the thesis of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming of its credibility:
CO2 is following global temperatures, now and consistently since several hundred of thousand years.
96% of CO2 emissions are of non anthropogenic origin (volcanoes, animals, rotting vegetation, and especially oceans). Why should the tiny contingent of CO2 generated by humans be the culprit?
Most of the warming occurred well before industrial emissions began to skyrocket in the 1940s, after which temperatures, in fact, fell for 4 consecutive decades, starting to climb again only when global recession set in in the 1970s.
Most CO2 emissions are registered in areas without human populations or industrial activities - especially the oceans.
In the past, world climate has been much hotter with substantially more CO2 in the atmosphere than today. These much higher levels have elicited no catastrophic results - polar bears had a good time as well as the vikings who at the time had good grounds to call a certain land mass Greenland.
We still live in an ice age that has been in decline, i.e. warming, since the 1800s. The present warming trend is part of a perfectly normal climate cycle.
Only 1% of all species live in the Arctic zones - creatures thrive under warmer conditions.
Higher temperatures and more CO2 are beneficial to life on earth, not only to human life.
Science changed dramatically in the 1970s, when the reward structure in the profession began to revolve around the acquisition of massive amounts of taxpayer funding that was external to the normal budgets of the universities and federal laboratories. In climate science, this meant portraying the issue in dire terms, often in alliance with environmental advocacy organizations. Predictably, scientists (and their institutions) became addicted to the wealth, fame, and travel in the front of the airplane (quoting Garth Paltridge, one of the world’s most respected atmospheric scientists):
“A new and rewarding research lifestyle emerged which involved the giving of advice to all types and levels of government, the broadcasting of unchallengeable opinion to the general public, and easy justification for attendance at international conferences—this last in some luxury by normal scientific experience, and at a frequency previously unheard of.”
Every incentive reinforced this behavior, as the self-selected community of climate boffins now began to speak for both science and in the service of drastic regulatory policies.
The view from the White House:
Broadening the picture:
Pouring it down the rat hole:
Posted by Georg Thomas on 02/07/2014 at 01:09 PM in "Goin' Green", Barack Obama, Books & Media, Congress, Current Affairs, Economics, Education, Film, Georg Thomas, Goin' Green, Laura Ebke, Liberty Laid Bare, Media/Media Bias, National/International Affairs, Presidency, U.S., Pure Politics, Social Philosophy, Socialism Gone Wild, Taxes and Spending, Technology, Internet | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | | |
Beforehand, a brief and rather entertaining introduction to the broader issue:
Climate scientist Dr. Murry Salby [not the gentleman in the above video], Professor and Climate Chair at Macquarie University, Australia explains in a recent, highly-recommended lecture presented at Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg, Germany, why man-made CO2 is not the driver of atmospheric CO2 or climate change. Dr. Salby demonstrates:
Posted by Georg Thomas on 02/05/2014 at 03:28 PM in "Goin' Green", Barack Obama, Books & Media, Congress, Current Affairs, Education, Electoral Prospects, Film, Georg Thomas, Goin' Green, Grassroots Activism, History Lessons, Media/Media Bias, Presidency, U.S., Presidential Race--Then and Later, Pure Politics, Taxes and Spending, Technology, Internet | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | | |
Posted by Georg Thomas on 01/23/2014 at 08:46 AM in "Goin' Green", American Culture, Barack Obama, Current Affairs, Georg Thomas, Goin' Green, National/International Affairs, Presidency, U.S., Pure Politics, Socialism Gone Wild, State/Nebraska Politics, Technology, Internet | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | | |
I was struck by the popularity of some of the pastimes of the British: bell-ringing, for instance. Oh, and bird watching (no, I don't mean looking at girls). Not that bird watching is a particularly odd hobby at all, but it seemed so incredibly popular and specialised as practiced in Britain. As a German, I suppose, you expect most people, even those with a pronounced interest in the environment, to take a general interest in nature - plants, birds, game etc. - rather than focusing narrowly on one part of it.
Be this as it may, here are some really interesting bird watching results.
Freedom bites back. Freedom is reality-based. The brain farts of bad politics peter out at some point when their unintended consequences become overwhelming. The Sisyphean efforts of good politics begin to earn more visible rewards. Civil society is like a supertanker that takes a long time to make a turn. Germany's eco-mania is facing resistance like never before. More and more politicians are succeeding in bringing down the chimera bit by bit.
Reality has overtaken hype in Germany, which has been marketing itself as a world leader in "green energy":
Reports The Australian:
IT'S been a black Christmas for green thinkers as Germany, the world leader in rooftop solar and pride of the renewable energy revolution has confirmed its rapid return to coal. --
Countries such as Germany that have been most outspoken about climate change mitigation are reporting increasing carbon emissions and rising energy costs.
The US - derided by environmental campaigners as too slow to respond to the climate change challenge - has reduced its carbon emissions significantly while simultaneously lowering energy prices, fuelling a much needed resurgence in manufacturing.
The divergence has come about largely because while Europe has pushed headlong into renewables with generous public subsidies, the US has harnessed new technology to unlock vast resources of unconventional oil and gas.
This meant in 2012 the US spent about one-third as much as the EU on renewable energy subsidies, $21 billion against $57bn, according to IEA figures.
It all adds an ironic twist to the campaign mounted against the US by European nations for its refusal to sign up to the Kyoto Protocol to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
While the German wind and solar energy lobbies have been busy peddling the "success" of their subsidized production facilities, the reality on the ground looked somewhat different in early December:
The scale of the "intermittency" problem for renewables - and the problem it presents for policymakers and energy consumers - was outlined in Die Welt, which reported that Germany's wind and solar power production effectively stopped in early December.
"More than 23,000 wind turbines stood still," it said. "One million photovoltaic systems stopped work completely.
"For a whole week, coal, nuclear and gas power plants had to generate an estimated 95 per cent of Germany's electricity supply."
The doldrums are the flip side to the triumphant statements from renewable energy companies when production figures spike in times of favourable weather.
This is a primary reason why political support for renewables is starting to wear thin. Indications are a Europe-wide squeeze is on, with the European Commission reportedly preparing to order an end to price subsidies for wind and solar by the end of the decade.
According to Britain's The Telegraph, the commission, which oversees the European single market, is preparing to argue that the onshore wind and solar power industries are mature and should be allowed to operate without support from taxpayers.
Frustration is also increasing at the costly failure of several multi-billion-dollar offshore wind farm developments which had once been widely touted as the future of renewable power.
Learn more at the source.
See also Congratulations Texas.
Posted by Georg Thomas on 01/13/2014 at 05:20 PM in "Goin' Green", A Climate of Changes, Books & Media, Current Affairs, Georg Thomas, Goin' Green, Grassroots Activism, Laura Ebke, Liberty Laid Bare, National/International Affairs, Social Philosophy, Socialism Gone Wild, Taxes and Spending, Technology, Internet | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | | |
While munching away on my paleo-dietary carrot, I enjoyed watching the enlightening presentation below; all the more as the paleo diet happens to work wonderfully with me - apparently, however, for reasons other than the ones I used to believe in. Truth to tell, I never dug too deeply into the scientific side of it. I was just happy to get rid of the heartburn, slim down to a comfortable weight within a fortnight, and just generally feel better. It' s pretty likely that I suffer from pronounced grain intolerance and if I leave the alcohol (pastis and beer) out as well and add exercise into the mix (as I tend to during summer), I begin to "paleo-"flourish in no time. Though, I do miss the bread (salami sandwich etc.) terribly.
I am looking forward to reading Richard Epstein's forthcoming The Classical Liberal Constitution. Epstein is among that dwindling circle of adepts and promoters of liberty who realise the importance of the state for freedom.
The state is not only NOT a necessary evil, it IS a necessary good without which meaningful forms of freedom could neither have developed historically nor could they exist in their advanced fashion today.
It is a sad state of affairs that there are only few liberals (European sense of the word) who are able to speak of the state's constitutive role in a regime of freedom in an unselfconscious way, that is: unaffected by the social pressure exerted by libertarian political correctness which has use for the state as a satanic bogeyman alone.
A sound understanding of the way in which the state forms an integral part of liberty is of the essence in order to understand, defend, and enhance freedom in the modern world.
Therefore, one of the deplorable shortcomings of (the attitude of many in) the freedom movement is an unwillingness to give up the comfortable habit of demonising the state across-the-board for the demanding task of understanding the role of politics and the state in achieving and sustaining the advanced stage of freedom that the privileged population of some 25 countries in the world enjoy, while the rest of mankind languishes in a condition characterised either by insufficiently developed governmental services, or by the exclusion of the vast majority from proper governmental services, of which much is to be learned from Hernando de Soto in his The Mystery of Capital. Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else (see also below the brief video clip featuring de Soto).
Writes Richard Epstein:
Under the classical liberal constitution, maintaining a free and open market for both capital and labor is an essential government function, which resonates in the explicit guarantees with respect to contract, private property, and the freedom of speech and the press. These apparently disparate guarantees are all linked together by the common sentiment that the state must show a serious justification before it can limit their exercise. The class of justifications is not open-ended, and it never includes the anticompetitive and protectionist legislation that is routinely sustained based on a supposed need to correct abuses of the market that are unrelated to duress, fraud, and monopoly.
More specifically, the proper scope of the police power is tied to the two reasons that lead people to join a political compact in the first place. The first reason is to control the use of force and fraud. The second is to allow state taxation and coercion to facilitate gainful interactions among individuals who are unable by themselves to create the much needed public goods—including defending against foreign threats, maintaining domestic order at home, and providing the common infrastructure of roads and other public facilities—because of insuperable transaction costs. The simple but powerful notion that justifies these coercive actions is that all individuals receive just compensation from the state for their tax dollars in the form of a higher level of personal security and economic prosperity.
Personally, I am more consequentialist than Epstein, who, however, inspite of some tendency to argue from first principles, is nevertheless essentially a defender of liberty on pragmatic grounds - which is the only workable foundation on which to build a realistic committment to liberty.
Liberty is not good because it is right - by virtue of some unalterable set of presuppositions, first principles from which eternal truth emerges. Liberty is commendable (and right, if you wish) because it works so much better than anything else.
If however, you take this stance, you must be willing to put your thesis and indeed freedom herself to the test constantly. Which is fine with me; after all, exposure to relentless testing - that is how science works, that is how free markets work, that is how freedom and other high-performance spontaneous orders work.
It is through exacting trials and a long history of advances and reversals that freedom as we know and enjoy it in the West slowly emerged in the manner of a self-creating order - not as a the result of a human author. Only where the state evolved to bring about institutions sophisticated enough to support the rule of law for the broad population do we witness the unprecedented levels of freedom characteristic of some countries in the West today.
Of course, to the staunchly state-hating libertarian these are words of infamy. For them to acknowledge the role of the state in a free society is the same as dishonourably endorsing the many problems that accompany the fundamentally ambivalent set of relations and institutions subsumed under the terms government or state.
We are here dealing with a stance even more questionable than the one taken by him who hates life as all the bad things that ever occur happen exclusively to those who live. You are free to decide that life is to be hated - even for that reason. You are not entitled to argue that the state is to be hated since it is - in principle and under all conceivable circumstances - incompatible with freedom; that is demonstrably wrong.
And if the state is imperfect - as is any form of attainable freedom - than for the same reason that your nose is woefully imperfect as it cannot, say, by rubbing it and wishing hard, be used to fly you from Nebraska to Germany - it simply has not evolved to that level of performance.
And that is the problem with rationalistic arguments for liberty from first principles: inward looking with a misplaced presumption of the need for axiomatic consistency, such reasoning is naturally ahistoric, necessarily oblivious to empirical evidence and to the very nature of liberty as a product of natural growth.
The source of the problem is that two incompatible strands of thought continue to inhere in liberalism. On the one hand, liberalism is fiercely anti-rationalistic in that it discovered and depends on the evolutionary paradigm (Hume, Smith, Ferguson), the possibility of self-creating order; on the other hand, there are seminal and evergreen authors to be found in the liberal tradition who insist on a rationalistic justification of liberalism, a pristine grounding supposed to be impeccably precise, conclusive, and irrefutable (as in Locke's watering down of Thomistic rationalism), offering a grand pedestal for the liberal - if he fancies it - from which to look down on the obdurate and uninitiated.
Yet, as any form of rationalism, liberal rationalism leads to dogmatism and intolerance, to figments of overblown black-and-whiteness, and hence, at the end of the day, it is utterly unliberal. (See also Richman's Credo.)
Thus, I consider it a formidable defect of the liberty movement that large sections of it are incapable of comprehending what liberty depends upon for billions of people around the world, and especially why most of mankind has little freedom, while others have so much more of her. Most people in the privileged countries hardly understand just how free they are and why, including - dare I say, shamefully - many libertarians.
Recommending less or even no state to the people of the Third World is not unlike - and probably even more dangerous than - selling them misanthropic green policy visions that extol the moral glory of accepting a lot less energy at considerably higher costs.
Posted by Georg Thomas on 12/07/2013 at 10:08 AM in "Goin' Green", American Culture, Books & Media, Congress, Constitution, Georg Thomas, Goin' Green, History Lessons, Liberty Laid Bare, Media/Media Bias, National/International Affairs, Presidency, U.S., Pure Politics, Social Philosophy, Socialism Gone Wild, Supreme Court, Taxes and Spending | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
| | | |