Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.
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President George H. W. Bush: 1924-2018

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.…[more]

December 06, 2018 • 12:58 pm

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New Poll Underscores the “Political Science” of Climate Change Print
By Ben Boychuk
Thursday, January 07 2016
The elite “consensus” on climate change is that a centralized power must reshape the world’s economy by any means necessary to address a problem that may or may not have a solution.

The climate is changing. It’s true. Earth’s climate has always changed and global warming was a prerequisite for the growth and expansion of human civilization. So it’s disappointing to learn that only 70 percent of Americans believe the climate is changing.

That’s according to a new Monmouth University poll, which has more to do with the politics of climate change than the science, though you wouldn’t necessarily know it from the way the press covered it.

The Hill newspaper reported on Tuesday that the poll found “a stark partisan divide” on the question of climate change — from whether or not it’s happening to what, if anything, should be done to mitigate it. Predictably, a great many more Democrats (63 percent) than Republicans (18 percent) say climate change is “a very serious issue.”

And yet the poll, writes reporter Timothy Cama, “provides another piece of support for actions internationally and by President Obama to fight climate change.”

Is that so? Not really. For in the very next paragraph, Cama writes: “But the support is complicated. Pollsters found that only 27 percent of respondents agree with the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is the main cause of climate change.”

Cama indulges in a bit of editorializing with “overwhelming scientific consensus.” He’s referring, of course, to the well-worn talking point that 97 percent of scientists agree that man-made climate change is real. Ninety-seven percent sounds impressive until you learn that the figure derives from a sample of 79 respondents to a two-question online survey by a University of Illinois grad student in 2009.

Another study by an Australian scientist looked at around 12,000 abstracts and purportedly found a 97 percent consensus “among papers taking a position on the cause of global warming” attributing it to human activity. Turns out, even that was too good to be true. When a University of Delaware climate scientist later tried to reproduce the study’s results, he discovered “only 41 papers — 0.3 percent of all 11,944 abstracts or 1.0 percent of the 4,014 expressing an opinion, and not 97.1 percent” took the position that the main cause of global warming is mankind.

Perhaps a better headline would be “73 percent of Americans reject man-made climate change.” But that wouldn’t fit the overwhelming media narrative.

Certainly the Monmouth pollsters add to the misbegotten notion that Americans are stubbornly resistant to science. “The data exposes (sic) the extent to which this has become a partisan political issue in the U.S. rather than a scientific issue,” said Tony MacDonald, director of Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute, in a press release summarizing the poll results.

When we talk about global warming, or global cooling, or global climate change broadly, we’re not talking about science so much as “political science.” 

Science so far hasn’t been able to say with certainty why the earth’s climate may be warming. Many of the computer models predicting, for example, a precipitous decline in Antarctic sea ice have been wrong. It’s the same story with temperature models. Surface temperature records are unreliable for a variety of reasons, including urban heat island effects and spotty ocean coverage. The best temperature readings we have comes from satellites, but the data only reach back to 1978.

Even if 97 percent of scientists agreed with 99.99 percent certainty that human activity caused global warming, they could not say with any certainty whatsoever how to remedy the situation. That’s a question primarily of politics and policy, not science.

And that’s what the debate is really about. For the throngs of environmentalists and politicians who assembled in Paris last month, the preferred solution has long been to craft some sort of international treaty that compels everybody to cut back on their carbon dioxide emissions.

The one and only time such a treaty came to be was at Kyoto in 1997. The deal was that all industrialized nations would be obliged to cut their carbon emissions 5 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. It was an abject failure. Why? Not because the United States refused to ratify the agreement, but rather because developing nations — notably China, India, Brazil and South Africa — were exempt from the agreement altogether.

China happens to be the largest carbon emitter on the planet. China also vies with the United States as the world’s largest economy. India is the world’s third-largest carbon emitter and one of the fastest developing economies on earth. China and India have no interest in undermining their own economic growth. The proposed reductions both countries submitted for the Paris summit were actually non-binding targets. And India will only make an effort in exchange for $100 billion in “reparations.”

The elite “consensus” on climate change is that a centralized power must reshape the world’s economy by any means necessary to address a problem that may or may not have a solution.

It’s why you hear so many climate alarmists speak so contemptuously of liberty and democracy. U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) believes so-called climate deniers should be prosecuted under federal racketeering laws. Bobby Kennedy, Jr., one of the leading lights among climate change activists, would like to see Charles and David Koch charged with treason for their financial support of climate change skepticism. Author Mayer Hillman argues, “[D]emocracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it. [Rationing] has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not.”

In this sense, the Monmouth Poll is good news. Americans may share broad concerns about the potential risks of climate change, but details matter. Climate change skepticism is a lot more mainstream than illiberal alarmists would like to believe.

 

Question of the Week   
The son of which one of the following U.S. politicians currently serves as a Marine aviator aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.The United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese…[more]
 
 
—President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 8, 1941, in an Address to Congress Asking That a State of War Be Declared Between the United States and Japan
— President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 8, 1941, in an Address to Congress Asking That a State of War Be Declared Between the United States and Japan
 
Liberty Poll   

For family Christmas giving this year, are you spending more than usual, about the same as usual, or less than usual?