The Environmental Protection Agency's new "rules" aren't really funny - either for what they say about the US Constitution, the separation of powers and representative government; or in the context of the US economy's one per cent "shrinkage" announced only last week and its prospects in the years ahead.
Nonetheless, I confess I got a laugh out of this sub-headline at The Guardian:
New EPA rules spur prospects for deal to end climate change
A "deal to end climate change": That's how easy it is, folks. It's like negotiating with the Taliban. You can strike a "deal", and it'll "end" climate change. I wondered initially whether even Guardian sub-editors believe that's how it works. But, on reflection, I think it is. These guys have auto-brainwashed, and so thoroughly vacuumed from their skulls the very possibility of natural climate variability that they seriously think politicians seated round a table can "end" climate change.
We have had a pause in "global warming" now for approaching two decades. That's to say, if you're graduating from high school in the next few days, there's been no global warming since you were in your bassinet. But it doesn't feel like that, does it? Because you've had climate change shoved down your throat your entire life. None of the mid-Nineties models predicted a two-decade pause, and no scientist can do more than speculate on the reason for it. The obvious answer would seem to be that many of the ups and downs of "climate change" are natural variability. But that has been so ruthlessly expunged from public consciousness that a leading newspaper in the most competitive media market in the world can airily talk about the power of political agreements to "end climate change".
That in itself is testament to the power of Michael Mann's disastrous hockey stick. In eliminating, at a stroke of his stick, two of the most widely accepted features of the historical climate record - the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age - he in effect demolished the very idea of "natural variability".
So here we are "regulating" what's left of the US economy into a permanent slough of micro-regulated despond.
~I got another laugh out of Gina McCarthy, the EPA Administrator:
"This is not just about disappearing polar bears and melting ice caps," McCarthy said in a speech at EPA headquarters. "This is about protecting our health and protecting our homes. This is about protecting local economies and this is about protecting jobs."
Well, we're all sad about those disappearing polar bears, aren't we?
For some years now we have been exposed to mournful photographs of polar bears floating away on ice floes, or otherwise appearing endangered... The theory on which polar bears are supposed to be endangered because their environment is becoming more benign has never been entirely clear, nor has there been data to support the claim that their populations are declining. Indeed, polar bears inhabit such remote and forbidding regions that no one has much idea how many of them there are. But no matter. Polar bears are cuddlyâ€“from a distance, anywayâ€“and so they served the hoaxers' purpose.
Meet Dr Dag Vongraven, chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Polar Bear Specialist Group:
As part of past status reports, the PBSG has traditionally estimated a range for the total number of polar bears in the circumpolar Arctic. Since 2005, this range has been 20-25,000. It is important to realize that this range never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand. It is also important to note that even though we have scientifically valid estimates for a majority of the subpopulations, some are dated. Furthermore, there are no abundance estimates for the Arctic Basin, East Greenland, and the Russian subpopulations. Consequently, there is either no, or only rudimentary, knowledge to support guesses about the possible abundance of polar bears in approximately half the areas they occupy. Thus, the range given for total global population should be viewed with great caution as it cannot be used to assess population trend over the long term.
Oh. So it was just "a qualified guess to satisfy public demand". But on the basis of that "qualified guess" the EPA Administrator is imposing huge costs on US businesses, which means huge costs on their customers. Was she unaware as she said the line today that there is no evidence of "disappearing polar bears"? Or did she know and just couldn't face giving up the cuddliest poster child for "climate change"?
Half-a-decade ago, in a piece requested by Dr Michael E Mann in the discovery requests I responded to four months ago, I wrote in Maclean's:
I won't pretend to know the motivations of Jones, Mann and their colleagues, but judging from recent eco-advertising their work appears to have driven worshippers at the First Church of the Settled Scientist literally insane. A new commercial shows polar bears dropping from the skies onto city streets and crushing the cars below. To those of us who still quaintly recall 9/11, it evokes grotesquely those poor souls who chose to jump from the Twin Towers and die in one last gulp of air rather than perish in the fireball within. But who cares? Their plight is as nothing next to that of the polar bear.
Why are they plummeting to their deaths from the heavens? As the ad explains, "An average European flight produces over 400 kg of greenhouse gases for every passenger. That's the weight of an adult polar bear."
Oooookay. It's A Warmerful Life: every time they call your flight, a poley bear loses its wings.
But it's not so. The polar bears all have their wings. Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the polar bears returning to Capistrano.
~Whether or not there is a "97 per cent consensus" on climate change, there is no 97 per cent consensus on anything actionable. A more relevant question is how many of that 97 per cent are willing to go along with codswallop like those plummeting polar bears in order to effect carbon taxes and the like? Some of that 97 per cent are genuinely grappling with the uncertainties of climate science, usually in very focused, specific areas. The more "global" the science gets, the more wobbly it gets. It's not all "a qualified guess to satisfy public demand", but, like the mythically endangered polar bear, it stands on very thin ice. And once you get down to the hardcore enforcers of the Clime Syndicate down at the sharp end of that 97 per cent there's an awful lot of polar bear-faced lying.
So the differences within the "97 per cent" are more interesting than the "consensus".
Let us take Michael E Mann, PhD. Full disclosure: Dr Mann is suing me for calling his "hockey stick" fraudulent, and I'm currently raising funds to push back and shove his stick where the global warming don't shine. I've been extremely rude about Michael Mann, and have described his science as "scanty", "sloppy" and "sh*tty".
Oh, no, wait. That wasn't me. That was Mike Hulme, talking about the hockey stick:
The data was absolutely scanty.
And Michael Liebreich, likewise:
I think you were sloppy and unethical.
A lot of the data sets he uses are shitty.
And these three guys believe in global warming. In fact, Wally Broecker is the guy who, way back in the Seventies, invented the phrase "global warming". He's the Newberry Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and the bigshot at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and the European Geophysical Union. Foreign member of the Royal Society. Etc.
Michael Liebreich is visiting professor at Imperial College's Energy Futures Lab, a member of the UN Secretary General's High Level Group on Sustainable Energy, member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council, and former member of the Clinton Global Initiative's Energy and Climate Change Working Group.
Mike Hulme is the climate prof at King's College, London, founding editor of Climate Change, founder of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and the onetime senior researcher at the Climatic Research Unit.
These guys are fully paid-up members of the "global warming" consensus and they think Michael Mann is scanty, sloppy and sh*tty. Mann keeps insisting he's Snow White, yet the only dwarves who want to whistle at his work are Scanty, Sloppy, and Sh*tty.
If there is a 97 per cent, the real scientists within that number need to clean house and reclaim their science from the hucksters - and not put up with fake polar-bear scares and the political opportunists who peddle them to the world.
~I remarked recently on the curious company Michael Mann keeps:
So, just to update Michael E Mann's "heroes" and villains: He'll have no truck with #antiscience Judith Curry, Lennart Bengtsson, Mike Hulme, etc, etc, but he's got major-league bromance going with the inventor of the Percentigrade scale of global warming, a conspiracy theorist who thinks al-Qaeda is a western intelligence operation, and a celebrity activist who's happy to take $9 million for an anti-fracking documentary from - what does Mann call it? - "the fossil-fuel industry".
To the above list, we can add his most assiduous Internet groupies, the Billy Joel stoner David Appell; and Big City Lib, renowned across Southern Ontario as Toronto's Number Two ovine fornication specialist; and his strange pal Barry Bickmore, last heard from indulging a weird fantasy about me giving him a lapdance or something. Professor Bickmore's latest piece is somewhat less lurid, but includes a triumphalist gotcha moment in which he claims I removed a column of mine because I couldn't withstand his devastating takedown of it:
Perhaps the mockery struck a nerve with Steyn. You will note, for instance, that my link to Steyn's nonsensical explanation does not go to Steyn's website, but to a web archive. He apparently took the article down from his site, perhaps belatedly realizing that it made him look like a buffoonâ€¦ and didn't exactly help his legal prospects.
Actually, you can find the column in question here. And here. And in every public library that carries the print edition of National Review (the January 27th 2014 issue). And in a forthcoming anthology of mine due out this fall. If Barry Bickmore sends me his mailing address, I'll make sure he gets a signed copy.
But, beyond Mann's dependence on these various fringe incompetents, I'm struck by how few scientists have very little good to say about him. Even those who got on board "the hockey team" now give off the palpable sense of regretting ever getting mixed up with Mann. Now that the polar bears are off the imminent-extinction list, maybe we should put scientists willing to defend Mann's science on there.