Climate Change

Special Report

Francis Is Out of His Element

By 4.27.15

Eight years ago, I was deeply honored to be invited to participate in the first papal conference on climate change, the Pontifical Council on Climate Change and Development. To my great and lasting regret, I was unable to participate.

Now a new Pope is leading a new climate conference, and I’d like to humbly offer my thoughts about some factors he should consider as he leads the discussion.

Science is critical to understanding why and how our climate changes — an issue, contrary to popular belief, that’s still a matter of open debate. However, science provides no insight into how individuals or governments ought to respond to any particular threats or benefits possibly arising from climate change. These are normative matters.

As a result, the ideas of religious leaders and moral philosophers are valuable in considering how we should respond to what science tells us about climate change, or at least what normative matters we ought to consider.

The Psychology of Climate Change

By on 7.17.14 | 10:54AM

"The Population Bomb: While You Are Reading These Words Four People Will Have Died of Starvation, Most of Them Children,” read the title of Paul R. Ehrlich’s 1968 book. In 1975, Newsweek’s Peter Gwynne wrote an article called “The Cooling World,” which argued that the earth was cooling and “the resulting famines could be catastrophic.” These days, you can’t drop your child off at pre-school or go to the grocery store without hearing about the latest Malthusian uproar, climate change.  

The doomsayers have run into no trouble reaching the otherwise tone-deaf executive branch. Yesterday, President Obama said, "climate change poses a direct threat to the infrastructure of America," before unleashing a number of new climate change initiatives.

To be clear, it does seem like the earth is warming and that human beings have an effect on it. That much is apparent. But the rate at which the earth is warming, the amount of influence that humans have on the climate, and the proper solutions are certainly up for debate.

Obama Orders NASA to Prioritize Climate Change

By on 6.26.14 | 3:39PM

NASA is becoming just another tool in President Obama’s climate agenda.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s climate change speech in which he raged against greenhouse gas emissions. He proposed a series of executive actions on climate change and blamed Congress for failing to act on his fearmongering agenda. The executive actions sidestepped Congress by invoking the Clean Air Act, a broad-based law that gives the EPA the power to regulate carbon emissions on a commercial scale.

The budget for Obama’s seventy-five-point climate action plan includes $909 million to the State Department for clean energy and $1.8 billion to NASA for earth-oriented satellite and research efforts, among other expenditures involving twelve of the fifteen other departments and agencies.

Screaming for Tolerance Makes It Awfully Hard to Hear

By on 5.16.14 | 3:39PM

It's funny how screaming for tolerance makes it hard to hear anyone else's point of view. So often the most ostentatiously "open-minded" maintain their narrow view of tolerance by saying the opposing view is out of style, out of season, or simply out of date.

The global climate change debate has, pardon the expression, been heating up. The Daily Caller reported that Professor Lawrence Torcello of RIT wants to eliminate dissent by criminalizing "denial" of global warming.

Unlikely Bedfellows: Slavers and Frackers

By on 4.23.14 | 1:38PM

What do slave owners and oil CEOs have in common? According to The Nation’s Chris Hayes, both everything and nothing.

In his article “The New Abolitionism," he explains that at the time of the civil war, slavery was a $10 trillion industry which wealthy southerners depended on for subsistence. Doing some interesting mathematical guess-timating which I am unqualified to question, Hayes determines that the fossil fuel industry is also worth about $10 trillion.

Coincidence? He thinks not.

In case you were flabbergasted by Hayes’s audacity comparing frackers with men who owned, abused, and exploited other human beings, rest assured: Hayes explains he knows the two are unworthy of comparison.

However, that doesn’t stop him from noting “similarity” after “similarity." He goes through the history of each, explaining the selfish greed of slaveowners and oil moguls, and how slavery was an outdated method of production, just like oil has become in the modern age:

MSNBC Host Attacks Capitalism. No! Wait! Climate Change. He Meant To Say Climate Change.

By on 4.22.14 | 2:15PM

Remember that time when the world's population exceeded its food production capacity, countless thousands of people dropped dead of starvation, and those of us who survived were reduced to eking out a subsistence level existence? No? That's because those late-18th century predictions of English cleric and economist Thomas Malthus never came to pass. Malthus failed to account for such factors as technologically improved means of production and declining birthrate. To any thinking person, a Malthusian prediction should be dismissed with laughter.

Why It’s So Hard to Sell Climate Change

By on 2.25.14 | 4:05PM

In the Obama administration's effort to talk about anything other than Obamacare and Obama's near-jobless recovery, the president flew across the country to find the one part of the United States which is having a warm, dry spell. The other 90+ percent of the nation's landmass has been suffering through a terribly cold and expensive winter.

A meteorologist at the National Weather Service created a "winter extremity index" -- which some are calling a "winter misery index" -- that, as the Associated Press reports, "confirms what many Americans in the Midwest and East know in their all-too-chilled bones: This has been one of the harshest winters of our lifetimes."

Where's Algore when you need him?

One thing is for sure: He isn't in England.

Hiding the Decline of Academic and Scientific Transparency

By on 8.27.11 | 2:34PM

That's what University of Virginia continues to do, as my colleague at American Tradition Institute Chris Horner explains today in Washington Examiner. Earlier this week UVA -- as required by a court order -- delivered records relating to Climategate "Hockey Stick" chart creator Michael Mann that ATI asked for in January under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Total Pawlenty Turnaround on Global Warming

By on 8.4.11 | 5:07PM

I've been tough (I think) in challenging former Minnesota Gov. (and now presidential candidate) Tim Pawlenty about his past support for cap-and-trade and policies to constrain carbon dioxide emissions. In December 2009, when he first started visiting New Hampshire, he was still talking like CO2 was pollution, and still failed to remove his state from the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Accord:

Bodies Found Near Exploded CAFE

By on 8.4.11 | 11:35AM

Hey, it was the best eye-catching headline I could come up with since my John Locke Foundation friend and former colleague Roy Cordato nailed it with, "Obama Administration Trades Blood for Oil." As he explains:

While the country was focused on the debt extension deal being hashed out between Congress and the White House, President Obama reached an agreement with the auto industry to raise what are called Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. These are laws that mandate the average mileage that a fleet of cars sold by a particular manufacturer must achieve. Under these new rules, the fleet standard would increase to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Just for comparison, the 2011 2-passenger Smart Cart is advertising 41 mpg on the highway. The problem is that if automobiles are going to meet this standard, the auto companies will have to seriously downsize their fleet. The reason why the Smart Car even gets the mileage it does is because it's so small and light...

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