Obama misleads students about climate and energy

Climate change actually has little to do with energy choices – Bill_Nye_Barack_Obama_and_Neil_deGrasse_Tyson_selfie_2014-998x665[1]

Guest essay by Bob Carter and Tom Harris

In his October 2 address on the economy at Northwestern University, President Barack Obama told students, “If we keep investing in clean energy technology, we won’t just put people to work assembling, raising and pounding into place the zero-carbon components of a clean energy age. We’ll reduce our carbon emissions and prevent the worst costs of climate change down the road.”

But what does climate change have to do with energy supply? Almost nothing.

Climate change issues involve environmental hazards, whereas energy policy is concerned with supplying affordable, reliable electricity to industries and families. So where is the relationship to climate?

Until the 1980s, there was none. That one is now perceived testifies to the effectiveness of relentless lobbying by environmentalists and commercial special interests towards the idea that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from hydrocarbon-based power-generation will cause dangerous global warming.

So far, that has not happened. It has now been 18 years with no measurable planetary warming.

However, this warming disaster idea has become so entrenched that even prime ministers and presidents now misuse “carbon” as shorthand for “carbon dioxide,” and often call this plant-fertilizing gas a pollutant. For example, during his 13-minute address at the UN’s Climate Summit 2014 in New York City September 23, Mr. Obama referenced “carbon pollution” seven times and “carbon emissions” five times. That’s almost one misnomer per minute.

In reality, CO2 is environmentally beneficial. It is the elixir of life for most of our planetary ecosystems. Without it, life as we know it would end. No evidence exists that the amount humans have added to the atmosphere is producing dangerous warming or, indeed, any climate or weather events noticeably different in frequency, duration or intensity from human experience over the past couple of centuries.

Many negative consequences flow from wrongly connecting energy and global warming issues. Foremost among them has been a lemming-like rush by governments to generously subsidize what are otherwise uneconomic sources of energy, solar and wind power in particular.

The International Renewable Energy Agency reports that worldwide investment in renewables (not counting large hydropower) amounted to an incredible $214 billion in 2013 alone! IRENA insists that these expenditures need to more than double by 2030, to achieve the impossible goal of restricting average global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

However, results to date show that those investments have brought few benefits, and much harm. European studies have found that expensive, unreliable wind and solar power kills two to four jobs for each “renewable” energy job this heavily subsidized industry creates.

Mr. Obama paints alternative energy sources as environmentally virtuous, because they supposedly reduce CO2 emissions and provide renewable and clean sources of power. This too is highly misleading.

Wind and solar energy are certainly renewable – when the wind blows and the sun shines. But there is no power otherwise, so it’s tough luck if that’s when a hospital needs electricity for emergency surgery. Such intermittency also makes these sources entirely unsuitable as major contributors to national energy grids, to power factories, schools, businesses and families. The use of wind and solar power also increases the cost of electricity dramatically.

Moreover, these sources are assuredly not renewable when you consider the enormous amounts of land, mining, energy and raw materials required to build the wind and solar facilities, the extremely long transmission lines required to carry their electricity to urban centers, and the backup fossil-fuel generators needed the 80-90% of the time the renewable sources aren’t working.

Alternative energy sources are also far less environment-friendly than the President would have us believe. Wind turbines kill millions of birds and bats every year, and some rare species will undoubtedly be vulnerable to extinction if wind power continues to expand near important wildlife habitats. Massive solar installations have a disastrous effect on desert ecosystems and incinerate important bird species.

And yet the wind and solar generators are typically exempt from environmental laws that are used to block many other activities.

These problems are becoming apparent even to the European Union, once the world’s green energy leader. EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger recently said European energy policies must change, from being climate driven to being driven by the needs of industry, and job preservation. He could have included families, because millions of European households can no longer afford to heat their homes properly, due to soaring energy prices.

All nations need to return to the historic separation that previously existed between energy policy and climate policy. They must analyze and plan for both, in accord with their own distinct requirements and resources, and based on defensible environmental, technological, and economic analyses.

This means abandoning Mr. Obama’s naïve mantra that our energy choices affect global climate.

__________

Dr. Bob Carter is former professor and head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University in Australia. Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.

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67 thoughts on “Obama misleads students about climate and energy

  1. To decouple energy policy from climate policy, the Statist Mandarins would have to give up their actual goal of planning the economy and people’s future behavior, Not going to happen until the real purpose is more widely understood.

    After all UNESCO has stated publicly repeatedly and created the curriculum pursuant to its role as manager under Agenda 21, to create widespread false beliefs via K-12 education on climate policy. In the age of digital learning, the virtual reality students are surrounded by will show them repeatedly that we are at dire risk.

    Perception guides not just what gets noticed, but also what gets ignored. All the Planners are counting on that.

    • Today I was looking through the public library catalogue for our city library for a textbook grade book on climate models , the better to understand some of the dialogues here.
      I only found one in the Adult section , Maslin’s “Very Short Introduction to Global Warming” which was 10 years old, heavily biased and lacking maths.
      However there were pages of books for Juniors , with clearly somewhat alarming or alarmist titles, which are no doubt intended for children to supplement their school lessons. I doubt that you will be able to find a single child in England who does not believe that we are all doomed .A rotten thing to do to children IMHO.

      • My beef is with Tyson. Somebody I used to look up to got sucked into the green black hole. Somebody all school kids could have learned something from is now nothing more than a useful green/left idiot. For shame, Tyson.

      • Speaking as a science teacher in the UK myself, I am often surprised how many children either don’t know what ‘global warming’ means, or know, and don’t believe it. Most teachers blindly accept it, probably because it’s in the textbooks.

      • I am happily teaching in a rural NE Oregon school district. Climate change is a normal part of life here. You don’t drive out of your gravel road driveway without the necessities of life:

        Ammo
        Axe
        Blanket
        Compass
        Dry clothes/shoes
        First Aid Kit
        Gun
        Knife
        Lighter
        Nonperishables
        Saw
        Shovel
        Water
        Whistle

        And most important: Common Sense

    • It is my firm belief that this propaganda fusillade will ultimately fail. Future generations will, as a result of witnessing this clumsy manipulation will become much more savvy and cautious consumers of news and information pandered by politicians.
      My hat is off in humble admiration of Anthony and all who work so hard against this fraud.

  2. Obama misleads students about climate and energy

    Obama misleads everyone about everything. Why should climate and energy be any different?

  3. Every post Anthony puts up here is an intellectual discussion about Climate Change or some variation. Everything done involving multimedia ‘textbooks’ or video games or modeling are all experiential. Judged by the senses and emotions more than the mind unless the rational, fact-filled Axemaker Mind is already present. Again all of K-12 is designed to prevent accurate facts from getting through down to claims that academic work of the traditional transmission of a body of knowledge kind that we all take for granted is discriminatory and inequitable.

  4. All nations need to return to the historic separation that previously existed between energy policy and climate policy. They must analyze and plan for both, in accord with their own distinct requirements and resources, and based on defensible environmental, technological, and economic analyses.

    [My bold] Would that Ed Davey (dim as a…lamp), in the UK Government, understood such a proposition. Unfortunately, he is a dyed in the wool Leftie pretending to be a Liberal. Apart from which, he seems to have strong family connections to a law firm that represents large energy corporations (who may be anti-fracking) and that seems to represent a conflict of interest.

    It used to be said that we were led by donkeys: I truly believe we are actually led by asses.

  5. From above:

    “No evidence exists that the amount humans have added to the atmosphere is producing dangerous warming or, indeed, any climate or weather events noticeably different in frequency, duration or intensity from human experience over the past couple of centuries.”

    Not true. It is demonstrable fact that the planet has “greened” from the addition of CO2 to the atmosphere.

  6. An energy policy that embraces renewables like “wind” and “solar” power generating methodologies at the expense of non-renewables such as nuclear and fossil fuel generating methodologies will soon have a populace that is unable to utilize electricity during windless nights.

    A better approach would simply be to NOT have energy policies commanded at a National level except in so far as they insure that there exists a fair and operational market for the sale and purchase of electricity and other “energy” products (gasoline, diesel, etc…).

  7. I am convinced that no argument or facts will ever persuade the indoctrinated. Brown-outs and black-outs on the east coast in January is going to be what it takes to snap these Warmists out of their trance. With the EPA’s new restrictions on energy production that’s exactly where we’re headed.

    • The UK, too, I fear.
      The Eds – Milliband, and Davey, each Secretary of State [Minister] for Energy [plus various other mantras, ‘Climate Change’, ‘Fossil Fuel preservation’ was it?, and the rest I guess] have seen to that.
      I hope this UK winter is a consistently warm one.
      If not, there will be deaths (And the EU large plant directive certainly hasn’t helped! In bucket-fulls!]

      Auto [with several quilts, if needed! Not everyone is so fortunate – Watermelon policies will kill more].

      Auto

      • Would you stop using brackets [ ], please. Otherwise your posts look as if they were heavily moderated.

  8. It was inevitable that there would be a Pope, an Emperor, a President who would corrupt science by shifting it to a universal frame. The “folks” don’t like the uncertainty of a chaotic system. They will follow anyone who promises them dissociation of risk and instant or immediate gratification over the edge.

  9. Where is John Holdren in this picture?

    As co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Holdren is supposed to be advising the President on policy relating to understanding science, technology, and innovation.

  10. Obama, being smarter and more knowledgeable about climate and energy than any of his science advisors, wrote that speech himself, since he is a better speech writer than his professional staff of speech writers. Truth is always the first casualty in Obama’s world view.

    I wrote that, then realized Obama probably is smarter than his Science Advisor, John Holdren.

  11. Moreover, these sources are assuredly not renewable when you consider . . . the backup fossil-fuel generators needed the 80-90% of the time the renewable sources aren’t working.

    I agree with the post and in particular the portion I omitted from the above excerpt, and I certainly oppose subsidies. But I am agnostic about the storage issue. There actually are some applications in which all-electric vehicles make sense, and most have not yet been exploited. Suppose they eventually are. Has anyone given much thought to how practical it would be for utilities to tap into those plugged-in vehicles’ batteries for storage and thereby avoid the fossil-fuel back-up?

    • That sounds like something approaching an energy policy. Exploit different energy sources according to their attributes and suitability in a context — a merit-based energy policy. Instead, we have to live with sophistry and phobias of natural processes, which cause misalignment in human development.

    • It has been thought of, proposed, and will be adopted by California as soon as they mandate electric cars and outlaw gasoline engine cars (as this is the only way a significant number of electric cars will be put into service).

      So you will travel to work, plug your “car” in so that you can make it the 25 miles back home barring bad traffic or the need to use your AC. Unfortunately, the wind didn’t blow all day and the overcast/smog was unusually thick so, they sucked your charge to run the local hospital ER. There you are in the middle lane of the 5, 4 miles from the nearest exit with an 18-wheeler bearing down on you when the juice runs out

    • I did a presentation to my high school science class in the mid 1970’s on solar power (called renewables today). This was during the era of the energy crisis in North America, also during the era of Global Cooling, the coming ice age. This lead me to be somewhat of a connoisseur on non-fossil fuel technologies. Battery swapping ideas for vehicles, rotating disks inside large vacuumed transportable containers to store energy, the fuel cell technology. Long before CO2 became the excuse to switch to renewables . The claim that solar cells will be perfected in another 20 years.
      As to utilities using my vehicles’ batteries idea, I would have to be compensated for the extra denigration and the lost wages when my car doesn’t have enough juice to get me to work.

    • A batteries life span is x years long, but there is also the metric of x amount of recharge cycles before the battery fails. In the meantime the battery has reduced capacity over time and recharge cycles. If I was letting someone else ‘use’ up my batteries life span, then I would want to be compensated for that wear and tear.

    • Wow, so much fodder, I scarcely know where to start. I’ll keep this short and just say the battery that has two masters really only has one master.

  12. Windmill gauntlets and solar ovens are neither “green” nor “clean” throughout their life cycle from recovery to manufacturing to distribution to operation to reclamation. There aren’t any viable energy sources with purely green or clean credentials. Perhaps we should use materials and processes which are less removed from their natural condition.

    • Too bad you, like the other right-wing slow thinkers who love this site, can’t tell the whole, true story:

      Here’s what is ACTUALLY SAID in that article:

      “So here is an updated list of (mostly U.S. and EU) solar companies that have closed, gone bankrupt, insolvent, ended up in assignment for benefit of creditors, or have been acquired at pennies to the dollar. Although there is a macabre element to this list, this is actually positive solar news. The solar companies left standing in 2014 and 2015 will be the stronger firms with viable business plans and sustainable value. They’ll have made it through the bottleneck of the early 21st century solar market.”

  13. “But what does climate change have to do with energy supply? Almost nothing.”
    ————
    Doesn’t matter – it’s a convenient rhetorical tool Barack Ebola uses to vilify Industry and Free Enterprise.

  14. Hi, I’m looking to fill a vacant position for Community Organizer in Chicago. Complete and utter lack of experience in business a plus. Complete and utter lack of experience working at a job is a definite plus. No knowledge of, or experience in management, industrial practices, science, or any similar, or even remotely related discipline is required. And, if you had to reread the foregoing sentence to understand it (or, if you can’t bring yourself to understand it) you’re the guy we’re looking for. If you qualify (it doesn’t take much) this position offers the potential for unbelievable advancement. No work ethic required.

  15. The kind of government that has absolute power over such economic decisions is the type of governance that will evolve more and more into a political structure that revolves around loyalty and fealty to the man that wields all the executive power. We don’t want to go any further down that road than we have already.

  16. Nice article. I would note that the things being done by Obama et al are deliberate, he could care less about the merit or the science. They allow him to achieve his political goals. Which are quite assuredly nothing good for any American (Except those on the inside- high ranking friends and party members etc). Rational, real science and facts are of no concern to these tyrants. “Ends justify the means” is the only thing that matters to these guys. Cass Sunstein, his wife, John Holdren- look at the people around him and tell me you think he is a merit based rational thinker? He is rational- right on par with all of the greatest sociopaths mankind has ever known. His merit and rational thought processes allow him to do things decent human beings would find abhorrent. The merit and rational he uses are not like normal human beings, but he’s convinced more than half of our nation to support his ridiculous policies. He is really irrational and illogical by any standard…

    Re: The other bozos in the picture: I had a chance to speak with Neil Degrasse-Tyson about ten years ago after a physics discussion he did at the University of Houston Clearlake. He really seemed like a reasonable and thoughtful person, seeming reserved on the notions of CAGW- more on the skeptical side. However, I have have decided over the last 6 or so years that he is a narcissistic fool who would rather be adored by Hollywood and sycophants than conduct real science or stand on principle. Just like the other two scumbags in the picture with him. Sadly he is lost. Bill Nye is a well known idiot. ‘Nuff said?

    Re: John Holdren, that man is another bureaucratic shill. Just like the CDC clowns that continue to claim all-knowing powers of the Ebola virus- advocating quarantine, but insisting on continuing to transport people from Ebola stricken nations into our own country, a direct conflict with the concept. They claim zero probability of airborne transmission with zero evidence- they don’t know! These clowns know nothing of science, except how to manipulate people. Good little Gerbbels are going to get a lot more people killed, possibly Billions.

  17. Gee, do you think that someone should tell the MSM = NBC, ABC, CBS, The New York Times, 60 Minutes, CNN, MSNBC, and their local representatives that Obama and his minions have been misleading students about climate and energy? Oh wait…
    I know it may be embarrassing, but if everyone would post this article on their social media – Facebook, Twitter etc. do you think it might help change things?

  18. “However, results to date show that those investments have brought few benefits, and much harm. European studies have found that expensive, unreliable wind and solar power kills two to four jobs for each “renewable” energy job this heavily subsidized industry creates.”

    Not to mention the wanton waste of all that beautiful, lovely, wonderful, useful cement.

    For example, in a wind farm in Texas, a cement pad for a 350′ worthless wind turbine is 80′ in diameter, and 8′ deep. (Audit needed for these figures? How can 8′ of cement support 350′ of moving weight?). These have been known to crack easily from the tremendous force.

    And the area of perfectly good land needed, to bury all of this perfectly good cement and rebar, is 10,000 acres.

  19. Do we even need a climate policy? What would an intelligent, practical climate policy look like?

    • What’s a good climate policy?

      Southwest Airlines had the answer. “You are free to move about the country.”

  20. All nations need to return to the historic separation that previously existed between energy policy and climate policy. They must analyze and plan for both…based on defensible environmental, technological, and economic analyses.

    This is an admirable goal, and well-laid out. But the good of a society also includes other values. Other values include the protection of private property, personal responsibility towards our families, individual liberties, and how about the ability to live without being smothered under a catastrophic black mat of bureaucratic structures and employees.

    Lately as we have gone into tremendous debt for a nationalized health program, the emphasis on physical health in society has gotten far out of ratio with the other priorities of society. The same can be said of the emphasis on “technological, economic, and environmental” approaches. These are important to analyze and address, but they are not the be-all and end-all for society. Where did we ever say we institute governments to manage technology and the environment? No, we institute governments in order to protect and facilitate the usual human pursuits of raising children, having a home, growing crops and cattle, and freely engaging in various commercial activity – which naturally rewards responsible behavior and hard work, and does not reward drug use and unemployment.

  21. I recall that the historic separation between energy and climate policies was that there was an energy policy and that climate policy was limited to weather watching. Then there was smog (not climate) and we managed it. And now they tell us that the world will burn unless they are allowed to control the climate and the weather. A leap of fear and then some.

  22. We seem to have a climate policy. We need a real energy policy – case in point:

    Recent NY Times article: “As Energy Boom Ends, a Political Identity Crisis in Alaska”

    In the New York Times article by KIRK JOHNSON OCT. 8, 2014, there is not one mention of ANWR and the 10,000,000,000+ barrels of oil reserves available there (to keep the Alaska pipeline filled among other things):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/09/us/as-energy-boom-ends-a-political-identity-crisis.html?_r=0

    • “People of earth” or at least people of the USA: Alaska is not a national park. It is being treated as such. It has many resources.
      They should be made available in a responsible way…

  23. Whether they know it or not, those who talk simply about “carbon” are following a usage devised to make the listener think of the soot in their chimney or their exhaust pipe. (Or are plain lazy, or both.)

    “Carbon dioxide”, on the other hand, is the bubbles in my champagne.

    • Oh, they know it. They are probably following the advice of sophisticated communications specialists (spin doctors) like Fenton.

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