How a Department Resists a Businessman

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

In a previous post, The DOE vs Ugly Reality, I discussed how a businessman takes over a government department. In this case it’s the Department of Energy (DOE). As a part of the 74 questions posed in the memo from the Trump Transition Team to the DOE, there were a couple of questions that obviously set people’s hair on fire. Let me quote those two questions and my comments about them from my previous post. Questions are in bold type, my comments are below the questions.

13 Can you provide a list of all Department of Energy employees or contractors who have attended any Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon meetings? Can you provide a list of when those meetings were and any materials distributed at those meetings, emails associated with those meetings, or materials created by Department employees or contractors in anticipation of or as a result of those meetings?

Now, this is the one that has the “scientists” involved most concerned. Me, I think they damn well should be concerned because what they have been doing all this time is HALF OF A COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS!!

This is a pet peeve of mine. You can’t just talk of costs in a vacuum. To do that without considering the accompanying benefits is scientific malfeasance. To do it as a policy matter is nothing less than deliberately lying to the public. As a result, I hope that everyone engaged in this anti-scientific effort gets identified and if they cannot be fired for malfeasance then put them to work sweeping the floors. Talk about “fake news”, the so-called “social cost of carbon” is as fake as they come.

That was the first question that I said had set their hair on fire. The other one was:

19 Can you provide a list of Department employees or contractors who attended any of the Conference of the Parties (under the UNFCCC) in the last five years?

An IPCC Conference of Parties is much more party than conference—it’s basically an excuse to party in some lovely location (think Bali, Cancun, …), with the party occasionally interrupted by the pesky conference. It is a meaningless exercise which ends up with an all-night session that finishes by announcing that everyone has signed on to the latest non-binding fantasy about how to end the use of fossil fuels, drive up energy prices, and screw the poor. And yes, if I were appointed to run the DOE, I would definitely want to know who has gone on these useless junkets.

Now, I know that people are going to complain about “scientific freedom” regarding the memo asking who worked on what … but if you don’t want to tell the incoming team what you’ve worked on … why not? Are you ashamed of what you’ve done? Look, every job I’ve had, if a new boss came in, they wanted to know what I had worked on in the past, and I simply answered them honestly. Scientists are no different.

Finally, government scientists presumably work on what their agency directs them to work on … so the issue of “scientific freedom” is way overblown in this context where they are NOT free to work on projects of their own choice.

Today, we get the first salvo fired in response. From the Washington Post

“Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of DOE (Department of Energy) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people,” Eben Burnham-Snyder, a DOE spokesman, told the Washington Post in an email. “We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department. We will be forthcoming with all publicly-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.” [Emphasis in original.]

When I saw that, I cracked up. Busted out laughing. I thought “You idiots! You just fell into the trap!”

Here’s the deal. The Transition Team sent that memo out. It doesn’t ask for anything other than the duties the employees performed. It doesn’t ask them to change their views or alter their scientific conclusions. It just wants to know, who worked on these projects? There is no reason to refuse that—it’s asked in this situation all over the world. A new boss comes in and says “Hey, who worked on the Jones project?” And Sally and Bob raise their hands. No harm, no foul.

Now, over at my blog … dang, that still sounds strange … anyhow, over at my blog at the request of a commenter I wrote a piece on the rules of thumb that I use to clarify murky situations. However, I forgot a very useful one. It goes like this:

If a man is hiding something … … … it’s because he’s got something to hide.

Applying this to the DOE certainly raises interesting questions. But to return to the issue, here’s why I say that they fell into the trap.

When I wrote the first piece, people noticed that the Transition Team started each memo question out with some variation of “can you provide” … and people wondered why.

Inter alia, this is why—it encourages fools to think that refusing to answer is a real option rather than a polite form of an order.

Anyone with half a brain would look at those polite questions and go nope, not gonna refuse, boss will be here in six weeks, dumb move. But we’re talking government employees here.

Let me see if I can explain this plainly. If you want to take over a bureaucracy, the key thing to know is that a single bureaucrat all alone is almost always a weak, pitiful creature for a simple reason.

He/she finds it very, very difficult to make a decision on his/her own.

Why do you think bureaucracies always spawn double handfuls of boards and commissions and working groups and the like? As a group, they can make decisions, no problem. Might not be good decisions, but they can make them. Plus which it makes them brave to have six or eight other men and women in agreement. But by themselves, chronological inertia takes over, and they slowly sink into their natural vegetative state of torpor.

In addition to a group, sometimes you do get a sort of a leader among bureaucrats. All too often they see their function as opposing the management … but they do have enough gumption to encourage others to take foolish chances and do dumb things. So you need to neutralize them along with the groups. When you’ve done that, 95% of the takeover is complete.

SO … if you want to take over a bureaucracy, how do you do it? Well, you either take over or abolish the groups that give individual bureaucrats power, and you isolate or otherwise neutralize the leaders.

Regarding the first one, me offer you question 1 from the memo once again:

1. Can you provide a list of all boards, councils, commissions, working groups, and FACAs [Federal Advisory Committees] currently active at the Department? For each, can you please provide members, meeting schedules, and authority (statutory or otherwise) under which they were created? 

Clearly the authors of the memo know that the easiest way to get rid of something is to investigate the authorizing authority. The working group is not statutory? Bye-bye working group. Board membership is bloated beyond initial authorization? Bye bye extra board members. Soooo … that pretty much takes care of the “boards, councils, commissions, working groups, and FACAs”, you can be sure what will happen to those. But what about the leaders?

Well … you could hand the employees a list of questions phrased as “can you provide”, in the hopes that somebody will be foolish enough to stir up the ranks until they refuse to answer. What they refuse lets you know what they are hiding … and of course, who prompted the refusal will also be clear. Want to know who the leaders are? Foment a rebellion …

Here’s the truly insane part to me about this rebellion. It is doomed to fail, and thus can only make things worse.

There’s no conceivable way that they can hide who went to the Paris Conference of the Parties. There are hotel bills, airline ticket stubs, claims for reimbursement, per-diem issuance records, international phone calls, per diem expense vouchers, it’s the freakin’ Government, for heaven’s sake, they live on paper, they produce reams of details. And that’s just internal DOE records, that doesn’t even touch the UN Records of the conference with participant lists and emails and photographs of smiling time-wasters …

And the same is true about the scientific monstrosity called the “Social Cost of Carbon”. The people who worked on that will have their fingerprints all over all kinds of subsidiary documents and timesheets and records. There’s no way it can remain hidden.

But that’s not the bad news for the fools sticking their heads above the parapets. The bad news is that when Rick Perry comes in the door, he is the boss, and he or one of his lesser demons can call up any dang record they please … and he can also call employees one by one into the office and ask “Who worked on the Jones project”. That’s not a question affecting, what was it, their “professional and scientific integrity and independence” of anyone, it’s a bog-standard business question. And you can be sure somebody will want to curry favor with the new boss and will say “It was Jimmy that did it! I told him not to do so but he did it anyway!”.

And what is this nonsense about “independence”??? You are EMPLOYEES, idiots! If you want independence, DON’T WORK FOR ANYONE!

But wait, it’s worse. Rick Perry can also call people in one by one and ask them “whose bright idea was it to not answer the questions in the memo”

Like I said … if you want to know who the leaders are, foment a rebellion.

I would ask “How can these people be so foolish as to refuse to answer what they will soon be forced to answer, particularly when it can’t possibly be hidden anyway” … but then, to be fair to them, they are government bureaucrats …

Anyhow, that’s why I busted out laughing at the news that they are taking a brave, principled stand against evil people who want to … who want to … want to know what they have been working on. Horrible cruel question.

Best to all, I’ll cross-post this at my blog.

w.

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309 thoughts on “How a Department Resists a Businessman

  1. … you do get a sort of a leader among bureaucrats.

    It sounds like the Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

    In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely. link

    The wrong people always take over a bureaucracy.

    • Note the increasing use of the word “labs” in all these defensive comments. They are trying to pretend this is just an army of lowly, honest guys in white coats busily going about objective SCIENTIFIC work.

      Hey, it must be science, they’re wearing white coats, right, Well, at least they are working in “labs”.

      NO, the are a bunch of pen-pushing bureaucrats sitting on commissions, working groups ,etc etc, and trying to ‘save the planet’ , they are politically motivated activists.

      Most of these “labs” are full of tables and chairs and a coffee machine.

      • “We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department.

        While I admit I did not attentively read all the questions in full, I don’t recall anyone asking for names of employees working in labs. So this should not prevent the from answering the information that WAS requested.

        No problem .

      • Maybe I should try to convince my boss we need a lab in Cancun. On the beach next to a convenient bar, of course… That way we can study Fluid Dynamics!!!

      • Couch that in terms of how it fights man caused global climate whatsit and I bet he will go for it! And then appoint himself Executive Site Administrator so he can insure you are doing a thorough job.

      • ‘independence of our employees’

        They are government employees. They are not independent. THEY ARE NOT INDEPENDENT.

      • Greg December 15, 2016 at 1:44 am
        Note the increasing use of the word “labs” in all these defensive comments. They are trying to pretend this is just an army of lowly, honest guys in white coats busily going about objective SCIENTIFIC work.

        That’s because a subset of the questions were specifically addressed to the ‘labs’.
        Most of these “labs” are full of tables and chairs and a coffee machine.
        You really don’t have a clue!
        Here’s a list of lab facilities at Los Alamos:
        http://www.lanl.gov/science-innovation/science-facilities/index.php
        and a movie showing one of the labs at PPPL:
        http://www.pppl.gov/node/867

        Greg December 15, 2016 at 1:59 am
        “We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department.

        While I admit I did not attentively read all the questions in full, I don’t recall anyone asking for names of employees working in labs.

        Among the questions specifically addressed to the ‘Labs’ were the following:

        70 Can you provide a list of all peer-reviewed publications by lab staff for the past three years?

        71 Can you provide a list of current professional society memberships of lab staff?

        72 Can you provide a list of publications by lab staff for the past three years?

        Clearly that requires identifying individual employees.

        Latest news on the questionnaire is that: “The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol,” Trump’s transition team said in a statement to The Washington Post. “The person who sent it has been properly counseled.”

      • Yup. I’ve looked on the web for photos of Michael Mann wearing a lab coat. Not one did I find. Those of us who really have spent a lot of time wearing lab coats resent being included in such company.

      • Sorry Phil.

        All of the information is public for the most part, the exception being the “professional memberships” which may require you to be a member to see who other members are. All peer reviewed publications would be in the public domain and would list the authors affiliations. This questionnaire is asking for a consolidated list rather than having to do some sort of database search.

        I guarantee the majority of the membership dues are paid for by the government, therefore the government should be able to ask for a list of who it is paying for to be members.

        Hell, everything they ask should be available via an FOIA…

      • Hey go easy on the “Labs”. My current “Lab” (I even call it that) is a coffee shop that makes bread and cookies, and serves fantastic breakfasts and lunches. Along with an internet link, that is maybe the worst link in Silicon valley, but works occasionally.

        I’ll be headed there in a few minutes wearing one of my old fishing shirts, underneath something warm. It’s a valley gathering spot where modern SiVal denizens meet to brag about what they are doing, and tell their company secrets to anyone who will listen.

        Fifty years ago we were doing the same thing but at a bar back then, and only a mile or two from this place (MY Lab). I like watching all these folks being “sophisticated”.

        G

    • Willis is way over thinking this, remember in 2008 when the republicans were in their primaries and Perry had his meltdown on stage in the debates. he could remember the name of the third Department that he was going to abolish? It was DoE and now he gets his revenge! by DoE.

      • There are times when I can’t remember even Albert Einstein’s name, or some word, I needed to say, but I needed it a minute ago, when it fitted what I was saying at the time.

        G

      • Who has not, growing up in a large family, seen their parent go through the complete list of names of their children before arriving at your name when you have done something wrong! So the larger the family, the more chance you had to run before they arrived at your name! :-)

    • when an organization is in trouble the key is to identify those individuals that everyone agrees are “indispensable” and fire them. the indispensable individuals have made themselves indispensable by limiting the flow of information up and down through the organization, creating bottlenecks that only they can solve. remove the bottlenecks and a healthy organization will emerge.

      • One company I worked for taught their (technical) managers that when an employee became indispensable you should transfer/promote him/her out. The other members of the department would be depending on him/her too much. Having a resident expert can actually limit the growth of everyone else within the department. Moving the expert out clears the way for others to expand their horizons and grow to fill the void. This does put your department in a bit of a quandary but it is usually short lived. And, if handled properly your department will become the better for it with everyone more knowledgeable.

      • fred & joe , personally if I found any manager letting go an indispensable employee that manager would be released immediately, if that manager can’t manage to foster a breadth of expertise required for a department that manager would be released and someone hired that wouldn’t put a company in jeopardy by firing valuable assets!

      • p.s. I personnly observed an upper level manager who referred to our software department as “a bunch of f…ing indispensable prima donnas and he was going to get rid of us” (this was during a downsize). Within six month this blockhead was out the door.

      • The program I taught in had an industry advisory committee. One of the senior managers who sat on that committee observed that it was dangerous to be the indispensable technical expert. A change in technology could result in an erstwhile technical expert becoming unemployable.

    • A leader can take over a bureaucracy and make it work. But the leader will have to constantly stay on top of the situation and break the bureaucratic roadblocks as they occur.

      Bureaucracies can be made to work, but it can only be done from the top down. The person on top has to stay on top of the situation at all times and should *not* delegate his/her authority more than is absolutely necessary. Too many decisionmakers in the process, with differing goals, is the problem.

    • This reminds me of ” O’Sullivan’s First Law”

      “Any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time”

      See: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=O%E2%80%99Sullivan%E2%80%99s%20Law

      “One of the reasons for this is leftist intolerance versus right-wing tolerance. Right wingers are willing to hire openly left-wing employees in the interest of fairness. Left-wingers, utterly intolerant, will not allow a non-Liberal near them, and will harass them at every opportunity. The result over time is that conservative enterprises are infiltrated by leftists but leftist enterprises remain the same or get worse.”

      jw

  2. Willis —

    Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

    The refusal to name names demonstrates how far from reality these people have become. While the ringleaders may think they have enough power to pull it off, there are no doubt a substantial number of minions who are going to be highly motivated to do what they need to do to keep their jobs. Their current silence may present the face of unity, but that unity doesn’t go to heart level for most.

    Besides, the mortgage is calling, and the open market can be a cold, cruel place for those who used to work in the warm chairs of the oppressors . . .

    By the by, can you provide a link to the memo itself?

      • Can you say “plausible denyability”? I knew you could…

        It’s fairly SOP to have an “unauthorized” fire lighter who sets hair on fire so you can watch the roaches run, then you ‘deny them’ publicly and you have the information you wanted AND quieted the firestorm of protest. The bonus to the fire lighter to be handed out privately and quietly…

        FWIW, there is a concept called Group Gel. That social adhesion that binds a group together. When you take over a resistant group (which I have done…) you give a proforma attempt at requesting polite submission to authority. Then wait. Once the “resistance” is manifest (oddly, only a few times to folks just ‘line up and salute’…) then you can identify the Gel. Leaders, followers, sideline watchers.

        At that point, if resistance continues after a bit more ‘coaxing’, you proceed to “Breaking The Gel”. You have to eliminate the prior group dynamic to build the new one. This can involve changing duties, firings, hirings, all sorts of things. Even bonuses to those who get on board and removing plum assignments from those who were group leaders (social demotion).

        But break the gel you must.

        What Trump TTeam did was simply poke the Gel to see where it needed breaking.

        Once formally in charge, the real fun begins. Many of those sideline sitters will have a bit of a grudge about why they were sidelined before. Once they realize that the Boss is no longer the prior Dominant Idiot, but the New Guy In Town, they will be spilling the beans like crazy. The Old Guard will be complaining loudly about their ‘unfair’ treatment, and in the process fingering themselves as the next bit of Gel to break… The Natural Followers will just swap to the new boss from the start, mostly just asking “What now boss?”, but also sometimes saying “I didn’t really like what OldGel did, but was just following orders…”

        As the Resistant Gel gets burnt, melted, and tossed, more of the underlings will line up on the new team. Then you can start to build the new Gel. (Sometimes called “team building” or “group cohesion” and other names…)

        It will be entertaining to watch ;-)

      • @E.M. Smith
        Well, that was an interesting tutorial. I must be rather naive; I tend to say what I think and let the chips fall where they may. It wouldn’t occur to me to be that devious.

      • Well somebody should just FOIA that information then. I don’t see why any of the information requested would be exempt.

  3. Just a bunch of jackasses led by a handful of coyotes and the coyotes have identified themselves.

    As for the “social cost of carbon”, where is the other side of the balance sheet with “social benefits of carbon” listed? The gang involved in that bit of nonsense are motivated activists pretending to be scientists.

    Rick Perry will have a profound and almost instant effect on this fiefdom that has been captured by the eco-zealots.

      • Ironic that the man who promised to eliminate that department will be in charge of… eliminating that department?

        Ironic that a man famous for the phrase “You’re fired!” found an ally to head that very department.

        I bet Trump was more amused by the DOE’s reaction than stymied by it. Heads will roll, I guarantee it.

    • I suspect that Trump knew or was made aware of Perry’s dislike for the DoE and he put him to the task.
      “So, you don’t like it and want to dismantle it. Fine, show me how you plan to do it. Time to put your back into your rhetoric.”
      The DoE was created by Carter with the stroke of a pen almost as an ad hoc department to address the oil crisis during the mid 70’s. Now it has swollen itself like an engorged tick and does little in regards to its establishing mandate. Why on earth are they making nuclear weapons?
      IMHO it should be relegated to actually promoting the improvement of existing energy sources (nuclear, fossil, hydro). It should also be developing alternative energy sources (wind, solar, geothermal) but not at the exclusion of all other sources.
      The DoE should NEVER promote one source over another by artificially restricting the use of any. The market will take care of that.

      • Years ago, in a one company I worked for a management trick that worked quite well in certain situations was to assign the job to the person that bitched about it the most. At the minimum this provided an alternate perspective on the problems. If the assignment was to take over a department (as in the DoE case), and the assignee was halfway competent he/she would soon have to either change their opinion, overhaul the department, or justify its breakup/elimination. Alternatively if you assign someone inexperienced they were liable to just disappear in the morass.

      • I was shown a proposal to create an Australian Standard on Fibre Ropes. The Chief Marine Surveyor asked me to go over it and comment on it. I did so and said it wasn’t necessary. Guess who got the job of attending the meetings to create the Standard? And as the only public servant – apart from a naval officer who would not be permitted by naval regulations from it – I got the job of chairing the meetings!

      • The DOE essentially invented the technology of fracking thirty years ago. It’s a science and technology organization that is unmatched. It’s Primary mission is NUCLEAR WEAPONS. None of you know much about the DOE. Lol it has nothing to do with regulation of the oil and gas sector.

      • Really, so all that fracking done before that magical date 30 years ago never happened? Wow, better go back and inform all those wells that they were never fracked, they will be so relieved.

      • “The DOE essentially invented the technology of fracking thirty years ago”

        No it didn’t.

        Stop making stuff up.

      • DOE fracking R&D

        The DOE does basic research based in physics and chemistry. That relate to energy in all forms. It has zero to do with regulation of the oil. See below for your beloved fracking tech, it was invented by the DOE staring during the Carter era.

        “The increase in shale oil and gas production in the United States follows many years of investment and research carried out by the federal government. Between 1978 and 1992, DOE invested about $137 million in the Eastern Gas Shale Program, which helped demonstrate and commercialize many of the technologies in use today. As early as 1975, a DOE-industry joint venture drilled the first Appalachian Basin directional wells to tap shale gas. From the 1970s to the 1990s, several DOE-funded R&D technologies would optimize production of shale across the United States: directional drilling, microseismic monitoring of multi-stage hydraulic fracturing treatments, and modeling. These investments—combined with industry collaboration—made the American shale revolution possible.”
        https://energy.gov/fe/science-innovation/oil-gas-research/shale-gas-rd

      • And I already told you to go tell all those wells that were fracked 100 and more years ago that they were not fracked, they will be so relieved. Fracking predates DoE by several decades, so get over yourself and find a new line of crap to peddle, we ain’t buying this one.

      • Sam J December 19, 2016 at 5:01 am

        The DOE does basic research based in physics and chemistry. That relate to energy in all forms. It has zero to do with regulation of the oil. See below for your beloved fracking tech, it was invented by the DOE staring during the Carter era

        Nonsense. Fracking wells was being done long before there was a DOE. From OilPrice.Com:

        Even though the birth of fracking began in the 1860s, the birth of modern day hydraulic fracturing began in the 1940s. In 1947, Floyd Farris of Stanolind Oil and Gas began a study on the relationship between oil and gas production output, and the amount of pressurized treatment being used on each well.

        But heck, Sam, you’re only out by a hundred years with your claim. Note also that the DOE did NOT invent modern fracking either. That began in 1947 ,,, while the DOE wasn’t even created until 1977. You’re out by three decades on that one as well.

        Now, did the DOE help the modern fracking industry? Sure, in a lot of ways. The role of the DOE in that has been large.

        But the claim that fracking was invented “during the Carter era”? That one won’t hold water.

        Look, I’m not dissing the DOE or saying we should get rid of it. But obviously, given its focus on the Paris parties and the development of the propaganda tool called the “Social Cost of Carbon”, it has gone way off the rails.

        w.

    • I was a bit puzzled by this social costs of carbon. Looking into it, it seems to turn things on their heads for cost benefit analyses. From https://www.epa.gov/climatechange/social-cost-carbon

      “EPA and other federal agencies use the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2) to estimate the climate benefits of rulemakings. The SC-CO2 is an estimate of the economic damages associated with a small increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, conventionally one metric ton, in a given year. This dollar figure also represents the value of damages avoided for a small emission reduction (i.e., the benefit of a CO2 reduction).” Thus they assume increases in CO2 causes damages and reduction in CO2 provides benefits. What about the costs of increasing electricity rates? The cost of lost coal mining jobs? And all of this is due to an executive order for cost benefit analyses..

      • That they base their model on the assumption that there can be no possible social benefit from an increase in CO2 tells you everything about the “science” being conducted. Preconceived noble cause. Because 98%. “Now let’s justify the means, team, and get back to me with an outline for my testimony on the Hill next week. I’m counting on you!”

    • DOE Global Energy Storage Database

      Perhaps this should be named: ‘The DOE Global Energy Guide To Energy Storage Cost’

      Example:

      DTE Community Energy Storage for Grid Support-Monroe Community College CES

      Lithium Battery – Solar Array Project Commissioned Feb.22, 2011

      500 kW Solar Array
      Duration at Rated Power: 30 min
      Cost ~ $11 million
      DOE ARRA Grant ~ $5million

      http://www.energystorageexchange.org/projects/114

      This DOE Database is filled with sort of information. Questions should be asked about how funds were spent.

      The public is unaware of how much it costs for energy storage.

    • Interestingly there are 30+ days for the eggs to incubate. Having observed Trump manipulate the entire political landscape over the last 15 months it will be a long wait for the holdouts, not knowing which side the barrage will be coming from.
      Many sleepless nights and rising anxiety will leave them well softened up for a good ass kicking.

  4. Trump Transition Backs Away From Controversial Questionnaire to Energy Department
    By ALEXANDER MALLIN KATHERINE FAULDERS Dec 14, 2016, 1:03 PM ET

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-transition-backs-controversial-questionnaire-energy-department/story?id=44190652

    Donald Trump’s transition team is backing away from a controversial questionnaire sent to the Department of Energy demanding names of employees who assisted in the Obama administration’s climate policy efforts.

    ABC News obtained last week the 74-point memo, which asks for names of staff members who worked on climate-related projects.

    The Department of Energy hit back on Tuesday with a statement saying that the memo “left many in our workforce unsettled” and that it would not comply with questions asking for names of individuals.

    DOE officials “respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department,” agency spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said in a statement.

    The Trump transition team has repeatedly declined to respond to ABC News’ requests for comment, but in a statement to ABC News today, an official said, “The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled.”

    The transition team’s decision to back away from the questionnaire comes just hours after the team announced former Texas Gov. Rick Perry as Trump’s choice to head the Department of Energy.

    The White House defended the Energy Department’s decision to withhold the information requested by the unnamed transition official.

    “There were reports about what certainly could have been an attempt to target civil servants, career federal government employees,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.

    “Their work transcends the term of any one president. That’s by design,” he continued, saying that it would undermine effective policymaking at the Department of Energy to replace the entire staff with each administration.

    • So what does this mean?

      “The Trump transition team has repeatedly declined to respond to ABC News’ requests for comment, but in a statement to ABC News today, an official said, “The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled.” ”

      Somebody without authorization was sending the questionaire? Just for fun? not asking the big boss? Or was it Bannon? ;-) …..

      Or the Donald himself?

      “The person who sent it has been properly counseled?” So the DOE answer was a proper counsel for that “unpredictable” black sheep in the transition team?”

      Or is the transition team using the advise from Jesus about giving away money “Let your one hand not know what the other is doing!”?

      Secrets over secrets……

      There will be some headscratching in the DOE about that stoic answer….

      • ” “The questionnaire was not authorized or part of our standard protocol. The person who sent it has been properly counseled.” ”

        Standard protocol?
        Not authorized?
        Properly counseled?

        Bafflegab.
        I’ve used similar wording when I was the one who issued a document changing practice, requirements, reports, whatever.

        It means nothing.
        Nothing is actually changed or retracted.
        Yeah, I counseled myself on taking a slightly different path. Big whoop!

        Rewrite or rephrase the request. Submit it again, when the time is right; only the request will be more of a direct order approach.

        Oh yeah! Since travel and conference attendance are such a hot button employee rights issue, bring in a team to investigate travel accounts, in detail.

        Misuse of travel funds is a very easy and common method for eliminating Federal employees. Separated with cause, often with the employee in debt to the office; their future paychecks subject to automatic debt reduction debits. Serious misuse means time before a judge.

      • It has the feel of a trial balloon. Poke the monster, see what it does, disown the poke. The counseling probably went something like this: “Good job, we got what we wanted. Keep it up.”

        Also, all the “can you” questions can be answered yes or no. It will be fun when they get to the “Will you please provide…” questions.

        I am very curious as to who gave the order to refuse the requested information. That head should roll.

    • I’m sure others might have heard Christy Todd Whitman on a short hit piece on NPR 10/14 bashing the questionnaire motives. She of course represented everything inept about George W’s pandering weak EPA years to the Greenshirt menace while in office. “Compassionate” being the code word.

      What really struck me aside from the “I did a great job and the EPA is really wonderful” spin of it and “Trump has failed before ever taking office” both of which you could expect from the source and propaganda channel was how directly and seemingly tied into even the most mundane EPA operations. She resigned in 2003 and produced a horrendous alarmist screed in her short assignment. The sour grapes obvious to this day. 70 years old and she’s throwing others under the bus faster then a Clinton campaign manager and sounding dredfully connected to the very hacks throwing the questionnaire kiniption. You can only imagine the dinosaurs in this network and coordinating media resistance etc.

      They should all be fired of course but the pull back reflects that this isn’t the main front of the first 100 days.

      The key lesson is the fantasy of approaching this as a conflicted science dispute as if both sides have reasonable underlying positions. The alarmist/warmer Greenshirt culture is a proxy for globalist socialism a reality all too few skeptics are ever willing to accept. So if Trump approaches it anything less but all out total culture war and leaves the Greenshirts in prior “incubation” mode as occurred with all Bush terms and worse with Reagan’s acceptance of the IPCC structure then what little progress might be made will be lost if election support weakens.

      It isn’t on the center stage at the moment but the Green blob, climate related specifically, must be totally wiped out governmentally and via all government funded propaganda outlets (DOE, NASA, NOAA, NPR, Education Department and healthy dose of academic funding abuse which is epic all by itself). A total public education campaign against the totalitarian inclination of the Climate belief system is both self preserving politically and well within the scope of the voters mandate. Just firing and defunding isn’t going to be enough, the broader public needs to know what the real stakes were which was/is the Republic itself.

      Climate policy is a Deathstar.

      • cwon14

        You are 100% spot on, and I have been going hoarse saying the same thing for years now. If we don’t win the propaganda war, we lose the war. That’s why the Department Of Education post is critical. And since you mentioned it, NPR needs reeducation and (LOL) “diversity” imposed as well.

      • I agree, this is no time for pussyfooting. The Trump administration needs to be like Ripley and Hicks.

    • However, if the policy of the D of E has gotten out of hand and morphed into a monster, it is necessary to cull the employee herd of those who created the monster. At the very least, this would tend to prevent the monster from being recreated.

    • Or see this for what it really is. Stirring the pot. The “un-authorised” individual gets “counselled”. The problem is the idiots played their hand. On 19 January, buy popcorn shares. On 20 January, sit back and watch the fun.

      • Not on Southern Railways, they can’t.
        No train today from Platform 1 at ‘my’ station.

        And on Monday through Friday, there is an overtime ban.
        [Yeah, I know about depending on unionised employees voluntarily working overtime just to keep the system running. Seems Southern Rail either didn’t – or didn’t care!].
        The ban means that trains are no guaranteed for timing, punctuality, capacity or routeing.
        If running, they may have the heaters on.

        Auto, patting myself on the back about the lack of pejorative adjective for Southern Railways [and the unions]; the temptation has been almost overwhelming!

  5. As bad as the response is, it was totally predictable. The guys have been protected by some sort of immunity for too long, they have become careless.

  6. Let’s see . . . laws of bureaucracy . . .

    The first law of bureaucracy is that the bureaucracy must grow, irrespective of the purpose for which the bureaucracy was created.

    The first corollary for every supervisor is that he or she must never ever, under any circumstances, leave the office with fewer personnel than it had on the day he or she first walked in the door.

    The second corollary is that the section must never ever, under any circumstances, end the fiscal year with so much as a single penny remaining in any account supporting the section. To ensure this happens, every supervisor must maintain a wish list of new equipment, necessary to the function of the section or not, to be purchased during the final month of the fiscal year, such month to be known as “fallout season”.

    When preparing a department’s budget request, the responsible official is expected to request funding sufficient to purchase the sun, moon, and stars. This ensures that the department will at least be left with the bare minimum to scrape by to fallout season, once the bean counters are done hacking away at the department’s budget request.

    Competence in all of the above is the Number One necessary prerequisite for promotion.

    • Re your budget laws — in my former department, if we ended the year under budget, having saved money (by whatever means), then our next year’s budget was reduced to no more than we spent this year. So if next year we had an unexpected expense, we were SOL. Boss would practically beg us, in the last quarter, to find things we “needed” so we would not lose funding. I’m afraid this is pretty common. I hope it gets changed.

      • “I’m afraid this is pretty common.”

        It is pretty much standard operating procedure for govenment to spend their entire yearly budget whether they need to or not.

        The government agencies are going to have to learn to get along with less in the future. Trump is reportedly going to implement the “Penny Plan” government cost reduction plan which requires each agency to reduce its spending by one penny for every dollar. Trump’s team estimates this will save about $63 billion per year. Defense and entitlement spending is not included.

        It’s time to cut the fat, and streamline the operation of the government agencies.

      • And this is a flaw of many budgeting systems. Perhaps if departments were allowed to carry forward at least some of the unspent funds, as a reserve against unforeseen expenses…

      • IIRC, at the federal level it is already verboten to spend more that 1/3 your budget in the last quarter.

      • This is also pretty common (gov & business) when the culture allows there to be no measurable output – you can’t come up with a “cost per dollar of benefit”.

        These situations die quicker in business because somebody at a higher levels of organizations gets paid based on some higher level measure of “cost per dollar of benefit”. Government hierarchies seem to get paid just on cost – the bigger your department, the more managers, etc that you need & the more status you have.

        Business isn’t perfect; just better.

    • When I was in Rail Standarization Branch, I was told: “Prepare our request for travel finance for the next Financial Year.” I thought this will be easy, I will just get the file. Aha!, there was no file! A normal procedure with no file in which requests for travel finance could be maintained?? Very odd.??? So I created a file. Then went around all the section heads and asked what travel they wanted to do the next FY. Got the details, and checked out the costings, then added it up and submitted the file. About a month later, “Horscroft – what the hell is this, the cost is about ten times last year’s travel costs, where did you get the figures from?” in a rather outraged voice. I explained what I had done. “No, this will never happen, they won’t wear this. I’ll just have to submit the same request as last year.” So that was how it was done. But at least they had a file in which the details could be found.

  7. Willis,

    You’re right. The questions represented a well disguised tiger trap for the unwary
    bureaucrats.

    The Trump Transition Team could just as easily have asked those same questions
    via Freedom of Information requests and forced a response question-by-question,
    even though the response was “we’ll have to take some time to find that information.”.

    The Transition Team, just like any citizen, could have availed themselves of the
    DoE form:

    http://energy.gov/doe-headquarters-foia-request-form

    They still can use FOI, but have tugged on the tiger’s tail just to set up future
    options and their agenda.

    • “They still can use FOI”

      It would be easier to wait for 38 days, and then Trump can walk into any government agency and get any records or information he wants.

  8. I liked this part:

    Donald Trump’s transition team is backing away from a controversial questionnaire sent to the Department of Energy demanding names of employees who assisted in the Obama administration’s climate policy efforts.

    The memo has already done its job.

    w.

    • Willis

      I hope that you are actually right and that the Trump administration is actually this smart. It would be a real novelty for there to actually be someone in the government that knew what they were trying to do and also actually how to do it. Deconstructing a bureaucracy may be the single hardest thing in the world to do.

      • “Deconstructing a bureaucracy may be the single hardest thing in the world to do.”

        Very true. Especially in the political atmosphere we find ourselves in today. The Left is going to oppose any and all Trump changes, especially when it comes to climate change and the environment, where they think they have the moral highground (plus their delusional thinking causes them to be *really* afraid of the climate), so expect a constant fight.

        We are going to find out just how good Trump really is at getting things done. My bet is on Trump.

  9. Willis Eschenbach

    Nope. I worked for Sikorsky Aircraft. Ask me about what I do or did sorry no. People sign oaths. I did.
    This is not McDonalds Its the Department of energy. The request was not from people that the people asked were cleared to answer to. The questions have to wait until after Jan. 21. 2017.
    Attacking them for this will backfire.
    Also don’t try the counter argument that they were not working on things that they could not communicate. It is their call how far they error on the safe side.

    michael

    • In all fairness, Sikorsky isnt the DoE…a government contractor, yeah…
      A department of the federal government? no.

      • davideisenstadt December 15, 2016 at 12:56 am
        The documents I signed were with the U.S.A.
        Yes. Same thing.

        michael

      • mike:
        youre pretty obtuse:
        governmental employees have no rights to confidentiality regarding their work product, and neither did you; if you refused to tell the relevant governmental entity what you were working on (assuming they had the necessary security clearances to know about it) you would be terminated.
        Your confidentiality and NDAs covered you talking to other people than the governmental entity that contracted with you.
        Just think about it for a second…
        you (sikorsky) would refuse to inform the DoD about work you were doing for them?
        The DoD would ask you for example reports on the status of work that was contracted for, you would refuse?
        Thats nonsensical.

    • Michael, answer now or answer later. Take your pick and while you’re at it, drop in at the welfare office and sign up for unemployment benefits. That Michael, is the reality facing these clowns.

      • craig December 15, 2016 at 1:17 am
        “Take your pick and while you’re at it, drop in at the welfare office and sign up for unemployment benefits”

        I am not the enemy. I pointed out that the people who refused to comply had an “out”. Also their actions were intended to cause anger towards everyone in the DOE. Many of the people there most likely would have been happy to comply, provided they had clearance to. The folks who said no were out the door anyway.

        My Dad and Uncle both worked at Sikorsky before me. After I was hired the three of us could talk.

        As for your statement above, I am retired, after 40 years in the trade, heart problem.
        Good night.
        michael

      • Pure smoke and mirrors.

        They are not playing games.

        If the senior executive at Sikorsky asked you for a report, and you denied him bluntly, where would you be? Not employed by Sikorsky is likely.

        The Government does not treat contractors as civil service employees.
        Yes, spill your guts to a spy, you get serious jail time.
        Refuse to spill your guts to a senior DOE executive, executive much senior to your project head; and you will be escorted out the door that day.
        Plus your contracting agency would be informed that your employment on any government contract is improper. You obviously are incapable of realizing who you work for, and why you work for them.

        Your Father and Uncle might be given the same opportunity to refuse cooperation with senior DOE executives.

        Yeah, you might be correct to request evidence of clearance; but only when answering specific questions directed at classified departments, work or research.
        Receive a questionnaire with general questions, meetings, memberships; answer them.

        Refuse and you now have their attention.

    • If your company is contracted to a US Govt agency your company can be audited right down to the tea boy and likely beyond. In a nice way that is? If the Agency is not satisfied with that watch out for the Feds/Police.

    • Mike, they had no trouble with anything but naming the names of people who went to public non-secret conferences. Your claim of national security for that is total fantasy. There is nothing even remotely secret about going to a party in Bali along with a useless conference.

      In addition, their response didn’t have one word of your “national security” BS in it. It was all about nobility and high scientific principles and independence. They were too smart to try your line of patter.

      So yes. You worked on secret programs. The Bali Party of the Climate Conferees is not one of them.

      Finally, what part of “all of this is public” is not clear to you? They went to a PUBLIC conference in Bali. They had their pictures taken. They gave speeches. Their names are on the official records. How on this lovely green earth you twist revealing their name, when it was published over and over, into a national security claim is a mystery … particularly when they don’t make that claim at all.

      w.

      • Willis, I have to side with Mike a little bit on this one. Because at one time I had access to and worked with highly classified information, my response the question “What did you do?” was and still is “I am in admin”. Knowing who can be as dangerous as knowing what.

        Mike, but that is why the question was asked “Can you provide…?”. If the answer is “No”, then a stated reason for a specific case could be that the information is classified. But that is not what happened. They gave a blanket “No” for different reasons.

      • MarkW December 15, 2016 at 6:52 am
        “Nothing these gentlemen worked on comes anywhere close to being classified.”

        First of all, how would you know? Second and more importantly, even if there were objections due to classifications that is what should have been stated on a case by case basis. That is what I agree with Mike about. Such an objection would have been satisfactory for now but they did not do that.

      • They were asked about attending climate change conferences.
        That is not and never will be “classified”.

    • Michael
      as and ex driver of ” sea-kings ” the military would require some form of security, BUT ! with a normal request on the public $ ????

    • The questions asked of the DOE in general were not classified under either the normal defense security directives or the nuclear security standards. These were bureaucratic membership and organization questions. The ones to the labs also did not move into the nuclear security realm, so questions of “nondisclosure” are nonsense.

      I can assure you if I were a senior manager at Sikorsky and I asked who the engineering team was the worked on a particular project, the people on that team would step forward. This is particularly true of a project that led to corporate liabilities. If an audit of the project comes up with people who tried to hide their involvement, those people would be former employees so fast their heads would spin. Every failed project has a post-mortem to determine how to avoid the problem in the future – most of the time that does not lead to the termination of the team unless gross negligence or actual malfeasance is found, or the damage is such that the whole department has to be sacrificed to save the company.

    • If the membership of a committee in the D of E is a secret and these are government employees (or some may be outside advisers of questionable choice), then, when they make policy decisions we disagree with, how do we confront the secret committee and start a reasonable argument? NO, these are government employees—they work for us—and have no standing regarding privacy in their work. I care not what stupid gag orders they sign, they work for us and we own their activities and their products.

      Gag orders for companies are a completely different situation, as patents and their validation may be involved.

    • Mike, that disclosure statement only deals with those outside the company those who have no need to know.
      Are you actually trying to claim that this statement you signed prevents you from telling your boss what you are working on?

      Your statement has so little relevance to the situation being discussed that I have to wonder about your true motives for bringing up such a distraction.

    • Mike the Morlock

      Yours is an inelegant conceit (you and only you get to know what you’re doing).

      A presidential transition team either has or can get the required approvals to ask the questions. Of course, if the clowns in the department drag the process out another 30-or-so days, The new president’s new secretary (or agency chief) can simply re-ask the questions. Or simply reduce funding.

    • Mike that is BS. I’ve been through several acquisitions as an IT Director at the company being acquired. Even before the sale goes through, there are many rounds of extremely detailed fact finding questions that you must answer. Even in a hostile takover. No they haven’t bought us yet, no they aren’t my boss, but you damn well bet I will be honest in the questionnaire even if it means describing in detail “why did x project fail?” Because if I lie.. When the sale goes through, THEY WILL FIND OUT and its my ass on the line now. Plus if I help them do a successful transition, then I have immediately out of the box shown my value to the new leadership. Only ideological morons would not help the new leadership coming in. They deserve to be fired without pension or anything else.

  10. Trump loves to troll. He knew these questions would not get answered. But this was great raw beef for the troops. He can get all the answers he wants after January 20.

  11. The department heads IMO really think they are above politics. 8 years of weak Obama leadership has given them the delusion that the boss doesn’t count. They really think they will somehow be able to hang on, to frustrate Trump’s mandate.

    • HIlarious, Scott, you’ve hit on it. Mike the Morlock, I don’t know if you’re cleared to read this, but from Scott Rabone’s list, we have someone who attended the most recent Party, in Paris. Here it is, the classification of this is above Ultra, it is off the charts, I think it’s PG-13, here’s one of the secret names they won’t reveal because of science. And freedom.

      Mr. Ernest Moniz
      Secretary
      U.S. Department of Energy

      Don’t tell anyone unless they’re cleared,

      w.

    • Well dug out Scott. What a load of ‘troughers’! It would be good to know the total cost and each country’s individual costs for attending this useless jamboree – never mind the emissions created to be there.

      • They should include the effective cost of their emissions in their report because, they care about the social cost of everybody’s emissions (except their own).

      • “What a load of ‘troughers’! It would be good to know the total cost”

        That should be Trump’s next question.

      • Luc

        I was wondering the same thing.

        Assume $4,000 per attendee (sounds in the ballpark for a 12 day conference in Paris) for 30,372 “participants”), and you get over $120,000,000…

        Yikes.

    • Holy cr*p!! The United States has almost five pages of participants. Now I know why so many people want government jobs!

    • @Scott

      Outstanding! And how long did it take you – someone not even in the DoE – to find that information; 15 minutes? a half-hour? an hour tops?

      What a hoot! Thanks.

      • Over seven pages for Canada!
        “I love Paris in the springtime, I love Paris in the fall…:

        –Bad News

    • Couldn’t just a few Government employees have gone to this event and then provide a report to the other several hundred? I wonder what it cost to send everyone to the same meeting?
      Ron Richey

      • Ron

        Obviously not. Surely government employees would not got to Paris for frivolous reasons.

        Upon further review, never mind.

    • According to that list there were only two from DOE. Looks like more than half were from the State Department and a good chunk of the remaining delegate were from various Congressional offices.

  12. The request was not from people that the people asked were cleared to answer to.

    So “a list of Department employees or contractors who attended any of the Conference of the Parties (under the UNFCCC) in the last five years” is classified information?

    • Yes, Obama has put it in his personal vault and passed an order to prevent it being released for the next 12 years. ;)

  13. “The Transition Team sent that memo out. It doesn’t ask for anything other than the duties the employees performed. It doesn’t ask them to change their views or alter their scientific conclusions. It just wants to know, who worked on these projects? ”

    and if you think that’s the only agenda there, well I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

      • Griff has a conveniently porous memory.
        Like how he always manages to forget that every one of his pathetic arguments has been refuted multiple times, in multiple ways. But he keeps repeating them anyway.

      • I stand by what I said about Susan Crockford’s qualifications on polar bear research. See my answers to her on the other posting -please lets keep the polar bear discussion and slagging me off where it belongs? Over there? you don’t need to repeat yourselves, unless it really makes you feel better.

        On this topic, there have been about a zillion posts demanding that the swamp be drained, the fraudsters be removed, the scientists be sacked or reassigned.

        I cannot believe the majority opinion here is not shared by the people in th Trump landing teams, with their backgrounds in skeptic organisations.

        It would be reasonable to assume that getting a list is a prequel to removing scientists who have been involved in climate research, legislation, etc.

      • As always, Griff is impenetrable when it comes to information that disagrees with what he wants to believe.
        He claimed that Dr. Crockford was unqualified, then when others showed that she was eminently qualified, Griffie just whines that he’s still correct.

      • “I stand by what I said about Susan Crockford’s qualifications on polar bear research.”

        You lied about them with the intention of damaging her professional credibility, pure and simple.

        Now you flat out refuse to apologise.

        You are a thoroughly unpleasant individual who has not the slightest acquaintance with truth and honesty.

        Your credibility is zero, you are nothing but a laughing-stock (not that you were ever otherwise).

      • Griff,

        I stand by what I said about Susan Crockford’s qualifications on polar bear research.
        You were soundly spanked by Climate Otter for your disingenuous pretense that Susan Crockford lacked ‘qualifications’. Yet you ‘double down’ on that fit of exposed deceit. In doing so, you destroy any shreds of remaining credibility you may have had.

      • Griff

        Bears repeating

        “I am a zoologist with more than 35 years experience, including published work on the Holocene history of Arctic animals. I am currently an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia and work full time for a private consulting company I co-own with two colleagues, Pacific Identifications Inc.

        Crockford 08_21_2011_0056b

        Like Ian Stirling, grand-daddy of all polar bear biologists, I earned my undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of British Columbia. Polar bear evolution is one of my professional interests, which I discuss in my 2006 book, Rhythms of Life: Thyroid Hormone and the Origin of Species (based on my Ph.D. dissertation earned in 2004 at the University of Victoria, B.C. Canada), see http://www.rhythmsoflife.ca.

        You’ll find a list of my publications (with a brief introduction) further down, after the list of my most popular posts (with links). At the bottom of this page is a brief bio for posting elsewhere.

        Zoogeography, paleoecology, archaeozoology and ostemetry papers
        **Crockford, S. J. 2012. Annotated map of ancient polar bear remains of the world. Electronic resource, available at http://polarbearscience/references ISBN 978-0-9917966-0-1. https://polarbearscience.com/2012/11/26/ancient-polar-bear-remains-of-the-world/” continued

        and your qualification are what?

      • Glad to see Griff standing by his comments on Dr Crockford’s qualifications. Proves he hasn’t learned a darn thing from this humiliating experience.

        By the way, has Griff ever graced us with a statement of his qualifications (I mean other than living under a rock)?

      • “(I mean other than living under a rock)”

        Don’t the likes of Griff usually live under bridges – the more noisome the better?

      • @ catweazle666

        Griff did state in a comment above that he had a bridge that he wanted to sell. Is he literally a troll?

      • ” Is he literally a troll?”

        In spades, and has a long and disgraceful history of mendacity, making stuff up and attempting to smear and discredit anyone not in total agreement with the CAGW religion, as he tried to do to Dr. Crockford.

        All in all, a totally unsavoury individual.

        You can bet the farm on it.

    • Not Agenda…just a Moratorium consisting of review(s) and various strip outs. Anybody in/related to Govt recognises that. Its where you get a bit of time to review your current career path. If you had not seen that coming….well, you know?

    • Griff, why should a public servant have a job for life? Why do you believe that a public employee should not answer their masters? As a private sector employee, if I refuse to answer my bosses questions, I will be invited to resign or be fired, that’s the reality.

    • Griff, I don’t think you are qualified to comment on this topic. Please keep reading and observe silence.

      • I wonder why my comments are being moderated when you let this through?

        Not the sort of thing I expect to see here

      • “Not the sort of thing I expect to see here”

        Most contributors to this blog don’t expect an attempt to damage the professional credibility of one of the foremost experts in her field by blatant and very easily exposed lies about their professional qualifications either.

        Nor, after their inept efforts have been easily exposed and ridiculed, fo they expect the perpetrator to reappear twenty-four hours later claiming that those untruths were correct and refusing to apologise.

        You have no place on a blog engaging in serious debate, if I were moderating, I would ban you.

      • Griff:

        What do you expect to see here? Respect? Reasonable consideration of your loony ideas? Appreciation for a troll trying to disrupts threads?

        Polar bears?

    • Grifftroll

      Your absolutely right for once, the agenda is to find out who the agenda driven hacks are and throw there asses out on the street.

      By the way didn’t you get eaten by a polar bear a few post back.

    • Hey Griff!

      Welcome back.

      Does that agenda involve polar bears? OF COURSE THERE’S AN AGENDA – WE JUST HELD AN ELECTION TO RE-SET THE AGENDA.

      How many polar bears dance on the head of a pin?

    • Warning shot across the bow, remember? You have no idea what’s going on. do you? You’re a sad individual. Out classed, out gunned, out of action. Soyez bien précis : c’est dans cette section que vous démontrez ce que vous valez à un employeur potentiel.

  14. The kind of answers that the rest of the questions will get I’m sure that we will find them very familiar. They will look extremely similar to the famous “why should I provide you the data, if all you want is to find something wrong about it?”

    • Exactly! The climate mountebanks have become so used to operating in this anti-scientific, crooked way that they have come to consider it as the legitimate norm. They are now feeling the first gentle breezes of the advancing storm front ruffling their hair but have yet to work out that it’s a category 5.

  15. I can remember Sandia Labs trawling around Europe for work. I met them at Adastra House (RAF/MoD) in London about 1993-ish. Sounded to me that work for them was rather scant at that time. They wanted military work. Didn’t get any as far as I remember… from us.

  16. I suspect there be some entire functions, boards, councils and commissions closed down. If the new administration decides it no longer wants to do what you do, don’t you get laid off? It’s change we can believe in.

    • They use an extensive process laid out in reduction in forces (RIF) procedures. Most are offered other positions in other departments and those who either don’t qualify or don’t want the move are released. The problem with that is – if they aren’t removed for cause, they can be rehired by a later administration to continue their advocacy.

  17. Trump and his peeps are Grand Master Trolls….as well as of PsyOps, which are basically the same thing

    this questionnaire is a prime example of this and i’m, so far, loving every minute of his transition. in fact, i’ve been in a good, almost giddy, mood since about 2330 PST, 8Nov16, and my shcadenboner may well last all 4 years.

    and no, i’m *not* contacting a medical professional if it does. my BP is down, my guts are calmer, and the very idea of a SecDef named “Mad Dog” fills that cold dark cavity in my chest where a heart should be with absolute glee.

    i can’t wait for Rick Perry to go through the department with a chainsaw and a flamethrower, getting rid of the deadwood and scum who have been deliberately screwing this country for years.

    • PsyOps? Lol, you give them far too much credit. PsyOps from a guy who has declared bankruptcy 4 times.Yeah, Trump is totally on top of things!

      • Chris name one successful businessman that hasn’t declared bankruptcy at least once. Hard isn’t it. If you don’t take chances you will never get ahead and sometimes things don’t work out and you must start all over again.

      • how many of those bankruptcies were a direct result of the tax law rewrites and SEC accounting principle changes that also led to events like the demise of the savings and loan industry?

        Sometimes one can make all the right choices and still have the rug pulled out from under you by the feds rewriting the rules. Many of the bankruptcies and foreclosures following the 2008 correction were caused by implementation of the capital rules for making loans (mark to market changes forced banks to foreclose on any property whose value fell below the loan amount – even when the borrower was 100% on time with all payments – if they didn’t then the feds would declare their capital valuation was inadequate and close the bank). The S&L crisis was caused by the tax law being rewritten to remove the tax write-off for investment properties. Many investors then sold their commercial assets driving down the valuation of the properties remaining. The resulting inliquidity destroyed the S&L balance sheets and brought the whole industry down. As Trump is a commercial real estate developer, this trashed his customer base and led to several large product lines having extreme liquidity problems. (He wasn’t the only one.)

      • Chris, as a now-hugely-successful guy (hey, and not Trump!) likes to say, “When people succeed, they tend to party. When they fail, they tend to ponder.”

      • Chris,

        Do you know what success is? It’s getting up one more time than you are knocked down. Sounds like you don’t try hard enough, Chris!

    • “this questionnaire is a prime example of this and i’m, so far, loving every minute of his transition. in fact, i’ve been in a good, almost giddy, mood since about 2330 PST, 8Nov16, and my shcadenboner may well last all 4 years.”

      LOL! I’ve been feeling pretty much that same way, too! I can’t stop laughing! It started when they called Pennsylvania for Trump, about 230am here.

      I can’t stop laughing because the Left is in an absolute meltdown. I’ve never seen them so detached from reality, and that’s saying somethig!

  18. As several people have pointed out, the Dept of Energy is mainly a Dept of Nuclear War. Much of the work done at the Dept. supports U.S. nuclear weapons programmes, ship and submarine nuclear reactors. They also clean up old military weapon sites like Hanford. If Republicans want to save money at the Dept. of Energy they can freeze some nuclear cleanup operations.

    James Conca, at Forbes says: Rick Perry’s Vow To Destroy The Energy Department Will Now Collide With Reality. Atomic Rod (Rod Adams) in the comments there said:

    “Our nuclear and advanced physics contributions to the scientific world have been hugely hampered since 1942 by the fact that most available government research funds in those subject areas come with the string of accepting the value of nuclear weapons research and development. Support also comes with the additional caveat of being willing to do work that can never be shared or published.”

    Rod was a submariner who worked on nuclear submarines for many years and tried to create a nuclear startup when he left the navy. If the US public want to know why nuclear power failed to get anywhere some of the best people to ask are US military who helped nix it with the demands they placed upon it.

    • I think ending the DoE’s squandering of money on “climate change” related projects will save plenty.

  19. I would pay money to be standing there on day one when Rick Perry and his working staff arrive. The questions mentioned before and turned down…..now they will give the departments ten days to respond. If the heads of the departments don’t respond, you automatically have cause and reason to refer them for dismissal. I will guarantee you…everyone within this agency has pulled out their resume and started to worry about the next twelve months of employment. Contractors and GS employees. If they just come and cut your travel budget by 75-percent….it’ll change the dynamics. Forcing a one-year delay on new hires? Same thing. These folks don’t know the reality of the mess they’ve created.

  20. If I were Rick Perry, I would get the names of all those who refused to answer the questionnaire. I will give them the choice to voluntarily resign or reassign to Antarctica. I will create a low-budget field research project there for them.

    Antarctica is a lovely cold place to study global warming

  21. Willis,

    Oh, dear! You Yanks are going about it all the wrong way!

    Rather more mature civilisations, like the Chinese, and the Brits, know exactly how to operate a bureaucracy which does precisely the opposite of what it is ordered to do. As an example, the entire series of ‘Yes Minister’ (a British satirical comedy) provides ample illustration:

  22. “Social Cost of Carbon” this would surely translate as “No Carbon – No Society” so surely it would be better to phrase it “Social Cost of No Carbon”

  23. Willis, your post is excellent. Among those who read it will likely fall into one of two camps, those like me who are laughing and the other camp who will have flaming hair and exploding heads!

    I’ll bet that few in the flaming hair camp will comment here as they would have a difficult argument. I’m still smiling!

    • eyesonu

      Does “Polar Bear” Griff showing up to “stand by his claim Susan Crockford is unqualified” count as hair on fire or head exploding?

    • JC

      Naa, he’s from the camp that lives under his bridge. Flaming hair and blistered skin may apply though. He takes a lot of heat with regards to what he writes.

  24. SunEdison Shareholders Made Stunning Accusations In Court

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/4030452-sunedison-shareholders-made-stunning-accusations-court#alt2

    Summary

    Shareholders have submitted 60 letters to Honorable Judge Bernstein, the U.S. Trustee, and the Wall Street Journal.

    The letters implicate at least five high-ranking businessmen and politicians of wide spread collusion, corruption, and fraud.

    SunEdison was ordered to answer allegations that its value has increased since it filed for bankruptcy.

    Since my last article covering SunEdison Inc (OTCMKTS: OTCPK:SUNEQ), there have been several developments in the bankruptcy proceedings. October’s Monthly Operating Report was released, Homer Parkhill gave a statement for the first time since early summer, and SunEdison formally objected to the Unsecured Creditors’ motion to claw back Terraform Global (NASDAQ: GLBL) and Terraform Power (NASDAQ: TERP). In addition, a number of shareholders have inundated the court’s inbox with letters and emails (60 as of this writing) in a mad attempt to reopen the case for an Equity Committee.

    The letters from shareholders vary in purpose and quality, but among their requests are: calls to prosecute Paul Gaynor (former First Wind CEO), Larry Summers (Chief of National Economic Council), Rahm Emanual (former White House Chief of Staff), Steve Scharzman (CEO of Blackstone), and John Podesta (Lobbyist for Renewable Energy) of wide spread collusion, corruption, and fraud; as well as several pleas to reverse the Official Equity Committee denial.

  25. New Boss: “Good morning, Bob. I see you’ve been working here for about ten years now. Tell me a little bit about what you have been doing, some of the things you are especially proud of and a thing or two that you don’t think you/we should do again.”

    Bob: “No.”

  26. DOE better be getting their answers ready. Their new Secretary is going to demand them, and will likely fire anybody who is non-compliant.

  27. While I did not go into the depth that Willis did, my impression was the same. Why piss off your boss? There is one big difference between the feds and a business. It is almost impossible to fire idiots in the federal government. However, what is done all the time, is they are “repurposed”. In other words, they are sent to a dark corner of the agency to shuffle paper clips, waste tax payer money drawing a salary, but do nothing.

    I suspect there are going to be a lot of dark corner occupants over the next 4 years. The swamp of DC is not just about congress. it is about the work force. That 35% who promised to quit if Trump was elected should have kept their promise.

  28. Well done Willis for this excellent piece – and also to Scott Rabone for that enlightening (partial!) list…
    One has to wonder how any of the countries listed functioned during the Paris Conference, when all those – presumably invaluable – worthies were absent…
    Reminds me of the Jewish patriarch on his deathbed with all his family gathered round in anguish, when the old man tugs at the sleeve of his eldest son sitting nearby and whispers: ‘Who’s minding the shop..?’

    • Reagan was only able to fire the air traffic controllers because they were in violation of their contract. Their contract had a no strike clause, and they went on strike.
      Trump can only fire these guys if they somehow violate their work agreements. I suspect that being insubordinate might qualify. Especially for the higher rankings.

      • As I indicated in part one of this topic, the government can cancel any contract for the convenience of the government (e.g., a research effort is no longer necessary). In addition, if functions of an agency are eliminated, the government can do a formal Reduction in Force (RIF) to eliminate unnecessary employees, who can compete for the retained positions based on their qualifications.

      • And if the DoE was created by Executive Fiat, and not by statute, then it can be eliminated the same way. With any functions deemed necessary transferred to some other organization.

      • I do not think insubordination is a firing grounds (it is a reprimand one). However, there are ways to quietly get rid of some of the top echelon. And it only takes a few to bring the rest of the lemmings in line. They are not leaders, they are followers. That is why when they get the names of those who said “no”, they will be gone. Not the rest who just went along with the no people.

      • MarkW that is incorrect. It had nothing to do with violating their contract. Reagan fired the air traffic controllers because U.S.C. Title 5 law made it illegal for them (and all Federal employees) to strike and, IIRC, states that if they do strike, their jobs are immediately forfeit. They swore an oath that they would not strike. Reagan gave them 48 hours to come back and some of them did to continue working. The rest forfeit their jobs (i.e. quit).

  29. Come January 22 the “businessman” will be able to send in US Marshals with subpoenas and the “resistance” will come to a screeching halt.

    • Come Jan 22, “businessman” won’t need subpoenas or US marshals. Just Saying. Don’t expect the resistance to end until they are defunded.

  30. I’ll repeat the purpose was simple: To identify the low hanging fruits for consolidation/elimination within the DOE. The methods to achieve are not yet clear, but the tried and true approach is to cut the overall budget, and let those within DOE who know what is important (to the agency and the Congress) to make the many organizational decisions stay/go/combine/change. Those decisions will be based upon how well those organizations support the agency core mission(s). I emphasized one of those DOE missions: national PROSPERITY.

    For DOE’s fed employees the handwriting is on the wall. RIFs are coming.

    This approach would work across the entire Fed Govt, agency by agency, and then again Govt wide. Duplication would be eliminated or at least drastically reduced, and agencies would hone internal organizations to first support their core missions.

    The only weak point is the outcry from the recipients of the grants/contracts/funding from those non-core functions. That’s why we see the crying from the lab folks and their supporters.

  31. The news report this morning states the Trump transition team has “disavowed” the DOE questionnaire. As people have noted, the requested information can be derived from public records. Maybe some Russian hackers will organize it all and give it to WIkileaks.

      • Mike

        You might be right, maybe that’s why he put Perry in charge that way after he shuts it down he won’t have to remember it the next time he is on a debate stage running for office.

      • Well Mike, perhaps they bothered with questions for real purpose of identifying personnel that it would be profitable to transfer to other departments when redundant departments are eliminated.

  32. Everything having to do with CO2 and global warming should be transferred to the EPA.
    Then they can eliminate the federal EPA and return the responsibility back to the states.

    • I think you’ll find that the states won’t want that, when it comes to clean up sites they’d rather it be handled by the EPA due to budgetary issues.

      • If the states can’t afford it singly, what makes people think the federal government can afford it severally?

      • Javert Chip December 15, 2016 at 1:22 pm
        Phil

        Have you asked the states about this?

        My home state, yes. I had discussions with the state DEP about a local clean up and that’s exactly why they preferred that the EPA handled it (which they did very successfully).

  33. Looking at that UNFCC list of US participants we see the “Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change” and the “Office of Global Change”. What the frack are those? Whatever they are, hopefully they’ll be jettisined with all the other deadwood.

  34. Mr. Trump is going to be very angry when he finds out being president doesn’t necessarily make him the boss on a whole bunch of issues, and in fact many times he will be the one taking orders not giving orders. That is just how it is … and I don’t see him accepting it.

    • And yet he is the boss, and his job is to pick those to go in and run all these governmental agencies and programs. That includes prosecutors and investigators. Time to start locking these criminal scumbags up and taking back all the money they have stolen.

      • Yes presidents “pick” people to run things, but sometimes that pick is controlled by coming off a list of acceptable candidates provided by someone else. Makes you wonder who is really in control.

      • And yet DJT is not using any pre-approved list, is he? He is actually looking for QUALIFIED people, not approved by Democrat Party people.

      • At no time is the president ever restricted to working from a list provided by others.
        On a small handful of appointments, the senate has a chance to disapprove, but that’s it.

    • That’s right he won’t be King. It’s called separation of powers. And just as the CEO of his real estate empire he has obey the law. But he will be the presiding officer of the executive branch.

    • No, Scott–Trump won’t have to be taking orders from a bunch of renegade “scientists” (I use the term loosely) who have distorted reality to the point that nobody believes them anymore (except that inner circle of pal-review sycophants).

      Remember someone famously said “You’re FIRED!”? Well, that’s what this boss will say, especially when a bunch of renegade people work in a department that reports to him.

    • I do not see Trump accepting it either. Trump is not a politician and does not subscribe to the “go along to get along” theory of negotiation. He has a way of upsetting the political order in Washington and from what I have seen the political order is out-of-their-element with under estimation.

      • “At no time is the president ever restricted to working from a list provided by others”

        MarkW Its well known when the president makes his “pick” for head of the Federal Reserve, it’s off a short list made by others. His “pick” is silly and meaningless and an illusion of control. That’s just an example we know about.

      • Just because president’s have traditionally used such a list is not evidence that they are required to use such a list. Which is what you claimed earlier.

      • Right on Ferdberple. Since he hasn’t used any donors, Trump will be taking orders from his conscience instead.

  35. Perhaps this whole episode is a means to provide motivation and political cover for the next congress to reform the job protections of civil servants. People in the private sector know that defying the wishes of the boss is not a good career move and will see little reason for the public sector to have it any better.

  36. @ Willis

    If the DOE manages not to answer these questions could they be used as the basis for a FOIA request???

    John G

  37. Josh Earnest….i’m sorry; I have to laugh at that oxymoron ic name every time I read it….has unwittingly told us why Obama could not rein in his rouge agencies even if he had wished to. They transcend his administration.

    • Ha, ha. A bit of truth coming out of error. You obviously meant to say “rogue,” but the behavior of the agency goes beyond pink to “rouge.”

  38. Mod, no post that I type on any computer is accepted by this site any longer. Can you tell me what the issue is?

  39. I think the “independence” thing illustrates an interesting point or two about regressives:

    * They think government employment is like a tenured “professorship” at a university: a sinecure devoid of accountability, and who can blame them — in many cases that’s what it is in practice;

    * They confound the government and the society that government is intended to serve (e.g. how many times have you heard the government’s fiscal status confused with “the economy”? )

    It would be kind and merciful to expose those people to market forces so they can start to understand how the real world works, which they obviously don’t given their pointless obstinacy.

    • the government’s fiscal status confused with “the economy”
      ===========
      Hillary called government debt an investment in the future and none of the news services even questioned this.

  40. UN is a round table of member states’ elected leaders or their nominated representatives. UNFCCC, IPCC etc are no exception.

    So, integrity or anonymity DoE? Using both doesn’t evoke confidence.

  41. In this instance I don’t believe DJT is that Machiavellian.
    I can imagine a scenario that one of the well organized transition teams came up with that list as questions the incoming Secretary should ask when he/she gets in place. (We now know it is Perry.)
    An over zealous staffer made the list public. The Trump team says “that’s not part of our protocol.” (possibly meaning “We really intended to wait ’til after Jan 20 and ask those questions internally”.)

    But as Willis mentioned, it DID go out, it was a perfectly legitimate questionaire, and rattled a lot of cages.

    The only conceivable negative would be a serious rash of hard drive failures:) .

    • The data exists in too many places for it ever to be eradicated. Hard drive crashes would just serve to highlight those who need attention.

  42. They seem a little confused. The transition team is not asking anything about data, research, etc. Just “who” and “what”. DOE explicitly decides what to fund. They don’t just hand out money to the scientists at the labs. I worked there, I know. So while you have independence to do your work, DOE decides the topics it wants to fund. Social cost of carbon is a topic. That topic can be defunded. That is the right of the people with the money. You can’t tell the boss he has no right to know who is working on what. That is the most absurd thing I ever heard.

  43. DOE, like all the current Depts, is still run by Obama Appointees. They made the decision to refuse to answer the who went to Paris, etc questions.

    They’ll leave their career Civil Service servants behind to hold the shit bag on January 20.

  44. I had a reaction similar to Willis’ reaction to a seemingly basic request by a new boss.

    The new boss needs to know what the direction of the company is and who is moving in what direction, in order to know how to … well … boss. Isn’t part of a job expectation that you communicate with your boss about what your employees are doing?

    So, where’s the offense? This is how companies and countries work. Refusal to communicate with your new boss seems like refusal to do your job, and so the first person who should be fired is the person doing the refusing. Then the costs of gathering the information requested by the now-fired refusing employee should be deducted from the budget of the organization. And before handing out pink slips to those current employees who are no longer a “good fit” for the organization’s evolved mission, give them a chance to learn or re-educate themselves about the new boss’s new perspective on the facts and priorities dictated by those facts.

    You might even find that some of the “sheep” who might have been just going with the flow to keep their jobs actually gain a new appreciation for (get re-energized about) their jobs. Try to keep these good people and direct them along a path more appropriate for fulfilling the refined mission.

  45. That DOE emblem should have the eagle replaced by a turkey. That’s the bird Ben Franklin originally wanted for the US symbol in any event. Always figured he was a precognitive.

  46. I’ll say it again: Governments come and governments go, but the bureaucracy is forever. One can always find the “empire builders” as they were known. Gathering influence and power and delegating the actual work to the “aides”. The EPA seems to think that they can say, “Make it so!” and even the climate will fall into line – don’tcha know! ;-) That’s assuming that they were merely incompetent and not worse…

  47. Griff December 15, 2016 at 1:20 am

    “The Transition Team sent that memo out. It doesn’t ask for anything other than the duties the employees performed. It doesn’t ask them to change their views or alter their scientific conclusions. It just wants to know, who worked on these projects? ”

    and if you think that’s the only agenda there, well I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

    Griff, you gotta learn how to read. First, in what you quoted I said nothing about that being their only agenda. I just pointed out that what they asked for was totally non-controversial.

    Second, you ask, do the Transition Team have another agenda? WHAT DO YOU THINK MY POSTS ON THE TRANSITION TEAM ARE ABOUT??? I have laid out their agenda in great detail, have you been sleeping?

    w.

    • re Griff “have you been sleeping”:

      Trolls live under rocks (safe from Polar Bears); one presumes they sleep there, too.

  48. “Me, I think they damn well should be concerned because what they have been doing all this time is HALF OF A COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS!!”

    This is untrue and displays an abhorrent laziness or a calculated deviousness. The next paragraph builds on that untruth, so why continue further with this propaganda.

    The charter for this group CLEARLY states that its output is to be combined with benefit statistics for each department/agency’s required assessment process:

    “Under Executive Order 12866, agencies are required, to the extent permitted by law, “to assess both the costs and the benefits of the intended regulation and, recognizing that some costs and benefits are
    difficult to quantify, propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs.” The purpose of the “Social Cost of Carbon”(SCC)
    estimates presented here is to allow agencies to incorporate the social benefits of reducing carbon
    dioxide (CO2) emissions into cost-benefit analyses of regulatory actions that impact cumulative global
    emissions.”

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/inforeg/scc-tsd-final-july-2015.pdf

    Son, I am disappoint.

      • I might, that is true. But that’s not the point. If I wanted to read completely made up BS created to support a false narrative…well, I know where I can go to read that.

    • So, where is the discussions about benefits? Clearly, an official document mandates such a discussion, and yet how often do we hear any mention of the benefits of carbon? I think this document gives legal foundation to the original claim of the topic here.

      To use the word “carbon” to mean “carbon dioxide” SPECIFICALLY, smacks of obfuscation posing as academic superiority. And the tone of the document weighs heavily on an unspoken (highly questionable) premise that “carbon” (translation, “carbon dioxide”) has little or no benefits, hence, automatically releasing assessors from the mission statement of trying to assess any benefits. How sneaky.

      • This is what I found about the benefit component. No idea where to find the “larger analysis”, however:

        (3) Value of goods and services whose production is associated with CO2 emissions

        Some commenters felt that the SCC estimates should include the value to society of the goods and services whose production is associated with CO2 emissions. Many of these commenters mentioned goods produced using fossil fuels, such as “plastics, chemicals, nitrogen fertilizer, steel, aluminum, synthetic rubber for tires, glass, pharmaceuticals, and paper.” One commenter argued for including the benefits to “regions that depend on employment from energy intensive industry, regions dependent on fossil fuels for heating, cooling, food production and other components associated with preserving their standard of living and regions that are in need of low cost fossil fuels to enable the economic development improving their standard of living.” Similarly, other commenters focused on the negative consequences of regulating CO2 emissions, such as the potential effect on energy prices, economic growth, or international competitiveness. One commenter suggested the inclusion of “… the social costs and economic dislocations that could result from carbon reduction policies that would eliminate fuel options such as coal, the social costs associated with higher electricity prices, and the economic and security risks associated with electric reliability problems.”

        Response
        Rigorous evaluation of benefits and costs is a core tenet of the rulemaking process. The IWG agrees that these are important issues that may be relevant to assessing the impacts of policies that reduce CO2 emissions. However, these issues are not relevant to the SCC itself. The SCC is an estimate of the net economic damages resulting from CO2 emissions, and therefore is used to estimate the benefit of reducing those emissions.
        A rule that affects CO2 emissions may also affect the production or consumption of goods and services, in which case it could create costs and benefits for businesses and households that either produce or use those goods and services. These costs and benefits are important to include in an analysis of the rule’s impacts, but are not a result of changes in CO2 emissions. The SCC is not a measure of social welfare from the consumption of goods and services whose production results in CO2 emissions, or other positive or negative externalities associated with the production of those goods and services.7 In other words, the SCC is just one component of a larger analysis that includes consideration of many other potential impacts, including labor market changes, energy security, electricity reliability, and changes in emissions of other pollutants, among others.

    • When doing a cost-benefit analysis, one of the options to be considered is the do-nothing option. Costs and benefits must be compared in the same dollars, either current dollars/net present worth or future dollars/expected future value. A primary consideration is “expected,” which must take likelihood or probability into account. As near as I can tell, climate scientists throw probability out the window.

  49. Time to review the …what is it, the Public Service Act? And make it easy to fire these guys for insubordination. Quick first review, expedited appeal, then OUT.

    • Tex

      Yea, good luck with that. Remember how much these guys “contribute” to politicians who would perform the review.

  50. You could ague that the leaders would not name the employees, because they where asked by the leaders to go, but then the leaders should have the guts to tell it.
    Regarding social cost of carbon. You could also calculate the social cost of food. How much land and energy it costs to produce it and all the waste it generates when consumed. It really hurts mankind. And most of the food turns to CO2 when used if it not turns to methane, ohh horror.

  51. A few of Paris Conference attendees. Thank Scott.
    United States of America:
    H.E. Mr. Barack Obama President The White House
    Mr. Todd Stern Special Envoy for Climate Change Department of State
    Mr. John Forbes Kerry Secretary U.S. Department of State
    Ms. Sarah (Sally) Jewell Secretary U.S. Department of the Interior
    Mr. Thomas Vilsack Secretary United States Department of Agriculture
    Mr. Ernest Moniz Secretary U.S. Department of Energy
    Ms. Regina McCarthy Administrator U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Mr. Ed Markey
    Ms. Jeanne Shaheen
    Mr. Jeff Merkley
    Mr. Al Franken
    Mr. Benjamin Cardin
    Mr. John P. Holdren

    “His Eminence” (H.E. B.O.), King and train of lemmings, all clueless as to value of carbon dioxide.
    Good riddance.

  52. Changing culture in a group requires it be eliminated, decapitated, gutted, eviscerated.
    On every M.B.A.’s list of required reading is: “Resistance to Change” (Harvard Business Review)

  53. One thing to keep in mind about scientists, engineers, and other technical people is that they are more loyal to their discipline than to the organization they work for. That is one of the issues that must be addressed when managing their work. They tend to work on what interests them instead of the work they are assigned. Unless they are completely unbiased, they tend to ignore evidence that does not support their “pet” theories. They view any “attack” on one of them as an “attack” on all of them and will band together to oppose and fend off the perceived attack.

    • All that you say applies to people doing real work.

      That’s the question here: just what the heck are these people doing? Big chunks of what they do might not qualify as real work (e.g.: attending 12-day Paris climate conf).

      • Well one thing people who do real work do, including scientists, engineers, and other technical people, is to keep current with their area of expertise. In addition to formal and self-study, that will involve attending conferences and other similar gatherings. The agency where I worked limited attendance to a limited number of people who were expected to write trip reports and do presentations to other employees on what they learned. In this case, it appears there was excessive attendance, showing poor management of resources, including employee time and travel/training funds.

  54. Willis,

    I think you might be overlooking something here. The refusal to answer Trump’s questions is likely coming from political appointees at the top of the Department, not career civil servants further down. The former will be gone once Trump takes office, so they have nothing to lose by defying him. But they do have something to gain. Their “principled” defiance will give them street cred with the environmental groups where they will be seeking jobs after leaving the government.

  55. It may simply be that they wish to include every deserving DOE employee individually, who either worked on the astoundingly complex “social cost of carbon” question or attended a COP conference and undoubtedly engaged in heroic last minute bargaining to literally save the last best hope of the planet(!), on the Nobel Peace Prize nomination form.

    • In agonizing over the vexed question of “the social cost of carbon”, I’d like to point out that all life on Earth is carbon-based. Droll, I know, but reference to the word “photosynthesis” seems to be in acute short supply. Perhaps it’s because the word too long?

  56. The questionnaire simply illustrates the first concise effort of adults to retake control of the US government agencies.

    “Turn out the lights, the party’s over!”

  57. I laughed when I first read about their refusal and I wondered how in hell they could be so stupid. Then I reminded myself these fools were proclaiming their moral and intellectual superiority for so long they started believing it and suddenly it was all making sense.

  58. Interesting, now how about those NOAA emails concerning Karl et al. 2016. Has everyone forgot about that? A bureaucrat claiming proprietary deliberation is key to their work? That literally made want to punch Karl in the face.

  59. Henry December 15, 2016 at 8:58 am Edit

    “Me, I think they damn well should be concerned because what they have been doing all this time is HALF OF A COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS!!”

    This is untrue and displays an abhorrent laziness or a calculated deviousness. The next paragraph builds on that untruth, so why continue further with this propaganda.

    The charter for this group CLEARLY states that its output is to be combined with benefit statistics for each department/agency’s required assessment process:

    Right. And the charter of the KGB says that they are supposed to be the good guys. What makes you think the DOE folks pay any attention to the Charter? I’d lay good odds not one in ten of them has even read it. I look at what they DO, not what they’re SUPPOSED TO DO. What they DO is talk endlessly about the “Social Cost of Carbon”, and never mention one word about the benefits.

    Nor are the DOE the only group trying this bogus anti-scientific tactic. In 2008, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals faulted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for failing to explicitly monetize climate benefits. Are you gonna point out to us how their charter makes them consider both sides of the question? Because it does … lotta good that did.

    If you had any evidence of such a true DOE cost/benefit analysis, you’d have given it to us. You are just passing gas.

    And as for whether I’m displaying, “an abhorrent laziness or a calculated deviousness”, man, you are a nasty little piece of work, aren’t you. You talk to your momma with a mouth like that? I am neither lazy nor devious, I think you must have mistakenly glanced in a mirror while writing.

    w.

    • I quoted your exact words, do you not understand how important it is to address the exact quote being disputed? You seem to now have moved onto some tangential claim about whether or not the benefit analysis was done correctly, or whether it was incorporated at all, or some other moving of the goal posts.

      Your EXACT words were: “what they have been doing all this time is HALF OF A COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS!!” and that is FALSE. They are creating the cost data that goes into the ultimate cost/benefit analysis.

      Also: “You can’t just talk of costs in a vacuum. To do that without considering the accompanying benefits is scientific malfeasance.” Also FALSE. The cost team was to look at cost…and to have that added to the benefit data for a true c/b analysis.

      More: “To do it as a policy matter is nothing less than deliberately lying to the public.” FALSE again since this is not what they did.

      And then, after an argument based on outright lies and half-truths, you come to this recommendation: “As a result, I hope that everyone engaged in this anti-scientific effort gets identified and if they cannot be fired for malfeasance then put them to work sweeping the floors. Talk about “fake news”, the so-called “social cost of carbon” is as fake as they come.” That is beyond the pale considering that you falsified the information that you use to support this recommendation.

      If you want to argue the calculations, or the benefit data, or ITS calculation, hey, I’m all for that. But what you have done here is channel the very worst of those you so haughtily deride in your critical posts.

      If it wasn’t deliberate deception or laziness to not bother to get the facts correct…then what was it?

  60. Henry, you might enjoy my previous post on this question.

    Or if not, here’s Ed Caryl making the same point.

    The problem is not just limited to the DOE, far from it. Here is the NYT’s take on the question:

    In 2010, 12 government agencies working in conjunction with economists, lawyers and scientists, agreed to work out what they considered a coherent standard for establishing the social cost of carbon. The idea was that, in calculating the costs and benefits of pending policies and regulations, the Department of Transportation could not assume that a ton of emitted carbon dioxide imposed a $2 cost on society while the Environmental Protection Agency plugged 10 times that amount into its equations.

    I see … it’s reasonable to want a coherent, single number for the social benefits of carbon to be used across governments … but where is the “social benefits of carbon” 120-orgainzation task force to do the same for the benefits?

    w.

    • I remember when Jimmy Carter was President and we had double digit inflation. The official inflation rate for government agencies doing cost-benefit analyses was about 7 percent.

  61. I await the … “benefit” … part of the analysis, and since an official document seems to establish our expectation to see this benefit part of the analysis, I have faith (church bells ringing) that it will be forthcoming soon. [Please notice the “high” reading on your sarcasmometers.]

    I guess some of us are impatient, since we have not seen hide nor hair of any such thing at any time that I can remember.

    If I am wrong, then list the official summary of ANY government agency ever producing a benefit analysis of carbon (i.e., carbon dioxide). Link us to the pdf [in this case, “pdf” would seem to stand for “pretty damn farfetched”).

    As I was surfing the net trying to find some official report on carbon benefits, I ran across the following United Nations project that leaves me scratching my head in amazement over the blatant misappropriation of language for the purpose of advertising a program that does the opposite of what the words suggest:

    http://www.unep.org/climatechange/carbon-benefits/

    Am I missing something here, or is this the most convoluted attempt ever to subvert language?

  62. A new Presidential administration has the ability to prioritize agencies in which it wants to appoint non-career SES employees. Those are the people that run things… DOE’s response has guaranteed that DOE will be a focus for the new President. While it might be a bit more nuanced, you could probably eliminate ALL the employees at DOE outside of the nuclear agencies and do no harm. This will be fun to watch. It will take a little time, but this may be a great place to start draining the swamp –at the Forrestal Building.

  63. Like over here in OZ. They just don’t get it. I just can’t wait for the figures to come out….. how much money is being squandered on climate ‘science.’

  64. Cost and benefit is very simple.
    You calculate the cost of extra CO2 and then you calculate the benefit of less CO2.
    Don’t say it is not a cost-benefit analysis.

  65. An early task for the new administration should be correction of misleading EPA claims of global warming potential (GWP) for various ghgs. CO2 which can absorb terrestrial radiation at only 15 microns (pressure etc. broadening spreads this to about 14-16 microns with peak at 15) is considered by the EPA to have greater GWP than water vapor which can absorb terrestrial radiation at hundreds of different wavelengths?

    The EPA erroneously asserts GWP is a measure of “effects on the Earth’s warming” with “Two key ways in which these [ghg] gases differ from each other are their ability to absorb energy (their “radiative efficiency”), and how long they stay in the atmosphere (also known as their “lifetime”).” https://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gwps.html

    The EPA calculation of the global warming potential (GWP) of a ghg erroneously overlooks the fact that any effect the ghg might have on temperature is also integrated over the “lifetime” of the gas in the atmosphere so the duration in the atmosphere cancels out. Therefore GWP, as calculated by the EPA, is not a measure of the relative influence on average global temperature of a ghg. The influence (forcing) of a ghg cannot be more than determined by its concentration.

    Thermalization and the complete dominance of water vapor in reverse-thermalization explain why CO2 has no significant effect on climate. Terrestrial EMR absorbed by CO2 is effectively rerouted to space via water vapor.

  66. Cost and benefit is very simple. You calculate the cost of extra CO2 and then you calculate the benefit of less CO2. Don’t say it is not a cost-benefit analysis.

    I would have thought that you calculate the cost of extra CO2 vs the benefit of extra CO2, and then you calculate the cost of engineering less CO2 vs the benefit of engineering less CO2.

    Calculating the cost of extra CO2 without applying any effort to calculate any possible benefit of extra CO2 IGNORES the benefit part of the analysis altogether by denying any possibility of the benefit of extra, as you assign value ONLY to the benefit of less CO2. The decision has already been made that less is the desirable goal, without having FULLY analyzed the possibility of a benefit of extra, and without having FULLY analyzed the possibility of the cost of engineering less. In short, such an … “analysis” … is biased from the get go, … by the fundamental flawed premise that less CO2 offers the ONLY possible benefit.

  67. I hope the transition team for the US State Department is also preparing a questionnaire. Looks like quite of lot of (soon to be redundant) staff also enjoyed Paris.

  68. re: Rick Perry memory
    I was 16 years old in honors physics at university. Introducing my best friend to an aunt, I couldn’t remember his last name. He laughed and introduced himself.

    Let he who is without sin …

  69. The Transition Team was enquiring about people who had attended climate conferences in the last five years
    List of participants
    COP18 unfccc.int/resource/docs/2012/cop18/eng/inf02.pdf
    COP19 unfccc.int/resource/docs/2013/cop19/eng/inf04.pdf
    COP20 unfccc.int/resource/docs/2014/cop20/eng/inf02.pdf

  70. “Let me see if I can explain this plainly. If you want to take over a bureaucracy, the key thing to know is that a single bureaucrat all alone is almost always a weak, pitiful creature for a simple reason.

    He/she finds it very, very difficult to make a decision on his/her own.”
    ____________________________________________

    That’s a good one; Chancellor Merkel does it this way:

    1. Don’t decide on Your behalf.

    2. Hand the Pulk of Problems to the Parliament.

    3. You win 1, 2 years and Your parliament / the neighboring states present the running solution.

    4. Call in interested Journalists, grep the microphone and tell what You’ve achieved.

    5. Next election You’re the one!

  71. Can anyone name a bureaucrat who has ever founded a business, and employed people
    using their own money? I thought not!!
    Arthur Clapham.

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