MIT Technology Review Discusses Bypassing the US Senate on Climate Policy

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

MIT Technology Review are deeply disappointed Biden may not have the numbers to pass the Green New Deal, but they are confident his executive actions, combined with slipping green spending into Covid stimulus bills, will advance their cause.

What Biden will and won’t be able to achieve on climate change

Passing aggressive climate laws will be highly difficult without Democratic control of the Senate. But there are other ways to make progress.by 

James Temple
November 6, 2020

Though the counts aren’t finished and the legal challenges could drag on for weeks, Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election is looking increasingly likely. If he does triumph, it will also be a win for action on climate change. But his ability to push through any sweeping legislation will be seriously constrained if, as appears likely, Republicans retain control of the Senate.

This outcome is far from the landslide repudiation of President Donald Trump’s assaults on environmental policy, science, and pluralism that climate activists had fervently hoped for. Climate change did appear to be a motivating issue in certain regions and races, and a concern for a solid majority of voters. But polling found that the economy, health care, and the coronavirus outbreak were far more important issues to voters than climate change, where they remain sharply divided along partisan lines.

“The potential for Biden to do something big on climate feels, to me, pretty small,” says David Keith, a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. “The reality is there will be a lot of other priorities for an early Biden administration … and you’re sitting on a pretty weak mandate.”

A Biden administration could still make some progress on climate change. Much of it, however, would have to occur through executive actions and within federal agencies, as was largely the case under President Barack Obama. These moves would have a harder time surviving legal challenges under a Supreme Court that’s just become more conservative, with Amy Coney Barrett replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

But there could still be opportunities to make some longer-lasting progress on climate by passing new laws, observers say.

Notably, there’s broad support for an economic stimulus package amid the pandemic-driven downturn. Such a bill could include significant research and development funding for areas like next-generation nuclear power and carbon capture, removal, and storage technologies, says Josh Freed, who leads the climate and energy program at Third Way, a center-left think tank in Washington, DC. It could also include job training programs for renewables and other clean energy sectors. The Obama administration used economic stimulus in the wake of the 2008-09 recession to direct some $90 billion of federal investment into green industries.

There’s also bipartisan appetite for an infrastructure bill, which could include investments in electricity transmission lines, offshore wind farms, shoreline protections, and other climate adaptation measures.

Read more: https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/11/06/1011716/what-biden-will-and-wont-be-able-to-achieve-on-climate-change/

To his credit James Temple admitted Biden has a weak mandate. But like many renewable advocates, he seems to believe renewable energy just needs a little bit more. More federal funding. More R&D. More infrastructure. And then it will all start to make sense.

Despite the utter failure of California’s renewable energy programme to deliver reliable energy, and the ongoing Energiewende disaster in Germany, renewable advocates never have to admit they have failed, so long as they can keep throwing ever increasing amounts of people’s money at their lost cause fantasy.

67 thoughts on “MIT Technology Review Discusses Bypassing the US Senate on Climate Policy

  1. James Temple is not genuine Green, as he suggests expansion of nuclear power stations.

    It is immoral for Greens to suggest a type of electricity production that works.

    • The Greens don’t want alternative energy, they want an alternative to energy, like walking to the Unemployment Office or freezing to death in the dark.

    • You are absolutely right, he is not a “true” Green . Nuclear may “work”, but it is prohibitively expensive, produces deadly waste for longer than our great, great grandchildren will remember, and boiling water reactors are very dangerous,

      • JW,
        Are you being sarcastic, or do you have personal experience backing your words? Geoff S

        • Geoff: He is being sarcastic. The Three Mile Island event harmed no one off the site. And it was a PWR, not BWR.

        • Geoff: He is being sarcastic. The Three Mile Island event harmed no one off the site. And it was a PWR, not BWR.

    • “It is immoral for Greens to suggest a type of electricity production that works.”

      According to which system of morality? Not a Buddhist one. Not a Judeo-Christian one. Not any that is codified into any nations laws. Or are the Greenies a law unto themselves? If so, what right have they to impose their biases and prejudices on the rest of us?

      • You have to recognize the green ecozealot movement as an emerging religion.

        Since before mankind began organizing into larger societies for mutual protection, religious belief systems were grounded in an underlying moral system to define acceptable behaviors and to be enforced by hierarchical leadership, usually elders based. Morals define for a society what is right and wrong, and how to deal with those who violate the norms of acceptable behaviors.

    • I’m gonna work overtime to get rid of any Republicans who allow this trash to happen next year, especially transmission lines. 2022 GOP primaries will make 2010 look like a Girl Scout picnic. I Hope they say hi to Speaker Cantor and Senator Crist. Thank goodness Trump will always be there to trash them.

    • Yes, it is disappointing to see them start to be concerned with seance instead.

      As a MIT grad with a PhD, let me just say that I am concerned that the “Concerned Scientist” set in Cambridge is taking over the mag.

  2. MIT Technology Review were instrumental in promulgating the 0.2°C hoax after Trump cited the MIT report as a reason for leaving the Paris Agreement. That report did indeed say in its “Key Findings” that the agreement would have a 0.2°C effect. MIT Tech Review swung into action, interviewing one of the authors (a rabid Trump hater on Twitter) who played down the 2015 report as being out of date (it wasn’t, it was the most relevant analysis of the proposed emission cuts at Paris and its findings were duplicated, unchanged in the following report in 2016). MIT Technology Review will be seen as a lynch pin in spreading Green New Deal propaganda in the coming years.

  3. And with this sort of stuff, M.I.T. still claims to be devoted to science. Did Dr. Richard Lindzen leave voluntarily or was he pushed out? Anyway, this sort of stuff is why I, with a degree from M.I.T., stopped donating several years ago.

    Of course, given their long-term support for socialist ideals, fully evident while I was there, it could be claimed I never should have donated in the first place. Of course their reputation, such as it is, did help get me a job or two afterwards.

    • Peter,

      Science and engineering were still being done, and taught, while I was there, without politics (except for the Noam Chomsky set). I stopped giving after reviewing about the 1st 8 pages of the Institute’s Action Plan for Climate Change and found it to be completely missing any discussion of uncertainty.

      • My Masters was in Industrial Management, but I had a B.S. in physics from another college. For a few years I made my donation to the M.I.T. physics department in honor of Richard Lindzen – until I heard that he was no longer with M.I.T., at which point I quit giving.

  4. The United States has been infiltrated by Marxists ideologues for the past century and it’s coming to head with them breaking out of the closet. It’s been a not so stealth takeover of our institutions of learning from grade school through higher learning, courts, in some cases military, and captains of industry. We/US just felt it was either controllable or more likely attributed to conspiracies. I remember years ago here on WUWT there were some extremely learned people/scientists who lamented this site turning political and moving away from the science behind AGW. They believed the correct way to defend climate skepticism was through science and many of them no longer post here because they tired of the political rhetoric (in their view) overtaking the facts. Guess what …. we are there now and politics is winning.

    • Politics didn’t win, hate won over truth. Hate, even obviously self serving fake hate, is so powerful, it managed to stop the best President we’ve had in my life time from getting re-elected. Don’t think for a minute that the far left will stop using hate as a weapon. It’s much too effective. They’ll just focus it on other people and other things. It’s not like it’s a new tactic, as they’ve been applying it for decades against anyone who holds the scientific method in higher esteem than the IPCC’s self serving ‘consensus’.

      Blind hatred is what’s evil about racism, so for all intents and purposes, evil won.

      • “the best President we have had in my lifetime”. Either you have had a very short lifetime, or a measuring scale that ignores honour, truth, self respect, respect for women, decency, compassion, cooperation, consideration, integrity, etc, etc, etc and even more etc.

        • And I am in no way a supporter of the political position of either Biden or Harris. There was no real winner in the US election, but there were millions of losers, and would have inevitably been regardless of which of two evils gained the presidency.

        • I put Obama and Carter at the bottom, only because Obama had 2 terms to wreck the country with inane policies. Full disclosure, when I was young and stupid, the first President I voted for was Carter.

          I put put Trump and Reagan at the top. I would call Trump better given what he had to put up with from the opposition, including the constant lies attacking his character that you seemed to have embraced. Despite this, he managed to get all of this and a lot more done:

          Energy independence
          Record low minority unemployment
          Peace in the middle east
          Keeping NK in check
          Keeping China in check
          Getting out of the JCPOA
          Getting out of the Paris Climate accord
          Getting NATO countries to pay their fair share
          Trade policies that don’t punish America
          Undoing useless Obama era regulations
          Building the wall
          Filling courts with judges that don’t legislate from the bench
          Lowered taxes
          Economic policies favorable to American jobs
          Fast tracking covid vaccine and treatment development

        • Well, Richard, I am 90 years old so I have seen a few. In retrospect, although I was too young to understand what was going on, I would rate FDR number one. His installation of the administrative state regardless, he steered us out of the Great Depression and WWII. (Kudos to HST for the decision to drop the Bomb).
          But… for his appointments to the Federal Judiciary, most importantly thr SCOTUS, Trump may have singlehandedly saved us from judicial tyranny. As a retired lawyer, that is my opinion.

      • No, evil did not win. This election (double) scam is headed to Supreme Court. Light, ACB, replaced, Dark RBG. Dark always defeated by Light. The second is the DHS has marked official ballots with water mark envelopes and IR Corn ink on ballots . The NG using Night Vision to count ballots in twelve states. Bonus… This voter fraud is being documented and will bring down the house. MI will step in and in short fill up GITMO. MI is Military Intelligence . Trump will be President for FOUR MORE YEARS. Enjoy the Show.

        • Recalling the election of 2000. It was mid-december before the winner was decided – in court. The loser’s name is well known in global warming/climate change circles.

    • Leftists control nearly Every Institution except Law Enforcement and Elections (currently being discredited and destroyed respectively):
      • The Press is 95% in their control
      • Social Media
      • Justice has been corrupted wherever they have control
      • Education K-12
      • Academia (birthplace of the movement)
      • Much/most of Commerce (most of Fortune 500 bows to them)
      • Banking
      • Government (95% of unelected bureaucrats and Agency Executives control government operations)
      • Science (and Science Publications)
      • Medicine (more corrupted science)
      • Entertainment (destroyed comedy… conservatives are blacklisted)
      • Sports (NBA NFL)
      • Even much of Religion (Insane Pope)

      And you are a crazy conspiracy theorist if you point any of this out.

    • RE “Best president”: It was just a choice between the Devil and the Deep Blue State.

      We got the latter. If you’re a real conservative in my opinion the idea is to try to shrink government and find common ground with others (including other countries) to get infrastructure and policy done. Trump was an autocrat who grew the size of government. Brookings institute says he put more people to work in government than any president since 1984 other than Obama. He increased federal employees to 2.2 million, contract workers to 5 million, and grant workers to 1.8 million, kept the military at about the same 1.3 million (1.5 to 2 million for most of the 80’s and 90’s;) and he slightly reduced the postal service.

      His pre-covid spending-to-GDP ratio shrank from Obama’s years, but still exceeded every president since Roosevelt. He shrank the percentage of spending transferred to states by 3%.

      https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/past_spending

      He accomplished a lot too. Considering what Biden and Harris will do in the name of the pious leviathan – to unravel his policies and double down on Obama’s (Green New Deal, etc) – is depressing and tragic.

      I hope Republicans can do better next time.

  5. Isn’t it amazing that MIT’s brainiacs choose such a brain dead hack as their energy and climate editor. If he truly speaks for MIT, then we must conclude that higher education in America is truly dead. Harvard libtards? I get it. But the venerable science and technology school MIT right next door to Harvard going full-on stupid demonstrates that the end is not only near, it is upon us.

    • Paul Samuelson, M.I.T. professor of economics, was the author of probably the most widely used textbook in the 1960’s and 70’s. The 1981 edition stated “It is a vulgar mistake to think that most people in Eastern Europe are miserable.” Lester Thurow, also economics professor of M.I.T., said in The Economic Problem in 1989 of the Soviet Union, “Today it is a country whose economic achievements bear comparison with those of the United States. . . . No one can deny that it has made tremendous economic progress.”

      It is all too obvious that M.I.T. still hasn’t learned much.

      • Those quotations are fun; could you give us (me) title, date and page reference, both for the Samuelson and the Thurow? Thanks, and thank you for drawing them to our attention. I wrote, in 1990, an MBA dissertation about the economic and political revolution that was taking place in what we still called ‘Eastern Europe’ (now often called ‘central Europe’), and have some quotations from political commentators and academics of the time, which I still cherish, which were wildly inaccurate in their predictions of what was by then happening. I was focussed on Poland, however, and on UK commentators, so the broader commentary that you invoke is helpful and interesting to me. I have been an academic all my life, so the habit of wanting date of publication and page reference is deeply ingrained. If it’s a pain, don’t bother – the steer towards them is enough.

        • Sorry, but I do not have the page references. The quotes are second-hand, along with additional quotes from other PH.D.’s extolling the Soviet Union, and appeared on a full-page sheet comparing them with Reagan predicting the fall of the Soviet Union. Don’t recall for sure where it first appeared, but it might well have been in National Review.

          Among the others: “The Soviet Economy has made great national progress in recent years” (Galbraith, Harvard, New Yorker Magazine, 1984. A couple of relatively long ones from Seweryn Bailer of Columbia, Foreign Affairs Magazine 1982-83.

          With respect to the other side of the issue, you might look at U.S. News and World Report, 9/29 10/06 2008, page 44, and The History of the Plymouth Colony by Bradford, D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc., 1948; Chapter 4, Year 1623, page 150; Chapter 5, year 1624, page183.

          A few decades ago I managed to get the following piece of sarcasm published in a local newspaper:

          In the 1970’s Africa was undergoing one of it’s periodic droughts with the associated famines, and the news media was publishing photographs of the pitiful victims of mass starvation. U. S. News & World Report published a map marking countries in red that were hardest hit by the drought based on the suffering of their subjects. One look at that map told me that the pattern was not one of normal weather, so I investigated further.

          U. S. News did not provide me with the answer, so I went to my political magazines. After going through some six months of back issues, the answers became apparent one and two countries at a time.

          The results of my investigation were illuminating. Without exception, the countries in red were practicing socialism. Where the weather pattern was broken there was none. Since then I have observed that if there is a reported natural disaster and if famine is the result, then a socialistic government is involved.
          I noted that the yearly failure of the Soviets to produce sufficient food was always due to the weather. When the Pilgrims first came to America they practiced socialism and suffered hunger. Textbooks often blame that on the weather. At one time CARE and AmeriCares sent out pleas for famine aid for North Korea, blaming all their problems on the weather. It is always the free-market countries that provide the needed assistance to countries in trouble.

          From the above facts I feel that several possible conclusions can be drawn. Choose from the following list as you see fit.

          1) Socialism is a lousy system in that it can only feed it’s subjects during the good times.

          2) We could better take care of our own hungry poor if we did not have to expend so much of our charity bailing out all the idealistic fools worldwide who keep trying out socialism.

          3) Socialists are to be commended for their slavish adherence to their ideal. Far better mass starvation (everybody equal) than have a few be hungry while most of the rest are overfed.

          4) There really is a God, He does not like socialism, and is telling us so with His strange weather patterns (see Jeremiah 29:17, Ezekiel 5:16.)

  6. “….Such a bill could include significant research and development funding for areas like next-generation nuclear power and carbon capture, removal, and storage technologies, says Josh Freed, who leads the climate and energy program at Third Way, a center-left think tank in Washington, DC….”

    Next generation nuclear? Yes. Carbon capture and storage? No.

    We in a country and a world turned upside down when carbon and CO2, the stuff of life on this planet, become vices. It is also turned upside down when the law enforcement become the bad guys because a guy in Minneapolis dies from a self-administered overdose of fentanyl. Big Brother and the Orwellian thought police are taking over, and they will have the right guy in the White House in January to maintain the false narratives.

  7. You folks are beyond delusional if ANYONE thinks Biden has been elected president.
    The MASSIVE fraud being revealed via Dominion Voting Systems, the vote suppression via coerced Provisional ballots switched from WALK IN voters in Clark county, NV, the ludicrous flouting of of count observers in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, to say nothing about the speculated embedding of tracking devices by Runbeck Election Services out of Phoenix, all portend to corruption on a massive scale.
    Trump was elected by a landslide, will be re-sworn in on January 21, 2120, and anyone claiming otherwise is completely delusional.

    • You are the delusional one. Biden won. I voted for Trump, but Biden won. No amount of screaming and crying by you nutcases is going to change that. Grow up.

      • Bruce, do you actually believe that the mail in vote in the Philadelphia area was over 700,000 for Biden? The same thing just so happened in Atlanta. If the Dems are so convinced it is all up and up, let neutral observers (if there are any) check out all those ballots to be sure they actually belong to a real person and are postmarked correctly.
        For those outside the U.S. it still matters because were Trump to be declared the winner in PA and GA, and Alaska, he would end up with 268 electoral votes to Bidens’s 270. But those are projected votes as the actual electoral vote is done on Dec 14th and those votes are counted on Jan 6th. It would only take a couple of electors to not vote in accordance with their state’s vote to either have both candidates fall short of 270 or it could even change the final vote for Trump. We shall see.

        • In Clark County NV, the democrat director of elections immediately got rid of all envelopes.

          They also used a 40% signature verification with an electronic pen and pad that didn’t provide a valid representation of what I wrote. It found my signature matched even though my current signature looks nothing like what I used almost 40 years ago when I registered to vote. At least one person was not allowed to vote because of the failure of signature verification, and was not allowed to use their government issued ID to verify who they were.

          They also required all of us voting in person who did not return the ballot to them to sign a statement, on threat of perjury, that we would not use the mail in ballot that was sent to all registered voters without our having requested it.

          Time for an activist conservative majority of the Supreme Court to require all election voting materials to be kept until after the officers are sworn in, that all polling places and vote counting places be required to have video and audio recording of all areas, that poll watchers shall be provided access, and if such is denied, all officials shall be held in contempt, fined AND jailed, and disallowed to hold any position relating to elections in the future.

  8. I actually support “next-generation nuclear power”, as molten salt Thorium reactors look very promising. This is one thing that would genuinely improve things. The rest is garbage.

  9. As a US citizen, I am preparing for a terrible 4 years ahead. I leave nothing off the table in terms of possibilities. Anything from Congressional and White House bickering to full blown insurrection, civil war, or a war with China. I am know for sure our economy will shrink.

    It’s going to get ugly for us.

  10. “Passing aggressive climate laws will be highly difficult without Democratic control of the Senate. But there are other ways to make progress.”

    Bypassing the Senate is never a way to “make progress”. Providing a convincing argument is the way to make progress.

  11. I hope Anthony Watts & Co. have made a backup copy of this site’s content in anticipation of being cancelled by Word Press. It’s going to happen, so be prepared.

  12. This isn’t so bad. Temple makes no mention of wind and solar as effective generators of scalable electricity. When anyone pushes wind and solar, you know they’re wrong, and that isn’t the case here.

    MIT has been an enthusiastic supporter of carbon taxes, and wants steep increases in them. I don’t agree that that is a good idea, but at least it is an idea that makes sense.

  13. This is second hand, but current MIT professor application after the usual resume. One called it “Aldous Huxley’s dystopian Brave New World all over again.”

    “In addition, candidates should provide a statement regarding their views on diversity, inclusion, and belonging, including past and current contributions as well as their vision and plans for the future in these areas.”

    Did anybody ever tell presidents of universities that they do not make policy?

  14. The completely insane thing in all this is that these people really seem to think that there is some kind of aggressive climate legislation that, if passed in the USA, can make any difference to the climate.

    They don’t seem to grasp the simplest arithmetic, that the US only emits 5 billion tons and steady out of a global total of 37.5 and rising.

    How much are you going to reduce that 5 billion by? Say you cut it in half. By the time you manage that, the rest of the world is going to have added that 2.5 billion back, and more.

    You find this all the time, people arguing for some measure on the grounds that it makes a reduction in global emissions too low to even notice.

    These guys are smart enough they must know this perfectly well. So why are they keeping up the pretence that what they want to do will make any difference? And what is their real reason for wanting to do it?

    • And most of the decrease will come from transportation and we already saw what happened to the price of oil when demand dipped by a small fraction of what they expect a green idiocracy to achieve. Low oil prices means that the third world and China, who are all exempt from CO2 mitigation, will eat our lunch in competitive markets. This is a consequence of industrialization transforming our economy from one where most of the value added to raw materials was labor to one where it’s mostly energy and intellectual property. Has anyone ever wondered why China is to committed to stealing as much intellectual property as they can and why they give lip service to radical green?

  15. I find it interesting that néomarxistes adjust out of existence CO2 Control Knob fasification events like the MWP, LIA, the 1930s-mid 40s 20th century record high temperarures, The Ice Age Cometh 1944-1980 deep cooling period and the 2 decade ‘Pause’ and then they unabashedly adjust the US election massively in the same manner to yield the result they wanted.

    Trump is getting little help from his own party establishment (old Repub, State Repub) so putting an end to it, climate bullying and the political crisis is all on him.

  16. ” The Obama administration used economic stimulus in the wake of the 2008-09 recession to direct some $90 billion of federal investment into green industries.”
    So expect more Solyndras only more expensive. How many $s down the toilet as the Harris Administration drives us into the next recession?

  17. ‘Renewable Energy’ is like Socialism. It has been proved over many years not to work, to drain money from the population and to degrade the environment but all its advocates are sure that if they just throw a bit more of your money at it, it will finally burst into life and work.

  18. A Mandate for nothing by anybody was achieved this week. Gaining the White House by increasing your votee counts by broadcasting millIons of unsolicited ballots into the land (under the guise of viral epidemic safety)… coupled with no voter signature verification and in some cases no postmark (which are trivially easy to fake in any case… $20 on ebay for an inkpad and rubber stamp).

    Only the press has declared a winner so far. Litigation and then maybe 50 State Secretaries of State will declare a winner.

    In any event, a mandate for something Biden lied about in favor of continued USE FOSSIL FUELS didn’t happen.

  19. The people at MIT need to step back and look at the science. The reality is that, based on the paleoclimate record and the work done with models one can conclude that the climate change we are experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Despite the hype, there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate and there is plenty of scientific rationale to support the conclusion that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. It is all a matter of science. But even if we could somehow stop the Earth’s climate from changing, extreme weather events and sea level rise would continue unabated so why bother because there is no payoff. Mankind does not even know what the optimum climate is let alone how to achieve it. Money and effort spent on trying to alter Earth’s climate is money and effort wasted.

  20. In Clark County NV, the democrat director of elections immediately got rid of all envelopes.

    They also used a 40% signature verification with an electronic pen and pad that didn’t provide a valid representation of what I wrote. It found my signature matched even though my current signature looks nothing like what I used almost 40 years ago when I registered to vote. At least one person was not allowed to vote because of the failure of signature verification, and was not allowed to use their government issued ID to verify who they were.

    They also required all of us voting in person who did not return the ballot to them to sign a statement, on threat of perjury, that we would not use the mail in ballot that was sent to all registered voters without our having requested it.

    Time for an activist conservative majority of the Supreme Court to require all election voting materials to be kept until after the officers are sworn in, that all polling places and vote counting places be required to have video and audio recording of all areas, that poll watchers shall be provided access, and if such is denied, all officials shall be held in contempt, fined AND jailed, and disallowed to hold any position relating to elections in the future.

  21. An atmospheric CO2 percentage level of 4/100 of one percent of atmosphere is not causing any noticeable temperature change and certainly no climate change. Why can’t these “scientists” accept this fact.

Comments are closed.