The Week That Was: 2021-01-02 (January 2, 2021)
Brought to You by SEPP (www.SEPP.org)
The Science and Environmental Policy Project
Number of the Week: 2,000 Years
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)
2020 – Hopefully a Lesson in Humility: 2020 began with the US economy booming. The unemployment rate was the lowest since the 1960s, black unemployment rate was the lowest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began compiling the data in the 1970s, and, although fortunes were being made, the disparity between the highest and lowest income groups was shrinking. Further, the world in general was becoming more prosperous and the number of people living in extreme poverty was declining rapidly.
Then a new disease, Covid-19, hit. Countries and the several US states reacted differently. Some politicians believed that they should enforce drastic measures on the public, or part of it, treating adults as children. Other politicians believed that mature adults are capable of behaving responsibly. The issue is so politicized that it is beyond the scope of TWTW.
But one thing is obvious. Many politicians and bureaucrats have no grasp of the limits of knowledge. Often, they invoke the term “science” without understanding that the scientific method requires rigorous testing against all physical evidence. For them, “science” is a term for political persuasion, not a method for gaining knowledge of the physical world. Initially, no one knew the extent and virulence of Covid-19. But as knowledge changes, policy needs to change.
The Quote of the Week is an illustration on how detached the UN and many “international” organizations are from the physical world. During the 20th Century, humanity experienced major wars killing tens of millions, oppressive governments killing tens of millions, and a far more virulent virus, the flu of 1918-1919 killing about 50 million. Unlike the current virus, the 1918 flu killed young adults, usually unaffected by these types of infectious diseases, along with the elderly and young children.
WHO evidently believes that neither mass killings nor rampaging diseases can possibly be worse for humanity than climate change, even though the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has offered no compelling physical evidence that the world is warming dangerously or in an unusual manner. As discussed in previous TWTWs such as the last one, the UN IPCC relies on speculation of the future from global climate models that fail basic testing against current physical evidence. As such, it has abandoned the scientific method. See links under Defending the Orthodoxy and https://ourworldindata.org/extreme-poverty
Lessons Learned, Maybe? Writing in her blog, Judith Curry presents a good list of lessons some may have learned this year. Among those that may be of interest to TWTW readers are:
“1. Falsification of WHO’s prediction: “Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century.” – World Health Organization (2018)
“2. Triumph of ‘normal’ science: rapid sequencing the COVID-19 virus, developing vaccines.
“3. Triumph of Uncertain T. Monster. Hubris, overconfidence, wrong predictions about COVID-19 have fed the monster. With fallout implications for other fields of science.
“4. Changing notions of expertise. Many credentialed experts on COVID-19 were proven to be wrong or at least diametrically changed their mind; people from outside medicine and epidemiology made important contributions to our understanding.
“5. Unpalatability of the ‘precautionary principle.’ COVID-19 illustrates that many people will not follow precautions deemed necessary by policy makers, even when their own lives could be at risk in the near term. Backlash against overly restrictive lockdowns and hypocrisy from public health officials saying it is ok to violate lockdowns for political protests. Technological solutions preferred over abstinence, restrictions.
“6. Climate change takes a back seat. COVID-19 reminds us what a real crisis and emergency looks like. Desperate measures by climate activists to keep climate change relevant by trying to ride COVID-19 coat tails.
“8. ‘Greens’ shoot themselves in the foot. The current U.S. omnibus bill includes sensible clean energy R&D, including carbon capture and storage and nuclear power. Greens object since CCS gives a ‘get out of jail free card’ to the petroleum companies, and they seem to hate nuclear more than fossil fuels. In France, they are decommissioning nuclear power plants and adding wind/solar, which increases the need for natural gas power plants to deal with intermittency.
9 to 12 are omitted (political or personal)
“13.C@ncel culture and woke-dom [sic] runs amok. Totally out of control, but there is growing backlash. In academia, University of Chicago, and Univ of Texas – Austin are leading the way out of this mess.
“14. Censorship from social media. This is totally out of control and absolutely pernicious for democracy. This seems to be driven by the political preferences of the owners of the major social media platforms.
“15. Mainstream media becomes completely politicized – U.S. Joe Biden got a free pass from the U.S. media, in a monolithic effort to get him elected as President. A very unhealthy situation re the media; hopefully, they will rediscover some integrity and critical faculties about the Biden Presidency once President Trump is out of the picture.
“16. Uncertainty in climate models increases. CMIP6 results provide a much larger range of climate sensitivity values, notably on the high end.
“17. RCP8.5 [IPCC extreme scenario] is on its way out. Growing support for eliminating RCP8.5 (IPCC high end emissions/concentration scenario) from policy considerations.
“18. Emissions are down, but atmospheric CO2 keeps rising. The CO2 ‘control knob’ appears to be not very sensitive.”
No doubt others can improve on this list, but it is a good effort. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.
A Good Start: TWTW has sharply criticized US government modeling efforts, both its climate modeling and its claims of drastic sea level rise. For example, by making absurd claims NOAA creates difficulty for those who wish to correct the effect of realistic sea level rise, particularly in areas that are undergoing land subsidence, such as Tidewater Virginia, the home of a huge military complex. In many regions land subsidence can be addressed by cost effective desalination using techniques developed by the Israelis. These desalination techniques are being used elsewhere in the Mid-East and in Carlsbad, California.
Writing in WUWT, David Middleton discusses an essay in the Wall Street Journal by geologist and former astronaut Jim Reilly who is current director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which is part of the Department of Interior. Reilly is attempting to establish policy based on the scientific method of testing ideas and models against physical evidence, rather than pretending that the models work.
Reilly references an Open-File report which addresses current Global Climate Models and their use for policymaking. Among other key points in the report are:
“A climate scenario describes a plausible future outcome associated with a specific set of societal actions that captures the relationships between human choices, greenhouse gas and particulate matter emissions, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, and consequent climate change as simulated by global climate models. Because scenarios are developed in a risk-based framework with a high degree of uncertainty about future societal developments, the primary scenarios used in policymaking contexts are usually not assigned a formal likelihood of occurrence (that is, each scenario is considered to be a “plausible” outcome without assuming the “likelihood” of the outcome).”
“In the near term (years to one to two decades in the future), natural climate variability is the largest source of uncertainty in climate projections. For time periods approximately 30 to 50 years out, scientific uncertainty about the climate system is the largest source of uncertainty in climate projections. Beyond 50 years, human decisions that affect global greenhouse gas emissions are the largest source of uncertainty.”
Under the heading Example of best practices that the USGS will continue to follow are:
“Articulate clearly the uncertainties associated with any analysis, including how the uncertainties evolve over the modeled time period and the implications of these
uncertainties for interpreting the results.”
“As appropriate, revise future-looking impact analyses to incorporate new knowledge
and best practices.”
[Boldface is italics in original.]
This Open File report recognizes that there are both human and natural influences on climate, that the science is not settled, and new knowledge must be incorporated. Thus, it is a great improvement over past US reports such as the US National Climate Assessment, which fails to address natural influences on climate.
Unfortunately, the report is stuck with the incorrect physics for understanding the greenhouse effect, a major human component of modern climate change; and it uses the incorrect databases for understanding the greenhouse effect, surface data. But it is a good first step for separating the human influence from the natural influence on climate change.
Of course, such actions have resulted in outrage by some in Congress. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Raúl M. Grijalva, the Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, demanded the removal of Reilly. Reilly transferred an employee who had complained about him to a different position. Not discussed in the demand is the competence or lack thereof of the employee. See links under Seeking a Common Ground, Changing Seas, Changing Earth, and https://oversight.house.gov/news/press-releases/chairs-call-on-usgs-director-james-reilly-to-be-removed-after-ig-investigation
Pollution: With publicity-seeking scientists and other “experts” throwing terms around such as pollution, carbon pollution, etc., it is useful to have a clear understanding of what is meant by pollution. In Just Facts, James Agresti and William Reynolds made a good effort to present a comprehensive document on facts about pollution. This several hundred-page-document is based on definitions from the American Heritage Science Dictionary, textbooks, teaching guides, government agencies, papers, and other sources.
It is a good, usable reference for understanding various types of pollution. Of course, many readers may disagree with some of the definitions used. For example, TWTW disagrees with part of the section on Ocean Acidification, such as, “The acidity of liquids is measured on a scale called pH, which ranges from 0 to 14. Lower pH values indicate higher acidity.” [Source: Webpage: “pH and Water.” United States Geological Survey.]
This is misleading. The neutral point is pH of 7. A pH of 14 is corrosive, not neutral. For example, drain cleaner with sodium hydroxide (pH 14) can be as corrosive as drain cleaner with sulfuric acid and a pH of 1. Lowering the pH of sodium hydroxide drain cleaner to 10 makes it less corrosive, less basic, but does not acidify it. See links under Seeking a Common Ground.
A Bit of History: TWTW does not rely on Federal government agency surface temperature records because they are a mess. Hopefully, as discussed in the last TWTW, the Aris instruments on the Aqua satellite launched in 2002 will stop manipulation of the data by NOAA and NASA-GISS. Now, they are being double-checked. A post in the blog ICECAP by Joseph D’Aleo of WeatherBELL LLC, describes why the surface data cannot be trusted. The post links to a 2010 paper by D’Aleo and Anthony Watts, prompted by Climategate and what it revealed about the surface database created by the UK’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU). The Preface of the paper states:
“This paper was a compilation of analyses relative to the data sets used for formulating and implementing unprecedented policy decisions seeking a radical transformation of our society and institutions.
“It was necessitated by the extraordinary revelations in the released CRU emails, including the admissions of Ian ‘Harry’ Harris, the CRU programmer. He lamented about ‘[The] hopeless state of their (CRU) database. No uniform data integrity, it’s just a catalogue of issues that continues to grow as they’re found’ and ‘Aarrggghhh! There truly is no end in sight. This whole project is SUCH A MESS. No wonder I needed therapy!’ CRU member, Phil Jones, candidly confessed in a BBC interview that ‘his surface temperature data are in such disarray they probably cannot be verified or replicated.’
“This reflects on both NOAA and NASA in the United States. Phil Jones also admits that ‘Almost all the data we have in the CRU archive is exactly the same as in the GHCN [US Global Historical Climatology Network] archive used by the NOAA National Climatic Data Center’ and that NASA’s GISS uses the GHCN, …”
[Boldface was Italics in the original.]
If the CRU data cannot be verified or replicated as Phil Jones admitted, there is no reason to assume it is accurate or even useful. Ignoring the mess does not eliminate it. See links under Measurement Issues – Surface.
A Warm Year: Roy Spencer gave a preliminary report on the December tropospheric temperature trends and the trends as 2020 as compiled by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) from satellite data. Spencer writes:
“2020 ended as the 2nd warmest year in the 42-year satellite tropospheric temperature record at +0.49 deg. C, behind the 2016 value of +0.53 deg. C.”
“The linear warming trend since January 1979, remains at +0.14 C/decade (+0.12 C/decade over the global-averaged oceans, and +0.18 C/decade over global-averaged land).”
Over the course of 42 years the trends vary significantly, and the linear trend is a mathematical construct, not an actual one. 2020 is ending with a La Niña, thus ending with a cooling. To the knowledge of TWTW, no one has been able to predict the occurrence and intensity of El Niños or La Niñas, thus it is impossible to predict how 2021 will turn out. See link under Measurement Issues – Atmosphere.
Restoring Grasses: Sea grasses are a vital part of the ocean environment, particularly in regions with soft bottoms (mud, sand, etc.). They provide a nursery for many aquatic species. On his blog, Jim Steele has an excellent description of this important part of the aquatic world, including natural changes, how humans damage it, and how they are restoring it. See links under Changing Seas.
Number of the Week: 2,000 years. Much has been written about the unusual Hurricane Michael that hit the Florida Panhandle in 2018, the first category 5 storm to hit the US since Andrew in 1992. CO2 Science reported a paper by researchers who analyzed cores of two sediment deposits along the Florida Panhandle of the Gulf of Mexico. They observed:
“… ‘tropical cyclone activity varies substantially at the centennial timescale at both sites.’ However, they note ‘the period of greatest hurricane activity in both records occurred over multiple centuries centered on ~ 1000 CE,’ during which time hurricane events were about twice as frequent as that observed during the more recent historical period (1851-present).
The word “unprecedented” is often misused, such as unprecedented storms. See link under Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science.
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Challenging the Orthodoxy — NIPCC
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science
Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), 2013
Idso, Idso, Carter, and Singer, Lead Authors/Editors, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), 2014
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Fossil Fuels
By Multiple Authors, Bezdek, Idso, Legates, and Singer eds., Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, April 2019
Download with no charge:
Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming
The NIPCC Report on the Scientific Consensus
By Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), Nov 23, 2015
Download with no charge:
S. Fred Singer, Editor, NIPCC, 2008
Global Sea-Level Rise: An Evaluation of the Data
By Craig D. Idso, David Legates, and S. Fred Singer, Heartland Policy Brief, May 20, 2019
Challenging the Orthodoxy
Reef Heresy? And the Importance of Asking Questions
By Jennifer Marohasy, Her Blog, Dec 20, 2020
2020 – what a year of climate alarmism tells us about green ideology
Video by Ben Pile and Steve Milloy, Jan 1, 2021 [H/t Tom Harris]
In 2021, let’s challenge green tyranny
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Jan 1, 2021
Link to essay: In 2021, let’s challenge green tyranny
Environmentalism has become a key weapon in the fight to restore technocratic rule.
By Tim Black, Spiked, Dec 31, 2020
From Homewood: “What we need to remember is that democracy is not, and never has been, the norm, even here in the West. It is authoritarianism which has been the rule.
“Democracy has been a short-lived experiment, an extremely short one even in much of Europe.
“We must not let it slip out of our hands.”
Egg on Their Faces: 10 Climate Alarmist Predictions for 2020 That Went Horribly Wrong
By Tyler O’Neil, PJ Media, Dec 28, 2020
By Tony Heller, His Blog, Dec 27, 2020
Defending the Orthodoxy
UN calls on humanity to end ‘war on nature,’ go carbon-free
By Seth Borenstein and Frank Jordans, AP, Dec 2, 2020
How Earth could be entirely powered by sustainable energy
By Staff Writers, Dublin, Ireland (SPX), Dec 23, 2020
Renewable Energy Equivalent Footprint (REEF): A Method for Envisioning a Sustainable Energy Future
By James Ward, et al. Energies, Nov 24, 2020
“The REEF demonstrates that a sustainable and desirable future powered by renewable energy: (i) may be possible, depending on the worldwide adoption of consumption patterns typical of several key exemplar countries; (ii) is highly dependent on major future technological development, namely electrification and synthetic fuels; and (iii) is still likely to require appropriation of a substantial, albeit hopefully sustainable, fraction of the world’s forest area.”
[SEPP Comment: Stop using electricity if weather changes or the sun goes down and hope for the best?]
(Another) Climate Warrior Aiming to Bypass Democracy
Bu Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, Dec 21, 2020
[SEPP Comment: Reviewing Senator Jeff Merkley’s proposal to use The National Emergencies Act (NEA) and the Defense Production Act (DPA) to declare a “climate emergency.”]
Could Covid lockdown have helped save the planet?
By Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, Dec 29, 2020
“Slowdown of human activity was too short to reverse years of destruction, but we saw a glimpse of post-fossil fuel world”
Forbes Climate Crisis: “Lock in lifestyle changes brought about by COVID-19”
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 20, 2020
[SEPP Comment; During WWII, would the author of the Forbes article, a clean tech entrepreneur, be called a war profiteer?]
Questioning the Orthodoxy
2020 Hindsight – Bruce Pardy: Our year of bowing down to ‘The Science’
‘Obey the science’ has come to mean ‘Believe what we tell you and do as you are told’
By Bruce Pardy, Financial Post, Canada, Dec 23, 2020 [H/t Paul Homewood]
Happy New Year! Start 2021 with renewed hope thanks to good climate-news stories
By Staff, GWPF, Dec 31, 2020
Climate News – January 2021
By Alan Moran, The Australian Climate Sceptics Blog, Jan 2, 2021
How Effective is the “Reposition Global Warming as Theory” Leaked Memos Line? Let me show the ways …
By Russell Cook, Geldspan Files.com, Dec 19, 2020
This Date In 1974
By Tony Heller, His Blog, Dec 29, 2020
[SEPP Comment: When the fear was global cooling.]
National Journal on Possible Trump Submission of Paris Climate Treaty to Senate
By Chris Horner, Government Accountability & Oversight [a private organization], Dec 23, 2020
Change in US Administrations
No, Joe, We’re Not in a ‘Climate Crisis’
By Rich Lowry, National Review, Dec 22, 2020
“He doesn’t want to get us thinking about climate change, but rather to suspend all rational thought about the issue.”
Biden’s Energy Plans Are Expensive—and Dangerous
By Brian Leyland and Tom Harris, PJ Media, Dec 19, 2020
Biden introduces environment team to tackle ‘existential threat’
By Staff Writers, Washington (AFP) Dec 20, 2020
As Joe Biden prepares to rejoin the global fight against climate change, who will foot the bill?
To garner the necessary funds to combat climate change, the US needs a financial system tsar who can push Wall Street to come up with products linked directly to long-term investment in individual UN Sustainable Development Goals
By Anthony Rowley, South China Morning Post, Dec 28, 2020 [H/t WUWT]
Problems in the Orthodoxy
A Social Conscience Is Nice, But Business Is Business!!
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 27, 2020
“But I do find it slightly ironic, because we are constantly being told how “green” Norway is. After all, they are getting rid of all their petrol cars, building wind farms in the North Sea (with the help, of course, of oil money).
“Yet, when it comes to down to petrol dollars, all of that goes out the window!”
Seeking a Common Ground
2020 Year in Review
By Judith Curry, Climate Etc. Dec 27, 2020
“USGS Gets Politics Out of Climate Forecasts”
By David Middleton, WUWT, Jan 1, 2021
Link to report: “Using Information From Global Climate Models to Inform Policymaking—the Role of the U.S. Geological Survey,”
By Adam Terando, et al. US Geological Survey, 2020
Be Informed: Pollution
By James Agresti and William Reynolds, Just Facts, Accessed Jan 1, 2021
A New Year’s Look At WUWT
By Willis Eschenbach, WUWT, Dec 30, 2020
Science, Policy, and Evidence
Fauci on Moving the Goalposts
By Charles Rotter, WUWT, Dec 28, 2020
[SEPP Comment: What was “science” is now a guesstimate. And Fauci complains that Americans don’t believe science? It is not science, it is certain “scientists.”]
Two Centuries of Precipitation in the Peruvian Andes
Humanes-Fuente, V., Ferrero, M.E., Muñoz, A.A., González-Reyes, A., Requena-Rojas, E.J., Barichivich, J., Inga, J.G. and Layme-Huaman, E.T. 2020. Two centuries of hydroclimatic variability reconstructed from tree-ring records over the Amazonian Andes of Peru. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 125, e2020JD032565. Dec 28, 2020
Improving the Nutritive and Health-promoting Values of Thyme
Habeeb, T.H., Abdel-Mawgoud, M., Yehia, R.S., Khalil, A.M.A., Saleh, A.M., and AbdElgawad, H. 2020. Interactive impact of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and elevated CO2 on growth and functional food value of Thymus vulgare. Journal of Fungi 6, 168; doi:10.3390/jof6030168. Dec 23, 2020
A Two Thousand Year Record of Hurricane Activity in the Florida Panhandle
Rodysill, J.R., Donnelly, J.P., Sullivan, R., Lane, P.D., Toomey, M., Woodruff, J.D., Hawkes, A.D., MacDonald, D., d’Entremont, N., McKeon, K., Wallace, E. and van Hengstum, P.J. 2020. Historically unprecedented northern Gulf of Mexico hurricane activity from 650 to 1250 CE. Scientific Reports 10:19092, doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-75874-0. Dec 21, 2020
Inside The Bayesian Priory
By Willis Eschenbach, WUWT, Dec 26, 2020
[SEPP Comment: Discussing the problem of human choice about a possible cause.]
New Climate Models (CMIP6) Offer No Improvement, Model Discrepancies As Large As The Last Version (CMIP5)
By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Dec. 24, 2020
Scientists find the error source of a sea-ice model varies with the season
News Release, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dec 30, 2020 [H/t WUWT]
Link to paper: Evaluation of Arctic Sea-ice Cover and Thickness Simulated by MITgcm
By Fei Zheng, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, Dec 23, 2020
Model used to evaluate lockdowns was flawed
Research News, Lund University, Dec 26, 2020 [H/t WUWT]
Wayback machine look at early data issue studies
By Staff, ICECAP, Dec 31, 2020
Link to report: Surface Temperature Records: Policy-Driven Deception?
By Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts, SPPI, Aug 27, 2010
UAH Global Temperature Update for December 2020: +0.27 deg. C
By Roy Spencer, His Blog, Jan 2, 2021
A new TanSat XCO2 global product for climate studies
By Staff Writers, Beijing, China (SPX) Dec 25, 2020
Link to paper: A New TanSat XCO2 Global Product towards Climate Studies
By Dongxu Yang, et al. Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, Dec 23, 2020
[SEPP Comment: More precision to study a minor issue?]
NYT: “What happened to Global Warming?”
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 20, 2020
From the NYT: “From the winter of 2008-9 until 2017-18, there were 27 major Northeast winter storms, three to four times the totals for each of the previous five decades.”
Global Hurricane Activity Below Average In 2020
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 31, 2020
National Weather Service Weather Radar Disaster
By Cliff Mass, Weather Blog, Dec 31, 2020
Aloha Moisture Approaching the Northwest
By Cliff Mass, Weather Blog, Dec 29, 2020
New Evidence That the Ancient Climate Was Warmer than Today’s
By Ralph Alexander, Science Under Attack, Dec 28, 2020 [H/t WUWT]
[SEPP Comment: As Richard Lindzen has stated, even during periods of glaciation the tropics are surprising stable. The big variation is in the upper latitudes. A warm period in the high northern latitudes is not necessarily a global warm period.]
Subsea permafrost is still waking up after 12,000 years
By Staff Writers, Washington DC (SPX), Dec 23, 2020
Link to paper: Subsea permafrost carbon stocks and climate change sensitivity estimated by expert assessment
By Sayedeh Sara Sayedi et al. Environmental Research Letters, Dec 22, 2020
[SEPP Comment: Why didn’t the permafrost wake up 8,000 years ago when it was warmer?]
Preventing Ecosystem Collapse: Seagrass
By Jim Steele, Landscapes and Cycles, Dec 31, 2020
Link to paper on eelgrass recovery in Virginia. Restoration of seagrass habitat leads to rapid recovery of coastal ecosystem services
By Robert J. Orth, et al. Science Advances, Oct 7, 2020
Sea-Surface Temperature Anomalies
By Andy May, WUWT, Dec 20, 2020
“Bottom line, we don’t know very much about what ocean temperatures are doing or where it is happening.”
Spiegel Article By Stefan Rahmstorf Has “Nothing In The Least To Do With Science”…”Embarrassing”
The world is going underwater?…Really?
By Die kalte Sonne, (Translated/edited, subheadings by P. Gosselin), Dec 23, 2020
Link to realistic paper: The certitude of a global sea level acceleration during the satellite altimeter era
By H. Bâki İz and C.K. Shum, Journal of Geodetic Studies, on line May 29, 2020
[SEPP Comment: According to the latest data presented, sea levels are declining. What will happen to port cites of such as Shanghai, Singapore, NYC, etc?]
Sea Level Scare Debunked: Study Shows Overall Growth of Low-lying Maldives Islands
By James Murphy, New American, Dec 24, 2020 [H/t ICECAP]
“Without apocalyptic fear mongering, climate alarmists have little actual evidence to suggest we must immediately change our ways and get rid of all fossil fuels for the planet’s sake. …Perhaps it’s just their sea-level predictions that are faulty, or maybe their entire premise that man is causing uncontrollable warming of the Earth is flawed.”
Alarmism Dies In The Great Barrier Reef As New Study Documents Reef Growth Since The 1970s
By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Dec 31, 2020
Link to one study: Re-evaluating mid-Holocene reef “turn-off” on the inshore Southern Great Barrier Reef
By Nicole D. Leonard, et al. Quaternary Science Reviews, Sep 15, 2020
Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice
Eastern Alps may have been ice-free in the time of Ötzi the Iceman
By Krista Charles, New Scientist, Dec 17, 2020
Link to paper: New glacier evidence for ice-free summits during the life of the Tyrolean Iceman
By Pascal Bohleber, Nature, Scientific Reports, Dec 17, 2020
Greenland Fall Temperatures Unchanged. Proxy Data Show No Warming At 8 Of 9 Antarctic Peninsula Sites Since 1830!
By Kirye and Pierre Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Dec 29, 2020
Top six polar bear stories of 2020
By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, Dec 31, 2020
“Like the situation in Western Hudson Bay, polar bear advocates using their scientific credentials to advance an agenda are using redundant data to support their cause because the up-to-date information refutes it.”
Late fall polar bear habitat 2020 compared to some previous years
By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, Dec 22, 2020
Land subsidence ‘will affect almost fifth of global population’
Unesco warns of urban centres sinking because of unsustainable farming and groundwater extraction
By Weronika Strzyżyńska, The Guardian, Dec 31, 2020 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]
Study suggests great earthquakes cause of Arctic warming
News Release, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Dec 23, 2020 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]
Link to paper: Seismogenic-Triggering Mechanism of Gas Emission Activizations on the Arctic Shelf and Associated Phases of Abrupt Warming
By Leopold Lobkovsky, Geosciences 2020, Oct 29, 2020
“According to the researcher, his model will benefit from discussion and will likely be improved, and there is much to be done in order to confirm or rule out the proposed mechanism.”
Study shows waves, rainfall important parts of cliff erosion process, providing new opportunity to improve forecasts
By Sky Smith, University of California – San Diego, Dec 26, 2020
Link to paper: Three years of weekly observations of coastal cliff erosion by waves and rainfall
By A.P.Young. et al. Geomorphology, Feb 15, 2021
Agriculture Issues & Fear of Famine
Clearing land to feed a growing human population will threaten thousands of species
The world’s farmland is projected to grow by 3.4 million square kilometers by 2050
By Jonathan Lambert, Science News, Dec 21, 2020
Link to paper: Proactive conservation to prevent habitat losses to agricultural expansion
By David R. Williams, et al. Nature Sustainability,
“Responding to the impending biodiversity crisis requires decisions informed by high-resolution, spatially explicit and species-specific assessments of many thousands of species to identify the species and landscapes most at risk.” [Boldface added.]
Are Organic Foods More Nutritious?
By David Lightsey, ACSH, Dec 18, 2020
Un-Science or Non-Science?
Threshold for dangerous climate warming will likely be crossed between 2027–2042
News Release by McGill University, Dec 21, 2020 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]
Link to paper: An observation-based scaling model for climate sensitivity estimates and global projections to 2100
By Raphaël Hébert, Shaun Lovejoy & Bruno Tremblay, Climate Dynamics, Dec 18, 2020
[SEPP Comment: Start with questionable assumptions, apply questionable inference, and who knows what you can create?]
2020 Review: Observational And Modeling Studies Show Temperature Falls As CO2 Rises
By Kenneth Richard, No Tricks Zone, Dec 28, 2020
[SEPP Comment: Question both studies.]
Royal Institution Lecture on Climate Change
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 29, 2020
“And he [the lecturer] ends by asking – “Can we change our ways to limit the consequences, and adapt fast enough to what is becoming a new hot house Earth?”
“His illustrious predecessors must be turning in their graves to see the reputation of the Christmas Lecture trashed in this fashion.”
WSJ vs. WSJ: A House Divided
By Roger Donway, Master Resource, Dec 21, 2020
“Do you sense a pattern here? The news reporters give you public-relations fluff; the editorialists give you facts.”
Communicating Better to the Public – Use Yellow (Green) Journalism?
2020 weather disasters boosted by climate change: report
New Release, AFP, Dec 28, 2020 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]
MIT Technology Review: Pandemic Denial Shows Rising Climate Deaths Might Not Lead to Action
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Jan 1, 2021
[SEPP Comment: Demonstrating MIT Technology Review is a fancy front for alarmist yellow journalism (sensationalism).]
Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?
Capturing 40 years of climate change for an endangered Montana prairie
Though cooler and wetter springs drive an increase in grass production compared to 1978 levels, hotter summers mean all that green goes brown faster–and plants have a harder time reinitiating production in the fall
News Release, Eurekalert, Dec 23, 2020 [H/t WUWT]
Link to paper: Climate change and primary production: Forty years in a bunchgrass prairie
By Gary E. Belovsky and Jennifer B. Slade, Plos One, Dec 23, 2020
[SEPP Comment: According to the temperature graph presented, over a 109-year period the warmest period was the 1920s and 30s.]
Coral recovery during a prolonged heatwave offers new hope
Researchers tracked coral colonies on reefs during an El Niño
News Release, NSF, Dec 22, 2020
Link to paper: Dynamic symbioses reveal pathways to coral survival through prolonged heatwaves
By Danielle C. Claar, et al. Nature Communications, Dec 8, 2020
From NSF article: “Some corals managed to survive a globally unprecedented heatwave, report scientists in a study that provides hope for the long-term survival of coral reefs.
“’The devastating effects of climate change on coral reefs are well-known,’ said Julia Baum of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, senior author of the study. ‘Finding ways to boost coral survival through marine heatwaves is crucial if reefs are to endure the coming decades of climate change.’”
[SEPP Comment: More zombie corals? How did they possibly survive during the Cretaceous, which was warmer than today?]
Methane is more dangerous than carbon dioxide — the gas index can help
By Michael Shank, The Hill, Jan 1, 2021
Link to gas index: The United States’ natural gas system has a serious problem: It leaks
By Staff, The Gas Index, @ Global Energy Monitor, Accessed Jan 1, 2021
[SEPP Comment: There is no question methane is more toxic to humans than CO2, that is why mercaptan is added to give it a strong odor. Further, methane is highly flammable. It’s greenhouse effect is minor. What will be used to generate electricity if all gas units are abandoned?]
Climate Change Stops Play!
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 26, 2020
Communicating Better to the Public – Make things up.
Wildfires, heat waves and hurricanes broke all kinds of records in 2020
By Carolyn Gramling, Science News, Dec 21, 2020
“2020 was a year of unremitting extreme climate events, from heat waves to wildfires to hurricanes, many of which scientists have directly linked to human-caused climate change,”
How carbon bureaucrats lied to get the policies they wanted
By Charles Rotter, WUWT, Dec 22, 2020
[SEPP Comment: Video on how ideology drives “reporting.”]
Polar bears again attracted to Russian town by dead walrus Attenborough blames on no sea ice
By Susan Crockford, Polar Bear Science, Dec 20, 2020
Stuttgart Air Quality Measurements Show Diesel Engine Bans Have Had No Impact!
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Dec 25, 2020 [H/t Dennis Ambler]
Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.
AGW Skeptic Marc Morano Receives DEATH THREAT From Sorbonne University Professor’s Email Account
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Jan 1, 2021
Communicating Better to the Public – Use Propaganda
To Promote Climate Alarm, Good News Is Regularly Portrayed as a Disaster
By H. Sterling Burnett, WUWT, Jan 1, 2021
[SEPP Comment: To some, the improving condition of humanity is a disaster!]
WHO continues to go full Ministry of Truth
By Charles Rotter, WUWT, Dec 23, 2020
Communicating Better to the Public – Use Propaganda on Children
LA Times: Children “literally organizing out of climate anxiety”
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 27, 2020
[SEPP Comment: The UN was created in hope of promoting world peace, now it is a leader in promoting “climate depression.”]
Communicating Better to the Public – Use Children for Propaganda
Greta Thunberg: “we are not listening to climate scientists”
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 30, 2020
Expanding the Orthodoxy
Climate Scientists to Request Political Representation on the Arctic Council
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 24, 2020
Link to report: 2020 Arctic Report Card: Climate.gov visual highlights
By Hunter Allen, Tom Di Liberto, Mary Lindsey, Rebecca Lindsey & Michon Scott, NOAA, Dec 8, 2020
“Highlights: The average annual land surface air temperature in the Arctic measured between October 2019 and September 2020 was the second-warmest since record-keeping began in 1900.” [Boldface added]
[SEPP Comment: The 1900 annual temperature was an average of how many stations? One, Zero? According to the National Snow & Ice Data Center: Historical Arctic and Antarctic Surface Observational Data, Version 1, “Temporal coverage varies by station, with the earliest record in 1913…” The coverage is basically Greenland.]
Why The “Ice Trust” Matters Today
By Donn Dears, Power For USA, Dec 29, 2020
“Elimination of HFCs was included in the Covid stimulus Bill, though it’s hard to see how this relates to Covid stimulus. Tammany Hall’s approach again?”
[SEPP Comment: Once “progressives” promoted honesty in government for the benefit of the public. Today’s “progressives” mislead the public to expand their political power with no benefit to the public.]
Questioning European Green
The new green proposal that could make your home unsellable
By Ross Clark, Life, Spectator, Dec 17, 2020 [H/t GWPF]
Questioning Green Elsewhere
China’s Green NGO Climate Propaganda Enablers
Climate change is a national security threat – but not in the way the national security elite assumes.
By Rupert Darwall, Real Clear Energy, Dec 21, 2020
“Obsessive focus on climate change threatens the vital interests of the United States by desensitizing national security professionals to geopolitical realities and subordinating them to the illusion of planetary salvation. China and its NGO allies won’t do anything to disabuse them of that illusion.”
Stop planting more trees!
What’s often seen as an environmental silver bullet could be disastrous, for humans and wildlife alike
By John Lewis-Stempel, UnHerd, Dec 18, 2020 [H/t Paul Homewood]
[SEPP Comment: Before Europeans came and denuded the East Coast, there was little game in the old growth forests.]
Claim: China’s Covid-19 Recovery is Not Green Enough
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 19, 2020
Implementation Of The Green New Deal
By Tony Heller, NO Tricks Zone, Dec 29, 2020
‘Climate catastrophists’ using fossil fuels fears to target businesses
‘Even the Rockefeller Foundation is now divesting’
By Jason Isaac, Real Clear Energy, Via WND, Dec 27, 2020
[SEPP Comment: For decades, organizations formed by Rockefeller have opposed oil and gas that gives prosperity to many by supporting organizations such as the Club of Rome in the 1970s.]
Green groups sue over Trump rule exempting quick dishwashers from efficiency standards
By Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill, Dec 29, 2020
[SEPP Comment: NRDC and Earthjustice demand electricity efficiency over human efficiency?]
Subsidies and Mandates Forever
In massive energy investments, some see just a start
By Rebecca Beitsch and Rachel Frazin, The Hill, Dec 22, 2020
“Included in the legislation are provisions to reduce the use of a climate-warming pollutant, spur renewable and nuclear energy development, and encourage fossil fuel producers to use technology that captures carbon emissions.
“Biden called the relief bill a ‘down payment’ on multiple crises facing the U.S.”
UK Windfarms Break Record (For Subsidies Paid Out!)
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 21, 2020
EPA and other Regulators on the March
Final NEPA Rule Offers Measured Reforms to Benefit Stakeholders
By Mario Loyola, CEI, Dec 15, 2020
EPA finalizes greenhouse gas regs for airlines
By Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill, Dec 28, 2020
Energy Issues – Non-US
China suffers worst power blackouts in a decade, on post-coronavirus export boom, coal supply shortage
By Cissy Zhou and Wang Zixu, South China Morning Post, Dec 23, 2020
China’s Dystopian Lake–Courtesy Of The World’s Lust For Rare Earths
By Paul Homewood, Not a Lot of People Know That, Dec 24, 2020
“It could be argued that China’s dominance of the rare earth market is less about geology and far more about the country’s willingness to take an environmental hit that other nations shy away from.”
600,000 people have fallen into fuel poverty during the pandemic [UK]
Campaigners said the Citizens Advice findings make clear “the time for fuel debt relief is now”
By Hannah Westwater, The Big Issue, Dec 16, 2020
Socialised losses, private profits [UK]
By Bruno Prior, GWPF, Dec 22, 2020
China recolonizes Africa
Western policies damage Africa and the planet, kill millions, and open doors to China
By Duggan Flanakin, WUWT, Dec 25, 2020
Europe’s wind and e-car industry dependent on China’s magnetic metals
By Edgar Meza, Clean Energy Wire, from Stefan Hajek, WirtschaftsWoche, Dec 22, 2020
Electricity costs too high to make heat pumps worthwhile, MPs warn
By Staff, Daily Telegraph, Via GWPF, Dec 22, 2020
New-tech American Coal-fired Electricity for Africa: Clean Air, Indoors and Out
By Kathleen Hartnett White & Caleb Stewart Rossiter, CO2 Coalition, November 2020
[SEPP Comment: Discusses a problem in new tech coal-fired power plants with low pollution levels. [EPA category pollutants] They are built for a specific type of coal within tight tolerances. They cannot easily be adapted to use other types of coal with different chemistry and maintain the same low pollution levels.]
Energy Issues — US
Transforming the Power Industry with DERMS Deployments and Beyond
By Seth Frader-Thompson, Power Mag, Dec 23, 2020
“In many ways, batteries are the perfect grid resource. They can shift demand both up and down, provide grid support in milliseconds, and be dispatched frequently without impacting customer comfort.”
[SEPP Comment: Hope beyond reason?]
New York Can’t Buy its Way Out of Blackouts
By David Wojick, Somewhat Reasonable, Dec 29, 2020
2020: A Year of Reckoning for Competitive Generators
By Sonal Patel, Power Mag, Dec 31, 2020
Explosions Topple Smokestacks of Iconic Navajo Generating Station
By Darrell Proctor, Power Mag, Dec 18, 2020
The Issue of Solar Tariffs Is Complex; Oversimplifying It Is Dangerous
By Mark Widmar, Morning Consult, Dec 18, 2020
Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?
The Middle East Doubles Down On Oil And Gas As The UN Warns Of “Climate Emergency”
By Tilak Doshi, Forbes, Dec 29, 2020
Prospects for US shale productivity gains
By Rob West, Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, October 2019
“There are at least forty variables to optimise in a typical shale well.”
China And Iran Start Drilling In This Super Giant Gas Field
By Simon Watkins, Oil Price.com, Dec 21, 2020 [H/t Dennis Ambler]
[SEPP Comment: According to an earlier article the estimated net present value is about $135 billion.]
Return of King Coal?
Global coal demand to rebound as economy recovers
By Staff, Bloomberg, Via GWPF, Dec 19, 2020
Nuclear Energy and Fears
An Upbeat Look at Nuclear with Rod Adams
By Mike Dombroski interviewed by Robert Bryce, Climate Scepticism, Via WUWT, Dec 25, 2020
NuScale announces SMR power uprate
By Staff, WNN, Nov 11, 2020
Is nuclear fusion the answer to the climate crisis?
Promising new studies suggest the long elusive technology may be capable of producing electricity for the grid by the end of the decade
By Oscar Schwartz, The Guardian, Dec 28, 2020 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]
See link immediately below.
Nuclear Fusion: The Great Clean Energy Hope?
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 31, 2020
[SEPP Comment: A skeptical review of fusion from a retired, principal research physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab with 25 years’ experience in plasma physics and neutron production.]
5 Reactors Connected to the Grid, 5 Removed in 2020
By Aaron Larson, Power Mag, Dec 28, 2020
[SEPP Comment: Stated units do not equal headline. Removed: 2 US, 2 France, 1 Russia; New: 2 China, 1 each UAE and Belarus.]
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
¥60 billion [$580 million] wind power project off Fukushima to be dismantled
By Staff, The Japan Times, Dec 17, 2020
“To commercialize wind power generation, the operational rate of a turbine must remain at 30% to 35% or more, according to the ministry.
“But the rates of the turbines off Fukushima had been around 4% to 36%, according to trading house Marubeni Corp., which participated in the project.”
POWER Offshore Wind Notebook: GE Boosts Haliade-X to 14 MW; Dominion Kicks Off 2.6-GW Virginia Project; Vestas Absorbs MHI Vestas
By Sonal Patel, Power Mag, Dec 22, 2020
A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry
G.E.’s giant machine, which can light up a small town, is stoking a renewable-energy arms race.
By Stanley Reed, NYT, Jan 1, 2020
Recent Energy and Environmental News December 28, 2020
By John Droz, Jr. The Australian Climate Sceptics Blog, Dec 29, 2020
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy — Other
EU Turns to Magic to Progress their Clean Energy Agenda
By Eric Worrall, WUWT, Dec 27, 2020
“The European Union is so desperate for their clean energy push to yield a viable solution, they have just given €3,999,870 to a Palladium electrolysis cold fusion research team.”
Making jet fuel out of carbon dioxide
By Bob Yirka , Phys.org, Dec 23, 2020 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]
Link to paper: Transforming carbon dioxide into jet fuel using an organic combustion-synthesized Fe-Mn-K catalyst
By Benzhen Yao, et al. Nature Communications, Dec 22, 2020
From the abstract: “These offer considerable potential since, instead of consuming fossil crude oil, the fuels are produced from carbon dioxide using sustainable renewable hydrogen and energy.”
[SEPP Comment: Extraction of the CO2, production of hydrogen, and the generation of the needed energy are all low cost?]
Geothermal energy, the forgotten renewable, has finally arrived
By Michael J. Coren, Quartz, Dec 20, 2020 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]
Link to ‘MIT Report:” The Future of Geothermal Energy: Impact of Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) on the United States in the 21st Century
By Staff, MIT, for Idaho National Laboratory, November 2006
[SEPP Comment: Note the date of the report was when many energy experts believed that the US was about to run out of oil and natural gas – before modern hydraulic fracturing.]
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Energy — Storage
Battery Basics for Climate Warriors
By Rud Istvan, WUWT, Dec 19, 2020
Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Vehicles
The long road to EV competitiveness
By Andrew Montford, GWPF, Dec 21, 2020
However, BNEF [Bloomberg New Energy Finance] says that battery pack prices are going to fall further from today’s $137/kWh – to $101 by 2023 and to $58 by 2030. The 2023 figure is a bit odd, as it represents a reacceleration of the price decline – BNEF are nothing if not optimists about renewable technologies.
World Leading Engine Expert: Combustion Engine Remains The Future, “Hydrogen Will Be Nada”
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Dec 30, 2020
“E-vehicles not practical, not affordable. Future of e-mobility still ‘wishful thinking’.”
Peachtree Corners gets first [US] road surface solar panels on autonomous vehicle lane
By Staff Writers, Peachtree Corners GA (SPX), Dec 23, 2020
[SEPP Comment: To work properly, just keep tires off the panels!]
Oh, What a Feeling!
By Eric Peters, Eric Peters Autos, Dec 19, 2020 [H/t Jim Buell]
Stuttgart Air Quality Measurements Show Diesel Engine Bans Have Had No Impact!
By P Gosselin, No Tricks Zone, Dec 25, 2020 [H/t Dennis Ambler]
By Joel Kotkin, The American Mind, Dec 21, 2020
Link to survey: PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians and Their Economic Well-Being
By Mark Baldassare, et al. Public Policy Institute of California, December 9, 2020
“More than 50% of residents think Californians 18–30 years old will do worse than previous generations.”
Health, Energy, and Climate
Science Reaches Peak Idiocy
By Tony Heller, His Blog, Dec 31, 2020
Link to another article: The 2020 Seasonal Flu Has Dropped by 98% Worldwide as It Is Re-labeled Covid-19
By Staff Zero Hedge and KUSI, Need to Know, Jan 1, 2021
“Flu diagnosis have all but disappeared, and experts say it is because of the success lockdowns and mask mandates.”
“So masks and lockdowns work, and they also don’t work.”
Red Dragon, Green Agenda
By Christopher Horner, The Pipeline, Dec 27, 2020
Other News that May Be of Interest
Warm oceans helped first human migration from Asia to North America
Significant changes in the circulation of the North Pacific fostered migration
News Release, NSF, Dec 30, 2020
Link to paper: Overturning circulation, nutrient limitation, and warming in the Glacial North Pacific
By J. W. B. Rae, et al, Science Advances, Dec 9, 2020
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE
Climate Warning Stickers
By Tony Heller, Dec 27, 2020
“Warning: Burning Gasoline, Diesel and Ethanol has major consequences on human health and on the environment including contributing to climate change.” – City of Cambridge
Cornell University to extract energy from manure to meet peak heating demands
By Staff Writers, Washington DC (SPX), Dec 23, 2020
Link to paper: Sustainable district energy integrating biomass peaking with geothermal baseload heating: A case study of decarbonizing Cornell’s energy system
By Nazih Kassem, et al. Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, Dec 22, 2020
[SEPP Comment: Will it be clean-burning manure?]
Fish sex organs boosted under high CO2
News Release by University of Adelaide, Dec 30, 2020 [H/t Bernie Kepshire]
“’The warming oceans absorb about one-third of the additional CO2 being released into the atmosphere from carbon emissions, causing the oceans to acidify,’ says lead author Professor Ivan Nagelkerken from the University’s Environment Institute and Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories.” Link to paper did not work.
The Tyranny of Diversity
Its monomaniacal pursuit undermines other values—true equality among them.
By Joseph Epstein, WSJ, Dec. 30, 2020
“The best way to celebrate diversity, perhaps, is to begin by celebrating diversity of thought.”
TWTW Summary: The author states:
“President-elect Biden promises ‘the single most diverse cabinet, based on race, color, based on gender, that has ever existed in the United States of America.’ Diversity, and its brother-in-law Inclusivity, is at the center of progressive politics and of woke culture. But what is its true value?
“Diversity is a serious plank in the platform for equality generally: equality, be it noted, not of opportunity but of result. Diversity—in universities, corporations, government, TV commercials—is in part a deliberate attempt to make amends for past injustices. The intention is to bring minority groups out from their positions of marginality into the center of institutions, politics and culture generally.”
After discussing how universities may be denied federal funds for lack of “diversity” the author states:
“There’s nothing wrong with the idealistic yearning for equality unless it gets in the way of other important goals or goods. The ideal of promised equality under communism, for example, annihilated the ideal of personal liberty. The political philosopher Isaiah Berlin often wrote about the conflict that arises when two good qualities compete. Great goods, Berlin thought, sometimes cannot live together: ‘We are doomed to choose, and every choice may entail an irreparable loss.’ Is diversity, in higher education and in politics, always the right choice?
“In contemporary higher education, diversity competes with intellectual authority, based on scholarly and scientific accomplishment. These days, diversity is all but victorious and intellectual authority well in retreat. This leaves no one in a position to set or determine educational standards. University presidents, once educational leaders, now focus on fundraising and public relations. The heads of academic departments tend to accept their jobs not out of a desire for intellectual leadership but to reduce their teaching loads. Because of this want of intellectual authority, universities have now been on the slide for many years.
“In government, the value of diversity is often in conflict with the value of true merit, or of the real abilities of the people chosen to perform their jobs. Under identity politics, so much favored by the Democratic Party, diversity is the sine qua non. In choices for cabinet and subcabinet posts, under identity politics the desire for—some might say the tyranny of—diversity generally trumps past performance. Under the banner of diversity, the political version of affirmative action rules. To have, in Mr. Biden’s words, ‘the single most diverse cabinet . . . that has ever existed in the United States’ is considered meritorious, something grand in itself.
“In the conflict between goods, it is always worth asking who is favored and who loses because of the good chosen. In higher education we have witnessed Harvard, in its desire for diversity, turn away large numbers of highly qualified Asian-American applicants for admission. In contests for awards and prizes, diversity, too, is often the primary factor. A friend recently told me that his grandson won a Marshall Scholarship, all the more remarkable, he noted, since the kid is a white male.
“America has always been and remains a diverse country, composed of waves of immigrants seeking opportunities available nowhere else. If some groups have had to struggle to secure these opportunities, they have for the most part successfully done so. Those who oppose them are now rightly regarded as retrograde. Left to their own devices, and once freed of the harness of victim status that many of their leaders wish to bind them in, they are likely to go from strength to strength. Attempts to rig the system in their favor through the artificial arrangements that imposed diversity requires cannot ultimately help them attain the genuine equality that only true accomplishment can bring.
“The best way to celebrate diversity, perhaps, is to begin by celebrating diversity of thought.”