GOVELORE AND GORELORE

Gove told us today that the U.K. would not strike a trade deal with the United States if it meant lowering British environmental standards. Gove flatly rejected the idea of entering a trade agreement with the United States if that meant lowering British standards to allow the sale of American chlorine-washed chickens in the U.K. market.

“I made it perfectly clear, and indeed this is something on which all members of the government are agreed, that we are not going to dilute our high animal welfare standards or our high environmental standards in pursuit of any trade deal,” Gove told us.

Gove’s remarks come a day after reports emerged that British trade secretary Liam Fox is open to allowing the import of chlorinated chickens to reach a trade agreement with the U.S. He described the issue as a detail that the media is obsessed with.

But Gove argued that leaving the EU allows the U.K. to maintain the highest possible environmental standards. “Britain’s role traditionally, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister and now is to be a leader in environmental standards,” Gove told us.

We observe the irrationality of the doctrine of global warming, the naive belief that small variations of global temperature we experience have an anthropogenic origin!

Regulations run amok in the climate change agenda. The costs of successfully countering the buildup of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere are huge—far larger than described in the media and by advocates. It requires the rapid, total phase out of fossil fuels (the leave them in the ground strategy), raising energy prices, and fundamentally changing production and consumption patterns, which would reduce living standards worldwide. The poor will be disproportionately harmed, both within the United States and everywhere.

The costs of reversing GHG emissions could be 1% of global GDP annually—or about $800 billion each year, which is approximately the size of the economy of Holland. Specific industries will be particularly affected—including manufacturing, energy production, mining, transportation, and some types of agriculture. Generally wealthy elites will not bear many of these costs; they will fall squarely on general middle-class citizens. A candid weighing of (very uncertain) benefits and costs and their distribution among populations for compensation is essential for any effective, durable action to address possible climate change.

Any reduction in global GHG emissions and a decline in the stock of GHG already in the atmosphere requires coordinated and major cutbacks in fossil fuels worldwide. Greenhouse gases circulate the globe, meaning that some countries will receive the benefits of costly mitigation taken on by others. Under these circumstances, the incentives to free ride are irresistible. Internal pressures to free ride will be particularly great in those countries that will incur the greatest mitigation costs, that have the weakest government institutions and limited rule of law, and that are big enough to chart their own course regardless of international shaming—Russia, China, India, Brazil, and even the United States. Successful international mitigation will require more than the small “feel good” adjustments currently portrayed by advocates, agency officials, and politicians. But high costs make durable international cooperation unlikely—at least until benefits are much clearer than they are now. Attention to the size of GHG mitigation costs and the corresponding global free-riding problem directs policy toward more fruitful aims.

The current state of debate about climate change is spitting science in the face and treating science like a piece of rubbish. Carbon dioxide is treated like a toxic gas by proponents of radical policies on climate change. Next it will be oxygen, it will be anything that you want on the chemical table. The Sun is a primary driver of climate change — and has a far greater impact than changes in CO2. Climate science is dangerously corrupted and co-opted by multiple anti-science forces and players.

Much of the reporting about climate change in the mainstream media is fake news. There are many fads and fashions that have sprung up around climate change. For example, the locavore movement, which stresses eating locally-produced food to save energy, actually increases greenhouse gases, because of the energy efficiencies achieved by larger and more established farms that benefit from economies of scale. Governor Jerry Brown had warned of a drought of immeasurable magnitude — a meaningless phrase, in scientific terms. The movement toward renewable energy sources, he said, was not a sign of progress, but regression toward the lower energy densities of the pre-industrial age. Belief in carbon pollution is like the superstitious beliefs of primitive civilizations, such as a 1933 newspaper article describing a drought in Syria that was blamed by locals on yo-yo toys!

For all the focus on carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas in the climate system is water vapor. And carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, as the term is conventionally used. While it was true that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide had been increasing and had passed 400 parts per million, the dominant effect of water vapor had helped flatten the greenhouse effect, such that the rise of global surface temperatures had slowed significantly.

Some climate scientists manipulated graphs to make climate change seem more severe than it was — for example, by representing temperature anomalies rather than absolute temperatures.

There is, in fact, some surface temperature warming, albeit less severe than conventional data sets showed. But the effect is more likely the result of fluctuations in energy output from the sun, which in turn affects water vapor. The major effect of cutting carbon dioxide emissions to zero would be to kill and hurt poor people and greatly harm animals and the environment.

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