“How Do You Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm When They’ve See ‘Gay’ Paris”*

President Trump has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement.  I will say at the outset that I support this move.  Let’s settle the “legal” issues first.  The agreement was not a treaty, and was not ratified by the Senate.  It might be classified as an executive agreement or as a simple presidential agreement.  The courts have never held an agreement other than a treaty as binding in an attempt to leave that agreement.  That should settle that–unless of course some opponents find a friendly District judge to reverse Trump, temporarily.  

 

Now to the substance of the agreement.  In essence, from the start, this agreement was an attempt on the part of other nations to get the United States to accept much of the blame for any alleged man-caused climate change and then to engage in a redistribution of resources and income by imposing draconian regulations on American industry.  The result would be that American industry would be rendered much less competitive, if that.  Most of the rest of the world gets off scot-free.  So we are handicapped for an unproven idea.  

 

How do we assess this?  It is predicated on the assumption that man-caused climate change is the apocalyptic problem it is made out to be, mainly by non-scientists and not by many of those who actually study it.  The latter’s conclusions generally are much more moderated regarding the extent of change as well as the cause.  But the former have been using the alleged “unanimous evidence” (false) to engage in their own favorite ideological campaigns, including anti-capitalism (a favorite).  These include movie stars, artists, politicians and media, and, interestingly, but not surprisingly, some large businesses, in short, the cultural elite–not the average person who wants to work hard and achieve some dignity in life.  In fact, when asked to rate problems from most important to least, the vast majority of average income earners do not rate climate change very high at all, if it even makes the list in some surveys.

 

Second, even if we show that climate change is man-caused, what is the extent of that problem.  Is it a problem at all?  Available evidence indicates that the rise in temperatures is not at all what has been alleged by models.  In other words, empirical evidence is trumping theory–as it should, even if it proves “inconvenient.”  And if temperatures are rising, (1) is the rise harmful? and (2) could temperature increases actually be beneficial?  

 

Third, the United States has reduced its levels of pollution considerably since the establishment of the EPA in 1970, and even before, we saw reductions beginning.  Are we to believe that we are still a major problem?  One might logically expect climate change to have declined, if it existed before.  But climate advocates seem to think we live in more dire times than previously.  Now to be sure, it is said (and figures do tend to support this) that the US is the second largest carbon producer in the world, next to China.  But that just puts us back to the question: so what?  Is it incontrovertible that this production level is really a problem?  Moreover, even without an EPA or Paris Agreement, we have been cleaning up our own environment simply on account of market demand.  

 

Fifth, the reductions called for would take any economy back to an era that approximates the nineteenth century, at least the early twentieth, possibly worse, depending on the magnitude of regulations. And some advocates of climate change want massively radical regulations that would place many in abject poverty.  Economically, we would be stifled.  Both other nations and we would be harmed in this way.  Is it a good to allow people to be unable to pursue their life plans when the evidence for the existence, extent and causes of any climate change are unsettled?  Why is it ignored by proponents of the Agreement or by environmental advocates generally that entire economic well-being of societies would be jeopardized.  Everything would cost more, if it were even available.  Thus, ability to purchase basic economic goods and the available supply would cause real harm.  Whom does this cost harm the most:  the poor.  Do we want to make them worse off for an unknown.

 

Now before someone criticizes me for leaving out “facts,” I refer them to several previous blogs where I presented ample empirical evidence countering standard climate change models and the conclusions drawn from them.  Moreover others may accuse me of lack of compassion for those affected by climate change and for not adopting the stewardship approach based in Genesis 1.  Let me quickly address each of those:

  1. See data presented in previous blogs regarding counter-evidence on actual climate change data, as well as pollution levels.
  2. I value compassion, but the alleged compassion of climate change advocates must be weighed against the compassion of those who want real people to live and flourish,
  3. The stewardship of this earth given to us includes the mandate to make it better than it was when each of us was born.  That really is about being free, creative and productive for the ultimate benefit of everyone.  Real stewardship is not stunting growth for the sake of unsettled science and ideologically driven conclusions.  It does not mean radical policies to reduce population and regulate certain industries out of business.  Nor does it mean going back to life as it was long ago, a semi-primitive existence.  It is not undermining the economic flourishing of this nation or any other nation for uncertainties.  If we don’t thrive, then other nations won’t either.  For us it would mean severe deprivation.  For less wealthy nations it could mean disaster.
  4. Finally, of course I believe a certain level of environmental protection is a good, a public good.  The question is always how much?  We need rational inquiry to continue, but we do not need the kind of wildly apocalyptic rhetoric I see too much of from climate change advocates.

 

To end, this post is more than a little polemical I would say.  It is in essence a editorial piece. I claim sole responsibility for it.  But the stakes are very high.  

  •  Title of World War I era song referring to “country bumpkins” in the US Army visiting cosmopolitan Paris.  “Bumpkins” represent “middle America,” “Paris” represents elites.

8 thoughts on ““How Do You Keep ‘Em Down on the Farm When They’ve See ‘Gay’ Paris”*”

  1. Marc

    Simply one large rhetorical Gish gallop of contradictions, misstatements, and scientific illiteracy.

    Not going to spend my summer refuting this. Seriously, it would take much of my free time, which started yesterday. Not worth it. Going to the beach instead.

    I have just learn to accept that there are some people who reject the scientific method and instead choose to blindly accept that the earth is flat, that the world was created 10,000 years ago, that Noah’s ark was a real historical event, and that carbon dioxide does not help trap heat.

    Have a great summer!

    1. Well, thanks Jeff for your expected response. I hope you enjoy the beach. Watch the rising ocean and temperatures.

  2. Excellent analysis Dr. Clauson,

    IMO, the Paris climate accord was nothing more than an UN-sponsored cash grab for the rest of the world to soak US taxpayers out of even more money.

    Working to protect the environment does not mean we must cripple ourselves our our industries. As you have pointed out.

    Of course, we must just learn and accept that there are some people who blindly accept as “settled science” that which the scientific method cannot prove (and never prove), who, if they trusted the Word of God, would have peace knowing how this earth will end (and how it actually began) and who view those who disagree with them as uneducated, flat-earth believing, anti-science, ignoramuses.

    Anyways, thanks for a rare non-apocalyptic, objective analysis of climate change and environmental stewardship.

    1. Nathan D,

      The rest of your post was , well, not much to talk about.

      Let’s consider this: “Working to protect the environment does not mean we must cripple ourselves our our industries. ”

      That kind of statement shows little faith in the market. I am always amazed how conservatives claim they have faith in the marketplace to solve humanity’s problems, but when it comes to some limits on pollution, those cannot be overcome, since such limits will cripple industry and destroy the economy.

      Fact is, other nations have been doing quite well with their own limits on pollution and their own market-based. Green energy is not only the wave of the future, but the wave right now, and yet so many conservatives want to focus on old economy dead-end energy sources such as coal.

      The economy in this nation has done ok since the EPA came into existence. The sky has not fallen, the nation has not become run by communists who are red down to their underwear, and there is no one world order.

      Rejection of man-made climate change is in general a faith-based position, as it belief in a literal six day creation and in a flat earth. I would say that in some areas, faith is required, but not in science.

      1. And to add to the issue, I am convinced that most radical environmentalists who rabidly supported the Paris Accord see their environmentalism as a religion (see the work of Robert H. Nelson, University of Maryland). I used the term “ideology” but I think it is stronger and to change it would require a sort of “conversion” experience.

        Moreover science itself is not the real issue. Rather it is the presuppositions on which an empirical pursuit is built, the use of models that cannot predict the future due to the infamous knowledge problem, and the conclusions based on the flawed method based in turn on the flawed presuppositions. Paradigms can become entrenched because of those problems but eventually the old paradigm will break down.

      2. Putting words in my mouth again, as usual.

        I never said there should be no limits on pollution nor have I ever said green energy should not be pursued. I also have not said that man cannot negatively impact the environment.

        You are right. Belief in creationism is faith based, and, for the record, is entirely mutually exclusive from belief in a flat earth. But belief in evolution is faith-based too since the scientific method cannot prove evolution. To prove something scientifically, it must be observable. Evolution is not, nor ever has been, observable. Evolution is as much a religious origins belief as creationism. It is not science.

        Have a good summer.

  3. Thank you for the spot on post Dr. Clauson.

    Excellent perspective on the substance of the agreement, the problematic science and our call to stewardship.

    Point #3 says it all.

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