Category Archives: Media Criticism

The “Green New Deal” And The Left’s Grand Plans

Thoughts from Neo.

Yes, it could well be that the purpose of this ridiculous proposal is to start with something so far out there that whatever awful thing Pelosi actually pushes almost looks reasonable in comparison.

[Update a few minutes later]

The New Gods:

It must be said at the outset that climate change is real and observable, and the consensus that human activity contributes to that change (though to what degree has not yet firmly been established) is all but unassailable. But for a certain set of activists, there is only one acceptable response to the challenge: privation. The technological innovations attributable to market forces—innovations that have led to the dramatic reduction of American carbon emissions—are dismissed, not because their contributions are not observable, but because they undermine the notion that a simpler, monastic life is the only real source of collective absolution.

Critics of the activist class’s evolving policy prescriptions are attacked as “deniers.” Those who predict catastrophic, near civilization-ending disasters resulting from unchecked climate change are deemed “prophets.” Oracles forecast “the end of the world” within our lifetimes absent the adoption of their preferred paradigm. And any critical reflections on this new eschatology, the portents of which have often proved irreparably flawed, is dismissed with fervent passion.

A faith requires its pieties, and the so-called “Green New Deal” amounts to a sacrament. To true believers, its implausibility and impracticality is not a mark against it. Just the opposite; it is an expression of zeal, an acknowledgment of the righteousness and urgency of the cause it seeks to address. Its efficacy is measured in the number willing to genuflect before it.

I remain an agnostic (in fact, in this case, an atheist).

[Update Sunday morning]

This is Sandy’s war:

War is the most ancient avenue of glory, but it isn’t for everyone: Many of our progressive friends believe that American military might is a force for evil in the world, and that the military itself is malevolent, backward, and hateful. But there are war substitutes and war analogues to be had. My friend and colleague Jonah Goldberg is the poet laureate of “meow” — the Moral Equivalent of War — and its baleful effects on our political thinking and discourse.

…Meow has many cynical political uses: If every political opponent is the moral equivalent of Adolf Hitler, if every political initiative tantamount to D-Day, then there is much that can be excused in the way of underhandedness, rhetorical excess, demagoguery, and the like. As Goldberg reminds us, war and war alone has been the great champion of socialism, because it provides an emergency pretext for the authoritarian project of reorganizing an organic society in accordance with the necessarily synthetic model decocted from ideology, bias, bigotry, eccentricity, and the self-interest, always unavoidable, of the planners empowered with drawing up the blueprints of this or that brave new world or utopia.

And, hence, the Green New Deal: Our war, requiring a “new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II.” Under whose command? That of Field Marshal Sandy, of course.

About the details of the Green New Deal, such as they are, there is not really much to say. On Friday, I spoke with one of the world’s leading authorities on North American building practices and asked him about the plan to “retrofit” these structures in the service of a “net-zero energy” agenda. Neither “scathing” nor “derisive” quite captures his response. He has been involved in a number of net-zero retrofits and understands how complex and expensive they are — and how they can destroy a building when done poorly. Ask a farmer, an aerospace engineer, the manager of an electric utility, or a truck-driver about these highfalutin’ schemes and sentiments and you will get another superfluous proof of Robert Conquest’s maxim — “Everyone is conservative about what he knows best” — and Williamson’s First Law: “Everything is simple if you don’t know a f*****g thing about it.”

RTWT.

[Update a few minutes later]

AOC: The perfect graduate of today’s biased colleges.

The “Green” “New” Deal

As I noted on Twitter, it’s neither new, or green, and you know these morons aren’t serious about CO2 reduction when they try to shut down nuclear as fast as possible. Mike Shellenberger relates the history of this insanity in Vermont:

[Update a few minutes later]

The ten most insane requirements of it:

It is not hyperbole to contend that GND is likely the most ridiculous and un-American plan that’s ever been presented by an elected official to voters. Not merely because it would necessitate a communist strongman to institute, but also because the societal cost are unfathomable. The risible historic analogies Markey and Ocasio-Cortez rely on, the building of the interstate highway system or moon landing, are nothing are but trifling projects compared to a plan [that] overhauls modernity by voluntarily destroying massive amounts of wealth and technology. That is the GND.

These people are out of their minds. And Markey has always demonstrably been an idiot.

[Update a while later]

[Update a few minutes later]

Pelosi to AOC and Markey: It’s a “suggestion,” of which they’ll receive many. Translation: She’s not as stupid as they are. It’s DOA.

[Late-morning update]

More from Tyler O’Neil.

[Update early afternoon]

The “Green New Deal” represents everything that is wrong with “progressive” environmentalism.

[Update a while later]

[Late-afternoon update]

This is hilarious. It’s OK, Occasional Cortex, we’re laughing at you, not with you.

[Evening update]

The “Green New Deal” FAQ is now available for download, despite the fact that it was “taken down.”

I’m thinking I should come up with some other ideas left on the cutting-room floor. It could be fun. And these people are now officially unable to be parodied.

Judith Curry

will be testifying before Congress tomorrow (if she can get out of Reno). Given that the Democrats are in charge of the House now, it looks like it will be a hostile audience. I wonder who invited her?

[Thursday-morning update]

Her post-testimony thoughts:

In 2003 or so, I hired Kim Cobb at Georgia Tech. During my later years at Georgia Tech, we disagreed on A LOT of things.

But I will give credit where it is due:

Kim walks the talk in her personal lifestyle: vegetarian, rides bike to work, solar panels, minimizes flying etc. Very few climate scientists do this.
She genuinely wants climate solutions, and is prepared to work with energy companies and Republicans. VERY FEW climate scientists do this.
Here is excerpt from the first paragraph of her written testimony:

“My message today is simple: there are many no-regrets, win-win actions to reduce the growing costs of climate change, but we’re going to have to come together to form new alliances, in our home communities, across our states, and yes, even in Washington. There are plenty of prizes for early, meaningful action. These include cleaner air and water, healthier, more resilient communities, a competitive edge in the low-carbon 21st century global economy, and the mantle of global leadership on the challenge of our time. I’m confident that through respectful discourse, we will recognize that our shared values unite us in seeking a better tomorrow for all Americans.”

She discusses adaptation, innovation, energy efficiency, land use practices, as well as CO2 emissions reductions.

Compare her recommendations with my closing recommendation (slightly modified on the fly, from what was given in my previous post):

“Bipartisan support seems feasible for pragmatic efforts to accelerate energy innovation, build resilience to extreme weather events, pursue no regrets pollution reduction measures, and land use practices. Each of these efforts has justifications independent of their benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation. These efforts provide the basis of a climate policy that addresses both near-term economic and social justice concerns, and also the longer-term goals of mitigation.”

Is it just me, or is there common ground here?

The no-regrets angle is key here. Richard Lindzen reminded me that ‘no-regrets’ used to be the appropriate framework for climate policy.

It’s now almost a decade since I proposed that we come up with a regret matrix. I’ve still never seen one.