In a democracy, "science cannot tell us what to do." Sept. 2013 article:
9/26/2013, "Climate Skeptics Against Global Warming," Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, thebreakthrough.org
"This week's release of a new United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change report opens another front in the climate wars. But
beneath the bellowing, name-calling, and cherry-picking of data that
have become the hallmark of contemporary climate politics lies a
paradox: the energy technologies favored by the climate-skeptical Right
are doing far more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than the ones
favored by the climate-apocalyptic Left.
How much more? Max Luke of Breakthrough Institute ran the numbers
and found that, since 1950, natural gas and nuclear prevented 36 times
more carbon emissions than wind, solar, and geothermal. Nuclear avoided
the creation of 28 billion tons of carbon dioxide, natural gas 26
billion, and geothermal, wind, and solar just 1.5 billion....
that most rapidly reduced the carbon intensity of their economies over
the last 40 years did so neither through regulations nor international
agreements. Nations like France and Sweden, which President Obama
rightly singled out for praise earlier this month, did so by directly
deploying nuclear and hydroelectric power. Now the United States is the
global climate leader, despite having neither a carbon price nor
emissions trading, thanks to 35 years of public-private investment
leading to the shale gas revolution. Meanwhile, there is little evidence that caps and carbon taxes have had much impact on emissions anywhere....
Environmental leaders who blame "global warming deniers" for preventing
emissions reductions point to Germany's move away from nuclear and to
renewables. "Germany is the one big country that’s taken this crisis
seriously," wrote Bill McKibben. Other progressive and green leaders,
including Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and Bobby Kennedy, Jr., have held up
Germany's "energy turn," the Energiewende, as a model for the world.
But for the second year in a row, Germany has seen its coal use and carbon emissions rise
— a fact that climate skeptical conservatives have been quick to point
out, and liberal environmental advocates have attempted to
obfuscate. "Last year, Germany’s solar panels produced about 18
terawatt-hours (that’s 18 trillion watt-hours) of electricity," noted
Robert Bryce from the conservative Manhattan Institute. "And yet,
[utility] RWE’s new coal plant, which has less than a 10th as much
capacity as Germany’s solar sector, will, by itself, produce about 16
terawatt-hours of electricity.
Reagan historian Steven Hayward, formerly of the American Enterprise Institute, noted in the conservative Weekly Standard earlier this week [Sept. 2013], "Coal consumption went up 3.9 percent in Germany last year. Likewise, German greenhouse gas emissions — the chief object of Energiewende — rose in Germany last year, while they fell in the United States."
Emissions fell in the United States thanks largely to a technology loathed by the Left:
fracking. From 2007 to 2012, electricity from natural gas increased
from 21.6 to 30.4 percent, while electricity from coal declined from 50
to 38 percent — that's light speed in a notoriously slow-changing
sector. And yet the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and
most other green groups are working to oppose the expansion of natural
As Kathleen Higgins argues in a new essay for Breakthrough Journal,
it's high time for progressives to get back in touch with the liberal
tradition of tolerance, and pluralism. "Progressives seeking to govern
and change society," she writes, should attempt to "see the world from
the standpoint of their fiercest opponents. Taking multiple perspectives
into account might alert us to more sites of possible intervention and
prime us for creative formulations of alternative possibilities for
concerted responses to our problems."...
We would do well to remember
that science cannot tell us what to do. Making decisions in a democracy
requires understanding and tolerating, not attacking and demonizing,
values and viewpoints different from our own.
Conservatives have important things to say when it comes to energy,
whether or not they think of it as climate policy. Liberals would do
well to start listening."
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Nordhaus and Shellenberger: United States is the global climate leader despite having neither a CO2 price nor emissions trading, instead 35 yrs of government spending leading to shale gas revolution and drop in coal use-Sept. 2013, Breakthrough Institute
Posted by susan at 4:36 AM