Ross McKitrick: “Environmental alarmism and the raft of false beliefs”

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Dr. Ross McKitrick is a Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph, and Research Chair in Energy, Ecology and Prosperity at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He specializes in environmental economics.

Dr. McKitrick spoke (starting at :19) on the topic of Green Conservatism at the Manning Centre Conference in February.

In his brief talk, Dr. McKitrick gives a brilliant, succinct overview of the current absence of rational, logical, empirical evidence-based thinking and planning on the part of the Canadian political class when it comes to the environment and economic policies.

Dr. McKitrick argues that our “very high-level” decision-makers are churning out “extremely distorting” policies based on their false, alarmist environmental beliefs. The results of their scientific illiteracy and ideological alarmism are environmental over-regulation and “green” taxation overkill.

Reading between the lines, we’re in a big, fat, fake-green mess and heading for continued fiscal and economic misery.

The following is a partial transcription (bolding added for emphasis).

On illogical “green” taxes: 

The trouble in the Canadian context is, the economic logic only works if they used “instead of,” and not on “on top of” a command-and-control regime….repeal the onerous regulations that we’ve already got in place, like for instance, the Green Energy Act in Ontario, and the federal ethanol mandate, and the proposed coal fadeout in Alberta.

Unless you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and work against those things in a very vocal way, you’re not really in a position to make a credible argument for green taxes in Canada.

Otherwise, it’s just going to be one thing piled on top of another.

On real and imaginary climate graphs: 

The mayor of Montreal is so worried about the state of the environment that he’s leading a campaign to block the Energy East pipeline from reaching Montreal, presumably because he thinks that the contents of that pipeline will be damaging to the local environment. He has in mind, I guess, a graph like this, except that it would slope up instead of sloping down, and lots of other graphs, presumably in his imagination, that slope up rather than sloping down.

If you want to see what all the other graphs look like, I’ve put them online at a website called yourenvironment.ca. It’s very easy to navigate. You can look up the complete air quality records for every city in Canada, and lots of other information besides—climate information, CO2 emissions, all sorts of stuff.

On regulatory overkill and pipeline blockades: 

Once you get a handle on what’s actually happened to the environment in Canada, you’re going to think the problem is a little different. It’s regulatory overkill.

We’re at a point where we have controlled conventional air pollutants to an extremely low level in Canada, and yet we’re seeing an acceleration of new and extremely distorting policies, including the various attempts to blockade all pipeline development and keep the western fossil fuel reserves in the ground.

On false environmental thinking embedded in high-level decision-makers:

I can only conclude that a lot the decision-makers—and this kind of thinking is embedded at very high levels—have in mind a completely false picture of the Canadian environment. They’ve been convinced that it’s much worse than it is and that the trends are going in different directions.

On irrational, ideological environmental alarmism: 

The real target today is environmental alarmism. It’s this irrational but popular ideology that the environment is bad and getting worse, that we face an emergency and that we have to take radical measures.

It’s easy to defeat once you start showing people the data, and it’s easy to defeat if you can get a hearing for the idea that if you get specific about what you’re really talking about, we can measure these things. In fact, we do measure them, and in Canada we have decades and decades worth of measurements. So you can get the discussion on a very rational footing.

On the phony “97% consensus”:

We should encourage people to discuss the science, and we do it in a deep way—and not with the slogans like the “97% consensus,” which is another one of these phony statistics that emerges.

On huge regulatory overkill and unnecessary coal phase-outs:

What we need to do is to get people to think clearly about what it is they are talking about. Are you concerned about air pollution? Well, we have the data on all the major air contaminants. We can measure it, this is what it looks like…It’s not one big thing. It’s a lot of little things and most of them are actually being handled very effectively by our current regulatory systems in Canada.

There isn’t a huge opening to come in with some silver bullet like emission taxes that are going to have a big effect on the state of the environment…

We have a problem of overkill in some areas, including, for instance, the coal phase-out in Ontario. That was a huge overkill in response to the air emissions issue…They didn’t need to phase out those coal-fired power plants. But it’s the alarmism that made it impossible to have that debate at the time.

On “extreme weather” fibs: 

When governments start to hauling out the issue of extreme weather, there is nothing mainstream about that kind of science. The mainstream science, including the IPCC, does not draw a connection between greenhouse gas emissions and extreme weather events. So, politicians need to be called on that sort of thing.

On climate propaganda and browbeating:

And also, finally, don’t overstate the challenge. I was struck this week by research that came out of Yale University, that even after all these years of propaganda and browbeating, Canadians are roughly evenly-split on whether global warming is mostly anthropogenic, but so is the scientific community…Once you try to move to something more specific than that—like, is it the most? or if it is responsible, is it even a problem?— that’s where that kind of consensus breaks down. So don’t overstate the problem!

On false beliefs:

You need to understand that the problem is actually alarmism, and the raft of false beliefs, and not the need for little tweaks to the tax code.

Watch Dr. McKitrick’s whole presentation here, starting at :19.

All lights blazing for the Earth Witching Hour

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I’m going to turn on every damn light I can find when the Earth Witching Hour approaches—this year at 8:30 pm on Saturday, March 19.

Why? To spotlight the insanity and dishonesty underlying the phony greeniness of the WWF’s Earth Hour—a supposedly “grassroots movement” to “save the planet” and “shine a light on climate action” where the stated aim is: “…to encourage an interconnected global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world.” A “sustainable world”—UN Agenda 21 ideology dictates coerced deprivation—in which you’re supposed to get used to sitting in the dark rather than providing (not preventing, as is the case these days) fossil-fueled electricity for the $1.3 billion people living in real darkness every single night.

The Witching Hour, according to Wikipedia, refers to “the time of night when creatures such as witches, demons, and ghosts are thought to appear and to be at their most powerful and black magic to be most effective.”

That would be about right for the Earth Witching Hour:

  • witchy, bullying, hectoring ENGOs, often foreign-funded, supposed “charities” such as WWF, with evil powers by means of unelected, unaccountable influence over government antic-democratic legislation and mainstream media disinformation;
  • demonic vilification of plant-food carbon dioxide and life-enhancing, life-saving fossil fuels;
  • black magic practised in a cloak of putrid, fake green, pumping out climate change ideology, “save the planet” propaganda, and professionally manufactured and financed “grassroots movements.”

Let’s turn on all the lights we can find on Saturday and celebrate our good fortune. Switch off the manmade climate change indoctrination and the “carbon pollution” dogma. Lead the 1.3 billion souls sitting in the dark into the light and fossil-fueled prosperity and a good life.

 UPDATE:
Excellent observation made (along with many others) in the comments section of this post by Parker Gallant Missing the point of Earth Hour in Ontario
Bob Lyman, March 18, 2016 at 12:45 pm
Let’s see. If we all turn off our lights, there will be a lower quantity of Ontario electricity consumption over which the regulated utilities can average their costs and, other things equal, a larger quantity of energy that has to be curtailed or exported at a loss. Consequently, the costs of the electricity supply system will rise and the utilities will apply to have these costs reflected in increased rates to (guess who?) Ontario electricity consumers. So, by turning off the lights, we collectively increase our electricity bills. This is in addition to making a meaningless bow in the direction of the false thesis that electricity consumption harms the environment. Just great.

 

The It’s-All-Your-Fault Tax to “fight climate change” and “save the planet”

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Carbon tax, carbon price, carbon levy, cap-and-trade, revenue-neutral or not—call it what you will, it is definitely a tax that everyone will pay, one way or another. It’s a You-Are-Guilty-Of-Causing-Manmade-Global-Warming/Manmade-Climate-Change Tax, levied on the carbon dioxide produced by living your life.

Let me list a few of the ways in which it’s all your fault:

  • The It’s-Your-Fault-That-You-Need-To-Stay-Warm-In-Winter-To-Avoid-Freezing-To-Death Tax
  • The It’s-Your-Fault-That-You-Have-To-Drive-For/To-Work-So-You-Can-Earn-A-Living Tax
  • The It’s-Your-Fault-That-You-Choose-To-Cook-Dinner-For-Your-Kids Tax
  • The It’s-Your-Fault-That-You-Make-The-Stuff-That-People-Need-To-Live Tax
  • The It’s-Your-Fault-That-You-Want-To-Wear-Clothes-And-Live-With-Dignity Tax
  • The It’s-Your-Fault-That-You-Don’t-Fancy-Poisoning-Yourself-With-Unrefrigerated-Food Tax
  • The It’s-Your-Fault-That-You-Farm-Crops-And-Raise-Animals-That-Feed-The-People Tax
  • The It’s-Your-Fault-That-You-Need-A-Roof-Over-Your-Head Tax
  • The It’s-Your-Fault-That-You-Want-To-Cross-The-Atlantic-Or-Pacific-Without-Having-To-Swim Tax

And so on, and so on . . . whatever you do, whatever you need is toxic to the Earth, and must be stopped, they say. This political, not scientific, dangerous UN objective, was openly, baldly stated by Marxist and Canadian Maurice Strong, then UN Secretary General of the Earth Summit, at the Rio UN Earth Summit in 1992:

It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class— involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work place air-conditioning, and suburban housing — are not sustainable.

For “not sustainable,” read “must be eliminated.”  This is just one of the many people-control goals contained in Agenda 21, The United Nations Programme of Action, a non-binding, voluntary sustainable development action plan, agreed to by Canada and 178 other nations in 1992. It has been openly, but quietly, stealthily implemented bit by bit ever since—”globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.” A carbon tax is one of many thousands of steps in this insidious, anti-democratic, anti-human process.

Proponents (in Canada it’s the Prime Minister, the premiers of the provinces, except Brad Wall of Saskatchewan, et alia) of the extortionist carbon tax/price/levy see it as a combo behaviour-modification-and-revenue tool, designed to coerce you into making changes to your supposedly climate-catastrophe-causing habits, force you to pay for your alleged earth-harming ways. They aim to politically-correct you to be socially-just by drastically reducing your standard of living and surrendering your cash. They say they will use the proceeds to “tackle climate change,” “fight climate change,” and  “save the planet” from what, in reality, is a non-existent problem. Aren’t these ridiculous, hubristic, unrealistic goals, when you really think about it? Boondoggle, anyone?

The extortionist carbon tax/price/levy is seen as a combo behaviour-modification-and-revenue tool.

For the eco-self-righteous elite and the ignorant, venal or delusional politicians, inflicting a social justice penalty and punishment tax will teach you a moralistic lesson in original sin (that of your supposedly toxic ”carbon” footprint, caused by your very existence).

A sin-punishing, kleptocratic tax on thin air . . .

The fake rationale for a sin-punishing, kleptocratic tax on thin air is the biggest scientific deception ever perpetrated, namely that manmade CO2 (carbon dioxide) supposedly causes catastrophic manmade global warming and apocalyptic manmade climate change. Human CO2 “emissions,” invisible, odourless, non-polluting though they are (but the eco-poseurs will never say that), need to be curbed or everyone burns up in a super-heated hell on Earth. But consider the following;

  • There has been no global warming for nearly 19 years, during which time CO2 concentrations rose by 10%, therefore rendering the cause-and-effect grounds for carbon taxing/pricing/levying scientifically invalid.
  • The UN’s climate computer model predictions of climate doom-and-devastation have all failed to match real-world empirical evidence.
  • Climate changes naturally all the time, always has, always will.

In short, there is no global climate emergency at all (as Dr. Tim Ball likes to say, it only exists inside the UN IPCC’s (rigged—my word) computer climate models), and, in fact, CO2 is a life-giving, miracle trace gas enabling mankind’s survival.

A carbon tax/price/levy is a pernicious, avaricious, dishonest tax on the carbon dioxide produced by mankind’s activities. Eco-crooks try to make you believe that huge amounts of it are being spewed everywhere. In fact, CO2 is a trace gas comprising a tiny 0.04% of the atmosphere. It is something you exhale. It’s not a pollutant. It’s plant food, vital to life on earth, without which we would not even be here to discuss the carbon tax lunacy.

The end game is . . . UN Agenda 21 . . . communitarian global governance by fiat.

Undeterred by the facts and basic science, the ENGO eco-zealots, self-serving politicians at every level and of every stripe, the unthinking educators, the MSM collaborators, the carbon-propagandist celebs, the co-opted scientists, the UN climate potentates, the woefully uninformed journalists, the corporate appeasers, et alia earnestly discuss the finer points of (unnecessary, ought to be illegal) carbon pricing and procedures, when in fact the whole thing is one gigantic, evil, corrupt charade. The end game is money, power, control, UN Agenda 21, forced wealth transfer, de-population, anti-prosperity, anti-nationalism, totalitarianism, communitarian global governance by fiat.

High time to fight back.

How Thin Air came to be bought, sold, traded, and taxed

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Once upon a time there was a Liberal Premier who, having unaccountably been given an undeserved gift of majority rule, presided over the most populous province in the fair land of Canada. She seemed to care about nothing except virtue-signaling her lonely country jogging and spreading her social-license, social-justice, planet-saving pretensions to realms beyond.

She heeded her nakedly bullying enviro-grifters who told her that “The Science” Oracle had spoken.

She ignored the cries of the rural folk forced to submit to the subsidy-dependent, fake-green wind carbon-baggers who had her permission to impale the beautiful farm fields and meadows with useless, dangerous, bird-slaughtering, human-health destroying giant windmills. Instead, she heeded her unelected, unaccountable, foreign-funded, phony eco-courtiers—nakedly bullying enviro-grifters who told her that “The Science” Oracle had spoken: it was time to impose a pernicious, dishonest tax scheme on the financially beleaguered people. This would enrich the Treasury and continue to pay for Liberal Boondoggles, past and present and future.

…exhalations and emissions you could not see or smell had henceforth to be bought, sold, traded, and taxed.

And so she decreed that Thin Air, exhalations and emissions you could not see or smell, that harmlessly provided vital nourishment for plants and thus kept everything and everyone on Earth alive, had henceforth to be bought, sold, traded, and taxed. Anyone challenging this absurd, corruption-rife lunacy was deemed to be hopelessly in denial, blind, a head-in-the-sand-sticker, and accused of being in lavish pay of fossil fuel providers (if only).

They played along, fearful of being judged unfit for their positions or, worse, having to go straight to SuzukiJail for eco-heresy.

Many Smart People (politicians, professors, publishers, pundits, PR professionals, petroleum producers, public servants) could not see how Thin Air was harming anything at all. The deliberately false predictions of Manmade Doom-And-Gloom Climate Change, supposedly caused by manmade excess Thin Air, had never materialized, of course. But the Smart People said nothing and did nothing. They played along, fearful of being judged unfit for their positions or, worse, having to go straight to SuzukiJail for eco-heresy.

Others, the SmartAndHonest People, tried to tell the populace that putting a price on Thin Air was an absurd, ought-to-be-illegal fraud, and nothing more than a blatant tax grab, fake-justified by a non-existent climate problem. But most of them had no influence over the government’s powerful propaganda juggernaut, the mainstream media, and had to resort to ingenuity and disruptive new ways in order to be heard and seen.

Slowly, the truth about the Big Climate Fraud started to seep out.

Some of the Regular People rejected the state propaganda and made an effort to find the SmartAndHonest People in the Internet news sites and blogs and honest, evidence-based science websites in order to get at facts and the truth. And in the face of ridicule, condemnation, and abuse they did their best to tell their families, neighbours, and social media friends. Slowly, the truth about the Big Climate Fraud started to seep out. But what to do about it?  Was there still time to put and end to the madness, if only for the sake of the children and grandchildren—and if so, how?

For now, this dark tale must end here, the rest to be told as surely as the climate has changed and will change naturally throughout the ages.

Ontario’s Premier Wynne throws Clearview Township under the wind turbine bus

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The Ontario Ministry of the Environment (oh, and Climate Change) has just approved another industrial wind turbine factory, this time in Simcoe County, near the Collingwood Regional Airport, no less.

Once again Ontario Premier Wynne et alia have abrogated and sacrificed the democratic rights of municipalities and others on the UN’s altar of a non-existent global climate emergency and its misbegotten manmade climate change ideology: “…permission to construct the Fairview Wind Project would effectively eliminate any chance of the proposed $300 million dollar expansion proposed by the Clearview Aviation Business Park.” It won’t be “Fairview,” but rather “Unfair-Obstructed View” for pilots and their passengers.

The invasive, forced proliferation of useless and destructive industrial wind turbines continues apace, despite a shocking indictment of Wynne’s fiscal recklessness in the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario Annual Report 2015 (page 214):

Expensive wind and solar energy—We calculate that electricity consumers have had to pay $9.2 billion…more for renewables over the 20-year contract terms under the Ministry’s current guaranteed-price renewable program than they would have paid under the previous program…We found that the prices under Ontario’s guaranteed-price renewable program were…double the market price for wind and three and a half times the market price for solar energy in 2014.

For the uninitiated, here are two excellent films on the corrosive, toxic effects of the wind industry on the rural people and communities forced to live amongst the subsidy-exploiting, ineffectual, dangerous, towering monster machines:

Watch Down Wind: “…the explosive documentary that examines Ontario’s controversial rush into industrial wind farm development.”

Watch Big Wind: “…explores the conflict over the controversial development of industrial wind turbines in Ontario.”

Climate nonsense and sanctimony from Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner

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The new Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, Dianne Saxe, celebrates and looks forward to punishing you (she Orwellian-newspeaks it as “give a financial incentive to people”!) with the Ontario Liberals’ planned cap-and-trade carbon tax scheme for the greenhouse gas “pollution” that you “create”:

Hallelujah! It’s really about time. Again, the entire world recognizes that we need to put a price on carbon if we want to give a financial incentive to people to reduce the pollution that they create, the greenhouse gas pollution that they create. We have to put a price on it. If it’s free, if doing the wrong thing is free, and the right thing [is] expensive, the people are more likely to do the wrong thing.

Earlier in her interview with Steve Paikin on TVO’s The Agenda, Saxe was asked what had been the highlight of COP21, the UN’s mega climate conference that she attended in Paris last December. She said:

The highlight was reaching the agreement. That was an extraordinary achievement…it was an incredible achievement…in terms of a real tipping point for both national governments, and sub-nationals and non-state actors around the world. It was astonishing!

Of course, we all know it was a total non-agreement, but one that nonetheless will be used by the powers that be to rationalize imposing further coercive, extortionist measures to “save the planet.”

When Paikin asked Saxe what were some of the “neat ideas” that came out of the conference, she replied:

Portfolio decarbonization initiative, which is the recognition by big money managers around the world that ignoring the risk of carbon is now impermissible because there are physical risks, there are liability risks, there are stranded asset risks, and there are reputational risks which are now a necessary part of fiduciary duty of any money manager in the world.

Insanity! It’s a UN-led initiative, of course. Bear in mind, that “carbon” is carbon dioxide, i.e. plant food. So, money managers are supposed to advise clients to divest themselves of any stocks associated with the production of a harmless trace gas, without which there would be no life on earth.

Of course, no TVO discussion about the climate would be complete without the usual scaremongering idiocy about how we are all climate-doomed. Saxe obliged:

The most frightening thing in Paris was learning about the science. I thought that I was pretty up-to-date with how bad things are and how fast things are moving when in fact things are much worse than I thought.

And one of the biggest factors is that in this entire process of planning ahead of how bad it’s going to be, we have left out one of the biggest sources of carbon in the world, which is the melting of the permafrost. So the challenge is even bigger than we knew, the urgency is greater.

But climate changes naturally all the time. And there has been no global warming for almost 19 years now. So if the permafrost is melting, it ain’t your fault. There are other reasons for it, such as natural climate phenomena and fluctuations.

And please, don’t neglect to mention recent weather events as being proof of manmade climate change! Saxe had a good one:

It probably helps that right in the middle of the conference there were $5 billion worth of floods around the world, $4 billion alone in India, the huge flood in northern England…it seized people’s attention.

“Helps”? That’s a rather cruel, callous, opportunistic view of what the poor Brits endured, losing their possessions and homes on their water-logged Boxing Day. Actually, the floods in northern England were caused not by manmade climate change but by government negligence, mandated by the EU directives (based on misbegotten UN-driven “climate change” ideology) to stop the traditional flood-control dredging of rivers. But don’t let facts get in the way of a sensational phony narrative.

And, of course, don’t forget to wring your hands over the grandchildren—again! Saxe made sure they got the usual warmist’s shout-out:

In 1992 when I went to the Rio conference we thought we were talking about a problem that would matter to our grandchildren. In 2015 we realized it’s a problem for us all right now, and moving fast.

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner checked the usual boxes in the “climate change” catechism:

  • the evils (imaginary) of greenhouse gas “pollution”
  • it’s your fault, and you must be punished and pay
  • put a “price” on “carbon,” i.e. tax you, and then tax you again
  • decarbonization of everything, i.e. stop economic growth
  • believe “the science,” but only if it’s UN-authorized
  • weather is proof of manmade “climate change”: heavy rain causing floods, etc
  • urgency (because “the science” is supposedly beyond debate and settled)
  • think of the poor little grandchildren, i.e. emotional blackmail

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner is obviously a devoted believer in the church of manmade global warming. (She has to be—it’s the second mandate listed on her job description.) So, Dianne Saxe will have to help the Liberal government that appointed her force Wynne-beleaguered Ontarians to do the wrong “right thing.”

Industrial wind turbines: the scourge of Ontario’s economy, farmland, and people

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People living in the Ontario’s large urban centres may not realize to what extent the Liberals, by means of undemocratic fiat, have imposed massive, invasive industrialization on rural Ontario. In many cases it has happened against the will of communities and people.

The Liberals’ Green Energy Act and its companion, the Environmental Review Tribunal—a toothless kangaroo court for any person or organization NOT a wind energy proponent—rob municipalities and property owners of their rights and any fair chance to prevent wind companies, mostly foreign-owned, from riding roughshod over their land and property values, wildlife and environmental protections, and human and livestock health concerns, never mind from visually polluting and despoiling the natural beauty of the Ontario landscape.

To make matters worse, none of the Liberals’ totalitarian-like “green” “renewable” energy push has made any economic sense, as was again confirmed by the Auditor General of Ontario Annual Report 2015, and in fact would appear to be willful appropriation and squandering of taxpayer money and the deliberate imposition of astronomical electricity costs to consumers and business:

Expensive wind and solar energy—We calculate that electricity consumers have had to pay $9.2 billion…more for renewables over the 20-year contract terms under the Ministry’s current guaranteed-price renewable program than they would have paid under the previous program…We found that the prices under Ontario’s guaranteed-price renewable program were…double the market price for wind and three and a half times the market price for solar energy in 2014.

Watch this video—industrial wind turbines in southwestern Ontario, near Shelburne—and weep.