This Week in Climate News

Good grief, where to start with the weekly climate follies?  Debunking the “green energy/clean energy” scam has already gone beyond the point of reductio ad absurdum/ad nauseam, but there is this curious item on about how “renewable” energy sources produced more power than nuclear power in the first quarter of 2011.  Expect this to become a talking point among greenies—if they notice the data at all—about how rapidly we are making “progress” with green energy, while ignoring the inconvenient truth that over half of the growth of “renewable” output came from decidedly non-green dams (oops), and this only because of the heavy rainfall this spring that caused Washington state to shut down most of its windmills because they had too much power from the dams (double oops).  And never mind that the winter months are when many nuclear plants shut down or scale down for maintenance before the peak summer months.  Expect nuclear to sprint away from renewables over the summer.

There’s also a terrific article in The Washington Quarterly, a fairly establishment-oriented journal, debunking “The Climate Wars Myth.” I have found the climate campaign’s claim that climate change would lead to more armed conflict utterly snort-worthy from the first, especially since they miss the irony of seizing upon Pentagon speculation (usually by outside consultants) that climate change might lead to conflict.  Since when has the left ever believed anything that came out of the military industrial complex?  The default position of the left is usually to say that Pentagon threat claims are just excuses for a larger defense budget.  Hey—there’s an idea: Republicans should argue that we can’t cut the defense budget because we’ll need the troops to fight the climate wars.  (Oops.)  And then watch Henry Waxman’s head explode.  (What?  You mean it already did?  So that explains why he looks like Gollum.)

Better still, the author of the article is French!  Bonus! Here’s a sample of Bruno Tertrais’s argument:

However, there is every reason to be more than circumspect regarding such dire predictions. History shows that “warm” periods are more peaceful than “cold” ones. In the modern era, the evolution of the climate is not an essential factor to explain collective violence. Nothing indicates that “water wars” or floods of “climate refugees” are on the horizon.

But my favorite story of the week is this New York Times profile of MIT’s Richard Lindzen, who is the most formidable of the climate skeptics.  The story is fun not so much for its mostly complimentary tone about Lindzen, but for the appearance of NASA’s James Hansen, the uber-alarmist—and I do mean “uber,” as you’ll see.  Hansen notes that Lindzen “never loses his cool and is always in complete control.”

I can well understand why Hansen would say that.  I’ve debated Hansen about climate change twice, and both times he struck me as manic depressive.  At our panel at a conference at the New School in New York 2006, he brought up his “harassment” by the Bush Administration: a young political appointee was insisting on listening in to Hansen’s media phone calls.  The young chap was subsequently fired for his ham handedness.  Nonetheless, this didn’t stop Hansen from saying that his treatment by the Bush Administration was like something you’d expect from Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.  (He’s also compared coal-fired power plants to Auschwitz.)  Yeah right, I’m thinking; having your press calls monitored is just like being gassed in camps or sent to the Siberian gulag.  And Hansen wonders why people think he’s “alarmist” about climate change and not worth listening to.

But the most precious nugget in the story is this: “He wrote that after clashing with Lindzen, he tried to improve his communications skills by reading English novels out loud to his wife. ‘It improved my vocabulary, but not my tact.’”

Good thing I had finished my coffee when I got to that part, or I would have ruined yet another keyboard.  I can just see Hansen now, hopefully reading the most appropriate title for him, Pride and Prejudice.  I wonder if he got to the part, near the end of the novel in Chapter 59, where Elizabeth reflects:

How earnestly did she then wish that her former opinions had been more reasonable, her expressions more moderate!  It would have spared her from explanations and professions which it was exceedingly awkward to give. . .