Recently, two books by climate experts have pointed out that climate science does not support either the president’s urgency or the media’s catastrophism. Michael Shellenberger’s book, Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All, and Steven Koonin’s Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What it Doesn’t, and Why it Matters, both cast doubt on what the media and the politicians-with-agendas have been telling us for years.
Shellenberger, a long-time and well-known environmentalist, has written a bit of a confessional, in which he admits he was wrong about his apocalyptic visions in the past. Today, he sees many ways that climate change can be sensibly managed: “Apocalypse Never explores how and why so many of us came to see important but manageable environmental problems as the end of the world, and why the people who are most apocalyptic about environmental problems tend to oppose the most obvious solutions to solving them.” His emphasis, as his book’s title suggests, is on calming the unreasoning fears provoked by the alarmism of media figures such as Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Greta Thunberg, and AOC. “The news media,” he says, “also deserves blame for having misrepresented climate change and other environmental problems as apocalyptic, and for having failed to put them in their global, historical, and economic context.”
The book is particularly strong in showing that renewables like wind and solar are a false god, popular with elites but infeasible by nature for meeting the needs of a modern industrial society. The problem, he points out, is the low energy density of renewables. “Power-dense factories and cities require energy-dense fuels because they are easier to transport and store.” He writes: “Despite the hype, the shares of global primary energy from solar and wind in 2018 was just 3 percent… One of the largest lithium battery storage centers in the world is in Escondido, California. But it can only store enough power for twenty-four thousand American homes for four hours. There are about 134 million households in the United States.”
Koonin, a physicist who was Undersecretary for Science in the Obama Energy Department, is an experienced climate scientist who has participated in many international climate studies. More numbers-oriented than Shellenberger, he cites data to show that there is little evidence for the view that floods, fires, droughts, or hurricanes have been increasing since 1900. “The bottom line,” he writes, “is that the science says most extreme weather events show no long-term trends that can be attributed to human influence on the climate.” That statement alone deserves extensive coverage in a media that should be informing the American people rather than using unusual weather events as further support for alleged dangers of climate change theory.
- Unknown wants: Our whole role in life is to give you something you didn’t know you wanted. And then once you get it, you can’t imagine your life without it. ― Tim Cook
- Quantitative perceptions: “Mathematically equivalent information formats need not be psychologically equivalent.” ― Richard Feynman
- Other people’s money: “Nobody spends someone else’s money as carefully as they spend their own.” ― attributed to Milton Friedman
For those of you who continue to doubt the reality of – and the utter derangement that drives – covid tyranny, take a look at this report. (DBx: This is one nasty and vicious straw man.) (HT: Felix Finch)
Covid poses a particular threat in China because the regime has advertised zero-Covid as an example of the superiority of its Communist system over messy Western democracy. The policy has kept the number of Covid deaths low compared to the West, if you trust China’s official statistics.
Authoritarian regimes often conceal simmering discontent until it suddenly breaks out. China’s leaders fear public protests in the calmest of times, and Covid will heighten their anxiety. Lockdowns have caused economic growth to slow to less than 3% this year, and the real-estate bust is shrinking the net worth of tens of millions of middle-class Chinese.
Mr. Xi and the Party will be ruthless in putting down protests if they continue. Police broke up peaceful demonstrations in Shanghai and other cities on Saturday and Sunday, and videos recorded on iPhones show arrests being made. The Party’s security apparatus will use its monitoring ability and facial recognition to identify the participants, and many if not all of the demonstrators will be arrested in the days ahead. Many will simply disappear.
But it is important to watch if the regime begins to ease zero-Covid, even if it doesn’t admit this as a response to the protests. Look to see, too, if signs of dissent appear among Party elites. Despite his recent elevation to Mao-like status, Mr. Xi’s control may not be as total as Party propagandists suggest.
The rationale for imposing the mandate was that vaccines would protect medical workers from becoming infected and that, even if they were infected, vaccines would make them less likely to transmit the virus to residents and patients at medical facilities. But the initial vaccine trials were primarily focused on determining whether the vaccines protected against symptomatic Covid-19 infection, not against all transmission. They did not account for post-vaccination, mild, or asymptomatic infections, nor did they study secondary transmission.
The time has come for HHS and the Biden administration to follow the science and retract all vaccine mandates still being adjudicated in various federal courts. The federal government’s legal authority to impose any of them has always been dubious, and now there is no longer any scientific or medical justification for such autocratic and potentially counterproductive measures.
So Dr. Fauci recommended double masking, for which there was scant evidence. “If you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on—it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” he told NBC News’s TODAY.
Yet common sense also suggested lockdowns wouldn’t work. When China locked down its Wuhan region in January 2020, Dr. Fauci expressed doubts in an interview with CNN: “Historically, when you shut things down, it doesn’t have a major effect.”
Here, too, Dr. Fauci swiftly reversed his position. The initial call by Trump public-health officials for “15 days to slow the spread” in March 2020 stretched into two years as Dr. Fauci invoked one virus flare-up after another to argue for keeping public restrictions.
Some scientists in fall 2020 offered an alternative strategy of “focused protection” for the elderly and high-risk patients in a document called the Great Barrington Declaration. “Adopting measures to protect the vulnerable should be the central aim of public health responses to COVID-19,” it read. “Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal.”
Dr. Fauci worked with then-National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins to “take down” the declaration. “This proposal from the three fringe epidemiologists … seems to be getting a lot of attention—and even a co-signature from Nobel Prize winner Mike Leavitt at Stanford,” Dr. Collins wrote to Dr. Fauci in an email. “There needs to be a quick and devastating published take down of its premises,” he continued. The two subsequently did multiple media interviews denouncing the strategy in an effort to chill debate. “It’s nonsense,” Dr. Fauci told ABC.
If lockdown supporters are now deleting evidence of their past support for authoritarian public health, that is good news in a sense. People are now ashamed of ever having supported such a damaging, immoral idea.