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Politicized report elicits climate alarmist screed

This week the Louisiana Legislature begins review of the state’s politics-infused 2017 Coastal Master Plan, just in time for the state’s dotty old uncle of environmentalism, former newspaperman Bob Marshall, to go off the rails on related matters.

Marshall now has a gig at his old stomping grounds, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, apparently to pen opinion pieces now and then about environmental matters. His initial piece indicates that, if in his personal life he has the same intensity of religious faith as he does in the belief of significant anthropogenic climate change, when the time comes he’ll head to Heaven in record time.

The piece began by proclaiming recent moves by the Pres. Donald Trump Administration to reverse the draconian environmental policies of former Pres. Barack Obama would drown Louisiana, and it went downhill from there. Allegedly everyone living within 35 miles of the coast faced a “death sentence,” while those 15 miles more inland merely had to look forward to “soaring flood insurance rates.” He expressed this not just his “opinion,” but as the “judgment” rendered in the plan, approved a few months ago by the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

This screed largely tracks a piece he wrote for the website The Lens last year, where he quotes a longstanding advocate of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), Donald Boesch, who contended that if Trump stopped following a promise by Obama to impose stricter standards, this “could lead to as much as 6.5 feet [198 cm] of sea-level rise by the year 2100, and many meters more in the next century. ‘In that case, the coast would be up against the bluffs at Baton Rouge,’ [Boesch] said.”

But this assertion contains two fatal errors. Generally, science demonstrates that the concept of CAGW remains unproven; while the theories spun from it rest on shaky data and even shakier scientific assumptions, the most egregious flaw comes from the fact that, for almost two decades, predicted temperature rises simply have not happened as the hypothesis would predict from increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Further, no evidence exists to show that climate change has become any more severe in any significant way since 1978, as models from those invested in the faith of CAGW predicted temperature increases two to three times of the insignificant changes actually observed, with actual changes likely having much more to do with such things as sunspots and/or the El Niño/La Niña phenomena.

More specifically, the conclusions drawn in the state’s plan did not reflect “judgment” of researchers, as unproven as the science they relied upon may be, but rested upon political considerations. In fact, the conclusions in the plan went against what researchers on it initially forwarded.

Work on the document began in 2015, prior to the election of Gov. John Bel Edwards. At a presentation about it on Sept. 22, researchers presented their conclusions on, among other things, eustatic sea level rise (SLR) predicted to 2100. At that time, based upon some of the extant research, they proposed three SLR scenarios of 43, 63, and 83 cm for 50 years. A month later, the preliminary report approved stipulated a range of 31-198 cm, without mention of scenarios. This differed little from the range utilized in the previous 2012 plan, which was approved with scenarios of 50 and 100 cm by 2100.

Then Edwards assumed office and began changing the composition of the CPRA. Towards the end of 2016 it released the new plan – but with the 50-year 43/63/83 SLR scenarios inflated to 100, 150, and 200 cm for 83 years, well beyond any empirical trendline. The speculations of science and the evidence thereof hardly had changed over five years, yet suddenly the scenarios brokered by a board of political appointees jumped in magnitude dramatically compared to 2012. Does science really seem like a better explanation than politics for the alteration?

And interestingly, and indicative of the lack of reliability and validity inherent to the CAGW enterprise, only three months after publishing his spectacular claims, Boesch walked back on his 198 cm estimate, writing it was “unlikely, at least during this century, based on my appraisal of the latest science.” But how much could science change in three months?

Yet Marshall seemed to know none of this, instead calling his doomsday prediction a “sober prognosis from the top scientists working for the state of Louisiana,” and proceeded to rail against politicians who prefer to use sound science than hyperbolic myth in making their public policy judgments in this issue area. Which relates the question he posed at its end: “It might be time for Louisiana conservatives … to ask their politicians whose interests they really represent.”

Answer: they represent the people’s interest, basing their views on this issue on what valid, reliable science can and cannot tell us, by safeguarding the people’s property from unwise confiscation by government and unnecessary use of it to finance wasteful responses to imaginary problems. Which is not the faith-based answer Marshall wishes to contemplate.

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