As increasingly has become the habit of the political left, when caught out on the facts, just double down on the misinformation and depend upon sympathetic media to cover for you. Thus, we have a recent story in the New Orleans Advocate about Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ junket to Scotland for the United Nations’ gathering of climate alarmists.
Ostensibly, Edwards went to pitch business opportunities related to the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming hysteria shared by other participants and hangers-on. He argues that the state could serve as a way station under the imaginary nightmare scenario on which the conference is based for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by half within the decade and eliminated on a net basis within three, because of its abundance of hydrocarbon-based yet relatively cleaner energy sources.
But this turns into a wasteful, expensive, and harmful policy agenda because CAGW is a scientifically unsupported fantasy, one to which Edwards clearly is captive. Says he, “There is no state more adversely affected by climate change than Louisiana in the country. And it manifests itself in things like sea level rise, the increasing frequency and severity of weather events like Laura, Delta, Ida. The two strongest hurricanes ever recorded happened in back-to-back years.”
The science says differently. Sea level rise has occurred since measurements began back in the 19th century, but its pace hasn’t significantly changed which contradicts CAGW that argues carbon buildup has induced warming that raises sea levels more rapidly. At the historical pace, this implies a rise of 5 inches by 2100, but models assume this will accelerate under various emissions scenarios (with alarmists generally pointing to the least likely, most extreme when making their pronouncements). Even these models overstate the change and the most likely scenario (assuming modest change in the rate of change of gas output) is the increase will amount to about a well-manageable foot on average.
Nor has extreme weather increased in amount or strength, in most instances but particularly concerning hurricanes, in the recent past. And only a dumb country lawyer would string together two recent observations and declare that the trend going forward, as my statistics students might conclude whenever we have studied threats to research validity and the impact of recency bias.
Unfortunately, the story’s author, Mark Schleifstein who often writes about environmental issues, doesn’t have the knowledge and/or desire to challenge such Edwards uninformed claims. Indeed, he drinks the Flavor-Aid from the conference, parroting similar unfounded assertions from a media briefing as if they constituted fact.
In the article he also uncritically swallows the unrealistic claim from last month’s announced upcoming beneficiary of state largesse Air Products and Chemicals that a “blue” hydrogen plant it intends to build in the state can operate with little carbon footprint (to his credit, he does give a surface explanation as to why that won’t end up net zero). And into the piece he injects uncritically the worst-case assumptions from the 2017 Coastal Master Plan, based on unsustainable conclusions.
Of course, all of this assumes that emissions in the main cause climate change, upon which the most recent research continues to cast doubt. Solar activity enhanced by certain meteorological patterns point to having a much larger role than emissions. That means you can spend all the money in the world, which Edwards’ view ultimately proposes, in eliminating emissions and it won’t make much significant difference.
As the recent bestseller from scientist Steve Koonin accurately depicts the state of climate science, it is “Unsettled.” Climate change is happening and is poorly explained, not the least by the attitudes behind CAGW. Faith in CAGW only exaggerates potential negative outcomes and ignores good risk management practices that would blunt these outcomes at a fraction of the cost and government intrusion Edwards and his CAGW camp otherwise would impose. That Edwards continues to peddle his nonsense and Schleifstein unhesitatingly provides the stenography behind it is to their discredit.