"After last month's massive terrorist attack brought the disastrous civil war in Syria and the renewed threat of radical Islam back to the forefront of everyone's minds, world leaders met in Paris to forge an ambitious agreement--about global warming.
"You didn't think they were going to do something big and important about terrorism, did you?
"No, they're much more interested in what our own president clearly regards as the real issue of the day, 'climate change.' And so the global warming conference ended with the Paris Agreement, which was hailed by both The Guardian and Slate as the 'end of the fossil fuel era.'"
"Consider President Obama's pronouncement that the agreement is 'a testament to American leadership.' 'We came together around a strong agreement the world needed. We met the moment.' For a president whose administration is known for the absence of American leadership and who is palpably not 'meeting the moment,' you can see the incentive to pretend that he is by signing some phony-baloney agreement to solve a phony-baloney problem."
"All of these facts are readily available to anyone who follows the news. And then there is the role in these attacks of a major world religion with about a billion followers that has been around for 1400 years--a primary cause that is a little hard to miss. Yet President Obama, [Bill] Nye, and many other water-carriers for the left offer us glib pronouncements about how this is all about water shortages in Syria. This is spectacular, willful ignorance dressed up as love for science."
"To be sure, this case will take forever to go through the courts.... But this is another case where the prosecution is the punishment. Just the prospect of being dragged through the courts and publicly maligned by prosecutors is deterrent enough.
"This prosecution is not really aimed at Exxon, which has pockets deep enough to fight if it chooses.... [T]he real target is everybody smaller than Exxon. The message is going out that they will face political reprisals, including embarrassing and expensive persecution in the courts, if they ever give a dollar to a climate skeptic....
"It seems Schneiderman has learned from the neo-authoritarians in Russia and China how to impose political control. There is no need for anything so crude as outright censorship. Anybody can say what they like, if they're shouting on a street corner or writing in the pages of some obscure journal for intellectuals. But nobody can get any money to broadcast their views more widely because anyone with money faces ruin if they stand out against the powers that be."
"So why create a national electricity scheme that is impossible to build? Perhaps because its purpose is not to build but to tear down. If you come up with a plan that claims it will reduce existing sources of energy in favor of new sources of energy--and those new sources turn out to be speculative at best, and physically impossible at worst--then it's fair to conclude that the real essence of the plan is simply to reduce existing sources of energy."
"Francis is just repeating what he has heard from mainstream environmentalists and international green activists. The problem is that those are apparently the only people he is listening to....
"Pope Francis has sealed himself off in an ideological bubble that is harder and more impenetrable than the Popemobile. He refuses to recognize that there are alternative ideas outside the leftist orthodoxy on capitalism and the environment. The result is a sense that I've never quite gotten before from a papal encyclical: the sense of the pope as a narrow ideologue, captive to a relatively recent political fad.
"This is a real shame because the Vatican and the papacy are supposed to operate on a longer time scale, less affected by the political fads of the moment, or even of the century. After all, the Catholic Church is a 2,000-year-old institution with a timeless spiritual remit. It's what usually makes the popes so interesting to contend with, even for an atheist who frequently disagrees with them."
"I am not a Catholic nor even a Christian, and I know many American Protestants who, shall we say, were never deeply invested in the moral authority of the pope. So what does it matter to us whether or not this pope is surrendering the Church to the left?
"Historically, it does matter, because in the 20th century the Church helped change the course of history, vastly for the better, by offering ideological and material resistance to Communism. It mattered that there was a large institution with deep historical roots that was independent from the socialist state and politically correct orthodoxy, driven a different set of values. And it's discomforting to think what might happen if that's no longer true."
"There is an important difference between prediction before the fact and explanation after the fact. Prediction requires that you lay down a marker about what the data ought to be, to be consistent with your theory, before you actually know what it is. That's something that's very hard to get right. If your theory is going to be able to consistently predict data before it is gathered, it has got to be pretty darned good. Global warming theories have a wretched track record at making predictions.
"But explanations of data after the fact are a lot easier. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. It's a lot easier to tweak your theory to make it a better fit to the data, or in this case, to tweak the way the data is measured and analyzed in order to make it better fit your theory. And then you proclaim how amazing it is that your theory 'explains' the data."
"But by now you can get an idea for the major outlines of an environmental hysteria. The steps are: a) start with assumption that man is 'ravaging the Earth,' b) latch onto an unproven scientific hypothesis that fits this preconception, c) extrapolate wildly from half-formed theories and short-term trends to predict a future apocalypse, d) pressure a bunch of people with 'Ph.D.' after their names to endorse it so you can say it's a consensus of experts, e) get the press to broadcast it with even less nuance and get a bunch of Hollywood celebrities who failed Freshman biology to adopt it as their pet cause, then finally f) quietly drop the whole thing when it doesn't pan out--and move on with undiminished enthusiasm to the next environmental doomsday scenario."