Climate Gate – All the manipulations and lies revealed 164

“What climatologists are learning from economists is how to increase their importance by promoting a theory that gives politicians more power. Economists have shown that this can be accomplished with the flimsiest of evidence.”

“Climatologists are now emulating economists’ approach to political success. After an attempt to create a global cooling scare in the 1970s failed, mainly because weather trends have a tendency to reverse themselves, some climatologists reversed themselves as well with predictions of global warming.”

“Many politicians saw global warming as a crisis too politically profitable to waste. It gives them an excuse to increase spending and expand government control over even more of the economy by claiming that the future of mankind depends on doing so. Whether the spending and control reduce global temperatures is less important than the belief that they will, and how well they promote the narrow interests of important voting blocks.

For example, subsidizing U.S. corn production, subsidizing its conversion into ethanol that motorists are required to use, while imposing high tariffs on cheaper sugar-based ethanol from Brazil, does more to buy votes from farmers and ethanol producers than to reduce global warming, since the latter is probably unaffected.”

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=516674

Climate Crisis Was Too Good To Waste

By J.R. CLARK AND DWIGHT R. LEE

Posted 12/30/2009 07:05 PM ET

Climatologists are learning from economists. No, not how to more accurately forecast the future. Climatologists could certainly benefit from improving their forecasts, but they aren’t likely to learn how from economists.

What climatologists are learning from economists is how to increase their importance by promoting a theory that gives politicians more power. Economists have shown that this can be accomplished with the flimsiest of evidence.

Economists began gaining in importance after World War II when they started rallying around a 1930s theory developed by John Maynard Keynes. The theory explained how politicians could prevent, or reverse, economic downturns by running budget deficits, and prevent, or halt, inflation by running budget surpluses.

Claiming budget deficits during World War II ended the Great Depression, economists convinced politicians to establish the Council of Economic Advisers in 1946 to give economic advice to the president.

By the 1960s there were claims of a Keynesian consensus of informed economists, with these economists knowing how to fine-tune the economy, effectively eliminating the business cycle, with advice on when and how to adjust government budgets to stimulate or dampen economic activity.

The result was better for economists than it was for the economy. The pronouncements of economists became more newsworthy, and government jobs for economists multiplied as the economy moved into the stagflation — economic stagnation with increasing unemployment and rising inflation — that characterized economic performance in the 1970s.

Stagflation had been predicted by Milton Friedman in the 1960s, even though the Keynesian model implied it was impossible. As a result of improved theories and accumulating evidence, the pretense of a Keynesian consensus among economists began to unravel. But the political popularity of Keynesian policy was not seriously threatened by its failures because that popularity was never based on solid evidence.

Rather, politicians embraced Keynesianism because it gave them a justification for expanding current benefits while postponing the costs with deficit spending. Of course, they conveniently forgot the part about reducing spending and running budget surpluses when the economy is strong.

Climatologists are now emulating economists’ approach to political success. After an attempt to create a global cooling scare in the 1970s failed, mainly because weather trends have a tendency to reverse themselves, some climatologists reversed themselves as well with predictions of global warming.

And this time they had a theory indicating that the warming was the man-made result of carbon dioxide emissions, and that if nothing was done it would soon be too late to avoid a global catastrophe.

Fortunately, the climatologists claimed to know what to do. They claimed their theory commanded a consensus among informed scientists, and politicians could prevent global disaster by fine-tuning global temperatures if they followed the advice of informed climatologists.

Many politicians saw global warming as a crisis too politically profitable to waste. It gives them an excuse to increase spending and expand government control over even more of the economy by claiming that the future of mankind depends on doing so. Whether the spending and control reduce global temperatures is less important than the belief that they will, and how well they promote the narrow interests of important voting blocks.

For example, subsidizing U.S. corn production, subsidizing its conversion into ethanol that motorists are required to use, while imposing high tariffs on cheaper sugar-based ethanol from Brazil, does more to buy votes from farmers and ethanol producers than to reduce global warming, since the latter is probably unaffected.

There are far less expensive, and more effective, ways to prevent global warming than reducing American carbon emissions 80% by 2050, as some climatologists claim is necessary to avoid a devastating rise in temperatures by the end of the century.

Geo-engineering approaches, such as injecting relatively small amounts of sulfur into the stratosphere, cost little and their cooling effect can be quickly reversed if it turns out that the warming effect of carbon emissions is overstated. But when Al Gore was asked what he thought of geo-engineering approaches, he reportedly responded, ”I think it’s nuts.”

He is correct if the objective is to expand government and increase the importance of politicians and, maybe, climatologists.

Whether climatologists achieve the political success of economists, as measured by the latter’s ubiquity in government employment and public policy debates, remains to be seen. But by claiming that they can predict global temperatures a hundred years in advance and advise politicians on how to save the world from catastrophic temperature fluctuations, many climatologists are making claims for their political importance that make the most enthusiastic Keynesian economists appear modest in comparison.

And it may be working. There is now a climate czar in the White House.

• Clark holds the Probasco Chair at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

• Lee has the William J. O’Neil Chair of Global Markets and Freedom at SMU’s Cox School of Business.

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