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If only they were just in it for the money

22 Nov 2023 | News Roundup

The Manhattan Contrarian offers a skeptical look at America’s new “Fifth National Climate Assessment” produced by a bureaucratic hydra consisting of 14 major agencies all united in believing that humanity is setting the sky on fire and the only way to stop it is for all 14 of them to get a whole lot more money. But while the problem of asking bureaucracies whose existence depends on there being a climate crisis to investigate whether there is a climate crisis is obvious enough, an even deeper problem is what happens when those bureaucracies turn to known zealots to do the writing. After all, if the corruption were merely mercenary we could, in principle, bribe them to dismiss the alarm as a hoax, in the unlikely event skeptics could ever raise the necessary funds. But at its core this crowd isn’t interested in money or, for that matter, science. As Roger Pielke Jr. exclaimed in irritation “How did Project Drawdown, The Nature Conservancy and Stripe get to write the overview chapter on climate for the US NCA?” Everyone would object, he notes, if people from known skeptical organizations were put in charge of the writing process. Yet when employees of climate advocacy organizations are handed control over the writing process we are supposed to pretend the result will be anything other than propaganda.

There is a curious blind spot among many people about the fact that incentives matter inside government as well as outside it, and if you ask agencies whether a problem for which they have responsibility is so serious that they should get boodles of cash, it takes a peculiar kind of naivete to accept their resounding “Yes” as untainted by self-interest or self-deceit.

Referring to the new NCA, Roger Pielke Jr. exclaimed in irritation “Imagine if it was Heartland, Cato and Exxon That’s how bad this is”. Which might sound like overdone satire except it’s true, including that Kate Marvel of Project Drawdown is among the credited authors. And Pielke Jr. linked to a PBS Newshour report that featured a typically bug-eyed Katharine Hayhoe that had the usual “warming faster than the global average” tripe/trope. Send money fast.

As Pielke Jr. wrote:

“The report’s main chapter on climate trends was led by a scientist who works for Project Drawdown, a climate advocacy group. That chapter was also written by a scientist at The Nature Conservancy and the company Stripe, which makes money via carbon offsetting through carbon removal. There is no need for these conflicts of interest to play such a prominent role in the report’s authorship, but they perhaps explain some of its errors.”

And they are very real conflicts of interest because of course these activists whose zeal is no secret are recruited by agencies who live or die financially by the existence of a climate crisis. And the departments themselves receive massive funding, largely unexamined, because everybody knows scientists say we are burning up the planet. Pielke Jr. adds that the National Climate Assessment was not created to weigh in on policy but rapidly became hooked on it:

“The U.S. NCA misrepresents science in its assessments because it has long been structured to wield science as a political asset, under the assumption that strong scientific claims – Billion Dollar Disasters! – will drive the political response preferred by the program’s participants.”

And yes, Minister, government really does work that way.

It certainly ought to set off alarm bells that this massive document represents a consensus view by, the Contrarian notes:

“the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Health & Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, Department of State, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Agency for International Development.  Fourteen of them in total. All speaking with one voice.”

For that matter, it ought to set off alarm bells that the “Overview” and “Report in Brief” were ready for download before the “Full Report”. Not that it’s a PR exercise, you understand.

More of a massive revenue grab. As the Contrarian adds:

“All to support the greatest and hugest honey pot ever devised to provide essentially infinite funding to grow the bureaucracies in completely futile efforts supposedly to change the weather, but which will never be measurable, never have any real effect, and will have no possibility of accountability.”

A lot of salaries, promotions and pensions in that kitty. Yet those who never stop talking about how corporations are venal, and shade the truth to tilt the green baize toward their own pocket, treat appeals such as this one as sublime instances of higher minds regarding only the public good.

The actual report home page features persons of colour in COVID masks carrying a solar panel. It’s that kind of ethos. And it boasts that:

“The Fifth National Climate Assessment is the US Government’s preeminent report on climate change impacts, risks, and responses. It is a congressionally mandated interagency effort that provides the scientific foundation to support informed decision-making across the United States.”

And nothing says impartial science quite like an interdepartmental committee, now does it? Except having activists write your settled government science.

Predictably, the report takes a firm stand on climate change already having hit and hitting more and harder and we can stop it. As in:

“The effects of human-caused climate change are already far-reaching and worsening across every region of the United States. Rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions can limit future warming and associated increases in many risks.”

Even the “Report in Brief” is 144 pages. And features a limp poem by “Ada Limón, 24th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress” about how collectivism is now de rigueur, as in “The world says, Once we were separate, and now we must move in unison.” Like 14 bureaucratic agencies pouncing on cash.

Naturally it’s full of sound, surprising settled science like “The US is warming faster than the global average” and “increases in sea level along the continental US of 3-7 feet by 2100 and 5-12 feet by 2150 are distinct possibilities that cannot be ruled out.” And it tells readers, if any, “How Climate Action Can Create a More Resilient and Just Nation”. Climate Justice Now. Whatever It Is. Send Us Money.

6 comments on “If only they were just in it for the money”

  1. "It certainly ought to set off alarm bells that this massive document represents a consensus view "
    Or perhaps someone less skeptical of government could opine that such consensus among so many disparate agencies indicates that what is being screeched is the truth. Speaking as one who rejected the anthropogenic part of climate change decades ago I can still see how believers in government would take such agreement. I'm not willing to attribute malfeasance to the mandarins in those agencies. Perhaps many do believe that humans are the ultimate plague on the planet. But I have no doubt many high level bureaucrats see anthropogenic climate change as an avenue towards increased funding.

  2. The problem with any bureaucracy is that regardless of the reason for which it was initially created, the continuation of its existence will eventually become its raison d'etre. No bureaucracy will ever willingly agree to its own dissolution and the loss of everyone's jobs therein. If you are a senior bureaucrat and you can't think up convincing reasons for the continued existence of your organization, you don't deserve to hold the position you do. So if climate change hysteria is the path to your continued bureaucratic existence, then climate hysteria is going to be what daddy does at the office all day.

  3. At least when someone inadvertently receives stolen goods there is some measure of innocence. Anyone, or organization in receipt of government loot is knowingly in possession of stolen goods and in today's moral nullity, the expectations of those dishing it out include a kickback even if not always in the form of cash. Aside from the Fraser Institute and a handful of independent media, are there any actual "NGOs" (or corporations) not in the rent seeking business. The public sector is now essentially an ideological and politically captured and weaponized organ of the increasingly fascist state. That doesn't leave much room for an actual independent private sector.
    “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” - Benito Mussolini

  4. Ai don’t know much about government, but I know enough about scientific research, both in academia and in industry, to comment with some experience. The goal of science is to do what it takes to get another grant. It’s an incestuous circle grant approvers and grant recipients who rotate through those roles, reinforcing the orthodoxy.

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