How Trump’s Climate Skepticism Can Play a Crucial Role in Achieving His Larger ObjectivesAlan Carlin | December 9, 2016
It is all too clear that the Climate-industrial Complex (CIC) has not abandoned its support for climate alarmism despite the shock of Donald Trump’s election. Instead, the last few weeks have witnessed their first counterattack–to try to persuade Trump of the virtues of their cause. The first effort was launched by the New York Times in a meeting with Trump where they attempted to persuade him, among other things, that recent storms have been unusually strong because of alleged climate change and that there was connectivity between human activity and climate change. They did succeed in getting Trump to agree that some undefined connectivity exists and that he had an open mind on climate.
But the major effort was that by Albert Gore to meet with Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, which led to a meeting with Donald Trump. We do not know what was said during the meeting except that Gore tried to find common ground between the two of them on climate. The proposed appointment of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator announced on December 7 underlines the ineffectiveness of both the NY Times‘s and Gore’s efforts to persuade Trump.
In Understanding This It Is Important to Keep in Mind the Main Thrust of Trump’s Election Campaign
From a larger viewpoint, Trump has primarily set himself the task of reinvigorating the limping US economy and particularly the economic situation of those hurt by the Great Recession. He has even promised to revive the US coal industry. This last may be somewhat difficult since the advent of the widespread use of fracking has greatly lowered the price of natural gas by bringing huge new supplies to market. This has undercut the market for coal, although this has also been hurt by Obama’s regulatory “war on coal.”
It is far from clear whether Trump can do much more for coal than remove most or even all the climate-related regulations discouraging the use of coal, and this may not have a huge effect since to date the major adverse effects of the “war on coal” on raising electricity prices have not yet occurred because of the Supreme Court’s stay on the so-called Clean Power Plan. But he can do a great deal with regard to encouraging greater natural gas and particularly oil development. The most important of these actions would be to greatly ease the Federal regulations on and availability of oil and natural gas and to ease the regulatory oversight on the construction of additional pipelines to bring these products to market. If the resulting development were predominantly on Federal land or waters, it would result in a much greater increase in Federal revenue than if it were on state or private lands or waters.
Both would reduce the price of oil and natural gas and result in their more widespread availability for both domestic use and export. If these actions lowered prices sufficiently one could even conceive of making the US the new Saudi Arabia of oil, natural gas, and coal. If Trump can bring this about, this should provide a huge boost for the US economy and provide many jobs in the natural gas, oil, and pipeline industries.
It Is in Trump’s Interest to Support the Climate Skeptic Cause for Other Reasons
The logic of this approach should prevent Trump from any serious consideration of embracing even parts of the climate alarmist agenda and ideology. Presumably this does not bode well for the success of either the New York Times‘s or Albert Gore’s attempts to do so. Unless Trump can show clear signs of an economic revival over the next few years, he is likely to be a one-term President. The easiest opportunity he has is probably rapid development of natural gas and oil and pipelines to carry them. It is hard to believe that Trump would give that up as a result of a little talk about climate alarmism from the Times and Gore. In the highly unlikely case that he embraces climate alarmism in any serious way, his major goal is much less likely to be achieved. So he is much more likely to lend no more than a few soothing words towards climate alarmism.
One of the most important aspects of this oil and gas strategy is that it should result in large increases in Federal revenue, particularly if the oil and gas come from Federal lands and waters. Because of the somewhat precarious Federal finances that may result from Trump’s tax, military and infrastructure enhancement proposals, and budget deficits inherited from the Obama Administration, these increased revenues could be very crucial to the success of Trump’s Administration as a whole and thus his chances for reelection in 2020.
The Best Approach Is to Adopt the Already Existing Case that the Alarmist “Science” Is Invalid
The easiest way to justify this approach to climate strategy is simply to adopt the arguments put forth by climate skeptics concerning climate alarmism “science.” They have shown that the climate alarmist science is invalid. What better reason to abandon the Times and Gore in their continuing efforts to promote climate alarmism? A considerable portion of the research has been done by volunteers rather than the few and much maligned (by climate alarmists) paid professionals, but it is free for the asking, so why not? Many of the arguments concerning scientific invalidity can be found in my book, Environmentalism Gone Mad, and in a new research report by Wallace et al., 2016 discussed here.
Together, this and other research by climate skeptics shows that the “science” used by climate alarmists is scientifically invalid since it does not satisfy the scientific method. If Trump pursues this approach, he would be well advised to say so very publicly and very explicitly rather than attempting to hide his climate skepticism like George W. Bush. The NY Times and Al Gore will not like this, but it is better to fight it out on the basis of the alarmists’ invalid science rather than the moral wisdom of their alleged attempt to “save the world” from imaginary global warming/climate change due to human-caused CO2 emissions. It would also promote the use of good science in the future.