Five years ago, I said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) behaves like Torquemada, using Inquisition-like tactics to harass “manmade climate crisis” realists, and threatening to prosecute them for racketeering. Tomas de Torquemada was the Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition that interrogated, tortured, imprisoned and executed thousands for religious heresy.
The senator took great umbrage, and denounced me in Senate chambers where I once worked. But he didn’t change his ways. If anything, he has become more intolerant and vindictive. He recently said Democrat control of the Senate would enable him and his colleagues to launch investigations, haul climate realists before committees (for star-chamber show trials), and even employ grand juries and criminal prosecutions – to intimidate, silence and punish climate crisis nonbelievers.
Promoting Anti-Science Fascism
It would be fair for people to conclude that the thin-skinned senator would feel right at home in Inquisition Spain, Stalinist Russia, Red Guard and Xi Jinping China, or book-burning pre-Holocaust fascist Europe. Their history of silencing dissenters, erasing them from history, and sending them off to gulags and salt mines (or worse) is legendary. Their economic and governing ideology is classic fascism:
an extreme, intolerant system, under which an authoritarian government does not own businesses and industries outright, but does dictate what they can make, do, sell and say – while controlling citizens’ thoughts, speech and choices – through intimidation, silencing, arrest, prosecution, and fear of being fined, jailed, fired, sent to penal or reeducation colonies, and being beaten or executed.
These tactics are reprehensible and dictatorial. They are un-American and anti-science. Indeed, science achieves no progress without dissent, discussion and debate. It requires not just hypotheses, theories and computer models, but solid, empirical evidence to confirm or disprove hypotheses, models and predictions.
Debate Needed Concerning Climate Policies
Discussion, debate, dissent and evidence are especially vital in addressing the assertion that humanity faces an unprecedented manmade climate crisis, and assertion that is being used to justify demands that the United States, Europe, and developed world eliminate the fossil fuels that provide over 80% of our energy, petrochemical and pharmaceutical raw materials, fertilizers, and countless other benefits.
It is being used to justify demands that we replace this reliable, affordable energy with wind, solar, battery and biofuel power. Not only are these alternatives intermittent, weather-dependent and far more expensive. They involve extensive mining, land use, wildlife, pollution and other environmental impacts. They are not renewable, sustainable, environment-friendly or climate-safe.
Scope of the Energy Transition
In the United States alone, we would have to replace some 7.5 billion megawatt-hours of electricity and electricity-equivalent fossil fuel use per year; replace enormous amounts of oil and natural gas raw materials; and overhaul our transportation, home heating and other systems. This would require millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of 1000-pound battery modules, tens of millions of acres of corn, canola, soybean and other biofuel crops – and tens of trillions of dollars.
Democrat urban population and voter centers will likely oppose those industrial-scale installations in their backyards. They would have little objection to locating them in what many ruling, media and Hollywood elites imperiously and derisively refer to “flyover country” – western, Midwestern and southern states.
This “transformation” – under the Paris climate treaty, a Green New Deal or a Biden-Harris regulatory program – would massively disrupt America’s economy, jobs, living standards, health and wellbeing, especially for poor, minority, blue-collar, fixed-income and flyover country families and communities.
Shift of Economic Power to China
Climate alarmists insist that any lost jobs would be replaced with “green” jobs. But those would be mostly minimum-wage positions: hauling, installing, maintaining, dismantling, removing and landfilling turbines, panels and batteries. Moreover, most of those green technologies would be manufactured overseas, especially in China, because environmentalists battle any mining in the USA, and a climate-focused energy system would provide insufficient reliable, affordable power for factories.
Those huge and unprecedented amounts of mining and manufacturing would require fossil fuels. So the only thing that would change is where the fossil fuel use and emissions occur.
It would be mostly in Asia and Africa, in countries that are not obligated under the Paris climate treaty to reduce their fossil fuel use or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; countries that will build as many hundreds or thousands of coal and gas-fired power plants as needed to lift their people out of poverty … and make “green energy” technologies they will happily sell to America, Australia, Canada and Europe.
Authoritarian Policies Don’t Prevent Climate Change
That means, even if the US went cold-turkey on fossil fuels, it would make no difference to global GHG emissions or global atmospheric concentrations. And that means, even if carbon dioxide is the primary factor in climate change, destroying US and other modern economies would bring no climate benefits.
The EU’s and UK’s unwavering belief in human-caused climate cataclysms is already hammering its industries, workers and families, as numerous articles attest: here, here, here and here, for instance.
Climate Change Realities
Thankfully, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that assertions of Climate Armageddon have been miscalculated, exaggerated or fabricated. Average global temperatures are rising far less rapidly than predicted by climate models: by at least a half-degree F.
Violent (F4-F5) US tornadoes have actually declined in number the past 35 years (1985-2020) versus the previous 35 years (1950-1984); and in 2018 not one F5 tornado touched down in the United States. For a record twelve years, from Wilma in 2005 until Harvey and Irma in 2017, no Category 3 to 5 hurricane struck the US mainland. Overall, there is little or no trend in tropical cyclone activity or intensity.
All that is not surprising in light of new research by Drs. William Happer and Willem van Wijngaarden that strongly indicates even doubling carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases) in Earth’s atmosphere would have minuscule effects on global temperatures and climate (but would benefit plant growth).
Indeed, it is impossible to distinguish human influences from natural factors, fluctuations and cycles regarding temperatures, polar ice, storms and droughts. Some scientists certainly claim otherwise – and generally just blame humans.
Suppressing Debate, Undermines Science and Sound Policy
Sadly Whitehouse and other head-in-the-sand climate scolds have little or no actual, empirical evidence to support their claims, predictions and models. They simply say the science is settled, and we must ban fossil fuels, so shut up.
With so much at stake for America and the world, Whitehouse, et al.’s attempts to suppress debate are completely intolerable. At the very least, those claiming we face a climate calamity must be required to present solid empirical evidence to support their assertions – and engage in in robust, transparent debates with manmade climate change skeptics.
That is precisely what Senator Torquemada seems determined to prevent and punish, while transforming “the world’s greatest deliberative body” into a Russian Politburo or Chinese National People’s Congress – and an integral part of the $multi-trillion-per-year Climate Industrial Complex.
In that quest he would certainly be aided by the Big Media and Big Tech moguls who share his views on climate change, silencing scientists and evidence that contradicts climate cataclysm catechism, and blacklisting “climate heretics” in government, academic and corporate circles.
People have been conditioned to kowtow to government lockdown edicts, to save humanity from Covid. Climate alarmists assume we will now be sufficiently compliant about banning fossil fuels to “save the planet,” when we’re trying to recover from Covid. Or their Torquemadas will make us compliant.
It’s time to reject politicized junk science, demand debate, and resist green climate and energy edicts. Perhaps most of all, the US Senate must assert its Advice and Consent responsibilities on the Paris climate treaty, the most far-reaching international agreement Americans were ever asked to ratify.
Paul Driessen (firstname.lastname@example.org) is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate and human rights issues.