People’s Climate March and More: News Roundup for 9/22/14

Here are some of the important news stories and opinions from recent days.

Socialist Climate March: Among the signs displayed at the “People’s Climate March” in New York were these: “Capitalism Is Killing the Planet: Fight for a Socialist Future!” and “I’m Marching for Full Communism.” One might be tempted to believe that socialism was a cure in search of a problem, and that “climate change” is now that “problem.”

Epstein Reports: Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress interviewed people at the march and responded with his own pro-fossil fuel views. See his first, second, and third videos.

A New Consensus? John Fund writes, “One reason the rhetoric has become so overheated is that the climate-change activists increasingly lack a scientific basis for their most exaggerated claims.” Fund also quotes Roy Spencer, a former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA: “[T]he lack of surface warming in 17 years has forced those same scientists to now invoke natural climate change to supposedly cancel out the expected human-caused warming! . . . They fail to see that a climate system capable of cancelling out warming with natural cooling is also capable of causing natural warming in the first place.”

Cheap Solar? Vivek Wadhwa claims, “By 2020, solar energy will be price-competitive with energy generated from fossil fuels on an unsubsidized basis in most parts of the world. Within the next decade, it will cost a fraction of what fossil fuel-based alternatives do.” He bases his projection on recent decreases in the costs of solar, trends which may or may not continue. His article strikes me as long on wishful thinking and short on technical details. But, if this does happen, it would be wonderful—and the trend would help demonstrate that government should play no role in the matter.

Trees are Evil? Nadine Unger, “an assistant professor of atmospheric chemistry at Yale,” writes for the New York Times, “The assumption is that planting trees and avoiding further deforestation provides a convenient carbon capture and storage facility on the land.” But that’s wrong. “Considering all the interactions, large-scale increases in forest cover can actually make global warming worse.” The basic theory is that planting trees in cooler regions may reduce the amount of sunlight reflected back into space. Also, she writes, “Worse, trees emit reactive volatile gases that contribute to air pollution and are hazardous to human health.”

In other news:

Oil Exports: Mark Green writes, “The strong weight of new scholarship and analysis say that allowing exports of domestic crude will lower pump prices in this country—while also boosting economic growth, employment and wages and improving our balance of trade.”

Iran Murders Again: The Independent reports: “Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death.”

Arabian Collapse: “The Arab world today is more violent, unstable, fragmented and driven by extremism—the extremism of the rulers and those in opposition—than at any time since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago,” writes Hisham Melhem.

Elevator to the Sky: ABC reports, “Japanese construction giant Obayashi announces plans to have a space elevator up and running by 2050.”

McSnorter: According to Neatorama, a McDonald’s coffee stir spoon was a casualty of the drug war, because some people used them to snort cocaine.

Surveillance State: “A rapidly expanding digital network that uses cameras mounted to traffic signals and police cruisers captures the movements of millions of vehicles across the U.S., regardless of whether the drivers are being investigated by law enforcement,” the Associated Press reports.