This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
Donald Trump's victory in the recent US Predidential election is great news for AGW sceptics. It has the potential to be the biggest setback for the international Green lobby that I have seen in my lifetime. This cartoon by Josh on the Bishop Hill blog pretty much sums up the reaction:
Bishop Hill seems to have virtually given up posting on his blog in the last six months, and Josh is now the main person contributing material for the blog.
For people unfamiliar with Trump's climate and energy policy, this post on WUWT gives some idea:
In the UK we didn't get much coverage of Trump's policies in our news media. The main narrative that seemed to be put forward by our media was that Trump was a joke and unfit to be President, but that Hillary Clinton was so unpopular that Trump still had a very small chance of winning.
Trump could prove a very powerful president. he seems to have hit a "planetary lineout" situation where not only does he become a republican president with a republican majority in both houses,that majority strengthened on the back of his campaign.
In theory, he should not be cramped by an opposition majority in either of the houses as other presidents have been.
But he is not the establishment choice not even with republicans..... however, he is the choice of the electorate and the establishment would do well to work with him, not against.
One of the possible effects of a Trump presidency is that it looks like he may heavily reduce NASA's activities in the climate change research area, and generally re-direct NASA back to its original mission of space exploration. This recent news article discusses this idea:
One of Trump's advisers, Bob Walker, has said that NASA has been reduced to "a logistics agency concentrating on space station resupply and politically correct environmental monitoring".
I think Walker is right about that, but as I remember it, it was Ronald Reagan in the 1980s that turned NASA into what it is today. Reagan seemed to be favourably disposed to the idea of trying to somehow unify the world through space technology. In 1984 Reagan came up with the idea of a permanent human presence in space in the form of the "International Space Station", and then in 1988 following lobbying by a group of leading US scientists, he signed up to the idea of using space technology for environmental monitoring of the Earth:
Trump's advisers favour the idea of going back to manned missions to the moon, including the idea of setting up a human colony on the moon.
One space exploration project I would like to see would be the landing of an advanced spacecraft on Venus, maybe something like the Curiosity rover sent to Mars but able to withstand the much harsher operating conditions applicable to Venus, to investigate the source of its high surface temperature of 450 deg C. Is it due to a super greenhouse effect caused by the Venusian thick CO2 atmosphere as claimed by Carl Sagan and James Hansen, or is it simply due to internal heating from the planet itself? Hansen's main personal motivation for climate change research was that he was worried about Earth turning into Venus as a result of fossil fuel burning, which he called the 'Venus Syndrome'. It always struck me that it would be a much better idea just to send a spacecraft to Venus than have Hansen do his theoretical research.
The future Trump presidency continues to show very encouraging signs for sceptics of AGW and Greenery. The Guardian has carried out a useful assessment of Trump's picks for his Cabinet so far:
The only Green-leaning person picked by Trump so far appears to be somebody called Betsy DeVos, representing education.
Unfortunately we're a long way from seeing this sort of backlash against Greenery happening in the UK any time soon. In the polling carried out by Lord Ashcroft following the EU Referendum, which was linked to in the "Cavaliers and Roundheads" thread, the UK public apparently regards 'The Green Movement' as being as a 'Force for Good' at 57%, a 'Force for Ill' at 20%, and a Mixed Blessing at 23%. The Force for Ill rating rises to 28% for Conservative voters and 39% for UKIP voters. [I suspect that the definition of what 'The Green Movement' is that many had in mind might be quite broad - to some, like me, the Green movement is mainly associated with the likes of Greenpeace and Caroline Lucas, whereas to others it might also be associated with David Attenborough and the Lake District] But if the 20% Force for Ill figure was relected in the composition of the UK Parliament, then 130 MPs (20% of 650) should be anti-Green. My guess would be that the actual number of anti-Green MPs currently in the House of Commons is only a very small fraction of that, possibly not even making it to double figures. Only four MPs voted against the introduction of the Climate Change Act in 2008.
The only anti-Green party in the UK is effectively UKIP, and they have a discouraging tendency not to put a great deal of effort into their anti-Green position. For example, an anti-Green party would be expected on principle to have a put up a candidate against the former Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith in the recent Richmond Park by-election, as Goldsmith is one of the UK's most prominent Greenies, but they declined to do so.
What I really miss is seeing our bending author able to write his monthly numbers pieces.
Since June 2016 he has a lot to crow about and if I were him I know I'd like to think that what I had done was in its way a contribution to bringing about the Brexit referendum which in turn may have helped with the belief factor which helped Trump to win. And a Trump win brings the prospect of the collapse of AGW and the warmist campaign.
There have been times before then when it seemed it was all just shouting at the wind. But all the acts of all those people who did stand up for what they saw as right cannot but have helped.
The last six months of 2016 seem to be full of useful and encouraging omens in so many ways.
While wishing and hoping all is as well as can be expected for our bending author and his wife, one realises that these are obviously very difficult times or else he would indeed have made something out of these events.
Yes, it would be interesting to see some posts from JEB in this new era, when for what is probably the first time in the 16 year history of Number Watch, events are actually going in a favourable direction.
JEB would I think be very pleased by the EU Referendum result, and also pleased by the subsequent resignation by David Cameron as leader of the Conservative party. However I don't think JEB was too keen on the prospect of Donald Trump as US President. In this piece written back in Feb 2016:
The Western revolt against the unpopular but entrenched political classes has now moved from Britain to the USA, with the start of the drearily prolonged beauty parade that is the presidential race. Dangerous times! The history of revolutions shows that they rarely produce the results that the revolutionaries desire. As in Britain, there is seriously left wing opportunist in the offing, but there is also a somewhat weird right winger, offering vaguely defined nostrums rather than actual policies. As the alleged old Chinese curse has it “May you live in interesting times”."
I would guess that the 'seriously left wing opportunist' was Bernie Sanders, and the 'somewhat weird right winger' was Donald Trump.
My view is that Trump had to behave in an unconventional (or weird) manner because he was trying to get into office without really having any friends in the news media, and he needed to appeal to a lot of people who don't normally vote.
In addition to Trump being possibly the first Western leader who might be described as being anti-Green, I think we might end up with a more peaceful world with Trump, with reduced tensions between the West and Russia. The USA and Europe seemed to be showing an increasingly antagonistic tendency towards Russia during the Obama presidency, and I got the impression that a lot of that antagonism was associated with Putin's Russia not being as 'socially liberal' as the liberal West would like it to be. Trump is less likely to care whether Russia is socially liberal or not.