The Pope, Climate Change And VW

While Pope Francis shuttled around during his historic visit to the U.S. in a Fiat, he shared the news cycle with Volkswagen.

The pope made headlines with his calls for action on climate change. USA Today touted: “Obama, Pope Francis praise each other on climate change.” In his September 23 speech from the White House lawn, the Pope addressed President Obama, saying: “I find it encouraging that you are introducing an initiative for reducing air pollution.”

The core of the entire climate change agenda is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, which proponents like to call “air pollution.”

The drive to cut CO2 emissions is at the root of Volkswagen’s unprecedented scandal.

With nonstop coverage of the papal activities, the Volkswagen story was likely overlooked by most Americans. But it is not going away.

On September 18, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency disclosed the scandal: Europe’s biggest auto maker, with 600,000 employees world-wide and 300,000 in Germany, utilized software on some VW and Audi diesel-powered cars to manipulate the results of routine emissions tests—allowing them to pass strict emissions standards in Europe and the U.S. The “defeat devices” have reportedly been fitted to more than 11 million vehicles since 2008, and may cost Volkswagen up to $18 billion in fines in the U.S. alone. Owners of the impacted vehicles will need to have a heretofore unavailable “fix” installed and may have to provide a “proof of correction certificate” in order to renew their registration and will suffer “loss due to the diminished value of the cars.” As a result of the scandal, Volkswagen’s stock price and reputation have both fallen precipitously, and class-action lawsuits are already taking shape. Fund managers have been banned from buying VW’s stocks and bonds. Tens of thousands of new cars may remain unsold. US News stated: “Whoever is responsible could face criminal charges in Germany.”

The question no one seems to be asking is: what would drive Europe’s biggest auto maker to make such a costly decision, to take a risk from which it may be impossible to recover?

While the question isn’t asked, Reuters’ coverage of the story offers the answer: “Diesel engines use less fuel and emit less carbon—blamed for global warming—than standard gasoline engines. But they emit higher levels of toxic gases known as nitrogen oxides.”

In short, the answer is the drive to lower CO2 emissions and the policies that encourage reduction.

If anyone could solve the dilemma, one would expect it to be the Germans, who excel in engineering feats. The reality of achieving the goals, however, is far more difficult than passing the legislation calling for the energy transformation.

Addressing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s push for de-carbonization, Bloomberg Business points out: “Merkel has built a reputation as a climate crusader during a decade as Chancellor.” She “has straddled between pushing to reduce global warming while protecting her country’s auto industry.”

Merkel is apparently bumping up against reality. Those tighter emissions standards would have hurt Germany’s auto industry. At last week’s Frankfurt Auto Show, Merkel said: “We have to ensure politically that what’s doable can indeed be translated into law, but what’s not doable mustn’t become European law.”

The VW emissions scandal provides a lesson in the collision of economic and environmental policies that strive to reach goals which are presently technologically unachievable.

The fact that, while waving the flag of environmental virtue advocated by Pope Francis, those with the world’s best engineering at their fingertips used their expertise to develop a work-around should serve as a lesson to policymakers who pass legislation and regulation on ideology rather than reality.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Unbelievable: Alarmists Want Skeptics Prosecuted Under RICO

They haven’t employed the thumb screws, rack or auto-da-fe that churches and states once used to interrogate, silence and eliminate heretics and witches. However, global warming alarmists are well practiced in the modern equivalents, to protect their $1.5-trillion Climate Crisis Industry.

They see only what they want to see, and publicize only what they want us to see. They refuse to debate anyone who questions the nature, severity or reality of “manmade climate change dangers” that are the foundation of their demands that we slash fossil fuel use, lower our living standards, and accept global government planning of economies and massive climate “adaptation and reparation” payments.

They collude to hide and manipulate data, and employ computer models that make the Little Ice Age disappear and global temperatures climb rapidly after 1950. They pressure editors to keep contrarian papers out of scientific journals, and present false claims that 97% of scientists agree that humans are causing dangerous climate change. They take billions from government agencies whose policies and regulations they promote. They blindly ignore the serious adverse effects that their policies have on blue-collar families and the world’s poor. Imbued with religious zeal, now they’re really ramping it up.

Led by Jagadish Shukla and four associates at his George Mason University-based Institute of Global Environment and Society, NCAR researcher Kevin Trenberth and 14 little-known “climate scientists” joined in signing anastounding letter that shows how far they will go to defend their turf and cause.

It asks President Obama, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Obama science advisor John Holdren to investigate “organizations that have knowingly deceived the American people about the risks of climate change,” under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The letter claims the organizations’ actions “have been extensively documented,” and their “misdeeds” must be “stopped as soon as possible,” so that the world can “restabilize the Earth’s climate, before even more lasting damage is done” to human health, agriculture, biodiversity and the world’s poorest people.

The letter’s ironies, fallacies and falsehoods are almost too numerous to recount.

First, the attack on skeptic scientists was launched from a university named for George Mason, the patriot who wrote the original Virginia version of our Bill of Rights. They include freedom of speech, association, assembly, petitioning our government, and not having livelihoods and other property unreasonably seized. Sadly, it reflects the appalling state of “academic freedom” on too many campuses, which today celebrate every kind of diversity except diversity of opinion.

Second, this action is a blatant effort to (a) coerce, intimidate, slander and silence scientists and organizations that question human-caused climate dangers; (b) forcibly shut down skeptic research, funding, speech and publication; (c) destroy skeptics’ funding, businesses and livelihoods; (d) protect alarmist funding, standing and influence; and (e) bankrupt skeptics, who would have to spend personal fortunes responding to RICO charges and a Justice Department that has limitless resources at its disposal.

Third, the RICO-20 signed their names as members of university faculties and government agencies – suggesting that they represent their organizations and/or these organizations endorse their efforts. If that is the case, it represents another blatant double standard – and a tacit endorsement of the RICO agenda.

Will those institutions now demand that the RICO-20 remove any mention of their affiliations? Will they step forward to vigorously defend academic freedom, constitutional rights, and a scientific method that is severely undermined by this letter and other toxic battles over manmade climate cataclysm claims?

Fourth, RICO is used to prosecute underlying patterns or practices of criminal behavior. This letter may constitute just “acting out.” But whether it represents a pattern of alarmist parties illegally engaging in items (a) through (e) above by calling for criminal prosecution of climate skeptics – or whether opposing the ideological and political campaign for the anti-fossil fuel climate agenda constitutes the required “criminal enterprise” – remains unanswered.

In any event, the “misdeeds” alluded to in the RICO-20 letter are studies, reports and discussions that contradict alarmist allegations and what skeptics charge are exaggerations, fabrications and computer model failures that underlie those claims. This extensive library of challenges to the climate chaos thesis includes peer-reviewed NIPCC Climate Change Reconsidered reports, international climate skeptic conferences, and numerous articles, op-eds, interviews and briefings. They clearly undermine climate chaos theory, but they are protected free speech and reflect honest, replicable science.

This raises the fifth point, that “racketeering” means conducting a “racket.” The term is commonly understood to mean fraudulently offering to solve a problem, because the problem does not actually exist and/or the proffered “solution” would do nothing to solve the problem. Many would say this definition accurately describes the Climate Crisis Industry.

Climate change has been “real” throughout Earth and human history. Driven by powerful natural forces that we do not yet understand and certainly cannot control, it has ranged from gradual to sudden, from beneficial to harmful or even devastating. Contrary to alarmist assertions and computer models, there is still no observational evidence that what we are experiencing today: is different from what our ancestors confronted; is now driven by plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide instead of by the natural forces of yore; or could be prevented or controlled by ending fossil fuel use and dramatically lowering our living standards.

In fact, the notion that we can “restabilize” an unstable and frequently fluctuating planetary climate is ludicrous. So is any claim that carbon-based fuels are superfluous or readily dispensable – or that they are more damaging to human health, agriculture, biodiversity and the world’s poorest people than eliminating those fuels and relying on expensive, land-intensive, unreliable wind, solar and biofuel “substitutes.”

Equally doubtful is any suggestion that the IGES/COLA (Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies) can understand or predict Earth’s ongoing climate variations by focusing on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and ignoring the solar, cosmic, oceanic and other natural forces that govern climate.

However, IGES/COLA derived 99.6% of its 2014 funding ($3.8 million in taxpayer money) from NASA, NOAA and the National Science Foundation, according to IRS Form 990 and other documents. Under the Obama Administration, those agencies have been almost completely co-opted by the alarmist climate agenda – and would likely terminate funding for any organization that expressed doubts about CO2, reduced its focus on greenhouse gases, or reengineered its climate models to reflect the full panoply of natural forces and thereby better assure accurate monsoon and climate forecasting.

Indeed, the latest Form 990 reveals that Dr. Shukla and his wife received salaries and other compensation totaling $499,145 in 2014 from their tax-exempt research organization. Dr. Shukla worked there only part-time, and his $333,048 compensation package “was presumably on top of his $250,866-per-year [George Mason] academic salary.” That totals $750,000 a year to the RICO-20 leader and his family “from public money for climate work & going after skeptics,” Professor Roger Pielke, Jr. wrote.

The ultimate irony would be an evenhanded investigation that exonerates the skeptic organizations that the RICO-20 want investigated – and results in charges against multiple corporations and organizations (and government agencies?) that engaged in collusion, data manipulation, junk modeling and other deceitful climate research practices that have been highlighted over the years.

The Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups could well be what inspired the now fashionable idea of using the Justice Department to prosecute political opponents. The failure of the IRS and DOJ to penalize any of the perpetrators in those cases suggests that prosecution of alarmist fraud or racketeering is highly unlikely under the current administration.

However, the new 2017 administration could take a very different position. At the very least, a new Congress and Executive Branch could derail the climate alarm money train, initiate robust (and long overdue) debate on climate science and models, provide equal funding to skeptics, and end the alarmism. Potential sauce for the gander should make Dr. Shukla and fellow alarmists think twice about their tactic.

This RICO travesty shows how desperate alarmists have become. They are losing the climate science fight. Their models are increasingly contradicted by reality. Their ad hominem attacks will ultimately fail.

They also face major odds in Paris, where they may get a toothless treaty that makes empty promises to redistribute hundreds of billions of dollars from Formerly Rich Countries whose energy use and economic growth are hobbled – but places no binding emission targets on poor countries that will keep developing, burning coal and sending atmospheric carbon dioxide levels ever higher … with no effect on the climate.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Holy Socialist Central Planning

In his recent speech to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis declared that “the common good is the chief aim of all politics” and that “freedom requires love of the common good.” Legislation is “always based on care for the public,” the pontiff pontificated. Only a naïve child could believe such a thing.

The pope said these things in the context of imploring the Congress to adopt some kind of Soviet-style central planning of the economy in the name of “fighting global warming,” while simultaneously exploding American welfare state spending by extending welfare benefits to all welfare parasites from every Third World nation on the planet. Thus, if “Catholic social teaching” stands for anything these days, it stands for international socialism and egalitarianism gone wild.

In the context of politics, there is no such thing as “the common good”; for such a concept implies unanimity, and politics is never unanimous, especially in a country of over 300 million people.  Moreover, if everyone agrees on a course of action, then there is no need for government to coerce us into doing it. There is no need for government at all in such instances.

As Ludwig von Mises pointed out in his book, Liberalism, the only sense in which “the common good” or “the public interest” makes any sense is in the case where property rights are well protected. Secure property rights, wrote Mises, is the shortest road to peace and prosperity. All legislation, however, is an attack on property rights because it invariably involves the placement of widely-dispersed burden on the majority for the benefit of a well-organized minority or special interest. All legislation is the result of rent- or plunder-seeking by special-interest groups, or by the state itself in order to expand its powers and budgets. As such, all politics is the mortal enemy of anything that can be construed as “the common good,” exactly the opposite of the pope’s declarations.

Politics is the ultimate “robbing Peter to pay Paul” scam. Peter, the hapless taxpayer, is effectively blindfolded so that he can be robbed for the benefit of Paul, the greedy special interest who kicks back some of the loot to his political patrons in the form of votes and “campaign contributions.” Peter is “blindfolded” by the tricks of deficit spending and money printing, which hide the true costs of government, as well as the concentrated benefits/dispersed costs gambit whereby a small tax is imposed on the many to finance large benefits for the few and well connected.

Politics is thus never based on “care for the public,” as the pope said. It is based on the self-interest of politicians. Their “chief aim” is not “the common good,” but keeping their jobs and expanding their pay, perks, and powers, the public be damned.

The rhetoric of “the common good” began with the French philosopher Rousseau, the intellectual godfather of communism and hater of private property. The common good, said Rousseau, is something that is known to an elite in society. This special knowledge supposedly gives them the right to impose their will on all others. The communists certainly took this idea to an extreme, slaughtering tens of millions of dissenters; but all statists, including Pope Francis, rely on the same rhetoric. They rely on repetition, obfuscation, and rhetorical game playing instead of terror and mass murder to get the public to acquiesce in their plans for international socialism with themselves, the world elite, in charge.

When socialism collapsed once and for all in the Soviet empire and elsewhere in the late 1980s/early 1990s, socialist intellectuals did not just throw in the towel. Many of them took the advice of the socialist/environmentalist guru Barry Commoner, who wrote in The New Yorker magazine that socialists should no longer advocate central planning in the name of helping “the people.” People Schmeople. It should be sold, said Commoner, in the name of “saving the planet” from capitalism. Thus, the “watermelons” were born – green on the outside, red on the inside. The pope is a recent convert to watermelon socialism with his embrace of the “global warming” hysterics’ agenda. Religious figures like himself were always looked upon by Machiavellians like Commoner as useful idiots, to borrow the phrase from Stalin. They send the message that socialist central planning is somehow God’s will – as though humans can know what is in God’s mind.

If American welfare spending explodes by extending benefits to millions of new Third World peasant immigrants, the Catholic Church stands to make a killing. Catholic Charities receives more than half of all of its revenue from government grants. As a recipient of these grants, it is forbidden from teaching Catholicism to the beneficiaries of its “charity.” It is a welfare state conduit, which goes a long way toward explaining the pope’s wild enthusiasm for Third World immigrants. It is the same agenda, in fact, of Ted Kennedy, the author of the 1965 federal immigration law that greatly reduced immigration quotas from Northern Europe while opening up the flood gates of Third World immigrants who Kennedy knew would be reliable Democratic voters/welfare parasites (See Peter Brimelow, Alien Nation).

If the Congress were to adopt the pope’s agenda of socialist central planning in the name of “saving the planet,” coupled with the internationalization of the American welfare state, it would be charting a course to become a Third World country.  At that point, the socialist intellectuals –and perhaps even a future pope – would inevitably blame it all on “capitalism.”

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; ;Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe, How Capitalism Saved America, Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today. His latest book is Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government.

This article was originally posted on and is reprinted here under a Creative Commons license

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Here’s The Pope’s Problem

I’ve been a Roman Catholic since 1954.

I have great respect for Pope Francis. When it comes to matters of faith and morals, what he says, goes.

But when it comes to politics and economics, the pope is about as far from infallible as anyone can get.

For example, he was in Cuba earlier this week, meeting informally with Fidel Castro and touring the island to say Masses and meet with priests.

Apparently, the pope was having such a good time he forgot that for more than half a century, Cuba has been a rotten communist prison camp–and his hosts Fidel, and his brother Raul, have been the wardens.

The people of Cuba have been denied every basic human freedom there is, plus they’ve been impoverished en masse and deprived of the simple blessings of modern life by the Castros’ brand of atheistic socialism.

Yet apparently, Pope Francis couldn’t see the barbed wire that still surrounds Fidel’s broken-down paradise.

His visit to Cuba was a perfect chance for him to throw his moral weight around and shame the Castro brothers before the whole world.

But unlike John Paul II, who went to Communist Poland to encourage the creation of Solidarity and meet with its brave leaders, Francis ignored the existence of Cuba’s political dissenters and prisoners of conscience.

How great would it have been if Pope Francis had stood in Havana Cathedral and delivered a “Mr. Castro, cut down that barbed wire” sermon?

Instead, in the poorest and least free dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere, he warned the people against letting riches rule your life.

Getting too rich and losing your spiritual values is the last thing the poor of Cuba need to fear right now.

I’m afraid Pope Francis wouldn’t get that joke because, unfortunately, he really does think capitalism and its love child, manmade climate change, are the world’s two biggest problems.

Not ISL taking territory and beheading people. Not terrorism. Not the Syrian refugees. Not a nuclear Iran. Not the civil wars in Ukraine or Yemen or Libya or Iraq. Not the poverty or lack of electricity or clean water for half of Africa. Not a hundred other things.

Global warming and capitalism. Seriously.

On Wednesday, one of the first things the pope did in Washington was call for a fight against climate change, which he said is a planetary crisis so serious it “can no longer be left to future generations.”

He didn’t explain how spending hundreds of billions of dollars to lower the global temperature a tenth of degree a hundred years from now will help the poor, because it’s unexplainable even for a pope.

Before he heads back to Rome, Francis will surely get around to scolding America for the inequalities of its capitalist economic system and the greed of Wall Street.

But like so many Americans of the liberal faith, he has capitalism and socialism backwards.

It’s capitalism that has made America the wealthiest and most generous country in the history of mankind and has brought forth everything we eat, use and enjoy.

It’s capitalism and freedom, not socialism and its chains, that have brought a much better life on Earth for billions of the poor souls the pope cares so much about.

Does the pope realize that 401(k)s and pension funds owe their good returns to the health of Wall Street and the stock market?

Or that most of the enormous wealth the Catholic Church has acquired over the centuries was generated by greedy immoral capitalism?

I bet not.

Pope Francis is rightly praised for caring deeply about the poor and the marginalized.

But he’ll never figure out how to actually help them until he understands what made America so wealthy and stops worrying about the wrong things.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Not All Energy Is Created Equal

On September 17, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, with bipartisan support, advanced legislation to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude-oil exports—which is expected to receive a full floor vote within a matter of weeks.

Ending this obsolete ban would unleash America’s energy producers on the global market, increasing domestic production and creating jobs. Additionally, reports from experts indicate that it will also lower prices at the pump.

Due to President Obama’s threatened veto, getting the Democrats on board may require giving them something they want. Morning Consult recently reported: “Momentum is building in Congress to repeal the antiquated ban on exporting crude oil. Lawmakers and energy industry representatives are talking about other energy policies that could be swapped or combined to achieve that objective. Renewable energy tax credits are part of the equation.”

Those “renewable energy tax credits” are mainly the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) and solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Like the oil-export ban, the wind PTC is an archaic policy that has no place in today’s reality of energy abundance.

Passed by Congress in 1992, the PTC costs taxpayers like you and me billions each year. Americans pay for wind twice: first in their tax bills, then in their utility bills. Electricity generated from new wind facilities is between three and four times as expensive as that from existing coal and nuclear power plants, according to a new study from the Institute for Energy Research.

Despite the mountain of evidence against wind energy, this summer, the Senate Finance Committee rushed through a package of expired tax provisions, including the wind PTC. Now, wind lobbyists are looking for a legislative “vehicle” to latch on to, preferably one with bipartisan support, to push through another PTC extension without a fair hearing—which is why they’re eyeing the oil-export bill.

According to The Hill, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said he could consider lifting the ban “only if it’s tied to a permanent extension of the wind and solar tax credits.”

Swapping the PTC for oil exports is a bad deal. Lifting the ban deserves to pass in its own right. But what many don’t realize is that trading the PTC for oil exports is also a Faustian bargain that furthers President Obama’s destructive climate-change agenda.

Obama’s sweeping new carbon regulations, known as the “Clean Power Plan”—finalized in August—require states to drastically cut carbon dioxide emissions. It does this by shuttering low-cost coal plants and building expensive new wind and solar facilities. The problem: wind and solar are unsustainable without massive taxpayer handouts like the PTC and ITC and market-distorting mandates like state Renewable Portfolio Standards.

The wind PTC is vital to Obama’s carbon regulations. His plan depends on exponential wind growth, and the wind industry depends on government handouts like the PTC to avoid total collapse, let alone grow.

Congress must strip the PTC out of tax extenders and refuse to use wind subsidies as a bargaining chip. The two are totally unrelated. One is a liquid fuel used primarily for transportation. The other is a way to generate electricity, albeit inefficiently, ineffectively and uneconomically. One helps our trade deficit problem and increases revenues as FuelFix reports: “liberalizing crude trade spurs more domestic production, with a resulting boost in government revenue from the activity.” The other is a hidden tax that hurts all Americans.

By rejecting an extension of the wind PTC and lifting the ban on oil exports, Congress would end corporate welfare for wind lobbyists, deal a blow to Obama’s costly carbon regulations, and free America’s entrepreneurs to provide abundant, affordable, and reliable energy for all.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by