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Jeffrey Sachs’s Hurricane Harvey Hate Speech (Houstonians, Texans should be offended)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 30, 2017

“Gov. Abbott, we would like to bid you a political adieu. Perhaps you can devote your time to rebuilding Houston and taking night classes in climate science.”

“And to ExxonMobil, Chevron, Koch Industries, ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, and other oil giants doing your business in Texas: You put up the first $25 billion in Houston disaster relief. Call it compensation for your emissions. Tell the truth about growing climate threats. Then, as citizens seeking the common good, we will match your stake.”

Jeffrey Sachs, “Sachs: Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott Needs to Resign,” CNN Opinion, August 29, 2017.

Sachs: Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott Needs to Resign,” screams the headline at CNN Opinion.

The author is Jeffrey Sachs, head of Columbia University’s The Earth Institute, which defines itself as “blend[ing] research in the physical and social sciences, education, and practical solutions to help guide the world onto a path toward sustainability.”

Sachs is not interested in bottom-up subsoil privatization and free-market capitalism to advance local, national, and global energy markets and to democratize wealth for ‘sustainability.’ He is a central planner who uses the rational of global climate change and other environmental nostrums to promote his view of ‘sustainability.’

And he is mad, heaping mad, at Houston and at Texas.

Sachs has let his hurricane of emotions overflow the rational banks of his mind. The new federal approach to the science, economics, and public policy of climate change has him incensed. Add the (worst-case path) of Hurricane Harvey (blamed on CO2 emissions) and you get a very angry, hateful editorial.

If Sachs and the Church of Climate thinks this will help their cause, it will not. It offends and will only add to the polarization with the great middle unmoved.

It remains to be seen if there is enough backlash to get Sachs to apologize. But in any case, he has scored negative political points.

Excerpts from the August 29th editorial follow:

“It’s important to politicize Hurricane Harvey. Not politics in the sense of political parties, or politics to win elections. Politics to protect America.”

“Once the immediate crisis ends, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, should resign with an apology to his state and his country. Then the Texas delegation in Congress should make a public confession. They have lied to their constituents for too long, expecting the rest of America to keep bailing them out.”
Texas politics aims to bring profits to the oil and gas industry, but it does this at high cost and dire threat to Texas residents and the American people.”
“… Houston is an oil town, and the American oil industry has been enemy No. 1 of climate truth and climate preparedness. Most oil companies and Texas politicians see nothing, say nothing, do nothing. Even worse, they hide the truth….”
“Abbott, for example, was the governor to sign a new law in 2015 that prevents cities and municipalities in Texas from setting their own regulations that might rein in oil and gas drilling activities. On his watch, Texas supported withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.”
“Over many years, he has raked in millions in campaign contributions from the oil industry, including in his former role as Texas attorney general, where he sued the Environmental Protection Agency repeatedly over rules designed to curb carbon emissions.”
” … climate change is making it all worse. The rise in the sea level, roughly a foot during the past century, means more flood surges. The warming of the Gulf of Mexico means more energy for hurricanes. The global warming also means more moisture in the atmosphere, enabling the catastrophic rains now inundating Houston and environs.”
” … relentless, pervasive climate change denial, the mother’s milk of Texas politics.”
“Gov. Abbott, we would like to bid you a political adieu. Perhaps you can devote your time to rebuilding Houston and taking night classes in climate science.”
“Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, you will soon be asking us for money to help Texas. My answer will be yes, if you stop spewing lies about climate dangers, agree to put US and Texas policy under the guidance of climate science, back measures to lower carbon emissions and stay in the Paris Climate Agreement. Then, of course, let’s help your constituents to rebuild.”
“And to ExxonMobil, Chevron, Koch Industries, ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, and other oil giants doing your business in Texas: You put up the first $25 billion in Houston disaster relief. Call it compensation for your emissions. Tell the truth about growing climate threats. Then, as citizens seeking the common good, we will match your stake.”
To be fair, Sach’s editorial weaves in a quite separate issue of flood control and flood protection.
There were countless reasons to fear the worst with Harvey, in addition to the obvious fact that Houston is a low-lying coastal region situated deeply within the Gulf of Mexico’s hurricane strike zone. Houston has been growing rapidly without attention to flood risk. Houston has experienced several serious floods in recent years. Houston narrowly dodged a bullet in 2008 when Hurricane Ike swerved away from a direct hit on the city just before landfall.
But this is a separate issue from exaggerated views of the human influence on climate. The issue is economics and incentives created by public authorities versus private parties.
Insurance companies will adjust their premiums because of this worst case event, and yes, government should not subsidize insurance to (government) socialize the costs of risky building. But to spew hate toward Texas politicians who rightly reject climate alarmism is beyond the pale.


  1. Willem Post  

    Jeffrey Sachs was advising the drunkard Yeltsin some years ago on how to transform the Russian economy to be like the US.

    This meant his schemes helped facilitate wholesale stealing by Russian oligarchs of Russian State assets, that were then partially sold, at high multiples, to foreign financial interests, with the proceeds staying in foreign tax havens, such as Gibraltar, Crete, Panama.

    Putin booted him and many other such advisers out of Russia to save the Russian economy from further ruin and foreign takeover.


  2. John W. Garrett  

    Sachs is a perfect example of how it is possible to be repeatedly wrong about almost everything and still be showered with government funds.


  3. Stephanie Van Houten  

    Jealousy is such an ugly emotion, isn’t it?


  4. JavelinaTex  

    If it wasn’t for the oil industry the greater Houston area would probably have about 300,000 residents; not 6,600,000 residents.


  5. Jeffrey Eric Grant  

    There is no empirical scientific study that has concluded that an increased atmospheric temperature (over approx. 2 degrees C/100 years) is caused by an increased CO2 level. Therefore, to reduce atmospheric temperatures, one must do something other than reduce the emitted CO2. Science has not determined just what effort will help. Rather than just blame Energy companies, a concerned scientist must help determine the cause for the alarm and what may be done to counteract it.


    • Willem Post  

      The temperature increase from pre-industrial, about 1860, has been 1 C. COP21 is a non-binding, CO2 emission reduction agreement, which aims to limit the world temperature to 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level during the 1861 – 1880 period by 2100. By 2015, the increase was about 1.0 C since pre-industrial. That leaves just 1.0 C to go by 2100, if a 2 C increase is the limit, or 0.5 C, if a 1.5 C increase is the limit. This may appear minor, but it is not, because present trends point to much higher temperature increases by 2100. The below data is based on UNEP estimates. To obtain a PDF Google “UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2016”

      1) The world CO2eq emissions, all sources, were about 52.7 billion metric ton in 2014, per IPCC/EPA.

      2) The world CO2eq emissions, all sources, are on a “business as usual” trajectory to become about 64.7 billion Mt by 2030, per IPCC. If so, computer models indicate the temperature increase would be about 4.3 C above pre-industrial by 2100, per IPCC.

      3) The world CO2eq emissions, all sources, would be about 59.4 billion Mt by 2030, if all policies and pledges, made prior to COP21, were fully implemented. If so, the temperature increase would be about 3.7 C above pre-industrial by 2100.

      4) With full implementation of unconditional COP21 pledges by 2030, the increase would be about 3.2 C by 2100.

      5) With full implementation of unconditional plus conditional pledges by 2030, the increase would be about 3.0 C by 2100.

      6) With additional reduction of 12 – 14 billion Mt by 2030 (gap no. 1), the increase would be about 2.0 C by 2100.

      7) With additional reduction of 15 – 17 billion Mt by 2030 (gap no. 2), the increase would be about 1.5 C by 2100.


  6. Jeffrey Eric Grant  

    Bill, all of your references are to IPCC/EPA. These groups are using computer models to help them make their projections. The computer models assume that temperature increases are mainly caused by anthropogenic CO2 increases, (with an additional increase from natural sources) as well as anthropogenic land use changes.

    None of the above assumptions rely on an empirical scientific study that has concluded that increased temperature is caused by an increased CO2 concentration. Therefore, any and all effort to limit anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 concentrations may have absolutely no effect on global temperatures!

    BTW, the CO2 increases from the USA has been sharply reduced already – way ahead of any other country’s pledges; with no effect on global temperatures. We have not even seen a decrease in the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2 concentration.


    • Willem Post  

      I purposely used UN numbers to avoid controversyif I has used some other numbers, and to make the other points in my article.

      Please read the article. It already has had thousands of views on several websites.


      • Jeffrey Eric Grant  

        Hi Willem,
        I am an Engineer with some Environmental background. I am not a scientist. However, I have been seeking knowledge in this field for the past 10 years (since IPCC’s AR4).

        The point I am trying to highlight here is that the underlying science has not been fully developed and that the world (IPCC) is speeding toward an environment where much money will be transferred and economies transformed. I suspect at that point, the political response would be “of course it saved the world from disaster”. There would be no reference to any supposed alternative mitigation measures – since they were not implemented. Nor, perhaps would they have been needed!

        That is the reason for the long projection – no one will be alive at that time who could remember the promises given.

        I certainly would not be in favor of such action unless it had a “proven” chance of success. Limiting atmospheric CO2 has no chance of limiting atmospheric temperature beyond 1 to 2 degrees/doubling of CO2 concentration. That amount of warming is beneficial to all life forms on earth.


  7. John DeFayette  

    The “Global warming made it worse” argument is the apex of fatuous, and the fact we are being inundated with it points to the vacuousness of the alarmists’ bag of tricks. Is anyone really taken in by such crap, or is it only one more banner for the convinced to rally around?

    As for Sachs, he apparently admits that Houston’s flooding problems are due to the city’s sprawl and it’s geography. Since he knows as much, then his preceding argument can only be seen as arising from pure cynical manipulation. You don’t need to be fair to a charlatan like him.


  8. Amy Myers Jaffe: Anger at Fossil Fuel Dominance (remembering Jeffrey Sachs too) - Master Resource  

    […] Sachs’s fossil-fuel hate speech lives in infamy, just another exaggeration in a Malthusian house of intellectual horrors. Amy Myers Jaffe’s similar outburst of April 16th lives in infamy as well. […]


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