Thursday, April 24, 2014



"We do not recycle. We teach our daughter not to recycle"

This letter was sent by Steven Landsburg, professor of economics at the University of Rochester and the author of several popular books on the subject, to his daughter's teacher. It concerns the school's attempts to indoctrinate the girl in environmentalism. The letter forms part of an article by Landsburg in which he discusses the need for pluralism and respect for those with different views, noting how these environmentalists seem to fail on both counts.

Dear Rebecca:

When we lived in Colorado, Cayley was the only Jewish child in her class. There were also a few Moslems. Occasionally, and especially around Christmas time, the teachers forgot about this diversity and made remarks that were appropriate only for the Christian children. These remarks came rarely, and were easily counteracted at home with explanations that different people believe different things, so we chose not to say anything at first. We changed our minds when we overheard a teacher telling a group of children that if Santa didn't come to your house, it meant you were a very bad child; this was within earshot of an Islamic child who certainly was not going to get a visit from Santa. At that point, we decided to share our concerns with the teachers. They were genuinely apologetic and there were no more incidents. I have no doubt that the teachers were good and honest people who had no intent to indoctrinate, only a certain naïveté derived from a provincial upbringing.

Perhaps that same sort of honest naïveté is what underlies the problems we've had at the JCC this year. Just as Cayley's teachers in Colorado were honestly oblivious to the fact that there is diversity in religion, it may be that her teachers at the JCC have been honestly oblivious that there is diversity in politics.

Let me then make that diversity clear. We are not environmentalists. We ardently oppose environmentalists. We consider environmentalism a form of mass hysteria akin to Islamic fundamentalism or the War on Drugs. We do not recycle. We teach our daughter not to recycle. We teach her that people who try to convince her to recycle, or who try to force her to recycle, are intruding on her rights.

The preceding paragraph is intended to serve the same purpose as announcing to Cayley's Colorado teachers that we are not Christians. Some of them had never been aware of knowing anybody who was not a Christian, but they adjusted pretty quickly.

Once the Colorado teachers understood that we and a few other families did not subscribe to the beliefs that they were propagating, they instantly apologized and stopped. Nobody asked me what exactly it was about Christianity that I disagreed with; they simply recognized that they were unlikely to change our views on the subject, and certainly had no business inculcating our child with opposite views.

I contrast this with your reaction when I confronted you at the preschool graduation. You wanted to know my specific disagreements with what you had taught my child to say. I reject your right to ask that question. The entire program of environmentalism is as foreign to us as the doctrine of Christianity. I was not about to engage in detailed theological debate with Cayley's Colorado teachers and they would not have had the audacity to ask me to. I simply asked them to lay off the subject completely, they recognized the legitimacy of the request, and the subject was closed.

I view the current situation as far more serious than what we encountered in Colorado for several reasons. First, in Colorado we were dealing with a few isolated remarks here and there, whereas at the JCC we have been dealing with a systematic attempt to inculcate a doctrine and to quite literally put words in children's mouths. Second, I do not sense on your part any acknowledgment that there may be people in the world who do not share your views. Third, I am frankly a lot more worried about my daughter's becoming an environmentalist than about her becoming a Christian. Fourth, we face no current threat of having Christianity imposed on us by petty tyrants; the same can not be said of environmentalism. My county government never tried to send me a New Testament, but it did send me a recycling bin.

Although I have vowed not to get into a discussion on the issues, let me respond to the one question you seemed to think was very important in our discussion: Do I agree that with privilege comes responsibility? The answer is no. I believe that responsibilities arise when one undertakes them voluntarily. I also believe that in the absence of explicit contracts, people who lecture other people on their "responsibilities" are almost always up to no good. I tell my daughter to be wary of such people — even when they are preschool teachers who have otherwise earned a lot of love.

Sincerely,

Steven Landsburg

SOURCE





There's no such thing as a natural world any more

Yesterday was Earth Day, a celebration of our planet and all of its natural splendor. There's a problem, though, with this conception of environmentalism, which, like Earth Day, was invented in the 1970s. And it's a big one: there is literally no such thing as “nature” anymore.

As Christopher Mims wrote for Motherboard a couple years ago, the natural world—independent of us—simply no longer exists.

[A]ny attempt to talk about the 21st century without acknowledging that every living thing on the planet will be altered by humans is intellectually bankrupt. There is no “nature” left — only the portion of nature that we allow to live because we imagine it serves some purpose — as a thing to eat, a place to reprocess our waste, or an idea that fulfills our dwindling desire to maintain “the natural” for aesthetic or ideological reasons.

Whether bulldozed or clear-cut, fished, farmed or warmed by greenhouse gases, every ecosystem on Earth is currently being shaped by humans and human technology. That's true now, and it's been true—to an ever-increasing extent—for thousands of years. At this point, believing that it's possible to restore a place to its original state by removing a dam, restoring a marsh or culling some deer requires a naïve interpretation of how ecosystems work.

In his assessment, Mims noted that the ecosystems of the future will not consist of the world, plus us, plus our technology. Rather, the global ecosystem will increasingly be guided, shaped and supported by us and our technology. This shift can already been seen in humanity's most prominent constructions: cities.

Writing for the Design Observer, Peter Del Tredici, a botanist and author, explores how cities are giving rise to novel growing conditions, and new, wholly anthropogenic ecosystems. Instead of rivers, marshes or forests, Earth now has chain-link fences, abandoned lots, highway medians and cracks in the pavement. These aren't devoid of life; they are new human-made ecosystems, and different types of life—what Del Tredici calls “spontaneous urban vegetation”—thrive in those environments.

Most people have a different word for "spontaneous urban vegetaition"—weeds. But these urban plants, Del Tredici says, are the symptom of change, not the cause. Instead of blaming weeds for existing and trying to restore a place to its original state, engineers working in ecological restoration focus on restoring “ecosystem services." These are jobs that keep an ecosystem working, and getting those positions filled is what matters most—something needs to keep the soil from being washed out by the rain (even if it is a "weed").

So, here's Del Tredici's idea: Instead of longing for some more “natural” ecosystem that is long-since lost, we should work with these new species to design ecosystems that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Rather than trying to fight the infiltration of plants in cracks and vines on fences, we can acknowledge and embrace the changes we've wrought.

SOURCE





No more onshore wind farms if Conservatives win 2015 British election

Local residents will get new powers to block all new onshore wind farms within six months of a new Conservative government taking office, the party will promise on Thursday.

No subsidies will paid to operators of new onshore wind turbines if the Conservatives win a Commons majority next May, they will promise.

The commitment to stop the erection of new onshore turbines – revealed in The Telegraph earlier this month – is the latest hardening of Conservative rhetoric on green energy.

Subsidies for existing onshore wind would remain in place and wind farms currently under construction or given legal consent would still be completed, almost doubling the onshore wind sector’s capacity by 2020.

But no more onshore turbines would be put in place beyond that, Michael Fallon, the energy minister, will say.

Under current planning rules, big onshore wind farms are handled by a national infrastructure regime that can ignore the wishes of local people.

The Tories would change those rules so that major sites would be processed by local councils, allowing local politicians to reflect the views of residents.

Planning policies would also be altered to give greater weight to local concerns about landscape and heritage.

If the Conservatives win the election next year, they would put new curbs on wind farms in place by November 2015, Mr Fallon said. The UK has “enough” onshore turbines he said.

“We remain committed to cutting our carbon emissions. And renewable energy, including onshore wind, has a key role in our future energy supply. But we now have enough bill payer-funded onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments and there’s no requirement for any more.

“That’s why the next Conservative Government will end any additional bill payer subsidy for onshore wind.”

SOURCE





Big Green’s environmental impacts

The environmental orgy known as Earth Day has come and gone.

Disney opened their annual Earth Day movie homage, Pinterest made available a slew of Earth Day activities for kids, and public and private schools have had their requisite ceremonies.

In all the celebration, the one thing that is seemingly never asked is whether or not environmentalist policies by the government are actually helping the environment?

Wind energy is just one example.  The United States government has provided billions of dollars of subsidies to the wind industry over the past twenty years, subsidies that have not yet been renewed in 2014 as the mature industry is being forced to stand on its own.

While wind might seem to be the ultimate renewable, the reality is that the giant windmill turbines that dominate some of the most scenic landscapes in America both destroy the aesthetic beauty of the land, while also having a devastating impact on the birds and bats of the area.

It is estimated that as many as 900,000 bats each year are killed by the giant wind turbines, a real boon for the insect populations which are naturally kept in check by these flying mammals.  Diminished bat populations means that farmers are likely to use more pesticides to keep the crop destroying bugs under control — now that’s an earth friendly solution.

On the bird front, the Obama Administration has given a bald eagle license to kill permit to the wind energy industry for the next thirty years, while at the same time using the formerly endangered bald eagle as the excuse for moving against lead ammunition.  The rationale is simple — killing bald eagles on the altar of renewable energy is good — but lead ammunition is bad because it could end up in game that is wounded, and an eagle might eat that animal that dies later and get sick from that exposure.  Make sense?  I thought not.

Right now, in celebration of Earth Day, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has embarked on a carbon dioxide emission spree touting the dangers of global warming as she jets between cities on a five day tour.  The promotion travel includes such environmental policy staples as McCarthy throwing out the first pitch at a Red Sox-Yankees game in her home town of Boston.

Following the game, it is rumored that McCarthy plans to take a selfie with David Ortiz to increase her social media product placement ranking, thus enhancing her position as Obama’s leading eco-warrior over the usurping Secretary of State John Kerry who longs for the title.  Unfortunately, unidentified sources within the environmentalist community claim that John Kerry was not available for comment as he was busy again moving his yacht to Rhode Island to avoid taxes.

For all of those who are confused about what environmentalists mean when they say Earth Day, let this next example make it clear.   South Korea which burns coal to fuel its electricity craves U.S. coal at least partially due to its lower sulfur content which leads to less air pollution.  Western state coal producers want to sell their product to the South Koreans.  So what is the problem?  Environmentalists in the state of Washington are blocking the construction of a coal terminal to transport the more environmentally friendly American product overseas, all under the guise of protecting the planet.

Using specious arguments that coal trains will cause their streets to be covered in coal dust, and even claiming possible black lung disease ramifications for those living close to the railroad tracks, the supposedly educated people of Seattle and surrounding areas are doing everything in their power to block the terminal.

Earth Day really only means, our part of the Earth Day— as environmentalists across the nation engage in standard Not In My Back Yard political and legal tactics to the detriment of the world’s environmental health.

That’s why environmentalists can at the same time as they oppose the rail transport of coal, also oppose building the carbon friendly Keystone XL pipeline to transport Canadian oil to market in the lower 48.  When it comes to Canadian oil, they prefer that the oil be shipped using a steady stream of less environmentally friendly rail cars than flowing through a pipeline.

Apparently, for Canadian oil rail is the environmentally approved method of transportation, but for coal, rail is wrong.

Every Earth Day, the nation is asked to check its thinking caps at the door in celebration of the environment, and that is fine.  But on the day after Earth Day, critical thinking needs to be re-engaged and when put under the microscope, many environmental schemes do more harm to the environment than the ill they purport to try to cure.

Perhaps this year, Americans will take the blinders off and scrutinize the impacts of extreme environmental policies and the multi-billion industry that pushes them.  That’s the kind of environmental impact report that I would look forward to reading.

SOURCE






The 2014 state of wind energy: Desperately seeking subsidies

With the growing story coming out of Ukraine, the ongoing search for the missing Malaysian jet, the intensifying Nevada cattle battle, and the new announcement about the additional Keystone pipeline delay, little attention is being paid to the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy — or any of the other fifty lapsed tax breaks the Senate Finance Committee approved earlier this month. But, despite the low news profile, the gears of government continue to grind up taxpayer dollars.

The Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act (EXPIRE) did not originally include the PTC, however, prior to the committee markup hearing on April 3, Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) pushed for an amendment to add a two-year PTC extension. The tax extender package passed out of committee and has been sent to the senate floor for debate. There, its future is uncertain.

“If the bill becomes law,” reports the Energy Collective, “it will allow wind energy developers to qualify for tax credits if they begin construction by the end of 2015.” The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) website calls on Congress to: “act quickly to retroactively extend the PTC.”

The PTC is often the deciding factor in determining whether or not to build a wind farm. According to Bloomberg, wind power advocates fear: “Without the restoration of the subsidies, worth $23 per megawatt hour to turbine owners, the industry might not recover, and the U.S. may lose ground in its race to reduce dependence on fossil fuels driving global warming.” The National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a report earlier this month affirming the importance of the subsidies to the wind industry. It showed that the PTC has been critical to the development of the U.S. wind power industry. The report also found: PTC “extension options that would ramp down by the end of 2022 appear to be insufficient to support recent levels of deployment. …extending the production tax credit at its historical level could provide the best opportunity to sustain strong U.S. wind energy installation and domestic manufacturing.”

The PTC was originally part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. It has expired many times — most recently at the close of 2013. The last-minute 2012 extension, as a part of the American Tax Relief Act, included an eligibility criteria adjustment that allows projects that began construction in 2013, and maintain construction through as long as 2016, to qualify for the ten-year tax credit designed to establish a production incentive. Previously, projects would have had to be producing electricity at the time the PTC expired to qualify.

Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, which represents the interests of oil, coal, and natural gas companies, called the 2013 expiration of the wind PTC “a victory for taxpayers.” He explained: “The notion that the wind industry is an infant that needs the PTC to get on its feet is simply not true. The PTC has overstayed its welcome and any attempt to extend it would do a great disservice to the American people.”

As recently as 2006-2007, “the wind PTC had no natural enemies,” states a new report on the PTC’s future. The Declining Appetite for the Wind PTC report points to the assumption that “all extenders are extended eventually, and that enacting the extension is purely a matter of routine, in which gridlock on unrelated topics is the only source of uncertainty and delay.” The report then concludes: “That has been a correct view in past years.”

The report predicts that the PTC will follow “the same political trajectory as the ethanol mandate and the ethanol blenders’ tax credit before it.” The mandate remains — albeit in a slightly weakened state — and the tax credit is gone: “ethanol no longer needed the blenders’ tax credit because it had the strong support of a mandate (an implicit subsidy) behind it.”

The PTC once enjoyed support from some in the utility industry that needed it to bolster wind power development to meet the mandates. Today, utilities have met their state mandates — or come close enough, the report points out: “their state utility commissioners will not allow them to build more.” It is important to realize that the commissioners are appointed or elected to protect the ratepayers and insure that the rates charged by the utilities are fair and as low as possible. Because of the increased cost of wind energy over conventional sources, commissioners won’t allow any more than is necessary to meet the mandates passed by the legislatures.

The abundance of natural gas and subsequent low price has also hurt wind energy’s predicted price parity. South Dakota’s Governor Dennis Daugaard (R), in Bloomberg, said: “If gas prices weren’t so cheap, then wind might be able to compete on its own.” David Crane, chief executive officer of NRG Energy Inc. — which builds both gas and renewable power plants — agrees: “Cheap gas has definitely made it harder to compete.” With the subsidy, companies were able to propose wind projects “below the price of gas.” Without the PTC, Stephen Munro, an analyst at New Energy Finance, confirms: “we don’t expect wind to be at cost parity with gas.”

The changing conditions combined with “wide agreement that the majority of extenders are special interest handouts, the pet political projects of a few influential members of Congress,” mean that “the wind PTC is not a sure bet for extension.” Bloomberg declares: “Wind power in the U.S. is on a respirator.” Mike Krancer, who previously served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, in an article in Roll Call, states: “Washington’s usual handout to keep the turbines spinning may be harder to win this time around.”

Despite the claim of “Loud support for the PTC” from North American Windpower (NAW), the report predicts “political resistance.” NAW points to letters from 144 members of Congress urging colleagues to “act quickly to revive the incentives.” Twenty-six Senate members signed the letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and 118 signed a similar letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). However, of the 118 House members, only six were Republicans — which, even if the PTC extension makes it out of the Senate, points to the difficulty of getting it extended in the Republican-controlled House.

Bloomberg cites AWEA as saying: “the Republican-led House of Representatives may not support efforts to extend the tax credits before the November election.” This supports the view stated in the report. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-MI) held his first hearing on tax extenders on April 8. He only wants two of the 55 tax breaks continued: small business depreciation and the R & D tax credit. The report states: “Camp says that he will probably hold hearings on which extenders should be permanent through the spring and into the summer. He hasn’t said when he would do an extenders proposal himself, but our guess is that he will wait until after the fall elections. …We think the PTC is most endangered if Republicans win a Senate Majority in the fall.”

So, even if the PTC survives the current Senate’s floor debate (Senator Pat Toomey [R-PA] offered an amendment that would have entirely done away with the PTC), it is only the “first step in a long journey” and, according to David Burton, a partner at law firm Akin Gump Hauer and Feld, is “unlikely on its own to create enough confidence to spur investment in the development of new projects.” Plus, the House will likely hold up its resurrection.

Not to mention the growing opposition to wind energy due to the slaughter of birds and bats — including the protected bald and golden eagles. Or, growing fears about health impacts, maintenance costs and abandoned turbines.

All of these factors have likely led Jeff Imelt, chief executive officer of General Electric Co. — the biggest U.S. turbine supplier — to recently state: “We’re planning for a world that’s unsubsidized. Renewables have to find a way to get to the grid unsubsidized.”

Perhaps this time, the PTC is really dead, leaving smaller manufacturers desperately seeking subsidies.

SOURCE




The deadliest environmental threat (it’s not global warming)

Greens are callous criminals in their throttling of the Third World

By Bjorn Lomborg

Earth Day is a chance to take stock: What is the state of the world’s environment? Our knee-jerk reaction is that it’s getting worse. But that is not only mostly incorrect, it also prevents us from using Earth Day to help do the most good to make the environment even better.

Many think the biggest global environment problem is global warming. After all, the issue gets the lion’s share of headlines and accounts for much of the hell-in-a-hand-basket environmental news we come across. But by any reasonable measure, this is entirely wrong. The most important is in fact indoor air pollution.

One-third of the world’s people — 2.9 billion — cook and keep warm burning twigs and dung, which give off deadly fumes. This leads to strokes, heart disease and cancer, and disproportionately affects women and children. The World Health Organization estimates that it killed 4.3 million people in 2012. Add the smaller death count from outdoor pollution, and air pollution causes one in eight deaths worldwide.

Compare these numbers to global warming. As the new report from the UN Climate Panel concludes, “At present the worldwide burden of human ill-health from climate change is relatively small compared with effects of other stressors.” Air pollution doesn’t garner the headlines afforded to global warming because it’s not nearly as sexy. It’s old-fashioned, boring, and doesn’t raise anywhere near as much money as climate change.

Global warming is a real problem, but its threat is much, much lower. Estimates from the World Health Organization and others show that between 50 and 250 times more people die from the effects of air pollution.

That is why we can confidently say that the environment is doing much better now than before. Measured on the by-far-most important environmental indicator, air pollution, the risk of death has dropped dramatically and consistently, both in the developed and developing world.

With outdoor air pollution rampant in Beijing that may seem surprising, but we forget that indoor air pollution has always been much, much more important. In 1900 almost all pollution deaths in developing countries came from indoor air pollution — and the individual risk of dying from all air pollution was more than five-fold higher than it is today.

Even today, as outdoor air pollution has increased death risks both because of a higher urban population and more emissions, the death risks from indoor air pollution still outweigh outdoor 2-to-1, and indoor risks have been dropping much faster.

This is essentially because of ever more people coming out of poverty, and being able to afford not to cook with dung.

In the rich world, most other environmental indicators have improved dramatically. All developed countries have slashed their outdoor air pollution and handled much of their water pollution, while even strongly regulating small risks like pesticides and other chemical fears. In the developed world, rivers just don’t catch fire as the Cuyahoga River did just before the first Earth Day.

In the developing world, the overall environment has also gotten better because of the dramatic drop in indoor air pollution. Outdoor air pollution has risen — but this only confirms a long-standing finding that some environmental indicators tend to first get worse, then better, with economic development.

Essentially, poor countries are trading off economic development for outdoor air pollution. This prosperity buys food, education and vaccines for their kids, while electricity eradicates indoor air pollution. And as they get richer, they can also afford to protect more nature and cut pollution. In some of the richest developing countries, such as Chile and Mexico, outdoor air pollution is now declining.

But we still don’t tackle global warming. That is why many Earth Day messages will ignore the pervasive evidence for progress and emphasize deterioration and collapse. The assumption seems to be that a little extra doom and gloom will help mobilize more attention to improve the environment.

Yet shrill messaging simply reinforces panic, which impedes our ability to make smart choices. To tackle the world’s biggest environmental problem, indoor air pollution, we need to help the world’s 1.2 billion stuck in abject poverty.

In just three decades, China has lifted 680 million people out of poverty. It did so not with solar panels or wind turbines, but through a dramatic rise in access to modern energy, mostly powered by coal.

Panic only brings expensive, inefficient global-warming policies, like solar and wind. These cost $60 billion in subsidies but provide less than 1 percent of global energy. At best, they’ll provide just 3.5 percent in a generation’s time.

Instead we should invest much more resources in research to innovate the next generations of green energy. If we can eventually make green technologies cheaper than fossil fuels, everyone will switch. This means dramatically lower carbon emissions while providing power for development to billions of poor.

This Earth Day, we should celebrate our success so far: Overall, we’ve solved more problems than we’ve created. Rather than give in to panic, let’s get our priorities right.

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Frustrated Greenie calls for a Fascist uprising

He forgets that Fascism was popular -- with the appeals of both nationalism and socialism behind it.  How popular would a movement that does its best to smash all modern life be?

Fuck Earth Day.

No, really. Fuck Earth Day. Not the first one, forty-four years ago, the one of sepia-hued nostalgia, but everything the day has since come to be: the darkest, cruelest, most brutally self-satirizing spectacle of the year.

Fuck it. Let it end here.

End the dishonesty, the deception. Stop lying to yourselves, and to your children. Stop pretending that the crisis can be “solved,” that the planet can be “saved,” that business more-or-less as usual—what progressives and environmentalists have been doing for forty-odd years and more—is morally or intellectually tenable. Let go of the pretense that “environmentalism” as we know it—virtuous green consumerism, affluent low-carbon localism, head-in-the-sand conservationism, feel-good greenwashed capitalism—comes anywhere near the radical response our situation requires.

So, yeah, I’ve had it with Earth Day—and the culture of progressive green denial it represents.

Let me tell you who I am: I’m a human being. I’m the father of two young children, a 14-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter, who face a deeply uncertain future on this planet. I’m a husband, a son, a brother—and a citizen. And, yes, I’m a journalist, and I’m an activist. And like more and more of us who are fighting for climate justice, I am engaged in a struggle—a struggle—for the fate of humanity and of life on Earth. Not a polite debate around the dinner table, or in a classroom, or an editorial meeting—or an Earth Day picnic. I’m talking about a struggle. A struggle for justice on a global scale. A struggle for human dignity and human rights for my fellow human beings, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable, far and near. A struggle for my own children’s future—but not only my children, all of our children, everywhere. A life-and-death struggle for the survival of all that I love. Because that is what the climate fight and the fight for climate justice is. That’s what it is.

Because, I’m sorry, this is not a test. This is really happening. The Arctic and the glaciers are melting. The great forests are dying and burning. The oceans are rising and acidifying. The storms, the floods—the droughts and heat waves—are intensifying. The breadbaskets are parched and drying. And all of it faster and sooner than scientists predicted. The window in which to act is closing before our eyes.

Any discussion of the situation must begin by acknowledging the science and the sheer lateness of the hour—that the chance for any smooth, gradual transition has passed, that without radical change the kind of livable and just future we all want is simply inconceivable. The international community has, of course, committed to keeping the global temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above the preindustrial average—the level, we’re told, at which “catastrophic” warming can still be avoided (we’ve already raised it almost one degree, with still more “baked in” within coming decades). But there’s good reason to believe that a rise of two degrees will lead to catastrophic consequences. And of course, what’s “catastrophic” depends on where you live, and how poor you are, and more often than not the color of your skin. If you’re one of the billions of people who live in the poorest and most vulnerable places—from Bangladesh to Louisiana—even 1 degree can mean catastrophe.

But the world’s climate scientists and leading energy experts are telling us that unless the major economies drastically and immediately change course—leaving all but a small fraction of fossil fuel reserves in the ground over the next four decades—we are headed for a temperature rise of four or five or even six degrees C within this century. The World Bank has warned that four degrees “must be avoided.” But we’re not avoiding it. Global emissions are still rising each year. We’re plunging headlong toward the worst-case scenarios—critical global food and water shortages, rapid sea-level rise, social upheaval—and beyond.

The question is not whether we’re going to “stop” global warming, or “solve” the climate crisis; it is whether humanity will act quickly and decisively enough now to save civilization itself—in any form worth saving. Whether any kind of stable, humane and just future—any kind of just society—is still possible.

We know that if the governments of the world actually wanted to address this situation in a serious way, they could. Indeed, a select few, such as Germany, have begun to do so. It can be done—and at relatively low cost. And yet the fossil-fuel industry, and those who do its bidding, have been engaged in a successful decades-long effort to sow confusion, doubt and opposition—and to obstruct any serious policies that might slow the warming, or their profits, and buy us time.

As I’ve said elsewhere, let’s be clear about what this means: at this late date, given what we know and have known for decades, to willfully obstruct any serious response to global warming is to knowingly allow entire countries and cultures to disappear. It is to rob the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet of their land, their homes, their livelihoods, even their lives and their children’s lives—and their children’s children’s lives. For money. For political power.

These are crimes. They are crimes against the Earth, and they are crimes against humanity.

What, are you shocked? The same industry, the same people committing these crimes—while we subsidize them for their trouble—have been getting away with murder along the fence lines and front lines for generations.

What is the proper response to this? How should I respond?

Remain calm, we’re told. No “scare tactics” or “hysterics,” please. Cooler heads will prevail. Enjoy the Earth Day festivities.

Fuck that.  The cooler heads have not prevailed. It’s been a quarter-century since the alarm was sounded. The cooler heads have failed.

You want sweet, cool-headed reason?  How about this? Masses of people—most of them young, a generation with little or nothing to lose—physically, nonviolently disrupting the fossil-fuel industry and the institutions that support it and abet it. Getting in the way of business as usual. Forcing the issue. Finally acting as though we accept what the science is telling us.

Um, isn’t that a bit extreme? you ask.  Really? You want extreme? Business as usual is extreme. Just ask a climate scientist. The building is burning. The innocents—the poor, the oppressed, the children, your own children—are inside. And the American petro state is spraying fuel, not water, on the flames. That’s more than extreme. It’s homicidal. It’s psychopathic. It’s fucking insane.

Coming to grips with the climate crisis is hard. A friend of mine says it’s like walking around with a knife in your chest. I couldn’t agree more.

So I ask again, in the face of this situation, how does one respond? Many of us, rather than retreat into various forms of denial and fatalism, have reached the conclusion that something more than “environmentalism” is called for, and that a new kind of movement is the only option. That the only thing, at this late hour, offering any chance of averting an unthinkable future—and of getting through the crisis that’s already upon us—is the kind of radical social and political movement that has altered the course of history in the past. A movement far less like contemporary environmentalism and far more like the radical human rights, social justice and liberation struggles of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Does that sound hopelessly naïve to you? Trust me, I get it. I know. I know how it sounds.

And yet here I am. Because I also know that abolishing slavery sounded hopeless and naïve in 1857, when Frederick Douglass spoke of struggle.

What I’m talking about is not a fight to “solve the climate crisis.” That’s not possible anymore. But neither is it simply a fight for human survival—because there are oppressive and dystopian forms of survival, not to mention narcissistic ones, that aren’t worth fighting for.

What I’m talking about is both a fight for survival and a fight for justice—for even the possibility of justice. It’s a fight that transcends environmentalism. It requires something of us beyond the usual politics and proposals, the usual pieties. It requires the kind of commitment you find in radical movements—the kind of struggles, from abolition to women’s, labor and civil rights, that have made possible what was previously unimaginable.

Because our global crisis—not merely environmental but moral and spiritual—is fundamental: it strikes to the root of who we are. It’s a radical situation, requiring a radical response. Not merely radical in the sense of ideology, but a kind of radical necessity. It requires us to find out who we really are—and, nonviolently, in the steps of Gandhi and King and many others, to act. In some cases, to lay everything—everything—on the line.

And it requires us to be honest, with one another and with ourselves, about the situation we face. We’ll never have a movement radical enough, or humane enough, until we are.

That is, until Earth Day is buried—and a day of reckoning begins.

SOURCE  




A dialogue with Dr Leonard Weinstein

Retired NASA Scientist Dr. Leonard Weinstein declared that the global warming doctrine had no clothes back in 2009.  Weinstein worked 35 years at the NASA Langley Research Center, finishing his career there as a Senior Research Scientist.  So it is good to hear that he is still going strong.  The dialogue below is from a recent email correspondence with Rick Loberger

Weinstein:

I retired from NASA in 2007, and this blog was posted 2009. However, there was not any NASA policy on the issue. In fact many of the top NASA people are skeptics of significant human caused global warming. This includes the former NASA administrator, Michael Griffin, many of the astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin and Harrison Schmitt and several others, and many of the original Apollo support team. In fact a group of them sent a letter to congress objecting to the government position. In addition, several petitions were made by thousands of scientists (over 30,000 in one case including 9,000 PhD's) that gave skeptics positions. I am enclosing some lists in a zip file, including a more recent ppt by Burt Rutan with more info.

The main stream media and government, and many collages, have fed a one sided position that makes most people think the issue is settled, but that is a big lie. I, as well as many of the worlds top scientists consider the current positions to be one of the biggest scientific scandals in history, where some well meaning scientists jumped to a conclusion, and socialist leaning governments jumped on board and started to force the issue.

Keep in mind that essentially no proposal to prove AGW wrong is funded or allowed to be published, so all proposals and funding is directed to support a lie that is becoming impossible to maintain.

In a few years the issue will explode. I do expect a modest ENSO to occur this year, so a small temperature spike will likely occur. However this will probably be followed by La Nina (resulting in cooling), and the average global temperature by 2020 will likely be flat to down for over 20 years. This would support  the claims of human caused problems as being wrong.

Rick Loberger:

I appreciate your response and would agree on what you are espousing. I am a supervisor for wikianswers.com and find it frustrating that when it comes to global warming issues, only one position is allowed to be stated, despite the ability to back up an alternative position.

Like you, I tend to believe that the current warming we believe to have experienced is not out of lines of natural events. It appears to me to be more of a political issue to force lifestyle modifications on unwitting participants that are unable or unwilling to look at facts.

I have been an engineer working with various aspects of alternative energy and get very frustrated when I see specs for items I am dealing with being displayed. Our solar applications, for example, can not reach 60% of what is being claimed. I was involved with a wind farm in northern Michigan a few years ago. The Governor demanded we add a "return on investment" display in the marina to show the energy payback of the three million dollar system. When he saw it showing that the payback was still sixty years away and two of the four towers had maintenance techs working on them, he agreed to let us shut the display down.

Sadly this is not that uncommon. UW- Milwaukee has a solar collection system that is equally terrible in terms of payback. I was showing my 18 year old daughter the system and the fact that payback was still fifty years away and a student walking by informed us that the administration told them it was already at a positive position in terms of generating income. How does one even begin to explain to "minds of mush" that a solar collection system can not possibly be neutral in terms of payback in under a year?

It is refreshing to see that some people still are able to use logic. I do thank you for responding. I honestly needed the pep talk and you were a bright spot in my day. I hope I did not bore you, or eat up your time foolishly. It is a weird coincidence that we even talked, but I am very glad I had the opportunity to email you.

Thanks for your assistance. I actually meant more than you know.

Via email





EPA Chief Flying to 5 Cities to Urge Carbon Reduction

 EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is flying around the country this week to "ask Americans to act on climate change through simple actions to reduce carbon pollution in their daily lives," a news release said.

Her first stop is New York City, where she will appear on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart Monday night to plug President Obama's Climate Action Plan, which supposedly will "slow the effects of climate change and leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations."

On Tuesday, Earth Day, McCarthy will be in her home state of Massachusetts, appearing first at the New England Aquarium, and later, throwing out the first pitch at the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park. McCarthy is an avid Red Sox fan, according to the EPA website.

Wednesday, it's on to Cleveland for a press conference on the health impacts of air pollution. McCarthy also will deliver the keynote address at a climate meeting.

Thursday, McCarthy will join the Hip Hop Caucus "Act on Climate Tour" in Atlanta, where she'll "speak about the disproportionate impacts and the costs of climate change" on poor communities.

McCarthy winds up her tour Friday in Memphis, Tenn.

As the EPA advises Americans to reduce their carbon footprint, McCarthy herself is a frequent user of carbon-emitting conveyances.

According to a "day in the life" feature on the EPA's website, McCarthy "keeps a small apartment near EPA headquarters," but "almost every weekend McCarthy travels back to Boston, to her home and her husband."

Last week, McCarthy traveled to Taiwan and Vietnam to promote continued cooperation on various environmental issues.

As part of this week's tour, McCarthy will urge Americans to take what the EPA calls "simple actions," such as "changing a light bulb, powering down electronics, using less water and recycling." By doing those things, the press release said, "we can all reduce carbon pollution."

SOURCE  




Could biofuels be HARMING the environment? Ethanol produces MORE CO2 emissions than petrol, study claims

In a blow to ‘green’ fuel campaigners, a recent study has shown that biofuels made from the leftovers of corn plants are worse than petrol in releasing harmful emissions.

The find directly challenges both European and U.S. policymakers who claim biofuels are a much cleaner oil alternative and could help combat climate change.

But a $500,000 (£297,000) by the U.S. government claims that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 per cent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional petrol.

While biofuels are better in the long run, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln study claims they won't meet a standard set in a 2007 U.S. energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

However, the biofuel industry and U.S. administration immediately criticised the research as flawed.

They said it was too simplistic in its analysis of carbon loss from soil, which can vary over a single field, and vastly overestimated how much residue farmers actually would remove once the market gets underway.

'The core analysis depicts an extreme scenario that no responsible farmer or business would ever employ because it would ruin both the land and the long-term supply of feedstock.  It makes no agronomic or business sense,’ said Jan Koninckx, global business director for biorefineries at DuPont.

Later this year the company is scheduled to finish a $200 million (£119 million) facility in Nevada, Iowa, that will produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol using corn residue from nearby farms.

An assessment paid for by DuPont said that the ethanol it will produce there could be more than 100 per cent better than gasoline in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

The research is among the first to attempt to quantify, over 12 Corn Belt states, how much carbon is lost to the atmosphere when the stalks, leaves and cobs that make up residue are removed and used to make biofuel, instead of left to naturally replenish the soil with carbon.

The study found that regardless of how much corn residue is taken off the field, the process contributes to global warming.

‘I knew this research would be contentious,’ said Adam Liska, the lead author and an assistant professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. ‘I'm amazed it has not come out more solidly until now.'

SOURCE  




Ian Plimer returns to the fray

He has a new book due out next month called NOT fOR GREENS with the subheading:  "He who sups with the Devil should have a long spoon". It is a A full frontal attack on Greens, their climate and energy policy etc etc. Quite a bit on US energy policy, fracking and US coal.  Price: $29.95.  The blurb is below

The processes required to make a humble stainless steel teaspoon are remarkably complicated and every stage involves risk, coal, energy, capital, international trade and finance. Stainless steel cutlery has taken thousands of years of experimentation and knowledge to evolve and the end result is that we can eat without killing ourselves with bacteria. We are in the best times to have ever lived on planet Earth and the future will only be better. All this we take for granted.

Greens may have started as genuine environmentalists. Much of the green movement has now morphed into an unelected extremist political pressure group accountable to no one. Greens create problems, many of which are concocted, and provide no solutions because of a lack of basic knowledge. This book examines green policies in the light of established knowledge and shows that they are unrealistic.

Policies by greens adopted by supine governments have resulted in rising costs, increased taxes, political instability, energy poverty, decreased longevity and provide no solutions because of a lack of basic knowledge. This book examines green policies in the light of established knowledge and shows that they are unrealistic.

Policies by greens adopted by supine governments have resulted in rising costs, increased taxes, political instability, energy poverty, decreased longevity and environmental degradation and they don’t achieve their ideological aims. Wind, solar and biomass energy emit more carbon dioxide than they save and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions does nothing to change climate and only empties the pocket. No stainless steel teaspoon could be made using green “alternative energy”.

This book argues that unless the greens live sustainably in caves in the forest and use no trappings of the modern world, then they should be regarded as hypocrites and treated with the disdain they deserve.

SOURCE




The Richer We Get, The Greener We’ll Become

Viscount Ridley

In the past 50 years, world per capita income roughly trebled in real terms, corrected for inflation. If it continues at this rate (and globally the great recession of recent years was a mere blip) then it will be nine times as high in 2100 as it was in 2000, at which point the average person in the world will be earning three times as much as the average Briton earns today.

I make this point partly to cheer you up on Easter Monday about the prospects for your great-grandchildren, partly to start thinking about what that world will be like if it were to happen, and partly to challenge those who say with confidence that the future will be calamitous because of climate change or environmental degradation. The curious thing is that they only predict disaster by assuming great enrichment. But perversely, the more enrichment they predict, the greater the chance (they also predict) that we will solve our environmental problems.

Past performance is no guide to future performance, of course, and a well aimed asteroid could derail any projection. But I am not the one doing the extrapolating. In 2012, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to generate five projections for the economy of the world, and of individual countries, in 2050 and 2100.

They make fascinating reading. The average per capita income of the world in 2100 is projected to be between three and 20 times what it is today in real terms. The OECD’s “medium” scenario, known as SSP2, also known as “middle of the road” or “muddling through”, sounds pretty dull. It is a world in which, in the OECD’s words, “trends typical of recent decades continue” with “slowly decreasing fossil fuel dependency”, uneven development of poor countries, delayed achievement of Millennium Development Goals, disappointing investment in education and “only intermediate success in addressing air pollution or improving energy access for the poor”.

And yet this is a world in which by 2100 the global average income per head has increased 13-fold to $100,000 (in 2005 dollars) compared with $7,800 today. Britain will be very slightly below that average by then, yet has still trebled its income per head. According to this middling scenario, the average citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who today earns $300 a year, will then earn $42,000, or roughly what an American earns today. The average Indonesian, Brazilian or Chinese will be at least twice as rich as today’s American.

Remember this is in today’s money, corrected for inflation, but people will be spending it on tomorrow’s technologies, most of which will be cleverer, cleaner and kinder to the environment than today’s — and all for the same price. Despite its very modest assumptions, it is an almost unimaginable world: picture Beverly Hills suburbs in Kinshasa where pilotless planes taxi to a halt by gravel drives (or something equally futuristic). Moreover, the OECD reckons that inequality will have declined, because people in poor countries will have been getting rich faster than people in rich countries, as is happening now. All five storylines produce a convergence, though at different rates, between the incomes of poor and rich countries.

Can the planet survive this sort of utopian plutocracy? Actually, here it gets still more interesting. The IPCC has done its own projections to see what sort of greenhouse gas emissions these sorts of world would produce, and vice versa. The one that produces the lowest emissions is the one with the highest income per head in 2100 — a 16-fold increase in income but lower emissions than today: climate change averted. The one that produces the highest emissions is the one with the lowest GDP — a mere trebling of income per head. Economic growth and ecological improvement go together. And it is not mainly because environmental protection produces higher growth, but vice versa. More trade, more innovation and more wealth make possible greater investment in low-carbon energy and smarter adaptation to climate change. Next time you hear some green, doom-mongering Jeremiah insisting that the only way to avoid Armageddon is to go back to eating home-grown organic lentils cooked over wood fires, ask him why it is that the IPCC assumes the very opposite.

In the IPCC’s nightmare high-emissions scenario, with almost no cuts to emissions by 2100, they reckon there might be north of 4 degrees of warming. However, even this depends on models that assume much higher “climate sensitivity” to carbon dioxide than the consensus of science now thinks is reasonable, or indeed than their own expert assessment assumes for the period to 2035.

And in this storyline, by 2100 the world population has reached 12 billion, almost double what it was in 2000. This is unlikely, according to the United Nations: 10.9 billion is reckoned more probable. With sluggish economic growth, the average income per head has (only) trebled. The world economy is using a lot of energy, improvements in energy efficiency having stalled, and about half of it is supplied by coal, whose use has increased tenfold, because progress in other technologies such as shale gas, solar and nuclear has been disappointing.

I think we can all agree that this is a pretty unlikely future. It’s roughly like projecting forward from 1914 to a wealthy 2000 but with more people, lots more horse-drawn carriages and coal-fuelled steamships, and no clean-air acts. But the point is that making these sorts of assumption is the only way you can get to really high levels of carbon dioxide in 2100. And even so, remember, the average person is three times as rich. If the food supply had collapsed and fossil fuels had run out, then there would hardly be 12 billion people burning ten times as much coal and living like kings, would there? You cannot have it both ways.

These IPCC and OECD reports are telling us clear as a bell that we cannot ruin the climate with carbon dioxide unless we get a lot more numerous and richer. And they are also telling us that if we get an awful lot richer, we are likely to have invented the technologies to adapt, and to reduce our emissions, so we are then less likely to ruin the planet. Go figure.

SOURCE  

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Global warming as an evangelical faith

This could almost be a spoof but I don't think it is

I have always had the feeling that my life was lacking in a way. That I was not doing enough of something. Yet, I could not figure out what that something was. It was a void that needed to be filled.

I remember when climate change was only a word to me. I remember when recycling was only a chore to do.

I remember all this so well because it was only fours months ago that I started to care about what climate change actually meant.

My sociology professor, whom I now consider to be a friend, first formally introduced me to the concept of climate change. At first, I thought that climate change was just a part of my sociology class—something that we would be done with after a few classes. However, that was not the case.

After several weeks of discussing the topic, I realized that climate change was more than that to my professor. For him, it was a passion and he felt an obligation to make his students also feel passionate about it.

I come from a country that is considered one of the richest in the world. A country where temperatures rise high enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk. I was raised in Saudi Arabia.

Climate change has never been a topic on the tongues of the students of Saudi Arabia. I cannot recall once ever hearing about climate change from my teachers, friends, classmates or family. This tells me that there is a huge population oblivious to what is happening around the world.

As a country that produces most of the fossil fuel distributed throughout the world, it is no surprise that climate change is never discussed in Saudi Arabia. That would be like admitting that the Saudi government has left a huge carbon footprint.

Since I only had a rudimentary understanding of climate change, I began researching more about it. I came across several talks on the topic by people I had never heard of before. One of them stood out to me. When talking about climate change, this person had a look on her face that I did not see on others. She had a look that was very familiar to me. In no time at all I remembered where I had seen that look before. It was the same look my professor had when he spoke about climate change. It was the look of passion.

This person’s name is Rachel Kyte, who is the World Bank’s principal advocate for raising global awareness of climate change. Ms. Kyte has given many talks about climate change over the years, and is helping inspire a social change in the world. Her speeches are inspirational. I remember thinking, how can I be like this person?

A week later, I was granted an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime. Have you ever wished you had the chance to meet someone and were granted that chance? My professor gave me that chance. He had sent me an invitation to attend the Connect4Climate screening of Years of Living Dangerously at the World Bank. The film was a preview of a new television series on climate change.

I could not believe how lucky I was. I immediately accepted the invitation and on the day of the screening I arrived at the World Bank a little bit ahead of time in the hope that I would be able to talk to Ms. Kyte. Unfortunately, I was not able to find her then. I was ushered to a seat in the auditorium, where I waited eagerly for the talk to begin. I sat straighter than I usually do and became stiff as a board.

While waiting I realized that there are a lot more people than I thought who are interested in the cause as of climate change. I realized that I was not fighting for lost cause. I felt supported.

The event started with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim stating facts about how he and his organization are trying to deal with climate change. After his talk, he invited three people on stage for a discussion about the importance of climate change and what we might expect to happen to the world if nothing is done to combat it. Ms. Kyte was moderator of the discussion.

The film that followed was something that can only be described as a dream. I could not believe what I was watching. It portrayed the world we live in the today, and the catastrophes that are happening all around us because of climate change. The movie contained many famous people who are also interested in the battle against humans’ constant greed, which is killing the very planet we live on.

The movie screening ended with a round of applause from the audience. I on the other hand had a hard time looking up. I was extremely emotional. The movie had a lot of elements that would have made a stonehearted man break down in tears. I managed to compose myself. I was determined to get a word in with Ms. Kyte.

After wriggling myself between reporters, I finally managed to reach her only to be dumbstruck. I had a small speech prepared on how much she has inspired me but was only able to stutter a bit. Somehow, I managed to compose myself and was able to say a few words to her about that. I was also able to pluck up the courage to ask her if she would be photographed with me. She was happy to oblige.
worldbankclimateRachel Kyte, the World Bank’s principal advocate for raising global awareness of climate change, with Suleiman Ahmad Allauddin Khan. Photo credit: Ivan Bruce / Connect4Climate

After leaving the auditorium I had a funny feeling in my gut. Walking past a glass window I saw a smile on my face that looked a bit out of place. After a few minutes I was able to put on a more socially acceptable smile.

I made my way to the small feast our hosts had put together for us. I was greeted by my professor and one of my classmates. My professor was also surrounded by two of his former students. As soon as I was introduced to them I felt an instant connection form between us. We shared the same cause and had the same inspiration.

After leaving my professors side I was struck with a new realization. I realized that the people who had attended the screening with me were not only from the U.S. There were people from China, Poland, India, Italy, Ivory, Coast, South Africa and even a fellow Saudi Arabian.

To see that there were people at the event from all over the world helped encourage me to stand firm and pursue my cause for as long as I my bones and muscles will allow me. To see a fellow countryman at the event was evidence enough that these people managed to get the word across the world. More and more people were becoming aware of our cause.

Suddenly I knew what I could do to help. I knew that I had to spread the word, to inspire as many people as I can. I decided that I would take on my professor’s legacy and enlighten the minds of people about the dangers of climate change.

I left the World Bank a new person. I left with a new purpose in life. I left with a cause.

SOURCE





Obama's War on U.S. Energy

 By Alan Caruba

A nation without adequate energy production is a nation in decline and that has been the President’s agenda since the day he took office in 2009. He even announced his war on coal during the 2008 campaign even though, at the time, it was providing fifty percent of the electricity being utilized.

It’s useful to know that the U.S. has huge coal reserves, enough to provide energy for hundreds of years and reduce our debt through its export to nations such as Japan. It increased coal-fired power generation by ten percent in 2013 while Germany’s coal use reached the highest level since 1990. Both China and India are increasing the use of coal. So why is coal unwelcome in the U.S.? Because Obama says so.

On April 15, the White House held a “Solar Summit” to continue promoting subsidies for solar panels and the Obama Energy Department has announced another $15 million in “solar market pathways” to fund local government’s use of solar energy. Its “Capital Solar Challenge” is directing federal agencies, military bases, and other federally subsidized buildings to use solar power.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, “solar energy provides two-tenths of one percent of the total energy consumed in the United States. While the amount of solar electricity capacity in the U.S. has increased in recent years…it still only accounts for 0.1% of net electricity generated…the least among the renewable sources of hydroelectric, biomass, wind and solar.”

So, in addition to the millions lost in earlier loans to solar companies like Solyndra that failed not long after pocketing our tax dollars, Obama is using the power of the federal government to waste more money on this unpredictable—the Sun only shines in the daytime and clouds can get in the way—source of energy whose “solar farms” take up many acres just to provide a faction of what a coal-fired or natural gas powered plant does.

This isn’t some loony environmental theory at work although the Greens oppose all manner of energy provision and use whether it is coal, oil or natural gas. This is a direct attack on the provision of energy, fueled by any source, that America needs to function and meeting the needs of its population, manufacturing, and all other uses.

The most recent example of this is the further extension of the delay on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. That too is part of Obama’s war on energy for the nation, but it may also have something to do with the fact that the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad owns all of the rail lines in the U.S. connecting to western Canada. They haul 80% or more of the crude oil from Canada to the Midwest and Texas, earning a tidy sum in the process. It is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, a major contributor to Democrat causes and candidates. The Keystone XL pipeline could divert more than $2 billion a year and if its delay is not crony capitalism, nothing is.

This is what the Sierra Club is telling its members and supporters as of Monday, April 21: “Keystone XL means cancer. It means wolf blood spilled. And it’s nothing short of a climate disaster.” It is a lie from start to finish.

Keystone has become a political issue and the announcement by the Obama State Department that is giving agencies “additional time” to approve its construction due to ongoing litigation before the Nebraska Supreme Court that could affect its route brought forth protests from red-state Democrats in Congress who even threatened to find ways to go around the President to get the project approved. Eleven Democratic senators have written to the President to urge him to make a final decision by the end of May. Some of them will be up for reelection in the November midterm elections.

Even Congress, though, seems incapable of over-ruling or overcoming Obama’s war on the provision of energy sources. In early April, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released new data showing that federal onshore oil and natural gas leases and drilling permits are at the lowest levels in more than a decade. Leases to companies exploring the potential of oil and natural gas reserves were down in 2013 from 1.8 million acres the year before to 1.2 million, the smallest area since records began to be maintained in 1988!

We have a President who gives daily evidence of his contempt both for those who voted for him and those who did not. His anti-energy agenda impacts on the creation of jobs, causes manufacturing to delay expansion or to go off-shore, reduces the revenue the government needs to reduce its debts and deficits, and drives up the cost of energy for everyone.

And he is doing this in one of the most energy-rich nations on the planet.

SOURCE




Another "Green" disaster

"Green" street-lighting in Britain

When Andy Richards saw a dazzling light beaming through his bedroom window, his first thought was of alien invasion. ‘It was like The Day Of The Triffids,’ he says. ‘This brilliant white glare.’

Opening his curtains, he realised the source was more mundane. It came from the street light outside the two-bedroom home he shares with his wife Kate in Chiswick, West London.

Unbeknown to the couple, Hounslow council had installed LED lamp-heads on the street lights along their quiet residential road. The gentle, golden glow of the old lamps has been replaced by a harsh beam which, they say, makes it impossible for them to sleep.

So desperate have the couple become, they have taped a large pieces of black cardboard to their windows.

‘It’s like a World War II blackout,’ says Andy, a 61-year-old record producer, who has lived on the street for 25 years. ‘It was the only thing we could do. We’ve had three miserable weeks without sleep.’

The council claims LED lights were chosen because they use less energy, so they are cheaper to operate and more environmentally friendly than conventional sodium bulbs.

After several weeks of pestering from Andy — he started texting local councillor Colin Ellar, a proponent of the new system, at 2am ‘so that he knew what it was like to go without sleep’ — the council has agreed to dim the lights for a trial period.

However, despite the protestations of the Richardses and their neighbours, the council won’t be reconsidering its plan to replace almost 16,000 lights across the borough. And Hounslow isn’t the only council eagerly embracing LED street lights. Across Britain, local authorities have fallen for the new ‘energy efficient’ lighting.

Bury council in Manchester has announced plans to change 11,000 street lights on 1,850 side-roads throughout the borough by 2017.

Similar schemes are under way at Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire and Blackburn in Lancashire, as well as parts of Birmingham, Sheffield, Gloucestershire and Glasgow.

And the picturesque Norfolk town of Fakenham can be seen in a whole new light — literally — thanks to the instalment of 30 LED lamps in the town centre.

Fans of LED lamps, which first appeared on British streets in 2011, point to the environmental and financial advantages they offer.

While conventional sodium street lamps light up when an electric current is passed through lithium gas, making it glow, lamps powered by LEDs — light-emitting diodes — glow when current passes through a solid material such as gallium, known as a semiconductor.

They use up to 60 per cent  less energy than sodium lamps and are said to last up to eight times longer, reducing maintenance costs and halving electricity bills.

They are also easy to operate. LEDs produce light immediately when they are switched on rather than taking time to heat up, and can be controlled remotely via digital sensors.

It has even been claimed that their bright ‘floodlight-style’ beams will deter criminals.

Yet wherever LED lights are installed, they leave residents in uproar.

In Llandough, Wales, locals have organised a petition to have their recently installed LED street lights removed and replaced with the originals.

Last year, Bath council was forced temporarily to stop replacing the city’s street lamps with LEDs and hold a public consultation, so vociferous were complaints after the first 2,000 were erected.

And in Trafford, Manchester, residents have threatened to take their council to court if it continues with plans to replace all its 27,000 street lights.

But why are the objections so strong? If the lights can, as Hounslow council promises, be dimmed  if necessary — and if they use less energy, save money and reduce crime — what is so wrong with the new system?

Rather a lot, it turns out. Because, it seems that in their rush to embrace the new ‘green’ technology, Britain’s councils have ignored several serious health issues.

Studies have indicated that LED lights disrupt sleep by suppressing the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone which governs our sleep patterns. All light consists of different colour combinations, and visible light falls on a rainbow-like spectrum, which extends from red to blue. Natural light combines all the colours of the spectrum, but the light given off by LEDs is overwhelmingly blue.

Too much ‘blue light’ suppresses our biological clock, resulting in lower-quality sleep. This in turn increases the likelihood of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It damages the immune system and leaves sufferers vulnerable to depression and anxiety.

It has even been suggested that too much exposure to LED light causes blindness. Last year, a Spanish study suggested that the light emitted by LED bulbs can damage cells in the retina. By way of illustrating just how potent their glare can be, consider that LED lights are generally banned in art galleries because they bleach the paint on works on display.

‘They are dangerous and potentially damaging,’ says Simon Nicholas, a 53-year-old chartered engineer who successfully campaigned to stop LED lights being erected in Trafford until further research is done.

Certainly, there was no inquiry into the health implications of the lights before they were installed in Chiswick. Indeed, councillor Colin Ellar claims to have been unaware of the dangers, which were widely reported, until a few days ago. Meanwhile, those affected by councils’ new-found zeal for the LED bulbs are questioning just how much taxpayers’ money they will, ultimately, save.

Roderick Binns, 65, who lives a few doors away from Andy and Kate, says his council bills  have increased.  ‘It doesn’t feel as though any reduction is being passed on.’

In fact, the initial cost of installing LED lamps is remarkably high. Replacing Trafford’s lights would cost £9.3 million. Although in some instances the bulbs can be installed on top of posts that are already in place, in others installing LED involves ripping down and replacing the entire lamp frame, at a cost of about £500 a unit.

Essex County Council was recently forced to halt plans to replace its lamps when it emerged that the work involved would cost a staggering £31 million.

Even with the energy savings the lights should bring, it could take 20 years for installation costs to be recouped.

Simon Nicholas, who campaigned against the lights in Trafford, says: ‘If you were saving energy at home, would you buy a new £500 unit or put a low-watt bulb in? Why can’t they just do that?’

Roderick Binns, a property consultant, says that residents in Chiswick could actually lose money because the unsightly lights might affect the value of their homes.

‘For those right in front of a light, they’re a negative, not a positive,’ he says.

What’s more, contradicting the claim that bright LED light would lower crime rates, some say the lights may in fact increase antisocial behaviour.

Studies into the effect of lighting on crime have produced mixed results. LED lamps tend to focus their light on one particular spot instead of diffusing light evenly, as their predecessors did. As a result, they leave some patches of street and pavement almost entirely unlit — and potentially vulnerable to criminals.

‘It doesn’t make sense,’ says Les Godwin, a councillor in Prestbury, Chesire, who is opposing the introduction of LEDs in his neighbourhood. ‘If you have a well-lit area and you turn it into one with dark parts, that can’t be good.’

Councillor Ellar admits that, as well as receiving complaints over the brightness of the lights, he has been told by residents ‘in around 25 instances’ that coverage where they live is so patchy, the streets are now too dimly lit.

Above all, what appears to have angered people is that LED lamps, like so many other modern innovations, are an ugly and potentially harmful blot on the urban landscape.

‘The colour rendering is awful,’ says Roderick Binns.  ‘Street lamps usually give a kind of gentle glow but this is a harsh white light. It’s very off-putting.’

In Manchester, the lights have been nicknamed ‘UFO lamps’ because of their unforgiving glare.

Given that some of Britain’s lampposts date back to the 19th century, ripping them down in large numbers is a rather poignant loss to local historians.  As Simon Nicholas puts it: ‘You wouldn’t rip down historic statues. It’s vandalism.

‘It’s a matter for central government — at the moment nobody’s paying attention and nobody’s stopping this. It’s worrying.’

Until then, it will be down to determined home-owners like him to protect their streets from the invasion of the UFO lamps.

SOURCE





Gore prefers abuse to facts

Al Gore flew across the Pacific to the Aloha State last week – no word on how big his carbon footprint was – to proclaim of the climate debate, “Ultimately, we are going to win this thing.” It's imperative, he explained: “Our way of life is at stake, our grandchildren are at stake, the future of civilization is at stake,” and those with contrary views are simply “immoral, unethical and despicable.”

Such rhetoric has been preached for decades now, only alarmists' clamor has grown as the debate takes a decided turn. Public support for this hoax is rapidly cooling, prompting even more extreme scaremongering.

Earth is nearing two decades of no observed global warming, the U.S. hasn't been struck by a major hurricane in nearly a decade, tornadoes in the Heartland occur at a historically low rate, the Great Lakes are still nearly 40% ice covered as of April 17, global sea ice is above average, and Antarctic ice extent continues to shatter daily records. But who needs facts when you can slander your opponents?

SOURCE





Corporate Welfare Painted Green

Silicon Valley electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors is both a victim and victimizer. It is a victim of laws enacted in Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia that prohibit automakers from selling directly to consumers. (New York and Ohio will soon join the list.) Tesla is also a victimizer—a corporate welfare queen whose business model relies on a $465 million federal loan, Chinese government-subsidized lithium-ion batteries, and a California government-created “marketplace” for clean-air credits. As Independent Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin W. Powell notes, both kinds of victimization—the prohibitions and the subsidies—harm the public.

The bans on manufacturer-to-consumer auto sales harm consumers by reducing competition for the benefit of auto dealers. The government subsidies harm the taxpayers who are forced to fund them. But what about the environmental benefits of zero-emissions vehicles? The notion that Tesla’s electric cars can curb carbon dioxide emissions overall is pure fantasy, according to Powell. It’s a case of looking only at one locale while ignoring the effects on activity elsewhere in the world.

“To the extent that more widespread use of electric cars in the United States lessens our demand for oil, it depresses the price of oil compared to what it would have been, and simply leads to greater oil consumption in other parts of the world,” Powell writes. Tesla is a technological innovator—and a crony capitalist. To determine whether it is truly a market innovator, it would have to forego government subsidies and succeed on a level playing field. “If the government left the auto industry alone, market prices would dictate which technologies should go into the production of automobiles and how those cars should be delivered to consumers,” Powell continues. “Some companies would win and some would lose, but all consumers would be better off.”

SOURCE






Climate Change Views Approach a Tipping Point

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide later this year whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency can use the risk of global warming as the basis for curtailing coal-generated electricity. According to Independent Institute Research Fellow S. Fred Singer, the Court could bring about a paradigm shift away from climate alarmism—if it cites the growing number of studies that challenge the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Those studies, collected and republished by the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), look closely at the biological and societal impacts of climate change as well as the physical science that informs—or should inform—the public-policy debate. The NIPCC finds that the human contribution to global climate change is very small and practically indistinguishable from natural variability; that modest temperature rises have been and will continue to have positive effects overall on flora, fauna, and human welfare; that the cost of mitigation through emissions reductions would far exceed any benefits; and that the many laws and regulations already adopted to combat global warming now merit re-evaluation, modification, or repeal.

The Supreme Court decision could reverse momentum for more greenhouse gas restrictions. But if the Court sides with coal regulators, the odds will increase for a treaty to come out of next year’s Paris conference on climate change. The adoption and enforcement of such a treaty would hardly be a sure thing, however. “So far, only Western Europe seems to be keen on ratifying [a greenhouse-gas treaty]—and even there, doubts are developing,” Singer writes. “Eastern Europe is definitely against any new Protocol, as are Japan, Australia, and Canada.”

SOURCE

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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Monday, April 21, 2014


EPA’s Tower of Pisa policies

Using lies to shore up policies built on shaky foundations of climate, peak oil and sustainability

Paul Driessen

Built on a foundation of sand, the Leaning Tower of Pisa would have toppled over long ago, if not for ingenious engineering projects that keep it from tilting any further. The same thing is true of ethanol, automobile mileage, power plant pollution and many other environmental policies.

Not only are they built on flimsy foundations of peak oil, sustainability and dangerous manmade climate change. They are perpetuated by garbage in-garbage out computer models and a system that rewards activists, politicians, bureaucrats and corporations that support the hypotheses and policies.

At the heart of this system is the increasingly secretive and deceptive U.S. Environmental Protection Administration. Among its perpetrators are two ideologically driven regulators who are responsible for many of today’s excessive environmental regulations. When the corruption is combined with the EPA’s history of regulatory overkill and empire building, it paints a portrait of an agency that is out of control.

EPA’s culture of misconduct has already raised congressional hackles over the misuse of government credit cards (a recent EPA audit found that 93% of purchases were personal and contrary to agency guidelines); former regional EPA administrator (and now Sierra Club official) Al Amendariz wanting to “crucify” oil companies to make examples of them; and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who masqueraded as “Richard Windsor,” to avoid revelation and oversight of her emails with activists.

However, these sorry tales pale in comparison to damaging EPA malfeasance detailed in a new U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee minority staff report about convicted felon and con artist John Beale. This guy was convicted of bilking taxpayers out of $900,000 – by convincing EPA bosses and colleagues that he was a CIA agent, failing to show up for work for months, but continuing to receive his six-figure salary. However, these were minor transgressions compared to what he was not prosecuted for.

Beale has admitted he had no legislative or environmental policy experience prior to being hired. Yet he became the lead official for the nation’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone and Particulate Matter. He and Robert Brenner, his friend and immediate supervisor at EPA, concocted a nefarious plan that used manipulated scientific studies, faulty or even bogus regulatory cost assessments, “heavy-handed management of interagency review processes,” and even illegal experiments on human test subjects, to impose increasingly tougher, job-killing regulations on US industries.

One of Beale & Brenner’s first actions was to work with the American Lung Association in 1997 in a sue-and-settle arrangement, which led to ozone and particulate matter standards. This underhanded practice enables EPA officials to meet with environmentalist groups behind closed doors and agree to new proposed regulations. Later, the group files a “friendly suit,” and a court orders the agency to adopt the pre-arranged rules. Meanwhile, EPA awarded the ALA $20 million between 2001 and 2010. (Had a business had such an arrangement, it would likely have been prosecuted as an illegal kickback.)

The EPW Committee’s report notes that Beale & Brenner fine-tuned the sue-and-settle idea – and then intentionally overstated the benefits and understated the costs of new regulations. As a result, Beale & Brenner successfully rammed the PM2.5 and ozone standards through the EPA’s approval process and set the stage for myriad additional regulations that likewise did not receive appropriate scientific scrutiny.

In the case of PM2.5 soot particles, the ALA worked with Beale & Brenner to claim tougher regulations would eliminate up to 35,700 premature deaths and 1.4 million cases of aggravated asthma annually. Scientists questioned the figures and said EPA’s flawed research merely “assumed” a cause-and-effect relationship between soot and health effects, but failed to prove one. Indeed, EPA’s illegal experiments exposed people to “lethal” doses of soot, but harmed only an elderly woman with heart problems.

Beale & Brenner pressed on. Not only were the initial PM2.5 and ozone regulations put into effect, but the questionable and non-peer-reviewed data has been used repeatedly as the basis for additional regulations. According to the Senate report, “up to 80 percent of the benefits associated with all federal regulations are attributed to supposed PM 2.5 reductions… [and] the EPA has continued to rely upon the secret science … to justify the vast majority of all Clean Air Act regulations issued to this day.”

As a House subcommittee has pointed out, the long and growing list of EPA regulations involves costly changes to automobiles, trucks, ships, utilities, cement plants, refineries and gasoline, to name a few. The rules also raise consumer prices, eliminate jobs, and thus actually reduce human living standards, health and welfare – all of which EPA steadfastly ignores, in violation of federal laws and regulations.

Just one EPA industrial boiler emissions regulation will put as many as 16,000 jobs at risk for every $1 billion spent in upgrade or compliance costs, IHS Global Insight calculates. The Administration’s regulatory War on Coal, amply illustrated by President Obama’s call to bankrupt the coal industry in the name of alleged manmade climate change, could eliminate up to 16,600 direct and indirect jobs by 2015.

Despite the economic damage, EPA applauded Beale’s regulatory success, and he quickly became one of the federal government’s most powerful and highest paid employees. Even Administrator Gina McCarthy had a hand in advancing his fraudulent and pernicious career, when she appointed him to manage the office of Air and Radiation’s climate change and other international work in 2010.

Then in June 2011, Beale stopped going to work. Despite having filed no retirement papers, under an arrangement with McCarthy, he was allowed to continue receiving his salary. When she finally met with him 15 months later, he said he had no plans to retire.  Two months later, Beale’s long-term unexcused absence was finally referred to the Office of Inspector General for investigation.

After McCarthy became the EPA Administrator in July 2013, Beale pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison. His partner-in-crime Brenner retired in 2011 before the agency could take action against him for accepting an illegal gift from a golfing buddy serving on the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee. But again, these crimes pale in comparison to the tens of billions of dollars that their junk science, sue-and-settle lawsuits and other actions have cost US businesses and families.

Now Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee are trying to get to the bottom of the Brenner-Beale-EPA “secret science” that has been used to justify so many regulations. On March 17, Sen. David Vitter (R- LA) sent a letter to Dr. Francesca Grifo, EPA’s Scientific Integrity Official, asking for the original scientific data and voicing concerns about EPA’s apparent violations of international guidelines for ensuring best practices and preventing scientific misconduct. EPA thus far is claiming the research and data are proprietary or the agency cannot find them. Teachers demand that students show their work; we should demand the same from EPA – especially since we pay for it.

The agency’s onslaught of carbon dioxide and other climate change regulations – including proposed rules on cow flatulence (!)  – is similarly founded on fraudulent EPA and IPCC reports, false and irrelevant claims of scientific “consensus,” and computer models that bear no relationship to temperature, hurricane, drought and other planetary realities. Even worse, it is on this flimsy, fraudulent, lawless foundation that our government’s costly, intrusive environmental and renewable energy policies are based – threatening our economy, employment, living standards and families.

Meanwhile, Ms. McCarthy is conducting business as usual. She recently presented her proposed EPA’s FY 2015 budget to Congress. She says the increased funding should be viewed as an “investment in maintaining a high performing environmental protection organization.” You cannot make this up.

Governors, attorneys general, state legislatures and private citizen groups need to initiate legal actions and demand full discovery of all relevant EPA documents. Congress too needs to take action. Along with one on the IRS targeting scandal, it needs to appoint a select committee or independent counsel to determine which data, computer models and studies EPA used – and which ones it ignored – in reaching its decisions.

Otherwise our nation’s downward economic slide, and distrust of government, will accelerate.

Via email





Try to Ignore Earth Day

By Alan Caruba

Try to ignore Earth Day, April 22. It won’t be easy. The print and broadcast media will engage in an orgy of environmental tall tales and the usual end-of-the-world predictions. It will scare the heck out of youngsters and bore the heck out of anyone old enough to know that we have had to endure the lies that hide the agendas that have driven the Greens since 1970 when the event was first proclaimed.

The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. It is the third planet from the Sun and fifth-largest of the eight other planets that orbit it. It is the only planet in our galaxy that has life on it and it has an abundance of mineral resources as well as water and the fecundity to grow crops and maintain livestock to sustain the human race.

The climate on Earth is entirely dependent on the natural cycles of the Sun. Despite four decades of being told that the Earth was going to heat up due to greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide and methane, we are currently in a cooling cycle and no child born since 1997 has ever experienced a single day of the dreaded “global warming.”

Humans play a very small role affecting the Earth’s climate although, for example, deforestration is one way it has affects it. Other than cutting down trees, another way is to put the government in charge of vast acres of forest. It has a long record of failing to manage them well to the point where diseases and pests render the trees so weak that wildfires wipe out what would otherwise have thrived.

Otherwise, the Earth is and always has a been a very volatile place, subject to a variety of extraordinary natural events such as hurricanes, tsunamis, blizzards, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and earthquakes. The only thing humans can do is clean up and rebuild.

What has mostly changed for humans has been the discovery of energy sources that have transformed and enhanced their lives. Coal, initially, followed by oil and natural gas. All are carbon based, but then, so are humans and other life forms.

The Greens call them “fossil fuels” and some refer to “dirty coal” or seek to demonize “Big Oil.” Between 2007 and 2012, three U.S. oil companies paid a total of $289.7 billion in corporate income taxes. Until the Obama administration took power, coal provided fifty percent of all the electricity Americans used. Completely bogus “science” cited by the Environmental Protection Agency has been used to shut down coal-fired plants and close down coal mines. And, in concert with costly, unpredictable and unreliable “renewable” energy, wind and solar, have driven up the cost of electricity for everyone.

According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, released in March, over the next two decades the EPA’s climate rules aimed at reducing “global warming” (which is not occurring) will cost the economy $2.23 trillion. An estimated 600,000 jobs will be lost. The jobs that would be created by the Keystone XL pipeline have been waiting five years for the White House to approve the project.

As mentioned, it has been the many inventions that utilize the energy sources the Greens want to “leave in the ground” that have totally transformed the lives of Americans and others throughout the world. What Earth Day is really about is not the improvement of life, but limits that will reduce the world’s population. The one thing all environmentalists agree upon is that there are too many humans. This is a form of fascism that goes back to the creation of the communist/socialist economic systems, none of which have provided the level of prosperity that capitalism has. Even Communist China has adopted the capitalist model.

The other agenda Greens agree upon is that the government should own and control every square inch of the nation’s (and world’s) landmass. That is why climate change is part of the United Nations’ intention to become the single world government. It is home to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has clung to the global warming hoax since they invented it in the late 1980s.

Recently, the IPCC released another report claiming “climate change” will melt polar ice, cause the oceans to rise dramatically, generate extreme weather conditions, et cetera. There have always been extreme weather conditions somewhere and the rest of the IPCC claims are just great big lies that have been around for decades.

Along the way, environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth, among countless others of comparable or lesser size have received millions in membership dues, donations, the sale of products, and from the assets that many own. Many, like Greenpeace, enjoy a non-profit status. For example, in 2011, Greenpeace took in $27,465,948 and had assets of $4,653,179. Multiply that against all the others and it adds up to billions.

Green organizations represent a very big business that is constantly at war with legitimate businesses in the energy, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors, seeking to impose laws and regulations that cost them and consumers billions every year.

If you’re a parent take some time to explain to younger children that the Earth is very old and not going to suffer the claims Greens repeat and repeat. As for everyone else, just try to ignore the Earth Day deluge. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

SOURCE  




Students hear two sides of global warming debate

Hebron High School junior Kasie Sass said Thursday's World Affairs Conference held at Ivy Tech Community College was the first time she had heard both sides of the heated global warming issue.

"It was pretty interesting and I definitely heard a different perspective. I am so used to hearing all the propaganda from the other side," Sass said.

Chesterton High School junior Alyssa Bowker agreed. "I learned a lot of facts that I'd never been told," she said.

Sass and Bowker were among about 150 area students who took part in the Rotary District 6540 sponsored conference to discuss the Storm Over Climate Change.

The two keynote speakers, Steve Goreham and Jorge Ortiz, gave opposing sides of the issue at a gathering of other students in Manchester University in North Manchester.

Their speeches were web broadcast live to several other sites including Ivy Tech in Valparaiso and Purdue University Calumet in Hammond.

Goreham, a policy adviser to the conservative Chicago-based the Heartland Institute, said those who believe in the claims of looming global warming are all wet.

Even on the heels of what he termed a "good old-fashioned northern winter," some people are still saying the snow is disappearing and will stop unless global warming is stopped, Goreham said.

"The snow is increasing. And the 40-year trend of snow increasing data is out of step with what they are saying," Goreham said.

Experts on global warming say the years from 2000 to 2009 have been the warmest on record but those records only go back 130 years.

Those records don't include extreme climate changes recorded during the Medieval Warm Period in England ending in the 13th century followed by the Little Ice Age.

"Climate change is natural; not man made," Goreham said.

Ortiz, regional director for U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., spoke on the senator's behalf.

In his speech, Ortiz provided definition of climate change and updates on how it is being handled in this country and throughout the world.

Ortiz said the Environmental Protection Agency defines climate change as temperature changes that have increased by 1.4 degrees.

"More and more agree that the temperature is rising but there is no consensus on why," Ortiz said.

SOURCE  





Fracking to deliver tens of billions to UK supply chain

Britain's shale gas and oil industry could create tens of billions of pounds worth of opportunities in the supply chain, a major report is expected to say this week.

But the country currently lacks the equipment and skilled workers needed to support fracking, presenting a potential obstacle to the expansion of shale development.

Firms must start equipping themselves to ensure they capitalise on the potential for tens of thousands of jobs the industry could create, the report, backed by ministers and the industry, is likely to say.

However, the publication of a separate report mapping billions of barrels of shale oil that lie beneath the south of England has now been delayed until at least late May, The Telegraph has learnt.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has been studying the shale potential in Jurassic formations in the Weald and Wessex basins, which span the Home Counties.

Michael Fallon, the energy minister, had promised the report would be published “by spring” this year. It will now not be released until after the European elections on May 22 because of “purdah” preventing significant or contentious announcements being made in the run-up to polling day.

The BGS report is likely to be highly controversial because of strong local opposition in parts of the Tory heartlands to potential drilling. Attempts to drill for oil in Balcombe last summer by fracking firm Cuadrilla led to months of protests, racking up a £4m policing bill.

The US government’s Energy Information Administration estimated last year that 17bn barrels of shale oil could lie beneath the Jurassic area, which spans almost 3,500 square miles, and suggested that 700m barrels could be recovered.

Mr Fallon has described the southern region as “the second great belt of shale” after Bowland in the North, where the BGS reported there could be enough gas to fuel Britain for more than 40 years.

Drilling in the South – where oil lies beneath Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent – would test whether those in the region “like the flaring [burning off oil and gas] at the end of the drive”, Mr Fallon was quoted as saying last year.

The energy industry has acknowledged that while local opposition may be the biggest obstacle to fracking, the immature supply chain could present a barrier to the development of shale resources.

Britain lacks the necessary infrastructure and equipment, with barely a handful of onshore drilling rigs available.

A report by the Institute of Directors, commissioned by fracking firm Cuadrilla, also highlighted a lack of skilled labour as an obstacle, pointing out there was already a skills shortage in the North Sea offshore oil and gas industry.

Sources say this week’s report, understood to have been commissioned by the UK Onshore Operators Group and backed by ministers, will suggest a total supply chain opportunity running into tens of billions of pounds.

It will highlight how specific sectors could benefit from shale, for example manufacturers of steel for fracking equipment.

Industry sources say that companies and government alike must take action now to ensure the fracking industry does not repeat the mistakes of Britain’s offshore wind industry, which overwhelmingly has foreign manufacturers and suppliers.

This week’s report will also be closely watched for its estimate of jobs. An independent report by consultants Amec last year suggested that up to 32,000 jobs could be created through fracking in new areas being offered to companies this year – implying a maximum of 64,000 jobs once those areas also under licence are included.

But ministers have faced criticism from Labour for persisting in using a figure from the IoD suggesting a total of 74,000 jobs would be created.

The IoD’s report also suggested that each drilling site could represent an investment of between £142m and £514m over its lifetime, with total investment peaking at £3.7bn a year.

SOURCE





Europe may replace Russian gas with US coal

While U.S. lawmakers are debating the merits of exporting natural gas to Europe to break Russia’s energy hold on the continent, one immediately exportable energy source has been overlooked: coal.

U.S. coal exports have been booming in recent years due to rising demand around the world. In fact, some European countries are already using U.S. coal to displace costly Russian gas. Europe’s biggest importers of American coal include Germany and the United Kingdom.

“The president is doing his best to stop coal use in America by issuing emissions standards that are so stringent it is not feasible to build a coal fired power plant, but other countries are desperate for this valuable energy resource and we are exporting coal in record numbers,” Republican Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

U.S. coal exports have skyrocketed in recent years. Exports have grown from about 59 million short tons of coal in 2007 to nearly 118 million short tons last year, all while imports have fallen 75 percent over that time period.

“Some European countries are using U.S. coal to help displace Russian natural gas and neutralize Russia’s energy influence,” Whitfield said. “Coal exports are already having an impact on geopolitics and are helping to create American jobs and reduce our trade deficit. We can build on this success by increasing natural gas exports as well.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced many European countries to rethink their reliance on natural gas that can be stopped at any time by President Vladimir Putin. The European Union is debating allowing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to unlock vast shale gas reserves as well as importing U.S. gas.

But importing U.S. gas is not a short-term solution, as the Obama administration has moved slowly in approving export terminals. Once an export terminal is approved, it can take years before it comes online and begins shipping out gas.

Some analysts expect U.S. coal exports to get another boost from the EU, since it’s the only viable short-term substitute for natural gas.

SOURCE  




Screwy Green Opposition To Fracking Drives Europe Deeper Into Coal Consumption

The shale gas boom in the United States has made domestic power producers cleaner and turned coal producers into major exporters. A weak Europe, anxious about fracking, is becoming reliant on cheap U.S. coal to fuel its power stations, trapping it in a vicious cycle.

The ongoing European trepidation towards shale gas is putting Europe at an increasing economic disadvantage. The lack of energy competitiveness vis-à-vis the United States has also become the biggest concern of Europe’s industrialists, mentioned Leif Johansson, chairman of AstraZeneca and Ericsson and head of the European Round Table of Industrialists in a recent interview with the FT.

It is well known that the shale gas revolution in the U.S. has led to a massive drop in natural gas prices. From the peak in 2008, gas prices fell by over 70 percent by January 2010 and have roughly remained at that level since. This has led U.S. electricity producers to increasingly use gas-fired power rather than coal-fired power plants to supply electricity, with dramatic effects on the U.S. supply curves of electricity

This has been positive for the U.S. on two fronts. Firstly, natural gas is a cleaner fuel which is better for the environment. Secondly, with more competition in the market for electricity generation following the availability of shale gas, electricity prices are falling for consumers, a massive saving for the U.S. economy.

On the other hand, the preference for shale gas has left coal producers out in the cold.

U.S. coal producers have seen a declining demand in steam coal from the U.S. electricity sector. At the same time, they have maintained their annual production volumes. While coal imports into the U.S. have dropped dramatically, the excess coal production has needed to be stockpiled, exported or both. Currently, U.S. coal producers are banking on export markets to rid the stockpiles. A recent report from the U.S. Congress framed this issue very clearly: “One of the big questions for the [U.S. domestic coal] industry is how to penetrate the overseas market, particularly in steam coal, to compensate for declining domestic demand.”

U.S. coal producers have been successful at increasing exports and reducing imports. From 2007 to 2012, coal exports more than doubled with Europe taking about 58 percent of total exports in 2012, up from 32 percent in 2007.

This was driven by cheaper coal. The shale gas boom in the U.S. made coal less interesting to local electricity generators and it was to be expected that European electricity generators would capitalise on this “coal price revolution”. This revolution is the opposite to what is happening in the U.S. Coal had dropped from 25 percent of the total power mix in Europe in 2007 to 21 percent in 2010, but the trend reversed, starting in 2011, reaching 22 percent. In 2012, coal fired electricity output in Europe even rose by 6 percent, a greater increase than Portugal’s total electricity generation. The share of natural gas in the total power mix in Europe increased from 12 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2008 but had already dropped to 17 percent by 2011.

A vicious economic – and ecological – energy cycle for Europe?

In the absence of a European supply of inexpensive shale gas, the shift to coal is a rational economic decision for European power generators. The consequences of the shift, however, are detrimental on several fronts. Firstly, in spite of lower coal prices, Europe’s energy cost position relative to the U.S. will only further deteriorate. Secondly, the negative knock-on effect of relatively higher energy costs on Europe’s energy intensive industries creates further disadvantage for Europe, already handicapped by very high structural costs. Thirdly, greenhouse gas emissions, which are roughly twice as high for coal fired plants than for gas fired plants, are saddling Europe with an ecological predicament. Losing on both economic and ecological grounds is the worst outcome.

Leaving the arbitration of Europe’s energy feedstock to “market forces” is poor policy, especially if the market mechanisms are leaving Europe dangling between U.S. coal and Russian gas. Policy makers and corporate leaders should urgently rethink Europe’s energy situation before it becomes a quagmire. Developing local energy sources such as shale gas should remain on the agenda.

SOURCE  

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For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

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