Sunday, March 22, 2009


Canada's Minister of State for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear, became the centre of a media kerfuffle this week over whether being an Evangelical Christian - and whether or not he believed in evolution - made him a threat to Canadian science policy. In fact, the story, which started as an ambush by The Globe and Mail, seemed to have been engineered by those with a fundamentalist faith in government funding.

Coincidentally, however, evidence that shining scientific credentials can accompany outright policy lunacy was appearing south of the border in a much more substantive issue. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, speaking before a House science panel, suggested that trade duties might be imposed as a "weapon" to protect U.S. manufacturing from the United States' own climate policies!

Under the perverse logic of global warming policy - which is being doggedly pursued despite the disappearance of global warming - economic self-mutilation inevitably leads to demands that others self-mutilate too. "If other countries don't impose a cost on carbon," said Mr. Chu, "then we will be at a disadvantage ... [and] we would look at considering perhaps duties that would offset that cost."

President Obama is threatening a cap-and-trade - or more appropriately cap-and-tax - system that will force manufacturers to buy allowances to emit carbon dioxide. But this obviously puts U.S. manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage if other countries refuse to shackle their own manufacturers. So shackles would have to be applied to those countries' exports at the U.S. border.

The term "weapon" is entirely appropriate because such a policy would not "level the playing field," as Mr. Chu seems to imagine, but bomb it. Carbon tariffs have been lurking like Somali pirates on the policy horizon for quite a while, and "carbon equivalency fees" for imports were part of the climate change bill introduced by President Obama last week in Congress.

Protectionist sentiments are already an enormous threat to world trade, as a report from the World Bank this week confirmed. William Watson noted in this space yesterday that the bank held out hopes that the protectionist urge might be constrained by such factors as more closely interlinked supply chains, the increased power of exporters and 50 years of experience with increasingly open markets promoted by the GATT and the WTO. Unfortunately, since economics is filled with counterintuitive notions, and the vast majority of people - including politicians - aren't economists, this view may be over-optimistic.

What makes the present situation more dangerous is that global warming policy threatens the world with Smoot-Hawley - the disastrous U.S. anti-trade policy that deepened and lengthened the Depression - on steroids. The disaster that would be unleashed by Mr. Chu and the Obama administration's anti-growth policies was adumbrated on Monday when one of China's "climate envoys" asserted that carbon-intensive tariffs could lead to a trade war. Li Gao noted that such a tariff, which would be illegal under the WTO, threatened "disaster." Mr. Chu's remarks were followed by an even stronger reiteration from China's top climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, who said that carbon duties were "an excuse to impose trade restrictions."

But then - typical of the Alice-in-Climateland quality of this whole issue - Mr. Xie called upon the U.S. Congress to pass Mr. Obama's climate change bill! China does in fact like some parts of this vast UN-led policy fandango, specifically the bits about Western nations funding Chinese "clean development" and shipping off billions of dollars to China to buy hot air credits. (Mr. Xie meanwhile took a passing shot at Canada's lack of "progress" in the policy self-immolation stakes, noting "there is just talk but no action." Way to go, Stephen Harper!)

There is already considerable concern among the United States' trading partners, including Mexico, over U.S. Protectionism. No trading partner is historically more important than Canada, which is worried about "Buy American" policies. But carbon tariffs, which would require a nightmarish amount of paperwork for manufacturers but myriad man-years of employment for bureaucrats, take protectionism to a whole new level.

Such uncreative destruction is certainly not in any way opposed to the fundamental objectives of the radical environmentalists who push man-made global warming theory as the rationale for "de-development." The EU too is considering carbon tariffs, although this week its legislators were having second thoughts about shipping off billions in clean development funds to the Third World while its own unemployment rates were soaring. Inevitably, protectionism has its industry cheerleaders. Instead of standing up to pointless climate policies, some companies seek to take advantage of them. Those that can't simply say "Well, just as long as my competitors are crippled too." Bomb that playing field!

China wants importers to foot the bill if carbon tariffs are introduced, on the basis that it is consumers who are "to blame" for the industrial emissions of CO2. But apart from the craziness of making job- and wealth-creation blameworthy, the price will inevitably have to be paid by consumers of Chinese goods, thus reducing both demand for Chinese exports, and the welfare of consumers.

Like so many of President Obama's other choices for his cabinet, Mr. Chu is turning out to be a disaster, both for his quasi-religious belief in global warming pseudo-science and for his Do-It-Yourself economics. Meanwhile he doesn't seem to know much about energy beyond his own research cul-de-sac of solar, wind and biofuels. And we Canadians getting heated about whether our science minister believes in Adam and Eve.


MIT Scientists find new natural changes that influence global temperature

"What baffles the team is that this data contradicts theories stating humans are the primary source of increase in greenhouse gas." Note that the original university press release was careful not to note the adverse implications for conventional global warming theory

A team of MIT scientists recorded a nearly simultaneous world-wide increase in methane levels -the first increase in ten years. What baffles the team is that this data contradicts theories stating humans are the primary source of increase in greenhouse gas. It takes about one full year for gases generated in the highly industrial northern hemisphere to cycle through and reach the southern hemisphere. Since all worldwide levels rose simultaneously throughout the same year, however, it is probable that this may be part of a natural cycle - and not the direct result of man's contributions.

MIT's Matthew Rigby and Ronald Prinn, the TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, state that this imbalance has resulted in several million metric tons of additional methane in the atmosphere. Methane is produced by wetlands, rice paddies, cattle, and the gas and coal industries, and is destroyed by reaction with the hydroxyl free radical (OH), often referred to as the atmosphere's "cleanser."

Methane accounts for roughly one-fifth of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, though its effect is 25x greater than that of carbon dioxide. Its impact on global warming comes from the reflection of the sun's light back to the Earth. Methane is broken down in the atmosphere by the free radical hydroxyl (OH), a naturally occuring process. This atmospheric cleanser has been shown to adjust itself up and down periodically, and is believed to account for the lack of increases in methane levels in Earth's atmosphere over the past ten years despite notable simultaneous increases by man.

Prinn has said, "The next step will be to study [these changes] using a very high-resolution atmospheric circulation model and additional measurements from other networks. The key thing is to better determine the relative roles of increased methane emission versus [an increase] in the rate of removal. Apparently we have a mix of the two, but we want to know how much of each [is responsible for the overall increase]."

The primary concern now is that while the collected data in 2007 reflects a simultaneous world-wide increase in emissions, how relevant are any of the data findings at this late date?

One thing does seem very clear, however; science is only beginning to get a focus on the big picture of global warming. Findings like these tell us it's too early to know for sure if man's impact is affecting things at "alarming rates." We may simply be going through another natural cycle of warmer and colder times - one that's been observed through a scientific analysis of the Earth to be naturally occurring for hundreds of thousands of years.


Feinstein: Don't Spoil Our Desert With Solar Panels

NOTHING suits the Greenies -- unless it is the total destruction of modern civilization. Something will be found to be wrong with every proposal for energy generation

Sen. Dianne Feinstein said development of solar and wind facilities in California's Mojave Desert would violate the spirit of what conservationists had intended when they donated much of the land to the public. California's Mojave Desert may seem ideally suited for solar energy production, but concern over what several proposed projects might do to the aesthetics of the region and its tortoise population is setting up a potential clash between conservationists and companies seeking to develop renewable energy.

Nineteen companies have submitted applications to build solar or wind facilities on a parcel of 500,000 desert acres, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday such development would violate the spirit of what conservationists had intended when they donated much of the land to the public.

Feinstein said Friday she intends to push legislation that would turn the land into a national monument, which would allow for existing uses to continue while preventing future development.

The Wildlands Conservancy orchestrated the government's purchase of the land between 1999-2004. It negotiated a discount sale from the real estate arm of the former Santa Fe and Southern Pacific Railroad and then contributed $40 million to help pay for the purchase. David Myers, the conservancy's executive director, said the solar projects would do great harm to the region's desert tortoise population. "It would destroy the entire Mojave Desert ecosystem," said David Myers, executive director of The Wildlands Conservancy.

Feinstein said the lands in question were donated or purchased with the intent that they would be protected forever. But the Bureau of Land Management considers the land now open to all types of development, except mining. That policy led the state to consider large swaths of the land for future renewable energy production. "This is unacceptable," Feinstein said in a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. "I urge you to direct the BLM to suspend any further consideration of leases to develop former railroad lands for renewable energy or for any other purpose."

In a speech last year, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger complained about environmental concerns slowing down the approval of solar plants in California. "If we cannot put solar power plants in the Mojave desert, I don't know where the hell we can put it," Schwarzenegger said at Yale University.

But Karen Douglas, chairman of the California Energy Commission, said Feinstein's proposal could be a "win-win" for energy and conservation. The governor's office said Douglas was speaking on the administration's behalf. "The opportunity we see in the Feinstein bill is to jump-start our own efforts to find the best sites for development and to come up with a broader conservation plan that mitigates the impact of the development," Douglas said.

Douglas said that if the national monument lines were drawn without consideration of renewable energy then a conflict was likely, but it's early enough in the planning process that she's confident the state will be able to get more solar and wind projects up and running without hurting the environment. "We think we can do both," Douglas said. "We think this is an opportunity to accelerate both."

Greg Miller of the Bureau of Land Management said there are 14 solar energy and five wind energy projects that have submitted applications seeking to develop on what's referred to as the former Catellus lands. None of the projects are close to being approved, he said. The land lies in the southeast corner of California, between the existing Mojave National Preserve on the north and Joshua Tree National Park on the south. "They all have to go through a rigorous environmental analysis now," Miller said. "It will be at best close to two years out before we get some of these grants approved."

Feinstein's spokesman, Gil Duran, said the senator looks forward to working with the governor and the Interior Department on the issue. "There's plenty of room in America's deserts for the bold expansion of renewable energy projects," Duran said.


The recent EU "Summit" (The "European Council")

What we do know from the very early "summits" is that the contemporary media often paints a very different picture from what actually goes on. This emerges from documents released under the 30-year rule, when it becomes quite obvious that many of these occasions are simply coup de theatre.

What makes them doubly unreliable is that, in the hothouse atmosphere of the Council, there is group psychology at play, where the "colleagues" lose contact with reality – even more so than usual – and agree to things which have no basis in the real world.

It is rather appropriate, therefore, that two years down the line from the 2007 Spring Council, we are seeing exactly what happens to the agreements made. At what was Blair's last EU meeting, the "colleagues" indulged in a frenzy of greenery, outbidding each other in their enthusiasm to save the planet. To do so, they adopting, amongst other things, a "binding target" of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020.

Cue BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs who, at the time, burbled, "there is an air of real achievement in Brussels."

Now fast-forward to the present and you have, off-stage, The Guardian retailing that "green" power companies are heading for "crisis". Britain, we are told, should no longer rely on them to meet its energy security and climate change obligations.

Thus we get John Constable, head of policy at the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), saying, "There is a serious problem … I warned a year ago that the industry was being set up for a fall and now it has happened. There has been too much hype and the government was always far too unrealistic about what could be achieved."

Then David MacKay, a Cambridge University professor and author of a new book, Sustainable Energy - Without the Hot Air, chips in. "It may well be that renewables has been overhyped and there is a backlash against it," he says. "There is a big, big problem compared with a year ago. I know a number of people who are unable to get investment for the kind of new technology we need for a low-carbon future."

Needless to say, there is a strong measure of self-serving in this doom-laden fare. The renewables industry is after even more financial aid. But, with the parlous state of the public finances, and the recession biting deep, the chances of Mr Brown coming up with anything are extremely slender.

By the same measure, when we see out of the current meeting a "pledge" to make avaible an additional €75 billion "to finance loans by the International Monetary Fund and to double a credit line for its stricken eastern economies," you can take it with a pinch of salt.

Closer to reality was a refusal to commit funding to aid developing countries to help them cut "greenhouse gas emissions". Member states are to discuss the issue again in June but are unlikely to decide even then.

That is the land of the European Council. Nothing is real, nothing is permanent. Agreements made one year are unstitched the next year, or the year after. The only reality is the press release on the day. Tomorrow is another day, another reality.


Kids Are Being Taught That Carbon Kills Polar Bears

California’s KQED has a story about elementary school children being taught that manmade “Mr. Carbon” is giving the earth a global warming “fever” and killing “lovable” polar bears. Of course, the San Francisco-based PBS station thinks that’s just swell. It’s not – it’s outrageous.

Cool The Earth, the group behind this blatant indoctrination program, is the brainchild of two Marin County parents who say they were inspired by watching Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. That’s probably all you need to know, but bear with me – it gets better.

According to their website, “Cool The Earth is a ready-to-run program that educates K-8 students and their families about global warming and inspires them to take simple actions to reduce their carbon emissions.” Here’s how they describe the program’s kick-off assembly:
The Cool the Earth program launches with an all-school assembly in which an original, age-appropriate play is performed by teachers, parents and students. Characters such as Koda the polar bear, Earth and Mother Nature act out scenarios about how human activities are contributing to raising levels of carbon dioxide and giving the earth a global warming “fever.” By the end of the play, all the kids are excited to get rid of the villain, Mr. Carbon, and save the lovable Koda. The tone of the play is positive and helps kids feel empowered to take action.

I can just imagine the boos and hisses when the evil caped Mr. Carbon creeps onto the stage and the applause and cheers when the cuddly and lovable Koda is saved from his villainous intent.

And speaking of dubious intentions, program co-founder Carleen Cullen makes no attempt to conceal hers:
“Cool the Earth plants the seeds of environmental change into the minds of the people who can have the biggest impact on the planet: children. If anyone can inspire their parents to make changes, it’s their children.”

Planting seeds into children’s minds? In other words -- brain washing.

And the site’s Climate 101 page, which incorrectly identifies carbon dioxide as “the most prevalent greenhouse gas,” reveals the fallacious weed they want those seeds to sprout:
An overwhelming body of scientific evidence paints a clear picture: climate change is happening; it is caused in large part by human activity and it will have many serious and potentially damaging effects in the decades ahead. Scientists have confirmed that the greenhouse gas emissions from cars, power plants and other manmade sources—rather than natural variations in climate—are a primary cause

It’s broken record time again, folks. As global temperatures continue to cool, alarmists are picking up both the tempo and intensity of their disinformation campaign. And public schools are a high value target. Please monitor the “science” being fed to your kids in school. And be prepared to remove any green mush that finds itself between their ears. Sit your kids down to watch and discuss the fabulous video AT’s Gregory Young features today.

And should your 7-year-old return home from school one day, upset that your “carbon footprint” is killing poor Koda the polar bear, explain to the little tyke that what he or she saw in school wasn’t real, but only make-believe.

Just like manmade global warming itself.


Australia: Some sense about crocs coming?

The people-hating Greenies will go hysterical, of course. Even with 80,000 of them, crocs will still be "endangered"

TOURISTS could soon be allowed to hunt crocodiles with the Northern Territory Government renewing a push to allow safaris to help cull the predators. The government is expected to increase the crocodile cull in the rural area, following the death of 11-year-old Briony Anne Goodsell in Lambells Lagoon, reports the Northern Territory News.

Tourism Minister Chris Burns said he still supported calls for crocodile safari hunting. This has renewed calls for crocodile safaris to help with the cull. "When I was Environment Minister, I was front and centre, lobbying Canberra to have very limited croc safaris," he said. "I'm still a supporter of that."

The previous federal government knocked back several applications for the Territory to set up a croc safari.

Dr Burns suggested a new application could be made to the Rudd Government as part of the latest review of crocodile management. Environment Minister Alison Anderson said the government remained in favour of croc safari hunting "particularly as an enterprise opportunity for traditional owners". She promised to pursue the issue with Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

Mr Garrett's office said no proposal had been lodged for a crocodile safari. But spokesman Ben Pratt said the minister would consider an application under the legislation if one was lodged.

Ms Anderson said crocodile safaris would not solve the problem of increasing interactions between humans and crocodiles in the rural area. "Management in these more densely populated areas requires a range of strategies, including monitoring, removal and community awareness." She said those strategies would be set out in the updated Crocodile Management Plan, to be released soon.

The previous federal government stopped international hunters from shooting crocodiles in 2005 by banning export of trophies – skin and skulls. However, the death of Briony Anne Goodsell's has prompted the NT Government to implement tighter controls of the crocodile population, recently estimated to be the highest in Australia at more than 80,000.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

QUOTED: "Smoot-Hawley - the disastrous U.S. anti-trade policy that deepened and lengthened the Depression"...

...and may have CAUSED it in the first place, markets being anticipatory. Now China is threatening to replace to dollar. At that point I'm not going into gold; I'm going into food rations. I'm sitting in a rent stabilized inflationary cocoon in NYC. I have a farm in my apartment, not quite on paper yet but old laws are your friend, and that other farm I own helps. All my credit cards have figurative spinning digits on the back security code lately.