Thursday, May 14, 2009


There are signs that the administration might have realized what it has done with all its talk of regulating greenhouse gases. First, there was the surprising decision last Friday not to reverse the Bush administration's rules surrounding its listing of the Polar Bear under the Endangered Species Act, causing the Center for Biological Diversity to call the rule an "extinction plan" which the administration had "made its own."

Second, there surfaced an interagency memo circulated by OMB which said that the EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare could inflict severe harm on the U.S. economy while itself being based on shaky grounds. The memo specifically says:

Making the decision to regulate CO2 under the CAA for the first time is likely to have serious economic consequences for regulated entities throughout the U.S. economy, including small businesses and small communities and that there is a concern that EPA is making a finding based on (1) 'harm' from substances that have no demonstrated direct health effects, such as respiratory or toxic effects, (2) available scientific data that purports to conclusively establish the nature and extent of the adverse public health and welfare impacts are almost exclusively from non-EPA sources, and (3) applying a dramatically expanded precautionary principle.

This is pretty strong stuff, but of course it's exactly the same sort of warnings that were presented in the Bush administration, but were decried as part of a "war on science."

Now, today, confronted with the memo by Senator Barroso, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson somehow managed to say that an endangerment finding "does not mean regulation." The EPA was unable to clarify what that meant, probably because it is is nonsense under the clear meaning of the Clean Air Act and its interpretation by the Supreme Court in Mass. v EPA. A coalition of free-market groups pointed this all out in its submission to EPA on the finding.

What this all suggests is that sober voices somewhere in the administration have realized just what an economic disaster regulating greenhouse gases will be. The timing of these remarks also suggests that the White House is withdrawing cover from the extremists pushing the Waxman-Markey bill. It also means that the well-funded CBD's $17 million* that they have for litigation is going to be well-used as they tie up the administration with legal challenges.

If Obama wants to get himself out of this mess, he should sponsor legislation expressly excluding greenhouse gases from the purview of the ESA and CAA.



The Waxman-Markey climate bill-characterized as a "648 page cap-and-trade monstrosity" by Al Gore's mentor, James Hansen-is intended to bring the U.S. into line with Europe and Japan on CO2 policy. But as I have explained previously, the current U.S. policy discouraging new coal and new nuclear capacity will:

* Make the U.S. more dependent on energy imports,

* Drive up generation costs,

* Artificially incite demand for fickle natural gas, and

* related infrastructure such as LNG regasification facilities, and Increase reliance on old coal and old nuclear for baseload power, resulting in less efficient, less clean, and less reliable electricity.

Such government intervention will block self-interested private investors who would otherwise provide America with more domestic, lower-cost energy, and more modern infrastructure for better reliability. And ironically, our more expensive, imported and unreliable electricity system will hardly make a difference in worldwide CO2 levels and associated global climate change.

Much more HERE


Millions making big sacrifices to pay utilities bills, new research confirms

Warnings of pensioners going hungry in order to heat their homes weren't over-the-top, after all, new research shows. A new report has served to confirm the fears of many consumer groups and charities - that millions of UK households are having to cut back on their food bills and other essential simply to pay for their gas and electricity.

For several months now, organisations such as Help the Aged have been shouting Cassandra-like from the wings for the government to do more to help the most vulnerable in British society, particularly the elderly who are at the greatest risk from cold weather yet who are the least able to go online and switch utilities suppliers.

Now, such claims don't appear so sensationalist, with fresh research carried out by Consumer Focus revealing that 44 per cent of customers have been forced to cut back on essential items as the average combined fuel bill stands at £1,288.

What's more, the study also found that 65 per cent of those polled were "shocked" at the size of their most recent utilities bill, with around the same proportion far from optimistic that the recently-announced price cuts from the 'big six' suppliers will make any real difference to their personal finances.



Parts of the green movement have become hijacked by a political agenda and now operate like multinational corporations, according to two senior scientists and members of the House of Lords. The peers, who were speaking at an event in parliament on science policy, said they felt that in some areas green campaign groups were a hindrance to environmental causes. "Much of the green movement isn't a green movement at all, it's a political movement," said Lord May, who is a former government chief scientific adviser and president of the Royal Society. He singled out Greenpeace as an environmental campaign group that had "transmogrified" into one with primarily an anti-globalisation stance.

"Maybe they are right, but I wish they would wear the uniform of the army they are fighting [under]," said May, adding that he used to be involved with Greenpeace in the 1970s.

Greenpeace's chairman John Sauven said he did not recognise the characterisation. "I don't know who he is talking about," he said, "As far as I know, no mainstream environmental organisation has been anti-globalisation per se...Frankly that does not represent what we are about." He said that Greenpeace did, however, campaign against examples of unsustainable trade, such as transporting bottled water between continents. "There are a million and one examples of the madness of globalisation that are having a detrimental effect on the environment," he added.

May also criticised green groups who campaign against initiatives such as wind farms and the Severn tidal barrage scheme, while also proclaiming the need to tackle climate change. He said such groups were "failing to recognise the landscape is human-created".

As an example of how attitudes can change, he cited the poet John Ruskin's angry condemnation of the Monsal Dale railway. The line, built in the 1860s, runs through beautiful countryside between Matlock and Buxton. At the time, Ruskin raged: "The valley is gone and the Gods with it, and now, every fool in Buxton can be at Bakewell in half-an-hour." The railway is now regarded fondly by many people as an integral part of the landscape, May said.

Lord Krebs, the former chairman of the Food Standards Agency and current principal of Jesus College Oxford also criticised Greenpeace, saying that it had been set up to peddle fear on environmental issues. "Greenpeace is a multinational corporation just like Monsanto or Tesco. They have very effective marketing departments... Their product is worry because worry is what recruits members," he said.


Australia: How governments get people out of their cars (another example)

Where did they get this insane bus driver? What training was he given? Are they psychologically evaluated before being given charge of lots of people? And judging by many past verdicts (e.g. this one) he will do no jail time for his appalling behaviour

A BRISBANE City Council bus driver assaulted a 79-year-old passenger because he was "a few cents short" of his fare, a court has been told. Dennis Fath Chow, 38, was yesterday committed to stand trial for the serious assault of the man, who cannot be identified, at Chermside West in September 2008.

A Brisbane Magistrate's Court committal hearing was told the men had argued over the price of a bus fare. High school student, Jaqueline Williams, 16, told the court she was travelling on a No.345 bus when it stopped at the corner of Rode Rd and Maundrell Tce at Chermside West. She said Chow became involved in an argument with his elderly passenger when he could not produce the correct fare.

After rebuffing the girl's attempt to pay the fare, Chow started pushing and shoving the elderly man, the court was told. "The bus driver just started screaming at him," the girl said. "He was grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking and pushing him. He lifted him up and chucked him off, kind of like a footy."

The man fell headfirst on to the concrete footpath, the girl said. "I saw the old man bleeding and I went to see if he was all right. I had tissues in my bag so I was just trying to clean up as much blood as I could," she said. The court was told the man sustained facial fractures and extensive bruising and cuts to his hands, hips and elbows.

Another witness on the bus recounted hearing the sound of the man hitting the concrete. "I could hear his head crack like an egg on the footpath," he said. "(The bus driver) was going to drive off but I told him I was calling the police and to stay right there."

Magistrate Jacqueline Payne committed Chow to stand trial in the District Court.


"Eco-friendly" posters for Ireland's Green party fall apart

And they want to lecture everybody else on how to do things!

An unusual flaw has emerged in the Green Party’s environmentally friendly batch of election posters. Around half of the party’s 100 local election candidates opted for eco-friendly election posters, but the wood used has turned out to be below the standard required and the posters have split and disintegrated during inclement weather over the weekend.

A party spokesman confirmed last night that it had ordered the recall of all that batch of posters as a precautionary measure. The recall affects some 50 candidates. The spokesman said the party had contracted an Irish company to use a specific type of board that would withstand all elements of Irish weather and not break apart or cause litter. However, during the high winds and rains of the past week, it was found that some of the posters disintegrated when exposed to the elements.

The posters, purchased because they were ecologically friendly, were produced in Ireland from a renewable tree source, specifically for the Green Party’s election campaign at a cost of around €150,000. Between 12,000 and 13,000 posters were printed for the election campaign, all of which have been recalled. Mick Murphy, a Green candidate for Cork City Council, said the party immediately withdrew the posters late on Friday, shortly after the fault was identified.

It is understood that the company contracted to provide the posters specialises in creating a high-quality visual finish on timber board from a sustainable source. The timber was sourced from the Irish State Forest and the Green Party had specified that for every tree used to make the election posters, six trees would be planted to replace those cut down, according to Mr Murphy. “Once we were informed of the fault, we went immediately to remove any posters that had been erected.”

The party spokesman said last night that replacement posters had been ordered for the affected candidates and the party hoped that they would be available by the end of the week.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


No comments: