Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pelosi concedes 'not enough votes to pass global warming bill'‏

House Democratic leaders are furiously lobbying their members and moderate Republicans to support a landmark energy bill in the face of resistance from some conservative members of their own party, and staunch opposition from the GOP — roadblocks that are making it difficult to find the 218 votes necessary to pass the measure, according to Democratic leadership aides.

A vote on the Clean Energy and Security Act, which would restrict emissions of green house gases and require use of alternative energy in an effort to slow the effects of global warming, is scheduled for Friday.

The legislation’s lead sponsors held a pep rally outside the Capitol on Wednesday to whip up support for the legislation’s passage. “We are going to pass the most important energy and environment bill in history,” declared Rep Ed Markey, D-Masachusetts, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “We are going to reduce the carbon we send up into the atmosphere but at the same time we are going to begin to back out the oil that we import from countries that we should not be importing it from.”

The legislation would require a 17 percent emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2020, mandate electric utilities to meet 20% of their electricity demand through renewable energy sources by 2020, provide $90 billion for new investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, along with $60 billion for carbon capture and sequestration. Another key provision, termed “cap-and-trade,” would require industries and manufacturers to cut carbon emissions by setting up a system where they could buy and sell pollution credits.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi conceded Wednesday evening that there were not enough votes to pass the bill, but that meetings with Democrats and Republicans were ongoing. Many Democrats from rural districts are concerned about the bill’s effect on the manufacturing of ethanol and other biofuels, while Republicans have questioned the overall price tag to Americans. “This legislation has really been quite an experience for all of us,” said Pelosi. “This is really about regional differences, as well as philosophical differences.”

Democrats are hoping that a recent evaluation by Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimates that the annual economywide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion — or about $175 per household, is enough to alleviate concerns of some members.

But House Republican leaders claim the CBO estimate is too low, and doesn’t adequately gauge the harmful effect that stricter regulations will have on business and industry. “There is no question that the cap and trade bill will cost millions of jobs and it is pretty evident, I think now, given the word that we are hearing that the other side has 190 votes at this point, far short of that which are needed to pass this bill,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Virginia.

Despite concerns about not getting any Republicans to ultimately support the bill, Democratic leaders are hoping their more conservative members coalesce around a “grand agreement” being worked out with Rep Colin Peterson (D-MN), chairman of the Agriculture Committee and a leading voice for rural Democrats concerned with the bill.


Obama's EPA Makes a Mockery of Due Process

Surely climate alarmists enjoy enough unfair advantage over their rational counterparts, what with the mainstream media shamelessly suppressing the findings of the latter for political purposes. But now there’s compelling evidence that alarmists within our government have also taken unfair advantage, suppressing the results of their own climate study for the same nefarious reasons.

Sixty days ago yesterday, EPA chief Lisa Jackson released the Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act. The proposal initiated a statutory period of public commentary – ending yesterday – providing a forum to experts and interested parties on both sides of the “CO2 as pollutant” issue prior to any regulatory action.

But on the final day of the public commentary period, a dispatch was submitted to the EPA accusing them of attempting to cover-up an internal study that imperiled the outcome predetermined by both the agency and its puppeteers – the Obama administration. And the intraagency emails attached to the letter -- submitted by Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) general counsel Sam Kazman [PDF] -- leave little room for doubt.

One EPA office director actually demanded that the endangerment-challenging study be barred from circulation within the agency, never disclosed to the public, and not placed in the docket of the proceeding. And, as Kazman observed dead-on, the communications between that EPA National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE) Office Director -- Al McGartland -- and study author Alan Carlin, an NCEE Senior Operations Research Analyst, made clear that it was the study’s conclusions rather than its merit that earned it its place on the trash heap.

In a March 16 email to McGartland (who in a prior email had forbade his speaking to anyone outside NCEE on endangerment issues) and three other NCEE staffers, Carlin requested that his study be forwarded to EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation (OAR), which directs EPA’s climate change program. Carlin pointed out that roughly two-thirds of his references were from peer-reviewed publications and that his comments “explain much of the observational data that have been collected which cannot be explained by the IPCC models.”

The next day, Carlin received two emails from McGartland. The first announced the director’s decision not to forward Carlin’s comments to OAR, explaining that he could “only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office.” The second was a direct order arriving eight minutes later: “I don’t want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change.”

Now that’s democratic public commentary at work. Can’t imagine why the term bureaucrat is more often than not slung pejoratively.

In all likelihood, the threat of CO2 regulation is merely an Administration ruse to coerce legislation. And Waxman-Markey is short on votes, even with proponents in both Houses pushing their skeptical colleagues to capitulate rather than ordain the EPA as the most powerful agency in the country. Remove that specter and remove with it the cap-and-trader’s ace-in-the-hole. Both at home and in Copenhagen in December.

Writes Kazman: “CEI hereby requests that EPA make this study public, place it into the docket, and either extend or reopen the comment period to allow public response to this new study. We also request that EPA publicly declare that it will engage in no reprisals against the author of the study, who has worked at EPA for over 35 years.”

The attorney reminded the agency of Obama’s April 27th speech to the National Academy of Sciences, in which he declared that “under my administration, the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.”

He might have also mentioned that during her confirmation hearings in January, Lisa Jackson assured the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, "If I am confirmed, I will administer with science as my guide,” adding that “political appointees will not compromise the integrity of EPA's technical experts to advance particular regulatory outcomes."

At the time, we mocked the glaring absurdity of both oaths. Now we denounce their impudence. And their own mockery of process.


Don’t treat C02 as a pollutant

From higher energy bills to lost jobs, the impact of carbon regulations will hurt us far more than CO2 itself ever could

A few days before this year's Earth Day, America's ideological greens received a present they have been desiring for years: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – responding to a 2007 US Supreme Court ruling – officially designated carbon dioxide (CO2) as a pollutant. That spurred Democrats in Congress to push a major climate change bill. In the next 25 years, their massive cap-and-trade scheme would, according to a Heritage Foundation study, inflict gross domestic product losses of $9.4 trillion, raise an average family's energy bill by $1,241, and destroy some 1,145,000 jobs. Democrats want it passed by July 4.

Get ready for a veritable Pandora's box of complications.

A generation ago, it was considered great progress against pollution when catalytic converters were added to automobile engines to change poisonous carbon monoxide to benign carbon dioxide. Now, CO2 has been demoted.

The EPA's characterization of CO2 as a pollutant brings into question the natural order of things. By the EPA's logic, either God or Mother Nature (whichever creator you believe in) seriously goofed. After all, CO2 is the base of our food chain. "Pollutants" are supposed to be harmful to life, not helpful to it, aren't they?

Of course, it is true (although environmentalists often ignore it when trying to ban such useful chemicals as pesticides, insecticides, Alar, PCBs, and others) that "the dose makes the poison." Too much oxygen, for example, poses danger to human life. So what is the "right" concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere? There is no right answer to this question. The concentration of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere fluctuated greatly long before humans appeared on Earth, and that concentration has fluctuated since then, too.

The current concentration is approximately 385 parts per million. Some scientists maintain that 1,000 parts per million would provide an ideal atmosphere for plant life, accelerating plant growth and multiplying yields, thereby sustaining far more animal and human life than is currently possible. Whatever standard the EPA selects will be arbitrary.

"Forget about the plants," say the greens. "What we're trying to control is how warm Earth's atmosphere gets." To which I reply, "With all due respect, are you kidding me?"

As with a "right" concentration of CO2, what is the "right" average global temperature? For 7,000 of the past 10,000 years, Earth was cooler than it is now; mankind prospers more in warm climates than cold climates; and the Antarctic icecap was significantly larger during the warmer mid-Holocene period than it is today. Are you sure warmer is bad or wrong?

And how do you propose to regulate Earth's temperature when as much as three-quarters of the variability is due to variations in solar activity, with the remaining one-quarter due to changes in Earth's orbit, axis, and albedo (reflectivity)? This truly is "mission impossible." Mankind can no more regulate Earth's temperature than it can the tides. Even if the "greenhouse effect" were greater than it actually is, the EPA and Congress would be powerless to alter it for several reasons:

1. Human activity accounts for less than 4 percent of global CO2 emissions.

2. CO2 itself accounts for only 10 or 20 percent of the greenhouse effect. This discloses the capricious nature of the EPA's decision to classify CO2 as a pollutant, for if CO2 is a pollutant because it is a greenhouse gas, then the most common greenhouse gas of all – water vapor, which accounts for more than three-quarters of the atmosphere's greenhouse effect – should be regulated, too. The EPA isn't going after water vapor, of course, because then everyone would realize how absurd climate-control regulation really is.

3. Even if Americans were to eliminate their CO2 emissions completely, total human emissions of CO2 would still increase as billions of people around the world continue to develop economically.

Clearly, it is beyond the ken of mortals to answer the metaquestions about the right concentration of CO2, or the optimal global average temperature, or to control CO2 levels in the atmosphere. I feel sorry for the professionals at the EPA who are now expected to come up with answers for these unanswerable questions.

However, I do not feel sorry for the political appointees, like climate czar Carol Browner, because it looks as if they are about to get what they evidently want – the power to increase their power over Americans' lives and pocketbooks via CO2 emission regulations.

From higher energy bills to lost jobs, the impact of CO2 regulations will hurt us far more than CO2 itself ever could. Let's nail shut the lid on this Pandora's box before it swings wide open.



Four articles below

Global warming isn't real, says Senator Fielding

Family First senator Steve Fielding has made up his mind on climate change - the world is not warming now, and humans aren't changing the climate. The government and the country's top scientists have tried to convince Senator Fielding, who holds a crucial vote in the upper house, that global warming is real. But he's released a document setting out his position.

"Global temperature isn't rising," it says. On emissions trading, Senator Fielding said he wouldn't risk job losses on "unconvincing green science". The document says it is a "fact" that the evidence does not support the notion that greenhouse gas emissions are causing dangerous global warming.

Senator Fielding later sought to clarify his position, saying he believed in global warming, but he did not think the world was warming now and did not think humans were causing global warming. "Over the last 15 years, global temperatures haven't been going up and, therefore, there hasn't been in the last 15 years a period of global warming," Senator Fielding told AAP. "I think that global warming is real, and climate change is real, but on average global temperatures have stayed steady while carbon emissions have increased over the last 15 years. "Man-made carbon emissions don't appear to be causing it."

Because of the numbers in the upper house, Senator Fielding's verdict means the government will have to rely on the opposition to get its emissions trading scheme (ETS) legislation passed. The Senate was initially supposed to vote on the ETS this week, but that now appears unlikely as the legislation has been shunted towards the bottom of the agenda....


Senate conservatives delay vote on Warmist laws

KEVIN Rudd attacked the Coalition yesterday for deferring a vote on the emissions trading scheme until August, saying it was more evidence of Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull's "lack of leadership". "They have such strength of leadership that they have now resolved to vote not to vote ... They cannot unite themselves even to bring on a vote for the simple reason that they fear that they will split right down the middle," the Prime Minister said during question time.

The Coalition wants to delay a final vote on the laws until after the UN climate meeting in Copenhagen in December, but Mr Turnbull told the Business Council of Australia last week he wanted to avoid a double-dissolution election on the issue.

Yesterday's delay was achieved through a deal between the Coalition and Independent senator Nick Xenophon, in which the Coalition promised to bring the laws to a vote for the first time when the Senate resumes after the winter break in August. That commitment means the government could bring them on for a second vote in November, just before the Copenhagen conference, with the necessary three-month interregnum for that vote to be the one that decides whether they become a possible trigger for a double-dissolution election.

Business lobbyists welcomed the delay because it gives them time to finalise negotiations with the government over crucial regulations and proposed compensation. But the Climate Institute think tank said the delay "further hinders low carbon investments and hurts Australia's global credibility".

"Stretching out the squabbles in the Senate on clean energy and low carbon industrial legislation like the renewable energy target and now the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme helps nobody," Climate Institute chief executive John Connor said. The delay came as the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry released a study into the effects of the scheme on small and medium businesses including food processing, plastics and chemicals, and machinery and equipment manufacturing.

The study found the scheme would generate extra costs that would reduce the firms' profitability by between 4 and 7 per cent. A large part of that impact came from the expected inclusion of transport fuels in the scheme from 2014.

Mr Turnbull and his climate change spokesman Greg Hunt have indicated the opposition is "predisposed" to support the government's proposed 20 per cent renewable energy target after it has been considered by a Senate committee, but several Coalition MPs at yesterday's party meeting said they were not inclined to support the laws.


Major changes in views on the environment

We live in a world in which we are constantly bombarded with the results of surveys about attitudes to political, social and economic issues of the day. Even the Australian Statistician undertakes surveys that produce subjective data that has potential implications for government policies.

The state of the environment is a prime survey target as it is now of considerable interest to a high proportion of the community. It is not surprising, then, that last week the Statistician undertook a survey covering environmental views and behaviour. This is the Bureau's first such survey and I examined it with considerable interest.

That led me to write to the Statistician querying the approach adopted and pointing out the importance of taking the utmost care in surveying present attitudes on the environment. What I had particularly in mind was not only the legislation on an emissions trading scheme (ETS) to be debated in the Senate but also the international meeting (in December) in Copenhagen on the mooted global scheme to reduce CO2 emissions.

The attitudes (supposedly) adopted by the Australian public on such issues could have a significant influence on relevant policies adopted by our government and opposition parties. A survey of such attitudes by the normally respected Statistician would assume even greater significance than one by firms involved in the survey business.

The basis of my querying the Statistician is that, while the questions seem largely to fall into the category of having obvious answers, they could be quoted as providing general support for government policies to reduce emissions. The basic survey question was "Are you concerned or not concerned about climate change, water shortage and accumulation of waste". It was the only question asked relevant to those issues.

Faced with such a question, it would be difficult to imagine a majority "Not concerned" answer. That in fact was the case, with "concern" being expressed by nine out of ten about water shortages, around three-quarters about climate change and nearly seventy per cent about the accumulation of waste.

My letter to the Statistician suggested it would have been more meaningful to adopt the approach of some surveys overseas and attempt to identify a wider range of aspects on which people assess environmental issues For example, in surveying views on global warming, the Gallup poll in the US asks "thinking about what is said in the news, in your view is the seriousness of global warming - [generally exaggerated, generally correct or is it under-estimated]?" Note also that the Gallup survey is about global warming not the meaningless concept of "climate change" used by the Statistician.

The US Gallup poll is of particular interest given the reported "passionate" belief of President Obama that the world faces a serious threat of dangerously high temperatures from increasing emissions and the current consideration by Congress of ETS legislation also. Importantly, the Gallup poll for March recorded a big jump in Americans judging the seriousness of global warming to be exaggerated, up to 41 per cent from 31 in 2005 and 35 last year. Evidently the President's passion has had little effect so far.

This Gallup polling also produces a rating of seriousness of various environmental issues and, of eight environmental issues (including water supply and water and air pollution), global warming not only ranked last but had fallen by 6 percentage points in extent of concern since last year. Although a general diminution of concern about environmental issues was to be expected given the economic downturn, the continued relatively low ranking for global warming led Gallup to suggest "something unique may be happening with the issue".

Also of considerable interest is the latest survey by the Pew Research Center. This shows that "Protecting the environment" has dropped from tenth to sixteenth on the priority issues for American voters and global warming was last on the top twenty priority list.

These surveys have obvious implications in terms of the all-important US policy position on global warming- and should also do so for the policy positions of Australia's political parties too. Unfortunately, our major political parties seem way behind the ball game in gauging both community attitudes and the fundamental flaws in the science used in reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


GREENWASH: Shopping centre reserves parking for hybrid vehicles

Shopping mall operator Westfield has installed hybrid-only car-parking spaces at some of their shopping centres.

Here’s a pic I took this morning of the spaces at Westfield Hornsby in Sydney. They are sited directly opposite the main entry. They are empty. They usually are.

What I find fascinating about this is that Hornsby is a battlers’ area so there are very few Toyota Prius cars or other hybrids. Some have noted that the hybrid Lexus RX400h SUV produces 192g/km of CO2 but the non-hybrid Volkswagen Golf 118TSI produces 144g/km of CO2, suggesting that the hybrid designation is arbitrary and does little to assist the environment.

Basically all Westfield have done is removed two of the best parking spaces in the complex and allocated them to those wealthy but environmentally conscious souls who had the money to buy one of these expensive motor vehicles. [VEXNEWS: We are reminded of the former Soviet Union with its special express lanes on highways for ministerial vehicles in the form of Zim limousines. All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.]

This does not benefit their customers, the only benefit is to Westfield. This pointless action gives them a warm, fuzzy inner-glow and something to boast about in corporate communications and with pesky left-wing environment reporters keen to denigrate Westfield’s big shrines to retail as concrete eyesores.

SOURCE (See the original for pix)


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: