Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Bright, Shining Green Lie

Home weatherization has neither created many jobs nor weatherized many homes

A year ago, President Barack Obama peered into our economic future and saw foam sealant and weatherstripping. In the midst of a punishing recession, Obama would wield that incomparable jobs-creating tool, the caulk gun. What the Works Progress Administration was to Franklin Roosevelt, the government-funded weatherization of homes would be to Obama.

“If you allocate money to weatherize homes,” Obama effused to an audience in Elkhart, Ind., “the homeowner gets the benefit of lower energy bills. You right away put people back to work, many of whom in the construction industry and in the housing industry are out of work right now.” And it’s a step to “a new energy future.”

Obama was hawking another one of his cost-free, best-of-all-worlds scenarios, one that has been exposed in all its self-deluding inanity in the space of a year. As a writer parodying such magical thinking long ago observed, “Sun-beams may be extracted from cucumbers, but the process is tedious.” A sun-beam extraction program might have been just as effective, and nearly as timely.

Obama poured $5 billion into weatherization as part of last year’s stimulus and wanted to spend billions more in a second stimulus. The Department of Energy managed to get the money to the states, where it has swelled the coffers for weatherization and done little else.

According to a Department of Energy inspector general report last month, “only 2 of the 10 highest funded recipients completed more than 2 percent of planned units.” New York had completed 280 out of 45,400 planned units as of December, Texas had completed 0 of 33,908, and California 12 out of 43,400. That’s 292 homes in three states with a total population of roughly 80 million.

So much for the 87,000 jobs the administration promised “right away.” The inspector general report is unsparing: “The job creation impact of what was considered to be one of the Department’s most ‘shovel ready’ projects has not materialized,” and neither have “the significant reductions in energy consumption.” Besides that, weatherization has been a stimulative triumph.


What both Obama and the British Conservatives don't want you to know about green jobs and green energy

Green jobs are a waste of space, a waste of money, a lie, a chimera. You know that. I know that. We’re familiar with the report by Dr Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of the Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain which shows that for every “green job” that is created another 2.2 jobs are LOST in the real economy.

We also know that alternative energy is a fraud – only viable through enormous government (ie taxpayer subsidy) and utterly incapable of answering anything more than a fraction of our energy needs. As Shannon Love puts it here:

"Here’s a fact you won’t see mentioned in the public policy debate over “alternative” energy: There exists no alternative energy source, no combination of alternative energy sources, and no system of combinations of alternative energy sources that can fully replace a single, coal fired electric plant built with 1930s era technology. Nada. Zero. Zilch."

So why are our political leaders setting out quite deliberately to deceive us?

There have many disgustingly revealing stories this week about the dubious practices of the Climate Fear Promotion lobby, but for me the most damning of all was Chris Horner’s scoop at Pajamas Media concerning high level cover-ups by the Obama administration. Like his soul mate Dave Cameron on this side of the pond, Obama finds the narrative about global warming so compelling and moving that he doesn’t want it spoiled with any inconvenient truths regarding green jobs and green energy.

Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has discovered that when two European reports came out – the Spanish one above; and another one from Denmark on the inefficiency of wind farms – the Obama administration recruited left-wing lobbyists to attack them.
After two studies refuted President Barack Obama’s assertions regarding the success of Spain’s and Denmark’s wind energy programs, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveals the Department of Energy turned to George Soros and to wind industry lobbyists to attack the studies.

Via the FOIA request, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has learned that the Department of Energy — specifically the office headed by Al Gore’s company’s former CEO, Cathy Zoi — turned to George Soros’ Center for American Progress and other wind industry lobbyists to help push Obama’s wind energy proposals.

The FOIA request was not entirely complied with, and CEI just filed an appeal over documents still being withheld. In addition to withholding many internal communications, the administration is withholding communications with these lobbyists and other related communications, claiming they constitute “inter-agency memoranda.” This implies that, according to the DoE, wind industry lobbyists and Soros’s Center for American Progress are — for legal purposes — extensions of the government.

We see something similar going on here in Britain. The taxpayer funded Quango The Carbon Trust is continually pumping out propaganda on behalf of the powerful wind energy lobby; as too is the BBC which cheerfully funded a political broadcast (masquerading as a cri de coeur) by Green activist George Moonbat on its The Daily Politics show earlier this week. In December it was discovered that civil servants working for the government had suppressed evidence that wind farms damage health and disrupt sleep.

Do our political leaders think we’re stupid? Or so supine and malleable that we simply won’t mind being lied to if it’s for our “own good”?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The philosophy of climate change

Still incoherent. Specific events and the short term matter when it suits Warmists but not otherwise

In my previous column, we saw that defenders of Global Warming are trying to have it both ways when it comes to finding confirmations of their theory. They appeal to opposite sorts of natural phenomena as confirming evidence: Lack of snow in Vancouver, receding glaciers and recent milder winters on the one hand and this year’s record-setting snows on the other.

This raises the question whether they would take any observational evidence as disconfirming their theory. If not, then we may wonder if global warming is nothing more than pseudo-science.

A response taken now by some defenders is that what they are really talking about is climate change, not weather change. This being the case, as meteorologist Jeff Masters points out, “no single weather event can be blamed on climate change.” And no single weather event — such as Snowmageddon — can be cited as disconfirming it.

His point is that the predictions made by climate change proponents are not the simple “All swans are white” sorts of predictions discussed by Popper and countering the theory is not as simple as just finding one non-white swan to prove it false. Rather, they are statistical in nature.

As Masters notes, “one can ‘load the dice’ in favor of events that used to be rare — or unheard of — if the climate is changing to a new state… [T]he dice have been loaded in favor of more intense Nor'easters for the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.” According to the hypothesis, Climate Change predicts no specific intense storm but only an increase in their frequency in the long run.

Consistent with such long-term statistical predictions are short-term anomalies. Flipping a coin one thousand times will produce “heads” on half the throws. But somewhere in the process a series of throws may come up “tails” twenty times in a row. Such an anomaly does not necessarily overthrow the long-run prediction.

This fact has recently given a haven of refuge to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Jane Lubchenco. NOAA’s mission purportedly includes, “'informing climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

Asked recently about East Anglia University’s Dr. Phil Jones’ admission that “for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming,” Lubchenco responded “that it is inappropriate to look at any particular short period of time to discern the long-term trend.” She went on to say that one could find competing trends if one singles out any ten or fifteen-year period in the last century but “that longer history shows unequivocal increases in global average temperatures.”

Now wait a minute. This is the same Jane Lubchenco who warned, of “an ecological tsunami [in the oceans] of unprecedented proportions.” Elsewhere, when asked about climate change‘s effects on ocean life she replied, “as a result of the warming waters … corals are bleaching with increased frequency... it also is melting ice in the Arctic, and many species that are dependent on ice for their homes, from polar bears to ice seals… are becoming increasingly threatened with extinction.”

Her agency recently released a report on how climate change will affect the US in the next 20 years or so, which predicted a reduction in Western mountain snowpacks adversely affecting water supplies, more heat related illnesses and deaths due to rising average temperatures and a rise in respiratory diseases.

But if we are now talking about climate change as a long-run phenomenon, shouldn’t it be illegitimate to make such short range predictions? And is it not as questionable to refer to climate change as the explanation for a specific event like corals bleaching or melting Arctic ice, as it would be to point to a specific weather event like missing snows in Vancouver as explainable by it?

Lubchenco goes a step further, demanding immediate action. She said earlier this year in a Yale interview: “Climate change is real, it’s causing changes in our own backyard… and therefore there is urgency in moving ahead with reducing heat-trapping pollution as soon as possible.”

Again, if we are talking about it as a long-term phenomenon, where even a fifteen-year cooling period is not supposed to be inconsistent with its gradual development, then surely the long-developing nature of climate significantly undermines the case for urgent, immediate action.

Lubchenco would clearly like to have it both ways and construe climate change in whatever way best suits her immediate needs, a strategy which seems to be incoherent. It is certainly no basis for formulating any public policy radically reducing carbon emissions in the near term.


Some nutty biologists pontificate on climate

Some comments below from physicist Lubos Motl

Some people seem to be unwilling to accept that the era of the global warming panic that couldn't even be questioned is over.

In 1967, Paul Ehrlich predicted that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the 1970s and 1980s. Later, he updated his prediction and argued that most of the U.S. population would starve to death before 2000. His whole career has been built on making absolutely preposterous statements of this kind.

Of course, he always had to suffer by the knowledge that most people have always realized that he is a kook, a lunatic obsessed with doomsdays, and a parasite on the Academic system. Is there a method for him to prove that he was right and most Americans would prematurely disappear from the world? Maybe.

The Washington Times has revealed e-mails showing that right now, he may have finally found out the magic formula. Together with Stephen Schneider and others, such as Paul Falkowski, the director of an energy institute at Rutgers who wants to replace fossil fuels by biofuels from duckweeds (aquatic plants) that will be growing on the surface of all ponds and oceans in the world (yes, he's another nut), Ehrlich decided that it's time to destroy the climate skeptics - i.e. most of the world's population. One of the participants of the project described its goal as: "an outlandishly aggressively partisan approach to gut the credibility of skeptics."

Very nice. I just wonder whether the participants have also found a method to do these things while hiding that they're a criminal cabal that deserves to be put in jail if not on an electric chair.

The number of people who continue to be as mad as Paul Ehrlich is strictly finite but it is still much greater than one. For example, Mr David Adam, a green ink-spiller in the Guardian, has made a "shocking" revelation: "Climate emails inquiry: Energy consultant linked to physics body's submission"

If you don't understand the "juice" of the title, he is complaining that it must be a sin for the Institute of Physics to have listened to one expert in the energy industry - among many witnesses they have listened to! Holy crap. If I were doing such things where the practical consequences of possible policies - mainly for the energy industry - are far more important than the underlying science as a pure theory, then most of the people I would invite would be economists or energy experts.

Mr Adam, do you really think that in March 2010, it's still possible to defend the idea that energy experts are devils who can't ever be listened to or invited anywhere? Do you want to defend a complete isolation - or elimination? - of the energy companies? Have you lost your mind? Is The Guardian aware that they're employing a crazy person?

I can imagine that this poor guy will soon complain that he is getting unfriendly e-mails and exchanges with the other people. Will you really be surprised? You are trying to attack the dignity - if not the existence - of one of the most important sectors of the economy that everyone else needs to survive. What else would you expect than unfavorable messages if not something worse, moron?

It's kind of amazing that they don't see what's important here. All of their focus is on the tricks how to brainwash the people and force them to believe the "best science" that this group can offer. But their "best science" is no longer good enough.

All the brainwashing tricks and types of frauds, cherr-picking, censorship, lies, libels, and distortions have already been used by them in the past: but they won't work again because most of the public has learned something during the last 3 months and has already acquired a kind of "immunity" against these types of deception that they won't "unlearn" anytime soon.

Selected, unfiltered, and one-sided ads won't help them in any way because it will be clear that these ads fail to be impartial. And the detailed content won't impress anyone, either. That's because they don't have any real counter-arguments against the observations revealed in the last 3 months (and before that) - simply because no such counter-arguments exist. They're not interested in the content - how the climate actually works. They're only interested in the methods how to promote a particular "type" of reasoning and particular results. It has worked for years. But it won't work again.

They can't fix this "subtle" problem by collecting $15,000 after an e-mail conversation. The problem is much deeper than something that can be bought for $15,000. The problem is that their lives are built upon lies and this fact has been getting increasingly self-evident to everyone.

SOURCE. See also here and here

Treason Is A Matter Of Dates

This observation, famously made by Talleyrand at the Congress of Vienna as the powers debated the fate of the turncoat King of Saxony, reminded the crowned heads of Europe that all of them had at one time or another worked with Napoleon. Talleyrand himself had served the emperor as foreign minister and trusted ally before switching to the other side as Napoleon’s power waned — and his megalomania grew.

These days, it’s The New York Times that is redefining treason. Three weeks ago, anyone who pointed at the lack of public confidence in climate science was aiding and abetting those horrible climate ‘deniers.’ Treason against Planet Earth! You had to be some kind of dread ‘right wing blogger’ or talk radio host to point out that blunders and arrogance had undermined the credibility of climate scientists and ended any short term chance of serious global agreement on urgent measures to stop global warming.

But a story this morning by John Broder gently lets Times readers know that something has gone badly wrong.
WASHINGTON — For months, climate scientists have taken a vicious beating in the media and on the Internet, accused of hiding data, covering up errors and suppressing alternate views. Their response until now has been largely to assert the legitimacy of the vast body of climate science and to mock their critics as cranks and know-nothings.

But the volume of criticism and the depth of doubt have only grown, and many scientists now realize they are facing a crisis of public confidence and have to fight back. Tentatively and grudgingly, they are beginning to engage their critics, admit mistakes, open up their data and reshape the way they conduct their work.

Admit mistakes? Open up their data? Change the way the work? You mean there was something wrong with the way climate science was operating last year? Is the Times telling us that the climate scientists–on the basis of whose work the whole world is debating complex and far-reaching changes in its economic structure and political governance–were using slipshod and careless procedures that need to be fixed?

Gosh, one has to ask, if these terrible things were going on for such a long time, why didn’t the New York Times notice this earlier on? Why didn’t the New York Times break this important story back when it was news, rather than lamely sweeping up at the end of the parade? Could it be that a climate of politically-correct group-think inhibited the editors and reporters at the country’s newspaper of record from recognizing a one of the major stories of the decade? Could the environmental writers at the Times be just a teensy bit too close to their sources?

The Times seems to have forgotten the most important aspect of the news business. For years now ’skeptic’ has been a dirty word at the Times when the subject of climate change comes up. Excuse me, but reporters are supposed to be skeptics. They are supposed to be cynical, hard bitten people who trust their mothers — but cut the cards. They are supposed to think that scientists are probably too much in love with their data, that issue advocates have hidden agendas, that high-toned rhetoric is often a cover for naked self interest, that bloviating politicians have cynical motives and that heroes, even Nobel Prize laureates, have feet of clay. That is their job; it is why we respect them and why we pay attention to what they write.

Reporters are not supposed to be wide-eyed gee-whiz college kids believing everything they hear and using the news columns of the paper to promote a social agenda. They are wet blankets, not cheerleaders, Eeyores, not Piglets and they can safely leave all the advocacy and flag-waving to the editorial writers and the op-ed pages.

This is not just a question of liberal bias. The same wide-eyed gee-whiz culture shaped much of the reporting on the run-up to the Iraq War. Maybe the word we are looking for when trying to describe what’s wrong with the mainstream press isn’t ‘liberal’ — maybe the term is something like ‘credulous’ or ‘naive.’ The gradual substitution of ‘professional journalists’ for the old hard boiled hacks may have given us a generation of journalists who are used to trusting reputable authority. They honestly think that people with good credentials and good manners don’t lie.

Today’s journalists are much too well-bred and well-connected to stand there in the crowd shouting “The emperor has no clothes!” They’ve worked with the tailors, they have had long background interviews with the tailors, they’ve been present for some of the fittings. Of course the emperor’s new clothes are fantastic; only those rude and uncouth ‘clothing deniers’ still have any doubts.

Meanwhile, over on the aforementioned op-ed pages, our old friend Al Gore is still crying a river of denial, blaming everyone but himself for the abject failure of the world to accept his views without checking the facts for themselves. If the New York Times and its peers had come at this story with more skepticism and rigor from the beginning, climate scientists would have realized long ago that if they hope to convince a skeptical world they need to be ultra-careful, ultra-cautious and even ultra-conservative in their public statements and recommendations. They would have understood long ago that because their science is important, they have to do it more carefully and more publicly than other people. That may be harsh and it may be ‘unfair’ in some sense, but when you are dealing with the interests of billions of people you have to expect a little bit of scrutiny — though not, apparently, from the New York Times.

The very idea that critics would have to use the Freedom of Information Act to pry back-up data from a scientist on a matter of great public importance is insane. That data should have been out there years ago, without anyone having to ask. If it’s considered ‘normal’ in climate science for researchers to keep their raw data under lock and key, and refuse to subject it to skeptical and hostile review, then climate science isn’t science.

The Times and its peers in the mainstream press need to ask themselves why something this obvious, this important, this newsworthy passed them by. If they don’t figure that out and make some wrenching changes, they will continue to watch helplessly as their credibility and readership inexorably shrink.

The meltdown that worries me most in this whole dismal story isn’t the meltdown of the Himalayan glaciers. It’s the evident meltdown of basic journalistic standards among a whole generation of reporters and editors that keeps me up late at night; I don’t just worry about what they missed on this story, or on the Iraq story–I wonder what else they are missing every day.

John Broder’s story this morning is good as far as it goes, but it looks more and more as if our greatest newspaper has been so wholly conquered by the spirit of enlightened upper-middle-class progressivism that it has lost the ability to view its own assumptions with the necessary skepticism. That is terrible news; the world is changing rapidly in ways that simply don’t fit the thought templates that upper-middle-class baby boomers developed over the last twenty years. Increasingly, the mental map that shapes the way the Times looks at the world simply fails to match what is happening out there, yet the Times seems less able than ever to see that.

Before you can report an inconvenient truth you have to be able to recognize it; this is the test that the Times‘ coverage of the ‘climategate’ story has failed.


Global climate battle plays out in World Bank

The United States and Britain are threatening to withhold support for a $3.75 billion World Bank loan for a coal-fired plant in South Africa, expanding the battleground in the global debate over who should pay for clean energy. The opposition by the bank's two largest members has raised eyebrows among those who note that the two advanced economies are allowing development of coal-powered plants in their own countries even as they raise concerns about those in poorer countries.

While the loan is still likely to be approved on April 6 by the World Bank board, it has revealed the deep fissures between the world's industrial powers and developing countries over tackling climate change. Both camps failed to reach a new deal in Copenhagen in December on a global climate agreement because of differences over emissions targets and who should pay for poorer nations to green their economies.

Some $3 billion of the loan to South African power utility Eskom will fund the bulk of the 4,800-megawatt Medupi coal-fired plant in the northern Limpopo region and is critical to easing the country's chronic power shortages that brought the economy to its knees in 2008. The rest of the money will go toward renewables and energy efficiency projects.

The battle playing out in the World Bank was prompted by new guidance issued by the U.S. Treasury to multilateral institutions in December on coal-based power projects, which infuriated developing countries including China and India.

The guidance directs U.S. representatives to encourage "no or low carbon energy" options prior to a coal-based choice, and to assist borrowers in finding additional resources to make up the costs if an alternative to coal is more expensive.

In a letter to World Bank President Robert Zoellick, board representatives from Africa, China and India said such actions "highlighted an unhealthy subservience of the decision-making processes in the bank to the dictates of one member country".

Eskom has proposed to develop Medupi with the latest supercritical "clean coal" and carbon storage technologies available on the market, which is used by most rich countries. Still, Medupi will be a major polluter that could make it harder for South Africa to meet its emissions targets.

A U.S. Treasury official told Reuters the United States was in the process of reviewing the Eskom proposal and will develop a position that "is consistent with administration policy and with facts surrounding the project."

World Bank Vice President for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili, said South Africa's energy security was key because the country's growth, or lack of it, was felt throughout Africa. "There is no viable alternative to safeguard Africa's energy security at this particular time," she told Reuters. "This is a transitional investment that they are making toward a green economy and that should count for something."

But the politically connected Center for American Progress in Washington argued in a report last week that the World Bank is a standard-setter for development banks and should push sustainable economic development models in client countries. "This is a problem for an institution with the moral and financial responsibility to foster large-scale investment in sustainable economic development," it said.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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