Thursday, April 08, 2010
The "planet-hackers" are coming
Expensive and dangerous solutions for a non-existent problem. Fortunately, the Greenies themselves will knock this one on the head. Any meddling with "nature" gives them the horrors, this time rightly so. It's meddling with people's lives that gives Greenies a horn
Should we put more pollutants into the air to keep Earth's temperature down? How about covering polar ice with reflective panels to cut down on melting? Or putting a giant umbrella in space to shade the planet?
Some of the ideas for easing Earth's warming trend may sound crazy - but in a newly published book titled "Hack the Planet," Eli Kintisch says scientists may have no choice but to give them a try.
"The only thing crazier than geoengineering is what we're doing now to the atmosphere by continuing to dump carbon dioxide into it," he told me.
Kintisch, a staff writer for the journal Science, delves into the flip side of the global climate issue: If we're in the beginning stages of a radical warm-up in global temperatures, caused in part by greenhouse-gas emissions, what can we do about it?
One part of the answer is to reduce those emissions. Scientists, engineers and policymakers are working on strategies to do that. We could see cleaner cars, less carbon-intensive energy sources, and perhaps carbon-curbing legislation as well. But some researchers say that still won't be enough. Some of the less crazy ideas for hacking the planet might still have to be put into effect. That's why Kintisch calls geoengineering "a bad idea whose time has come."
"Scientists are in a similar position to the researchers who went to the Manhattan Project in the 1940s," he said. "They desperately don't want to study these radical ways of altering the planet, but they feel as though they must. And here's why: Even if we stopped all our carbon emissions tomorrow, the planet would continue to heat up, the ocean would continue to heat up, because carbon dioxide lasts for thousands of years in the atmosphere."
University of Calgary physicist David Keith once observed that scientists studying the geoengineering issue tend to join either the "Blue Team" (who are inclined to invent ways to alter the atmosphere) or the "Red Team" (who are generally skeptical of geoengineering and try to find flaws in the Blue Team's work). Right now, the Blues appear to be in the ascendancy, Kintisch said.
"Since I wrote the book, the number of scientific organizations and prominent scientists who have called for research into geoengineering has only broadened," he said. Legislative hearings are being held, in Washington and in London. Task forces are being set up. Conferences are being conducted. And protests are being organized as well.
Another reply to the New Squawker
By Dr. Martin Hertzberg (Dr. Hertzberg [email: firstname.lastname@example.org] is a combustion research scientist. He currently teaches science and mathematics at various educational institutions. He served as a meteorologist in the US Navy and has been studying the global warming issue for the last twenty years)
Elizabeth Kolbert, in her "Up In the Air" comment of April 12, 2010, has made an heroic effort to revive the dying theory that human emission of CO2 is causing global warming/climate change. But those of us who know it well and its "living will" to decline heroic measures, feel that the wisest course of action is to let it pass peacefully in the hospice of dying theories.
There is a simple way to tell the difference between scientists and propagandists. If scientists have a theory they carefully search for data that might actually contradict their theory so they can test it further or refine it. The propagandists, on the other hand, select only the data that might agree with their theory and dutifully ignore any data that disagrees with it.
How else to explain Ms. Kolbert's argument that "despite what it might have felt like in the Northeast these past few months, globally it was one of the warmest winters on record"? Actually, the global data summarized in www.climate4you.com show significant world-wide cooling for the past decade. The data also show nothing beyond the normal range of variability in either the polar ice area coverage or in the rate of rise of sea level for the last 20 years.
She asks for a "plausible account of why...scientists...would bother to engineer a climate hoax". The second attachment to this e-mail "Cui Bono From the Hoax" presents such an account, and the infamous "hockey stick" fraud that she fails to mention is the "smoking gun" of the hoax.
The "detractor" whose death was greeted by one of the "climategaters" as "cheering news", was the distinguished Australian climatologist, John Daly. He knew the "hockey stick" was a fraud from the day it was published, and said so. That is why his death was referred to as "cheering news". That Daly was right, and that it was a hoax, has now been proven beyond doubt.
The "goofball weathermen" she disparages actually know something about meteorology and the factors that control climate since most of them have actually analyzed weather maps and made real world weather forecasts.
She, on the other hand, seems to depend on the anecdotal half truths fed to her by environmental lobbyists or the half-baked IPCC computer models that have already been proven to be wrong. Their predictions of severe global warming over the last decade were worthless, and chasing the phantom of human, CO2-generated global warming is a "fool's errand".
Excerpt from the appendix to the above:
To find out “cui bono” simply “follow the money”.
First the major actor, Al Gore, has made over $100 million from his movie, book, and lectures. Next his advisors, Schneider and Hansen fear mongered about the coming ice age in the 1970’s but are now fear mongering about global warming. In both instances, they argued that human emissions were the culprit. They have a clique of camp followers: in government, universities, among contractors and climate modelers, all with a vested interest in keeping research dollars flowing . The total amount spent so far is about $ 70 billion.
Next there are the nuclear power advocates: nuclear reactors generate no CO2 as they produce electricity, so they can solve our nonexistent C02 problem. Their motives were openly revealed during the last election when John McCain flipped from opposing “cap and trade’ to supporting it. He campaigned for building many more nuclear reactors to solve the “climate-change crisis”. From his earliest days in Congress, Gore himself faithfully represented the interests of the nuclear establishments such as the Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee.
Next there is the renewable energy industry. They also generate no CO2 as they produce electricity. Their advertising campaigns claim that solar and wind power can eliminate our dependence on imported petroleum when, in fact, they do not produce a single drop of the gasoline we need for the transportation sector of our economy. Colorado’s Governor and our members of Congress push their agenda incessantly. Solar and wind power require enormous subsidies and do not presently meet the nation’s requirements for continuous and reliable electric power.
Next there are the bunch of environmental lobbyists and activists and their camp followers in the mass media (even PBS and the BBC) who simply regurgitate the anecdotal clap trap they are fed about polar bears, northwest passages, melting ice-caps, drastic rises in sea level, increases in hurricane frequency and intensity, and all the other weather disasters that you need to feel guilty about! Just remember that they are the same bunch that succeeded in getting a world-wide ban on the use of DDT. The result was a skyrocketing death rate from malaria (estimated to total about 30 million of the world’s children) until the WHO finally rescinded the ban. Immediately upon DDT’s re-use, the death rate declined markedly to its pre-ban level. So, yesterday, the know-nothing environmentalist’s fear-mongering about DDT gave us malaria. What gift will their fear-mongering about climate-change bring to us tomorrow?
Next, it is not simply a matter of money, but one of power. All of the above interest groups and the politicians they support have huge egos and a lust for power. That is far more important to them than the triviality of scientific truth. Once committed to one side of a political issue, they will rarely admit they may have made a mistake. Once having invested their political capital and our economic resources to start the huge, massive inertia wheel turning, it takes too much courage, energy, and loss of face to stop it.
So, for the climate-change issue, it looks like my fellow liberal Democrats are finally learning the lesson: fear mongering can keep the inertia wheel of the global warming hoax rotating to the lucrative benefit of all their supporters. But what about the damage to the nation when it flies off its hinges in the form of draconian legislation for carbon emission control? Such legislation will have absolutely no effect on weather but will do serious harm to our economy and to working Americans.
Power Grab: How Obama’s green policies will steal your freedom and bankrupt America
Christopher C. Horner, author of Red Hot Lies, has a new book coming out Monday, April 19, from Regnery Publishing. Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America is an exposé of the Green Movement’s rise to political power and the frightening consequences of Obama’s Green-friendly energy mandates. Horner reveals who in Washington is driving this expansion of environmentalist policy and analyzes how new restrictions will harm economic recovery and development in America.
From the Front Flap:
If Obama and his “green” coalition get their way, we’re headed for blackouts, skyrocketing energy prices designed to bankrupt disfavored industries, and even greater government control of our economy.
Obama’s green jobs agenda masks a declaration of war against America’s most reliable sources of energy—coal, oil, and natural gas. He seeks to shut them down and convert America to green energy—mostly wind and solar—in an irresponsible experiment that will guarantee an energy crisis and drive America from recession to depression. The Obama administration, working in collusion with green groups allegedly protecting the environment, unions protecting their paychecks, and local elites protecting their ocean views, is putting the special interests ahead of your interests.
From Chapter One:
“Under Obama’s economic and energy plans, conventional energy is punished by government policy in order to force the adoption of new, Obama-favored technologies. These plans will force us into energy poverty, a return to government-inspired uncompetitiveness, and a surrender of individual and economic liberties.
Modern environmentalism in a nutshell sounds something like this: impose energy taxes that serve as a rationing scheme (the “cap”), along with mandates of what sort of energy people can use, and in what amount. Environmentalists seek to use the state to create scarcity in order to further impose their will over our lives.”
From the Back:
“Power Grab exposes the incestuous relationships between the Obama administration and the piles of taxpayer money it wants to pipeline to the Big Green juggernaut consisting of Big Business and Big Labor. Horner shows that the green agenda isn’t so much about a clean environment as it is about redistributing income from us to them.” – Stephen Moore, member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board
“Chris Horner was right in his bestselling The Politically Incorrect Guise to Global Warming and Environmentalism. He was right in his book Red Hot Lies that exposed the cover-ups, lies, and intimidation of the global-warming alarmists. And he’s right again in his new book Power Grab, which exposes what the extremists are really after: power over you, your wallet, and even your right to self-government. Power Grab is essential reading for fighting back. – Congresswoman Michele Bachmann
TV Ad Campaign Targets John Deere for Lobbying for Cap-and-Trade; Urges Employees to Take Action to Save their Jobs
A famous American company has fallen into the hands of un-American business-school types. The career bureaucrat CEO has a degree in industrial management. Guess how much he knows about farming? The original John Deere knew lots
Today FreedomWorks and the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project announce "Backroom Deal" - a joint television advertising campaign that urges John Deere employees to take action to save their jobs.
The ads inform employees that Deere is lobbying for a national cap-and-trade law which may result in significant job losses. The ad urges employees to call the John Deere compliance hotline.
"Employees need to take action to protect their jobs. Cap-and-trade will raise the cost of energy, which will drive high-paying manufacturing jobs overseas. As energy prices soar, Deere can shift its manufacturing to overseas plants in China, Brazil or India leaving its U.S.-based employees out in the cold. It's time for Deere's employees to voice opposition against a company policy that endangers their jobs," said Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks.
Deere is a member of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) - a lobbying coalition of companies and environmental special interest groups that is pushing for cap-and-trade legislation. Capping carbon emissions will lead to higher energy prices, slower economic growth and an increase in jobs losses.
"Deere's management should side with its employees and its customers in the agricultural community instead of aligning its policies with President Obama's progressive attack on fossil fuels, which provide 85% of our energy needs. Special interest backroom deals are ruining our country. Now is the time for employees to challenge corporate policies that will hamper economic growth and reduce our competitiveness," said Tom Borelli, Ph.D., of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project.
"We challenged Deere CEO Samuel Allen about his support of cap-and-trade at John Deere's annual shareholder meeting in February, but Allen has remained steadfast in keeping Deere in USCAP -- even though Deere's competitor, Caterpillar, left the coalition and the American Farm Bureau opposes cap-and-trade. It's time for us to raise the ante," said Deneen Borelli, Project 21 Fellow.
General Electric, Dupont, Alcoa and Dow Chemical are also corporate members of USCAP. BP, Caterpillar and ConocoPhillips recently ended their membership in the lobbying organization.
"Employees of USCAP-member companies must be told about a company policy that may put them on the unemployment line. We may run similar advertising targeting one or more USCAP companies. Public policy is a contact sport and employees can no longer afford to stand on the sidelines," added Tom Borelli.
The TV ads will be broadcast in Moline, Illinois and Waterloo, Iowa, cities in which Deere has its headquarters and manufacturing facilities. The ads will run in April on CNN, Fox News, Headline News (HLN) and the History channel.
California Water Crisis: Fish vs. Man
The Central Valley of California was once known as the breadbasket of the world—supplying about one-third of the nation’s food. But today, the Westside of the Central Valley is home to hundreds of thousands of acres of dry and desolate land.
Water is now scarcer than ever in this agriculturally rich land. To make matters worse, about 40,000 jobs have been lost as a result, leaving families nowhere to go but to the local food banks.
The Delta smelt, a three-inch bait fish, seems to have won the battle for water—the same water that is necessary for food growth and jobs in the highest-producing valley in the nation. How did a small fish win such a big battle? On August 31, 2007, California Federal Judge Oliver Wanger of Federal District Court protected the declining fish by severely curtailing human use water deliveries at San Joaquin-Sacramento River delta from December to June. These are the pumps at the Banks Pumping Plant that send water to Central and Southern California for agricultural and residential use.
According to a May 2009 study conducted by the University of California, Davis, 35,285 jobs and $1.6 billion in economic revenue have been lost as a result of this environmental ploy in the Central Valley. “The democrats have chosen radical environmental policies over workers,” says Mario Lopez, President of the Hispanic Leadership Fund.
Giving farmers some reprieve was an announcement by Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, stating Westside farmers would receive 25 percent of their water allocation versus the 5 percent they were projected to receive. But this is still not enough. What it comes down to is this: a democratic-run Congress and Administration sees fit to let 40,000-plus people lose their jobs and watch the most fertile ground in the nation go dry, simply to protect a bait fish.
Because of this, unemployment has reached about 30 percent in some of these agricultural towns. Though California and individual counties do not keep record of Latino employment numbers, in the Central California city of Mendota, unemployment averaged 39.4 percent for 2009, of which 94.7 percent of the population is Latino, according to the 2000 Census Report.
“This is a real travesty,” Lopez says about Latinos being hit the hardest by the water crisis. “These people are ready to work. They want to pursue the American Dream and provide for their families. It’s devastating to see the effects of these policies.”
With the help of a few politicians and organizations, the plight of the Central Valley is being exposed. It is no small problem when a fish is valued over the lives of thousands of men, women and children.
“Every corner of the Central Valley is affected by this environmentalist-caused drought. People are losing good jobs because left-wing enviros placed the needs of a fish over thousands of hardworking families,” says Richard Pombo (R-CA), the former Chair of the House Resources Committee.
Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson agrees stating, “When Nancy Pelosi and her environmental henchmen chose a minnow over jobs and growing food to feed the world they went too far. When voters across the nation learn about this travesty, the tidal wave for changing Congressional leadership will overwhelm partisan considerations.”
Red Ink and Green Jobs
Citizens of the Golden State get nervous about carbon rationing plans made in flusher times
In 2006, when California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a mandate for dramatic reduction of greenhouse gasses into law, the state's economy was in a very different place. Unemployment was 4.5 percent and residents felt rich thanks to inflated home values. Today, 12.5 percent of Californians are out of work, the state is in budgetary meltdown, and Californians are re-evaluating their priorities.
Economic distress and skepticism about the power of the state to create "green jobs" are fueling a growing movement to stop deep cuts in emissions standards—which would require Californians to consume 25 to 30 percent less energy than they otherwise would have by 2020—from kicking in.
The Global Warming Solutions Act (also known as Assembly Bill 32, or AB 32) would ration greenhouse gas emissions—forcing them back to 1990 levels by 2020—through a mix of policies including a cap-and-trade carbon market along with a set of complementary measures. Those measures include setting fuel efficiency standards for appliances and buildings, requiring that 33 percent of the state’s energy be produced from renewable sources, setting a low carbon fuel standard for vehicles, and zoning changes to discourage automobile travel, among other new regulations and mandates.
Proponents of the 2006 law assert that its implementation will create a plethora of new “green jobs.” For example, a recent press release issued by the California Business Alliance for a Green Economy quotes self-described “long time environmental activist” and current green economy venture investor Tom Soto as saying, the law “will help to drive California's economy toward a more prosperous, cleaner, more efficient future, meaning more jobs being created in one of the most difficult times in our country's history." Similarly, Cynthia Verdugo-Peralta, founder of VPC Energy and Strategic Energy, Environmental & Transportation Alternatives declared, “When it comes to job growth, there is substantial, irrefutable evidence that growing more efficient and greener will create jobs, not kill them." Verdugo-Peralta added, "That's why I am heartened that CARB's [California Air Resources Board] new economic analysis reaffirms the benefits of implementing California's Global Warming Solutions Act."
Verdugo-Peralta is referring to a new report issued last month by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state government agency that will largely oversee the new carbon rationing scheme. That analysis finds that implementing emissions cuts will increase the price of electricity by between 0-20 percent, the price of natural gas by between 13 and 76 percent, and the price of gasoline by 6-47 percent.
A competing analysis using the same data by the global consulting firm Charles River Associates finds the costs of carbon rationing are likely to be higher. This is primarily because the requirement that 33 percent of California’s electricity be produced using renewable fuel sources and other similar mandates will inefficiently boost overall costs. Charles River Associates estimate that the 2006 law will increase California’s electricity prices between 11 to 32 percent by 2020, and that gasoline and diesel prices will rise between 14 to 51 percent by 2020.
The CARB best case analysis estimates that the new mandates and carbon market will actually increase employment slightly by 2020, and that per capita income will rise by 0.1 percent by 2020, or about $30 per person. In its worst case scenario, incomes would be reduced by 0.6 percent, or about $300 per capita.
By contrast, the Charles River analysis finds that implementing the carbon rationing law will cost between 0.5 and 1.1 percent per capita by 2020, reducing personal incomes by $200 to $500. The cost differences between the two analyses arise largely from how they treat the mandates. The CARB report suggests that the higher energy prices faced by Californians will be completely offset by conservation and energy efficiency mandates embedded in the law because they force Californians to reduce the amount of electricity and fuel that they will use in 2020. The Charles River analysis finds that the costs of implementing those mandates more than outweigh their benefits.
With regard to “green jobs,” the CARB’s best case analysis estimates that implementing the law will boost California’s employment by 10,000 extra jobs by 2020; its worst case projects 330,000 fewer jobs than there would otherwise have been by 2020. Just ahead of the release of the new CARB report, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) issued an analysis of the law's net impact on jobs in California. While not offering firm figures, the LAO analysis took into account increases in “green jobs” and job losses in other sectors, especially in fossil fuel industries and found that “the aggregate net jobs impact in the near term is likely to be negative.” The LAO report did conclude, “In a relative sense, however, [AB 32’s] effect on jobs in both the near term and longer term will probably be modest in comparison to the overall size of the state's economy.” Even under the best of circumstances, California's carbon rationing scheme will not produce enough “green jobs” to make a significant dent in the state’s very high unemployment rate. Interestingly, Golden State green economy boosters seem to agree.
Take for instance, the Many Shades of Green report issued in December 2009 by the San Francisco-based green think tank, Next 10. That report looked at the growth of green jobs in California between 1995 and 2008. The media widely quoted Next 10’s upbeat claim that “California green jobs increased by 36 percent from 1995-2008 while total jobs expanded only 13 percent. As the economy slowed between 2007-2008, total employment fell 1 percent, but green jobs continued to grow by 5 percent.” A 36 percent increase sounds impressive. But when one looks at the actual numbers, green jobs increased from 117,000 in 1995 to 159,000 in 2008, and currently constitute about 1 percent of California’s total employment. And a five percent increase in green employment nets out to something like 8,000 total jobs, while between January 2007 and 2008, 182,000 Californians lost their jobs. Currently, nearly 2.3 million Californians are looking for work. Next 10 founder F. Noel Perry admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle, “Green tech is not a panacea. We believe green jobs are going to be a significant part of future jobs growth in California. But at the same time, we know they are a small proportion of the total jobs we have now.”
The CARB and green economy boosters like Next 10 have strong ideological predilections that encourage them to minimize the costs of carbon rationing while maximizing the benefits of green investments. Of course, opponents of the carbon rationing law have the opposite motives. It is nevertheless instructive to see what opponents fear the effects of implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act will be on California’s economic prospects. The AB 32 Implementation Group commissioned a preliminary analysis of the CARB’s new study from the consulting group T2 and Associates. The consulting group is headed by Tom Tanton who is also a senior fellow at the libertarian Pacific Research Institute. The T2 analysis estimates that AB 32 will reduce California’s gross state product by 2 percent at a cost about $700 per person and result in the net loss of about 485,000 jobs by 2020.
The AB 32 Implementation Group is seeking to put an initiative on California’s November ballot that would delay the adoption of AB 32’s carbon rationing scheme until California’s unemployment rate dropped below 5.5 percent. Originally entitled the “California Jobs Initiative,” it has been retitled by California State Attorney General (and soon to be Democratic gubernatorial candidate) Jerry Brown to the somewhat less catchy, “Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters To Report And Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level For Full Year Initiative.” Supporters of carbon rationing point out that the initiative is being backed by out-of-state oil companies.
The initiative—however colorfully titled—will likely get on the ballot. Just today, Next 10 released a poll that finds that a majority of Californians still support AB 32, especially if the funds collected through the cap-and-trade scheme are mostly rebated to state residents. Support has eroded a bit, falling from 83 percent in 2007 to 69 percent today, but it remains to be seen how Californians will react once the campaign against the 2012 implementation of carbon rationing takes off. Already, the two leading Republican candidates for governor, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner, are urging a go-slow approach on implementing AB 32. If the economically dispirited voters in the Golden State appear ready to deep six California’s ambitious climate regulations, the prospects of Congress passing a similar national carbon rationing plan this year will look bleak indeed.
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
Posted by JR at 3:43 PM