Saturday, July 17, 2010

Air conditioners banned in the global warming nanny state

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to round up enough votes to pass a counterpart to the House's Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that would impose an 83 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Proponents of the restrictions, which would require the average U.S. citizen to emit no more carbon dioxide than the average citizen emitted during the 1800s, publicly claim these draconian cuts will have little impact on our American lifestyle, other than inducing energy producers to utilize different fuel sources. The July 11 Washington Post, however, offered a peek at the bait-and-switch tactics the global warming alarmists seek to employ.

Stan Cox writes in the Post, “Washington didn't grind to a sweaty halt last week under triple-digit temperatures. People didn't even slow down. Instead, the three-day, 100-plus-degree, record-shattering heat wave prompted Washingtonians to crank up their favorite humidity-reducing, electricity-bill-busting, fluorocarbon-filled appliance: the air conditioner. This isn’t smart. … In a country that's among the world's highest greenhouse-gas emitters, air conditioning is one of the worst power-guzzlers.”

Think it gets hot in the summer? Try making it through the summer without air conditioning. Sure, the Washington Post article claims, people used to make it through summers without air conditioning in years past. People also used to make it through life without electricity, indoor plumbing, and anesthetic – but that doesn’t mean we should welcome a return to those times, either.

The Post article claims, “A.C.'s obvious public-health benefits during severe heat waves do not justify its lavish use in everyday life for months on end.” This is the ultimate example of the proposed dictatorship of the nanny-staters. ‘Just because I think I can make it through the summer without air conditioning, I don’t think anybody else should be able to use it, either.’

Give the article points for honesty, though. There is no way intermittent solar and wind power, which requires huge amounts of land development to produce only a small amount of unreliable electricity, can power our modern society. Cutting carbon dioxide emissions 83 percent, or anything even remotely approaching 83 percent, will require Americans doing much more than merely paying the exorbitant price increases required by solar and wind power. It will require a fundamental and foreboding restructuring of our entire way of life.


Enviro jobs are fake-o jobs: Green Economics and the Void of Desire

Whatever “green jobs” are, it’s very clear America doesn’t want them

President Obama has been pushing a proposal that would spend over a million dollars for each permanent “green job” created in a solar-power boondoggle. Billions were placed at the disposal of avowed communist Van Jones to create these sparkling emeralds of environmentally sensitive employment, even though no one in the Administration can explain what they are.

If Americans wanted “green” jobs and industries, they would pay for them. There’s some interest in such things, of course. You’ll probably see a Prius or two on your drive home today. It’s great when people choose to make such purchases of their own free will, based on valid information.

Of course, that’s not how the “Green Economy” works. Consumer decisions are driven by false information, batted into their faces with rotting hockey sticks by con artists and fanatics. Most of the decisions aren’t made by consumers at all. The government created the Green Economy through propaganda, regulations, and subsidies. Many on the Left, including the President, have openly stated their desire to push gas prices higher, so Americans will behave according to the designs of the environmentalist movement.

Does this mean Americans are completely uninterested in eco-friendly technology or alternative fuels? Not at all. Most of us would dearly love to have cold-fusion cars, or cheap solar electricity. However, we are not willing to compromise our standard of living to have them right now, when they’re not adequate substitutes for fossil fuels. The more extreme manifestations of environmentalist fanaticism, beginning with the devastating cap-and-trade bill, will begin pushing us back into a pre-industrial economy.

We don’t want the higher prices and reduced standard of living that would accompany this transformation, especially when we know we’ve got untapped oil resources like the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve, declared off-limits by religious edict from the Church of Gaia in defiance of logic. Our national consensus is to wait until these alternative energy technologies reach maturity, and deliver acceptable performance at reasonable prices. Competition will then transition us smoothly to alternative energy.

A correspondent who works with solar technology puts it this way:
Solar power is something I firmly believe in. It’s not a daydream but it is a dream. Solar power has been around for over 100 years but as an industry it is still in its infancy. We can’t replace conventional power generation and probably won’t be able to for another century if even then.

The problem with Obama’s approach is that it’s some sort of bastardization of supply side economics. He is directly subsidizing manufacturers. So what we end up with is a huge solar array out in the desert and lalala it won’t really do much, (but will make some Spanish corporation a tidy sum.) This is still America (so far anyway) and to be successful first you find or create demand for a product.

This is all very reasonable, and perfectly in tune with the desires of most Americans… but government is coercive force, so what we want doesn’t matter. Massive resources are seized from the free market, and forced into a Green Economy full of pretend jobs, and projects that have more in common with black holes than yellow suns.

The animating principle of radical environmentalism is that freedom is dangerous, and cannot be allowed, because the survival of the planet is at stake. This is what makes it such a perfect fit as the State religion of a socialist elite. Its sacrament is antimatter to libertarian capitalism: righteous tyranny. One of the scientist-priests of this religion, James Lovelock, went so far as to suggest “it may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while” because “the inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

As you can see from those million-dollar “green” jobs, the pursuit of righteous tyranny is hideously expensive. That’s because it shifts control of our society to a lesser intelligence.

What do I mean by this? Consider the purchasing and investment decisions of our three hundred million citizens as a widely dispersed intelligence of tremendous complexity. Resources are allocated through a vast number of individual decisions, made with impressive speed. Each citizen becomes one element of a mighty network. It is capable of intuition, as sophisticated communications allow consumers to react to trends and opportunities in a cascade of email, website postings, phone calls, and casual conversation.

It is creative, because it’s not restrained by ideology or central directives. People adopt new technologies with astounding speed. With apologies to Alvin Toffler, the only “future shock” nowadays is felt by manufacturers, as the best high-tech products go from the expensive indulgences of trendy nerds to household items in a matter of months.

Obama-style command economics are a far more primitive form of intelligence. They are directed by small groups of people wearing ideological blinders. Politically unacceptable alternatives are ruled nonexistent. Command economies move with glacial speed, receiving corrective input only once every couple of years at the ballot box. They are wasteful, as vast resources are allocated to pay off valuable constituencies, or absorbed by a useless political class through graft.

When the government uses taxes, regulations, and subsidies to force the free market where it doesn’t want to go, wealth and value disappear into the gulf between the choices made by citizens, and the State compulsion that destroys them. This is the Void of Desire, filled with the dust of shriveled possibilities. It grows larger and more expensive as coercion meets the law of diminishing returns, using increasingly ridiculous spending – and harsh penalties – to impose its mandates on a resentful, or fearful, populace.

You can see thousands of jobs, and billions in market value, vanishing into the void between our desires and Barack Obama’s failed ideology. Soon the cost will become so unbearable that he and his accomplices will be swept out of office, and we can adopt a sane energy policy that leaves us wealth enough to create those alternative technologies of the future… which will inevitably grow from expensive boondoggles into priceless treasures, given enough time.

Or else we will find out if America is willing to submit to James Lovelock’s philosophy. The Void of Desire will either be sealed… or it will become all-consuming.


Britain Shelves Green Investment Plan

Plans to use money from the sale of government assets to provide the riskiest of equity investment in green energy projects such as offshore wind and carbon capture have been shelved by the government.

The move comes amid signs of tension between Vince Cable at the business department and George Osborne at the Treasury over the scale of the coalition government’s planned green investment bank and its precise role.

In Labour’s last Budget, Alistair Darling, then chancellor, announced cash from the sale of the Channel tunnel rail link and other disposals of government assets planned over the next 18 months would provide early-stage equity investment in green energy projects.

Some £1bn ($1.5bn) of sales proceeds were to be used as “the riskiest of risk capital” to help attract a matching £1bn from the private sector by removing some of the biggest risks from green energy projects. The aim was to kick-start the further tens of billions of pounds of investment needed from the private sector.

But, according to Andy Rose, head of the Treasury’s infrastructure finance unit, that is now “the policy of a previous government”.

He told an infrastructure conference run by City and Financial: “We are not pursuing it” and it is “not on the agenda of the current government”.

Other Treasury officials indicated the idea might be revived when the government settles on plans for a green investment bank later in the year, although it seemed more likely the proceeds from asset sales – which the government still plans to follow through – would be used to pay down debt.


Climate Target will put EU out of the Race

From Colin Purvis, Director General, CIRFS (European Man-made Fibres Association)

The joint call by the UK climate change secretary, the German federal environment minister and French environment minister to raise the European Union’s carbon emissions reduction target to 30 per cent (Comment, July 15) leaves me highly perplexed and very worried.

According to them, an increase in the 2020 target for reductions from 20 per cent to 30 per cent is needed in order to create a more attractive European environment for low-carbon investment, and to ensure that Europe can continue to stay in “the race to compete in the low-carbon world” with countries such as China, Japan, India and the US.

Really? Then why are these countries not falling over one another to set themselves new carbon emission reduction targets, as the ministers are proposing for Europe? Have the ministers forgotten that these countries either were not prepared to make ambitious quantified commitments at Copenhagen, or have failed to get these through their legislative systems? It does not seem to me that any of these countries are following, or likely to follow in the foreseeable future, the European path of putting additional cost burdens on industry in the hope of achieving a low-carbon breakthrough.

European industrial producers – in our sector and most others – have successfully reduced energy usage in a significant way by normal economic pressures. The result of additional cost burdens from an increased emissions reduction target (even with partial allocation of free allowances) will simply be less European production and more production in countries with much higher carbon emissions per unit of production.

This does not sound a good outcome in the fight against climate change. Time for a re-think, I suggest.


The End Of Green Catastrophism?

For environmentalists, the BP oil spill may be disproving the maxim that great tragedies produce great change.

Traditionally, American environmentalism wins its biggest victories after some important piece of American environment is poisoned, exterminated or set on fire. An oil spill and aburning river in 1969 led to new anti-pollution laws in the 1970s. The Exxon Valdez disaster helped create an Earth Day revival in 1990 and sparked a landmark clean-air law.

But this year, the worst oil spill in U.S. history -- and, before that, the worst coal-mining disaster in 40 years -- haven't put the same kind of drive into the debate over climate change and fossil-fuel energy.

The Senate is still gridlocked. Opinion polls haven't budged much. Gasoline demand is going up, not down.

Environmentalists say they're trying to turn public outrage over oil-smeared pelicans into action against more abstract things, such as oil dependence and climate change. But historians say they're facing a political moment deadened by a bad economy, suspicious politics and lingering doubts after a scandal over climate scientists' e-mails.

The difference between now and the awakenings (sic) that followed past disasters is as stark as "on versus off," said Anthony Leiserowitz, a researcher at Yale University who tracks public opinion on climate change.

"People's outrage is focused on BP," Leiserowitz said. The spill "hasn't been automatically connected to some sense that there's something more fundamental wrong with our relationship with the natural world," he said.


Science Behind Climate Change Under Fire - Again

The scientific accuracy of the United Nations' climate change reports are coming under fire again. In a scandal that dates back to January and was dubbed Amazongate at the time, it has been confirmed that claims of the Amazon burning up due to climate change were sexed-up and pulled from activist literature....

Professor Ross McKintrick says no one should be surprised that such mistakes end up in these massive reports.

“The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) doesn’t have the internal rigour that one would expect of it,” said McKintrick from his office at the University of Guelph. “Nothing is in the process to prevent activist rhetoric from appearing.” McKintrick, who teaches environmental economics and has had his own battles with the accuracy of climate change reports, says the calculations used in the UN reports are often not checked for accuracy and even the much-vaunted peer-review process does not guarantee that the information used is correct.

Amazongate is not the only claim that relies on information from activist groups.

Toronto author Donna Lafamboise recently led a team of citizen auditors through the 2007 climate change report and found heavy use of reports from Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. That report is published at

Laframboise says Greenpeace was cited at least eight times and the WWF at least nine times, despite both groups having clearly stated activist goals when it comes to climate change.

“This is shocking in a report that the public has been told relies solely on peer-reviewed research published in scientific journals,” said Laframboise.

The UN has appointed a team of academic experts to give advice on how to avoid these mistakes in the future, but McKintrick says the UN isn’t really serious about changing anything.

He points out that the authors for the next massive climate change report have already been chosen and many were part of the last error-riddled effort.



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 are mirrors of this site here and here


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