Thursday, January 06, 2011

California’s Green Godfathers

It is an article of faith among environmentalists, conventional wisdom in the media and academia, and a massive delusion afflicting California’s voters, that the climate skeptic community receives massive backing from oil companies and other corporate “polluters.” But when you start to look at who stands to gain from climate “mitigation” policies, and really examine the money trail behind legislative lobbying and political campaigns, the notion that the money is on the side of the deniers doesn’t hold up.

Where the money really is in the global warming debate, as well as reasons why anthropogenic CO2 may not be pollution after all, has been explored at length already here in previous posts including Investigating Climate Alarmism, Credible Climate Skeptics, The Hijacked Public Interest in California, Public Sector Deficits & Global Warming “Mitigation”, California’s Proposition 23, Who Are The Carbon Criminals?, Implementing California’s Global Warming Act, The Climate Money Trail, and The Climate Alarm Industry.

In this post, the intent is to take a closer look at who was behind the annihilation of California’s Prop. 23 last November, a citizens initiative tepidly backed by a handful of oil companies (most oil companies sat on the sidelines), that was outspent by three to one by members of what might be termed a green plutocracy. What killed Prop. 23 was money, in particular, individual donors who wrote checks for $1,000,000 or more. To view all of the major donors to the No on 23 campaign, ref. Ballotpedia. The photos and most of the biographical information is from Wikipedia. Who are these green plutocrats, what are their motives, and why are they well intentioned but misguided?


* The Financier – Thomas Steyer, est. net worth $1.2 billion – is the founder and Co-Senior Managing Partner of Farallon Capital Management, LLC, managing $20 billion in capital for institutions and high net worth individuals. Since 1986, Steyer has been a partner and member of the Executive Committee at Hellman & Friedman, a San Francisco-based $8 billion private equity firm. Steyer is a leading Democratic activist and fundraiser. An early supporter of Hillary Clinton for President, Steyer became one of Barack Obama’s most prolific fundraisers. In 2010, Steyer and his wife, along with Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, signed the Giving Pledge to donate half their fortune to charity.

Steyer’s contribution to defeat Prop. 23 – $5,000,000. To put this in perspective, Steyer’s estimated net worth is $1.2 billion. If someone who had paid off their home and managed to save several hundred thousand dollars in a 401K plan, i.e., if they had accumulated a net worth of $1.2 million, a donation of $5,000 would make the same minor dent in their fortune as the $5,000,000 made in Steyer’s. As for Steyer’s decision to donate half his fortune to charity – isn’t Steyer a Democrat? Doesn’t he want to support government spending? Don’t Democrats base much of their economic philosophy on higher taxes for the rich? When people like Tom Steyer, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and other unbelievably wealthy individuals transfer 50% of their assets to private non-profit charities of their choosing, the rest of us pay higher taxes. So what does Steyer hope to gain by spending Prop. 23′s proponents into the ground? First of all, he probably actually believes that CO2 causes catastrophic climate change, a misconception that is possibly forgivable. But Steyer also apparently labors under a less justifiable misconception, given his formal training and extensive experience in finance and economics, which is that somehow making energy cost more – along with water, land, and other basic resources; climate mitigation policies make everything cost more – this will somehow stimulate economic growth. One can only hope Mr. Steyer will reexamine both of these premises before he writes his next big check.

Before moving on, it is important to at least wonder how Steyer’s financial concerns will benefit from CO2 emissions trading schemes. If the capital investments funded through emissions trading schemes actually yielded positive economic and environmental benefits, such as massive nuclear powered desalination plants on the southern California coast, one might be tempted to embrace the noble lies that justify them. But cramming down anthropogenic CO2 emissions will do NOTHING to alleviate pollution. What they will do is fund costly alternative energy technologies that will be obsolete before they’re deployed. And the financial commissions on CO2 emissions trading will transfer billions into Wall Street. For nothing.

* The Venture Capitalist – John Doerr, est. net worth $1.7 billion – is a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in California’s Silicon Valley. Kleiner Perkins has made investing in “green” technology a major focus of their private equity funds, recently adding as partner the global warming crusader Al Gore. It has to be said that nothing is wrong with green technology – the idea of discovering methods to refine liquid fuel from biomass, either from a waste-stream or specialized crops is a terrific opportunity. That we may eventually harness electricity from the sun in a cost-effective manner is also a tantalizing possibility. Fascinating developments in water filtration for wastewater treatment or seawater desalination promise to eventually eliminate water scarcity. Advanced materials sciences promise to deliver building materials and manufactured goods that no longer require scarce resources or materials extracted in a ecologically disruptive manner. Research needs to continue along all of these vital fronts. But John Doerr, well-intentioned though he may be, has forgotten what made Silicon Valley great.

Doerr’s contribution to defeat Prop. 23 – $2,100,000. California’s Global Warming Act, which Prop. 23 would have derailed, would have done nothing to improve California’s environment. What it will do, however, is force consumers to consume products that cost far more than they should cost, in order to deliver billions of dollars of revenues to “green” technology companies whose products are not ready to compete against conventional solutions. There is no doubt that John Doerr actually believes that CO2 causes global warming – just watch his closing remarks at a recent TED Conference, where he has to fight off tears as he describes his commitment to deliver a better world to his children. Despite his sincerity, Mr. Doerr may wish to consider what happens when the entire world, starting with California, is impoverished because immature solar and impractical wind technologies are deployed in a futile and expensive attempt to satisfy global energy demand, instead of using abundant reserves of coal, gas and oil that can be developed and deployed at a fraction of the cost. Clean fossil fuel, emitting nothing but CO2, will create prosperity, which will enable the human population to stablize at 8.0 billion or less, instead of 10.0 billion or more. As the reserves of fossil fuel become somewhat more difficult to extract cost-effectively, the ability of ever-more-competitive alternatives to be voluntarily purchased by consumers is enhanced. There never has to be an energy shortage. Environmentalists, because they think CO2 is pollution, risk condemning the world to an unnecessary future of poverty, war, and overpopulation. Silicon Valley companies, and the venture capitalists who fund them, need to go back to earning money the old fashioned way, by building things that are better, faster, cheaper, and provide genuine solutions to genuine problems.

* The Movie Mogul – James Cameron, est. net worth $650 million (ref. Celebrity Net Worth) – is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, with mega-hits to his credit including The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), True Lies (1994), Titanic (1997), and Avatar (2009). In total, Cameron’s directorial efforts have grossed approximately $2 billion in North America and $6 billion worldwide.

Cameron’s contribution to defeat Prop. 23 – $1,000,000. Cameron’s most recent blockbuster, Avatar, depicted a planet inhabited by sentient beings who lived in harmony with their environment, threatened by humans who wanted to extract the valuable mineral resources on the planet. This movie, which, like all of Cameron’s movies, is terrific entertainment, belies a contradiction that Mr. Cameron may wish to ponder: The amount of land destructively disrupted by mines and wells is considerably less than the amount of land destructively disrupted by biofuel plantations, solar farms, wind farms, and the many roads and transmission lines necessary to connect them to markets. James Cameron is a complex, creative, inventive man, with not only a fascination, but an aptitude for science and technology. He has been a strong advocate for a robust program of space exploration and development. Cameron may want to read the work of Burt Rutan, an aerospace pioneer, who has published a comprehensive study on what he terms the “Global Warming Science Fraud.” Cameron is also, presumably, someone who cares deeply about human rights. One has wonder if he would still support subsidizing the high tech industry’s enabling of total surveillance of citizens via “smart meters” and GPS-based mileage trackers, etc., and the denial of aspiring nations to develop cheap conventional energy in order to more rapidly lift their citizens out of poverty, if he didn’t truly believe in the alleged science of catastrophic climate change caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

Much more HERE (See the original for links)

CFACT video exposes energy poverty just miles from UN climate conference

"Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow": Not your average environmental organization

CFACT transported delegates beyond the air conditioned comforts of the UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico and let them see the harsh reality of energy poverty (just a few short miles away) for themselves.

In December, CFACT brought climate realism to COP16 and challenged the UN's faux-consensus on global warming. We advocated hard science, took to the streets in demonstration, videoed UN delegates signing petitions to ban water and hobble the U.S. economy, caught the IPCC chair unaware of recent temperature trends, spoke truth to power at our press conferences, and provided comprehensive analysis of the negotiations. We did that and much more.

CFACT reached out to poverty-stricken local villages on the outskirts of Cancun and shocked UN delegates with a tour of a village where people live without electricity.

The community of La Libertad is truly off the grid. It is entrenched in energy poverty. The global warming alarmists at UN climate conferences want to choke off the worlds energy supply. They want to roll back our economy and keep the developing world without access to affordable electricity. At CFACT, we find this “eco-imperialism” appalling. We do more than talk. We take action. CFACT is installing electric light lighting in La Libertad's elementary school for the first time.

CFACT took journalists, climate campaigners and delegates beyond the luxurious Cancun hotel zone to La Libertad and showed them the real human costs of climate policy. Everyone at CFACT and all of our guests were deeply moved. This video provides a glimpse into the lives of the energy poor.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Ecofascist projects her own Fascism onto others

I thought the absolute rock bottom had been reached by the San Fransisco Chronicle’s article that global warming caused the Haiti earthquake, but only one day later, The Guardian newspaper manages to sink to new depths . . .

The Guardian newspaper has a column which argues that emitting Co2 is genocide, and equates capitalist democracy with Nazism (it probably makes some kind of sense in bizzaro-world).

The author of the column, Ms Polly Higgins, is a lawyer and activist who campaigns for laws against what she terms ‘ecocide’ – the destruction or degradation of the environment, which she places on a moral par with genocide. Her website, Trees Have Rights, lists some examples of Ecocide:

the threatened existence of the low lying Maldives due to rising sea levels;

* the shrinking of the Greenland ice sheet;

* the melting of the Himalayan Glaciers;

* the pacific gyre, the ‘island of garbage twice the size of Texas’, slowly spinning in the ocean.

Although a lawyer, Ms Higgins seems to have a problem grasping the difference between an innocent person being executed by a tyrannical regime, and someone being found guiltt of criminal damage by their peers in an open court. Discussing the recent guilty verdict a jury pronounced on several activists who broke into a coal-fired power station with the intention of shutting it down, she writes:

"Sophie Scholl, a Munich University student, was executed for revealing the truth about the activities of the Nazi authorities; today 20 brave Ratcliffe whistleblowers have been sentenced at Nottingham crown court for plotting to draw attention to the truth of the activities of another German entity. This time, replace the tyranny of the Nazis with the tyranny of the energy giant E.ON."

Was Ms Higgins off law college sick on the day they lectured on the idea of proportionality and justice? She doesn’t say. What she does say is that democracy and capitalism are allowing ‘Ecocide’ to take place: "climate campaigners do not have the support of the judiciary in preventing the corporate ecocide that is daily occurring under our very noses. Ecocide is permitted (as genocide was in Nazi Germany) by the government and, by dint of the global reach of modern-day transnational business, every government in the world."

This, according to the Guardian newspaper article, has resulted in the tyranny of democratic capitalism: "Sixty years ago the tyranny was Nazism. Today it is pursuit of profit without moral compass or responsibility."

Say what? Democratic capitalism is a tyranny? Ms Higgins clearly and repeatedly compares capitalist democracy with Nazi Germany. I don’t know about you, but I find this kind of instrumentality deeply repugnant.

At the end of it all, this article is a perfect example of what belief in global warming has done. It has allowed extremists like Ms Higgins to broadcast their fanatical views in what is supposedly a liberal publication. Having tried to label global warming sceptics as ‘deniers’ so as to equate them with holocaust deniers, they now trivialize the wholesale and deliberate, planned slaughter of people in Nazi Germany by equating it with the production of electricity which powers our schools, hospitals and homes.

This is the kind of thinking behind global warming.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The salmon did't need saving after all

Just another of those pesky natural cycles

The miraculous sockeye salmon run in western Canada's Fraser River watershed in the summer and fall of 2010 - indeed the biggest run in 97 years - still has fishers, researchers and fishery managers baffled.

Just a year earlier, only 1 million fish returned to spawn. No one seems to be able to say for sure what caused the massive 2010 run, but most agree that it probably had to do with the very favorable water conditions that were present in 2008, when the sockeyes were juveniles.

"They're very vulnerable at that stage of their life," reports John Reynolds, a salmon conservation expert at Canada's Simon Fraser University.

Roberta Hamme, a researcher with Canada's University of Victoria, suggests in a recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters that the ash fall from the eruption of Alaska's Kasatochi volcano in 2008 may be one reason for the huge 2010 run. Iron in the ash, which was spewed far and wide by the erupting volcano and then dispersed further by turbulent weather, served as a fertilizer throughout the North Pacific. The result was huge algae blooms that dramatically improved the fish's food supply. A similar large Fraser River salmon run in 1958 was likewise preceded by a huge volcanic eruption in Alaska.

What was particularly striking about 2010's mammoth run was the contrast against 2009, when the Fraser River sockeye run was a disaster by all accounts. It capped 20 years of decline and was so much worse than anyone had expected that the Canadian government formed a commission to investigate possible causes, reported Daniel Jack Chasan on the Pacific Northwest news website, Crosscut.

The situation was terrible in 2008, as well, so much so that on the U.S. side of the border, then-Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez declared the Fraser salmon fishery a disaster and allocated $2million to U.S. tribes and commercial fishermen to make up for their loss of income. But strangely enough, just as the Canadian commission began investigating the paltry 2009 run, said Chasan, commercial fishermen "started hauling in more Fraser River sockeye than any of them had ever seen."


A 'Bulge' in Atmospheric Pressure Gives Us a Super-Cold Winter Amid Global Warming

WHAT global warming? It's been unusually cold almost everywhere -- even in the Southern hemisphere. Here in Australia, I have just had the coolest December I can remember. What a lot of hokum the Warmists come up with! Is it some globe other than the earth that they are talking about? -- JR

Icicle-covered oranges in Florida. The United Kingdom swamped with its coldest December in more than a century. Travelers stranded in airports surrounded by snowy fortresses.

These have been some of the dominant images this winter, and now one forecaster says it's going to get colder. Yesterday, an AccuWeather meteorologist predicted that January could be the chilliest for the nation as a whole since the 1980s.

"More waves of Arctic air will invade the country, starting late this week and continuing through the next week and beyond," explained Joe Bastardi of Accuweather in a release. Rare snowfall is headed to Seattle, while the Texas citrus industry may have to prepare for cold-weather damage, according to his forecast.

So how does this fit with global warming models? According to some climate scientists, the cold in places like Florida actually could be a sign of warming, rather than an argument against the phenomenon.

The ongoing disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic from elevated temperatures is a factor to changes in atmospheric pressure that control jet streams of air, explained James Overland, an oceanographer of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. That is because ice-less ocean is darker and, thus, absorbs more solar heat, which in turn spews warmer air than average back into the Arctic atmosphere.

That unusually warm air can contribute to a "bulge" effect to the atmospheric pressure controlling how cold air flows, according to Overland, who works at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Rather than moving circularly in the Arctic from west to east as typical, the bulge may prompt air to move in a U-shaped pattern down to the southern United States.

How loss of Arctic ice gives you snow in Seattle

Last year was the waviest example of this pressure phenomenon in 145 years, said Overland. What also is happening is that the wavy air flow from north to south is appearing for longer periods of time, rather than just for a week or two, he said.

"You can't go as far as saying the loss of sea ice is causing cold weather in Florida," said Overland. "You can say it is a contributing factor." In October, Overland co-authored part of NOAA's Arctic Report Card, which included a section on how Arctic weather is influencing weather in mid-latitudes.

He emphasized that more research needs to be done on the cause and effect relationship between disappearing Arctic sea ice and cold weather in southern locations. Other research backs up his argument.

In November, climate scientist Vladimir Petoukhov reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research that the overall warming of Earth's northern half could result in cold winters. "These anomalies could triple the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia," he said in a statement.

The area covered by sea ice hovered near its historic low this summer, and is expected to be largely gone by mid-century (ClimateWire, Dec. 17, 2010).

Another study published in Environmental Research Letters last year, though, predicted colder winters in the United Kingdom because of natural variations in solar activity.

Differing from the majority of scientists, meteorologist Bastardi presented his "global cooling" theory in a December AccuWeather video arguing that carbon dioxide is a trace gas that has less effect on weather than forces such as the sun. "There's no need to panic over global warming," he said.

The key thing is to look at the climate over long periods of time and not try to find meaning in one weather event, said David Easterling, chief of the Scientific Services Division at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center. "The flip side is it's been unusually warm in Canada this winter," he said.

January aside, the National Weather Service predicts that swaths of the country stretching from the Southwest to the Southeast will be warmer than average this year. Record high temperatures are currently outnumbering record low temperatures by about two to one, and those ratios are projected to be about 20 to 1 by mid-century and 50 to 1 by 2100, said Jerry Meehl, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

How much the existing data registers with politicians and the public is an open question. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who once called global warming a "hoax" and was one of the loudest opponents against climate legislation last year, posted a blog last month mentioning recent cold weather events. "The fanciful claims surrounding global warming have turned out to be a colossal deception, an artful hoax, and an intellectual fraud," it said.


EPA bed bug protection for elderly “not enough”

Outgoing Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland says EPA’s response for help in the state’s battle against bed bugs is simply “not enough.” He petitioned the agency to approve an emergency, indoor use of the pesticide Propoxur. But the agency will only allow a one-time application in the state’s senior-citizen residential centers. In Today’s Columbus Dispatch, Strickland says EPA’s plan would “inadequately treat one small extension of the problem rather than the root.”

The product is acutely toxic to people who use it improperly, but it has no reported carcinogenic effects. According to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, the agency won’t allow its use indoor because the possibility of adverse effects on children. She suggests that bedbugs are a serious “problem” and a “nuisance” but that the chemical might amount to “a cure that’s actually worse than the disease.”

She dismisses the likelihood that Propoxur could provide more benefits than risks. “If used wisely and against the right kind of pest, then I think it [Propoxur] will probably offer far more benefit than risk,” bedbug expert Dr. Richard Pollack of the Harvard School of Public Health told The New York Times in 2009.
However, if Jackson really wants to protect kids from toxicity and the “nuisance” of bedbugs, she should approve limited, home-use of the pesticide DDT. It helped eradicate bedbugs in the United States during the 20th century, but they returned a few decades after the EPA banned DDT.

Despite hype to the contrary, DDT is extremely safe for humans. In 1990, the Lancet reported: “The early toxicological information on DDT was reassuring; it seemed that acute risks to health were small. If the huge amounts of DDT used are taken into account, the safety record for human beings is extremely good. In the 1940s many people were deliberately exposed to high concentrations of DDT thorough dusting programmes or impregnation of clothes, without any apparent ill effect.”

But the greens’ campaign against chemicals doesn’t allow for rational approaches. Greens won’t even support DDT use to control malaria’s deadly toll around the world — allowing millions of children to die annually.

The impact such extremism is now being felt in the United States, with bedbugs just one problem. In 1992, a National Academy of Sciences report warned: “A growing problem in controlling vector-borne diseases is the diminishing supply of effective pesticides … Some manufacturers have chosen not to reregister their products because of the expenses of gathering safety data [under EPA regulations]. Partly as a result, many effective pesticides over the past 40 years to control agricultural pests and vectors of human disease are no longer available.” It looks like we may all soon have bedbugs in our homes and possibly many more dangerous pests to control.



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