Thursday, June 23, 2011

Supremes retreat from climate panic

The Supreme Court dealt Al Gore, the Environmental Protection Agency and other believers in alarmist climate science a surprising and severe blow this week. In its June 20 decision on American Electric Power v. Connecticut et al., the court ruled that the mere existence of EPA regulatory authority over greenhouse-gas regulations pre-empted lawsuits against coal-burning utilities on the grounds that the emissions constitute a public nuisance.

That decision wasn’t all that surprising as the common law doctrine of nuisance is more typically applied to local cases of noxious odors and noise as opposed to emissions of colorless, odorless and tasteless greenhouse gasses, which are global in nature. Even alarmist science believer and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney knows that it’s called “global warming,” not “America warming.”

The startling part of the decision, however, is that the court quietly but clearly backed away from alarmist climate “science.”

In its 2007 decision Massachusetts v. EPA that was authored by the very liberal Justice John Paul Stevens, a bare majority of the court (all the liberals plus Justice Anthony Kennedy) embraced Al Gore-type climate alarmism in ruling that the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Justice Stevens wrote: “The harms associated with climate change are serious and well recognized. The Government’s own objective independent assessment of the relevant science and a strong consensus among qualified experts indicate that global warming threatens, inter alia, a precipitate rise in sea levels … severe and irreversible changes to natural ecosystems, a significant reduction in … winter snowpack … with direct and important economic consequences, and an increase in the spread of disease and the ferocity of weather events.”

But what a difference a science scandal apparently makes. In its first climate decision following the 2009 Climategate scandal and its progeny – i.e., Glaciergate, Rainforestgate, Pachaurigate, NASAgate and other climate science-related scandals – the court retreated to neutrality on climate science.

Writing for an essentially unanimous court (Justice Sonia Sotomayor recused herself because she was part of a lower-court ruling on the case), the ultra-liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated, “The Court, we caution, endorses no particular view of the complicated issues related to carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.”

The court’s plainly written, jaw-dropping about-face is hidden in a footnote and so hasn’t been reported in media accounts of the decision – but it is of significant consequence.

Climate alarmists can no longer claim that the Supreme Court has validated the science of climate alarmism and ordered the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases.

Other text in Justice Ginsburg’s opinion clearly indicates that it is up to the EPA as to whether greenhouse gases should be regulated. The agency might decline to regulate so long as its decision is not “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or otherwise not in accordance with law.”

If there was any doubt before, the court has now unanimously shifted the blame for destroying the economy with carbon regulations to the Obama administration.

This decision has 2012 implications, as well. The winner of the presidential election will be fully in charge of the EPA and the decision whether the agency regulates greenhouse gases.

If re-elected, President Obama most likely will keep the pedal to the metal in order to accelerate EPA control of America’s economy. A Republican president will have the option to roll back the EPA’s junk science-fueled regulations or to do something in between.

No Republican candidate yet has indicated what they would do about the EPA’s job- and economy-killing greenhouse-gas regulations, though Rep. Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have courageously called for the abolition of the EPA.

At the very least, the EPA’s greenhouse-gas regulations should be rolled back as part of a complete rethinking of environmental protection policies and practices. In the more than 40 years since President Richard Nixon merged the various federal environmental programs into the EPA, our environment has become about as generally pristine, clean and safe as makes sense.

This is not about rolling back meaningful environmental protection so much as it is about rolling back harmful overregulation. By making us poorer, today’s overregulation eventually will hurt the environment and public health more than past emissions of anything ever did.

Now that the Supreme Court has removed its imprimatur from EPA’s attack on America, Republicans should exploit the moment to save our economy from an out-of-control agency.


EU Budget Commissioner Questions Global Warming

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is apparently unconcerned that the chief architect of the EU's forthcoming multi-annual budget has major doubts over the existence of global warming.

Environmental groups are sounding alarm bells however, warning that EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski's scepticism towards climate change is almost certain to affect his drafting of the crucial EU document which will shape the bloc's policy for years to come (2014-2020).

"There's an emerging point of view, that the thesis about coal energy as the main cause of global warming is highly doubtful," Lewandowski told Polish trade magazine Nowy Przemysl earlier this month.

"Question marks are appearing ever more frequently over global warming itself," added the Polish commissioner, whose country relies on coal for 90 percent of its electricity generation.

A spokesman for Lewandowski confirmed the accuracy of the statements.

"His overall line is that it would be impossible for Poland to shift away from coal overnight. But he also expressed his doubts over climate change, in a personal capacity," Patrizio Fiorilli told this website.

Barroso is apparently unconcerned by Lewandowski's comments however, despite recently issuing a speech in Brussels in which he declared: "The effects of climate change are - quite literally - all around us."

"We have a clear commission position on climate change which is the one that [EU climate commissioner] Connie Hedegaard expresses every week," said a spokesman for Barroso.

"We have no fears that when the budget is presented it will reflect the views of the commission as a whole," added Alejandro Ulzurrun.

Green groups said Lewandowski's comments were deeply perturbing however, amid reports that next week's budget proposals may include cuts for environmental schemes under the EU's common agricultural policy (CAP).

"It comes as a shock, especially following the commission president's recent statements. So much for collegiality," said Tony Long, director of the WWF's Brussels office.

"That degree of climate change scepticism is now rare in Europe, and even rarer among politician's of Lewandowski's seniority."

"One can't have much faith in the commission's budget proposals if one of the chief architects admits in a private capacity that he has doubts over global warming."

At the same time, various news reports suggest next week's highly-anticipated proposals may seek to cut spending under pillar two of the CAP, a funding stream currently used to reward farmers for various environmental activities such as protecting endangered wetlands.


Electrical fairy tales

The marketing hype behind new electric vehicles (EVs) such as the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf makes me think of the title of the 1901 children's novel by L. Frank Baum, The Master Key. Promotions and testimonials designate the EV as the "master key" to environmental harmony, evoking the vision of a green economy in which zero-carbon-footprint EVs shuttle us to sustainable clean energy jobs as our dependence on foreign oil is whisked away in the contaminant-free breeze.

But it's the novel's subtitle, "An Electrical Fairy Tale, Founded Upon the Mysteries of Electricity and the Optimism of Its Devotees,"that I chiefly have in mind. It exquisitely captures the substance of the unfolding EV hoax.

The optimism of EV devotees is manifested by the expectation that simpleton consumers will see the absence of tailpipe fumes as the absence of emissions and pollution; that EVs are worth their exorbitant cost, particularly if they eliminate our reliance on OPEC; and that, in EV-world, we will all live happily ever after.The support of simpleton politicians guarantees fairy tales.

The scientifically illiterate media (also devotees) never mention the pollution and carbon emissions created at electrical power plants when EV batteries are being charged. Odd that these distant plants are now electrical mysteries, when not that long ago shrill environmentalists frequently reminded us that they were mostly coal- and gas-fired monsters, belching forth devastating fumes as they generate 44.46% and 23.21%, respectively, of our electrical power. Apart from toxic particulates, they release a national average of 1.2 lbs of CO2 for each kWh generated.

The Chevy Volt, to cite one example, can travel 35 miles on its fully charged 16 kWhbattery. Thus, charging the battery by means of the average US power plant creates 19.2 pounds of CO2; in effect, 0.55 pounds of CO2 per mile. The EPA rates the Volt's gas-only fuel economy as 37 mpg. Since a gallon of gasoline produces about 19.6 pounds of CO2 , the Volt produces 0.53 pounds of CO2 per mile. Incredibly, the Volt's carbon footprint is 0.02 pounds per mile larger when powered by its battery — another electrical mystery.

An optimistic devotee might argue that carbon footprints can vary. But an average of 0.55 pounds of CO2 per mile is a long way from clean, and fraudulently far from zero. As to footprint variation: charge an EV in a state such as West Virginia, where coal generates 96% of the electrical energy. There, the Volt will emit 0.95 pounds of CO2 per mile. — almost twice the emission of a gasoline engine.

Wherever you live, if you use your EV for anything much more than occasional errands, battery charging will be a big part of your life. It makes one wonder why charging requirements are trivialized, if mentioned at all — unless it's because of the mysterious nature of electrons. Their activity while the battery charges throughout the night is invisible, as is the charging cost, at least until the utility bill arrives. If you drive an EV, say, 700 miles a month, it must be fully charged at least 21 times each month. In a recent thousand-mile Edmunds road test, the Volt averaged 33 miles on a fully charged battery. In the Northeast, where electricity is 16.09 cents per kilowatt hour, the monthly charging cost would be $54.61; in the Southeast (at 9.57 cents per kilowatt hour), it would be $30.24.

According to the Edmunds review, charging an EV battery by using a standard 120V socket "is like filling a swimming pool with a syringe." Optimistic devotees cite charging times of 12 hours. But charging from 0% to 100% (typical of electric mode only drivers) takes about 20 hours. Edmunds expects that most buyers will need the 240V Level II charging stations, which can complete the charge in less than half the time. They are available for $490, with an additional cost of about $1,500 for home installation — in addition to the $33,000 to $109,000 you paid for your electrified transportation pod. But what's another $2,000 or so when you're saving the planet?

Electrical utilities also anticipate Level II chargers, salivating over the revenues they will produce. But they worry because turning one on is equivalent to adding three homes, all with air conditioning, lights, and laundry running at the same time. Two or three of them running simultaneously in a grid sector is likely to burn out the transformer, blacking out service to the entire sector. Ironically, safety experts want EV manufacturers to add a simulated "vroom" sound alerting pedestrians to the presence of EVs on the street. The added cost of bumper-integrated speakers is a small price to pay for the warning. Presumably, there will be no extra charge for the sound of transformers mysteriously popping as they burn out, alerting sleepers to the presence of EV chargers in the neighborhood.

Our taxes pay for a $7,500 credit to entice less optimistic buyers, and huge subsidies to help EV manufacturers stay in business. Lithium battery companies must be salivating as much as electrical utilities. Last year, for example, a Michigan company was awarded $251 million in federal and state stimulus money. Its plant is expected to employ 400 workers, costing taxpayers $625,000 each. And it is owned by a Korean firm. But imagine the graft that American "entrepreneurs" are getting. Companies are also lining up at the trough for EV battery research and development subsidies. Despite over a century of technological advancement, battery performance is economically inadequate for EVs. Maybe battery designers will have better luck in the next 100 years.

President Obama is among the most optimistic of EV devotees. His test drive last July was ominous. Steering a Volt for about 10 feet at about 2 mph appeared to reaffirm his green economy concept and his campaign pledge to put one million EVs on the road by 2015. He is working diligently behind the curtain of political favoritism and crony capitalism to promote the EV as an integral part of his green economy.

But the EV is a hoax. Born of political expediency and founded on bad economics and science, it is a colossal burden for taxpayers, an expensive fantasy for EV buyers (converted, coerced, or bribed), and a cruel joke on planet savers. Everyone will pay higher taxes, EV buyers will pay at least twice the cost of comparable gasoline powered cars, and their electricity bills will, as President Obama has famously said, "necessarily skyrocket." The fact that the EV actually violates the clean-energy justification for its purchase demonstrates the fraudulence of Obama's plan. EVs result in little or no net reduction in pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. This is equally true for a $109,000 Tesla and a $41,000 Volt. And it would be true if there were a $10,000 model.

It would also be true if a million US drivers bought such a car by 2015, or if enough millions more were thereafter coerced to bring us to the day when we could say goodbye to OPEC. The problem is that this would also be the day we would say hello to Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia, the Saudi Arabias of lithium. Will OLEC (the Organization of Lithium Exporters) treat us any better than OPEC has?

President Obama's plan for the EV is unfolding like an electrical fairy tale of unprecedented magnitude. It calls for millions of Americans to buy uncompetitive, exorbitantly priced, high-maintenance EVs that are not meaningfully cleaner than the vehicles they are supposed to replace — all the while paying higher taxes and electricity rates to finance a scheme that, even if wildly successful, would accomplish nothing beyond enriching electrical utilities and battery manufacturers instead of oil companies and refineries and making us dependent on lithium instead of oil.

This plan is a costly, inane indulgence in fantasy. If the curtain were pulled back, it would reveal a fatuous illusionist, feverishly operating the levers of subsidies, tax credits, and regulatory mandates to orchestrate the scam. Did I mention that Baum also wrote The Wizard of Oz? It is an excellent book to read by candlelight, during EV-induced blackouts.


British Conservative MEPs to revolt against the coalition’s environment policies

Conservative MEPs are planning to revolt against the coalition’s environment policies in an attempt to sabotage the proposed strengthening of Europe’s climate targets.

The revolt would be an embarrassment for David Cameron, who has committed Britain to some of the most ambitious greenhouse gas targets in the world.

Tomorrow the European parliament will vote on whether to toughen the EU’s emissions-cutting target from 20 per cent reductions by 2020, compared with 1990 levels, to a 30 per cent cut. The commitment to a 30 per cent cut has been agreed by the coalition, and has won support from other member states in the EU bloc.

British Conservative MEPs, however, have said they would vote to oppose the 30% cut, according to reports.

A survey found that only one out of the 23 replied to say they would vote in favour of the 30 per cent figure.

The leader of Britain’s Conservative delegation, Martin Callanan, said: “Conservative MEPs have always been sceptical of the EU unilaterally increasing its target to 30 per cent without a worldwide agreement … European companies will be unable to compete if the reduction targets are set too high.

“Many high energy consuming companies are already being forced to relocate to countries outside the EU, which have little or no environmental legislation, putting many Europeans out of work, and an increased target will exacerbate this trend.

“We are also concerned that the higher carbon costs from an increased target will feed through into energy price increases for domestic consumers, who are already facing steep rises.”

Last month the Prime Minister said the coalition wanted to be the “greenest government ever” as he committed Britain to halve UK carbon emissions by 2025.

He said: “When the coalition came together last year, we said we wanted this to be the greenest government ever. This is the right approach for Britain if we are to combat climate change, secure our energy supplies for the long-term and seize the economic opportunities that green industries hold … the UK can prove that there need not be a tension between green and growth.”

However it appears that Tory MEPs are set to scupper that commitment. Only Marina Yannakoudakis said she would vote in favour of 30 per cent while Julie Girling said she planned to vote for 20 per cent but might compromise on 25 per cent if it became an option that was offered.


"The end of green ideology"

"Within this new geopolitical framework, green ideology will survive like a cult or a recipe for economic suicide"

In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, western media have been full of articles about the growing influence of the "green" parties and NGOs - particularly in Germany. However, it is not at all likely that the present temporary success of the greenies will last for very long. On the contrary, the renowned French economist, philosopher and author Guy Sorman thinks that the shale gas revolution and small nuclear power plants will change the overall situation in favour of the western democratic countries and lead to the end of the green ideology:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government was the first to overreact by deciding to close down all nuclear reactors in the coming years – a radical move driven by domestic politics. Merkel's government does not include Germany's Greens, but the Green ideology has become a widely shared national creed in Germany. Indeed, one can relate popular hostility toward nuclear energy to Germany's traditional romantic cult of nature, not to science.

Germany's nuclear plants will be replaced by more thermal plants, implying a large increase in German carbon emissions – so much for Green concern with global warming! And so much for intellectual honesty, because a Germany without nuclear power of its own will be compelled to buy it from France, which has no intention of closing its nuclear plants.

In the US, the ideological aftershock is closer to Germany's than to France's: the US may not be overly prone to romanticism, but a cult of nature remains part of the American psyche. This may go some way toward explaining why the Democrats, who control the presidency and the Senate, are so committed to so-called alternative energies.

President Barack Obama's administration has thrown billions of dollars at wind, solar, ethanol, and other alternative-energy resources. Now the Fukushima tragedy is being used to justify continuing these economically dubious programs. We can bet that none of these alternative energies will easily replace oil, gas, and nuclear power in the foreseeable future.

At market prices, without public subsidies, a unit of energy produced by solar or wind in the US costs five times more than a unit produced by oil, gas, or nuclear plants. Moreover, supporters of alternative energies systematically downplay their negative environmental impact. A wind turbine requires 50 tons of steel and half a square mile of ground space. If California were to rely on solar power for its electricity consumption, the entire state would have to be covered with photovoltaic cells.

The great irony of the current situation is that real innovation and entrepreneurial activity, without government support, is taking place in the field of energy generation, such as in the creation of miniaturized nuclear reactors. The most promising breakthrough may well be the discovery of huge reserves of shale gas all over the planet.

Indeed, thanks to the new techniques in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, shale gas may well become the dominant energy resource of the future. Shale gas could thus reduce dependency on OPEC oil and gas while reducing carbon emission. Gas generates ten times less carbon than biomass or ethanol, which ecologists so heavily promote.

Beyond Fukushima, future energy supplies will most likely rely more and more on miniaturized nuclear plants and shale gas – a mix capable of responding to a rapidly urbanizing world population's growing demand for electricity.

Such a renewed energy balance would impact the current global balance of power. Shale gas is abundant in Europe and North America, in contrast to oil and gas. Thus, the energy of tomorrow could well reinforce the world's democracies and weaken its most repressive regimes, where most oil is to be found nowadays. Within this new geopolitical framework, green ideology will survive like a cult or a recipe for economic suicide.


It is interesting to note, that you can read professor Sorman´s outstanding article in the China Daily, not in any of the major English language western newspapers. No, a sober, realistic and positive analysis like this, is not welcome in the politically correct mainstream media, which are more than happy to publish every piece of rubbish, written by ignorant enviro-fundamentalist scaremongerers.

The end of the green ideology will, as an added bonus, also lead to the end of the global warming religion. On must only hope that this happens sooner rather than later, in order to avoid the wasting of the huge sums of money that many of the present western governments now are planning to use in order to fight imaginary human-induced warming.



Three current articles below

Viscount Monckton hits out at ecofascism

Renowned climate change skeptic Lord Monckton has lashed out at the Federal Government's climate change advisor Ross Garnaut, labelling him a Nazi.

The 7News exclusive report shows Lord Christopher Monckton, Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, addressing the American Freedom Alliance Conference earlier this month.

Using extreme political labels to characterise the Green movement and climate change believers, Monckton singles out Australia's Professor Ross Garnaut and calls him a fascist.

"Let's look very quickly at a few eco-fascists speaking in their own words." says Monckton at the conference. "Professor Ross Garnaut ... that again is a fascist point of view that you merely accept authority without question, Heil Hitler! On we go." Monckton continued.

In response, Professor Garnaut says the climate debate is becoming increasingly bitter, "I think the tone of the current discourse is less civilized. It's noisier, more ignorant." says Garnaut.

Lord Monckton is due to appear at a mining conference in Perth next week which is reportedly being opened by Tony Abbott.


Peer review denial and the abuse of science

Can someone get Stephan Lewandowsky his medication? His new marketing message is that “deniers” don’t do peer review papers. There’s a curious case of acute-peer-review-blindness (APRB) occurring. It doesn’t matter that there are literally thousands of pages of skeptical information on the web, quoting hundreds of peer reviewed papers, by people far more qualified than a cognitive-psychologist, yet he won’t even admit they exist.

…most climate deniers avoid scrutiny by sidestepping the peer-review process that is fundamental to science, instead posting their material in the internet or writing books.

Dear Stephan, deny this: 900 papers that support skeptics. What is it about these hundreds of papers published in Nature, Science, GRL, PNAS, and Journal of Climate that you find impossible to acknowledge? (And do tell Stephan, if people need to publish peer reviewed material before they venture an opinion on climate science online, how many peer reviewed articles on climate science have you produced?)

Obviously, the real deniers are the people who deny the hundreds of papers with empirical evidence that show the hockey stick is wrong, the world was warmer, the climate changes, and the models are flawed.

Twenty eight million weather balloons show there is no hotspot. So in response, stumped for evidence, the establishment team rolls out a psychologist to deny the results, and issue unscientific pronouncements about how we all have to “trust the establishment” and use only its’ approved formats to further human knowledge.

Instead of sidestepping the process, articles by people who want to sidestep the issue give themselves away in the first line. We can always rely on Lewandowsky to solve our climate dilemmas by analyzing… something else.

“On 20 April 2010, a BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and creating the largest oil spill in history.”

Then if he does get to the topic at hand, you can count on him to stick to fallacies, like argument from authority and ad hominem attacks. No doubt, UWA will be renouncing Lewandowsky’s science degree (I mean, surely the faculty of science at UWA have higher standards than that don’t they?). Breaking laws of reason is an embarrassment for any science faculty, and to any psychology school.

Then when he gets past the fallacies and actually tries to make a socio political point, he reverts to a kindergarten black and white world view – me: good, you: bad. Humans in business = evil and untrustworthy. Humans in government = above question.

During peer review, by contrast, commercial interests are removed from the publication decision because journals are often published by not-for-profit professional organisations.

Obviously, commercial interests who advertise in journals, or own their stocks, their distribution, their publishing house, or offer jobs-for-the-boys never have any influence on angelic science publications**. And government interests are of course, obviously benign. No government has ever used it’s power to deceive its subjects. Right?

Even if private publishers are involved, they make their profit primarily via university subscriptions, and universities subscribe to journals based on their reputation, rather than based on individual publication decisions.

And universities make their money… follow that dollar… by appealing to government bureaus, ergo?* So government-paid-researchers vet other government-paid-researchers-papers which are published in journals which want to get more subscriptions from government paid entities. What could go wrong with that?

Very occasionally a contrarian paper does appear in a peer-reviewed journal, which segments of the internet and the media immediately hail as evidence against global warming or its human causes, as if a single paper somehow nullifies thousands of previous scientific findings.

Dear Stephan, that’s the point of science remember, as Einstein says, it only takes one experiment to prove a theory wrong, and your anti-science mind-set means if a skeptic proved man-made warming wrong (actually we already have) you would “know” the skeptic was wrong before you even read the paper.

In Stephens obey-thy-leader form of “science”, the answers to the universe can be figured out by counting the peer reviewed papers. It’s not about quality. It’s not about a chain of evidence. It’s not that some papers matter. It’s just the tally.

And if we only had a bureau of perpetual motion issuing papers, then we could finally solve the energy crisis. (In fact, why bother to do the research, just ask the government?)

Most of the Lewandowsky-carbon-tax-marketing-tactic is simply to confound his followers with a bread crumb trail of smears, which reinforces the neural pathways of pavlovian fans-of-the-carbon-cult so they too can issue reflexive insults against scientists, and warm themselves with smug superiority. And this man does it with your taxes.

John McLean corrected Lewandowsky’s points on the ABC site. Stephen apparently denys that too.


Climate debate 'appalling', says Australia's chief scientist

But he contributes nothing to the debate himself, just the usual unscientific appeal to authority. It would seem that it is criticism of Warmism that he finds appalling

AUSTRALIA'S Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, has lamented the quality of public debate on climate change, saying it "borders on appalling" and the level of scientific literacy among politicians is "not high".

In his first big speech since his appointment by the Gillard government in April, Professor Chubb rejected accusations that he was partisan because he believed that "the science is in on climate change".

"Well, I don't think that's partisan. I think that I can read English - as Ross Garnaut once said - and understand it. And I think that the evidence is overwhelming," he said at the National Press Club.

Recently, prominent climate scientists have reported receiving death threats, and actress Cate Blanchett was criticised for fronting an ad campaign in support of a carbon price.

"I think attacking people because they're giving a message is appalling. I think that some of the language that's used is bordering on the hysterical," Professor Chubb said.

He said the media often gave undue weight to the views of climate sceptics. "I think the media has an obligation to present scientific debates, including on climate change, in a proper and balanced and appropriately weighted way."

He said there were respectable people who held different views. "But when you get the overwhelming majority of people with real expertise heading in one direction, you have to take notice of that, because if you wait for proof, you wait forever."

Professor Chubb complained that despite its potential to cure diseases and deliver transformative inventions, science struggled to compete with football and celebrity gossip for public attention.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The end of green ideology"