Friday, August 19, 2011

Bandwagonitis leads to embarrassing gaffe

The report below claims to note a dramatic change in the last 10 years and attributes it to global warming. But even the Warmists now admit that there has been no warming in the last 10 years. So the claim CANNOT be true. It would be wise to check the facts before opening mouth

Animals across the world are fleeing global warming by heading north much faster than they were less than a decade ago, a new study says.

About 2,000 species examined are moving away from the equator at an average rate of more than 15 feet per day, about a mile per year, according to new research published Thursday in the journal Science which analyzed previous studies. Species are also moving up mountains to escape the heat, but more slowly, averaging about 4 feet a year.

The species – mostly from the Northern Hemisphere and including plants – moved in fits and starts, but over several decades it averages to about 8 inches an hour away from the equator.

“The speed is an important issue,” said study main author Chris Thomas of the University of York. “It is faster than we thought.” ...

“It’s already affected the entire planet’s wildlife,” Thomas said in a phone interview. “It’s not a matter that might happen in the lifetime of our children and our grandchildren. If you look in your garden you can see the effects of climate change already.”


Climate change is happening even if the temperature isn't rising (?)

The bald assertion below that various bad weather events are unusual and a "sign" of doom to come is exactly what Jehovah's witnesses have been saying for 100 years. There is no science in it

You can say this for 2011: There's never been a year quite like it. Dangerous summer heat waves scorched the Midwest and East with record-high temperatures, causing at least 64 deaths. An unprecedented drought in Texas forced the government to declare the entire state a natural disaster area. Intense rainfall and snowmelt caused record flooding of the Mississippi River across the Midwest and South. Sea level is rising faster along the East Coast than it has for at least 2,000 years. Arctic sea ice fell to the lowest extent on record in July, with virtually no ice found off Alaska.

All this follows a slew of other climate-change related disasters (floods, blizzards, tornadoes) that have cost hundreds of lives, caused billions of dollars in damage and left some wondering: What's going on?

The unmistakable answer is clear: Climate change is no longer an abstract problem; climate change is here now; its effects are spinning out every single day across the planet. The impacts are wide-ranging, and increasingly they're intruding upon all aspects of our lives -- from increasing extreme weather events to rising sea levels that threaten densely populated coasts to the increasing instability of food and water supplies to our suffering health. According to the World Health Organization, hundreds of thousands of people are already dying from climate-related deaths each year.

And it isn't just people that are being hurt. Millions of species around the globe are seeing their world dramatically altered for the worse.

Polar bears and their cubs are dying because they're being forced to swim grueling distances across open water when there's no sea ice to be found. Mountain species like the pika in the American West are being driven extinct at lower elevations by rising temperatures. Coral reefs worldwide and oysters and mussels along the West Coast are growing weaker as they're exposed to more acidic waters due to the ocean's absorption of human-made carbon dioxide.

A comprehensive new study found that the impacts of climate change are being felt among all groups of animals and plants all around the globe, and that if anything, the harmful effects of climate change exceed predictions. This study forecast that one in 10 species could face extinction by 2100 if climate change continues at the current pace.

Put simply, climate change poses the greatest threat in human history to the natural systems that sustain life on Earth, and the crisis is only deepening. The decade from 2000 to 2010 was the warmest on record, and 2005 and 2010 tied for the hottest years on record. So far, 2011 is shaping up for more of the same.

As alarming as the situation is, it doesn't have to be this way. We have the tools to create a different climate future. We already know what to do: reduce our burning of dangerous, dirty fossil fuels and increase energy efficiency. We have the technology and know-how needed to power a clean-energy transformation. And we have the levers to spur action, foremost among them the tried and true Clean Air Act, which has cost-effectively and efficiently reduced air pollutants and protected public health for four decades.

As the daily toll of climate change mounts, it's time to embrace the reality that the United States can wait no longer for meaningful action. Climate change is happening now, we are causing it, and the costs of inaction -- to us, to plants and animals, to the physical world that we depend on -- are too steep to ignore and pass to the coming generations.


Pennsylvania leads the way by quietly turning off the lights on renewable energy

The Corbett administration is de-emphasizing renewable energy and energy conservation, eliminating programs created by previous Democratic and Republican administrations as it focuses on natural gas energy from booming Marcellus Shale.

Quietly but systematically, the administration has all but shut down the state Department of Environmental Protection's Office of Energy and Technology Deployment -- the state's primary energy office -- and removed directors and reassigned staff in the Office of Energy Management in the Department of General Services and the Governor's Green Government Council.

It has also forbidden state executive agencies from signing contracts that support clean energy supply.

The administration says merely that any changes are part of a new approach of Gov. Tom Corbett's energy executive, Patrick Henderson, who has been overseeing development of the administration's Marcellus Shale gas policy. But environmental organizations and former DEP officials and staffers say the dismantling of successful programs promoting renewable and sustainable energy will hurt the state's "green energy" economy.

The changes will put more than 100,000 "green jobs" in the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries at risk, according to Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future -- PennFuture -- a statewide environmental organization that last week launched a campaign to protect and restore programs and jobs it says are under attack.

"In the past 12 years, Pennsylvania has gone from having virtually no clean energy jobs to employing more than 106,000 Pennsylvanians in the clean energy industry, despite the national recession," said Jan Jarrett, president and chief executive officer of Penn Future. "These program cuts and legislative attacks threaten to kill those good, family-sustaining jobs."

According to PennFuture and DEP sources, the DEP's Office of Energy and Technology Deployment -- which had oversight of the state Energy Savings Law and the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard, administered several clean energy grant programs, provided technical assistance to renewable energy companies and housed the state's climate change office -- has been downsized and is without a director at the Deputy Secretary level. The climate program has had its staff reduced from four to one.

One former DEP employee, who asked that he not be named because he continues to work on energy issues in Harrisburg, said of the Energy Office, "it's being taken apart piece-by-piece and the pieces are being thrown away."

The Green Government Council, created under Gov. Tom Ridge, a Republican, was established to help state agencies adopt environmentally sustainable operations. Its staff and program responsibilities have been "gutted," the employee said, and it continues to exist primarily to provide federally mandated tracking and performance reports for a number of federal energy programs.

The administration's prohibition against sustainable and alternative energy purchases reverses a policy that by the beginning of this year, had the state buying 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, according to PennFuture, and made it "a national leader in the development of the clean energy economy."

The Office of Energy Management has seen its director fired, its staff reassigned and, according to PennFuture, has been moved from the Department of General Services to the Bureau of Public Works. It administered the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act, which helps school districts and local governments invest in energy conservation and efficiency programs and conservation.

State Rep. William Adolph, a Delaware County Republican who authored the Energy Savings Act, is in discussions with the governor's office about how the program will be administered, said Mike Stoll, a spokesman for Mr. Adolph.

"We're still working with the administration to understand its position on the program," Mr. Stoll said. "It's saying this is part of a consolidation of programs but that doesn't change the requirements of the act."

The governor's office referred all questions about energy program and policy changes to Katy Gresh, a DEP spokeswoman, but she didn't directly respond to questions requesting specific information about program, policy and staffing changes. She did issue a general statement saying the department "continues to be the primary commonwealth agency for energy programs, energy emergency response and assurance, as well as alternative transportation fuel programs, and climate change," and that it is working closely with Mr. Henderson.

Ms. Gresh said eliminating the sustainable energy purchase program will save the state nearly $1 million. She cited two programs -- a $1 million grant program for small business energy efficiency and a still-in-development energy efficiency program that would use $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy -- as examples of the state's continued commitment to energy conservation.

Christina Simeone, director of PennFuture's Energy Center and formerly the special assistant for energy and climate at DEP, said the policy changes and staffing reductions are crippling the department. "I have concerns about whether the remaining staff of every office can handle the required workloads," Ms. Simeone said. "The programs and staff have been marginalized so much."

John Hanger, DEP secretary under former Gov. Ed Rendell, said it would be a mistake for the state to focus exclusively on natural gas. "The changes we've seen are viewed as downgrading alternative energy programs, and I can understand how people can come to that conclusion," Mr. Hanger said. "I hope that's not the case, but the [administration's] actions could be interpreted as backing away for placing less emphasis on alternative energy."

It's very important that the state welcome all types of energy development, including wind, solar and biofuels and not become exclusively focused on Marcellus Shale gas, Mr. Hanger said Friday, while attending the dedication of 32 wind turbines in Cambria County. The 75-megawatt facility, built by Everpower, a New York City-based company with an office in Pittsburgh, will produce enough power to supply 32,000 homes and increases the amount of wind electricity produced in the state by 10 percent.

"It's important to have government programs that can help move forward alternative energy and it's important that state government be a model for the private sector, especially when doing so can save taxpayers money," Mr. Hanger said, referring to a DEP program promoting energy efficiency in government buildings.

Pennsylvania is not the only state reassessing or reducing sustainable energy, energy conservation and renewables portfolio standards policy. Governors and legislators have voiced similar concerns in Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, according to the Pew Research Center.

Ms. Simeone said changes in policy priorities could be expected because the 2010 election resulted in widespread state government leadership changes, but it doesn't make sense to pull support from renewable and sustainable energy sources when the rest of the world is turning toward them.

"Around the world countries are realizing there needs to be a mix of fossil and sustainable energy and unless we continue to diversify we will be left in the dust," Ms. Simeone said. "We should be doing everything we can to create jobs in those areas and embrace those opportunities. But what we're doing just doesn't make sense."


The truth about government energy subsidies

The truth, unlike the common wisdom or at least the Democrat narrative, is that far and away the bulk of the $37 billion in government energy subsidies goes to “renewable” energy sources, not evil oil and gas corporations. The $37 billion is $19 billion more than was spent in 2007 in government subsidies, a 50% increase in spending.

It was a feature of the Obama administration’s recent narrative that government was subsidizing rich oil and gas companies and that should stop. Never mentioned, of course, were where other subsidies were going. For example:

Of that $19 billion increase, additional subsidies for renewables amounted to more than $9 billion, a 186 percent increase. Subsidies for renewables now total $14.7 billion.
Wind power was the biggest recipient of federal energy dollars. Last year, this sector took in almost $5 billion in subsidies – a more-than-tenfold increase from 2007. Meanwhile, solar energy subsidies increased six times over the same period, from $179 million to $1.13 billion. And biofuels (think ethanol) saw a jump from $4 billion to $6.6 billion.

Any idea what we’ve bought for that money?
Take wind power. Today, it represents a paltry 1.2 percent of total domestic energy production. Yes, that’s up from 0.5 percent in 2007. But only after spending billions in taxpayer resources.

What’s more, wind power is expected to fall well short of some key growth goals set by the Obama administration. The Department of Energy has officially declared it wants 20 percent of the energy market comprised of wind by 2030.

Currently, there are about 40,000 wind megawatts online in America. Meeting the Department’s target on time would require creating 13,000 new megawatts of wind energy every year — twice the growth notched by the industry last year, which was an all-time high. And warnings of a major contraction ahead have already been sounded by the American Wind Energy Association.

A classic example of government trying to pick winners and losers, or, in more succinct terms distorting the market. Instead of letting the market decide what is viable, government hopes to force it. And, predictably, the results are not good.

As for the evil oil and gas companies. Well the Democrats try to sell them as the ones sucking down all the subsidy dollars and not paying their “fair share”. The truth, of course, is almost the opposite:

Plenty of politicians, mostly Democrats, have advertised that eradicating federal dollars for oil and natural gas as a budget panacea.
The EIA [Energy Information Administration – part of DOE] study shows that these critics have fingered the wrong energies. Researchers report that last year, oil, natural gas, and coal received a total of 11 percent of all federal energy subsidies. And most of those oil and natural gas “subsidies” are typical deductions, deferrals, and credits that all businesses take.

In fact, as a share of net income, the oil and gas industry paid 41.1 percent in federal income taxes last year, compared to 26.5 percent for all non-oil and gas S&P 500 manufacturing companies. Meanwhile, oil and gas account for 78 percent of domestic energy production and are responsible for more than 9.2 million American jobs.

The myths, however, continue to persist. One sector promises jobs and a new source of energy and is essentially a subsidy sink hole. The other accounts for over 9 million jobs and actually provides the vast bulk of energy the country uses. Guess which one is constantly under fire from the left?


Failure has no lessons for America's Green/Left

With this week’s bankruptcy filing, the great Evergreen Solar experiment is now officially a staggering failure, but the fantasy that the state can buy new jobs with a fat investment of taxpayer cash may live on.

“Not every company is going to be successful,” Gov. Deval Patrick’s top economic adviser said after the bankruptcy announcement, in a rather impressive display of understatement. “But we still believe the approach of providing business incentives to create and maintain manufacturing jobs in Massachusetts is an important strategy.”

But that’s just it — these weren’t the usual “business incentives,” typically limited to tax benefits for whole industries (think tax credits for financial services companies). No, this was a sweetheart deal for a single company that had never demonstrated the ability to make money.

It was a case of politicians taking a flyer on a pet industry — alternative energy with its promise of all those “green jobs” — with your tax dollars. All when it was entirely foreseeable that China could do the same job that Evergreen was doing, but for less.

Now even the dream of recovering some of the cash granted to Evergreen by the generous people of the Patrick administration has died with the bankruptcy filing. It seems unlikely that taxpayers will recover a dime of the $31 million spent on Evergreen (another $27 million had been committed). We’re even getting stiffed on the rent for the plant we helped build on state-owned land in Devens.

And don’t think these lessons will be taken to heart by the green energy zealots who remain convinced that government can simply spend its way to a thriving industry, be it here in Massachusetts or in Washington. Even as Bay State taxpayers were absorbing news of the bankruptcy filing the White House yesterday was announcing a $510 million “investment” to develop the next generation of biofuels.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu proclaimed that this new industry “will replace imported crude oil with secure, renewable fuels made here in the U.S.” All with a half-billion in federal cash? Sure....

The president, at least, acknowledged that building the biofuels industry “cannot be the role of government alone,” so the feds will partner with the private sector. And the costly chase for green jobs will go on.



Three articles below

Powerful state governments say all options considered in battling Federal government carbon tax

THE nation's most powerful states will confront Julia Gillard with a demand to tear down the carbon tax or face a revolt over multi-billion-dollar asset writedowns and sweeping job cuts.

NSW and Victoria yesterday foreshadowed a bitter scrap with the Gillard government at Friday's Council of Australian Governments meeting amid growing calls to scrap the tax.

The NSW government has dramatically widened its line of attack on the tax fallout by revealing that federal Labor's renewable energy scheme had slashed the profitability of its state-owned electricity generators.

NSW Treasury has warned that if the Gillard government fails to phase out the scheme when the carbon price starts, it will consider seeking compensation, with NSW Treasurer Mike Baird revealing that all options -- including suing -- were on the table.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu led a chorus of cabinet criticism, with his government warning that alone, the closure of the Hazelwood power station in the brown coal-dependent Latrobe Valley would cost up to 5000 jobs.

Unemployment under a carbon tax could soar to 16.5 per cent in the valley, in the state's east, and Victoria has demanded that the tax be dumped. "Now is not the time to add another cost," Mr Baillieu warned.

NSW and Victoria are likely to be joined by Western Australia in opposing the tax, pointing to a serious test of the Prime Minister's diplomatic skills and willpower.

Although fighting on different battlegrounds, the powerful union of conservative states has the potential to further undermine Ms Gillard's hard-sell of the tax.

Victoria has threatened to scuttle the proposed national maritime safety regulator and WA has raised concerns about the transport package, especially relating to the heavy vehicle component.

The NSW government has previously focused its criticism on the prospect that the carbon tax would force multi-billion-dollar write-downs to the state-owned power stations, but NSW Treasury has now warned: "In view of its adverse impact on generator profitability, in the event the commonwealth does not phase out the Renewable Energy Target with the introduction of a carbon price, the NSW government could consider seeking commonwealth compensation for the adverse impacts of the RET on generator profitability."

The warning is contained in a submission to a Senate select committee inquiry into the carbon tax, which also suggests the NSW Treasury is trying to put a figure on the size of the losses triggered by the RET.

Yesterday, when asked whether the NSW government would consider legal action for compensation, Mr Baird said: "We are looking at all options."

The state-owned power stations, which include the nation's largest portfolio of power stations run by government-owned Macquarie Generation, are all coal-fired.

NSW argues the RET is a "very inefficient" way of achieving carbon abatement as it costs about $90 a tonne -- almost four times the $23-a-tonne carbon tax.

The state argues that many of the commonwealth's green policies are not complementary to the carbon tax and should be phased out. "To be complementary, they would most obviously need to relate to sectors not covered by the tax, like agriculture, or demonstrate their capacity to be self-funding, as might be the case with some energy efficiency measures," the submission states.

"Of particular concern to NSW is that the RET has created significant losses of value for NSW government-owned generators and is expected to lead to even more losses in the future."

NSW also warns it will receive $45 million less in payments from its generators this year, rising yearly to $290m less in 2014-15.

On top of this, NSW could come under pressure to compensate participants in the state-based Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme and the Energy Savings Scheme, as these are expected to be unwound as a result of the carbon tax.


State premiers turn up heat on Greens over their reservations about coal seam gas

QUEENSLAND Premier Anna Bligh has lashed the Greens over their attacks on the coal seam gas industry, warning the party can't cherry pick science to suit its ideology.

As state premiers converged on Canberra today for the Council of Australian Governments, Ms Bligh threw her support behind coal seam gas as an environmentally-friendly transitional fuel.

“There is absolutely no doubt that if Australia wants a clean energy future, gas has to be part of that and it has to be part of our transition,” Ms Bligh said.

Greens leader Bob Brown has questioned whether coal seam gas is a more greenhouse-friendly fuel than coal, due to the release of methane gas during its extraction.

Ms Bligh said she was disappointed in Senator Brown's comments, saying the science on gas was clear. “Frankly you can't pick and choose your science to suit your ideology,” she said. “You either believe the science on climate change, believe the science on gas emissions, or you don't. “You can't pick and choose to suit an ideological point and that's what I've seen from the Greens.”

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell also weighed in, accusing the Greens of being “all over the place” on the issue. He said gas had a role to play in the energy mix. “Gas is clearly important, but it can't be gas, coal or some other mineral at the expense of the rest of the economy and at the expense of agricultural land,” Mr O'Farrell said.

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett said there were environmental issues with coal seam gas that needed to be managed, but the fuel had “great potential” to clean up power generation on the nation's east coast. “The emissions from gas are about a half to a third of what they are from a coal plant,” he said.


Conservative NSW government gives Greenie pests the boot

THE Barry O'Farrell government has embarked on its first round of public-service job cuts, announcing it will slash the number of positions at a research facility within the Department of Primary Industries by more than a third.

Staff at the Forest Science Centre, which is associated with Forests NSW, were told yesterday that 11 of their 31 positions would be abolished.

A number of senior scientists were told they could reapply for a reduced number of positions within the unit. Others were told they had two weeks to apply for voluntary redundancy. Alternatively, they could seek redeployment within three months after which they would be forced to take redundancy.

"We were really stunned that they targeted the science unit," a source told the Herald. "It's national science week this week."

The centre is the only unit undertaking research into the ecological sustainability of forests and agriculture. It also employs biodiversity researchers who look at species threatened by logging. "This will decimate the state's capacity for research in these areas," the source said.



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