Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Climate prostitutes, charlatans and comedians

Paul Driessen

Put these guys on Comedy Central. Put ‘em in an asylum … a mandatory restitution program … jail perhaps … or a witness protection program, if they turn state’s evidence on other perpetrators. But keep them away from our money – and our energy, economic, healthcare and education policies.

Climate prostitutes, parasites and charlatans have been devouring billions in US taxpayer dollars, year after year, plus billions more in corporate shareholder cash, activist foundation funds and state government grants. The laws, mandates, subsidies and regulations they advance have cost taxpayers and consumers still more billions for “alternative” energy and other schemes that send prices skyrocketing, kill jobs, and reduce health and living standards.

It’s time to end this destructive saga and, while we’re at it, pink-slip the politicians and bureaucrats who pour billions of hard-earned tax dollars into perpetual climate “research,” “education” and “environmental” programs. They’re actively complicit or have completely failed to perform proper due diligence.

Global cooling has morphed into global warming, climate change, global climate disruption, climate “weirding” and extreme weather events – always manmade, always imminently catastrophic, always requiring eternal research and wrenching societal transformation, to “save the planet.”

The endless absurdity oozing out of the climate change cesspool would be hilarious if it weren’t so costly.

“Global warming: Is weight loss a solution?” the “peer-reviewed” International Journal of Obesity breathlessly wondered a few weeks ago. Most definitely. Fat people breathe more and thus emit more carbon dioxide. If the world’s 1.5 billion obese and overweight adults all lost 22 pounds apiece and kept if off for a year, the reduction in CO2 would equal 0.2% of global emissions from burning fossil fuels and manufacturing cement. (Translation: “health professionals” deserve more climate research loot.)

If you need more proof that “obesity and climate change are linked,” simply consider how awful life is now in Mexico, the same authors argued in an article for their Climate and Health Council. One in four Mexicans is now obese. “The planet is getting hotter, its people are getting fatter, and the use of fossil fuel energy is the cause of both. Large increases in motor vehicle traffic have decimated levels of physical activity. This, combined with increased availability of energy-dense food, has propelled the body mass index in the entire [Mexican] population upward.”

“Moving to a low-carbon economy could be the next great public health advance,” the CHC “experts” suggested. But even eating less meat won’t be enough, nor reducing dependence on dairy products, nor even vegetarianism, pal reviewers intoned. “We have to be vegans,” get rid of cars – and reduce human populations, perhaps with “China’s one-child policy (entailing elements of compulsion)” as the model.

Didn’t we try that low-carb, low-carbon stuff for most of human history? Aren’t they still trying it in Sub-Saharan Africa? Do we want dictatorial one-child policies in an era of “choice” and aging pensioners?

Some aren’t sure this meatless diet craze is crazy. They claim the link between climate change and raising animals for meat is borne out by Earth history. According to a Texas paleontologist, dung and flatulence from herds of hadrosaurs, the Cretaceous equivalent to modern cattle, could have contributed to Arctic warming 70 million years ago. Other scientists say the hypothesis is a load of coprolite.

Nearly 2,000 animal species “are fleeing global warming by heading north much faster than they were less than a decade ago,” asserts new “research” just published in the once-credible journal Science. The opportunistic species are moving at the breakneck speed of “about a mile a year,” intrepid climate-chaos promoter Seth Borenstein anxiously noted in his AP wire story.
The situation could quickly reverse if reduced solar activity and the past two years’ frigid Northern Hemisphere winters become the new norm. But neither Science nor the AP mentioned that or explained how the current migrations differ from what’s been happening since the last Pleistocene glaciers retreated and the Little Ice Age ended.
Instead, we’ve been repeatedly treated to amusingly convoluted back-peddling from earlier pronouncements that ski resorts will be a thing of the past and “children just aren’t going to remember what snow is.” Now we’re told that global warming can worsen winters and increase snowfalls. In fact, as one Greenpeace activist explained, “Global warming can mean colder. It can mean wetter. It can mean drier. That’s what we’re talking about.”

Actually, what we’re talking about is Earth’s constantly changing weather and climate caused – not by hydrocarbon use – but by complex, chaotic, unpredictable atmospheric, oceanic, solar, planetary and other forces whose interactions and effects scientists are only beginning to understand. To respond adequately to them, we need building, heating, air conditioning and other technology to adapt to, cope with, and protect our lives and property against those forces – and the prosperity to afford that technology.

Unfortunately, policies, laws and regulations driven by climate “research” and horror stories are making it increasingly difficult to address those needs. Rather than developing our nation’s own vast natural resource and human resources, America is wasting billions on politically correct technologies and companies, like Evergreen Solar, which got $486 million in taxpayer subsidies before going belly-up this month. As Al Gore likes to say, that is unsustainable.

Meanwhile, a steady stream of headline-grabbing “studies” continues to power the climate scare and renewable energy gravy train. Retired professor John Brignell’s website presents hundreds of absurd research claims, from the Alps melting and Amazon being destroyed, to “Italy robbed of pasta,” to the “world going up in flames” over resource scarcity and zebra mussels taking over the Thames River – all because of global warming. The website is not up-to-date, but here’s one recent gem he could add.

A new taxpayer-funded NASA/Penn State “scientific” study warns that “ecosystem-valuing universalist” (really “green”) aliens might realize that we have been altering “the chemical composition of Earth’s atmosphere,” conclude that we have “ecological destructive tendencies,” and “wipe humanity out in order to preserve the Earth system as a whole.” (And you thought James Hansen and Michael Mann were the only loons collecting big bucks at these institutions of “vital research” and “higher education.”)

This interminable pessimism undoubtedly prompted climate activist Danny Bloom to marry his longtime companion and love of his life: Mother Earth – in a charming ceremony officiated by an online justice of the peace. Perhaps he can consummate his marriage, using one of “the first-ever eco-friendly luxury condoms,” which were developed by two French aristocrats and introduced in the USA just in time for Valentine’s Day 2011. Unlike other condom manufacturers, the Original Condom Company is “extremely eco aware and makes every effort to cover their carbon footprint.”

These attention-getting stunts may not save the planet. But responsible citizens may be able to save the republic, by helping Congress, the White House and their “debt committee” to find a few places where tens of billions are being wasted on excess bureaucrats, bogus research, useless reports and destructive policies.

President Reagan once observed that, if politics is the second oldest profession, it bears a striking resemblance to the first. A corollary might be that, even if the perpetrators are wearing eco-friendly luxury condoms, most citizens don’t like getting screwed by elected officials and unelected bureaucrats.

With Congress home for more fact-finding meetings with constituents, citizens have a perfect opportunity to send a powerful message. Let’s make the most of it.


Back to primitivism and poverty!

That's where the Greenies want us

America's Top Ten Coolest Schools - Sept/Oct 2011 - Sierra Magazine - Sierra Club:

Cattle helped Green Mountain, in Poultney, Vermont, achieve climate neutrality. The school gets upward of half its energy from Central Vermont Cow Power, a utility that harnesses biogas from manure. Above, students learn to drive GMC's oxen for spring plowing. The school's agricultural projects are an experiment in fossil-free farming—instead of tractors, draft animals do much of the work. Score: 81.1

“The pendulum has really swung back to the age of these kids grandparents or great grandparents,” said Avital Binshtock, lifestyle editor of Sierra magazine, which just released its 5th annual Cool Schools rankings identifying the top green campuses.

“They’ve taken up knitting. They want to have chickens in their backyard and learn how to plant a plot of land.” ....

Binshtock, who oversaw the 2011 Cool Schools project ranking 118 campuses for their climate-cooling practices, says research from multiple sources shows that a university’s commitment to sustainability is part of what students consider in selecting a school.


Warmist Dave Roberts admits: Climate hoax legislation is a "liberal undertaking", "almost entirely driven by liberal elites"

Excerpt from Grist:

A big part of the problem is precisely that climate efforts so far have been almost entirely driven by liberal elites. It's been an extremely intellectualized, top-down sort of undertaking, and as we saw with painful clarity during the climate bill fiasco, an elite-driven strategy isn't going to cut it. Part of it is that, as Mooney points out, every online liberal fashions him or herself a precious snowflake. Everyone has their own perfect pony policy solution and disdains all others. A bigger part is simply that the elites devoted to the status quo have far more power, access, and money than elites devoted to change.

So what you need is a renewed left with genuine grassroots muscle, the ability to threaten politicians' reelections, and lots of money to deploy....What are the institutions that create and empower liberals? The only one left is academia [that place where so many climate hoax scientists work], and that's mostly for people like Mooney and I, not for working-class factory laborers, low-wage service employees, or marginalized populations.
...Ultimately climate action is about overturning the status quo and defending the powerless (including future generations) against the depredations of the powerful. It's a liberal undertaking. It relies on the strength of liberalism, in the U.S. and globally, which has proven itself frustratingly weak in recent years, particularly on economic issues (and climate is very much an economic issue). That weakness has many sources and many explanations, but I doubt the propensity of liberal climate policy wonks to squabble plays a leading role.


Goldberg: America's 'green' quagmire

The 'greening' of the country, including the creation of green jobs, has proved unworkable and expensive.

It was a massive flatbed truck, flanked by smaller vehicles brandishing "oversized load" banners, carrying a huge white thing.

I think the first one I saw was in Ohio. But I know that by the time I passed Grand Island, Neb., I'd lost count.

What was it? At first, it looked like it could be a replacement for the Swords of Qādisīyah — that giant crossed blades sculpture in central Baghdad.

And then, the aha: It was a propeller blade for a wind turbine, a really big one. I've seen plenty of wind farms, but I'd never seen the blades being transported for construction. Last week I saw a lot of them.

Why? Because they were on the road, and so was I. My 8-year-old daughter and I were on a summer adventure. We drove more than 2,000 miles from Washington, D.C. to, eventually, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (Don't worry, I did most of the highway driving.)

Something about seeing all those turbine propellers made me think of wartime mobilization, like FDR's ramp-up during the Lend-Lease period or Josef Stalin's decision to send Soviet heavy industry east of the Urals.

The comparison isn't completely daft, either. The notion that we should move to a war footing on energy has been a reigning cliche of U.S. politics ever since Jimmy Carter's Oval Office energy crisis address in 1977. "This difficult effort will be the 'moral equivalent of war' — except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not to destroy."

Ever since, we've been hearing that green must become the new red, white and blue.

It's difficult to catalog all of the problems with this nonsense. For starters, the mission keeps changing. Is the green energy revolution about energy independence? Or is it about fighting global warming? Or is it about jobs?

For most of the last few years the White House and its supporters have been saying it's about all three. But that's never been true. If we want energy independence (and I'm not sure why we would) or if we want to reduce our dependence on Middle Eastern oil (a marginally better proposition, given that Canada and often Mexico supply the U.S. with more oil than Saudi Arabia), we would massively expand our domestic drilling for oil and gas and our use of coal or carbon-free nuclear. That would also create lots of jobs that can't be exported (you can't drill for American oil in China, but we can, and do, buy lots of Chinese-made solar panels).

As for the windfall in green jobs, that has always been a con job.

For instance, Barack Obama came into office insisting that Spain was beating the U.S. in the rush for green jobs. Never mind that in Spain — where unemployment is now at 21% — the green jobs boom has been a bust. One major 2009 study by researchers at King Juan Carlos University found that the country destroyed 2.2 jobs in other industries for every green job it created, and the Spanish government has spent more than half a million euros for each green job created since 2000. Wind industry jobs cost a cool $1 million euros apiece.

The record in America has been no better, Obama's campaign stump speeches notwithstanding. The New York Times, which has been touting the green agenda in its news pages for years, admitted last week that "federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show." Even Obama's former green jobs czar concedes the point, as do other leading Democrats, including Rep. Maxine Waters of Los Angeles.

Perhaps the most pathetic part of the war to green America is how unwarlike it really is. The New York Times also reported that California's "weatherization program was initially delayed for seven months while the federal Department of Labor determined prevailing wage standards for the industry," a direct sop to labor unions. And afterward, the inflated costs made the program too expensive for homeowners.

Green jobs, like shovel-ready jobs, proved a myth in no small part because Obama is eager to talk as if this green stuff was the moral equivalent of war, but he's not willing or able to do things a real war requires.

What we're left with is not the moral equivalent of war but the moral equivalent of a quagmire. A very expensive quagmire.


Obama’s automotive fuel standards must go

Lost in the hysterics regarding America's near plummet off the face of the fiscal earth earlier this month was President Obama's announcement that new automobiles sold in 2025 would have to average 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg). Presently, fuel efficiency averages about 27 mpg. Can it be done? Probably. Should it be done? Probably not.

The reason such a large increase is even possible is because of the truly revolutionary advances in automotive computerization that have occurred since 1980. Energy economist Christopher Knittel reports that had all of those advances been used to increase fuel efficiency (and weight, horsepower, and torque were held at their 1980 levels), fuel efficiency would have been 50% greater in 2006 than in 1980.

Alas, computerization was not primarily used to improve fuel efficiency. It was used to increase — you guessed it — weight (12% for cars and 26% for light trucks) and horsepower (80% for cars and 99% for light trucks), so fuel efficiency improved by only about 15%. Hence, automakers could meet the Obama standard of 35.5 mpg by 2016 by either going back to the 1980 mix of trucks and cars (20% light trucks instead of around 50%) and reducing the weight and horsepower gains since 1980 by 25% ... or by keeping the current mix of cars and trucks and returning to 1980 standards for weight and horsepower.

Automotive fuel efficiency standards have a well-earned spot in most economists' "top-10" list of bad or sub-par regulations.

But how might we get from there to 54.5 mpg by 2025? A mix of continued technological innovation — all devoted to fuel efficiency — and creative accounting ought to do the trick. The new regulations proposed by President Obama are mind-numbingly complex. The least you need to know is that vehicles powered partially or fully with electric batteries, fuel cells, and various alternative fuels give automakers bonus fuel efficiency credits. That is, they are deemed more fuel efficient, for regulatory purposes, than they otherwise are. Sell enough of these and the standards will be reached.

How much might all this cost? Who knows? The administration itself suggests that the new rules would increase average new car purchase prices by up to $2,500, but in truth, they're simply guessing about the price path of technological innovations, many of which have yet to spring from the human brow. The same goes for the administration's claim that these new rules will save the nation $1.7 trillion on gasoline costs through 2025. That's because we haven't the faintest idea what gasoline will cost in the next several months, much less over the next 14 years.

Econometrician James Hamilton's close examination of oil price trends since 1970 finds that oil (and thus, gasoline) prices are extremely volatile — something we all know too well — but exhibit no trend. Instead, price movements are best characterized as "a random walk without drift." Under high price scenarios, the rules might pass a cost-benefit test, but under low price scenarios, they would not.

We can be reasonably sure, however, that the cars of the future will be very different than the cars of the present if these new rules are enforced. That's because the reverse engineering that Knittel describes will almost certainly shock a lot of Americans by seriously degrading on-the-road performance that we all take for granted.

The New York Times, for instance, reports that one of the classic muscle cars of the 1970s — the 1975 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 400 — could go from 0 to 60 in 9.8 seconds. By comparison, the lowly 2005 Toyota Camry XLE V6 can do the same in 8.1 seconds. Likewise, a 1965 Mustang convertible has about the same accelerating power as a lumbering, 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee. A return to the performance standards of the mid-1970s will most certainly not go unnoticed — or welcomed.

So why are we doing this? Even if the administration's cost-benefit analysis is correct, it only passes muster if on-road performance has little or no economic value to you. How does the government know what car buyers value?

Moreover, even if the administration's assumptions about consumer preferences are correct, do we really need the government to make us save money? Why not also ban the sale of all but bulk-purchases of food items and other household purchases? Mandate car pooling a few days a month? If you want to save money on gasoline bills, there are plenty of ways for you to do so right now; no government program is necessary.

What this is really about is a federal attempt to ban the trade-offs that most of us (but not all of us) make when we periodically go into the market for new automobiles. This is rationalized by the claim that consumers will not pay more initially for a car that will save them operating expenses over time because of irrationality or inability to compare a flow of future savings with an initial up-front cost.

But economist Molly Espey found that consumers' willingness to pay for extra fuel economy for 2001 model cars (when fuel prices were still low) equaled or exceeded the present value of lifetime estimated savings. More recently, Antonio Bento and his coauthors concluded that the repeated finding by other economists that consumers will pay much less than a dollar ($0.35 to $0.79) for a dollar's worth of future discounted fuel costs may be the result of mistakes in econometric modeling. When those errors are corrected, the unwillingness of consumers to pay a dollar for a dollar's worth of savings in present value disappears.

Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren are senior fellows at the Cato Institute.
More by Jerry TaylorMore by Peter Van Doren

The fall-back argument for these standards is that gasoline costs impose significant environmental and national security costs on society that aren't reflected in fuel prices. We're skeptical of these arguments, but even if they are correct, the best method of addressing those externalities is to increase the gasoline tax rather than increase fuel economy standards.

There are several reasons for this. First, all drivers should bear their external costs, not just new car buyers in the future. Second, improving fuel efficiency reduces the marginal cost of driving, which will lead to ... more driving. Finally, fuel economy standards are an expensive method of improving fuel economy. It costs three times more to reduce fuel consumption with an increase in the CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards than with a simple gasoline tax.

Automotive fuel efficiency standards have a well-earned spot in most economists' "top-10" list of bad or sub-par regulations. Adding more muscle to those regulations will only move CAFE standards up that list even higher.


Australia: Conservative leader Accused Of "Climate Change Racism"

Today's unhinged climate alarmist moment comes courtesy of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Federal Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has accused Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of having a racist climate change policy.

Mr Abbott has warned that Australian businesses buying carbon permits under an emissions trading scheme could be conned by unscrupulous international traders.

Because there has been absolutely no fraud in the climate change hoax carbon schemes.
The Government plans to introduce its carbon tax legislation to Parliament by the end of September and hopes to have it passed by next year.

Mr Combet described Mr Abbott's position as "economic xenophobia" in an address to the National Press Club.

"It sends the signal that it's somehow dubious to trade with foreigners. It's typical dog-whistle politics, trashing the commitment that's existed for many years on both sides of politics to economic liberalisation and open trade," he said.

"It is in effect a white carbon policy designed to harvest more votes no matter what the cost."

So, even with the idiotic anthropogenic global warming issue, liberals go for their choice attack, raaaaacism. But, then, AGW turned from a scientific issue to a political one about 5 minutes after someone said "hey, I wonder if the output of greenhouse gases by Mankind is affecting the climate?"



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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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