Wednesday, November 30, 2011

UN 'expert': climate change could lead to war

It's a good thing we live in an era of exceptional temperature stability, then. Warming is a prophecy. The facts say otherwise

Attempting to begin the United Nations climate change conference with a stirring call to action, one UN official blasted economic markets principles for asphyxiating "time-honored values of humanity" and suggested that failure to act on global warming fears could damage international human rights and destabilize "peace and security."

Describing the climate change conference as a "make or break moment for humanity," UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity Virginia Dandan said in a statement that failure to produce anti-greenhouse gas emissions policies "would impact on the three pillars of the UN – namely, peace and security, development and human rights, and pin the world down to ground zero.”

Dandan claimed a morally superior position to economic critics of global warming policy. “There is great need for a radical mindset change in order to bring back to the negotiating table the time-honoured values of humanity that have been forgotten after decades of market and profit-driven orientation,” she said.

Her logic might assume that some economic benefit would result from lowering greenhouse gas emissions, however, as Dandan called for conference attendees "to face the challenges posed by climate change such as . . . the continuing and widening poverty gap, and the series of food, energy, economic and financial global crises.”

Recently released emails indicate that scientists stoking the fears about global warming have manipulated the data to justify their political policies. One researcher even noted, in a private message, that “observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.”


How going green goes against the environment

Going green has nasty un-environmental consequences that rank-and-file greenies either don't know or don't care about.

For example, those multi-acre wind farms not only kill millions of birds while delivering a mere fraction of the electricity compared to nearly every other power source but 420 of them in Pennsylvania killed 10,000 bats last year.

Bats, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, eat millions of crop-destroying insects. Fewer bats ("nature's pesticides") mean more bugs, causing farmers to spend more on chemical pesticides, raising food prices for everyone.

Bats also eat millions of mosquitoes, many of which may carry West Nile virus and other diseases deadly to humans.

The result: Everyone loses except Obama's taxpayer-subsidized "green jobs" cronies.

Meanwhile, localities nationwide are banning both paper and plastic bags, forcing grocery shoppers to switch to those reusable cloth bags.

But after all the tradeoffs are considered, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (PDF), reusable bags require far more energy and other resources to manufacture, and consume energy and water to wash them, so they must be used 103 times before yielding environmental benefits over paper or plastic bags (studies show they're typically reused 51 times).

The impact of swapping America's 193,979,654 fossil-fueled Light duty vehicles (cars, pickups, SUVs, etc., per Bureau of Transportation, 2009) for electric cars has so many negative impacts they can't even be touched in this article. Go to instead.

Problems like increased strip mining for the hazardous metals (lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride, lithium ion, etc.) plus processing to make those $8,000 car batteries that only last three years, and the hundreds of recycling plants and hazardous waste dumps to process the throwaways, all of which are energy intensive, are only the beginning.

What is rarely considered elsewhere, however, is explaining where all of the additional electricity required to keep all those car batteries recharged will come from.

It may mean doubling, tripling or quadrupling the nation's electric grid.

The most likely, realistic, way to do that is building hundreds of new coal-fired power generating plants.

City-dwelling green voters will be happy with their cleaner air, unmindful that the pollution has simply been shifted into other people's backyards out in Flyover Country, along with all those additional strip mines and hazardous waste dumps.

Libertarians rightfully insist that all environmental trade-offs be considered. Otherwise it isn't environmentalism, its just politics.


More Smoking Guns From The Global Warming Establishment

A new release of incriminating e-mail exchanges between leading climate scientists that is now being termed “Climategate II” actually represents but another episode in a continuing scandal that has been taking place for decades. This fraud of massive scope and consequence has served as the basis for arguably the greatest regulatory overreach of all time.

It has been used to justify the EPA’s demands that restrict carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas” emissions from stationary sources they attribute to causing climate change. Included are electrical power generation facilities, iron and steel mills, pulp and paper mills, cement production, and the construction industry.

The EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” applied to support these actions was based upon politically-manipulated human-caused climate warming conclusions issued by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that were even at odds with findings of its own internal study on the matter. That EPA report stated “given the downward trend in temperatures since 1998 (which some think will continue until at least 2030), there is no particular reason to rush into decisions based upon a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.”

As if the first round of e-mails purloined from the U.K.’s East Anglia University Climate Research Unit (CRU) network weren’t damning enough, the new batch of about 5,000 more obtained through an anonymous source identified as “FOIA” are truly stunning. Many clearly confirm that top IPCC scientists consciously misrepresented and actively withheld important information…then attempted to prevent discovery. Included are CRU’s Director of Research, Phil Jones, the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) climate’s analysis section head, Kevin Trenberth; and beleaguered Penn State University “hockey stick” originator, Michael Mann.

“If there were any doubts remaining after reading the first Climategate e-mails, the new batch of e-mails that appeared on the web today [November 22] make it clear that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an organized conspiracy dedicated to tricking the world into believing that global warming is a crisis that requires a drastic response,” said Myron Ebell, Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center on Energy and Environment. “Several of the new e-mails show that the scientists involved in doctoring the IPCC reports are very aware that the energy-rationing policies that their junk science is meant to support would cost trillions of dollars.”

Phil Jones, who served as a lead author for one of the key chapters in IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (2007), leaves no doubt of intentions to keep embarrassing and conspiratorial disclosures under tight wraps:
I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working on AR5 would be to delete all e-mails at the end of the process. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Department of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.

In another e-mail Jones admits that the climate models alarmist claims have been built upon can’t be trusted: “Basic problem is that all models are wrong – not got enough middle and low level clouds. …what he [Zwiers] has done comes to a different conclusion than Caspar and Gene! I reckon this can be saved by careful wording.”

Jones certainly isn’t alone in recognizing serious credibility problems posed by continued use of model-based climate forecasts. Regarding the “future of IPCC”, one scientist observes, “It is inconceivable that policymakers will be willing to make billion-and trillion-dollar decisions for adaptation to the projected regional climate change based on models that do not even describe and simulate the processes that are the building blocks of climate variability.” Another admits: “…clearly, some tuning or very good luck [is] involved. I doubt the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer.” Tom Wigley of the NCAR complained in still another exchange: “Mike, the Figure you sent is very deceptive … there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC …”

After NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth found he couldn’t defend his correlation between global warming and extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes based upon Northern Hemisphere records, he instead advocated shifting IPCC report references to Japan events: “… opposing some things said by people like Chris Landsea who has said all the stuff going on is natural variability. In addition to the 4 hurricanes hitting Florida, there has been a record number hit Japan 10?? and I saw a report saying Japanese scientists had linked this to global warming … I am leaning toward the idea of getting a box on changes in hurricanes, perhaps written by a Japanese.” Phil Jones agreed, writing, “We can put a note in that something will be there in the next draft, or Kevin or I will write something – it depends on whether and what we get from Japan.”

Jones was anxious to get the warming-hurricane connection into the scientific literature. He wrote in another e-mail to Trenberth: “Kevin, Seems that this potential Nature [journal] paper may be worth citing, if it does say that GW [global warming] is having an effect on TC [tropical cyclone] activity.” And in another communication Jones wanted to make sure that people who supported this connection be represented in IPCC reviews. “Getting people we know and trust [into IPCC] is vital – hence my comment about the tornadoes group.”

Several exchanges reveal that certain researchers believed well-intentioned ideology trumped objective science. Jonathan Overpeck, a coordinating lead IPCC report author, stated: “The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.”

Referring to his alarmist blog site, Michael Mann was obviously motivated to get his message out. He wrote: “… the important thing is to make sure they’re [the skeptics are] lo[o]sing the PR battle. That’s what the site [] is about.”

Some scientists candidly criticized Mann’s research competency and objectivity. John Mitchell of the U.K. Hadley Center’s Met Office rhetorically asked:
Is the PCA [principal components analysis] approach robust? Are the results statistically significant? It seems to me that in the case of MBH [one of the key hockey stick articles authored by Mann, Raymond S. Bradley, and Malcolm K. Hughes] the answer in each is no.

Even Raymond Bradley, Mann’s co-author for his most infamous hockey stick paper, took issue with another article jointly published by Mann and Jones, stating: “I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL [Geophysical Research Letters] paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction.” Rutgers University scientist G.H. Cook commented, “I am afraid that Mike [Mann] is defending something that increasingly can not be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.”

And just how important are real facts? Tom Crowley, a key member of Mann’s global warming hockey team, didn’t seem overly concerned when he stated: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.” However another researcher saw a problem with this reasoning: “What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably…”

Writing to Jones, Peter Thorne of the U.K. Met Office also advised caution, saying: “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary…” In another e-mail he stated: “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.”

Yes, and that political spin has already been exceedingly costly. The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) reports that federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010 (a total $106.7 billion over that period). This doesn’t include $79 billion more spent for climate change technology research, tax breaks for “green energy”, foreign aid to help other countries address “climate problems”; another $16.1 billion since 1993 in federal revenue losses due to green energy subsidies; or still another $26 billion earmarked for climate change programs and related activities in the 2009 “Stimulus Bill”.

Virtually all of this is based upon unfounded representations that we are experiencing a known human-caused climate crisis, a claim based upon speculative theories, contrived data and totally unproven modeling predictions. And what redemptive solutions are urgently implored? We must give lots of money to the U.N. to redistribute; abandon fossil fuel use in favor of heavily subsidized but assuredly abundant, “free”, and “renewable” alternatives; and empower expanding government bureaucracies to protect us from free market excesses.

During an interview with Thalia Assuras of Energy Now News last week, EPA chief Lisa Jackson was asked about the agency’s regulatory boom and the resulting mass retirements of coal-fired plants which provide the majority share of all U.S. electricity. First she correctly denied that the EPA requires shutting down any plants. Of course, she’s right…EPA only writes rules so stringent that they are no longer economic to operate.

Then Jackson went on to explain:
No, I can’t say what a business will decide to do. Some businesses are investing in nuclear, some are looking at natural gas. There are some states that are leading the way on solar and wind…What EPA’s role is to do is to level the playing field so that pollution costs are not exported to the population but rather companies have to look at the pollution potential of any fuel or any process or any plant or any utility when they’re making investment decisions.

So let’s be really sure we understand. The EPA’s latest new role is to “level the playing field”? And by “pollution”, we’re referring here to CO2…the basic nutrient all plants (and thereby all animals) depend upon to live?

Might it be way past time to tromp large carbon footprints on some deserving bureaucrat butts?


Watching The Wheels Come Off The Green Machine

The body count continues to rise as the Green Jobs Revolution sputters its way to the end of a disastrous 2011. Few seemed to notice last week when the electric vehicle maker A123 Systems—poster child for successful clean tech investing—“temporarily” laid off 125 workers at its flagship manufacturing plants in Michigan on the eve of the Thanksgiving media break. It also reduced its earnings guidance for 2011 by $45 million, because its anchor customer, Fisker Automotive, “unexpectedly” delayed the production ramp-up for its Karma luxury electric car—again.

Could these be the same plants that Democratic congressional leaders hailed as the birth of a new era in American manufacturing? The same plants that received a $249 million U.S. Department of Energy grant from the same stimulus money bucket that funded Solyndra? The same plants for which Michigan shelled out $125 million in incentives to lure away from Massachusetts?

Environmentally correct planners put all this public money to work to relieve the technology bottleneck they believed held back our transition to electric cars. So they invested my money and yours into building the largest lithium ion automotive battery plant in North America—to supply a Finnish electric car manufacturer backed by Al Gore’s venture capital fund and which received $529 million in federal loan guarantees. That Finnish manufacturer was supposed to begin production in 2009, but to date has only shipped 40 cars into the U.S. Those cars were delivered to a handful of millionaires and billionaires like Leonardo DeCaprio and Ray Lane who received tax credits because they bought an electric car.

You can’t make this stuff up. Unless you are a central planner; then you can make up anything you want and get away with it as long as taxpayers keep writing checks, politicians keep spinning tales, and pundits keep giving them intellectual cover.

The coming glut of automotive lithium ion batteries will make for quite a fire sale. Forecasts made as recently as three months ago predicted that electric cars would become the leading application for lithium ion batteries by 2015, surpassing laptop PCs and other handheld devices. Who are they kidding? How many portable electronic devices do you own? How many electric cars have you ever even seen? By any rational standard the introduction of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, with fewer than 2,000 units sold between them last month, can only be described as disasters.

Investors who piled into the car battery market attracted by the flow of federal largesse had better put on their crash helmets. It’s going to get ugly when the reverse multiplier effect leverages hundreds of millions of public money into billions in private losses.

Watch this space for the post mortem when A123 is forced to declare bankruptcy just in time for the 2012 presidential election. Of course, this won’t happen until after the company blows through its next $134 million in scheduled DOE grants. Investigations to follow.

What is it that green planners don’t understand about the complexities of re-engineering an entire ecosystem? Do they think they’ll get an A for effort if they get a few pieces of the supply chain to work just as the rest come crashing down around them? Do they believe they can simply mothball the A123 plant while someone else figures out how to design and build an electric car that customers actually want?

Or maybe they believe all these problems can be fixed by forcing consumers to buy electric cars. After all, if we can be forced to buy health insurance, why not electric cars?

As silly as that sounds, this seems to be EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s plan. She recently overruled Congress by issuing regulations calling for America’s fleet of passenger vehicles to meet an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Overruled Congress? Yes, by declaring carbon dioxide—the stuff you and I breathe out and plants breath in—a pollutant, the EPA seeks to trump Congress’s 2007 CAFE legislation by twisting the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act beyond all recognition, thereby granting itself authority to enact fuel economy standards where none exists. Meanwhile, it dares a dysfunctional Congress to halt this unconstitutional power grab.

The EPA estimates that compliance with the new rules will cost Americans “only” $157 billion. Estimates weren’t provided for the additional highway deaths that would ensue when vehicle weights have to be reduced to meet the standard. But why should lives and money matter when green ideology is at stake?

One of the key tenets of activist government is that the failures of central planning can always be solved with more central planning, just as failed spending programs can be fixed with more spending. All it takes is the will to reallocate resources from the private sector to the state, along with the courage to forge ahead no matter how many failures pile up. President Obama has made this approach the centerpiece of his “We Can’t Wait” campaign, issuing a stream of executive orders to demonstrate his leadership abilities.

Leadership, indeed. But to where?


‘Prepare To Have That Puddle in Your Back Yard Regulated’

Just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used the Clean Air Act to broaden the scope of their authority way beyond its original intention with rules like MACT and CSAPR, the Clean Water Act is becoming a tool of overreach by the out of control agency.

Barack Obama and the EPA’s Lisa Jackson have made it clear through their actions that they will circumvent the legislature by using regulatory enforcement to enact Obama’s green dreams, and now it seems that circumvention includes the Supreme Court of the United States.

During the Bush presidency, a series of Supreme Court decisions acknowledged the limits of reach for the Clean Water Act. Most notably, the Supreme Court clarified that federal jurisdiction did not extend to wetlands and other “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Through the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook Country v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2001) and Raponos v. U.S. (2006) the Supreme Court established that private property rights still mattered even in light of the Clean Water Act and that the federal government did not have authority over them.

This of course isn’t stopping Barack Obama and Lisa Jackson from moving forward anyway.

It’s important to remember the original purpose of the Clean Water Act (1972). It gives the federal government and the EPA the authority to regulate “navigable waterways.” In other words, not a ditch out front with a lot of water in it and certainly not acres upon acres of private or state owned wetlands. Yet, regulating these types of waters is precisely what the EPA is in the midst of doing.

The Army Corps (pronounced core) of Engineers and the EPA are in the process of finalizing “Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act,” which is a fancy way of saying “we’re going to go out and change the definition of certain bodies of water so that we can pretend they fall within the Supreme Court’s definitions.”

The Barrasso-Heller Amendment, introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), was created to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA from incorporating those Obama changes into the regulatory guidelines, which serves the purpose of distinguishing precisely what the Supreme Court had already covered when it established the clear limitations of the Act.


Australia: Growling grass frog cost $2.6 billion

A SMALL green frog could stop up to 66,000 houses being built and prevent $2.6 billion in development. A draft report on saving the growling grass frog has recommended the State Government declare 4400ha of the city's growth corridor off limits for developers.

Landowners say properties have been made worthless and question whether the frog is endangered.

The draft report calls for 200m no-go zones beside waterways in Melbourne's growth zones where the frogs are found.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said he sympathised with developers, blaming an environmental agreement between the previous government and Canberra, which was adding thousands of dollars to the price of housing blocks.

"I don't know if it is endangered," he said. "All I know is it is a frog that is worth a lot of money in terms of land lots and is holding up a huge amount in our growth corridors and I question the arbitrary nature of some of the distances imposed by the Federal Government."

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said arrangements with the Victorian Government meant developments on Melbourne's fringe no longer needed individual assessments. "If the Victorian Government wishes to throw out the strategic assessment then we can go back to individual project assessments," he said. "This will increase the time it takes for approvals which will drive up the cost of housing."

Urban Development Institute of Australia chief executive Tony De Domenico said the frogs would drive the price of house blocks up by $5000 in some areas.

"We've been frustrated by growling grass frogs, bandicoots, legless lizards, mouthless moths, and the golden sun moth in particular," he said. "Some of these so-called endangered species are so endemic they are found everywhere."



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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