Monday, October 29, 2012
Push for climate consensus counter-productive
Atmospheric scientist Judith Curry and her colleagues have just had a paper accepted for publication which takes a look at claims of consensus about climate. The conclusions are below:
The climate community has worked for more than 20 years to establish a scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. The IPCC consensus building process arguably played a useful role in the early synthesis of the scientific knowledge and in building political will to act.
We have presented perspectives from multiple disciplines that support the inference that the scientific consensus seeking process used by the IPCC has had the unintended consequence of introducing biases into the both the science and related decision making processes.
The IPCC scientific consensus has become convoluted with consensus decision making through a ‘speaking consensus to power’ approach.
The growing implications of the messy wickedness of the climate change problem are becoming increasingly apparent, highlighting the inadequacies of the ‘consensus to power’ approach for decision making on the complex issues associated with climate change.
Further, research from the field of science and technology studies are finding that manufacturing a consensus in the context of the IPCC has acted to hyper-politicize the scientific and policy debates, to the detriment of both.
Arguments are increasingly being made to abandon the scientific consensus seeking approach in favor of open debate of the arguments themselves and discussion of a broad range of policy options that stimulate local and regional solutions to the multifaceted and interrelated issues of climate change, land use, resource management, cost effective clean energy solutions, and developing technologies to expand energy access efficiently.
United Nation’s Climate Summary Elevates Political Activism Over Scientific Findings
It's a parody of science
In 2014, the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will release its “fifth assessment” report on the influence human activity has on the environment. A “multi-stage review” of early draft versions is already underway, according to a U.N. news site. In the first stage, “scientific experts” review the draft, then “government experts get their shot. This all culminates with a “final round of government” comments in the “Summary for Policymakers.” This is important because the Summary will be released to the news media in September of next year before anyone actually sees the final full version of the fifth assessment.
Richard Lindzen, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been sharply critical of this approach because it essentially means the U.N. is issuing a conclusion before producing the actual evidence for this conclusion. Lindzen specialized in the study of clouds and water vapor for the IPCC’s third assessment report released in 2001.
The Summary, which is typically about 20 pages long, is mostly the work of political operatives, not scientists, Lindzen has said. Moreover, the rules are such that changes and modifications can be made to the body of the report to bring in line with what government officials want in the Summary, Lindzen has explained.
“If you were doing this with a business report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be down your throat,” he has said.
Harvard University physicist Lubos Motl is just as blunt.
“These people are openly declaring that they are going to commit scientific misconduct that will be paid for by the United Nations,” Motl has written on his blog. “If they find an error in the Summary, they won’t fix it, instead they will adjust the technical report so it looks consistent.”
Another key player here exposing the perfidy behind the U.N.’s IPCC is Donna Lafamboise, an investigative journalist based in Ontario, Canada. She has just written a book entitled: “The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World’s Top Climate Expert.” After probing into the IPCC over a two year period, she found that many of the lead authors were not well-credentialed scientists and that some were closely linked with environmental pressure groups.
During a recent forum hosted by the Friends of Science in Calgary, Canada, she presented photos on screen of lead authors, who were under 30, and lacking in scientific and academic credentials.
There is Richard Klein, for example, a Greenpeace activist, who was 23 when he finished his MA in geography. Two years later, he was tapped to be a lead author for the IPCC. There is also Sari Kovats, who in 1994, was selected to work on the first IPCC chapter. But she didn’t earn her Ph.D. until 16 years after she was selected a named as one of top environmental experts by the U.N.
As part of her investigation, Laframboise also performed an audit to see if the IPCC actually relies on peer-reviewed research as its top officials have claimed. She concluded that 21 out of 44 chapters in the 2007 report drew from less than 60 percent of material that was peer reviewed.
In her book, LaFramboise also makes note of conflicts that comprise the objectivity of the IPCC. For example, Jennifer Morgan, a lead spokesperson for the World Wildlife Fund, helped craft a portion of the IPCC reports back in 2010. In fact, two-thirds of the the fourth assessment includes at least one scientist connected with the WWF, according to the book.
Meanwhile, the run-up to the fifth assessment, actual scientific findings continue to debunk the idea the human activity is responsible for catastrophic man-made global warming. A new scientific study published in the journal “Climate of the Past” concludes that the Earth was much warmer 1,000 years ago, and that warming cycle for the late 20th Century was not unprecedented.
Hurricane Sandy's Message to America
By Alan Caruba
When Mother Nature demonstrates her extraordinary power, I always hope that people will draw a lesson from it, but they never seem to. Hurricane Sandy is just the latest example of the futility and foolishness of thinking that humans can do anything about a hurricane or similar demonstration of who is really in charge. It is the planet. Not us.
This suspension of common sense is worsened when our President goes on television, as he did last Friday on MTV, to say “I believe the scientists, who say that we are putting too much carbon emissions into the atmosphere, and it is heating the planet and it is going to have a severe effect.” This is literally junk science, long since debunked by legions of scientists who know that carbon dioxide has nothing to do with the Earth’s temperature. The planet has been in a cooling cycle since 1998.
I keep hoping, too, that lacking the vital lifeblood of our nation--electricity—millions of people sitting around in the dark will ask themselves where it comes from, what generates it, how does it get to their home, and perhaps even why its cost keeps increasing even though the U.S. sits atop enough coal and natural gas to provide affordable power for two hundred years at current consumption rates.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in March of this year electricity from coal has fallen from 50% production to less than 40% by the end of 2011. Other sources include natural gas at 26%, nuclear at 22%, hydroelectric at 7% and “other” was said to be 6%. It should be noted that oil is a transportation fuel and not used to generate electricity. I believe that the amount that solar and wind produces is more likely closer to three percent. It is unreliable and uncompetitive and requires a traditional plant as backup when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun is obscured by clouds and, of course, at night.
Not surprisingly, the environmental organizations such as Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club are already beating the drums about “climate change”, asserting “unpredictable, extreme weather.” The planet is always in a state of climate change if for no other reason that it is subject to the seasons. Blaming extreme weather on “climate change” is just a code for keeping the “global warming” hoax alive. The only reason President Obama talks about climate change is his hope that a carbon tax can be imposed to raise more money for the government to waste.
Electricity is not magic. Some form of energy must be burned to generate it and then it must be transmitted by a huge, very old grid to consumers.
In January of this year, The North American Electric Reliability Corporation warned that the reliability of the grid was in jeopardy. Thanks to the Obama administration’s (i.e. EPA) relentless attack on coal, the NERC noted that beyond the 38 gigawatts of electricity capacity that has already been announced to retire, it estimated that another 35 to 59 gigawatts will come off-line by 2018 depending on the “scope and timing” of EPA regulations. If you think the downed lines that Hurricane Sandy will produce are a problem, consider a future in which the electricity they are supposed to distribute will be significantly reduced.
What most Americans don’t know is that coal is the fuel of choice to generate electricity in many other nations of the world. Just five years ago it produced fifty percent of our electricity, but today it is less than forty percent, the lowest share since data began to be collected in 1949. For example, China’s coal consumption grew 9.7% between 2010 and 2011. Last year China consumed 49% of the world’s coal supply. India’s coal consumption increased 9.2%
While the President blathers on MTV about CO2 emissions, my friend Dr. Jay Lehr, the Science Director of The Heartland Institute, dispatches that nonsense noting that “A simple volcanic eruption will cancel a decade of effort” to reduce emissions.
“Today,” says Dr. Lehr, “it is our government that is attempting to thwart our energy independence by blocking nearly every effort to develop our resources through completely unreasonable restrictions placed on us by the EPA and the Department of the Interior, and horrible policies of the Department of Energy which choose to throw unconscionable sums of money at renewable energy projects…”
Ultimately, while millions of Americans light candles in the dark or hope their flashlight batteries hold out, we have to ask WHY the Obama administration has waged a war on the provision of electricity.
This is a deliberate policy to weaken the nation’s capacity to function at every level and yet we are days away from an election where millions of Americans will vote to reelect Obama and send his Democratic Party minions to Congress.
It is in line with the Obama administration’s deliberate policy of reducing our military capacity on land, sea and air.
The only silver lining in the distress and disruption of Hurricane Sandy may be the awakening of voters to the critical need for more, not less, production of electricity, for improvements to the national grid, for more oil production for our transportation needs, and concurrent with this, the hundreds of thousands of jobs that such efforts would produce and billions it would generate to begin to reduce the national debt, now in excess of $16 trillion.
Long ago, the cartoon character, Pogo, famously said, “We have met the enemy and it is us.”
The enemy, I would suggest, is President Barack Hussein Obama, his many shadowy, unaccountable “czars” influencing energy policies, his Cabinet Secretaries of Energy and the Interior, and the rogue Environmental Protection Agency that is set to unleash regulations that will destroy the economy, aided and abetted by the nation’s environmental organizations.
That’s Hurricane Sandy’s message to America.
Election Campaigns Prove Global Warming Crisis Skeptics Won The Climate Debate
Evidenced by public cooling towards global warming peril as a hot campaign issue, it is apparent that the Democrat party has been encountering a political climate change. The subject obviously hasn’t been viewed as a winning issue, nor has the anti-carbon “alternative energy” rationale supported by that contrived hysteria.
Nope, you’d hardly know from the presidential and V.P. debates that, as the 2012 Democrat party platform warns: “We know that climate change is one of the biggest threats of this generation…an economic, environmental, and national security catastrophe in the making.” In fact, it mentions global warming 18 times, stating that: “We affirm the science of climate change, commit to significantly reducing the pollution [carbon dioxide plant food] that causes climate change, and know we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies [i.e., plug-in cars] that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits [to favored fund-raisers and companies]. President Obama has been a leader on this issue.”
Could it be that the Democrats believe that, like defeating terrorism, their climate battle has already been won? After all, remember Barack Obama’s victory speech on the night he won the 2008 Democrat presidential primary when he said “[T]his was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal”? Well he does deserve some credit on quelling the ocean terror. Under his watch, they apparently haven’t risen at all. However, the rising debt does have the economy under water.
And just like the oceans, the climate and greenhouse pollution concerns that Dems emphasized in their platform never rose to gain much attention on their 2012 DNC podium in Charlotte either. Unlike 2008, when Al Gore blew onto the stage like a man-caused hurricane, he was nowhere in sight. Nor were the authors of their failed cap-and-trade bill, Henry Waxman or Ed Markey. The only mentions of these “threats” were voiced in a reference to “increasing climate volatility” in an obscure speech by Advanced Energy Economy co-founder Tom Steyer, a passing comment about “reducing greenhouse gases” in Bill Clinton’s address , and John Kerry’s statement that “an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the country.”
Even Senator Kerry seems finally to have gotten the message that that “less is more” now applies to this tiresome topic. Frustrated over what he called “the flat-Earth caucus” of global warming skeptics, he recently said: “Even amid the ‘Tuesday Group’…a bi-partisan block of lawmakers, mostly Democrats, who are interested in energy issues… you can’t talk about climate now. People just turn off. It’s extraordinary. Only for national security and jobs will they open their minds.”
You gotta feel his pain. He and Independent Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman had worked hard to push a global climate crisis-premised 2010 carbon cap-and-trade bill, only to see its prospects for passage swept away in a Republican House cleaning. Kerry then charged that opponents to the legislation “made up their own science. They made up their own arguments. The Republicans created this idea of [carbon credit] trading because it avoided command and control by the Federal Government. Then they just decided to pick up and brand this a negative.”
He might very well be right about that negative branding, and not just only by Republicans. Egregious ClimateGate and related U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scandals have prompted many to rethink which side of the climate/energy issue “has made up their own science and arguments”.
An August 2011 Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American adults showed that 69% said it is at least “somewhat likely” that some scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who said this is “very likely”. (The number who said it’s likely is up 10 points since December 2009.) And while Republicans and adults not affiliated with either major political party felt stronger than Democrats that some scientists have falsified data to support their global warming theories, 51% of the Democrats also agreed.
This skeptical trend is likely to continue. While no sane scientists doubt that climate changes, or that our planet has been warming, at least from the time the last Ice Age and much more recent “Little Ice Age” ended, there’s no evidence that alarm-premised economy-ravaging carbon regulation schemes are warranted. Despite elevated atmospheric CO2 levels, there actually hasn’t been any significant warming over more than one and one-half decades. Records show that global temperatures have been up and down since 1997, but are now at the same place they were at the beginning of that year.
So does this mean that they won’t rise again? No, as generally recognized, climate changes are measured in multi-decadal timescales. Yet this routine standard didn’t inhibit Al Gore his acolytes from declaring that a previous warm period following 40 years of flat temperatures that lasted from 1980 to 1996 signaled a man-made disaster.
Perhaps there is actually little mystery as to why climate concern hasn’t been featured by Dems as a debating point. It might just be because they recognize that lots of voters are weary of witnessing many billions of tax dollars squandered on phony climate alarm-premised green subsidy fiascoes and empty promises of energy security and employment benefits.
In January 2009, President Obama pledged: “We will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced—jobs building solar panels and wind turbines.” Then, undeterred by dismal experiences here and abroad, he renewed a commitment to “double down” on this agenda in his 2012 State of the Union speech. So just how well is that approach working so far?
Well, about 20 of those government-backed energy companies have run into financial trouble, ranging from layoffs to bankruptcies. Seventy-one percent of those Energy Department green energy grants and loans have gone to projects involving major presidential campaign money bundlers including members of his National Finance Committee, or those who contributed to the Democratic Party… donors who raised $457,000, then received taxpayer-supplied project grants or loans totaling nearly $11.35 billion.
In fact, a report issued by the Government Accountability Office, the investigatory arm of Congress, raised concerns last year about favoritism in awarding some stimulus loan guarantees. The Energy Department’s own inspector general admitted to Congress that there might be reasons for such suspicion— that some contracts may have been steered to “friends and family.” Accordingly, the Energy Department’s inspector general is launching more than 100 criminal investigations into its own green energy program awards.
Maybe it has been a smart idea for the Democrats to go a bit light on the president’s record on climate and energy achievements after all, and concentrate their message on really critical matters…like switching from subsidies for green energy to subsidies for Sesame Street and contraceptives for female law students. And hey, why not let the planet heal itself just as it always has, even before Obama took charge?
In any case, one thing appears very clear. According to the presidential campaign priorities they emphasized, Democrats no longer seem to believe that global warming is an urgent subject warranting debate.
A disaster that science brought upon itself
The jailing of scientists for failing to predict an earthquake is the sad conclusion to the scientific community’s depiction of itself as soothsayer
The jailing of six Italian scientists and a government official for failing to predict an earthquake has caused uproar in the scientific community. The men were convicted of manslaughter on the basis that they failed to give an adequate risk assessment of the 2009 earthquake in the central Italian city of L’Aquila, which killed 300 people. Outraged by the court’s verdict, the CEO of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science wrote to the president of Italy to tell him ‘there is no accepted scientific method for earthquake prediction that can be reliably used to inform citizens of an impending disaster’. The verdict is ‘perverse’ and ‘ludicrous’, says the science journal Nature.
That’s true - the verdict is perverse. It has a strong whiff of the Middle Ages about it, except instead of dunking witches for bringing about a harsh winter and destroying crops, we lock up scientists for failing to foresee a fatal earthquake. But at the same time, isn’t the verdict also the tragically logical conclusion to the scientific community’s feverish adoption in recent years of the role of soothsayer, predictor of the world’s end and proponent of solutions for how to prevent it? Over the past decade, leading scientists have repositioned themselves as modern-day diviners, particularly in the climate-change debate, where they insist that not only can they tell us what the world will look like in 50 years’ time, but also what minute changes all of us must make now if we want that future world to be different. And their predictions are treated as unchallengeable credos, as all those awkward, anti-green question-askers who have been branded ‘deniers’ will know.
In such a climate, is it really surprising that scientists who fail to predict a natural disaster, who do not fulfil the role of saviour of mankind that the science community has carved out for itself, can be demonised? If scientists play God, it’s also possible for them to be treated as the Devil.
Of course, outrage about the verdict is justified. These men should never have been arrested, never mind jailed. The trial effectively criminalised uncertainty, with the prosecution arguing that the men’s information about the earthquake was ‘generic and ineffective’ and ‘incomplete, imprecise and contradictory’. The crux of the case was that 29 of those who died in the quake had intended to leave L’Aquila, following a series of small tremors, but they were persuaded to stay by a statement given by the government official who has been jailed, Bernardo De Bernardinis. He said during the tremors period, ‘The scientific community tells me there is no danger because there is an ongoing discharge of energy’. This was incorrect - the scientists had actually told De Bernardinis that the tremors pointed to an increased risk of a quake but it was impossible to be precise about where or when such a quake might strike. This was clearly an instance of bad communication between officials and scientists, and between officials and the public, and it’s highly unfortunate that, in L’Aquila’s attempts to find someone or something to hold responsible for the devastating quake, it has all been dragged before a court and held up as something fatally sinister.
Fundamentally, the criminalisation of people for failing to predict an earthquake, and potentially lessen its impact, speaks to Western society’s discomfort with the idea of accidents or disasters, with the the idea that some things just happen and no one is responsible. Ours is an era in which we find it very hard to accept that some events have no logic behind them. And so we continually go on Medieval hunts for a malevolent force or person who might be blamed for various terrible things that occur.
Whether it’s quakes in Italy, flooding in England or tsunamis in Asia, there’s a blame game after every natural disaster. Religious believers blame sinful mankind, claiming he brought God’s violent or watery judgement upon us; environmentalists blame polluting mankind, arguing that our temerity to be industrious has upset ‘Gaia’s balance’; others blame government officials, accusing them of failing to safeguard every aspect of society from the whims of nature. In each case, the impulse to blame is a backward, pre-modern one, fuelled by a belief that some sentient, probably wicked force either caused a natural disaster or exacerbated its effects. It is not unlike when, between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, eccentric old women were branded witches and held responsible for, as one author describes it, ‘[bringing about] years of extreme hardship, in particular the type of misery related to extreme climatic events’ (1). Today, too, we seek out individuals or institutions we can blame for extreme events.
Indeed, it is worth comparing Italian officials’ response to the L’Aquila quake with the response of Enlightened thinkers to the Great Lisbon Earthquake of November 1755. That quake, which killed up to 100,000 people, became a key reference point for Enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Kant. They wrote about and argued over it for years. Kant in particular challenged the idea, then a given, that quakes such as this were acts of divine providence, punishment from on high for mankind’s errors. That simply didn’t make sense in relation to Lisbon, a devout Catholic city, in which virtually every church was toppled but the notorious red-light district was left standing. Kant posited that earthquakes ‘are not supernatural events’ but rather are natural disasters, over which we have no control (2). This was a radical, and radically reasoned, reading of natural events, which challenged the idea that mankind was at the mercy of some external, watching force. Where the Lisbon quake generated heated Enlightened debate, the L’Aquila quake gave rise to a rush to apportion blame - signalling what a crisis of Enlightened thought there is today in comparison with 250 years ago.
But even as we condemn the Italian court for jailing these scientists, and Western society for failing to accept that sometimes disasters just happen, we should also ask whether the scientific community itself bears some responsibility for how these men have been treated. Because today, scientists are at the forefront of depicting natural events as being easily blameable on the behaviour of human beings. Through its fulsome and ceaseless promotion of the climate-change agenda, the global scientific community (as it has fashioned itself) continually makes a simplistic causal link between what men do now and what will befall the planet in the future - just as a link was made between the behaviour of those Italian scientists and the quake deaths that followed.
Also, the scientific community is forever depicting itself as soothsayer, as an almost all-knowing force, whose predictions of future calamity must not be challenged. When radical green activists march behind banners declaring ‘We are armed with peer-reviewed science’, and critics of the environmentalist agenda are slammed for being ‘anti-science’, you can clearly see that science has become a kind of unquestionable gospel of the future, a respectable version of what Nostradamus used to do. It isn’t only that court in L’Aquila that demonises uncertainty, lambasting those seven men for saying things that were ‘incomplete, imprecise, contradictory’; through the phrase ‘the debate is over’, the scientific community does the same thing in relation to climate change, frequently slamming those who seek to inject some healthy uncertainty about the future into proceedings.
Today it is those who pose as pro-science who are most likely to treat natural events as being caused by individuals’ behaviour, and who are most likely to argue that catastrophes can be predicted and potentially offset through a secular form of eco-penance. They even claim that earthquakes are caused by climate change, as evidenced in recent headlines such as ‘Climate change will shake the earth’. They would probably have blamed the Lisbon quake on consumerism, just as religious folk blamed it on sin. In such an increasingly unhinged, pre-Enlightened climate, is it so shocking that scientists who fail at being seers can be ruthlessly punished?
Perverse environmentalist oil sands ethics
The duplicity and hypocrisy of environmental pressure groups seem to be matched only by their consummate skill at manipulating public opinion, amassing political power, securing taxpayer-funded government grants, and persuading people to send them money and invest in “ethical” stock funds.
In the annals of “green” campaigns, those against biotechnology, DDT and Alar are especially prominent. To those we should now add the well-orchestrated campaigns against Canadian oil sands and the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Oil has been seeping out of Northern Alberta soils and river banks for millennia. Native Americans used the bitumen to waterproof canoes, early explorers smelled and wrote about it, and “entrepreneurs” used it in “mineral waters” and “medicinal elixirs.”
Today, increasingly high-tech operations are extracting the precious hydrocarbons to fuel modern living standards in Canada and the United States. Enormous excavator/loading shovels and trucks used in open pits during the early years are giving way to drilling rigs, steam injection, electric heaters, pipes and other technologies to penetrate, liquefy and extract the petroleum.
The new techniques impact far less land surface, use and recycle brackish water, and emit fewer air pollutants and (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide every year. Water use for Alberta oil extraction is a tiny fraction of what’s needed to grow corn and convert it into ethanol that gets a third less mileage per gallon than gasoline. Affected lands are returned to forest and native grasslands at a surprising pace. And the operations are removing oil that would otherwise end up in local air and water.
Instead of requiring perpetual subsidies, á la the “renewable” technologies that President Obama intends to redouble if he is reelected, the oil sands generate vast sums in royalties and taxes: an anticipated $690 billion into federal and provincial coffers all across Canada over the life of the project. That’s on top of tens of thousands of jobs of every description, including nearly 2,000 Native Canadians (Aboriginals), whose communities have enjoyed soaring living standards since the operations were launched. In fact, the oil sands project will ultimately generate 11,219,000 person-years of high-paying employment from Alberta to British Columbia, Ontario and the Maritime Provinces, say government sources.
This North American oil is displacing millions of barrels of annual US oil imports from some of the least savory countries on Earth, while adding billions of barrels a year to planetary petroleum production, and thereby keeping world oil prices lower than they would otherwise be.
These are huge benefits. The oil sands project is hardly perfect. It causes environmental impacts, just as all human enterprises do, especially those that provide energy. Indeed, even fantasy fuel projects – wind, solar and biofuel boondoggles that provide comparatively minuscule amounts of energy, but require billions in taxpayer subsidies – have enormous ecological impacts.Here’s the most important point:
Canada’s oil sands (and the Keystone Pipeline that will bring their petroleum to the United States) must be evaluated on environmental and ethical grounds that compare them to real world alternatives to them – not to some utopian energy resource that exists only in the minds of idealists, ideologues and special interest environmental pressure groups.
These critics viciously attack Alberta and the oil sands industry – accusing them of “blood oil,” environmental devastation and unethical practices. In reality, oil sands petroleum is among the most ethical and ecological on Earth, especially when compared to real-world alternatives like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Sudan, Russia, Ecuador and Venezuela, whose human rights violations, terrorism sponsorship and reckless environmental records are legendary. And yet oil sands critics give them a free pass, while heaping opprobrium on Canada.
Whole Foods says oil sands fuel “does not fit our values.” Perhaps the grocer and its “ethical” colleagues prefer values espoused in alternative oil-supplying nations on rights of women, children, gays and foreign housekeepers; stoning, lashing and lopping off hands and heads; treatment of civilians during wars in Chechnya and Darfur; massacres and environmental degradation in the Nigerian delta region; rigged elections and Swiss bank accounts for oil proceeds; or treatment of aboriginals, minorities and Christians.
Perhaps Whole Foods, Sierra Club, NRDC, Obama’s EPA and allied critics prefer to look toward China, which provides 95% of the rare earth metals that are essential for wind turbines and solar panels. Those operations have brought unprecedented air and water pollution, cropland and wildlife habitat wastelands, widespread radiation contamination, and cancer and lung disease in workers and local residents.
28% of Canadian oil industry jobs held by women is “not enough,” intones Kairos, a left-leaning coalition of churches. Compared to what? Women’s jobs in Saudi Arabia or Iran? The 3.5 million more American women who have ended up on poverty rolls since President Obama took office?
Some 1,600 ducks died after landing in an oil sands waste pit several years ago. A repeat of this isolated incident is increasingly unlikely as open pit mining and oil-water separation pits are replaced by in situ drilling and steam. Nevertheless, using analytical methods that only IPCC climate alarmists would appreciate, the “respected” Pembina Institute conjured up the fantastical “calculation” that “more than 160 million birds would die from oil sands development” over the coming decades.
The claim is not merely wild fear-mongering. It ignores the growing impact of wind turbines on raptors, and attempts by industrial wind developers to get US Fish & Wildlife Service “programmatic take” permits: 007 Licenses to Kill thousands of eagles, hawks, whooping cranes and other protected birds every year without fear of prosecution.
Greenpeace routinely pillories oil sands companies as “climate criminals,” while the US Environmental Protection Agency uses their oil sands CO2 emissions to justify denying Keystone Pipeline permits. (Greenpeace lost its Canadian tax-exempt status, but still manages to con contributors out of vast sums, to retain its status as a $340-million-per-year pressure group. EPA conducts illegal experiments on humans, to justify regulations that are killing thousands of coal mining and utility jobs.)
These positions reflect adherence to the shaky hypothesis of catastrophic manmade global warming and unsupportable claims that the oil sands contribute disproportionately to a looming climate Armageddon. However, Alberta environment office show that “greenhouse gas” emissions from oil sands plummeted 38% between 1990 and 2009, and are now 5% of Canada’s total GHG emissions – and equal to or lower than CO2/GHG emissions from petroleum operations in Nigeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
So-called “ethical funds” likewise excoriate oil sands developers like Total, Syncrude and Imperial Oil, while promising investors that their money will purchase shares in “responsible” companies that don’t produce fossil fuels, do nuclear power or contribute to climate change. Co-operative Bank’s is one of those modern day snake oil “entrepreneurs.” Its über-ethical Sustainable Leaders Trust (don’t you love that name?) makes that pitch – and then invests client cash in Third World coal mines … and oil sands!
The rogues’ gallery of oil sands critics and their shady dealings is so vast that someone could write a book about them. In fact, Ezra Levant did exactly that. His Ethical Oil is an eye-opening companion to my own Eco-Imperialism, which chronicles the often lethal misdeeds of other self-righteous pressure groups.
Their misrepresentations, double standards, questionable practices and perverse ethics would get them brought up on fraud charges, if they were oil companies or non-“ethical” investment “trusts.”
It’s time to apply the same legal, ethical and credibility standards to these “socially responsible” outfits that they insist on applying to the corporations they denounce. Keep that in mind the next time you see EPA, Greenpeace, Co-operative Bank or anyone else taking pot shots at oil sands or Keystone.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here
Posted by JR at 4:48 PM