Friday, June 29, 2012

Greenie logic hard at work

On the one hand the writer below tells us that CO2 levels in the Miocene were similar to levels today and on the other hand she tells us that the margins of Antarctica were green and hence obviously warmer. Doesn't that show that the high temperatures back then were NOT due to CO2 but rather to some other (solar? vulcanism?) influence? You would never guess it from the HuffPo narrative below

Note that the NASA press release says that "Warm conditions during the middle Miocene are thought to be associated with carbon dioxide levels of around 400 to 600 parts per million (ppm)". Thought to be? and "around"? In other words, the researchers below were just guessing about that

It may be hard to imagine, but the outer edges of Antarctica were once green, luscious and teeming with vegetation, a new study has uncovered.

Scientists at NASA, the University of California and Louisiana State University examined plant fossils taken from sediment cores beneath the Antarctic ice shelf and found that between 16.4 million and 15.7 million years ago, Antarctica was much warmer and rainier than previously thought. In fact, the continent's climate was similar to that of present-day Iceland, reaching temperatures of up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

The paper was published in the most recent issue of the journal Nature Geoscience.

When studying the sediment extracted from below the ice, the researchers found large quantities of pollen and algae -- an indication of abundant plant life. They also examined the plant-leaf wax from the sediment cores and were able to determine details about the water the plants drank when they were alive.

The greening of Antarctica occurred during a period of global warming called the Miocene period -- tens of millions of years after the last dinosaurs roamed the earth. Although it was long before the days of modern humans, during this time, the planet was home to mostly modern-looking species -- including apes, deer and horses.

The findings of the study have staggering implications for what increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere and a changing climate could mean for the planet in the not-so-distant future.

Levels of carbon dioxide during the Miocene era were around 400 to 600 parts per million (ppm) -- not much higher than the modern-day level of 393 ppm. According to the authors of the study, if CO2 levels increase at the same rate they are today, they will reach the amounts seen during the Miocene period by the end of this century.

Could Antarctica really become a green paradise before the end of our lifetimes? It's possible, according to Sarah J. Feakins, assistant professor of earth sciences at the USC Dornsife College and lead author of the study.

"Just as history has a lot to teach us about the future, so does past climate," she said. "What this record shows us is how much warmer and wetter it can get around the Antarctic ice sheet as the climate system heats up."

In the global warming that occurred during the Miocene era, the western part of the Antarctic ice sheet retreated, and the eastern part contracted, the scientists found. Those changes followed a period of substantial ice growth, however, and Earth's landmasses and ecosystems were substantially different from what they are today.

Although the underlying goal of this study was to better understand the impact of rising CO2 levels, only time will tell what the effects of a rapidly changing climate will be on not only Antarctica, but the rest of the planet.


Warmists tell us what global warming looks like

Some more Greenie logic:

"A trio of scientists say the scorching heat, high winds and bone-dry conditions fueling catastrophic wildfires in the US offer a preview of the kind of disasters human-caused climate change could bring.

"What we're seeing is a window into what global warming really looks like," Princeton University's Michael Oppenheimer said.

"It looks like heat, it looks like fires, it looks like this kind of environmental disaster... this provides vivid images of what we can expect to see more of in the future."

In Colorado, wildfires that have raged for weeks have killed four people, displaced thousands and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Because winter snowpack was lighter than usual and melted sooner, fire season started earlier in the US, with wildfires out of control in Colorado, Montana and Utah.

The high temperatures that are helping drive these fires are consistent with projections by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said this kind of extreme heat, with little cooling overnight, is one kind of damaging impact of global warming."

But look at the graph below:

It looks like we are actually having global cooling if wildfires are the indicator.

Much more HERE

Does the Greenie logic ever stop?

"The Register" recently relayed a new finding about the Fimbul ice shelf (floating ice) in the Antarctic: It isn't melting overall and what melting there is comes from the bottom up rather than top down. That is of course very pesky for theories about the influence of atmospheric CO2.

It is so pesky that some of the Warmists involved have "replied" to the Register. Their reply in essence: "It is only one little pesky iceshelf and doesn't tell us about the whole of the Antarcric and, anyway, satellite measurements tell us that the rest of the Antarctic IS SO melting."

What they fail to mention is that the Fimbul shelf was deliberately chosen for its potential as a bellwether of the Antarctic as a whole. As Science Daily says:

"The Fimbul Ice Shelf -- located along eastern Antarctica in the Weddell Sea -- is the sixth largest of the forty-three ice shelves that dapple Antarctica's perimeter. Both its size and proximity to the Eastern Antarctic Ice Sheet -- the largest ice sheet on Earth, which if it melted, could lead to extreme changes in sea level -- have made the Fimbul Ice Shelf an attractive object of study"

Furthermore it is precisely the satellite measurements that the Fimbul data discredits. If the satellites were wrong about the Fimbul melting, what credibility do they have in telling us about the rest of the Antarctic?

The circling of the wagons concerned is below. The last sentence contains an interesting admission:

"Crafty boffins" have discovered "no ice is being lost at all" from the eastern Antarctic, the Register claimed in delighted tones on Monday.

Is it right? Not if you take a look at the research discussed by the IT blog - which has quite the penchant for publishing skeptic takes on new climate science. In fact, the research's lead author of told us it reveals a slower melt rate than previously thought for one ice shelf - the Fimbul ice shelf in Antarctica, but doesn't contradict or undermine research which shows the continent losing mass.

Under the headline 'Antarctic ice shelves not melting at all, new field data show'. the Register says:

"Twenty-year-old models which have suggested serious ice loss in the eastern Antarctic have been compared with reality for the first time - and found to be wrong, so much so that it now appears that no ice is being lost at all."

But what did the "boffins" do, and were their conclusions as dramatic as suggested?

Scientists drilled through the vast Fimbul Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica to see if they could find out how fast the shelf's underside is melting and determine what is causing it. They concluded that models estimating that ice shelves in this region are losing significant amounts of ice are overestimating the melt rate. Ice shelves are floating bodies of ice that connect continental ice sheets like the East Antarctic ice sheet to the sea. They range in thickness from 50 metres or so up to a couple of hundred metres.

The scientists placed recording devices in the holes they drilled in the ice, which collected data over two years. They supplemented the data from the drilling with temperature, salinity and depth readings from sensors fitted to a group of elephant seals, which were being monitored as part of a project by biologists from the Norwegian Polar Institute.

It's a very clever way to get continuous data on conditions in the area - the seals spend the entire winter around the Fimbul ice shelf. So the data from their sensor packs gave the scientists nine months' worth of detailed information about circulation changes in the water surrounding the ice sheet - how warm and salty it was at different locations and depths.

According to the paper, the combined data from the sensors on the seals and the sensors in the ice helped the scientists understand in more detail how ocean circulation patterns heat the underside of the ice shelf, something which they note had been a "major source of uncertainty" in previous attempts to assess the melt rate of Antarctic ice shelves. Previous models simply assuming that the warm deep ocean alone caused ice shelves to melt from beneath, so this is a more sophisticated approach.

Says lead author of the sturdy Tore Hattermann: "It has been unclear, until now, how much warm deep water rises below the Fimbul Ice shelf, and previous ocean models, focusing on the circulation below the Fimbul Ice Shelf, have predicted temperatures and melt rates that are too high, suggesting a significant mass loss in this region that is actually not taking place as fast as previously thought."

Slow ice shelf melt doesn't mean Antarctica's not losing ice

Based on this, the Register concludes not only that "no ice is being lost" "in the Eastern Antarctic", but also that the research casts doubt on satellite observations of ice loss in the Antarctic full stop.

According to one of the authors of the research, this isn't the case, and the conclusion doesn't accord with other research from the region. On a continental scale, satellite data from the whole of Antarctica show the continent has been losing ice in recent years, and that the ice loss is accelerating. Most of this ice loss has been from the West Antarctic ice sheet, particularly from the Antarctic Peninsula. This study doesn't undermine those conclusions.

The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is losing ice as well - it had been thought to be reasonably stable, but more recent satellite measurements indicate the body has been losing ice since around 2006, particularly along parts of the coastline.

The new research reports that its findings agree with satellite data showing a "steady state mass balance" on the Fimbul ice sheet. This means that the ice on the shelves is currently building due to snowfall while it's also melting - processes that currently balance out. But the finding that there isn't any net ice loss at present on the ice shelf isn't the same as saying the ice isn't changing, or that there's no ice loss in the wider region.

Hatterman pointed out to us:

"In west Antarctica there is continuing rapid ice loss. Direct inflow of warm deep water is eroding some ice shelves there, such as the Pine Island glacier ice shelf"

Indeed, this paper shows that the inflow of warm deep waters is the primary control of Antarctic ice sheet loss. But, Hatterman says, the findings show it's important to differentiate between different Antarctic regions to fully understand what's happening to the continent. He adds:

"Our results do not change the overall conclusion that Antarctica is currently losing mass."

Finally, one of the authors of the paper has just responded directly to the Register, saying the story "misled" readers:

"Our results suggest that the rate at which *some* ice shelves are melting is less than previously thought. We did not question the overall conclusion that the Antarctic ice sheet as a whole is currently losing mass, which has consistently been concluded from several different methods.

A few days after our article was published, a piece profiling our work appeared at the Register of the UK written by Lewis Page entitled, 'Antarctic ice shelves not melting at all, new field data show.' This is the equivalent of turning the statement "the cancer is not as bad as we thought" into "you don't have cancer."

The severely distorted version of our study's conclusions then spread rapidly across the internet. It is a pattern that climate researchers have unfortunately observed many times, part of a widening gulf of misinformation between scientists and society.

As one of the authors of this study, I can only repeat: this is not what we said. We have been misrepresented, and you, the reader, have been misled by some of those who claim - as scientists and journalists both surely should - to provide you with facts."

It seems particularly difficult for outlets to accurately report ice shelf melt in the Antarctic. We've seen occasions when the research has been overplayed to suggest too much ice loss. Now it seems the balance has swung the other way.


World’s Lakes Show Global Temperature Standstill

Schneider et al 2012 in a poster presentation to the two-day, “Taking the temperature of the Earth Conference,” that ends today, has the clever idea of looking at the temperatures of lakes and reservoirs around the world. They point out that in situ observations of lake surface temperatures are very rare on a global scale, but infrared imagery from space can be used to infer water surface temperatures of lakes and reservoirs.

They provide data for 169 of the largest inland water bodies world- wide using three satellite-borne instruments. Together they provide daily to near-daily data from 1981 through to the present, allowing them to calculate 25-year trends of nighttime summertime/dry-season surface temperature.

They find that the surface temperatures of the water bodies have been “rapidly warming” with an average rate of 0.350 ± 0.11 deg C per decade for the period 1985–2001.

Two years ago Schneider et al published what was then described as the first global survey of lake temperatures. Then the researchers found a decadal trend of 0.45 deg C.

The researchers say the results provide a critical new independent data source on climate change that indicates lake warming in certain regions is greater than expected based on air temperature data.

Note that the trend line depends entirely on the first part of the data. For the second half there is no trend

Their graph of temperature anomaly looks very familiar to anyone who is knows the global temperature datasets over the past thirty years. However, I don’t think their regression line is a good description of the data. My preliminary calculations suggest that there is no statistically significant trend post-1997. Hence an alternate description of their findings is that the world’s large bodies of water show the well known standstill of the past decade or so seen in global temperatures.

Note: While it is possible to draw a linear regression line between 1997 and 2011 (you can draw a trendline through almost anything) that yields 0.1 deg per decade it is statistically meaningless given the large variance of the data. The error on the trendline is several times its magnitude, and it is highly sensitive to moving the start and endpoint by a year or two.

Conclusion: No statistically significant trend post-1997. Since 1997 the data is best represented by a straight line of mean 0.21 deg with a large standard deviation of 0.95 deg. Below is the post-1997 portion of the researcher's graph. It is easy to see that the trendline calculated from the 1985-2011 data does not fit this section of the data in which there is no trend

SOURCE (See the original for more graphics)

After Rio – what next?

It’s time to give all mankind a real chance to enjoy genuine development

By physicist Kelvin Kemm

The Rio+20 World Environmental Conference has come and gone. The “Plus 20” comes from the fact that it took place twenty years after the first such conference, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Between these dates, I was a delegate at the 2002 world environment conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ever since 1992 I have watched the eco-evolution taking place.

There is a good side and a bad side. The good side is that general world environmental awareness has been enhanced. That is definitely good. But there is still so much to be done, especially in poor countries where many people are always on the edge of survival, people must eke out a living off the land, and many will do whatever it takes to earn a little cash, to just survive another day.

Here in South Africa we see the daily international poaching attacks on our elephants and rhinos. It’s disgraceful. For us in the south, on midwinter’s day in June (our winters are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere), the total rhinos shot this year stands at 251, just to get their horns, which are still viewed as aphrodisiacs and medicine in many Asian countries. Last year’s total was 448, more than one a day – so it’s getting worse. Poachers are now using helicopters and machine guns, and often taking chainsaws to still living rhinos.

There is much to do to sustain and protect the world’s natural environment. That should be done – but done well, and honestly. The bad side of Rio+20 is the degree of scientific dishonesty and economic manipulation that has crept into the international debate. That is shocking.

In recent years we have heard a great deal about “climate change.” I am on record as saying I do not believe human activities that produce carbon dioxide (CO2) are making any significant contribution to climate change – certainly not anything dangerous or catastrophic.

Observed climate change appears to be in line with past historic meteorological cycles – and likely linked to natural cosmic rays interacting with the magnetic fields of the earth and the sun’s interactive magnetic screening system.

But there are organisations in the world that want mankind to be at fault, so that there is someone to blame and attack, someone to tax and control, and someone to encourage to be “traditional” and “sustainable” – and consequently in a state of perpetual primitive poverty and disease ... on the edge of survival.

It was noticeable that Rio+20 moved away from the theme of “climate change.” It would appear that the disastrous climate change, which green extremists predicted with such great relish, has not been occurring. So climate change is dying as a “marketable concept.” They can’t use it to scare enough people anymore.

Thus the Rio+20 summit focused on the concepts of “biodiversity” and “sustainable development,” as the main themes, and therefore the main “worries.” If people can be made to worry, they can be made to fear, and then they can be controlled.

Rio+20 was all about international control. Certain green organisations clearly want to exert direct control over world governments, and want to impose their brand of world government on our planet, communities, businesses and families. The concepts of biodiversity and sustainable development give them the leverage.

The greens claim that our plant and animal species, our natural resources, our air and water, and our planet are in such desperate trouble that the extreme greens must take control. They will then defend “biodiversity,” and to do this they will decide what “sustainable development” actually means and how it must be implemented.

They will decide how, when and where any community will be permitted to “develop.” It is interesting to take another look at the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development, which came out of the 2002 world environment conference in Johannesburg. It included language asking that the world pay attention to “the worldwide conditions that pose severe threats to the sustainable development of our people, which include: chronic hunger; malnutrition … and endemic, communicable and chronic diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis."

What happened to all these human issues at Rio+20? They were gone. For some reason, the Rio version of “biodiversity” and “sustainability” did not include humans.

In Rio the head of the WWF stated that the WWF wanted “transparent annual reporting and review on subsidy reforms, leading to the elimination by 2020 of all environmentally harmful subsidies, in particular fossil fuel subsidies.” Who do these people think they are? And why have they said nothing at all about the nearly $1 trillion that Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports has been spent worldwide just since 2004 on wind, solar, biofuel and other “renewable” energy schemes that any objective observer would understand are simply not “sustainable” on economic, environmental or any other grounds.

Moreover, this WWF statement is intended to give authenticity to some “world government,” to tell sovereign nations how to care for their own citizens.

In many African countries building a coal-fired power station will reduce CO2 emissions. How? Because there are millions of families who have no electricity, and so cook on wood or dung fires. These fires burn inefficiently and produce not just carbon dioxide, but many airborne pollutants that harm or even kill people. If thousands of these fires are replaced by a modern coal-fired power plant, the net effect would be to lead to improved air quality and less CO2 per unit of energy.

Such an action would be a significant advance, even if the CO2 actually were a problem, though much scientific evidence shows that it is not. This evidence of course is shouted down by those with vested interests in perpetuating “dangerous manmade climate change” as a thesis, and as a professional sinecure. Such an approach is not honest, and it is not science.

Meanwhile, however, European countries have introduced a carbon emissions tax on passenger aircraft flying over their airspace. The tax, per passenger, is calculated on total miles flown, so passengers flying to Europe from faraway places like South Africa and Australia pay much higher emissions taxes to the Europeans to clean up Euro air than do the EU’s own citizens, who collectively fly far more cumulative miles around Europe. Despite appeals from South Africa to spare us the tax, we were turned down. We are getting sick and tired of this high handed First World attitude.

Now from Rio+20 we are told that a goal for development is to move away from “outdated” concepts like measuring national growth using Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – and to rather use more “modern” and “equitable” measures like the “Happy Planet Index” (HPI), under which some world authority or bureaucrat is going to place an “environmental value” on keeping our environment “pristine” and “traditional.” Those values will be built into the HPI. Meantime, many people in Africa will continue to cut down habitats to burn wood and dung, and we will fight elephant and rhino poachers all by ourselves.

In Rio, eight of the world’s largest development banks announced the largest monetary commitment to come out of Rio+20, a “socially responsible” US$175 billion initiative to shift investment away from roads to public transport. They want to use the money to promote buses, trains and bicycles, instead of cars and aeroplanes.

In many parts of Africa they don’t even have a road yet. No electricity either, nor school nor clinic.

It is time for UN, EU, US and other green do-gooders to get off their anti-development high horse. It’s time to give all of mankind a real chance to enjoy genuine development. It’s time to stop using a “preserving biodiversity” ruse to keep the world’s most impoverished people forever in poverty.

Received by email

Bigger EPA Fight Still to Come

While the DC Court of Appeals has just ruled in favor of the Obama Administration in rejecting challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency's rules concerning carbon dioxide emissions from cars and light trucks (the so-called "tailpipe emissions standards"), Senior Fellow Patrick J. Michaels believes the larger battle is still to come:

"On June 25, the public comment period for the EPA's proposed regulations on coal-fired power plants ended," said Michaels. "After thorough review, I found that the report from the U.S Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which served as the source for the scientific opinions underlying the original endangerment finding in 2010, is unrepresentative of the larger body of scientific research on the topic of anthropogenic climate change and its potential impacts on the United States."

Michaels, working with a team of experts and scientists, assembled an addendum to the USGCRP report, which they submitted as comments on June 22.

"Our review represents the most comprehensive scientific critique of the EPA Endangerment Finding on coal-fired plants ever written, and directly counters their claims on how climate change impacts in the United States, using a much more exhaustive survey of peer-reviewed science than the EPA relied upon," said Michaels.

Michaels also cautions against relying too much on static reports in rulemaking on climate change.

"No static report can provide long-term guidance as to the nature of climate change and its impacts, as this field is constantly evolving under the weight of new scientific findings. Consequently, it is imperative that the EPA reassess the current scientific understanding on at least an annual basis," said Michaels.

The EPA is expected to finalize regulations regarding emissions from coal-fired plants later this year.


Australia: Gasp! Environmental protection to be wound back to enable mining!

THE Steve Irwin Reserve on Cape York is expected to be mined, with Environment Minister Andrew Powell yesterday moving to wind back Wild Rivers environment protection.

Mr Powell released a scoping paper for a proposed management plan, which is expected to replace Wild Rivers protection on at least four rivers.

Under Wild Rivers, the previous government placed a 500m buffer zone on the Wenlock River, potentially making Cape Alumina's multibillion-dollar Pisolite Hills bauxite mine proposal unprofitable.

Wilderness Society spokesman Tim Seelig said yesterday he feared the mine would destroy the Wenlock, which had the highest number of freshwater species in Australia.

"We know Cape Alumina is just waiting to get its plans back on the table," he said. "Once protection is removed, it will be open slather."

Cape Alumina managing director Graeme Sherlock said the company was concentrating on its nearby Bauxite Hills project, rather than Pisolite Hills.

In April, Mr Sherlock said if Premier Campbell Newman changed wild rivers legislation, Pisolite Hills would be reassessed.

Cape Alumina proposes to use 12,360ha or about 9 per cent of the Irwin Reserve, which is the old Bertiehaugh cattle station.

Dr Seelig said Mr Powell was winding back the clock on environment protection.

"This will inevitably lead to more destructive development such as mining and dams in our last free-flowing rivers," Dr Seelig said.

Eight new mines had been proposed for the Cape's east and west coasts.

"(The Government needs) to commit to protecting the environment ... as the first priority and only support truly sustainable economic activities," Dr Seelig said.

He supported Mr Powell's whole-of-region conservation approach although there were few details in the scoping paper.

Mr Powell said he would release details next week but the bioregion management plan would focus on protection and management of the Cape, while allowing appropriate opportunities for economic development.

The policy would give Indigenous communities a bigger say in economic development.

Dr Seelig said he was glad Mr Powell proposed to continue the Cape York World Heritage listing process on one of the last great wild places on earth.

Activist Noel Pearson has campaigned against Wild Rivers but the process has been supported by other Murris.

The Irwin Reserve purchase was funded by former Liberal prime minister John Howard to honour television celebrity and conservationist Steve Irwin.



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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Irony: Green laws may derail California's high-speed rail

"What we're talking about," President Obama once said, "is a vision for high-speed rail in America. Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city. No racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination."

This was Obama's vision for high-speed rail in his stimulus package, toward which he devoted $8 billion. If it sounded too good to be true, it's because it was. Multiple studies and the experiences of other nations suggest that high-speed rail is a fiscal black hole. Its ridership and utility are almost always overestimated when projects are undertaken. High-speed rail lines are typically finished at costs well beyond projections, then require massive annual operating subsidies in perpetuity just to keep running.

Some Republican governors, such as Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Rick Scott in Florida and John Kasich in Ohio, wisely canceled Obama's high-speed rail projects in their own states. They did so at the risk of appearing petty, because it meant turning down hundreds of millions or even billions in federal money. But California Gov. Jerry Brown has persisted, even though the price tag for his state's rail project has gradually risen from $33 billion to $100 billion. And in order to guarantee the project goes forward despite public skepticism, Brown proposed to exempt the project from environmental injunctions. Without this exemption, it will probably be impossible to start construction by the Dec. 31, 2012, deadline stipulated by the federal stimulus law. Obama's Transportation Department reaffirmed this time limit last year when it admitted it had "no administrative authority to change this deadline."

But the environmentalists' pressure finally got to Brown. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that he is backing down on the exemption. This all but guarantees that the project is dead. Federal courts routinely issue injunctions to stop projects before they ever begin, and the city of Chowchilla has already filed a lawsuit charging that the California High-Speed Rail Authority failed to conduct a proper Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Protection Act. Studies show that the average time to complete the NEPA process is 6.1 years.

Even if Chowchilla voluntarily dismisses its suit, there is no shortage of other challenges ready to go to court. Farmers have already sued to stop the project in state court, claiming that the Rail Authority's plan violates the wording of the state ballot measure that created it. If they lose, there is nothing stopping them, or other farmers, or an environmentalist group, or anyone else from later pursuing a NEPA or CEQA claim. It may never get that far, because the state legislature has only until July 1 to approve the funds necessary to begin this fool's errand.

Despite a lack of evidence that high-speed rail will reduce traffic congestion or bring any noticeable environmental benefits, this and other rail projects have been billed as "green." It will be poetic justice if the very laws established by the green lobby help to derail it and put an end to Obama's vision of high-speed rail.


Global warming is now old hat -- even to the Greenies

Now it's "social justice" = giving money to people who didn't earn it

The Rio+20 gathering, officially the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, turned sour. The Guardian reports that one thousand NGOs (Non-Government organizations), institutions and individuals are upset with the official Rio+20 communiqué “The Future We Want.” To show their resolve, the NGOs signed a petition “The Future We Don’t Want.” [1]

Lord Christopher Monckton said “It’s all about extending the power and reach of the global-government wannabes.” “Of course, there are real environmental problems,” he added, “but they should be addressed at the local and national level — and by the free market — not by out-of-control planetary bureaucrats seeking to create a world socialist government.” [2]

The Rio Agenda

The Rio agenda involved a lot of unrelated things. The official website [3] called it “Peoples Summit for Social and Environmental Justice in defense of the commons.” The Brazilian Civil Society’s Facilitator Committee stated “The global civil society, organizations, collectives and social movements will occupy the landfill to propose a new way of living on the planet, in solidarity against the commodification of nature and in defense of the commons.” [3]

The same site [3] lists the key actors: “Three key actors will be present at Rio:

Governments and heads of state gathered in the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (commonly called the “Earth Summit”).

Non-Governmental Organisations of the UN system, grouped in 9 socio-professional groups within an informal Stakeholder Forum: women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, local authorities, NGOs, workers and unions, businesses and industries, scientific and technological communities, farmers and peasants (the groups have their own 2 (or more) Organising Partners (OP).

Citizens and organisations of civil society, i.e. social movements, multiple networks and thematic or socio-professional organisations, among them migrants, religious and spiritual leaders, social leaders, artists, journalists, urban planners, fishermen, lawyers, elected politicians and parliamentarians, the military, unions, educators and teachers, municipalities and cities… to name a few. They will form a “Peoples Summit” that will not be a parallel summit nor a counter summit, but rather a fundamental actor for Rio+20.”

The Agenda Shift

The agenda shift from the original Eco-92 gathering in Rio (1992), i.e. “global warming” to “climate change” to “environmental justice” to “social justice” happened slowly, but it was a long-term goal by its ideologists all along. By now it’s all about “social justice” with “collectives” that will tell you what you want or should do. The former buzz words ‘environment’ and ‘climate change’ have disappeared too. While “biodiversity” is still a valid buzz word, the fact that habitat loss is its major enemy is not mentioned, or understood.

Moreover, with the previously touted “Global Warming” scare, supposedly due to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, rapidly being exposed as the greatest scientific hoax since “Piltdown Man” certainly does not help its cause either. However, the new deity, “social justice” also comes with its own set of conundrums.

Social Justice

Social justice is in the eye of the beholder. It will have entirely different meanings for a well-to-do metropolitan-type city dweller compared to a subsistence farmer in the middle of anywhere. For the former, reliable on-demand electric power, 24/7, is an accustomed and vital necessity. For the subsistence farmer, having ANY power, other than his own, is progress already.

Not surprisingly then, what was previously seen as “green”, such as renewable energy from hydro-electric power plants (all of which need water-level-raising dams) are no longer all that “green.” The Rio+20 summit had a variety of protests against new hydro-electric power dams [4].

In the end, it all boils down to a simple question: What would you rather have, the subsistence lifestyle of the peasant farmer or the conveniences of the modern city dweller? The answer is obvious from a simple fact:

The majority of the 45,000 activists attending Rio+20 had not gone there by dug-out canoe!


Big carbon credit rackets in Britain

A UK court has wound up a company it says misled private investors by comparing near worthless carbon credits to gold, the latest in a string of firms found to market poor quality offsets to the general public in a practice that financial regulators say has grown exponentially in the past 18 months.

At the High Court in London on Wednesday, the UK government was successful in its request to liquidate Tullett Brown, a firm it said made 1.6 million pounds by misleading customers into buying unregulated credits at almost four times what it paid for them.

Last month, another probe by the Insolvency Service prompted the High Court to shut down a web of companies that it says made 6.5 million pounds by mis-selling land and carbon credits and were linked by the name Manor Rose.

The business practice often involves cold-calling and misleading private investors into thinking they were buying U.N. carbon credits that can be used by governments and companies to meet legally-binding emission reduction targets.

In fact, the credits offered were not regulated by the U.N. and were unlikely to meet future price projections for U.N. credits that the sellers portrayed in glossy marketing brochures from banks such as Barclays.

No-one from Tullett Brown was willing to comment on the record, but a former employee denied portraying the credits as U.N.-issued units, but did admit some employees had no experience whatsoever in financial markets.

“It’s an unregulated market, so many people trading are themselves unregulated,” he said on condition of anonymity.


Despite lacking many powers to stop the firms from marketing voluntary credits, the UK Financial Services Authority is concerned about the rise in the practice.

“We suspect that many of the firms and individuals who were previously selling land are now selling carbon credits. The figures appear to support this,” said Jonathan Phelan, an official with the Financial Services Authority.

Having received no reports about firms selling carbon credits in 2010, 78 firms were brought to the FSA’s attention in 2011 and a further 38 in the first six months of the year, he said.

The Insolvency Service, which investigated Tullett Brown, said it couldn’t provide a figure on how much mis-selling of carbon units had cost investors, but it did say that 78 rogue companies that raked in over 28 million pounds from the public through selling different assets have been shut down in the past three years.

However, the full extent of losses is likely to be much bigger because many victims fail to report that they have been tricked.

“Many are high-earning retired professionals and don’t want to contact the authorities because they feel embarrassed,” said Joe Peacock of the Insolvency Service, who led the investigation into Tullett Brown.


U.S. Court Judges Confess to Bias in Greenhouse Gas Emissions Case

Three federal judges admit to being biased in favor of a government agency when granting a landmark decision in favor of caps and taxes on “greenhouse gas” emissions. Court rules Earth’s atmosphere does act like a greenhouse after all.

In a shock landmark ruling (June 26, 2012) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit throws out a key pro-industry petition challenging restrictions on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other so-called “greenhouse gases.” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson called the decision a “strong validation” of the approach the agency has taken. In contrast, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) reacted angrily,“The Obama administration is attempting to regulate greenhouse gases in the absence of legislation.”

The 81-page decision affirms that on the science of man-made global warming the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is the one and only arbiter when a case goes to trial. Completely taking the EPA’s word on the science, the court was satisfied that “greenhouse gases in the atmosphere may reasonably be anticipated both to endanger public health and to endanger public welfare.”As such, say the judges, the EPA is not contravening the Clean Air Act by radically limiting industrial emissions of carbon dioxide.

Judges Admit Bias In Favor of EPA Alarmism

Despite the gravity of the case, all three judges involved admit to their utter “bias” in favor of the federal agency on the science. The court panel admits, “we give an extreme degree of deference to the agency when it is evaluating scientific data within its technical expertise.” Crassly, the court further decided that Earth’s atmosphere does act “like a greenhouse” to the consternation of scientists not on the government payroll.

To add salt to the wound, The DC Circuit Court of Appeals actually cited a YouTube cartoon video in its effort to assist EPA break the law with respect to greenhouse gas regulation (H/T:

The findings have also caught skeptics of man-made global warming off guard at a time when they were still rejoicing at the collapse the Rio+20 Climate Summit last week. If the petitioners had known from the outset that this would be the approach of the judges then they could have saved themselves the time and huge expense.

As such, this breathtaking ruling is set to trigger a backlash among all those opposed to the creeping rise in crippling new environmental regulations. This is because all U.S. courts will be required to recognize the EPA has ultimate “technical expertise” in such matters. As such President Obama has succeeded in bypassing Congress in getting his rubber stamp for more climate taxes and more junk science on the public dole.

The EPA now has the legal green light to pursue those related environmental policies of President Obama. Obama, up for re-election later this year, already failed to drive carbon dioxide (CO2) limiting legislation through Congress earlier in his presidency. Now he has succeeded by other means via the EPA regulations that had previously determined CO2 is a “pollutant” via the Clean Air Act.


Anti-Israel journalist Gwynne Dyer compares climate skeptics to Nazis

With all the usual charm of the Green/Left. Dyer's expertise is in military history. Perhaps he should bone up on some physics too. He might even learn the melting point of ice and how far away the polar glaciers are from that

There was no law against genocide in the early 1940s; it only became an internationally recognised crime after the worst genocide of modern history had actually happened. Similarly, there is no law against ”ecocide” now. That will only come to pass when the damage to the environment has become so extreme that large numbers of people are dying from it even in rich and powerful countries.

They are already dying from the effects of environmental destruction in some poor countries, but that makes no difference because they are powerless. By the time it starts to hurt large numbers of people in powerful countries, 20 or 30 years from now, most of the politicians who conspired to smother any substantial progress at the Rio+20 Earth Summit will be safely beyond the reach of any law. But eventually there will be a law.


Al Gore: Heat Kills

From his blog:

You know what’s more dangerous than heat? The cold:

More than 2,500 people in England and Wales are likely to perish from cold in the week leading up to Christmas, experts said today.

The forecast from the Faculty of Public Health and Met Office comes amid renewed concern over the plight of the poor and vulnerable during cold snaps.

Each winter, a larger proportion of Britons die because of unseasonable cold weather than in either Finland or Russia.

An estimated 40,000 more people die between December and March in the UK than would be expected from death rates during other times of the year.

More than half the deaths are due to heart attacks, strokes and circulatory problems and a third from lung disease. When the temperature suddenly plummets, as it has this weekend, the danger is even more acute.

Professor Sian Griffiths, president of the Faculty of Public Health, which sets and maintains professional standards in public health, said: “A high proportion of preventable illness and deaths in the UK is caused by people living in damp and cold housing.

“If we see much more of the cold weather of recent days, it is likely that as many as 50,000 people will die unnecessarily over this winter. This is a tragedy in terms of human life and also creates a huge – and preventable – strain on the NHS.

Hmm: 50,000 vs. 700. Maybe we need more global warming . . .



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


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Al Gore: The "Dear Leader"

America's very own Kim Jong Il

Al Gore. Just his name warms our hearts with love and admiration. He loves the environment. He cares about the environment. He’s doing everything he can to protect the environment.

He has won so many major awards for his concern about the planet. Wikipedia’s Al Gore article states:

"Gore has received a number of awards including the Nobel Peace Prize (joint award with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) (2007), a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album (2009) for his book An Inconvenient Truth, a Primetime Emmy Award for Current TV (2007), and a Webby Award (2005). Gore was also the subject of the Academy Award-winning (2007) documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006. In 2007 he was named a runner-up for Time’s 2007 Person of the Year."

Ah… isn’t that sweet? Why, there’s no one who cares more about the earth than Al Gore!

In addition to that article, wikipedia has a whole entire other article called Environmental activism of Al Gore, which is devoted to telling us just how much Gore cares about the Earth. He must be an incredibly wonderful caretaker of the planet, to have an article such as that!

But wait! Certain information about Gore has been repeatedly deleted from both of those articles. Gore’s supporters have made sure that readers will never learn what Gore truly thinks about the environment.

This information has been added to both articles multiple times, but it always get erased. Editors who continue to add these things to the articles get accused of “edit warring,” and if they continue to put the information into the articles, they get blocked from editing for 24 hours. If they continue adding the information after their 24 hour block expires, they get blocked for a week, then they get topic banned from editing any Gore related articles for three months, and then they get banned, permanently, from editing any of wikipedia. If they then create a new account, they get accused of “sock puppeting,” and the new account gets permanently banned.

Because of this repeated and persistent censorship, those two article on Gore are puff pieces which ignore the things that Gore has actually done to the environment.

Here is the content that Gore’s supporters have repeatedly censored from those two articles:

Gore has been repeatedly accused of environmental hypocrisy. Gore has been criticized for owning a private jet.

In July 2008 when Gore gave a speech on global warming in Washington D.C., he was criticized for bringing a fleet of two Lincoln Town Cars and a Chevy Suburban SUV, and for letting one of the vehicle’s engine and air conditioner idle for 20 minutes.

Gore has been criticized for owning stock in Occidental Petroleum, a company which drilled for oil in ecologically sensitive areas. He was also criticized because a zinc mine on his property had polluted a nearby river.

In 2010, Gore admitted that his 1994 tie breaking vote as President of the Senate in support of ethanol subsidies was actually bad for the environment, and that he did it for political reasons.

Despite Gore’s repeated insistence that global warming is causing sea level to rise, in 2010, he spent $8,875,000 on an ocean-view villa in Montecito, California.

A report by Science and Public Policy Institute pointed out 35 alleged errors in Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth.

Gore was criticized for stating that the temperature of the earth’s core was “several million degrees,” when in fact the actual temperature is several thousand degrees.

Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize award was criticized because Gore had beat out Irena Sendler, who had been nominated for saving the lives of 2,500 children and infants during the Holocaust.


Rio: Killing the Earth Since 1992


Quite possibly the only good thing about [the] Rio + 20 summit is that it coincides with the publication of a brilliant new book called Os Melancias. If you're American or Canadian you'll know it as Watermelons: The Green Movement's True Colors. In Britain, it's called Watermelons: How The Environmentalists Are Killing The Planet, Destroying The Economy And Stealing Your Children's Future. And in Australia and Kiwiland it is called Killing The Earth To Save It: How Environmentalists Are Ruining The Planet, Destroying The Economy And Stealing Your Jobs. Oh, and it's also available in Estonian.

I wish that I could say that these titles were an hysterical exaggeration but unfortunately - read the book, read the copious references - they are no more than the truth. Thanks to the junk science, bogus computer projections, and scaremongering of the environmental movement the planet and its inhabitants have suffered grievously these last 20 years. Here - courtesy of Paul Driessen and David Rothbard - are just a few examples of damage that has been done, ostensibly to save us all from the threat of Man-Made Climate Change.

Today, over 1.5 billion people still do not have electricity, or have it only a few hours each day or week. Almost 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day. Millions die every year from diseases that would be largely eradicated by access to reliable, affordable electricity for cooking and refrigeration, clinics and hospitals, clean water, sanitation, and businesses and industries that generate jobs, prosperity and health.

Opposition to large-scale electricity generation forces people to rely on open fires for cooking and heating - perpetuating lung diseases and premature death, from breathing smoke and pollutants. It also destroys gorilla and other wildlife habitats, as people cut trees and brush for firewood and charcoal.

Wind turbines slice up birds and collapse bat lungs, exacting an unsustainable toll on eagles, hawks, falcons, and other rare, threatened and endangered flying creatures.

Turbine and solar arrays cover and disrupt millions of acres of farmland and wildlife habitat, to provide expensive, intermittent power for urban areas. They require backup generators and long transmission lines, and consume millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass, polymers and rare earth minerals - extracted from the Earth, often in countries whose pollution control regulations and technologies are substantially below US, Canadian, European and Australian standards.

Corn-based ethanol requires tens of millions of acres, billions of gallons of water, millions of tons of fertilizer and insecticides, and enormous quantities of hydrocarbon fuels.

And these greenies are supposed to be the good guys? As soon as I've finished writing this post I shall be heading off to discuss these issues on the BBC's Daily Politics Show - on which, no doubt, a representative of some anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, anti-jobs, anti-growth environmental pressure group such as Friends Of The Earth (oh the irony of that name!) will be seeking to dismiss my arguments as those of a nature-loathing "denier" probably in the pay of Big Oil.

I think it's about time we started judging these Greenies on their track record rather than on their spin and emotionalizing, don't you?

Here are the facts: the catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming on which Maurice Strong and his watermelon cohorts asked us to bet the world economy back in 1992 hasn't happened.

That's why, at this Rio they're playing down the "Climate Change" issue and concentrating on "Biodiversity" instead.

But as Driessen and Rothbard note at Watts Up With That, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever for the greenies projections of catastrophic species loss.

Up to half of all species could go extinct by 2100, asserts astronomer and global warming alarmist James Hansen, because of climate change, "unsustainable" hydrocarbon use, human population growth and economic development. At Rio+20 activists are trumpeting these hysterical claims in reports, speeches and press releases. Fortunately, there is no factual basis for them.

Of 191 bird and mammal species recorded as having gone extinct since 1500, 95% were on islands, where humans and human-introduced predators and diseases wrought the destruction, notes ecology researcher Dr. Craig Loehle. On continents, only six birds and three mammals were driven to extinction, and no bird or mammal species in recorded history is known to have gone extinct due to climate change.

The massive species losses claimed by Hansen, Greenpeace, WWF and others are based on extrapolations from the island extinction rates. Some are just wild guesses or rank fear-mongering, with nothing remotely approximating scientific analysis. Other extrapolations are based on unfounded presumptions about species susceptibility to long or short term climate shifts - fed into clumsy, simplistic, non-validated virtual reality computer models that assume rising carbon dioxide levels will raise planetary temperatures so high that plants, habitats, and thus birds, reptiles and animals will somehow be exterminated. There is no evidence to support any of these extinction scenarios.

Hmm. Dramatic predictions of human-induced planetary doom based on nothing more substantial than a few dodgy computer projections. Now where have we seen that trick used before?


That Goddam pesky reality again!

Why can't it do what the "models" tell it?

Twenty-year-old models which have suggested serious ice loss in the eastern Antarctic have been compared with reality for the first time - and found to be wrong, so much so that it now appears that no ice is being lost at all.

"Previous ocean models ... have predicted temperatures and melt rates that are too high, suggesting a significant mass loss in this region that is actually not taking place," says Tore Hattermann of the Norwegian Polar Institute, member of a team which has obtained two years' worth of direct measurements below the massive Fimbul Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica - the first ever to be taken.

According to a statement from the American Geophysical Union, announcing the new research:

"It turns out that past studies, which were based on computer models without any direct data for comparison or guidance, overestimate the water temperatures and extent of melting beneath the Fimbul Ice Shelf. This has led to the misconception, Hattermann said, that the ice shelf is losing mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass, leading to an overall loss of mass.

The team’s results show that water temperatures are far lower than computer models predicted ..."

Hatterman and his colleagues, using 12 tons of hot-water drilling equipment, bored three holes more than 200m deep through the Fimbul Shelf, which spans an area roughly twice the size of New Jersey. The location of each hole was cunningly chosen so that the various pathways by which water moves beneath the ice shelf could be observed, and instruments were lowered down.

The boffins also supplemented their data craftily by harvesting info from a biology project, the Marine Mammal Exploration of the Oceans Pole to Pole (MEOP) effort, which had seen sensor packages attached to elephant seals.

"Nobody was expecting that the MEOP seals from Bouvetoya would swim straight to the Antarctic and stay along the Fimbul Ice Shelf for the entire winter," Hattermann says. "But this behaviour certainly provided an impressive and unique data set."

Normally, getting sea temperature readings along the shelf in winter would be dangerous if not impossible due to shifting pack ice - but the seals were perfectly at home among the grinding floes.

Overall, according to the team, their field data shows "steady state mass balance" on the eastern Antarctic coasts - ie, that no ice is being lost from the massive shelves there. The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

This is good news indeed, as some had thought that huge amounts of ice were melting from the region, which might mean accelerated rates of sea level rise in future.


EPA’s new CAFÉ mileage standards kill

They will prevent many families from buying cars – and leave more grieving for lost loved ones

Deroy Murdock

Washington taxes and regulations keep yanking money from Americans’ wallets. Now EPA is preparing to make prices for cars and light trucks rise beyond the reach of low-income drivers. That’s bad enough. But from there, things grow deadly.

At fault is a regulatory regime known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy, and commonly called CAFÉ standards. Congress mandated these mileage rules in 1975, during a seemingly decade-long energy crisis. Washington has periodically hiked CAFÉ standards in an ongoing effort to boost automobile efficiency.

Lacking magic wands, car manufacturers spend money to obey these laws. And then – surprise! – up go sticker prices. Now EPA is using its self-proclaimed authority over carbon dioxide to justify tough new mileage standards, on the ground that they will reduce global warming and thus improve human health and welfare.

The National Automobile Dealers Association calculated on April 12 that a Chevrolet Aveo, the most affordable vehicle it studied, would climb from $12,700 to $15,700 by 2025, because of the rules. This $3,000 hike (in 2010 dollars, and without factoring in the costs of carrying a three to five-year loan) would prevent 6.8 million humble drivers from qualifying for loans to finance their purchases.

“Fuel economy improvements must be affordable,” New Mexico Ford dealer Don Chalmers told journalists at the estimate’s unveiling. “If my customers can’t buy what I’ve got to sell, there are no savings at the gas pump and there is no environmental benefit.”

Is this what Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson calls “environmental justice?”

Team Obama is fueling these anticipated price hikes by boosting CAFÉ standards from 35.5 miles per gallon in 2016 to 54.5 MPG by 2025.

As they have for 37 years, car companies will follow these new rules by making cars thinner and lighter, and made more from plastic and aluminum than from crash-resistant steel. Smaller, slighter vehicles get better mileage. But that hardly matters when a car smacks into a sycamore or cement wall, tumbles down a slope, or slams head-on into another vehicle.

That’s when even the most eco-conscious drivers would trade lower MPG for protective layers of thick steel. That’s real health and welfare.

The laws of physics are stubbornly impervious to Obama’s green slogans, no matter how abrasively he shouts them. (And note that the President and many Administration officials get chauffeured around in big limousines that are anything but low-mileage.) The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded in 2007 that “None of the 15 vehicles with the lowest driver death rates is a small model. In contrast, 11 of the 16 vehicles with the highest death rates are mini or small models.”

“Fuel-standard lethality is as obvious as a smashed windshield,” J.R. Dunn observed in The American Thinker. He chillingly has detailed the mayhem that CAFÉ standards have unleashed.

According to the Brookings Institution, a 500-lb weight reduction of the average car increased annual highway fatalities by 2,200-3,900 and serious injuries by 11,000 and 19,500 per year. USA Today found that 7,700 deaths occurred for every mile per gallon gained in fuel economy standards. Smaller cars accounted for up to 12,144 deaths in 1997, 37% of all vehicle fatalities for that year.

How many deaths have resulted? Depending on which study you choose, the total ranges from 41,600 to 124,800. To that figure we can add between 352,000 and 624,000 people suffering serious injuries, including being crippled for life. In the past thirty years, fuel standards have become one of the major causes of death and misery in the United States — and one almost completely attributable to human stupidity and shortsightedness.

Focus briefly on the tears and tombstones behind these casualty figures. Most of these injuries involved major pain and hardship. Nearly each one of these CAFÉ-caused deaths featured crying loved ones, a casket, and someone inside it who probably made people smile just days earlier.

The only good news here is that road deaths have fallen lately, but for other reasons.

Says Dr. Soumi Eachempati, Chief of Trauma Services at Manhattan’s Weill Cornell Medical Center: “I feel the recent decreases in fatality data are due to many safety measures including better airbags, more states having seat belt laws, higher seat belt compliance, more strict drunk driving laws, better trauma care, better EMS, more traffic congestion in certain areas, and what some feel are safer road conditions.”

But rather than leave bad enough alone, Obama and company clamp down, ever harder. Strengthening CAFÉ standards by 53.5 percent by 2025 likely will yield deadlier cars. Airbags will do only so much while surrounded by materials that recall aluminum or vinyl siding.

Before Washington sends additional Americans to early graves, Team Obama should step off the gas pedal and ponder the physicist who wrote Traffic Safety. Dr. Leonard Evans was perfectly clear: “CAFÉ kills, and higher CAFÉ standards kill even more.”


Dodging Another UN Bullet

The Future We Want outlined a “common vision” for planetary “sustainable development,” as proclaimed by the “Organizing Partners of the Major Group of NGOs,” to guide the taxpayer-funded Rio+20 summit that ended last week in disarray and acrimony.

The activist organizations that cobbled the document together filled it with hundreds of platitudes and pseudo-solutions to global warming cataclysms, newly reconstituted as threats to resource depletion and biodiversity – and presented as standards and mandates for countries, communities and corporations.

The terms “sustainable development,” “sustainable” and “sustainability” appeared in the original text an astounding 390 times. Like “abracadabra,” these nebulous concepts were supposed to transform the world into a Garden of Eden global community, under United Nations auspices, that will use less, pollute less, and save species and planet from their worst enemy: humans.

To glean the document essence, however, readers only needed to understand two concepts: control and money – to impose the future the activists wanted.

The NGOs and UN called for “donations” from formerly rich European Union and Annex II (Kyoto Protocol) countries, at 0.7% of their gross national product per year. With the combined GNP of the contributing nations totaling about $45 trillion in 2010, the transfers would total $315 billion per year, or $3.2 trillion per decade.

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton had previously committed the United States to provide $105 billion annually, based on our $15 trillion GNP (and strained line of credit). With US per capita GNP pegged at $47,340 – each American family of four would pay $1,325 a year. That may seem like chump change compared to TARP, Obamacare or the Obama Stimulus. But over a decade US citizens would involuntarily shell out well over a trillion dollars to UN sustainability schemes.

The UN claims it has already received more than $500 billion in pledges from governments and companies, to reduce fossil fuel use, increase renewable energy generation in poor countries, promote bicycle use in Holland, teach sustainability in universities, conserve water – and somehow still reduce global poverty. Time will tell how many are worth the paper they were printed on

To oversee this unprecedented wealth transfer to UN bureaucrats and NGO activists, The Future We Want architects sought to establish “an intergovernmental process” to assess financial needs, consider the effectiveness, consistency and “synergies” of existing instruments and frameworks, evaluate additional initiatives, and prepare reports on financing strategies. This grand scheme would be implemented by an intergovernmental committee of 30 “experts,” who will be accountable to – no one, actually, except perhaps the Secretary General of the esteemed United Nations.

The document reassured readers that “aid architecture has significantly changed in the current decade,” and “fighting corruption and illicit financial flows [has become] a priority.” Diogenes would search in vain for evidence of this.

Indeed, the very idea of still more aid must be questioned. “Has more than US$1 trillion in development assistance over the last several decades made African people better off?” Zambia-born economist Dambisa Moyo asks in her book, Dead Aid. “No,” she answers emphatically. What’s needed are investment, development, less regulatory red tape, and an unleashing of entrepreneurial instincts.

Nevertheless, the UN is determined to plow ahead, claiming that somehow, this time, they will get it right. Surely, the prospect of promoting sustainability and saving the planet and its species will convert scurrilous dictators, Western politicians and their cronies into honest leaders who would never divert eco-funding to political friends, Swiss bank accounts or crony-capitalist wind and solar projects.

With Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer statue bathed in green light (to symbolize ecology – or was it money?) and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment proselytizing throughout the event, surely miscreants would sin no more.

Meanwhile, Statement 61 (of 283!) helpfully pronounced that “urgent action on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption ... remains fundamental in addressing environmental sustainability” ... and each country should “consider the implementation of green economy policies in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.”

In essence, the Rio+20 message was, “You got a problem? The UN team has an app for that!”

From poverty eradication to food security, nutrition and “sustainable agriculture,” to water and sanitation, to energy, sustainable tourism and transport, and sustainable cities and “human settlements,” the Future We Want “framework for action and follow-up” had it covered! Of course, there were caveats.

Everyone has a right to safe, sufficient, nutritious food – but biotechnology, chemical fertilizers, insecticides and modern mechanized farming are unsustainable. Electricity is vital, but the 1.4 billion now without lights or refrigeration must be content with “green energy.” Health “is a precondition for, an outcome of, and an indicator of, all three dimensions of sustainable development,” but no DDT allowed.

The authors also promised “full and productive employment, decent work for all, and social protections” for workers, to clean up the oceans, stop illegal mining and fishing, and ensure that only “sustainable forest management” prevails (the cut-no-trees kind that produces uncontrollable wildfires).

The Future We Want also lauded women, the scientific and technological community, indigenous peoples, young people, workers, trade unions, small-scale farmers, NGOs and “civil society” – while placing new burdens on the corporations that will be expected to generate trillions to prop up these efforts.

The document also included multiple proposals for technology transfers – but deleted all references to protecting patents and intellectual property rights. It also excised language “respecting the right to freedom of association and assembly, in accordance with our obligations under international law.”

Thankfully – despite attendance by 45,000 delegates from 180 nations – the Rio+20 summit became just another gabfest, the mandates became even more ill-defined “goals” and “recommendations,” and the world dodged another Kyoto-style bullet.

The activists and bureaucrats will doubtless be back, in a couple more years, in an exotic new locale, with new plans for saving the planet from scary new catastrophes.

However, poor countries are slowly catching on that these UN events are little more than neo-colonialist, eco-imperialist schemes to control and restrict economic development – and poor families are beginning to realize they won’t get a dime from these sustainability pledges or derive any tangible benefits from the green schemes.



Five current articles below

Greenie white elephant mothballed in NSW

Can the ones in Qld. and Vic. be far behind? Desalination plants were all built to avoid the need for new dams (which Greenies hate) but we are now in a rainy climate cycle so they are not needed. The official meteorologists (the BOM) had their brains so mushed by Warmism that they didn't warn the politicans of natural climate cycles (El Nino, La Nina) and pretended instead that the "drought" was permanent. Huge waste of taxpayer funds resulted

Sydney's desalination plant will be mothballed this weekend even though taxpayers will keep having to pay off its construction costs.

BUT NSW Finance Minister Greg Pearce says the $2 billion development hasn't been a waste of money. "The fact that the desal plant will be turned off from the first of July will save Sydney Water customers $50 million a year," he told ABC Radio on Tuesday. "But we'll still have the security if we ever or when we eventually need to turn the desalination plant back on again."

Mr Pearce said it could be up to three years before the Kurnell plant operated again.

"At the moment of course the dams are full, so it won't go back on until they drop below 70 per cent, and then the desalination plant operates until they're up to 80 per cent again," he said.

Mr Pearce confirmed the government was still paying $16 million a month for the cost of building the plant and pipeline.

Greens MP John Kaye told ABC Radio the plant was expensive and completely unnecessary. "The problem we have now is that we're paying tens of billions of dollars to keep this plant when we don't even want to operate it," he said.

In May, the NSW government announced a 50-year, $2.3 billion deal to privatise the plant, netting it $300 million to build more roads, rail and other infrastructure.


Sad solar in Qld

Queensland solar businesses fear a dramatic boom and bust after the state government slashed the solar feed-in tariff.

MORE than 180,000 Queenslanders are in the solar bonus scheme. Those who provide power back to the grid will keep the 44 cents per kilowatt hour payment from July 9, but anyone who joins after that date will get an eight cent rate.

Stuart Stratton of Green Initiatives says the future is now uncertain for his 100-plus employees. He's "extremely disappointed" the government drastically changed the main drawcard for households.

"Where it drops over time and it's predictable, the market can shift and your business can plan for staffing levels and training," Mr Stratton told AAP. "When something like this happens out of the blue and you've got two weeks to adjust, it has potentially a massive downward impact on the business."

He imagines the next two weeks will be like "Christmas in July" - followed by silence.

Energy Minister Mark McArdle says Queensland households are subsidising the solar sector to the tune of $54 a year and it's unsustainable.

The Clean Energy Council says 4500 jobs could go as a result of the move but Mr McArdle has told ABC Radio he hasn't been briefed on possible job losses.

The Australian Solar Energy Society's John Grimes says his group had called for a graduated withdrawal down to about 20 cents per kilowatt hour. "It would have allowed solar to compete and wouldn't have resulted in, sort of, this mini boom and bust," he told ABC Radio.


Conservative Qld. Premier Campbell Newman gives the Green/Left another sock in the eye

QUEENSLAND'S extensive network of national parks will be thrown open to new eco-tourism developments that will potentially been modelled on popular New Zealand and Tasmanian ventures, with horse riders and four-wheel drivers set to gain more access.

Permits will be scaled back and the Nature Conservation Act reviewed to remove barriers to development under a wide-ranging action plan announced yesterday at a tourism forum in Cairns.

More than 300 industry heavyweights spoke to the Newman Government for two days to develop the action plan, designed to guide the ailing sector over the coming year.

Premier Campbell Newman, who attended the DestinationQ forum yesterday, said the state must "find ways to say yes" to better use and market its national parks and marine parks.

Mr Newman singled out NZ's popular Milford Track and Tasmania's Cradle Mountain Lake-St Clair National Park as examples to follow, saying visitors came from around the world to walk, stay, eat and drink.

"Those are the sorts of things, we should be doing," Mr Newman said. "They've got to be done the right way, but other jurisdictions are doing it - (and) the environment hasn't suffered."

Tourism leaders told the forum - the first of its kind in 27 years - of high operating costs and falling revenues stretching their businesses to breaking point, compounded by the high Australian dollar, competition from nearby countries as well as mountains of government red tape.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chairman Stephen Gregg said that red tape had dissuaded many ecotourism proposals "from ever getting off the ground".

Mr Newman said cutting red tape would be a key focus, as he announced a host of new funding to be made available for regional events, indigenous rangers and to up-skill unemployed Cairns residents.

Mr Newman also indicated there could soon be a new, direct flight from Cairns to an Asian country, likely Singapore.

Mr Newman was highly critical of the industry's peak body, Tourism Queensland, announcing that it would be restructured and told to find savings that could be redirected to promotional campaigns.

A second forum will be held next year to monitor progress and begin charting a 20-year industry plan.


Federal Government tells the elderly that aged care providers will hike fees the day carbon tax kicks in

THOUSANDS of pensioners have been warned they will have to pay more for their residential care in one of the first signs of the impact of the carbon tax.

The Federal Government has written to pensioners and Commonwealth Senior Health Card holders advising that their aged care providers will hike fees by up to $3.48 a week from July 1, the day the carbon tax kicks in.

The hike of more than 1 per cent outstrips Treasury forecasts that the cost of living will rise just 0.7 per cent under the unpopular tax.

The move comes as questions mount over who else will pass on price rises to Australian consumers from this weekend.

The letter, from the Federal Department of Health and Ageing, explains that the increased aged care fees aim to "share" the assistance payments being made to pensioners to compensate them for the carbon tax.

"It recognises that many of the everyday expenses for residents are met by aged care providers," the letter says.

"It is important to note that some of the assistance that you will receive in the initial payment should be used to offset the increase in the basic daily fee."

The price rise equates to a weekly $3.48 increase in fees, which also outstrips weekly electricity hikes of $3.30 expected by most Queensland households.

A spokesman for Treasurer Wayne Swan said the assistance paid to pensioners and Senior Health Card holders was "designed to fully take into account this fee".

"From 28 May to 8 June, more than 3.2 million pensioners were paid a lump sum payment," the spokesman said.

"Pensioners will receive a permanent boost to their regular payments equal to a 1.7 per cent increase in the maximum rate of the pension from March 2013."

Labor has always insisted many households would be better off after compensation for the carbon tax, but as the tax start date looms fears are growing.

The issue is dominating Federal Parliament this week, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott face off ahead of Sunday's introduction of the tax.

Ms Gillard is preparing for a fortnight-long blitz around Australia to sell her tax reform, while the Opposition is set to embark on a similar tour, highlighting price rises resulting from the tax.

Labor ministers and backbenchers have been ordered into electorates to spruik the tax, as the party continues the battle to revive its popularity.

Ms Gillard told the Labor caucus yesterday that Mr Abbott would be exposed for scaremongering, with Labor planning to mock his earlier claims about the tax.

Mr Abbott yesterday said the RSPCA would face a $180,000 hike in its electricity costs each year because of the carbon tax.

Appearing alongside Mr Abbott, RSPCA chief executive Michael Linke said some of the national organisation's services would be cut and about four jobs lost.

"There is no compensation to pay for this," Mr Linke said.

But Ms Gillard accused Mr Abbott of fear-mongering.

"Presumably tomorrow he will be out trying to scare Skippy the bush kangaroo and the day after he'll be trying to scare Puff the magic dragon," Ms Gillard told Parliament.

It comes after the Coalition sent small businesses in Labor-held marginal seats flyers that apologised to customers for rising costs under the carbon tax, encouraging businesses to display the posters in their store windows.

One flyer reads: "We will always strive to keep our prices at reasonable levels but because the carbon tax will make electricity and gas more expensive, our prices will increase".

But Labor said yesterday the flyers put the businesses at risk of fines of up to $1.1 million, if they falsely increase prices and blame the carbon tax.

"Mr Abbott is potentially exposing butchers and other small businesses . He cares about nothing but his political advantage," Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said.


Meatworks may shut Queensland plant for three weeks to avoid carbon tax

A MAJOR meatworks could shut one of its Queensland plants for three weeks to side-step a carbon tax bill expected to cost millions.

Teys Australia Meat Group is one of 295 names on a preliminary list of companies to be slugged the $23 a tonne carbon tax from July 1 after its carbon emissions were estimated as being above the threshold of 25,000 tonnes a year.

The group, which has its head office in Beenleigh, south of Brisbane, was expecting its carbon tax bill to exceed $2 million a year.

But the meat processor could dodge part of the bill by closing down its second-biggest plant at Beenleigh for several weeks to reduce its annual emissions at the location to just below the Government's 25,000 tonne tax threshold.

It is believed other meatworks with emissions above the threshold could also be considering temporary shut-downs to avoid the tax.

"We could close this plant for a period of time in the year - one or two weeks - and therefore our total emissions for the year would potentially be below 25,000 (tonnes)," Teys spokesman Tom Maguire said.

"We are talking to the Government about ways of avoiding that but to this date we haven't come to any resolution.

"Given some of our competitors don't have the same tax, we won't be able to pass the costs on."

The company will also pay a carbon tax on emissions from its Rockhampton plant but says a temporary closure there was not an option.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the Government's $1 billion Clean Technology Program provided grants for new equipment and technology to reduce emissions.

The potential shutdown comes as Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan moves to reassure voters that carbon tax compensation will reach much higher up the income threshold than people realised.

New Treasury analysis reveals half of all families earning up to $150,000 a year will be over-compensated for the carbon tax, with tax cuts and welfare changes equivalent to 120 per cent of the expected cost.

But it might not stretch as far in Queensland as other states, with residents here facing a $3.70 a week rise in electricity prices directly related to the carbon tax.

That compares with a rise of $3.30 a week in NSW, $2.48 a week in Tasmania and $2.50 a week in Western Australia.

Prices will rise by double those amounts in some states but those increases are not as a direct result of the carbon tax.



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


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Going Green is Gauche on Robert Kennedy’s Private Ocean

Robert Kennedy Jr. wants you to know that he’s all in favor of green energy projects. “As an environmentalist,” he explained seven years ago in the New York Times, “I support wind power, including wind power on the high seas. I am also involved in siting wind farms in appropriate landscapes, of which there are many.”

That alone should qualify him for a Presidential Medal of Freedom… if, you know, he hadn’t supported Hillary Clinton for president rather than Barack Obama.

But Kennedy also thinks that we shouldn’t get too carried away by the prospect of “free wind power”- especially when his pet projects like the Kennedy trust fund, the Kennedy ocean views and the Kennedy beachfront property on Nantucket Sound are in conflict with “free wind power.”

I mean there is free for me, and there is free for thee. Which did you think Kennedy prefers?

There may be “many” sites, but come on: There aren’t THAT many. “I wouldn't build a wind farm in Yosemite National Park,” he claims. “Nor would I build one on Nantucket Sound, which is exactly what the company Energy Management is trying to do with its Cape Wind project.”

Darn companies always trying to DO something. Why can’t they be more like the Kennedys and get a trust fund and a few famous dead relatives, and then do nothing for a living except milk both?

Well, at least Robert Jr. admits he’s God. For a Kennedy, that’s a kind of progress.

The Cape Wind project has come under fire because SOME PEOPLE think that SOME OTHER PEOPLE are supporting or opposing the project to advance their own personal property, partisan or pecuniary interests.

Gasp! Well, THAT’s the kind of liberal food fight I want watch. Especially if it involves enviros heaving Big Gulps at other enviros, either in Manhattan- or Martha’s Vineyard.

On the one side, we have Obama and the White House, along with Mass. Governor Deval Patrick, who Republicans have accused of using undue influence on the Cape Wind project ala other green schemes just like they did with Solyndra.

“[E]mails — obtained by Cape Wind foes through a public records request,” reports the Boston Herald, “and provided to the Herald — do not specifically name Obama or Gov. Deval Patrick. But other public documents in the decade-old Cape Wind saga show that Patrick not only embraced the project but also was prodded to convince Obama to do the same.”

The White House replied with something like: “I am not a crook. What’s that stain on Monica’s dress? I killed bin Laden. It’s George Bush fault. Tax the billionaires! Take that Libya! I [heart] gays. I [heart] some Hispanics, but others not so much. Sandra Fluke may be loose, but she’s not a slut. If only Catholics would pay for abortions out of priests’ salaries we really could get this economy going again. They picked to be born in a country where my tax dollars fund the roads they drive to church on. All Democrats might be half-Cherokee for purposes of federal set aside rules. Send more stimulus.”

There was more, but I digress- which of course qualifies me to be a top Obama campaign strategist. Forward! Or better yet: Digress! It’s kind of the Obama campaign equivalent of Monty Python’s King Arthur’s call to “Run Away.”

On the other side of the Cape Wind dispute are rich, entitled, trust fund liberals who want to enjoy their tequila sunrise unimpeded, unhindered and undiluted.

While most polls show support for the project- even though it makes electricity at higher costs than regular power plants (this is Massachusetts after all) - Heartland reports that a poll “by the College of Marine Studies at the University of Delaware, found high-income residents were the least likely to support Cape Wind.”

Gee I wonder why that is? It’s not that they own ocean-front property, right?

Kennedy cites the navigation hazards in the Sound, because that’s where he and his friends drive big, bad, blinged-out boats.

Yeah: The boat Kennedy is on, pictured below courtesy MSNBC, is the BIG one in the background.

And of course, nothing drives enviros to even further extreme positions than big, bad, blinged boats when all they get is a raft with frumpy women. Is that Sandra Fluke hiding under that hat?

“We are, simply put, in a state of ecological emergency," says a letter cited by MSNBC asking Kennedy to reconsider his position. "Constructing windmills six miles from Cape Cod, where they will be visible as half-inch dots on the horizon, is the least that we can do."

Well, the least we can do actually is consider the true economic costs- you know, the ones for me and thee- and make decision based on that. That’s where liberals really have a hard time. Because their belief system includes everything except for a belief in any fixed principle, while specifically excluding the concept of hypocrisy for themselves.

And that’s what I love about in-house, liberal fights.
I can condemn both side and still be right.


Coal Matters – Even in Manhattan

Ken Blackwell

Coal today may seem of little relevance to many residents of New York City or other American urban centers. It long ago ceased to fuel the furnaces of their homes and apartment buildings in winter.

But long after it disappeared from the uses most visible to city dwellers, coal is still the critical fuel behind the everyday functions of their lives. Across the U.S., for more than a century, coal has remained quietly at work – providing in recent years nearly half the electricity that lights urban buildings and streets, keeps air conditioners humming on hot days and energizes computers and TVs to inform and entertain. Electricity generated with coal powers the factories that produce all manner of food, clothing, cars and other goods for Americans everywhere.

Coal maintains that role with good reason. It is America’s most abundant energy resource; our coal reserves are the world’s largest, sufficient to last more than 250 years. That abundance makes coal affordable; over the decades its price has been far more stable that of another major power generation fuel, natural gas. And way below costs those promising but still-unproven resources, solar and wind power.

Meanwhile, science has made coal a much cleaner fuel. Utilities’ use of coal for power generation has jumped more than 180 percent since 1970 but emissions from those plants have plummeted 75 percent. And the march of technology promises even cleaner coal in the years ahead.

Apparently, all those facts have escaped the attention of New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg. This month, he marshaled 90 U.S. mayors behind a campaign of misinformation that could in short order end the use of coal for power generation – and in doing so wipe out America’s historic coal industry.

In a letter to the EPA Administrator, Bloomberg and his fellow mayors expressed strong support for new air quality regulations that will shut down coal fired power generation on the grounds that coal is too “dirty” and must immediately be replaced with generation fueled by natural gas, solar and wind power.

Joining Mayor Bloomberg on the letter were my successor as Mayor of Cincinnati, Mark Mallory, two other Ohio mayors (Michael Coleman of Columbus and Bruce Rinker of Mayfield Village), the senior elected officials of big cities from Atlanta to Boston Chicago, Denver, Houston and Los Angeles, and the chief executives of smaller but staunchly “progressive” strongholds such as Burlington, VT, Takoma Park, MD, Maui County, HI, and Decatur, GA.

With one stroke of the pen, all wrote off the fuel that has helped make possible a century of economic growth in their cities. They accepted the higher electric rates that utility executives say are certainly on the way as today’s historically low natural gas prices zoom upward while wind and solar power, for the foreseeable future, remain very expensive.

The mayors also agreed, in signing that letter, to condemn the jobs of 555,000 Americans who mine, transport, market and utilize coal, along with their combined annual income of $36.3 billion.

All of this comes less than a year after Mayor Bloomberg announced plans to donate $50 million to the Sierra Club to support its nationwide campaign to eliminate coal-fired power plants.

On many levels, I have great respect and admiration for my fellow Republican, Mayor Bloomberg. Elected in the dark days just after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he helped rebuild the city both physically and emotionally. In that and other roles he has followed a course of pragmatic progressivism, addressing public concerns on social – and environmental – issues with a common-sense approach that recognizes economic realities.

So I am surprised and very disappointed that he would lead his mayoral colleagues in demonizing a valuable American energy resource, assuring higher utility bills for Americans still strapped by a slow economic recovery, and wiping out one of our oldest industries.

My personal commitment to cleaning up and protecting our environment runs deep. I’m proud of the progress America has made these past 40 years from a land of smoggy skylines and dead rivers to one that is getting cleaner by the day.

But I also understand that our environmental ideals must be balanced with recognition of our economic challenges, both short- and long-term. We can’t build a stronger economy and create the millions of jobs we need if we’re paying sharply higher utility bills and killing a half million good-paying jobs in the process.

Numerous polls show that the majority of Americans share that pragmatism. I thought Michael Bloomberg was among them, until I saw that letter to the EPA Administrator.


Pipeline Death By a Thousand Studies

There has never been a more "shovel ready" project in history than the Keystone XL pipeline, which has been exhaustively engineered, studied, reviewed, and re-reviewed as Obama tries to kill the project without admitting that's what he's doing. At stake are about 20,000 immediate jobs, a secure supply of North American oil, billions in private investment, and the global efficiency benefits of connecting a major crude source to the world's most efficient refining center. The latest news is that rather than simply say "yes," Obama is conducting yet another open-ended study.

The original permit application for the project was submitted in 2008. The State Department exhaustively reviewed every aspect of the proposal.

The State Department issued three different press releases in the spring of 2011 -- in March, April, and June -- that included this sentence: "The U.S. Department of State expects to make a decision on whether to grant or deny the permit before the end of 2011."

The president's jobs council touted the economic benefits of pipelines in its official report, saying: "Policies that facilitate the safe, thoughtful and timely development of pipeline, transmission and distribution projects are necessary."

But what if such timely development comes into conflict with ideologically motivated, powerful environmental special interests? We now know where Obama comes down.

The environmental protest crowd decided to make this into a litmus test political issue, instead of the no-brainer source of jobs and affordable energy that it really is. Their professed concern is that developing energy from increasingly-important unconventional sources, like the Alberta oil sands, will increase global warming.

Even if they're right, they're wrong to oppose the pipeline. If the Canadians can't build a pipeline to U.S. refineries, they've already announced they'll build a pipeline to export terminals on the west coast of Canada instead, from which it will go to dirtier and less efficient Asian refineries. A lose-lose for the economy and the environment.

The State Department's exhaustive review process ended last summer, and they recommended approval. All that remained was the usually perfunctory approval of the president. But Obama ignored all the reviews, the evidence, and the recommendations of his own jobs council to side with the protest crowd. He said he would wait until after his re-election to decide whether to approve it.

Congress forced his hand in a bipartisan bill passed around Christmas. It required Obama to decide to either approve or reject the pipeline within 60 days. He rejected it.

The pipeline company resubmitted the application.

Now the State Department is conducting yet another review. A new public comment period has been opened through the end of July, and the State Department will then review those comments. Who knows how long that will take? This is despite the fact that the review issued last August all but approving the project was labeled "final."

Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota, which needs the pipeline to efficiently bring some of the oil from its miraculous energy boom to market, observed: "In essence they're saying, 'OK, now we're going to start all over again.'"

With unemployment rates and gas prices still painfully high, the thousands of workers hoping for jobs building the pipeline and the millions of Americans who will benefit from the oil that will flow through it can't afford to wait. Obama needs to stop playing the endless-study game and approve the Keystone XL pipeline now.


The Scope of the Plastic Shopping Bag Problem

How big of a problem do plastic shopping bags pose to the environment?

Since the elected supervisors of Los Angeles' City Council recently voted to ban plastic shopping bags at the city's retailers, largely in response to "clean-water" advocates, who argue that the bags "pollute the ocean and the city's waterways", we thought we'd get a sense of just how big that problem really is.

Our chart below presents the answer, which refers to data that those who support bans on plastic shopping bags frequently cite in advancing their agenda:

The values shown in the chart above were originally reported in 2004. There are a number of points to note about the results for the first-ever worldwide cleanup of the coastal areas of the United States and 100 other countries:

* The use of plastic shopping bags really began taking off worldwide in the 1980s.

* By 2003, "environmental groups" estimate that anywhere from 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic shopping bags were being used annually.

* Despite never having been done before, meaning that about as many bags as could be found would be found during the Ocean Conservancy's one-day long campaign to clean up the world's coastal areas in September 2003, just 354,000 bags were collected. Most, but not all, were made of plastic.

More fascinating to us however, we've discovered that so-called "green" advocates are incredibly fond of recycling the Ocean Conservancy's 354,000 bag cleanup figure from September 2003, citing it as being a valid figure that applies year, after year, after year. We're nearly at the decade anniversary and apparently, only 354,000 bags ever get cleaned up from the world's coastal areas each year!

Either that means the problem is not getting any worse despite a great deal of economic and population growth worldwide in the intervening years, which would have greatly increased the world's consumption of plastic shopping bags, or that these environmental activists just don't care enough about the environment to bother with picking up more than 354,000 mostly plastic bags from the world's coastal areas in any given year.

The alternative possibility is that a large number of environmental activists recycle the data because updating it would take actual effort on their part. Plus, there's the little matter of how foolish they might look if they ever fail to collect at least as many as their apparent annual quota of 354,000 bags!

If only these people cared more about the environment!...


Energy Policy - Change or Die!

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Several years ago I came across a well-written book that outlined a step-by-step process for personal change. The book, Change Or Die, actually explored the psychology of change. The author, Alan Deutschman, helped me to focus several important health changes in my personal life. I chose to “Change”, not “Die.”

The Obama administration is at an important cross roads or a “Change or Die” moment as well with regard to energy. The president wants to be seen as a job creator but his green policies have squandered resources and disillusioned all but the most ardent energy zealots. The president could ease the burden of the average American citizen by simply backing away from his rigid ideology concerning energy. Ironically, his energy policies have begun to exacerbate the cash problems of our hardest working citizens. I bear no ill will toward President Obama, and I defend him whenever I can; but there are a few areas where his policies are simply indefensible.

We have all heard the administration’s cronies exhort us that “we must not balance the budget on the backs of the poor.” I most heartily agree. Neither must we attempt to save the planet by sacrificing the poor on the altar of environmental extremism. For all the administration’s rhetoric concerning working class folks, they have initiated an energy war on the poor.

For almost four years, the president’s energy policies have not truly focused on conservation or saving the earth; they have been about placating the lobby of environmental radicals who view mankind as parasites on the environment - not stewards of it. As unbelievable as it sounds, these extremists actually want energy to be more expensive.

Let me be more specific. Earlier this year, the Obama administration rejected a proposal to build a pipeline between Alberta, Canada and Texas. The “Keystone Pipeline” would have brought in about 700,000 barrels of oil a day and created tens of thousands of jobs for Americans. Although the proposal had received bipartisan support, the administration claimed it needed more time to gather and review information.

The initial application, however, was filed in 2008, and the Department of State has already conducted a three year environmental impact review. At a time when everyone in the country needs more affordable energy and jobs, the White House rejected both. Why? Because environmental extremists care more about soil composition than people.

The Keystone decision was the latest in a long series of policy choices that prevents Americans from obtaining the affordable energy we all need, and increases our dependence on petroleum from the Middle East. This policy not only drives up fuel prices, but also further weakens our already struggling economy. Who suffers most as gasoline creeps steadily toward $5 a gallon and heating and air conditioning costs rise? Not the folks making the decisions to keep it that way, I can promise you that.

Meanwhile, the White House’s two best ideas seem a little less than brilliant. First of all, it wants to combat our energy problems by investing heavily in “green” energy for the long term. Second, it wants to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the short term. Even a casual observer can see that the President’s green energy initiative has been financially disastrous. From the failures of flagship companies like Solyndra, which went bankrupt despite hundreds of millions of dollars of federal aid, to the cost of each green job actually created, legislators from both sides of the aisle no longer view federally funded green energy projects as the future of economic growth. To add insult to injury, a recent Wall Street Journal investigation discovered that most of the jobs reportedly “created” with countless dollars of stimulus money were temporary, and some are not even real! For example, 4.3 billion dollars went to 36 wind farms which reported the creation of “7,200 jobs,” but now employ only 300. That is a cost of over $14 million per permanent job!

As for tapping into the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, James L. Jones and Jason S. Grumet of the Bipartisan Policy Center weighed in through the New York Times, saying that this is a bad idea. They explain, “The oil reserve....should be preserved to address an emergency disruption in supply.” They go on to state the obvious solution: “Despite the traditional election-year rancor, there is actually considerable bipartisan agreement on what needs to be done. Increasing domestic oil production is extremely important to our economy and to reducing our trade deficit.”

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Grumet and Jones’ analysis is the fact that Jones is a former Obama advisor. Affordable energy must be a vital part of putting Americans back to work. Unfortunately, the man in charge appears to be brainwashed by environmental activists. The Declaration of Independence says we need a government, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” If we accept this foundational truth, we must demand better from our president, his administration and our legislators. It’s time to call for a real change.


Eco Scare Scams Raise Obama Campaign Cash

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is in the news for its investigation into Fast and Furious. The committee has not let go, however, of the investigation into the “cozy ties” between the Obama administration and green energy projects funded through Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees. A hearing was held on Tuesday, during which emails were released showing that a senior advisor in the DOE loan program was “too close” with a loan recipient—“giving the company access to pre-decisional information encouraging the company to make edits to internal documents.”

Tuesday’s hearing is one of the latest attacks on the loan guarantee program that have intensified since the public collapse of Solyndra drew attention to the department’s policies. The story is much bigger than Solyndra and wider than the DOE.

US energy subsidies, including spending, tax breaks and loan guarantees, increased from $17.9 billion in 2007 to $37.2 billion in 2010. The Obama administration would likely have us believe that the money spent is to reduce dependence on foreign oil while increasing international economic competiveness, to create jobs, and to address environmental degradation. However, as Peter Foster stated in his Financial Post column about the failure of the Rio +20 conference that ended on Saturday, “bogus eco scares” are being manufactured “as a rationale for payoffs”—which is certainly what has happened for the DOE subsidies.

At Tuesday’s hearing, the CEO of the company in question defended the project saying that it would “generate significant solar energy output and thereby contribute to the goal of energy independence.” What? Solar energy creates electricity. The US already has the resources to be electricity independent with enough coal, uranium, and natural gas to generate all the needed electricity for hundreds of years—if not thousands. Peter Foster’s assessment is more realistic: “a rationale for payoffs.” The subsidies to green energy projects are rife with implications of “payoffs” to Obama administration insiders, campaign donors, and other top Democrat insiders.

For example, according to the Washington Free Beacon, “Seven solar companies received fast-tracked approval by the Department of the Interior to lease federal lands in a no-bid process: Abengoa Solar, BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Nevada Geothermal Power, NextEra Energy Resources, Ormat Nevada, and SolarReserve.” Each of these seven companies received billions of DOE funds under the 1705 loan program as well as renewable energy grants from the Treasury Department—despite “junk bond” status. (Note: a junk bond is defined as a “high-risk, non-investment-grade bond with a low credit rating, usually BB or lower. … Opposite of investment-grade bond.”) And each has “connections.”

* Abengoa has two solar projects: Solana and Mojave Solar. Solana’s Fitch rating is BB+. Just before Christmas, 2010, the company received $1.45 billion from the DOE for a solar thermal plant, to use parabolic trough technology, in Gila Bend, AZ. Mojave Solar’s rating was BB. Yet the company received $1.2 billion in September 2011 for its solar assembly collection project in San Bernardino County, CA. Abengoa has connections to California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.

* BrightSource Energy has a three-unit power system project known as “Ivanpah,” located near the California/Nevada border, south of Las Vegas, that uses a proprietary power-tower solar thermal system. Ivanpah I and III have a BB+ rating while Ivanpah II is BB. On April 11, 2011, the DOE announced the finalization of $1.6 billion in loan guarantees for BrightSource’s Ivanpah project. The apparent “payoffs” to Democrats are myriad—having donated at least $21,600 to Democrats since 2008 (and zero dollars to Republicans). According to a Washington Free Beacon report, Senator Harry “Reid received almost $4,000 from Brightsource executives in the 2010 cycle, including $2,400 from CEO John Woolard, who hosted a fundraiser for the majority leader. Woolard is also a Barack Obama donor and has visited the White House 10 times since Obama took office.” Additionally, Sanjay Wagle (a significant 2008 Obama campaign supporter and contributor), a principal at Vantage Point Partners (the major stakeholder in BrightSource) was an advisor at the DOE at the time the loan was approved. And, John Bryson, BrightSource CEO, became Obama’s Secretary of Commerce (although he resigned his post late Wednesday) and has ties to an organization that helped craft the stimulus package.

* First Solar manufacturers “thin film” solar modules and is now moving into project development. While First Solar is not in the “junk bond” list, they do hold the unique distinction of being the single worst performer in the SPX in 2011. Additionally, they are linked to three junk-bond projects: Aqua Caliente (AZ), BB+; Antelope Valley Solar Ranch (CA), BBB-; and Desert Sunlight (CA), BBB-. First Solar was an early green investment of Goldman Sachs—which gave more than $1 million to the 2008 Obama campaign. Goldman Sachs executives sat on Obama’s 2008 Finance Committee and others were bundlers. In Throw Them All Out, Peter Schweizer reports on First Solar investor Paul Tudor Jones, who was a 2008 Obama bundler, and First Solar CEO Michael Ahearn, who “gives generously (and exclusively) to Democrats.”

* Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) holds leasehold interests in six geothermal projects located in the Western United States. They hold a BB+ rating and received a $78.8 million loan, guaranteed by the DOE, in September of 2011. Executives from NGP contributed heavily in 2008 to Harry Reid’s campaign.

* NextEra Energy Resources calls itself a leader in clean energy including “operating the largest US solar energy site.” Despite its self-proclaimed “leader” status, two of its projects: Genesis Solar and Desert Sunlight, hold ratings of BBB+ and BBB-. The Genesis Solar project received $681.6 million in August 2010, and Desert Sunlight: $1.2 billion. Here, there is an obvious conflict of interest as NextEra’s CEO, Lewis Hay, serves on the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

* Ormat Nevada is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ormat Technologies Inc., whose website touts “green energy you can rely on.” They have an S&P rating of BB and received $350 million in partial loan guarantees. Ormat’s lobbyist Kai Anderson and Director of Policy and Business Development Paul Thomsen were both former senate aides to Harry Reid and donors to his campaign.

* SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes project is a solar thermal power tower plant utilizing the advanced molten salt power tower technology with integrated storage located in Tonopah, NV. The company's Fitch rating is BB, yet in September 2011, it was the recipient of $737 million in DOE loan guarantees. Obama’s law school buddy and 2008 Obama campaign bundler, Michael Froman, was managing director of alternative investments at Citigroup—which became a major investor in SolarReserve. Froman currently serves on the White House staff. Additionally, other high profile Democrats are involved with SolarReserve.

These seven green energy loan recipients are just a sampling of the risky investments the Obama administration made with our dollars, and I’ve only covered a few highlights. An entire book could be written tracking all of the interconnected dots. Since the time Obama entered into his public equity business, his success rate has been dismal—with the majority of the “high-risk” investments not producing a high-yield (in fact, at least 25 of the “investments” have gone bankrupt or are facing imminent closure).

On Friday, June 22, a guest on Varney & Co. suggested corporations use our money to spend on political campaigns and Charles Payne pointed out it’s not our money as we pay for goods and services by exchanging money that then becomes the corporations’ money. In fact, it is Obama who is using our money—the taxpayer dollars (and those borrowed from China) to fund his campaign by giving our money to high-risk projects in which his friends are involved, who then donate some of it back to him. Watch your mail box for the “thank you” note for your Obama campaign donation.



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