Tuesday, August 06, 2013
Greenies fail to put their money where their mouth is
After two years with low enrollment, New Hampshire's largest electric utility is phasing out a program that allows customers to pay more to support renewable energy.
Utilities are required by law to offer customers the opportunity to support renewable energy by paying a higher rate — usually about 30 percent. But if not enough customers sign up, a utility can get permission from the state Public Utilities Commission to pull the plug. That's what happened with Public Service Company of New Hampshire's EarthSmart Green program, reports New Hampshire Public Radio (http://bit.ly/13brpNA).
The company says it would take just 1 percent of its total customers signing up to keep the program alive, but after two years, only 148 customers were enrolled, or about .04 percent.
Other utilities face similar situations. Unitil, which is weighing whether to continue its program, has just 25 people signed up, also about .04 percent of its customers.
"We gave out flyers, we give customers who do enroll some stickers (and) some clings they can put on their cards to try to generate some word of mouth, but it just seems to not really be growing much at all," spokesman Alec O'Meara said.
Participation has been a bit higher at the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, where customers can buy renewable electricity in "blocks" that cost $3 a month and represent about 100 kilowatts. At 1.2 percent participation, North American Power has been the most successful seller of green energy in New Hampshire.
Marine life on the move due to global warming -- say Australian Warmists
Now that global cooling has set in, it will be moving right back
The first global snapshot of marine life shifting under climate change has found it is on the move towards the poles at a rate of about seven kilometres a year. Fish and other marine creatures are seeking cooler habitat much faster than terrestrial life, according to an international study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
In Australia, this re-shaping of the marine ecosystem will have significant repercussions for people such as fishers, according to CSIRO marine ecologist and study leader Elvira Poloczanska.
Dr Poloczanska, of the University of Queensland, and 18 international colleagues found no doubt about who was responsible for the greenhouse gas-related warming of the ocean's upper layers. "Global responses of marine species revealed here demonstrate a strong fingerprint of this anthropogenic [caused by humans] climate change on marine life," the paper said.
Dr Poloczanska said in Australia's south-east, tropical and subtropical species of fish, molluscs and plankton were shifting much further south through the Tasman Sea.
A 2010 CSIRO study found that warm surf-zone species such as silver drummer were more abundant, while the range of others such as snapper and rock flathead has increased.
In the Indian Ocean, a southward distribution of seabirds has been detected, as well as a loss of cool-water seaweeds north of Perth.
The latest study assembled a data base of 1735 marine biological responses around the world, where climate change was considered to be a driver in species movement.
"The leading edge or 'front line' of a marine species distribution is moving towards the poles at the average rate of 72 kilometres per decade," Dr Poloczanska said. "This is considerably faster than terrestrial species moving poleward at an average of six kilometres per decade . . . despite sea-surface temperatures warming three times slower than land temperatures."
Radical Environmentalists Have Blood of 19 Arizona Firefighters on Their Hands
Nineteen firefighters died fighting a forest fire in Arizona earlier this summer. Curiously, almost no one is talking about why it happened, only that it was a tragedy. Arizona Deputy State Forestry Director Jerry Payne has been the only one to speak out about the cause, and he backtracked immediately afterwards, apologizing for what he said. He claimed that the superintendent of the Granite Mountain Hotshots violated wildlife safety protocols while fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30th, 2013, 60 miles north of Phoenix.
According to Payne, the superintendent’s violations allegedly included not knowing the location of the fire, failing to have a spotter serve as a lookout, and leading his crew through thick, unburned vegetation near a wildfire. There wasn’t a proper escape route in case the fire changed direction; the firemen would have to bushwhack through thick brush to retreat. The firefighters lost their lives when the fire suddenly changed direction and came at them, traveling 12 miles an hour. The fire destroyed more than 100 of the roughly 700 homes in Yarnell, burning 13 square miles. Flames shot up to 20 feet in the air.
The account given by Payne is not the whole picture. Firefighting today is not what it was 20 years ago. Fires 20 years ago moved slowly, at 2-3 mph. Today they move at speeds of 10-12 mph. There are three reasons for this. First, people are building more homes near or within forests. In the past, no one dared to build a house in the forest, because there weren’t fire departments everywhere. As one retired firefighter told me, “Try to find a photo of a house in the middle of the forest from 100 years ago. You can’t.”
Secondly, environmentalists started insisting that every forest fire be put out to save trees. Natural forest fires, which are necessary to preserve the balance of nature, are no longer allowed to burn. The overabundance of trees has created an easy path for forest fires. Firefighters who used to easily outrun forest fires can no longer do so. An op-ed in the Los Angeles Times explained the phenomenon last year, “Decades of heroic victories against fire led to gradual defeat in the larger war. Fuel builds up, and when it ignites, the fires burn hotter, faster and more destructively.”
The third reason there are faster wildfires is due to environmentalists’ efforts to shut down logging in the name of protecting the latest fashionable endangered species. Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have filed federal lawsuits against the U.S. Forest Service to stop it from thinning forests, and injunctions have been granted paralyzing the agency while years of litigation drag on. These include lawsuits against President George W. Bush’s 2003 Healthy Forests Initiative, which allowed more thinning of forests to prevent fires. Radical environmental groups are opposed to the removal of trees from old-growth forests. But dead trees need to be removed or burned in controlled fires, otherwise they present a highly flammable risk from lightning or arson. Ironically, mega-wildfires are burning down forests where logging has been prohibited – a waste of thousands of acres of trees.
These three factors have caused vegetation to become so dense across the country that it is too risky to attempt prescribed fires anymore. Many of the species the radical environmentalists claim need protection, such as the Spotted Owl, will not be saved by keeping more forest land standing. The Spotted Owl was already headed for extinction in the Northwest before the draconian policies were put into place. In 1990, green activists got regulations passed requiring timber companies to leave at least 40 percent of the old-growth forests intact within a 1.3 mile radius of any Spotted Owl nest or activity site. The Clinton administration used The Endangered Species Act to keep old-growth forests untouched. In 2008, liberal federal district judge Susan Bolton upheld a U.S. Forest and Wildlife decision to declare 8,600,000 acres (35,000 km2) in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico as critical habitat for the owl. Yet no one has any idea how many Spotted Owls are in the Southwest now. Bill Block, manager of the Forest Service's wildlife and terrestrial ecosystems program in Flagstaff, Ariz., told the New York Times a couple of years ago, "We don't know if we've got 5,000 owls or 10,000 owls, because there's never been a concerted effort to figure that out," he said. Ironically, the biggest threat to the Spotted Owl has become the mega-wildfires.
Forest fires used to burn across just a few acres of land. "Now, we’re firmly in the multiple 100,000-acre landscape fire,” Professor Wally Covington of Northern Arizona University lamented. It’s not uncommon for a forest fire to exceed 150 square miles. University of Idaho forestry expert Dr. Leon Neuenschwander has stated, “Flames are 90 feet tall instead of 3 feet tall.”
Part of the solution is to have people who choose to live near public forests help manage the risk. Libertarian writer John Stossel suggests that people who choose to live in risky areas, such as on oceanfront property, should be required to assume the risk, instead of leaving it to the government to bail them out. Developers should also be required to assume part of this risk, as a disincentive to build homes in risky areas.
Congress needs to start a full investigation into the radical environmental policies that led to this tragedy. Eighty-three firefighters died last year. This year will surpass that number, as 70 fatalities have been reported already. How many more firefighters must die before someone stops the radical environmentalists? They will only agree to cutting down small-diameter trees and the thinning of forests near communities. There are several laws that must be changed, including the National Environmental Policy Act. It has been used to prohibit logging and controlled forest fires. The Forest Service 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule (Roadless Rule), implemented during the last days of the Clinton administration, should be repealed. It prohibits roads on millions of acres of National Forests, making them off limits to logging or other use. Today, 58.5 million acres, or about 30 percent, of National Forests are roadless.
There will always be wildfires caused by lightning and arsonists, as well as species that become extinct due to natural causes. To pretend otherwise reeks of an agenda – an agenda to move Americans into urban areas and to reduce man’s technological control over nature. These socialist goals will leave more and more rural Americans and firefighters in danger, since no American can outrun an out of control forest fire.
Hot Lies Disputed by Cold Facts
By Alan Caruba
I have always found a stark contrast in the way the forecasts of meteorologists on television and radio are limited in accuracy to about a week and beyond that become more speculative while the claims about global warming are always stated in decades. For example, the polar ice caps were supposed to have all melted by now.
The daily forecasts are formulated based on sophisticated meteorological satellites. The global warming claims are all based on computer models, not empirical observation and data.
I am not a meteorologist, nor even a scientist. I am, however, a science writer who has followed the global warming hoax since it began in the late 1980s and picked up momentum as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing its computer-based doomsday claims.
The IPCC objective was to get nations to impose carbon taxes on “greenhouse gas emissions”, mostly carbon dioxide (CO2). Why anyone would want to tax CO2 when it is vital to all life on Earth is a mystery. The claim was that it was trapping heat. The essential flaw in all this scare mongering is that the Earth is an extraordinary self-adjusting mechanism and more CO2 is great news for thriving forests and growing crops.
Two friends of mine, both recognized as major voices in the world of meteorology, Joseph D’Aleo, a certified consulting meteorologist, and Dr. William Gray, were joined by Dr. Neil Frank, another respected member of the profession, in a July 8 letter sent to Keith Seitter, the Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society, these AMS Fellows, took him and the Society to task for continuing to push the bogus assertion that a “consensus” of its members believe that global warming is occurring.
A Wikipedia page notes that the American Meteorological Society was founded in 1919 and “promotes the development and dissemination of information and education in atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic science.” The Society has a membership of more than 14,000 professionals, professors, students, and weather enthusiasts.
Suffice to say, global warming is the greatest hoax of the modern era and is seriously undermined by the fact that the Earth has been in one of its natural cooling cycles for the last seventeen years at this point.
Even so, D’Aleo, Drs. Frank and Gray, felt compelled to put Seittler on notice. “We know you have used your authority as Executive Director to push the AMS ‘climate consensus’ position…” noting the way Seittler had worked “to refine the message to help sell the ‘consensus’ position to the membership and the public.”
Since the publication of science papers advances knowledge, blocking them has the opposite effect. “Your editors have slow-walked and thrown up obstacles to paper that challenge the ‘consensus’ position, often forcing authors to go elsewhere.”
“This pattern disturbs us, but there is another development that is even more disconcerting, and that is a campaign of intimidations launched by an advocacy group known as Forecast the Facts. While they claim to be a grass roots organization, the IRS tells us that Forecast the Facts is funded by the Center for American Progress, which is a left-wing advocacy group that has, in turn, been heavily funded by George Soros.”
“Forecast the Facts harasses TV stations whenever their meteorologists present a skeptical view on global warming, whether on-air, in blogs, local op-eds, or twitter accounts.” For the three men of science this kind of thuggish behavior, combined with the AMS position, has reached a point where they felt compelled to challenge it. It is occurring as the lie that a vast number of scientists support the global warming hoax is “failing miserably” when put forth by the AMS, the IPCC, and two government agencies, the EPA and NOAA.
The meteorological trio pointed out that “global hurricane frequency is at a 30+year low and strong tornado trends are down. There is no long term in droughts and floods. Snow and cold have been increasing in winter, not decreasing as the IPCC and NOAA climate reports have forecasted. We have seen deceleration in sea level rises.” The opposite of these facts have been the claims still being made in the name of global warming.
They concluded saying, “We also hope to hear from you that the AMS is not endorsing, or in any way colluding in or supporting, the tactics Forecast the Facts is using to enforce conformity with the official position of the AMS…”
In an August 4 blog post on IceCap.us, D’Aleo’s website, he reported on the response he received from Seitter who clearly got the message. “Personally, I do not feel the Forecast the Facts approach is a productive one and I have told them so on several occasions” referring their demand that weather reporters who do not hue to the global warming lies be fired.
D’Aleo’s post noted what Michael Crichton said about consensus. “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming the matter is already settled. Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics.”
The time is overdue for the American Meteorological Society to abandon any role in advancing a hoax that Mother Nature herself has exposed. Three cheers for these three statesmen of meteorology.
Down with pets!
There are 14 million pets in Canada, and we’re spending more on them than ever before. These stories explore how the animals among us are shaping us all.
If man has such an impact on the environment, why not its best friends – especially now that they are so numerous and so often treated like people?
And they all have to eat. This year, a federal report says, Canadians will spend more than $1.5-billion on nearly a half-million tonnes of dog and cat food (hissing cockroaches like it as well).
Globally, the figures are about 20 million tonnes, worth $55-billion (U.S.), says Kelly Swanson, a specialist in animal nutrition at the University of Illinois.
Producing that much nourishment comes at a cost, and Prof. Swanson is among the growing ranks of scientists so concerned about the ecological footprint of pet ownership that they have begun to quantify it, asking how green, rather than how much, is that doggie in the window?
The early indications are grim. From the land, fossil fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, water and machinery required to grow, package and transport their food to the array of products for grooming animals and keeping them healthy and the mountain of waste they produce – 620,000 tonnes a year by Canadian dogs alone – pets are putting the Earth under ever-greater pressure.
More than half of all Canadian households have at least one pet, according to a 2008 survey for the Banff Summit for Urban Animal Strategies. The national population of dogs and cats is nearly 14 million – a figure that industry analysts say hits about 158 million when those in the United States, the source of most Canadians’ pet food, join the mix.
Compounding pets’ environmental expense is the fact that, as well as their collective consumption, they now eat on average more as individuals – often far more than they need.
This is due to a trend that marketers happily call “humanization.” Owners increasingly treat pets like people, so it may stand to reason that society’s obesity problem has trickled down.
“This is really about a commercial system we have created,” says Patricia Cameron, executive director of Green Calgary, a non-profit agency that helps to reduce ecological footprints.
Yet most commercial foods contain double or triple the protein that studies show animals need. It’s the protein – whether it comes from carbon-intensive fish, lamb or beef – that is the biggest contribution to the environmental footprint.
Producers use some ingredients that are castoffs from the human food chain – which is an eco-benefit – but not enough to offset the willingness of many animal lovers to pay a premium for pet cuisine that channels something they, too, find appealing.
That adds to the eco-cost, but pet-food makers are happy to accommodate. Alpo offers Canada’s more than five million dogs Homestyle Prime Cuts London Grill & Wholesome Veggie Accents in Gravy, while Pedigree, the nation’s top brand, counters with Choice Cuts: “meaty chunks in a delicious gravy dogs love.”
For feline foodies, top-selling Whiskas pitches Cuts With Real Chicken & Liver in Sauce, part of a line that lets owners “indulge your cat’s sense of taste with … real poultry, meat, or seafood.”
This culinary emphasis helps to explain why analysts expect global sales to jump in the next three years by more than one-third to nearly $75-billion (U.S.).
Clearly, such a thriving business provides profit and employment, but at what cost? For example, New Zealand eco-footprint experts Brenda and Robert Vale analyzed the environmental toll of producing pet food for their 2009 book Time to Eat the Dog? The Real Guide to Sustainable Living. They came to the remarkable conclusion that owning a medium-sized mutt is twice as environmentally expensive as making a Toyota Land Cruiser and driving it for a year (10,000 kilometres). By comparison, they found cats to be about one-fifth as needy, roughly equal to doing the same with a Volkswagen Golf.
Ruinous green policies mean rising profits for UK energy companies
YESTERDAY the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee released a report arguing that energy regulator Ofgem should force energy companies to produce more detailed financial information. One of the members of the committee – John Robertson MP – told the BBC that he needed to be able to assess whether the profits of the energy companies were excessive.
It is a testament to the poor quality of financial education in the UK that preening politicians are allowed to get away with that kind of posturing. Either the MPs do not understand the consequences of the regulations they proudly vote through Parliament, or they do and this is a very unpleasant attempt to fool the public.
It is really not complicated: the government wants to radically increase our use of renewable energy, which is both very expensive and very capital intensive. To meet government targets, Liberum Capital estimates that the energy sector will need to invest £161bn by 2020 and another £215bn between 2020 and 2030. That means £376bn in total, of which only £151bn would be needed without government targets.
All of that investment has to be paid for, and that means higher profits in the energy sector. All of those profits have to be paid for, and that means higher prices for consumers. There is just no way that the government’s policy can work without much higher profits in the energy sector and much higher prices for consumers.
If a new nuclear reactor costs around £6.5bn, for instance, and needs a roughly 10 per cent pre-tax return to be viable, British Gas would have to increase its profits by £650m to invest in a single new reactor – more than its £606m operating profit in 2012. Investing £376bn, even at a lower rate of return, would require a massive rise in energy sector profits.
That is why – for all of the ridiculous bluster from the Department of Energy and Climate Change – most analysts expect sharp increases in prices as a result of the government’s policies. Liberum Capital attempted a straw poll, but of the 55 experts it spoke to, none believed the Department’s case that policy would not increase consumer bills.
The energy companies deserve their fair share of criticism too. They have backed many of the most disastrous regulations, like the carbon floor price, which will push up prices for families and business here; reduce them in the rest of Europe; and do nothing to reduce European carbon dioxide emissions overall. Eventually even the shareholders will lose out, when a backlash against rising prices and rising profits results in cuts to subsidies or some kind of windfall tax.
But there is no excuse for the politicians. If they do not have the courage of their convictions to convince the public that high prices and high profits in the energy sector are right and necessary, they should scrap these ruinously expensive policies. They have no right to mislead their constituents.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here
Posted by JR at 7:24 PM