Thursday, March 13, 2014
Guacamole Crisis Dissolves Like other Global Warming Myths
James M. Taylor
Chipotle Mexican restaurants reported it is experiencing no shortage of avocadoes, putting an end to the latest mythical global warming crisis just hours after it began.
Chipotle made international news Tuesday when it strategized in its annual report that it may choose to respond to spikes in salsa or guacamole ingredients by temporarily not offering salsa or guacamole with its dishes. The annual report speculated weather volatility or global warming might be potential causes of such price spikes.
No sooner did global warming activists report with glee that they had discovered a climate change crisis than Chipotle put a damper on the alarmist claims. Chipotle reported it has experienced no avocado or guacamole problems. Instead, ingredients for salsa and guacamole have been plentifully available.
"As a public company ... we are required to disclose any potential issues that could have potential impact on our business, and we do that very thoroughly,” Chipotle explained to the Los Angeles Times.
Chipotle’s explanation embarrassed global warming activists and their media allies, who had already begun spreading the Chicken Little alarm that avocadoes were falling from the sky.
“Chipotle’s Climate Change Warning: Guacamole Could Be at Stake,” warned the Huffington Post.
“Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole if Climate Change Gets Worse,” exclaimed the leftist climate activist group Climate Progress.
As I documented last year in an article for Forbes.com, global warming is substantially improving growing conditions at the national and global level for virtually all crops. Increasing soil moisture, longer growing seasons, and the beneficial fertilizing effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide are causing a dramatic long-term rise in crop production.
Rand Paul: U.S. Anti-Energy Policies Empower Russian Aggression
James M. Taylor
The Obama administration’s anti-energy policies empower Russia aggression and take away America’s ability to respond, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) explained in a Time magazine editorial. Paul said America has all the means to deter and punish Russian military aggression without the use of American military force but the Obama administration has taken important economic weapons off the table with its anti-energy policies.
Vladimir Putin violated international law by invading the Ukraine, Paul noted. The senator from Kentucky insisted the United States should take the lead role in deterring and responding to such aggression. Paul outlined several potent economic weapons at the United States’ disposal, many of which draw upon our prodigious energy resources.
One economic weapon would be taking decisive stepts to eliminate Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and natural gas.
“I would do everything in my power to aggressively market and export America’s vast natural gas resources to Europe,” said Paul. “I would immediately remove every obstacle or current ban blocking the export of American oil and gas to Europe, and I would lift restrictions on new oil and gas development in order to ensure a steady energy supply at home and so we can supply Europe with oil if it is interrupted from Ukraine.”
“Because of so many of our current needless laws and regulations, President Obama has left Europe completely vulnerable because of its dependence on Russian oil and gas,” Paul explained.
Paul observed that building the Keystone Pipeline would bolster America’s supply of oil from friendly nations.
“I would support immediate construction of the Keystone Pipeline,” said Paul.
“The Budapest Memorandum said that Russia wouldn’t violate the integrity of Ukraine, but now it has,” Paul explained. “There is no realistic military option in this conflict, at least for the U.S. But this does not mean there aren’t options, many of which I’ve outlined here. The real problem is that Russia’s President is not currently fearful or threatened in any way by America’s President, despite his country’s blatant aggression. But let me be clear: If I were President, I wouldn’t let Vladimir Putin get away with it.”
The "Green" Democrat sugar-daddy
Monday night in the U.S. Senate, something historic happened. Democrats took to the floor and demanded…um…nothing, really. And they weren’t going to leave until…they felt like it, I guess. That was the gist of the PR stunt known as “#Up4Climate” on Twitter.
It was a filibuster that wasn’t really a filibuster that sought to draw attention to an issue progressives have deemed so important they have not offered or attempted to pass anything on since they took control of the Senate in 2007. That’s right, Senate Democrats have no legislation to address the coming “doom” they predict from the Artist Formerly Known As Global Warming. They just wanted to draw attention to it.
The Artist Formerly Known As Global Warming has been lingering near toenail fungus and the Canadian Football League Championship on the list of concerns for Americans. This presents a problem for Democrats. They raise millions in campaign cash from rich donors who stand to make billions from subsidies from so-called “green energy” scams, er, “investments” from government. It’s one hand washing the other, then stealing your wallet. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Normally Democrats wouldn’t waste their time with speeches after midnight that no one will watch on an issue no one cares about. But this dog and pony show had an audience of one – progressive sugar daddy Tom Steyer. It was such an obvious dance-for-campaign-cash that even the Washington Post said “There is another more political reason for the decision by Senate Democrats to devote their time to the issue right now. And that issue is campaign cash.” And there’s a lot of cash at stake, for everyone involved.
Tom Steyer is a hedge fund billionaire who made a fortune in oil and now spends his time and money trying to purge himself of the guilt he feels for the “harm” he’s done. He does this by buying politicians to force Americans to live how he wants them to live and to make a fortune in the process. He could just write a check to charity, but that would mean he’s genuinely interested in helping others rather than his investments return a healthy, taxpayer-provided profit. Everything progressives accuse Charles and David Koch of being Tom Steyer is.
Steyer is invested in “green” technologies and companies that simply do not work, at least not yet on the scale needed to replace current energy sources. They may some day, but not today.
But when you have billions there’s no need to wait for an investment to mature and be able to meet the needs of the market. You can just buy a political party, have it mandate people use your product and then collect subsidies along the way. Spending $100 million to elect Democrats who will make his will law seems like an insane proposition to a normal person, but normal people don’t generally become billionaires. Steyer isn’t taking a risk, he’s making an investment. And there’s no investment with a better return than politicians in Washington.
Steyer isn’t buying free-thinkers. He’s buying an army of progressive flying monkeys to force the use of his product and acceptance of his will on 330 million people. Although $100 million seems like a lot, it’s a drop in the Pacific Ocean compared to what success would return. Solar panels and windmills can’t compete with oil and coal for cost, reliability and efficiency, so people don’t use them. That’s the free-market. That’s why Steyer and the other “watermelons” (green on the outside, red on the inside) want government to give them money to build their businesses (risk is for suckers), then obligate everyone to use their product.
It’s exactly how the iPhone was developed, minus the subsidies and the forced purchases. Apple took a risk and created a product it thought people would want and buy. If people hadn’t bought it, Apple would’ve lost billions. But people did want it, and Apple made hundreds of billions. No one was forced to buy it. In fact, people slept outside Apple stores voluntarily to buy it.
If an energy source could be created that ran cars and light bulbs on hope and good vibes, people would be lining up to spend whatever it cost to buy it. Just like people would slap a solar panel and a windmill on their house in a second if it could do more than eventually partially toast a piece of bread. But if the cost of electricity could be taxed and regulated to unaffordable levels, alternatives, no matter how shoddy, would skyrocket in value.
That’s the problem with people such as Steyer. They’re anti-free-market, anti-opportunity, anti-that which made them successful, and they’re anti-American. That last one is harsh but perfectly accurate.
The Koch brothers, often accused by progressives as being anti-American, support organizations and a political philosophy that seeks to get government to leave people alone and allow them to earn what they can within the law and without harming others.
The Steyers of the world “invest” in politicians explicitly to not leave people alone. The politicians he invests in seek to control others, tax them, then take a slice of that tax pie and require the use of their products to get an even bigger pie all for themselves. Anti-American is the perfect word for that, but if you prefer another feel free to pick from a list of so many littered throughout history that end with “ism.” Or simply call it “progressive.”
Gallup: Climate Change Ranks Low on Americans' Worry List
The day after Senate Democrats pulled an all-nighter in an attempt to recruit new climate-change believers, a Gallup poll says the American people aren't that worried about climate change.
Only 24 percent of Americans say they worry a great deal about climate change, Gallup found. In fact, both "climate change" and "quality of the environment" were near the bottom of a list of 15 issues Gallup asked Americans to rate.
Only "race relations" ranked lower than those two issues in Gallup's March 6-9 survey.
The majority of Americans say they worry about climate change and quality of the environment "only a little" or "not at all"; but more than half of Americans worry about the other 13 issues at least "a fair amount."
At the top of the list in this election year were the economy, federal spending, and health care.
Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell questioned what the Democrats had accomplished with their all-night talkathon. He called it an "empty political stunt."
Democrats, who control the Senate, didn't introduce new legislation, nor did they announce a vote on any pending bills.
"They basically just talked. And talked. And tossed out political attacks at a party that doesn't even control the Democrat-run Senate. No wonder the American people have such a low opinion of Congress."
McConnell said the nation needs "two serious political parties in this country, debating serious ideas. When we see Washington Democrats throwing seriousness out the window like this, it's just bad for everyone."
If Democrats are really serious, they could -- and should bring up a "cap-and-tax" bill. "Let's have a debate," said McConnell, who opposes cap-and-trade.
But they won't do it, he added, "because too many members of their own party would vote against it."
McConnell said the American people don't want a "national energy tax" that would boost their utility bills. But he said Americans do want an end to the "jobs crisis."
"If only our friends on the other side were willing to talk a little less and work with us a little more, there's so much we could get done on that front.
Environmentalists Threaten Energy Development
Unhappy with their inability to halt the nation's growing oil and gas industry, envirofascists are pushing the Department of the Interior to add a record 757 new species to the Endangered Species Act in an attempt to close off 50 to 100 million acres to any kind of economic development. One bird for which they seek “protection” is the sage grouse, which is found in 11 western states, raising the question that if it lives in such a wide swath of territory, just how endangered can it be?
That is a question Interior refuses to answer. Like many of its studies over the years that have led to numerous additions to the ESA list, the department won't divulge the method by which it arrives at its decisions to define animals as endangered. A recent report put together by 13 House members and led by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings details numerous discrepancies in ESA research, including the use of selective data, biased sampling, inaccurate mapping and subjective interpretation of results.
The shoddy research stands unchallenged because environmental groups use a “sue and settle” strategy that basically floods the government with lawsuits that are more easily settled out of court than challenged on the merits. Two groups, Wildlife Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity, have been involved in more than 1,000 such lawsuits since 1990. Their aim is nothing short of ending fossil-fuel production in the United States. Their tactics have become so brazen that even Democrats like Senator Harry Reid and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper have complained that adding the sage grouse to the ESA list will have a massively negative economic impact on their respective states. Whether they will do anything about it is another story.
According to the Department of the Interior, the sage grouse and the prairie chicken, another potential addition to the list of endangered species, have habitats near the Bakken Shale fields of North Dakota and the Permian Basin in Texas, respectively. If the department's actions go unchallenged, these huge sources of fossil fuels could be essentially cut off from development. If the “science” of the environmentalists is as solid as they claim, then they should be called upon to defend their findings in an open forum. Let the facts speak for themselves, if they can.
The works of Lord Deben
Fraud and deceit in the usual Greenie way. Formerly John Gummer, Lord Deben is a prominent member of many Greenie organizations so he cannot afford to confront the facts -- JR
by Matt Ridley.
Lord Deben is chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, a body funded by the British taxpayer. He draws a salary of more than £35,000 from you and me. On the masthead of its website the committee claims to give “a balanced response to the risks of climate change” and “independent, evidence-based advice to the UK government and Parliament”.
Yet the committee consists entirely of people who think climate change will be dangerous; no sceptics or lukewarmers are on it, even though most hold views that are well within the “consensus” of climate science. Under Deben’s chairmanship since 2012 its pronouncements have become increasingly one-sided. Deben himself is frequently highly critical of any sceptics, often mischaracterizing them as “deniers” or “dismissers”, but has never to my knowledge been heard to criticize anybody for exaggerating climate alarm and the harm it can do to disadvantaged people. These are not the actions of an impartial chairman.
In the past year, as I shall detail, Lord Deben has three times launched sharp criticisms of me for arguing that some climate change projections are exaggerated. In each case, I have replied with detailed rebuttals based on peer-reviewed scientific literature to show that his criticisms were wrong, but my replies have been dismissed or ignored by Lord Deben. I suppose I should be flattered that this vendetta against me indicates that he clearly feels that my arguments threaten some part of his agenda. But on this third occasion he has sunk to a new low.
On 28 October 2013, I made a speech in the House of Lords in which I gave “nine separate examples of ways in which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has retreated to a slightly less alarming and less certain position than six years ago”. Notice first that this was a very mild claim. I was not saying there was no cause for alarm in the new report of the IPCC. I was not even saying that overall the document was less alarming (though in my judgment, it is). I was merely saying that in nine instances, it was “slightly” less alarming than in the previous report.
In other words, I was not adopting a position of denial, or even of skepticism. I was adopting, as I usually do, a “lukewarm” position: that there is a strong chance that climate change will happen but will be comparatively mild and slow and may well do less harm than the policies promoted in its name. The IPCC is slowly coming closer to this position in its main reports. My nine examples show this clearly. AR5 has acknowledged:
the recent “hiatus” in temperatures;
the likelihood that medieval temperatures may have been as high as today’s;
the unpredicted increase in Antarctic sea ice;
that 111 of 114 models had predicted too much warming over recent years
that the low end of equilibrium climate sensitivity is lower;
that the high end of transient climate response is lower;
that likely sea level rise is not as high as some experts have forecast
that collapses of the Gulf Stream, of Antarctic or Greenland ice sheets or of methane clathrates are “very unlikely” ;
that there is “low confidence” in the collapse of tropical forests, of boreal forests and of the monsoon, an explosion of greenhouse gases from the Arctic permafrost and an increase in megadroughts.
All in all, it is not unreasonable for an intelligent reader of the AR5 report to conclude that in these nine respects, the IPCC is reflecting the fact that scientists are slightly less alarmed or certain than they were six years before. I am not the only person to have reached this conclusion. Professor Judith Curry, Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, testifying to the Senate recently went considerably further than I did:
Multiple lines of evidence presented in the IPCC AR5 WG1 report suggest that the case for anthropogenic warming is weaker than the previous assessment AR4 in 2007.
A chairman of a Committee on Climate Change and who read my speech might decide to argue with me, and might even commission a report from an expert to assess my claims. He would however (1) tell me he was doing so; (2) seek my response; (3) tell me he was publishing the report on my speech; (4) publish the name of the author(s) of the report on my speech. He may not be under any legal obligation to do these things; but he would be under a moral one.
Lord Deben chose to do none of these four things. He did not have the courtesy to tell me he was commissioning a report, despite seeing me regularly in the House of Lords. He did not have the caution to ask for a response in case his report had missed an important source I had used. He did not have the manners to tell me the report had been published. He did not have the courage to put the report’s author’s name on it.
I came across the report by accident one day, when checking something else on the Committee’s website. I immediately wrote to Lord Deben (letter here) asking him a set of specific questions and giving a detailed response to his report. I pointed out that his report had several errors. The most striking was that in quoting the IPCC AR5 report they had cut some words and numbers out of a sentence. Those words and numbers were the very ones that proved me right, by showing no warming during the past 15 years. The only reason for excising these words and numbers was plainly to alter the sense of the sentence to mean something other than what it plainly said.
...the rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012; 0.05 [–0.05 to +0.15] °C per decade), which begins with a strong El Nino, is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951.
The words in bold were omitted.
In more than 30 years of science reporting I have never come across such a deceitful trick, let alone in an official government document. It is the sort of thing I might have expected to find coming from some of the more rabid and intolerant activist green groups, yet I do not think even they would stoop this low. Yet this was only one way in which the anonymous author of the report on my speech had cherry-picked, omitted, mined and distorted the words of the IPCC to try to imply that I was wrong in my moderate and careful assessment that in nine respects there is “slightly” less alarm in AR5 than there was in AR4.
I received a reply from Lord Deben that was dismissive and empty (see attached). He answered none of my questions, addressed none of my points and merely reasserted his right to commission such reports – a point I had not challenged. Having given him the opportunity to respond to my questions, which he has spurned, I am now prepared to go public.
So I am now publishing this account of the sorry saga, so that readers can decide for themselves whether my original speech was fair, whether the criticisms made by Lord Deben’s anonymous report were fair, and whether this is an appropriate way for a public servant to have behaved. I am putting it in the public domain so that, if others share my concerns about the bias of the Committee on Climate Change they can raise them with the committee themselves.
It would be interesting to ask: Who wrote this document? Why was it published without informing me? Why were key words omitted from key sentences in quotations? Why does the committee never challenge exaggerations in the same way as it challenges those arguing that climate change is moderate? How much did the preparation of this report cost? Why was I given no right of reply? Why did Lord Deben refuse to post my response to his report on his website? If you do raise these questions, please be polite, be factually accurate and be brief. And, as always, please quote exactly the words I or others used, not some paraphrase of them.
My recent experience, of being smeared in an inaccurate way about this topic of climate change policy by somebody employed in a public body is not unique. The same thing has happened to Roger Pielke Jr recently at the hands of Dr John Holdren, to Nic Lewis, Donna Laframboise and Dick Lindzen recently at the hands of Bob Ward, and to Bjorn Lomborg and Richard Tol also at the hands of Bob Ward. Not forgetting Ward’s attacks on Bishop Hill.
As I mentioned above, this is not the first time I have been attacked by Lord Deben. About a year ago, in a lecture in Oxford he mocked me for having a doctorate in biology (he has an English degree), and falsely charged – on the basis of a blog post written by a novelist (!) – that I had not cited the mainstream scientific literature when writing about ocean acidification. In fact in the relevant passage I had included direct quotations from 17 papers in the mainstream scientific literature, including a major meta-analysis of 372 peer-reviewed papers. Despite being requested twice to do so, Lord Deben declined to write to the organisers of the lecture to correct his mistake.
Later he wrote to fellow peers following a debate in the House of Lords saying that the “facts that were presented [by me in a speech] would be denied by almost every climatologist in the world”. I replied with direct quotations to show that I was citing mainstream scientific publications in every item of my speech. He ignored my letter.
In taking part in the debate on climate change over more than 25 years I have always tried to act with good manners, despite severe provocation. When I first covered this topic, I accepted alarming projections on trust. Since becoming more sceptical of exaggerated claims, I am used to being abused, ridiculed, smeared and inaccurately misquoted not only by amateur bloggers but by senior scientists and politicians and their spin doctors. I try never to respond in kind. The rudeness of the climate establishment towards anybody who argues for moderation is quite extraordinary, but I do not believe in emulating it. On Twitter Lord Deben has recently criticised sceptics for their rudeness. He should look in the mirror.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. 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 9:04 PM