Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A radical idea

Whether or not man has caused global warming isn’t really the question.

The question that we’re asking now is to what extent the so-called climate change models have predictive value, when in fact, 114 out of 117 predictions made in regards to global warming have proven wrong.

Warming forecasts have consistently overstated the amount of warming that’s happening. They also missed the decade and a half long pause in global warming that we’re currently experiencing.

Dr. Roy Spencer has estimated that as many as 95% of the global warming models have just been flat out wrong.

Perhaps this is a radical idea, but maybe, just maybe, the settled science crowd ought to consider this: Maybe global warming is the Earth’s natural way of providing for a more hospitable environment for a growing human population. Warmer weather, more food? That kind of thing?

Because the real threat to man’s existence isn’t global warming, but rather in a new Ice Age.

If man actually exerts an upward pressure in global temperatures, then thank God for man.


Should California dictate U.S. energy policies?

Can the rest of America afford its Alice in Wonderland energy policies? (Can California?)

California loves to be seen as the trendsetter on energy and environmental policies. But can we really afford to adopt their laws and regulations in the rest of America? Heck, can the once Golden State afford them itself? The path to hell is paved with good intentions, counter-productive policies - and hypocrisy.

The official national unemployment rate is stuck at 6.7% - but with much higher rates for blacks and Hispanics and a labor  participation rate that remains the lowest in 35 years. Measured by gross national product, our economy is growing at an abysmal 1.5% or even 1.0% annual rate.

Meanwhile, California's jobless rate is higher than in all but three other states: 8.1% - and with far worse rates as high as 15% for blacks, Hispanics and inland communities. First the good news, then the insanity.

Citigroup's Energy 2020: North America report estimates that the United States, Canada and Mexico could make North America almost energy independent in six years, simply by tapping their vast recoverable oil and natural gas reserves. Doing so would help lower energy and consumer prices, insulate the three nations from volatile or blackmailing foreign suppliers, and spur job creation based on reliable, affordable energy, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Driving this revolution is horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. According to Citigroup, IHS Global Insights, the EIA and other analysts, "fracking" technology contributed 2.1 million jobs and $285 billion to the US economy in 2013, while adding $62 billion to local, state and federal treasuries! Compare that to mandates and subsidies required for expensive, unreliable, job-killing wind, solar and biofuel energy.

Fracking also slashed America's oil imports from 60% of its total needs in 2005 to just 28% in 2013. It slashed our import bill by some $100 billion annually.

By 2020 the government share of this boom is expected to rise to $111 billion. By 2035, U.S. oil and natural gas operations could inject over $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures into the economy, while contributing $300 billion a year to GDP and generating over $2.5 trillion in cumulative additional government revenues. What incredible benefits! But there's more.

A Yale University study calculates that the drop in natural gas prices (from $8 per thousand cubic feet or million Btu in 2008, and much more on the spot market, to $4.00 or so now) is saving businesses and families over $125 billion a year in heating, electricity, fertilizer and raw material feed stock costs.

The only thing standing in the way of a US employment boom and economic and industrial renaissance, says Citigroup, is politics: continued or even more oppressive anti-hydrocarbon policies and regulations.

Here's the insanity. Fully 96% of this nation's oil and gas production increase took place on state and private lands. Production fell significantly on federal lands under President Obama's watch, with the Interior Department leasing only 2% of federal offshore lands and 6% of its onshore domain for petroleum, then slow-walking drilling permits, according to the Institute for Energy Research.

The President continues to stall on the Keystone pipeline, while threatening layers of expensive carbon dioxide and other regulations, to prevent what he insists is "dangerous manmade climate change." His EPA just adopted California's expensive all-pain-no-gain rules for sulfur in gasoline, and the Administration and environmentalists constantly look to the West Coast for policy guidance.

Governor Jerry Brown says 30 million vehicles in California translate into "a lot of oil" and "the time for no more oil drilling" will be when its residents "can get around without using any gasoline." However, that rational message has not reached the state's legislators, environmental activists or urban elites.

California's ruling classes strongly oppose drilling and fracking - and leading Democrats are campaigning hard to impose at least a long temporary ban, based on ludicrous claims that fracking causes groundwater contamination and even earthquakes and birth defects.

Meanwhile, California's oil production represents just 38% of its needs - and is falling steadily, even though the state has enormous onshore and offshore oil deposits, accessible via conventional and hydraulic fracturing technologies. The state imports 12% of its oil from Alaska and 50% more from foreign nations, much of it from Canada, notes Sacramento area energy consultant Tom Tanton.

The record is far worse when it comes to electricity. The Do-As-I-Say state imports about 29% of its total electricity from out of state: via the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Phoenix, coal-fired generators in the Four Corners area, and hydroelectric dams in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest, Tanton explains.

Another 50% of its electricity is generated using natural gas that is also imported from sources outside California. Instead, the Greener-Than-Thou State relies heavily on gas imported via pipelines from Canada, the Rockies and the American Southwest, to power its gas-fired turbines. Those turbines and out-of-state sources also back up its numerous unreliable bird-killing wind turbines.

It adds up to a great way to preen and strut about their environmental consciousness. They simply leach off their neighbors for 62% of their gasoline and 79% of their electricity, and let other states do the hard work and emit the CO2.

These foreign fuels power the state's profitable and liberal Silicon Valley and entertainment industries - as well as the heavily subsidized electric and hybrid vehicles that wealthy elites so love for their pseudo-ecological benefits, $7,500 tax credits, and automatic entry into fast-moving HOV lanes.

Meanwhile, California's poor white, black, Hispanic and other families get to pay $4.23 per gallon for regular gasoline, the second highest price in America - and 16.2 cents per kWh for residential electricity, double that in most states, and behind only New York, New England, Alaska and Hawaii.

However, the state's eco-centric ruling classes are not yet satisfied. Having already hammered large industrial facilities with costly carbon dioxide cap-and-trade regulations, thereby driving more jobs out of the state, on January 1, 2015 they will impose cap-and-trade rules on gasoline and diesel fuels. That will instantly add at least 12 cents more per gallon, with the price escalating over the coming years.

Regulators are also ginning up tough new "low-carbon fuel standards," requiring that California's transportation fuels reduce their "carbon intensity" or "life-cycle" CO2 emissions by 10% below 2010 levels. This will be accomplished by forcing refiners and retailers to provide more corn-based ethanol, biodiesel and still-nonexistent cellulosic biofuel.

These fuels are much more expensive than even cap-tax-and-trade gasoline - which means the poor families that liberals care so deeply about will be forced to pay still more to drive their cars and trucks.

In fact, Charles River Associates estimates that the LCFS will raise the cost of gasoline and diesel by up to 170% (!) over the next ten years, on top of all the other price hikes.

In the meantime, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Germany and a hundred other countries are burning more coal, driving more cars and emitting vastly more carbon dioxide. So the alleged benefits to global atmospheric CO2 levels range from illusory and fabricated to fraudulent.

Of course, commuters who cannot afford these soaring prices can always park their cars and add a few hours to their daily treks, by taking multiple buses to work, school and other activities.

There's more, naturally. Much more. But I'm out of space and floundering amid all the lunacy.

Can we really afford to inflict California's insane policies on the rest of America? In fact, how long can the Left Coast afford to let its ruling classes inflict those policies on its own citizens?


Alaskan Polar Bears Threatened… By Too Much Spring Ice

Five meters of ice– about 16 feet thick - is threatening the survival of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea region along Alaska’s Arctic coast, according to Dr. Susan J. Crockford, an evolutionary biologist in British Columbia who has studied polar bears for most of her 35-year career.

That’s because the thick ice ridges could prevent ringed seals, the bears’ major prey, from creating breathing holes they need to survive in the frigid waters, Crockford told CNSNews.com.

“Prompted by reports of the heaviest sea ice conditions on the East Coast ‘in decades’ and news that ice on the Great Lakes is, for mid-April, the worst it’s been since records began, I took a close look at the ice thickness charts for the Arctic,” Crockford noted in her Polar Bear Science blog on April 18th.

“Sea ice charts aren’t a guarantee that this heavy spring ice phenomenon is developing in the Beaufort, but they could be a warning,” she wrote, noting that they "don't bode well" for the Beaufort bears.

“What happens is that really thick ice moves in because currents and winds from Greenland and the Canadian islands push it against the shore,” Crockford told CNSNews.com.

“The male seals arrive in the area in early spring to set up breeding territories. They drill a hole through the ice to maintain breathing holes close to the shore. But there’s a limit. They can drill through two meters (about seven feet) of ice. But too much beyond that and they’re in trouble.”

“The reason that’s important is that seals mate right after the pups, who are born in April, are weaned. So the male seal wants to be there, but he has to have breathing holes. If the ice is too thick, he has to move off someplace else,” she explained.

But this is the same time that female polar bears are just emerging with their newborn cubs from maternity dens either on or near the shore.

“When those bears come out of their dens in the spring, they need to find seals right away because they will have gone six months without eating,” Crockford said. “If there are no seals, they have to go further out, where there’s thinner ice.”

“Spring and early summer are really a critical time for polar bears. That’s when they need to eat as many seals as they can because that’s when they put on fat for the rest of the year. If they have trouble doing that in the spring, they’re in big trouble.”

There were comparably high levels of spring ice in the Beaufort Sea in 2004 and 2006, when bear counts were “one of the pieces of evidence used to have the bears listed as ‘threatened’ in the U.S.,” Crockford pointed out.

“Polar bear biologists were finding some bears quite thin and found a population decline,” she said, which they attributed to melting summer ice caused by global warming.

“But the biologists were not there to see the thick [spring] ice. All they saw was thin bears,” she pointed out. “They blamed the poor condition of the bears on summer ice, instead of acknowledging that it was likely the condition of the ice in the spring that was the cause of the problem.”

“Female [polar bears] with cubs having trouble feeding are one aspect of the repercussions of thick ice,” Crockford added. “The other repercussion is that other bears, instead of hanging around and starving, probably left the area. They could have gone to the Chukchi Sea, which is located between the U.S. and Russia near the Bering Strait.”

The U.S. Geological Survey conducted a polar bear population survey for the area in 2006. It reported a decline in the adult polar bear population and reduced cub survival rates, which was used to list the bears as a “threatened species” in the U.S. by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2008.


Keystone Pipeline Protesters: ‘Man Camps’ Could Lead to Sexual Assaults of Native Americans

Native Americans opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline said its construction could lead to Native American women being sexually assaulted, according to news reports from a protest held this week on the National Mall. However, a workers’ union that supports the pipeline said such claims were “disgusting” and harmful to the “hard-working people who build America.”

“We are worried about man camps that are coming to our territory,” Faith Spotted Eagle, an elder with the Yankton Sioux of North Dakota, said at the protest, as reported by Politico.

Spotted Eagle said the mostly male encampments that would be put in place to house those working on the pipeline posed a threat to Native American women.

“We have seen our women suffer,” she said. “One out of three women in our nation have been sexually assaulted by non-native people.”

Members of tribes from states along the path where the pipeline would be built to transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast joined non-tribal protestors in a coalition called the “Cowboy and Indian Alliance.”

“We have stopped the pipeline in its tracks for the last five years,” protestor Jane Kleeb of the environmental group Bold Nebraska, said at the protest.

Rosebud Sioux President Cyrill Scott told BuzzFeed that some of the man camps would have as many as 600 men.

“I am very concerned these transient workers are going to come onto our land and violate our people,” Scott said.

“There will be violence and sexual assault from Keystone,” Aldo Seoane, another Rosebud Souix, said at the protest.

Some news reports cited Department of Justice statistics that state “American Indians are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to all other races, and one in three Indian women reports having been raped during her lifetime.”

But the statistics do include information about the perpetrators.

Concerning the sexual assault claims by the coalition, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), which has 500,000 members, said the assertions were besmirching hard-working Americans.

“It’s disgusting that some anti-worker operatives in Washington would feel so desperate to find another attack on a job-creating pipeline that they would resort to such baseless smears against the hard working people who build America," LiUNA Communications Director Richard Greer told CNSNews.com.

As for the Obama administration’s decision on April 18 to further delay approval of Keystone, LiUNA President Terry O’Sullivan in a press release said: “They waited until Good Friday, believing no one would be paying attention. The only surprise is they didn’t wait to do it in the dark of night.”

“It’s not the oil that’s dirty, it’s the politics,” said O’Sullivan.  “Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. This certainly is no example of profiles in courage. It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

“This is another low blow to the working men and women of our country for whom the Keystone XL Pipeline is a lifeline to good jobs and energy security,” said the LiUNA president.

According to the Bold Nebraska website, the Cowboy and Indian Alliance – or CIA – will hold a “traditional water ceremony” outside of Secretary of State John Kerry’s home where they will be “praying that the Secretary listen to his conscience and the science and reject Keystone XL.”

On April 18, the State Department announced the pipeline decision was being delayed again after more than five years of review of the project. Keystone XL falls under the agency’s jurisdiction because it involves the crossing of an international border.

Keystone is a proposed 1,179-mile 36-inch diameter pipeline that would transport crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb., according to the website of TransCanada, the company in charge of the project.

“Along with transporting crude oil from Canada, the Keystone XL Pipeline will also support the significant growth of crude oil production in the United States from producers in the Bakken region of Montana and North Dakota,” the explanation on the company’s website stated.


EPA Administrator: 'Newsflash! People Like Us'

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Monday took aim at critics who try to "vilify the work of reputable scientists and EPA."

"To those calling EPA untrustworthy and unpopular -- newsflash! People like us," she said in a speech at the National Academy of Science. "They want safe drinking water. They want healthy air. And they expect us to follow the science -- just as the law demands."

McCarthy, in her prepared remarks, stressed the "bedrock science" behind "sensible regulatory standards," such as the Clean Air Act.

And she said "a small but vocal group of critics" are trying to prevent the EPA from doing the job Congress directed it to do:

"People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts," she said. "You can't just claim the science isn't real when it doesn't align well with your political or financial interests. Science is real and verifiable. With the health of our families and our futures at stake, the American people expect us to act on the facts, not spend precious time and taxpayer money refuting manufactured uncertainties."

She pointed to the threat of climate change, evidenced by "more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, floods, and storms to more smog and asthma." She said climate change "has put our health and economic risks on steroids," and cannot be ignored.

"Using the best science we have to offer, our next U.S. National Climate Assessment is about to be finalized. From coastal cities to the Great Plains, we have to use that science to prepare and to plan. Just like we use the science on mercury, acid rain, ozone pollution, particulate matter and more.

"To reduce the risks that threaten our health and safety, we need to listen to climate science. We cannot let those same critics of science continue to manufacture uncertainties that stop us from taking urgently needed climate action."


Gallup: One in Four in U.S. Are Solidly Skeptical of Global Warming

Nearly 40% are "Concerned Believers" in global warming, others are mixed

Over the past decade, Americans have clustered into three broad groups on global warming. The largest, currently describing 39% of U.S. adults, are what can be termed "Concerned Believers" -- those who attribute global warming to human actions and are worried about it. This is followed by the "Mixed Middle," at 36%. And one in four Americans -- the "Cool Skeptics" -- are not worried about global warming much or at all.

Gallup Global Warming Opinion Groups

The rate of Concerned Believers has varied some over the past decade and half, but is currently identical to the earliest estimate, from 2001. Over the same period of time, the ranks of Cool Skeptics have swelled, while the Mixed Middle -- once the largest group -- has declined modestly.

These groupings stem from a special "cluster" analysis of four questions that measure Americans' belief and concerns about human-induced global warming, all of which have been asked together on Gallup's annual Environment survey seven times since 2001. The latest results are from the March 6-9, 2014, Environment poll. However, the groupings derive from analysis of seven years of combined data.

Gallup has recently reported on a number of the individual trends included in the cluster analysis as part of its Climate Change series. This analysis provides a unique way of summarizing Americans' overall stance on global warming.

Perceived Cause of Global Warming Is Major Discriminator

Concerned Believers and Cool Skeptics are of entirely different mindsets when it comes to how much they worry about global warming. Concerned Believers say they worry "a great deal" or "fair amount" about the issue, while Cool Skeptics worry only "a little" or "not at all." Additionally, Concerned Believers think media reports about the issue are either correct or underestimated, while Cool Skeptics think they are exaggerated. And, most starkly, 100% of Concerned Believers say the rise in the Earth's temperature over the last century is due to the effects of pollution, while 100% of Cool Skeptics say it is due to natural changes in the environment. Finally, two-thirds of Concerned Believers believe global warming will pose a serious threat to their own way of life in the future, while 100% of Cool Skeptics disagree.

Americans in the Mixed Middle are individuals who hold a combination of views. For instance, some believe humans are the cause of the Earth's warming, but aren't worried about it. Others say global warming is a natural phenomenon, but that it will pose a serious risk in their lifetime. In one way or another, those in the Mixed Middle fail to line up with the orthodoxy on either side of the climate science issue.



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.  

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