Thursday, August 07, 2014

Brain-dead Warmist logic again

D'oh!  If the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, then it is not warming at all:  The rest of the world is not warming and 2 multiplied by zero gives a sum of zero.  And if the Arctic is indeed warming while the rest of the world is not then the warming is clearly the product of local influences, not global ones.  Hence Arctic warming does not prove global warming

Scientists were baffled by the mysterious craters that appeared in northern Russia earlier this month. Researchers now believe these craters may have been created by a build-up of methane over centuries that then erupting out of the thawing ground.

But strange, unexplained holes are just the beginning of what could be a series of mysterious happenings on the planet – all caused by melting Arctic ice, scientists believe.

According to a report by David Biello in Scientific American, temperatures across the Arctic are warming roughly twice as fast as the rest of the globe.

‘At some point, we might get into a state of permafrost that is not comparable to what we know for 100 years or so, some new processes that never happened before,’ geologist Guido Grosse of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research told Mr Biello.

A similar process is taking place in the melting regions of the Arctic where lakes, known as thermokarsts, which are lakes that break down plant material into methane.

This methane can then escape out of the lake or the ground, and once lit, could set ice on fire.

Permafrost is also leading to ‘drunken trees’ as the firm soil slowly transforms into mud causing the plants that grow in them to lean to one side.

Nasa claims that arctic permafrost soils have accumulated vast stores of organic carbon - an estimated 1,400 to 1,850 billion tonnes of it.

That's about half of all the estimated organic carbon stored in Earth's soils. In comparison, about 350 billion tonnes of carbon have been emitted from all fossil-fuel combustion and human activities.

Most of the Arctic’s sequestered carbon is located in thaw-vulnerable topsoils within 3 meters of the surface.

'Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures - as much as 1.5 to 2.5 degrees Celsius in just the past 30 years,' said Nasa's Charles Miller.

'As heat from Earth's surface penetrates into permafrost, it threatens to mobilise these organic carbon reservoirs and release them into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide and methane, upsetting the Arctic's carbon balance and greatly exacerbating global warming.'

But separate research earlier this week suggested that some Arctic lakes store more greenhouse gases than they emit into the atmosphere.  This counters a widely-held scientific view that thawing permafrost accelerates atmospheric warming.

The study shows that permafrost rich in organic material will see the growth of mosses and other plants flourish, leading to greater amounts of carbon absorption.

Supported by the National Science Foundation, the study was published this week in the journal Nature and focused on thermokarst lakes.


EPA Power Grab Has Huge Economic Consequences

Barack Obama’s checkered history – his string of scandals, his divisive demeanor as chief executive, his unconstitutional executive fiats and his damaging foreign policy – causes many people to wonder whether he even cares about the U.S. or her people and wants to punish us simply for being America.

Case in point: The EPA rules for coal plants. In 2008, Barack Obama promised that “[u]nder my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Coal-powered plants … [and] natural gas, they would have to retrofit their operations.”

Rep. John Dingle (D-MI) pointed out, “People don’t realize this is a tax, and a great big one.” This is one promise Obama intends to keep.

After having his pet project denied by Congress, Obama decided to create an alternative system for reducing carbon emissions. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently introduced the Clean Power Plan proposal, a mess of regulations that would deal a huge blow to the power industry and the entire economy if enacted. Even though over 80% of the nation’s electricity is produced by power plants burning fossil fuels, the EPA would require them all to lower carbon emissions enormously.

“Even before we put pen to paper,” said McCarthy, “we … held 11 public listening sessions nationwide. We heard from thousands of people through phone calls, emails, meetings, and more.”

She added, “Starting June 2 … we officially entered the public comment period … We expect great feedback at these sessions. [W]e also expect a healthy dose of the same tired, false and worn out criticism that commonsense EPA action is bad for the economy.” So the EPA expects the debate to be over before it even begins.

McCarthy claimed that by 2030, the EPA would shrink electricity bills roughly eight percent. Right.

For a bit of perspective, average electricity prices more than doubled between 1984 and 2014. Prices reached a record high in June, but annual per capita production peaked in 2007. Meanwhile, the Census Bureau says that between 2007 and 2014 the population increased 6%. So while there’s an increasing demand for electricity, production is being cut to Obama’s target levels for carbon output. The Congressional Budget Office estimates Obama’s witch hunt against coal will cost the average family an additional $1,600 per year.

The EPA’s regulations treat old and new coal-burning plants differently. Those for the new plants are so harsh that any further construction would almost certainly be canceled.

Those for existing plants vary according to the state where they’re located, but the EPA’s formula would still result in plant closures. Those who manage to retrofit and stay profitable would have to raise prices astronomically. Many plants already operating wouldn’t make the cut. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) predicts Mississippi’s entire coal industry would be shut down. Of course, any business that uses electricity would be seriously affected as well.

As usual, Obama hits people hardest who can least afford it. People who’ve lost jobs and families living paycheck to paycheck face the impossible – choosing between heating their homes in the winter and feeding their families. This is how the NeoComs add to their underclass. Obama’s senseless policy will devastate the American middle class.

Some activist groups are angry. One NAACP representative writes, “[T]he race to a cleaner energy future is … like a bad game of dodge ball with communities of color on the losing side.” Historic loyalty to the Democrat party among blacks is beginning to slip.

Obama acknowledged the biggest challenge is making voters understand the necessity of the changes. But his efforts at converting them are failing. In a recent Pew study, 55% of the public doesn’t believe in man-made global warming. Hence he simply acts against the people’s will.

Two rays of hope could foil Obama’s designs. First, states have been directed only to develop plans by 2016 for executing the changes, allowing Obama to dodge responsibility once the rules are implemented. A Republican president and congressional majority in 2016 could rescind the entire plan before it gets off the ground.

Second, a study conducted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Rhodium Group concluded that while Obama’s plan would cut demand for coal, it would simultaneously stimulate the already rapidly growing demand for natural gas. Several states sit atop fields of enough natural gas that over time could make us energy independent, create thousands of good-paying jobs and powerfully stimulate the economy.

The short-term news isn’t good. But if enough of the American people refuse to go along such as Gov. Rick Perry, who has previously defied EPA regulations in Texas, the U.S. economy could yet survive Obama.


EPA's Gina McCarthy Broke the Law by Destroying Official Text Messages and Should Resign

Text messages sent on a private telephone between Maureen McDonnell, wife of Bob McDonnell, and businessman Johnnie Williams are key evidence in the corruption trial of the former Virginia governor, according to the Washington Post.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s aides also produced text messages in the “Bridgegate” investigation, again using private telephones.

Just like email, text messages can be preserved and produced. Federal employees are required to preserve text messages concerning official business.

But it appears they often aren't. Will there be any consequences for this systematic lawbreaking?

As we recently learned in the IRS affair, federal agencies are destroying their text messages.

Coincidentally, political appointees and political activists in career civil service positions in the federal government are increasingly turning to texting just as the watchdogs using the Freedom of Information Act and congressional investigators are more frequently exposing improper activity against the taxpayer.

It was in this context that I recently received a Friday afternoon document production under a FOIA lawsuit I and colleagues at the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed seeking nothing but text messages.

Our first such suit was for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy’s texts generated while leading President Obama’s “war on coal.”

After EPA claimed none existed, McCarthy admitted through the Department of Justice that she had in fact deleted each and every one of her many thousands of texts on her EPA-provided phone.

She claimed they were all “personal,” even after we proved her correspondents indeed included multiple members of her EPA team.

So we sought the texts of senior EPA aides with whom McCarthy corresponded, according to metadata we obtained.

This led to Friday’s production of 76 pages of text messages. None that remained were to or from McCarthy. All that did remain were mundane. Their content isn’t the point. Their existence is.

From years of working with FOIA and inquiring of other watchdog attorneys and congressional investigators, it is my understanding that EPA has never before produced text or instant messages.

This is despite the fact that many, possibly even most, FOIA and congressional oversight requests cover them (e.g., seeking "records" or "electronic records" on particular subjects or to/from certain officials).

At least with Obama’s EPA and the IRS, it appears we now know why — they are destroying them, illegally. This isn't a "gaping open-records loophole," it is wanton lawbreaking because the law is quite clear.

The texts EPA produced on Friday prove that EPA's IT system does not automatically delete text messages; that is, for messages not to be there now, they had to be deleted from the system.

These texts also show that not everyone destroyed all of their messages, as McCarthy has admitted she did. Her behavior was deliberate, serial and flagrant.

That she permitted and even engaged in this behavior as the official designated with responsibility for ensuring her and her office’s texts were properly maintained should send her packing, as happened with her predecessor, Lisa Jackson, after exposure of Jackson’s false-identity email account in the name of “Richard Windsor.”

There is, however, an even more important aspect to this behavior, and it extends beyond EPA to every federal agency where we find such lawlessness.

The messages McCarthy admitted to destroying were all from her tenure leading President Obama’s “war on coal.”

As I and colleagues at another group, the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, have informed the EPA, the administrative record underlying its war on coal is inherently incomplete as a result of this behavior.

EPA’s rules should be suspended, or withdrawn, until it recreates the discussions it moved over to an alternative to email with no backup, then destroyed.

It is unimaginable that a court, presented with an agency admission of having destroyed each and every one of another class of legally identical records — email — would shrug and permit the regulators to continue unimpeded with radical regulatory changes.

There is therefore no reason why EPA should be permitted to continue with its “war on coal,” which each and every one of the officials we have now caught destroying records was materially involved in executing, unless and until it recreates the deleted correspondence which we know from agency documents number in the many thousands.

The Federal Records Act requires this. That this is the result not of incidental loss but serial and deliberate destruction only compounds the matter.

We have sued EPA seeking this. Their answer called it an “intrusive” attempt to make them comply with record-keeping laws that no one can make them obey.

Congress to date has been powerless or simply uninterested in offering the response that EPA’s regulatory assault demands.

While not a reassuring prospect, it is now up to the courts to do what obviously must be done, at least as far as making EPA try to reconstruct what its senior officials destroyed.

So far, EPA and Obama’s Department of Justice have fought us every step of the way.


It's about the Money, Not the Climate

By Alan Caruba

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), the Irish poet and dramatist, wrote “Pray don't talk to me about the weather. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.”

These days, when some world leader or politician speaks of the climate—the weather is what is happening right now wherever you are—they are not talking about sunshine or rain. They are talking about a devilishly obscene way of raising money by claiming that it is humans that are threatening the climate with everything they do, from turning on the lights to driving anywhere.

That’s why “global warming” was invented in the late 1980s as an immense threat to the Earth and to mankind. Never mind that Earth has routinely passed through warmer and cooler cycles for billions of years; much of which occurred before mankind emerged. And never mind that the Earth has been a distinct cooling cycle for the past seventeen years and likely to stay in it for a while. If the history of ice ages is any guide, we could literally be on the cusp of a new one.

If, however, a government can tax the use of energy, it stands to make a lot of money. That is why carbon taxes have been introduced in some nations and why the nearly useless “clean energy” options of wind and solar have been introduced even though they both require the backup of traditional coal, natural gas and nuclear energy plants because they cannot produce electricity if the wind isn’t blowing and the sun is obscured by clouds.

Taxing energy use means taxing “greenhouse gas” emissions; primarily carbon dioxide (C02) so that every ton of it added to the atmosphere by a power plant and any other commercial activity becomes a source of income for the nation. The Australians went through this and rapidly discovered it drove up their cost of electricity and negatively affected their economy so much that they rid themselves of a prime minister and the tax within the past year.

Fortunately, every effort to introduce a carbon tax has been defeated by the U.S. Congress, but that it has shelled out billions for “climate research” over the years. That doesn’t mean, however, that 41 demented Democrats in the House of Representatives haven’t gotten together in a “Safe Climate Caucus” led by Rep. Henry A. Waxman. The Washington Post reported that when it was launched in February 2013, the members promised to talk every day on the House floor about “the urgent need to address climate change.”

Check out the caucus and, if your Representative is a member, vote to replace him or her with someone less idiotic.

When you hear the President or a member of Congress talk about the climate, they are really talking about the scheme to generate revenue from it through taxation or to raise money from those who will personally benefit from any scheme related to the climate such as “clean energy.”

The need of governments to frighten their citizens about the climate in order to raise money is international in scope. A United States that has a $17 trillion debt is a prime example, much of it due to a government grown so large it wastes taxpayer’s money in the millions with every passing day whether it is sunny or rainy, warm or cold.

In late July, Reuters reported that Christine Lagarde, the chair of the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) opined in her new book that “energy taxes in much of the world are far below what they should be to reflect the harmful environmental and health impact of fossil fuels use.”

Please pay no attention to the billions of dollars that coal, oil and natural gas already generate for the nations in which they are found. Nations such as India and China are building coal-fired plants as fast as possible to provide the electricity every modern nation needs to expand its economy, provide more employment, and improve their citizen’s lives in every way imaginable.

“For the first time,” Reuters reported, “the IMF laid out exactly what it views as appropriate taxes on coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel in 156 countries to factor in the fuel’s overall costs, which include carbon dioxide emissions, air pollution, congestion and traffic accidents.” The problem with this is that the costs cited are bogus.

“Nations," said Lagarde, "are now working on a United Nations deal for late 2015 to rein in greenhouse gas emissions that have hit repeated highs this century, but progress has been slow as nations fret about the impact any measures may have on economic growth.” As in bad impacts!

Ignore the claims that carbon dioxide affects the climate. Its role is so small it can barely be measured because CO2 represents 380 parts per million. When our primate ancestors began to climb down out of the trees, CO2 levels were about 1,000 parts per million. More CO2 means more crops, healthy growing forests, and all the other benefits that every form of vegetation provides. The breath we humans exhale contains about 4% of CO2.

The fact is that the United States and other nations are being run by politicians who are incapable of reducing spending or borrowing more in order to spend more. Venezuela just defaulted again on the payment of bonds it issued to raise money. They did this in 2001 and one must wonder why any financial institution purchases them.

There are eleven other nations whose credit ratings are flirting with big trouble. They include Greece, Ukraine, Pakistan, Cypress, and in the Americas Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Belize. Borrowing by such nations is very expensive. A U.S. Treasury Note pays an annual coupon of just 2.5%, but the yields on 10-year bonds issue by Greece reached 29% in early 2012, just before it defaulted.

Adding to problems in the U.S. is the Obama agenda being acted upon by the Environmental Protection Agency whose “war on coal” has shuttered several hundred plants that produce the electricity needed to maintain the economy. In coal producing states this is playing havoc and it is driving up the cost of electricity in others.

The growth of oil and natural gas production in the U.S. is almost entirely on privately owned land as opposed to that controlled by the government. Supporting the attack on energy are the multi-million dollar environmental organizations like Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club.

There is no “global warming” and the climate is determined by the Sun, the oceans, clouds, and volcanic activity. Nothing any government does, here and worldwide, has any impact on it, but if nations can demonize the use of energy and tax the CO2 it produces, they can generate more money to spend and waste.

The lies that governments, the United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund tell about the climate are about the money they can extract from citizens who must be kept frightened enough to pay taxes on their use of energy.


Global warming’s public relations gambit

By Rick Manning

Get ready America, many of the world’s largest public relations firms are creating a climate change litmus test by asserting that they will not work for companies or organizations that don’t buy the global warming mantra that is being used to destroy the free market system.

What these PR geniuses apparently fail to realize is that by taking this action, any company or group that they currently represent has to be assumed to hold the same global warming position that they so lovingly cling to, making them prime economic boycott targets by those who oppose the climate change agenda.

One wonders if they have already gone to their clients in the energy field and informed them that they will no longer represent them unless they sign a note certifying that they corporately bow to the PR firm’s political beliefs?

Will they drop representing a company’s interests on real estate matters, because the company supports free market groups that oppose the global warming mantra?

Will they refuse to represent investment groups that have holdings of energy companies that are fighting against the global warming agenda?

Will they force all their employees to sign an oath of fealty to the global climate change gods?

To enforce their edict they would have to do all of these things, but none of them matter.  The market system allows people and companies to make choices about whom they hire to provide public relations advice, and it would be counter to a company’s interest to hire a public relations firm that opposes their core, underlying business.  If corporate decision makers act rationally, they will seek out public relations firms that message to as broad of a group of people as possible rather than limiting themselves to those who mindlessly bleat to the same hype.

What’s more, public relations firms don’t really create anything other than ideas on how to convey a position to targeted audiences usually with the goal of selling a product, or presenting a client in a positive light.

These firms have to understand market segments and how to speak with them in order to effectively do their job.  Raising the obvious question, why would anyone hire a firm that does not have a single person on staff who can admit that they relate to the more than 40 percent of Americans who Gallup has found believe that man-made global warming is overstated?

Would any truck company hire a PR firm that not only despises their product, but also looks down upon their potential customers?

And that is why this grand announcement will fall flat into meaninglessness.  In the end, it is about getting the business.  There are many public relations firms that provide essentially the same services. Potential clients have lots of choices.

This decision opens the door for a new group of public relations firms who aren’t hamstrung by global warming dogma, and the corporate behemoths that currently dominate the landscape will either collapse of their own self-important weight or quietly change their policy.

Being very smart at analyzing downstream impacts of their actions, these public relations behemoths certainly know the ramifications of their global warmist only pledge.  A pledge that leads to one of two conclusions:  either this is just standard PR puffery signifying nothing, or they mean it, revealing a market myopia unsuitable for anyone in their business.

Either way, the free market will decide the wisdom of their politics, and many large corporate accounts will now be available to young, hungry entrepreneurs as a result.


Rich Kozlovich debunks yet another Greenie claim about GMOs

"Resistance" to herbicides will develop whether it is sprayed on or bred in

The Health Ranger’s fifth complaint against these products is that, “GMO agriculture is breeding a new generation of chemical-resistant superweeds”, saying:

“The rise of chemical-resistant superweeds is a horrible problem for modern farmers. In the same way that deadly superbugs have arisen from the abuse of antibiotics in hospitals, "Frankenweeds" have arisen from the continued growing of GMOs and the routine application of glyphosate to crop fields.

Glyphosate-resistant superweeds have become such a problem that the very industry which once claimed GMOs would require "fewer chemicals" to grow food is now recommending fields be treated with a triple or quadruple layer of multiple chemicals to attack the superweeds with different chemicals.

That's why agriculture experts are right now sounding the alarm over glyphosate, GMOs and superweeds, calling for an end to the unsustainable GMO farming practices that seriously threaten the sustainability of agriculture.”

Crops such as cotton, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and sugar beets have been genetically altered to tolerate glyphosate in order to increase yields and avoid the costly and time consuming weed control processes of the past.  This has been so successful eco-activists claim farmers have adopted an over reliance on GMO’s (which increased production by more than 98 billion dollars over the last twenty plus years and saving from having to use hundreds of millions of kilograms of pesticides from being sprayed) resulting in “overuse” of glyphosate creating “superweeds”, such as Palmer amaranth. And it would appear weeds are showing up in fields all over the world that have become resistant to the herbicide glyphosate.

Palmer amaranth is particularly insidious because it out competes cotton – and other crops - for all the things necessary for productive harvests – moisture, light and nutrients.  So, are these now “superweeds”?

Before we answer that question we have to understand what exactly “resistance” is.   Often times I will see commentaries claiming an evolutionary spurt is causing resistance.  Nonsense!  Evolution has nothing to do with these changes in plants or insects, bacteria or virus’ for that matter.  I’m going to address this from an insect control perspective because it’s easy to explain and the pattern is universal.

Resistance is a genetic phenomenon where-in a percentage of the target pests are naturally resistant to some compound.  Hence each successive generation will pass that trait to some of their offspring thus having more resistant numbers in the population.  Eventually the resistant members become the dominant gene pool.  However they’re not “super-roaches”, “super-rats”, or super anything else for that matter.     Whether its cockroaches, weeds, or pathogens – resistance is the pattern in nature!  Something we only fully realized after insect pests developed resistance to DDT, including bed bugs.  We didn’t know we were following nature’s patterns and cycles.  We know that now and can adapt.

While hyperventilating one writer claimed “Chemicals Are Creating Frightening New Superweeds.” Then disparagingly asked, The 'Solution'? More Chemicals.

Yes - that is the solution!

Eco-activists state that this has to stop because these “superweeds” have found their way into organic fields.  Let’s understand this correctly.  This is another logical fallacy that’s a lie of omission.  Whether it’s these resistant varieties of weeds or the non resistant varieties these organic farmers are going to be devastated without the use of herbicides, so making this claim is nothing more than a red herring fallacy, since they're not allowed to use synthetic herbicides anyway and still be 'organic'.  As for those farmers who are not 'organic' farmers, but still aren't using transgenics - they're would still have to face the problem of resistance eventually.  Transgenics didn't create the resistance problem, but transgenics will be the solution!

Companies such as Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences and other biotech companies didn’t stop researching new and innovative approaches to transgenics when the current products went on the market.  They clearly understand the “resistance” factor in pesticides and have been working of herbicide resistant crops which will become available. Will these new products eventually become ineffective? Of course!  But that’s no reason to abandon chemistry that works – especially when there’s no alternative, and it’s more environmentally friendly than plowing and tilling.

If there is no alternative there is no problem!

Ah, but there is – according to eco-activists – an alternative.  Heirloom varieties!  These are varieties that have been grown for hundreds of years and breed true year after year.  In other words, “organic” farming, which I addressed in a previous post!

Heirlooms are hardy, but as is the case with all these old hardy varieties - they aren’t that productive.  And they’re still left with the problem of weeds and insect pests because even these varieties come under attack from something, and then there are all the other negative issues surrounding “organic” farming.

They claim we can only thrive by obeying nature’s rules.  I couldn’t agree more.  And what’s nature’s rule regarding plant pests?  Plants can’t run away when attacked, they don’t have claws, they don’t have teeth, they don’t have heavy fur coats to protect themselves – so what do they do?  They make their own pesticides to sicken, kill or repel pests.  The vast majority of pesticides we consume are naturally occurring in the food we eat, and most of them test carcinogenic.  So I subscribe to nature’s pattern.  Build a better pesticide, and create more GMO’s to tolerate them.

Eco-activists demand perfection - from everyone else.  A perfection they're incapable of delivering.  They demand utopia, claiming they can deliver it if we just listen to them, but when you consider their policies have killed more people over the last 60 years, (probably more than the socialist monsters of twentieth century like Stalin, Hitler and Mao combined) we must believe the facts of history.  They only deliver dystopia - squalor, misery, poverty, disease, suffering and early death.  The legacy of the left!

Those who are rational recognize that history and sanity forces upon us the conclusion the best we can hope for is the most acceptable imperfection. And as imperfect as these modern agricultural marvels are - they've saved more lives than any advancement in all of humanity's previous history.



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


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