Thursday, September 25, 2014

The astounding ignorance of John Kerry

One of the disturbing aspects of the global warming debate is that so many of the leading public officials who espouse alarmism know so little about the basics of climate science.  I have seen many instances of ignorance over the years and have largely gotten used to it, but I recently happened on an example from Secretary of State John Kerry that astounded me.

Reporters and commentators noted that in his major speech on climate change given in Jakarta on 16th February, Secretary Kerry claimed that “climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”  But reporters and commentators (including me) overlooked an even more remarkable passage in that long speech in which Secretary Kerry explains some “simple” climate science.  According to the State Department’s web site, here is what Secretary Kerry said about the greenhouse effect in Jakarta on 16th February:

"In fact, this is not really a complicated equation. I know sometimes I can remember from when I was in high school and college, some aspects of science or physics can be tough – chemistry. But this is not tough. This is simple. Kids at the earliest age can understand this.

Try and picture a very thin layer of gases – a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity – that’s how thick it is. It’s in our atmosphere. It’s way up there at the edge of the atmosphere. And for millions of years – literally millions of years – we know that layer has acted like a thermal blanket for the planet – trapping the sun’s heat and warming the surface of the Earth to the ideal, life-sustaining temperature. Average temperature of the Earth has been about 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which keeps life going. Life itself on Earth exists because of the so-called greenhouse effect. But in modern times, as human beings have emitted gases into the air that come from all the things we do, that blanket has grown thicker and it traps more and more heat beneath it, raising the temperature of the planet. It’s called the greenhouse effect because it works exactly like a greenhouse in which you grow a lot of the fruit that you eat here.

This is what’s causing climate change. It’s a huge irony that the very same layer of gases that has made life possible on Earth from the beginning now makes possible the greatest threat that the planet has ever seen."

For those who followed former-Senator Kerry at committee hearings over the past three decades, his belief that greenhouse gases are “a very thin layer of gases – a quarter-inch, half an inch, somewhere in that vicinity –….way up there at the edge of the atmosphere” is perhaps not surprising.  Nonetheless, it is remarkable that Kerry’s explanation, which sets a new standard for utter imbecility, got by the highly-educated State Department officials in charge of vetting the Secretary’s prepared remarks.

Later in his speech, Secretary Kerry made the usual sneering remarks about people who don’t think that global warming is a crisis: “President… Obama and I believe very deeply that we do not have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”  I suspect that were Secretary Kerry to find the time to attend a meeting of the Flat Earth Society, his presence might lower the level of discourse.


Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: People Who Don't Believe in Global Warming Alarmism Should Be Thrown In Jail

This is becoming an applause line on the left.  And that's a weird and alarming thing, isn't it?

Mr. Kennedy, who has been kept out of one of New York’s Senate seats only by happy circumstance, says that he believes his opponents to be guilty of "treason" -- his word -- and wants them convicted of crimes -- "They ought to be serving time," he says.

It's a very alarming thing that an ostensible political leader should say this, and that thousands of people should cheer the sentiment.

There was quite a lot of passion for a strike on Afghanistan post-9/11 -- and quite a few dissenters. The Peace At Any Cost coalition.

Those in favor of beating the shit out of Al Qaeda formed an overwhelming consensus on that particular point.

Did any political leaders speak about locking up dissenters in prison?  I don't think they did. But I'd like a correction if my memory is faulty.

And meanwhile the masks keep a-tumbling off.

Oh and here are some "Greens" who argued that they left huge amounts of litter after their rally in order to provide recyclables for the homeless.

On a more substantive note, a scientist named Steven Koonin wrote in the WSJ this weekend that the "science" of global warming was almost entirely unsettled.

It's a good piece, and I recommend reading it in full.

But don't miss the ending, which I actually did the first time:

Dr. Koonin was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama's first term and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University.

Should President Obama's former undersecretary for science be thrown in jail, I wonder?

We are in a strange and dark chapter in history. The left doesn't just want to demolish capitalism, they want to repeal the Enlightenment as well.

They want a second Dark Ages.


Phony UN global warming summit: China and India's leaders aren't there

If you believe that greenhouse gases emitted by human industry is warming up the planet and you are excited that the UN Climate Change Summit kicked off today, drop your enthusiasm.

While President Obama will be in attendance, neither the leader of nation that release the most greenhouse gases, China, and the third biggest emitter, India, won't be there.

The United States is the silver medal winner in the global warming gas games.

The Climate Change Summit is the quintessential United Nations event--there will be a lot of talking and nothing will be accomplished.


Google chairman Eric Schmidt calls climate skeptics liars

Google, one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world, is doubling down on the theory that atmospheric CO2 is causing global temperatures to rise (even though they haven’t for the last 17 years despite a large increase on CO2). Moreover, Google is withdrawing its financial support from a group, the American Legislative Council, which it supports on other grounds, because of that group’s questioning of the climate change dogma whose models have failed to predict the last 17 years of evidence. Ars Technica reports:

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt today said it was a “mistake” to support the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that has said human-created climate change could be “beneficial” and opposes environmental regulations. Schmidt said groups trying to cast doubt on climate change science are "just literally lying."

Nonprofit that Google is part of also supports Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger.

Google’s membership in ALEC has been criticized because of the group’s stance on climate change and its opposition to network neutrality rules and municipal broadband. Earlier this month, Google refused to comment after 50 advocacy groups called on the company to end its affiliation with ALEC.

That changed today when Schmidt appeared on The Diane Rehm Show and was asked by a listener whether Google is still supporting ALEC. The listener described ALEC as “lobbyists in DC that are funding climate change deniers.”

Schmidt responded, “we funded them as part of a political campaign for something unrelated. I think the consensus within the company was that was sort of a mistake, and so we’re trying to not do that in the future.”

I find it very odd indeed that a technology-based company would reject scientific skepticism and attention paid to evidence that questions a hypothesis.  That is not “lying.”  Google’s server farms consume an enormous (and growing) amount of electricity, too. Something here doesn’t make sense.


Survey: Democrats Fear Climate Change More Than Islamic Terrorists

A recent survey found that Democrats believe the threat posed by climate change is greater than the threat posed by either al Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL).

The Pew Research Center/USA Today survey, conducted between Aug. 20 and 24, shows that 68 percent of Democrats said global climate change is a “major threat” to the U.S. while 67 percent chose al Qaida and 65 percent chose ISIS as a major threat to the country.

On the Republican side, 80 percent said al Qaida was the major threat and 78 percent chose ISIS,  while only 25 percent said global climate change was a major threat.

Among Independents, 69 percent chose al Qaeda as the major threat, 63 percent chose ISIS, and only 44 percent said climate change.

Among Democrats, global climate change topped the list of greatest threats to the U.S.  But among Republicans and Independents, it placed last on a list of nine "major threats."

The top major concerns for Democrats were global climate change (68%), followed by extremist groups like al Qaeda (67%), ISIS (65%), North Korea's nuclear program (58%), Iran's nuclear program (56%) the rapid spread of infectious diseases from country to country (55%), growing tensions between Russia and its neighbors (54%), the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (44%), and China's emergence as a world power (43%).

Among Republicans, the greatest percentage chose al Qaeda as the top threat (80%), followed by ISIS (78%), Iran's nuclear program (74%), North Korea's nuclear program (63%), China's emergence as a world power (60%) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (60%), Russian tensions (54%), rapid spread of infectious disease (49%) and climate change (25%).

And, in descending order, Independents (69%) chose al Qaeda as a "major threat to the U.S.," followed by ISIS (63%), Iran's nuclear program (54%) North Korea's nuclear program (54%), growing tensions between Russia and its neighbors (52%), spread of infectious disease (50%), China's emergence (46%), Israeli-Palestinian conflict (45%), and global climate change (44%).

The survey is based on telephone interviews conducted August 20-24, 2014 among a national sample of 1,501 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (600 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 901 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 487 who had no landline telephone).

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly, with pollsters asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell phone sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older. For detailed information about the survey methodology, go here.


Ex-Im’s Green Energy Corruption Goes Deeper than Solyndra

Abengoa's solar projects are being propped up by corruption and cronyism

By now, most people following the continuing saga of the U.S. Export-Import Bank have heard about how it guaranteed loans to now-bankrupt solar energy company Solyndra. Solyndra was a big news story when it went bust, because of the stimulus money it took and the preferential treatment it was given because green energy mandates took preference over sensible investment.

But if Solyndra was the poster child for government-sponsored green energy boondoggles, a Spanish company called Abengoa has taken things to the next level.

Abengoa is a green energy company based in Spain that took billions in stimulus funding and was heavily supported by loans guaranteed from the Ex-Im Bank. While the bank operates under the pretense of helping American companies generally, its loans are actually required to go disproportionately to politically popular industries, of which green energy is the largest. The fact that Abengoa is not even an American company doesn’t matter, as long as the partisan goal of solar power is pursued with taxpayer-backed dollars.

We already know that the Ex-Im Bank favors politically connected cronies, but the blatant corruption within the Bank’s management structure may still surprise some. At the time when Abengoa was receiving these loans from Ex-Im, former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson was sitting comfortably on the advisory board. At the same time, he also sat on the board of another major institution where his influence could help out his friends at Abengoa. In case you haven’t guessed it already, it was the Ex-Im Bank itself.

That’s right, the program that we are assured is necessary to support American small business is playing favorites with foreign companies under the advice of board members with conflicts of interest. It’s cronyism at its worst, and it needs to end.

But wait, there’s more! In case all this wasn’t enough to convince you that the Ex-Im Bank acts in a manner that is corrupt and irresponsible, let’s look at some of the activity Abengoa has been engaged in.

* Abengoa has violated U.S. law in multiple instances, including infractions related to immigration, environmental regulations, and worker safety.

* Abengoa has been busted for health insurance fraud, for putting people on their plans who were not on the payroll.

* Abengoa has been charged with intentionally delaying payment on American contracts in order to collect more interest on its investments in Spain - investments funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars.

Abengoa is just one of any number of examples of Ex-Im corruption. The deeper one digs into the Ex-Im Bank, the more obvious it becomes that the program is as Barack Obama said in 2008 before incumbency changed his tune, “little more than a fund for corporate welfare.” And a hopelessly corrupt one at that.



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