Monday, November 24, 2014
Keystone Vote Shows Ecofacists Own Democrats
Tom Steyer’s multi-million-dollar investment in Senate Democrats paid off Tuesday evening with the defeat of a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
“With today’s vote, the Senate chose to stand up for the American people,” Steyer declared in a statement after the bill fell one short vote of the 60 necessary to break a Democratic filibuster.
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D., La.) pushed hard for the measure as she faces a tough runoff battle against her Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, who sponsored companion legislation in the House.
Landrieu has attracted Steyer’s ire for her Keystone support. His super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, even threatened to attack her directly over her pro-energy positions.
Thirteen of Landrieu’s Democratic colleagues joined her in supporting Keystone on Tuesday. Just one more Democratic vote would’ve sent the measure to the president’s desk.
Leading the anti-Keystone charge were a number of senators who have vocally supported Steyer’s efforts since he ramped up his political efforts last year.
Six Democratic Senators attended a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser at Steyer’s home in February. They included Mark Udall (D., Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), and Sens. Ben Cardin (D., Md.), Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.). All six voted against the pipeline.
NextGen spent more than $7 million supporting Udall’s (D., Colo.) reelection bid, or attacking his opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner. Gardner prevailed, but Udall voted with Steyer on Tuesday.
The group also dropped more than $3 million attacking unsuccessful New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown. His opponent, Shaheen, voted against approving the pipeline.
NextGen eventually spent more than $60 million on federal elections, primarily a handful of Senate races. A majority of its chosen candidates lost their races.
Despite a resounding defeat at the polls in the midterms, Democrats are increasingly relying on campaign cash from hardline environmentalists. Those groups say that a purist Democratic Party without energy policy dissenters such as Landrieu is preferable to a Senate majority.
“We think the value gained in showing the Democratic Party that they need to be better on climate issues outweighs the marginal differences,” an operative with the radical environmentalist group 350.org told the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank.
“This is about sort of instigating a cultural shift and a political shift that sends a message to politicians that they all need to be better on climate issues,” she added.
EPA Chief: Pause In Global Warming ‘Doesn’t Represent Climate’
Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy told reporters Monday morning that the so-called pause in global warming was not representative of the broader trends in climate, which she says point to global warming.
“That is a short-lived issue that doesn’t represent climate,” McCarthy told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, adding that many other factors show the planet is changing because of human influence– though she did not elaborate on this point because the breakfast was nearing its end.
Satellite temperature data, which measures the lower parts of the Earth’s atmosphere, shows there has been no significant warming trend for the last 18 years or so. Surface temperatures from weather stations, buoys and ships show a lack of warming for about the last 15 years or so.
Scientists have struggled to explain the lack of warming in recent years, giving dozens of explanations for the pause, ranging from increased volcanic activity to natural ocean cycles. While scientists debate the causes of the pause, some are lowering their estimates of how much warming could occur in the future. Some scientists point to measures like warming ocean temperatures, melting Arctic Sea ice, extreme weather events or varying crop yields as evidence that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels are having an impact on the planet, even though the temperature record may not currently reflect it.
Despite the lack of warming, the Obama administration has been pressing forward with climate rules to limit U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the fossil fuels industry. The most contentious regulation so far has been the EPA’s rule to limit emissions from power plants, which will likely cause coal plants to shut down.
“If you look at the science… nothing tells us we are being overly aggressive” in what the agency is doing, McCarthy told reporters Monday morning. Most recently, the Obama administration announced a vague climate agreement with China for both countries to reduce emissions in the coming years.
Critics have charged the deal binds the U.S. to deep emissions cuts that could hurt the economy, while China has does not have make any commitments to concrete emissions cuts. China simply promises to have its emissions peak in 2030, though energy experts have said China’s emissions are likely to peak around that time with or without an agreement.
Along with this agreement, the U.S. has pledged $3 billion to an international climate fund to pay for poor countries to adapt to a warmer world.
The China agreement has been criticized by Republicans who have vowed to fight the Obama administration’s global warming rules. Republicans argue these rules will do nothing to stop warming and only serve to raise energy prices and kill jobs.
“The president’s climate change agenda has only siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people,” said Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, who will chair the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee in the new Congress.
“In a new Congress, I will be working with my colleagues to reset the misguided priorities of Washington in the past six years,” Inhofe said. “This includes getting our nation’s debt under control, securing proper equipment and training to protect our men and women in uniform, and repairing our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. These are the realistic priorities of today.”
Republican leaders have said they will make sure to pass legislation in both chambers of Congress, ordering the EPA to roll back its agenda. If that doesn’t work, Inhofe and other lawmakers have also considered starving the EPA of its funding if it continues to promulgate climate rules.
But McCarthy said stripping EPA’s funding will be an unpopular move: “I feel very confident the American people understand the value of EPA,” she said. “EPA has not been a partisan agency.”
Obama Gives $3 Billion to U.N. Climate Fund Run by Communist, Terrorist Nations
President Obama has committed a mind-boggling $3 billion to a new United Nations Green Climate Fund run by officials from Communist nations, a country that appears on the State Department's list of terrorism-sponsors and an Arab oil-industry chief.
As if it weren't bad enough that our commander-in-chief is giving away money while the nation suffers through a colossal budget deficit, there are countless reasons why this is a lousy idea. First of all, the United Nations is a famously corrupt organization that is already largely funded by Uncle Sam to the tune of billions annually. The exact figure is tough to nail down because the U.S. cash flows, not just directly to U.N. coffers from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), but also from a number of other government agencies to the U.N. system.
The entire world body is well known as a pillar of fraud and mismanagement, but that hasn't slowed the tide of American taxpayer dollars. Even the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, funded primarily by American taxpayers, is a huge joke. A few years ago Judicial Watch reported that the U.N. awarded a genocidal warlord indicted by an international court for crimes against humanity a seat on its laughable human rights council. His name is Omar Al-Bashir, a ruthless African dictator charged by the International Criminal Court of war crimes in Darfur for killing thousands of his own citizens.
The last thing we need is another global U.N. initiative looking for cash. The "urgency and seriousness of climate change" inspired the crooked world body to create the Green Climate Fund, which aims to help the international community combat global warming. Here's the plan in a nutshell; the fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This will be accomplished by following the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, an international environmental treaty that aims to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations.
Predictably, this can't be accomplished cheaply and President Obama stepped up to the plate with the astounding $3 billion allotment. He made the announcement this month during a speech in Australia. "Now, today, I'm announcing that the United States will take another important step," Obama said "We are going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so we can help developing nations deal with climate change. So along with the other nations that have pledged support, this gives us the opportunity to help vulnerable communities with an early-warning system, with stronger defenses against storm surges, climate-resilient infrastructure." The speech, delivered at University of Queensland in Brisbane, went on and on but the snippet is sufficient to relay its gist.
Now let's take a look at who's running this new Green Climate Fund that's supposed to save the world from the ills of global warming. Among the board of directors is Yingming Yang, the Deputy Director General of Communist China's Ministry of Finance and Jorge Ferrer Rodriguez, a minister in Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Communist island has for years appeared on the State Department's list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Another interesting board member is Ayman Shasly, an official in Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources.
The selection of Shasly as a top dog of a conglomerate looking to halt climate change is peculiar since the oil industry contributes the most greenhouse gas and is well known to have a negative effect on the environment because it's toxic to nearly all forms of life. Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources is a government body in a country that happens to be the world's largest producer and exporter of oil. In fact, it has a quarter of the world's known oil reserves. Shasly's efforts as a global environmentalist may seem like a conflict of interest, especially since his government has announced plans to increase oil production from around 8 million barrels per day to 12.
Coal trumps nuclear in neurotic Germany. Government to bulldoze Green village to dig for brown coal
Green village to be bulldozed and mined for dirty brown coal in Germany's quest for non-nuclear fuel. More than 800 residents including some 400 from a neighbouring village will be resettled. Brown coal is a big polluter, giving rise to serious health concerns. It creates more pollution than other fuels
Even by German standards, Johannes Kapelle rates as a model green citizen. The roof of his meticulously restored 19th-century farm house is covered in solar panels. And when he walks into his large vegetable garden he points to a wind farm which helps provide not only his village but several others with all their energy needs.
Mr Kapelle has lived in the 500-year-old village of Proschim in east Germany's Lausitz region for most of his life. He, his 350 neighbours and the local farming community have devoted themselves to the green cause. The village is surrounded by wind turbines and solar and biogas plants which provide 15,000 homes with electricity.
The retired maths teacher, 78, remembers how under East German rule, Proschim used to reek of sulphur. The former communist state depended on so-called braunkohle the lignite coal fuel that is still being dug out of the ground in vast open-cast mines just a few kilometres away.
"We don't want to go back to those days. That is why we are doing everything we can to save Proschim," Mr Kapelle says.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's plan to end Germany's dependence on nuclear power by 2022 is set to bring about the destruction of Mr Kapelle's farm house and the rest of Proschim's buildings. More than 800 residents including some 400 from a neighbouring village will be resettled.
Proschim is just one of a cluster of east German villages and farms set to make way for new lignite mines. The fossil fuel is intended to "bridge" a widening energy gap resulting from the closure of Germany's nuclear power plants.
"There are not yet enough renewable energy sources to compensate for the loss of nuclear power," said Matti Nedoma, a spokesman for Proschim's Prenac farm complex. "So to meet the shortfall we are being told we must burn more coal and destroy farms and villages in the process," he said.
Mrs Merkel unveiled Germany's plan to axe nuclear power in 2011 in response to public concern over the Fukushima disaster. Eight of the country's 17 atomic power plants have since been shut down. Now, although modern filters have reduced pollution, figures for 2013 show that Germany burned more lignite than at any time since 1990.
In June the east German state of Brandenburg approved the state-owned Swedish energy giant Vattenfall's plans to extend its five lignite mines. The company plans to mine 200 million tons of coal from the extended open-cast pits from 2027.
The residents of Proschim are up in arms. A large billboard with a map of the area stands on a T-junction in the middle of the village. It displays 16 black crosses denoting the villages that have disappeared over the past decades to make way for new mines. Proschim is one of the red crosses denoting the villages now threatened with demolition.
Mr Kapelle's neighbour, Martin Boslau, 65, says Germany's politicians promised after reunification in 1990 that no further villages would be demolished to make way for coal. "That's why we did up our house and helped turn Proschim into a jewel. We are not going anywhere," he said.
Mr Boslau is one of more than 121,000 people who signed a petition opposing Vattenfall's plans. The village is planning to fight the Swedish energy giant with court injunctions at every step.
But the pro-coal lobby has 68,000 adherents. Local politicians and Vattenfall argue the region has depended on lignite mining for more than a century. The company says it provides 8,200 jobs in the region and that 25,000 others are linked to coal. Opponents say the new mines will create only 700 jobs.
Sigmar Gabriel, Chancellor Merkel's Energy minister, claims that more lignite mines are vital: "We need strategic reserves of gas and coal power for the times when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine," he said.
Opponents argue that the region already has almost 40 billion tons of lignite reserves. They also point out that Vattenfall exports much of the energy from its German operation.
They hope that the outcome of Sweden's recent election may yet rescue Proschim. The new Swedish government comprised of Social Democrats and Greens could insist Vattenfall halt its expansion. Lise Nordin, the Swedish Green party's energy spokeswoman, said last week that stopping Vattenfall's east German project was her party's "most pressing" decision.
Obama's Cruel and Costly Climate Hoax
By Alan Caruba
The intense cold that many Americans are encountering arrives more than a month before the official start of winter on December 2l.
To discuss this, we need to keep in mind that weather is what is occurring now. Climate is measured over longer periods, the minimum of which is thirty years and, beyond that, centuries.
We are colder these days because the Earth has been in a cooling cycle for 19 years and that cycle is based entirely on the Sun which has been radiating less heat for the same period of time.
Describing the role of the Sun, Australian geologist, Ian Plimer, said, “There is a big thermonuclear reactor in the sky that emits huge amounts of energy to the Earth…The Sun provides the energy for photosynthesis. The Sun is the bringer of life to Earth. If the Sun were more energetic the oceans would boil. If the Sun were less energetic the oceans would freeze and all life on Earth would be destroyed.”
We don’t control the Sun. Or the climate. It controls us.
Consider the fact that the Sun has a diameter of 865,000 miles. The Earth’s diameter is 7,917.5 miles. Thus, the Sun’s diameter is 109 times greater than the Earth’s. Carbon dioxide is barely 0.04% of the Earth’s atmosphere. Reducing it as the U.S.-China agreement proposes would have zero effect on the Earth’s climate.
We not only can, but should ignore the blatant lies of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, both of whom have been saying things about “climate change” without a scintilla of science to back them up. They’re not alone, however. In August, the U.N. Climate Chief, Christiana Figueres, warned of climate “chaos” in 500 days and told the World Health Organization that climate change was on a par with the outbreak of Ebola as a public health emergency.
It was big news on November 11 when The Wall Street Journal’s lead story on its front page reported that “The U.S. and China unveiled long-term plans to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to climate change, a surprise move aimed at kick-starting a new round of international climate negotiations and blunting domestic opposition to cuts in both countries.”
Someone needs to tell the Wall Street Journal there is no “climate change” that is not entirely NATURAL and unrelated to anything humans are doing.
The announcement plays into the longtime efforts of the environmental movement to impose energy limits on the world’s population. Similar limits will be called for when climate talks are launched in December by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in Lima, Peru.
Why the leaders of nations keep calling for limits that can only result in the reduction of energy production, the loss of economic benefits from industrial activity and the jobs it provides, and the modern lifestyle of advanced nations is one of life’s great mysteries.
If you really disliked America, you would no doubt pursue President Obama’s anti-energy agenda. That agenda is expressed by a series of climate and pollution measures that an article in Politico.com says “rivals any presidential environmental actions of the past quarter-century—a reality check for Republicans who think last week’s election gave them a mandate to end what they call the White House’s ‘War on Coal.’”
The authors of the Politico.com article, Andrew Restuccia and Erica Martinson, note that Obama’s assault on the nation is “Tied to court-ordered deadlines, legal mandates and international climate talks” over the next two months, all in the name of a climate change “And incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have few options for stopping the onslaught, though Republicans may be able to slow pieces of it.”
“The coming rollout includes a Dec. 1 proposal by EPA to tighten limits on smog-causing ozone, which business groups say could be the costliest federal regulation of all time; a final rule Dec. 19 for clamping down on disposal of power plants’ toxic coal cash; the Jan. 1 start date for a long-debated rule prohibiting states from polluting the air of their downwind neighbors; and a Jan. 8 deadline for issuing a final rule restricting greenhouse gas emissions from future power plants. That last rule is a centerpiece of Obama’s most ambitious environmental effort, the big plan for combating climate change that he announced at Georgetown University in June 2013.”
This vile assault flies in the face of actual climate trends: record low tornadoes record low hurricanes, record gain in Arctic ice, record amount of Antarctic ice, no change in the rate of sea level rise, no evidence of a Greenland meltdown, and again no warming for 19 years.
As this and future winters turn colder, arrive sooner and stay around longer, Americans will be affected by the reduction of coal-fired plants that generate electrical power. The nation will encounter blizzards that will leave some homeowners and apartment dwellers without heat. It is predictable that some will die.
A cruel and costly climate hoax is being perpetrated by President Obama and, in particular, by the Environmental Protection Agency. The new Congress must take whatever action it can to reverse and stop the harm that it represents; people’s jobs and lives depend on it.
Gas is cheaper. Where are the grandstanding politicians?
by Jeff Jacoby
OIL PRICES are plunging. Gasoline is now cheaper than milk. Why doesn't Washington do something already?
Since peaking in June, the price of oil has tumbled by 25 percent. Texas light sweet crude futures have fallen to around $77.40 a barrel, a three-year low, while Brent oil, the global benchmark, sank on Monday to its lowest price in four years.
Oil prices, long steady at around $100 per barrel, have recently plunged to their lowest point in years.
With cheaper oil has come cheaper gasoline. The national average price for a gallon of regular is now just $2.926. Drivers haven't seen pump prices this low since December 2010. Nor have they seen such a sustained decline — the price has dropped for 46 days in a row — since 2008. According to AAA, "the national average could fall another 5-15 cents in the coming weeks, which could make for the cheapest Thanksgiving gas in half a decade."
Clearly the government needs to deal with this situation. What are Congress and the president waiting for?
You're looking at me as if I'm crazy.
Perhaps that's because you know that a drop of this magnitude in crude oil prices translates, as Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations observes, "into more than $200 billion a year of savings for US consumers through lower prices for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and home heating oil." Perhaps you've seen the estimates that cheaper oil could boost America's GDP by 0.4 percent. Perhaps you know that shrinking fuel bills have been a godsend for transportation industries: Airline stocks, to cite the most dramatic example, have been on fire, and appear to be heading for their best back-to-back annual performance in 20 years.
So only someone devoid of economic common sense would think of demanding that regulators or lawmakers "do something" about the shift in oil and gasoline prices, right?
And yet when the price of crude oil or gasoline is rising, politicians and their enablers howl for blood. They vow to "crack down" on Big Oil, to investigate price "manipulation" by energy speculators, or to strip oil and gas companies of their tax credits. They freak out about the oil industry's "windfall profits." They haul energy CEOs before Congress. They accuse them of "price gouging."
This past June, when crude oil was trading at $108 a barrel (about $12 more than it had fetched in January), Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and 17 Democratic cosponsors introduced legislation directing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to deploy its emergency powers to "eliminate excessive speculation in energy markets." It wasn't the interplay of supply and demand that was pushing prices higher, Sanders claimed, it was greedy "big oil companies and Wall Street speculators."
Less than five months later, with fuel prices at lows not seen in years, Sanders has lost interest in the subject, and now seeks other dragons to slay. But as University of Michigan economist Mark J. Perry points out, if the Sanders bill would make no sense now, it made no sense in June either — regardless of what oil was selling for on the futures and spot markets.
If wicked "speculators" were to blame for the $12 per barrel increase in oil prices between January and June, Perry asked rhetorically on his bracing economics blog, shouldn't the same speculators get credit for the much bigger drop in oil prices between June and November? Or "are we to assume that greedy speculators only enter the futures markets when they 'smell profits' from rising oil prices, but then they suddenly disappear whenever prices are falling?"
In most of the country, gasoline is now cheaper than milk.
It should go without saying that traders can make — or lose — money both ways. (The Wall Street Journal reported recently on several hedge-fund managers who shrewdly read the tea leaves and profited by betting on a dive in oil futures.) It should also go without saying that the recent free-fall in the price of oil and gasoline is hardly an unmitigated blessing. It is causing no end of pain in great swaths of the economy — from the giant oil companies whose profits are being squeezed, to the small wildcatters who can't survive when crude drops too low, to auto dealers struggling to move hybrids and other fuel-efficient small cars.
But grandstanding politicians would only make it worse. Market forces, not corporate villainy, explain why prices fluctuate. Thanks to America's fracking-driven oil surge, supplies of crude oil are unusually abundant; thanks to the economic slowdown overseas, global demand is unusually low. When rising supply meets falling demand, prices fall. As circumstances change, the pattern reverses. Volatility is normal.
So no — government doesn't need to "do something" about fuel prices. When gas is $2.92 a gallon, the best energy policy is a free and robust economy. It's also the best policy at any other price.
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Posted by JR at 1:36 AM