Thursday, November 06, 2014
The biggest loser in this election was the climate scare
In the run-up to the 2014 midterms, a lot of green groups had been hoping that this would finally be the US election in which climate change was a defining issue.
You had liberal billionaire Tom Steyer spending $57 million from his own pocket trying to convince voters to care about global warming. You had the League of Conservation Voters pouring in another $25 million, more than it had in the past two elections combined. All the while, media outlets suggested that natural disasters — from Superstorm Sandy two years ago to the ongoing drought in the West — might push climate issues to the fore.
Ultimately, none of it really mattered. Congress' indifference to climate change issues will remain as solid as it's ever been.
Sure, there are small shifts in attitude here and there. Many Republican candidates now appear to think it's unviable to dismiss outright the basic facts of climate change. Instead, they just say "I'm not a scientist" when asked. (Overt climate denial, it seems, no longer polls well.) But that's one of the few signs anything has shifted. Climate change remains a low-priority issue — it ranked a lowly 8th (out of 11) on the list of issues voters care about in this Pew poll.
Congress' indifference is a huge problem for climate policy
In the very, very short term, this won't affect climate policy much. The main action in Washington over the next few years will happen inside the Environmental Protection Agency, which is crafting rules to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants between now and 2030. These regulations don't require congressional approval (they're being done under the existing Clean Air Act), and Obama will likely veto any attempts by Republicans to block them.
But the fact that global warming continues to be a non-issue will be a massive problem for future climate policy. The most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that global emissions would have to fall a staggering 42 to 71 percent below 2010 levels by mid-century if we wanted to fend off the worst impacts of global warming and prevent average temperatures rising more than 2°C (or 3.6°F). That's already incredibly difficult. But it gets harder and more expensive the longer we delay.
Obviously the United States can't solve climate change entirely on its own. China, India, Europe, and a whole bunch of other countries would also have to get on board. But as one of the world's largest emitters, the US would certainly have to make sweeping cuts of its own to help meet that goal — cuts that are far, far greater than the EPA is contemplating. According to the IPCC, we'd have to triple or quadruple the amount of low-carbon energy we use by mid-century and get radically more efficient in the way we use energy.
Only Congress can make the sort of truly sweeping policy changes that experts say will likely prove necessary — through things like pricing carbon or providing incentives for cleaner energy. And, in all likelihood, Congress would need to set those policies soon in order to make the transition as smooth as possible. Even though US greenhouse-gas emissions fell between 2005 and 2012, they're now slowly starting to rise again.
Without a major global shift on climate policy, the IPCC was clear on what would happen. The world is currently on pace to heat up between 3.7°C and 4.8°C by the end of the century. (That's 6.6°F and 8.6°F.) That much heat would bring with it all sorts of "irreversible" impacts, raising the risk of drastic sea level rises, crop failures, the flooding of major cities, mass extinctions. Some scientists now warn that these sorts a world that hot may not be "able to support society as we currently know it."
The basic message of the IPCC report is that countries need to get moving today if they want to avoid the planet from heating up dramatically. Not tomorrow. Not the day after. And certainly not five years from now. But the basic message of this election is that Congress isn't going to give much thought to climate change these next two years. Maybe not the two years after that. And it doesn't seem to be in the power of either committed billionaires or Mother Nature to get them to do so.
Greenie fail: They spent big to get people to Vote On Global Warming Issues
Greens took to social media to convince followers to get out to the polls Tuesday with some using the hashtag #climatevoter in an attempt to make their message go viral.
Environmental groups have spent at least $85 million this election, according to the Washington Post’s Chris Mooney. Most of that money has come from one man — San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer.
Steyer’s activist group NextGen Climate Action has spent a whopping $57 million on election activities, including media blitzes, backing Democratic candidates and promoting global warming policies this cycle. Steyer’s money has made environmental groups a major funding force this election.
The League of Conservation Voters has also unleashed a torrent of funding this election cycle, spending $30 million to help keep Democrats in office and push environmental policies.
LCV dedicated $19 million in election funding to federal races, including backing Democrats in tough races. The group has even backed Democrats like Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, who support the Keystone XL pipeline and oil and natural gas drilling.
NextGen and LCV together spent $87 million this election cycle alone. This is just the tip of the iceberg since there are other major environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council that have also ponied up this election.
The problem all of these groups face is that voters give fighting global warming a very low priority despite maybe even agreeing that warming is an issue that needs to be addressed.
New Climate Report Says Resistance Is Futile
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on the earth’s climate Sunday, and it reaffirms what climate alarmists have been yammering for years. Chicken Little has nothing on these guys.
“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system,” the report states, “increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts.” The report notes that governments now face the question of whether they can act to slow global warming to a pace at which humans and ecosystems can adapt, or risk “abrupt and irreversible changes” to the planet.
The report is the final piece of work in five years of assessments by thousands of scientists, and it is meant to offer a framework of data for world leaders to work with when they meet in 2015 to debate an international climate treaty. There have been a number of these five-year assessments since the 1990s, but this latest one contains the direst of predictions.
The IPCC concludes with 95% certainty that global warming is a man-made phenomenon, and the warming trend seen on land and in the oceans since the 1950s is “unequivocal.” According to IPCC research, each of the last three decades have been successively warmer, with the period from 1983 to 2012 likely being the warmest 30-year period in the Northern Hemisphere in the last 1,400 years. This would be an alarming piece of news except for the fact that the report admits this 1,400-year assessment is merely theoretical.
There have been previous theories about the sources and dangers of global warming. Rational scientists – the ones conveniently labeled “deniers” by ecofascists – have frequently questioned the methods by which the IPCC and its associated scientists collect their data. There was the famous “hockey stick” debate of 2003, when statisticians proved that the data behind the theory of steeply rising global temperatures was fundamentally flawed. And let’s not forget Climategate, the 2009 scandal in which the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit was caught fudging its climate data in an effort to prove the dire consequences of man-made global warming.
The IPCC remains undeterred in its mission, and inconvenient truths won’t get in its way. For instance, 18 years in which we have seen no warming accompanied by yet another record extent in Antarctic sea ice is considered temporary and due to “natural variability.” The IPCC report calls this trend merely a pause: “Trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends.”
So an 18-year block within the time period from 1950 to 2014 is a short record without scientific meaning, but the IPCC bases its “settled science” on a 64-year block (1950-2014) within a 1,400-year period – that is admittedly theoretical – and we’re just supposed to accept that as fact.
The IPCC points out that it does not have the power to make policy, but it’s surely going to do everything it can to help shape whatever policy governments will make when they gather in Paris next year. The report claims a global temperature rise greater than 2°C would be catastrophic. If that threshold is crossed, the damage caused by global warming would be irreversible – even if all fossil-fuel use were to end tomorrow. By the way, that 2°C threshold was developed in 2009 and is relative to the 1861-1880 baseline for global temperature. There seems to be no explanation why this statistically short record is now gospel as opposed to any other 20-year span prior to the mass production of the automobile.
In any event, if this seemingly arbitrary 2°C threshold is to be maintained, carbon emissions need to be brought to near zero by 2100. “It’s not too late,” says Gary Yohe, a professor from Wesleyan University who contributed to the report. “But the longer you wait, the more expensive it gets.” It’s never too late for these folks.
Just how expensive will it be? The report is evasive: “These impact estimates are incomplete and depend on a large number of assumptions, many of which are disputable. … As a result, mitigation cost and climate damage estimates at any given temperature level cannot be compared to evaluate the costs and benefits of mitigation.” That’s a convenient way to avoid the hot seat for something that would drastically reduce global GDP over the next 85 years.
Ronald Bailey of Reason Magazine boils it down: “One way to think of this is that people today making an average global per capita income of just under $10,000 per year are being asked to sacrifice economic growth and development for people whose incomes will likely be over $61,000 per year in 2100.”
While the IPCC admits there are disputable elements and that it cannot determine just what the economic impact of its proposals would be, it argues we should unquestioningly accept its final conclusion.
The IPCC and its climate alarmist cohorts are asking the world to put the brakes on economic development based on information that is still very much up for debate. But never mind that, they say, the “Science™ is settled.”
BOOK REVIEW of "Cracking Big Green"
It is doubtful that most Americans and others around the world know how vast the organizational structure of the environmental movement is and how much wealth it generates for those engaged in an agenda that would drag humanity back to the Stone Age.
If that sounds extreme, consider a world without access to and use of energy or any of the technological and scientific advances that have extended and enhanced our lives, from pesticides that kill insect and rodent disease vectors to genetically modified seeds that yield greater crop volumes.
Two of my colleagues in the effort to get the truth out are Paul Driessen and Ron Arnold, both of whom are affiliated with a free market think tank, the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, CFACT, They have done the research necessary to expose the wealth and the power structure of the environmental movement. They have joined together to write “Cracking Big Green: To Save the World from the Save-the-Earth Money Machine.” ($4.99, available from Amazon.com)
The Greens are forever claiming that anyone who disputes their lies is receiving money from big energy companies, but my experience is that it is think tanks like CFACT, small by any comparison with any major environmental organization, that support the search for the truth and its dissemination.
“Big Green” was formerly known as the Iron Triangle, “a mutually supportive relationship between power elites,” so-named by Mark Tapscott, the Washington Examiner’s executive editor. It consisted of “government agencies, special interest lobbying organizations, and legislators with jurisdiction over their interests.” Today, it includes major environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council. To these add wealthy foundations and corporations that fund them.
It will no doubt astound many readers to learn that there are more than 26,500 American environmental groups. They collected total revenues of more than $81 billion from 2000 to 2012, according to Giving USA Institute, with only a small part of that coming from membership dues and individual contributions.
“Cracking Big Green” examined the Internal Revenue Service Form 990 reports of non-profit organizations. Driessen and Arnold discovered that, among the 2012 incomes of better-known environmental groups, the Sierra Club took in $97,757,678 and its Foundation took in $47,163,599. The Environmental Defense Fund listed $111,915,138 in earnings, the Natural Resources Defense Council took in $98,701,707 and the National Audubon Society took in $96,206,883. These four groups accounted for more than $353 million in one year.
That pays for a lot of lobbying at the state and federal level. It pays for a lot of propaganda that the Earth needs saving because of global warming or climate change. Now add in Greenpeace USA at $32,791,149, the Greenpeace Fund at $12,878,777; the National Wildlife Federation at $84,725,518; the National Parks Conservation Association at $25,782,975; and The Wilderness Society at $24,862,909. Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection took in $19,150,215. That’s a lot of money to protect something that cannot be “protected,” but small in comparison to other Green organizations.
“If that sounds too intimidating to confront,” say Driessen and Arnold, “it gets worse. Our research found a truly shocking blind spot; many major environmental groups get nearly half their revenue from private foundations like the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Wal-Mart’s Walton Family Foundation. Just the top 50 foundation donors (out of 81,777) gave green groups $812,639,999 (2010 figures), according to the Foundation Center’s vast database.”
If you wonder why you have been hearing and reading endless doomsday scenarios about the warming of the Earth, the rise of the seas, and the disappearance of species and forests, for decades, the reason is that a huge propaganda machine is financed at levels that are mind boggling.
Allied with politicians in high places, Big Green can count on them to maintain the lies. When the Earth ceased to warming nineteen years ago, it changed its doomsday campaign to “climate change,” but the objective is the same: keep people so scared they will accept all manner of restrictions on their lives, at the same time the availability of the energy on which they depend is reduced by a “war on coal” and other measures to keep oil and natural gas in the ground where it cannot be used.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” said President Obama on January 21, 2013, in his second inaugural address. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and powerful storms.”
This may appeal to those who do not or cannot examine these claims, but the reality is that the climate is always in a state of change, is largely determined by the Sun and other factors such as the oceans and volcanic activity. Humans play virtually no role whatever and Big Green’s Big Lie, that carbon dioxide (C02) emissions influence the weather and/or the climate, has long been disproved and debunked. The problem is that that the news and other media continue to tell the Big Lie.
For Big Green, science is not about irrefutable truth. It is an instrument of propaganda to be distorted to advance their lies.
The impact on their lives and on our economy can be seen in “higher energy bills, disappearing jobs, diminished family incomes, and fewer opportunities for better living standards for their children,” all factors that played into the outcome of the recent midterm elections.
For a short, powerful insight to Big Green power and agenda, I heartily recommend you read “Cracking Big Green.”
More of that global warming hits America
After a weekend with record cold and snow, more waves of cold air and snow are on the way through the middle of November from the Midwest to the East.
A storm last weekend produced the earliest snowfall on record in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday. Freezing temperatures settled over much of the South and, when combined with the snow in the southern Appalachians, allowed some ski resorts to open early.
Snow buried part of New England later in the weekend, as the same storm pushed off the coast, turned northward and ramped up.
Another shot of cold air will follow a fast-moving storm forecast to sweep from the Midwest to the East during the second half of the week.
The new storm later this week will not be as strong as the system that hit the Midwest and East this past weekend. However, it will bring spotty rain and snow to parts of the northern Plains Wednesday then the Great Lakes on Thursday.
Danish dreaming: Denmark Plans to Phase Out Coal by 2025
Denmark should ban coal use by 2025 to make the Nordic nation a leader in fighting global warming, adding to green measures ranging from wind energy to bicycle power, Denmark's climate minister said on Saturday.
Denmark has already taken big steps to break reliance on high-polluting coal - wind turbines are set to generate more than half of all electricity by 2020 and 41 percent of people in Copenhagen cycle to work or school, higher than in Amsterdam.
"The cost (of phasing out coal) would not be significant," Climate, Energy and Building Minister Helveg Petersen told Reuters of a proposal he made this week to bring forward a planned phase-out of all coal use to 2025 from 2030.
His ministry is studying details of how it would work before unveiling a formal plan. Denmark imports about 6 million tonnes a year of coal on world markets, currently from Russia, so a ban would coincidentally cut dependence on Moscow for energy.
The Danish Energy Association, representing energy firms, said a faster phase-out of coal would bring risks that wind turbines could not meet demand on calm days. Coal now generates about a third of Danish electricity.
"There will be a bill to pay," said Anders Stouge, deputy head of the association. Petersen said that some coal-fired plants could shift to burning wood as a backup.
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Posted by JR at 1:46 AM