Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kerry Gets It Wrong on Climate’s Impact on New Zealand’s Dairy Farmers

Facts are irrelevant to a Leftist.  They just KNOW

In a speech in India on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry cited as an example of the global impact of climate change a recent drought in New Zealand that was so dire, he said, farmers had been forced to kill “all of their dairy cattle and sheep.”

It’s not true.  New Zealand did experience a severe drought in 2013 – the worst in nearly 70 years in some regions, according to the country’s climate research center – but it did not result in the wholesale slaughter of dairy herds.

In fact the 2013/2014 season accounted for a record level of milk production in New Zealand, surpassing the 20 billion liter mark for the first time, according to a new report by the industry body, Dairy NZ.

Moreover, 2013/2014 also saw a small increase in the number of dairy herds, with milking cow numbers rising by 138,600 animals to 4.92 million.

In his speech in Gujarat, Kerry cited floods in India two years ago, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, drought in southern Africa, and then raised the New Zealand example.

“New Zealand recently experienced a drought that was so bad that farmers had to slaughter all of their dairy cattle and sheep because they didn’t have enough food and water to be able to keep the animals alive,” he said.

“So these are the problems that global climate change is already causing,” Kerry continued. “And there isn’t a scientist worth his or her salt who won’t tell you that the problem is going to grow more severe.”

Federated Farmers of New Zealand spokesperson Penny Clark-Hall said Monday that Kerry’s statement was incorrect.

“It is normal farming practice in the drier parts of the year and especially in drought to destock – but I haven’t heard of any farms who have rid of 100 percent of their stock,” she said.

Graphs based on New Zealand Meat Board figures on the annual slaughter of all cows (both dairy and beef) show no marked rise in the 2013/14 season above that of the previous one.

“Total dairy cattle numbers increased to 6.6 million head for the year to 30 June 2013, up 2.3 percent on the previous season,” the industry group Beef and Lamb New Zealand said in a report released around midway through the 2013/2014 season.

A subsequent report by the group said, “Total dairy cattle numbers increased slightly (+0.7 percent) to 6.53 million head at 30 June 2014 on the previous season.”

Clark-Hall noted that the 2013 drought was severe – in some regions, the worst since the mid-1940s, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

Last year, by contrast, was “generally a mild year with near normal rainfall and near average temperatures for most of the country,” says a NIWA summary of the 2014 climate, released on Friday.

“Farmers are pushing for more water storage in NZ to capture the excess rain fall we get in the winter and autumn to tide us over in the drier months,” Clark-Hall said.

New Zealand produces three percent of all the milk in the world, and the dairy industry is small Pacific island nation’s biggest export earner. About 95 percent of New Zealand’s milk production is exported to more than 150 countries.

With a population of just 4.47 million, New Zealand has more cows (4.9 million dairy and about four million beef cows) and many more sheep (around 30 million), than it has people.

The sheer number of cows and sheep prompted a Labor government in 2003 to propose introducing a tax on flatulence – methane emitted from both ends of the animals is considered a “greenhouse gas” – but it backed down in the face of a farmer-led protest campaign under the slogan Fight Against Ridiculous Taxes, (FART).

A longstanding advocate of the campaign against global warming during his almost three decades in the U.S. Senate, Kerry as secretary of state has prioritized the issue, which he says is at least as serious as other major global threats, including terrorism, epidemics and nuclear proliferation.


Not the ‘hottest’

Global warming campaigners have a tough sell on their hands.  They claim that climate science is “settled” and beyond discussion, yet the computer models the whole thing depends on have called for warming which has not occurred since before the turn of the millennium.

Now they’re trying to claim that 2014 was the “hottest ever.”

This is absurd. There was not very much warming during the second half of the 20th century and none since then.  Only a few years managed to come in around 1/2 a degree Celsius above baseline — Not enough to cause extreme anything.

Now team warming is trying desperately to cobble together a few hundredths of a degree above 1998, while they know full well that a few hundredths are meaningless.  Measurements are not that accurate.  Hundredths are too small to matter.  We’re still way under what the computer models project.  Hundredths warmer is like pennies richer.

More importantly, for them to make even this shallow claim, they have to cherry pick their data and completely ignore the U.S. and U.K. satellite data which they know full well is the best available.

Why ignore the best available world temperature data?  Because it does not show any warming. That’s where science ends and propaganda begins.

The next time a global warming campaigner tries to tell you that 2014 was the “hottest ever,” tell them to cool off — And stick with the satellite data they based the models on (the one’s with no warming).

No switching umpires in the middle of the game.


Upton: Obama ‘Out of Excuses’ after Court Okays Keystone Pipeline Route

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a statement on Friday after news broke that the Nebraska Supreme Court has approved the course of the Keystone XL Pipeline through the state.

Upton said President Barack Obama can no longer say no action should be taken ahead of the court’s decision.

“The president has been hiding behind the Nebraska court case to block this critical jobs project,” Upton said in the statement. “With that contrived roadblock cleared, the White House is now out of excuses, and out of time."

After Upton issued his statement, the House passed Keystone legislation in a bipartisan vote of 266 to 153. According to the Houseroll call, 28 Democrats voted with 238 Republicans to pass the bill.

According to the Omaha ABC affiliate KETV, the court overturned a Lancaster County District Court ruling, although a majority of the justices have said the law that allowed a governor to determine the route of the pipeline was unconstitutional.

In 2013, then-Gov. Dave Heineman, a Republican, approved the Canadian TransCanada’s purposed route through the state to transport crude oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

Four members of the seven-member court concluded the Lancaster County District Court ruling was correct when it sided with landowners who challenged LB 1161 -- the law that allowed the governor to sign off on a path for a pipeline, according to KETV.

But under the Nebraska Constitution, only a super majority (at least five members) can declare a legislative act unconstitutional, so the law allowing the governor to approve the route stands.

Upton included in his statement a link to 21 letters supporting the construction of the pipeline, which the State Department has said will almost immediately create more than 40,000 American jobs.

Organizations submitting a letter of support include the American Iron and Steel Institute, Caterpillar, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Brotherhoods of Teamsters, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council and the Western Energy Alliance.


Democrats launch first filibuster of the year on Keystone

Democrats launched the first filibuster of the new Congress on Thursday, objecting to the GOP’s effort to try to bring the Keystone XL pipeline bill to the floor early next week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to schedule action early next week on the bill, and promised an open process, including allowing both sides to offer amendments to the bill — an attempt to break with the previous few years, when Democrats controlled the floor and kept a tight lid on amendments.

But Democrats objected to Mr. McConnell’s request, forcing him to begin the procedure for breaking a filibuster.

“We’ll work through this because we’re determined to get bipartisan jobs legislation on the president’s desk as soon as we can,” Mr. McConnell said.

The proceedings represented a role-reversal from the last Congress, when Democrats tried to push bills to the floor only to face a GOP filibuster. In many of those cases, however, Republicans said they were filibustering because Democrats — led by Sen. Harry Reid — blocked out all amendments. This time around, Mr. McConnell promised to allow amendments from all sides.

Keystone has bipartisan support, but President Obama has vowed a veto. Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, said he thinks there could be enough Democrats willing to support the pipeline that the Senate could overturn an Obama veto, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said her troops in the lower chamber would sustain Mr. Obama’s veto.


Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) describes global warming as natural phenomenon

Four and-a-half years ago, Illinois Republican Mark Kirk voted for a sweeping House bill that would have imposed nationwide restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.

What a difference a couple of elections can make.

Kirk, who was serving in the House at the time but is now running for reelection in the Senate, described global warming Wednesday as a largely-natural phenomenon.

"We had the previous warming period, which was called the global optimum, and the best way to talk about that is when Leif Erickson went west from his home, he discovered a landmass that he called Greenland, because it was," Kirk told a reporter from E&E News. "And that was called the global optimum, because the planet was much warmer. By calling Greenland 'green land,' we know that the climate has been changing pretty regularly within recorded memory."

Long considered a moderate, Kirk had received favorable ratings from environmentalists early in his career. In 2010, Kirk received a 70 percent score from the League of Conservation Voters for his House record, one of the highest percentages given to a Republican. Kirk was one of just eight Republicans who voted in favor of the 2009 climate bill authored by then-Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).

In a statement Thursday, Kirk said he believes human activity plays a role in climate change but policymakers need to be measured in how they address it.

"Climate change is real and human beings definitely play a role. As I have said since 2010, I will not support a carbon tax or similar attempts which hurt the Illinois or American economy. The vote this week is another desperate attempt to derail Keystone," he said.

Kirk, who beat his Democratic opponent in 2010 by less than 60,000 votes, has since questioned his previous climate stance. In an August 2009 radio interview with WIND's "Big John & Cisco In The Morning," Kirk said that while he believed the House climate bill would stall in the Senate — which is what happened — if he had to revisit the issue, "I will be going through every detail and thinking about all of my constituents who got a hold of me on this issue. Because there has been an issue that I've heard nothing else about in the last couple of weeks."

That same month, he told "Fox News Sunday" that he had gotten significant feedback from Illinois voters on his Waxman-Markey vote, and when he considered the issue in the future he would keep in mind that "The energy interests of Illinois are far broader and deeper than my North Shore district."

Now facing reelection in a Democratic-leaning state, Kirk must weigh the views of conservative Republican primary voters against a more liberal general electorate. His recent climate comments have infuriated some national environmental groups.

“We are baffled by Senator Kirk’s comments," said Environmental Defense Fund spokesman Keith Gaby. "This sounds more like something Senator Inhofe or Rush Limbaugh might say. His supporters in Illinois must be scratching their heads. Unfortunately, his record in the Senate has also been disappointing, including co-sponsorship of Senator McConnell’s resolution to block" an Environmental Protection Agency proposed rule on existing power plants.

"When he was in the House, he was a forward-thinking moderate on climate and energy issues – our hope is that he can return to that approach and be the kind of leader Illinois sent to the Senate," Gaby added. "His reversal on environmental protection has been very disappointing."


A Time to Act on Energy Security

With the new year comes a new Congress, and, as always, energy policy will be a major priority for this 114th session. Now that Republicans have regained control of both the Senate and the House, and with President Obama looking to establish his legacy, there is a unique opportunity to build positive momentum on energy security and reduce America’s vulnerability to the historically volatile oil market.

Oil prices are at their lowest in years, and Americans may be tempted to think we are entering a new era of stable, cheap fuel. Indeed, we find ourselves in a phase of temporarily low prices on the oil market rollercoaster. Unfortunately, those easily forgotten high prices will inevitably return, shocking the economy in the process and damaging U.S. productivity. This scenario will replay itself again and again, unless we take steps to avoid it.

Moving forward requires a new approach, one that focuses on addressing the national and economic security challenges that result from our near-exclusive reliance on oil to power American transportation.

We must begin by acknowledging that as the world’s biggest oil consumer – we use one fifth of global supply – the United States is dangerously dependent on petroleum. It composes more than a third of our primary energy demand, more than any other fuel, and we rely on it to power 92 percent of our transportation sector. As a result, the price of oil wields incredible influence over our economic health.

The wild oscillations of the global oil market make this dependence all the more hazardous, and there is little we can do to stop them. Although the United States now claims the position of top global oil producer, 90 percent of all proven reserves still remain under the control of national oil companies, many within the OPEC cartel. This fact alone illustrates how little control we have when we let the oil market determine our economic fate. And widespread geopolitical instability in oil producing countries like Libya, Iraq, and Nigeria will continue to threaten supply disruptions that could send crude prices skyrocketing.

Surging American production has helped us lower oil imports, created hundreds of thousands of jobs, and has facilitated today’s drop in oil prices. However, increased production alone cannot produce true energy security. We must create a strategy that continues to encourage expanded domestic energy production while also diversifying the fuels that power our transportation sector.

Breaking America’s oil dependence will require policies that fuse supply-side and demand-side initiatives. Policymakers must craft legislation that tackles our dependence in order to move forward, and the clock is ticking.

One way to accomplish this is through the creation of an Energy Security Trust Fund, designed to facilitate expanded North American energy production while driving investments in technologies that can make the American economy less vulnerable to the whims of the global oil market. With the aim of using oil more efficiently and diversifying the transportation sector altogether, these investments would support basic research and development in cutting-edge components such as longer-lasting batteries and high-capacity storage tanks for natural gas trucks – not costly boondoggles on unproven technology or expensive “green” alternatives.

This R&D funding would originate from some of the revenues generated by new production in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico and other federal lands and waters currently not available for development. For conservatives, this is an opportunity to open new areas of production that otherwise would remain inaccessible due to government restrictions, while incorporating demand-side policies that would reduce American oil consumption and increase American national security in the process.

We have a unique opportunity to act quickly during this period of lower oil prices. Historically, we have moved on energy policy only in times of crisis, reacting after the damage has already been done. This was the case during the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo, and it will be the case again when the next oil price spike inevitably arrives.

We should seize this moment, working from a position of strength to lay the foundations for real, lasting U.S. energy security. We have a chance to pass effective supply-side and demand-side legislation that both sides can rally behind, putting us on the path towards an America that is more economically resilient and better protected from its enemies – and that’s a good deal for all of us.



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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