Monday, January 26, 2015

People Freeze While Climate Alarmists Fiddle

Severe winter weather continues to pound the U.S. and the Middle East, of all places. The Weather Channel reports that one of the worst winter storm in more than a decade hit Lebanon leaving hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees living in tents with little in the way of heat. At least two Syrian refugees dies from exposure. Snow blanketed much of Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.

Britain experienced its coldest night of the year on the 18th as temperatures in the Scottish highlands dropped to -11C as icy conditions resulted in a commuter jet carrying 47 passengers sliding off the tarmac and into the grass in Inverness.

In New Jersey, on Sunday the 18, what had been expected to be a fairly routine rain storm turned into dangerous ice storm as lower than expected temperatures, resulted in as much as a quarter of an inch of freezing rain falling in parts of New York and New Jersey resulting on some road and bridge closures and restrictions. The New Jersey State Police reported 428 accidents and 186 calls for aid through Sunday afternoon. Despite more than enough work in New Jersey, some northern New Jersey ambulance companies were sent units to New York City to deal with a glut of emergency calls due to ice.

Cold air from Canada delivered frigid conditions to much of the U.S. with cold in North Carolina resulting in delayed school openings, and school closings in Minnesota, New England and throughout the Mid-West.

In Chicago, where wind chills were -21 degrees on January 8, firefighters battled blazes while icicles formed on their uniforms.

With wind chill readings between 25 and 45 degrees below zero, and white out’s some areas, conditions on many of the nation’s highways were deadly, for instance, an 18 vehicle pileup in Western Pennsylvania resulted in three deaths.

Looking ahead, the Weather Channel projects that much of the Eastern, Mid-West and Southern U.S. should brace for colder than average temperatures from February through April, while the Western U.S. might experience warmer than average temperatures due to a temporary high temperature ridge over the West Coast.

While climate pontificators blather on about whether 2014 was the warmest year on record, outside of the Ivory Tower, people around the world are shivering in the dark as winter continues its deadly, icy grip.


‘Eco’ bulbs aren’t green enough

Households are being misled over light bulbs that are branded as ‘eco’ but can burn out in a matter of weeks, campaigners claim.

Philips and Osram, two of the biggest manufacturers, are using the term on halogen bulbs that can use ten times more energy than the latest technology.

Consumer groups say the products are being ‘greenwashed’ and are fooling the public into thinking they are getting an environmentally-friendly light source that can cut family bills.

Yesterday campaigners threatened legal action as one firm claimed that eco actually stood for ‘economy’ – a reference to price rather than the bulb’s ability to save on power.

Halogen bulbs, which cost around £1.50 each, are among the least energy-efficient bulbs widely available today and have been surpassed by technologies including LEDs and compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs – some of which will burn ten times less energy.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that replacing every halogen bulb with LEDs – which can cost around £7 – will save a family £40 a year in electricity bills.

Yet Philips’s EcoClassic bulb and Osram’s Classic Eco Superstar bulb both carry the word ‘eco’ – even though each has an energy efficiency grade of C or D – the lowest being E.

They will last just 2,000 hours and consume ten times more energy than the latest LED technology, researchers say.

Campaign group Coolproducts is now calling for the ‘eco’ label to be restricted to products which are truly efficient and said it is considering legal action against the companies.

EU law prevents firms using the phrase ‘energy-saving lamp’ when marketing halogens, but does not rule out using the term ‘eco’.

Stephane Arditi of Coolproducts said: ‘Halogens are only eco in comparison to incandescent bulbs that Philips and Osram know were phased out years ago, yet this packaging is modern.

‘Whether greenwash or consumer manipulation, the effect is the same – people think they are getting energy savers when in fact they are buying the worst bulbs on the market.  ‘They would be far better off buying LEDs or CFL bulbs from forward-thinking retailers.’

Halogen bulbs were the most efficient type available when they were invented in the 1960s. But since filament technology was phased out in the last few years, halogen bulbs can no longer be classed as energy efficient, say campaigners.

Osram yesterday admitted its eco branding was a reference to its cheapness compared to newer technologies.  A spokesman for the German-based firm said: ‘ECO is an abbreviation for ECOnomy as well as for ECOlogy.

‘Unlike CFL bulbs and LED lamps, halogen lamps can be disposed of in household waste as they do not contain electronic components and from a health perspective do not emit electronic magnetic fields.’

Philips said shoppers are given enough information on packaging to make an informed decision.

A spokesman pointed out that halogen bulbs would still save more money than traditional incandescent filament bulbs – which are still in some stores because any stocks held at the time of the phase-out in 2011 are allowed to be sold.

The spokesman added: ‘Our packaging contains information so that consumers can make an informed decision when purchasing a Philips light bulb, especially the energy label, which allows consumers to easily compare one product to another and makes very clear what the energy consumption of the bulb is.’

Richard Black, of think-tank the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, said: ‘This will disappoint Britons who’ve invested in these bulbs believing that they were saving money and doing something to reduce climate change.

‘Both Philips and Osram have made impressive-sounding statements regarding their commitment to tackling climate change, and this news is likely to make some people question how serious the companies are.’


A "Carbon Diet" Would Punish the Poor

The worst metaphor to come out of the global warming debate is “the carbon diet.”

Originally coined in Oregon in 2000, the metaphor didn’t take off until 2005, when David Gershon wrote a workbook titled Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds. Al Gore, among other alarmists, praised it, and in 2006, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) referenced it upon announcing new greenhouse gas emissions restrictions in California.

Schwarzenegger compared Earth to an overweight person who is consuming too much energy (primarily fossil fuels), making the planet unhealthy. The cure: Apply willpower and make changes to our carbon-crazy lifestyles so the planet will avoid an early death – presumably of heatstroke.

The carbon-diet metaphor has seeped into everyday language. Alarmists have convinced world leaders and much of the general public the world needs to “cut back” on fossil fuel consumption in the same way an obese person needs cut back on food consumption.

However, from its inception, the metaphor was flawed. First, the planet is not a living organism with some particular state of existence objectively describable as being “healthy.” The idea there is an ideal temperature or state of the global climate is a human invention.

Second, taking the metaphor seriously leads to perverse, fatal results for billions of the world’s people – primarily the poorest among us. Those who already suffer from poverty, malnutrition, lack of education, and dearth of political representation ultimately suffer the most from climate alarmism. A carbon diet would make the sick even sicker. In the present world, in the words of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, restrictions on fossil fuel use are a “sickness unto death.”

An article in Slate rightly points out “[m]ost of the world does not need a carbon diet.”:

Three-quarters of the global population uses just 10 percent of the world’s energy, 1 billion people lack access to electricity, and 3 billion cook their food over dung, wood, and charcoal, leading to millions of early deaths. These people are energy starved – and they need a feast, not a diet. People in Angola, Bangladesh, and Cameroon, for example, use about 250 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, while people in the U.S. use 12,246.

People in developed countries should not be thrown into poverty and chaos by massive fossil fuel restrictions. Fossil fuel use has allowed humans to adapt the environment to our needs rather than, as we have for the vast majority of human existence, remain dependent upon and in fear of the vicissitudes of nature.

Even clean development mechanisms are misguided; paying the poor not to develop, or to attempt to develop using only renewable energy, will result in developing nations having only enough energy per capita to power a set-top cable box, leaving people cooking over dung and wood without the electricity needed to light a lamp.

In the end:

The carbon diet is a miserable prescription for the world’s future because it contains no vision of a shared future and shared prosperity. Instead, it offers a default vision of a dog-eat-dog world where starving hordes will tank the planet.

The Slate article should sit alongside Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels in our intellectual medical library as a diagnostic manual for the world’s energy ills.


Inhofe Calls Obama’s Climate Agenda A ‘Wealth Redistribution Scheme’

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe criticized President Barack Obama’s doubling down on fighting global warming Tuesday night, arguing that the president’s planned climate regulations were simply “a wealth redistribution scheme.”

“Why the pain for no gain?” Inhofe asked in a rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union speech. ”As The Wall Street Journal put it when reporting on just one of the president’s many climate regulations, this is a wealth redistribution scheme being imposed by the president through the EPA.”

“This is the real climate agenda the president chose not to address tonight. It is no wonder because it would impose the largest tax increase in the history of America,” Inhofe added.

Obama’s second-to-final State of the Union speech Tuesday night focused mainly on his “middle class economics” plan to increase taxes on the wealthy and ramp up social programs. His speech only mentioned the word “climate” four times. But the president warned that doing nothing to fight global warming means “we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe.”

Obama also touted his own policies put in place to fight global warming. Though the president did not specifically mention his most contentious policies: proposals to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants.

“That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it,” Obama said. “That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history.”

“In Beijing, we made an historic announcement : The United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions,” Obama continued. “And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.”

Inhofe slammed Obama’s climate grandstanding, arguing that fighting global warming will accomplish little and harm the economy.

“The president’s ‘War on Fossil Fuels’ and nuclear energy is most evident in his unbridled mandates being issued by the EPA,” Inhofe said. “While he markets these regulations as a means to save us from global warming, a recent NERA [consulting company] study predicts the president’s climate agenda would only reduce CO2 concentration by less than one-half of a percent; it would only reduce the average global temperature by less than 2/100th of a degree; and it would only reduce the rise of sea levels by 1/100th of an inch – or the thickness of three sheets of paper.”

Inhofe warned that “the President’s agenda will cost our economy $479-billion dollars; we will experience a double-digit electricity price increase; and tens of thousands of Americans will lose access to well-paying jobs over the course of the next decade.”


Envirofascists Deploy 1,700 Jets to Switzerland

As the World Economic Forum gets underway in Davos, Switzerland, this Thursday, the global elite is strategizing on how to best combat global warming and limit carbon emissions worldwide.

But with thousands of private jets ferrying the global glitterati to their alpine retreat this week, perhaps they should start by looking in the mirror.

An estimated 1,700 private aircraft are descending on the Swiss Alps — a record number that drove the Swiss Armed Forces to open up its Dübendorf military airbase to civilian traffic earlier this week.

Private jet operators across Europe are seeing a business boom, with flights on some carriers running from $10,000 to $15,000 an hour. Some companies are even throwing in free helicopter rides — another high-emission aircraft in high demand at Davos.

Climate scientists view air travel as the most costly per-person contributor to carbon emissions, with some estimates saying it accounts for 5 percent of “warming.” A round-trip flight from New York to Europe can emit 2 to 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person — and that’s a commercial flight, where the cost is shared with hundreds of other passengers.

Around 1,500 business executives and 40 heads of state are expected to attend the Forum, where tickets go for about $40,000. Among them are Oxfam director Winnie Byanyima, a World Economic Forum co-chair who is planning a series of Davos events highlighting the gap between the global elite and everybody else.

“Business as usual for the elite isn’t a cost-free option,” she said in a statement, which was issued at the same time Davos attendees jetted in from around the world.


Why is the Senate GOP attempting to thread the needle on climate change?

"Thread the needle" means to make a probably futile attempt to strike a balance between two conflicting positions

“[I]t is the sense of Congress that — (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity contributes to climate change.”

That was part of an amendment offered by Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) to S.1, legislation that will require the Obama administration to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S.

It drew the support of 59 senators, including 15 Republicans: Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Bob Portman (R-Ohio), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).

Hoeven voted against his own amendment, which fell one vote short of the 60 votes needed for passage.

Right afterward, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) offered a second amendment that Democrats preferred. It read: “[I]t is the sense of Congress that — (1) climate change is real; and (2) human activity significantly contributes to climate.”

That version of the amendment only drew the support of 50 senators, including just 5 Republicans: Alexander, Ayotte, Collins, Graham, and Kirk.

This time it was 10 votes short.

Yet, the two votes — just 21 minutes apart — signify very interesting political positioning by Republicans on the issue.

The position for at least 10 of the Senate Republicans — Corker, Flake, Hatch, Heller, McCain, Murkowski, Paul, Portman, Rounds, and Toomey — appears to be that climate change is real, human activity contributes to it, but it is not significant enough to warrant the current regime of regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit carbon emissions.

Or to justify a restrictive climate deal struck between the Obama administration and China — where the U.S. agrees to limit energy consumption long before the Chinese would.

Are Republicans attempting to thread the needle on climate change? Are they succeeding?

Politico ran a story on the series of votes entitled, “Republicans outfox Democrats on climate votes.”

But perhaps a better question is why Republicans are even bothering with these symbolic votes?

A Gallup survey before the 2014 midterm elections found that just 19 percent of Republicans found climate change to be either an extremely or very important priority, compared with 61 percent of Democrats.

In the meantime, 91 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats agreed that the economy was a top priority, and 83 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats said the availability of good jobs was.

Point is, almost all voters are concerned about improving the economy and creating jobs, and comparatively far fewer are worried about climate change. Regardless of the degree to which human activities impact the climate, that is a pretty powerful political message.

Which is, posturing on climate change won’t make a lick of difference electorally if the economy does not improve. So, get to work.



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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