Thursday, January 08, 2015

Study: Cap-and-trade kills jobs

Cap-and-trade programs kill manufacturing jobs, according to new research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The study says that manufacturing jobs were reduced by 1.3 percent in affected areas after the EPA implemented a cap-and-trade program in 20 eastern states in the 2000s. Cap-and-trade cost over 110,000 jobs total in the affected states. Manufacturers in the top quartile of energy-users cut jobs by 3.9 percent more than low energy-users in the bottom quartile.

The job cuts primarily affected young workers, while newly hired workers saw their earnings fall. Rather than firing workers, most of the employment reductions came from reduced hiring — which is why older workers fared better than new ones.

There are several possible causes for the manufacturing job losses caused by cap-and-trade. Many firms were affected by higher energy costs. But large manufacturing plants that produce their own energy were directly regulated under the cap-and-trade program. “Direct regulation may have led existing firms to decrease employment and discouraged new firms from locating in the regulated region,” the study speculated.

The EPA implemented cap-and-trade in 20 states under the NOx Budget Trading Program starting in 2003.

The study acknowledged that cap-and-trade programs are preferable to command-and-control style environmental regulations. While the program added “substantial costs to energy producers,” the study acknowledged emissions from power plants were “dramatically decreased.”

The paper was authored by Mark Curtis, an assistant professor of economics at Wake Forest University, and published by the NBER Working Paper Series.

In addition to the regional scheme in the east, California implemented its own cap-and-trade program in 2012. Nine northeastern states established a cap-and-trade program under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in 2005.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, proposed a state cap-and-trade program in December 2014 that would cost the economy $1 billion a year. Inslee’s own advisers say the program would raise fuel costs by 7 to 15 percent by 2035, compared to baseline estimates.


Pope Francis, the Climate and Leftism

By Dennis Prager

One of the rarest and most important things a pope does is issue encyclicals. In the eight years of Pope Benedict’s papacy, he issued three encyclicals. In the 27 years of Pope John Paul II’s papacy, he issued 14 encyclicals.

Since his ascendancy to the papacy in March 2013, Pope Francis has issued one.

But Pope Francis is about to issue an encyclical to the world’s 5,000 bishops and 400,000 priests that tells us a great deal about him, about Latin America and, most of all, about the influence of what has been the most dynamic religion in the world for the last hundred years.

Hint: It isn’t Christianity or Islam.

This year, the pope will use an immense amount of papal moral influence to address global warming, or as it is now called, in light of the small amount of warming actually taking place, climate change. In a few weeks, he will visit the Philippine city of Tacloban, which was devastated by the super typhoon Haiyan in 2012. Then he will present his encyclical, and in September he will address the United Nations General Assembly on the subject. This will all be done in order to influence the December 2015 international Climate Change Conference in Paris.

The world’s left is ecstatic with this pope. As the Guardian reported:

“In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. In October he told a meeting … ‘An economic system centered on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.

”'The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands.

“'The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness,” he said.

“The god of money needs to plunder nature.”

“Cash commands.”

“[Ecological] evils that tear man from the land of his birth.”

That is left-wing, even radical left-wing, language.  How are we to explain this?  How are we to explain that at the very moment that the oldest Christian communities in the world are being violently destroyed; that while Christians are murdered, raped and tortured in Africa and the Middle East; and while horrific barbarities are committed daily in the name of God, the pope issues an encyclical and travels around the world to talk about climate change?

It is happening because leftism has taken over much of Catholicism, most of mainstream Protestantism, increasing numbers of evangelicals and most of non-Orthodox Judaism. Not to mention the secular worlds of the news media, entertainment media and academia.

It is happening because the default philosophic, moral and political position in Latin America is leftism. Support for big government and the redistribution of income, and condemnation of capitalism and corporate profits – these are givens in Latin America. And Pope Francis is Latin American to the core.

His leftism was the primary reason he worked so diligently to get the United States to normalize relations with the Castro brothers in Cuba – instead of using his moral authority to condemn a brutal tyranny that has crushed and impoverished the Cuban people for 55 years.

Senator Marco Rubio, a practicing Catholic, put it succinctly: “I would also ask His Holiness to take up the cause of freedom and democracy.”

In the long run, this will bring down the Church – just as it has mainstream Protestantism and non-Orthodox Judaism – as well as diminish decency on earth.

It is, moreover, clear that the pope has been so influenced by leftism that he appears to know only the propaganda, not the science. For example, the typhoon in the Philippines had nothing to do with global warming. The leading science journal, Nature, wrote as much:

“Did climate change cause Typhoon Haiyan? There is limited evidence that warming oceans could make superstorms more likely.”

Defenders of Pope Francis note that Pope Benedict, too, spoke eloquently about man’s obligations to protect nature. That is true. And it is irrelevant. First, he issued no encyclical on the issue; his encyclicals were, like almost every papal encyclical, non-political. Second, everyone knows we have an obligation to care for the planet. But caring for the planet has as much to do with left-wing environmentalism as protecting workers had to do with Communism.

By all accounts, Pope Francis is a wonderful man. Conservatives understand that good people can hold left-wing positions. If only bad people held left-wing positions, leftism wouldn’t be the world’s most dynamic religion.

Unfortunately, however, being a wonderful person doesn’t mean you will be a wonderful pope. Any Catholic who tweets, “Inequality is the root of social evil,” as Pope Francis did last March, should be a socialist prime minister, not a Christian leader. The moral message of every Bible-based religion is that the root of evil is caused by poor character and poor moral choices, not by economics. The pope’s tweet is from Marx, not Moses.


The Nature of the “Scientific Consensus” on Climate Change

My previous post discussed a little-known UN poll that has so far attracted seven million voters from all over the world and which despite being totally unscientific nevertheless provides some interesting insights about public attitudes towards climate change. Here I discuss another little-known climate change poll that also provides some interesting insights but which is otherwise about as different to the UN poll as it’s possible to get. Why? Because there were only 286 respondents, not seven million, and they aren’t just anybody. They’re all climate scientists.

I refer to the Bray & von Storch poll entitled A survey of the perceptions of climate scientists 2013 . It’s quite a poll. It doesn’t ask just a few questions. It asks no fewer than one hundred and thirty-one, some of them highly technical (“The current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable estimate of the effects on climate of surface albedo?”). Yet 286 of the 4,491 people to whom the poll was sent responded, and most of them to all 131 questions – a respectable level of response to an internet poll considering the time it would have taken to fill it out.

The poll is weighted towards the “consensus” viewpoint. The invitees included “authors of climate related papers in peer reviewed climate related journals …. authors who contributed to Oreskes’ (2004) published conclusions concerning consensus in the climate change issue …. the IPCC list of contributors” and those on “readily available email lists from institute web sites (i.e. NCAR (US National Center for Atmospheric Research), MPI (Max Planck Institute), AMS (American Meteorological Society)) etc”. Almost all the respondents were affiliated with universities or government-funded research organizations and almost half of them had been involved as authors or reviewers of IPCC reports.

But the poll contains a graphic that is arguably the best illustration yet published of what the climate change “scientific consensus” really looks like. We find it on page 59:

268 of 272 climate scientists think that humans have caused at least some of the warming since 1850, representing a 98.5% consensus. But if we use the IPCC’s claim that “most” (i.e more than 50%) of the warming  was human-caused as the criterion the number drops to 81.2%, and if we insist on all of the warming being human-caused, which is essentially what the IPCC’s climate models show, it drops to only 6.3%. Clearly the “scientific consensus” on climate change can be quantified only if we put a hard number on what percentage of observed warming has to be caused by humans before climate change becomes “significant”. (A 12.5% human-caused warming threshold gives a 97.5% consensus among the respondents, incidentally. The oft-quoted 97.5% number seems to have originated in the 2009 Doran poll.)

More HERE  (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Why the population of Easter Island really died out: Study finds arrival of Europeans brought disease that wiped out inhabitants

As Benny Peiser has always maintained, it was NOT caused by ecological collapse
The collapse of Easter Island's civilisation is often used as a cautionary tale to show the folly of humans who over-exploit their surroundings.  But a group of leading U.S scientists now believe the tale - which documents how the population collapsed due to deforestation - is completely false and 'misleading'.

Legend says the island's landscape was washed away by the destruction of the palm forests, which ruined the fertile soil and forced the population to descend into cannibalism.

But research published yesterday says the population was actually decimated by the arrival of Europeans - who brought syphilis, smallpox and slavery onto the land.

The scientists believe that many inhabitants survived perfectly well after the final tree was cut down, which goes against the wide belief that the island's inhabitants caused their own downfall.

The academics reached their conclusion by looking at tools used by the islanders for farming, which were scattered around the land.

They found that, instead of there being a sudden collapse in farming, there was a much more gradual decline in some areas.

The findings by the Virginia Commonwealth University have now been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study will come as welcome news to the Rapa Nui - the indigenous name for the islanders - who have never been keen on the narrative about how their own stupidity ruined Easter Island.

Speaking about the concept of 'collapse', Professor Sue Hamilton - who was not directly involved in the study - told The Times: 'It is a terrible presumption to say there was a food shortage.'She added: 'Starvation is not an automatic result of tree removal and neither is warfare.'

Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited island in the world, more than 2,180 miles away from the coast of Chile and 1,289 miles from the nearest inhabited island.


Doubts in India

Two of three scientists at a session on climate change and society at the Indian Science Congress on Tuesday felt fears of man-made global warming were greatly exaggerated. Their presence at the conference was particularly significant in light of the current 'development-versus-envir- onment' debates.

While I agree that glaciers are melting because of global warming, if this is because of man, then what was the reason for the melting of the glaciers in the Gondwana period long before man arrived on the planet?" asked Dhruv Sen Singh, Centre of Advanced Study in Geology, University of Lucknow.

"Climate change is a natural phenomenon while pollution is caused by man. We are definitely accelerating the process of climate change, but we cannot predict the rate or extent of climate change that can be attributed to man," Singh said.

According to him, fears of climate change amount to propaganda and "unnecessarily cause panic".

"The Cretaceous period 65 million years ago was the hottest in the history of the earth. Man was not around at the time," he added.

Singh said that if climate change was the cause of glaciers retreating, they should all be retreating at the same rate. "But in reality they are retreating at different rates, and some were advancing," said Singh. "Despite the melting of glaciers, only at some places the sea level is rising, whereas at others it is constant, possibly due to the sinking of land," he added.



Even Republicans And GMO-Friendly Executives Are Caving To Insane Anti-GMO Demands

Instead of fretting over Sony’s sheepish release of a movie depicting the assassination of Kim Jong-un, consider how your grocery bill will look in 2015 if we accede to the anti-scientific demands of Europe, China, Russia, and Japan.

Long before every American household had a car, most American farmers owned tractors. The radio, GPS, handheld computers; farmers embrace new technology because they work harder and possess a profound appreciation for risk. This is why American, Canadian, Australian and Indian farmers have all embraced genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), crops that address these risks, while using less fossil fuel.

This bothers urban organic activists who claim efficiency on the farm threatens the environment and makes us all fat. They’ve launched 67 initiatives to label or ban GMOs in half the states across America, much to the delight of their comrades in Europe, China, Russia and Japan. In response, pro-GMO executives will spend massive amounts of money fighting these initiatives, only to quietly cave in in the end.

Take for instance the recent decision by McDonald’s Restaurants to reject GMO potatoes; a repeat of what happened back in 2001. Organic activists failed to scare American potato farmers away from growing GMO potatoes the way they scared wheat and flax farmers; so they went after the fast-food industry instead, and McDonalds collapsed like a Happy Meal driven over by an 18-wheeler. And rather than counter with a science-based offensive, the CEO of the U.S. National Potato Council (NPC), John Keeling, decided instead to do nothing.

It gets worse. The future for GMO farming now rests on a tenuous plan to try to magically sweep away all of the organic movement’s anti-GMO initiatives by agreeing to allow GMO foods to be labelled at the national level, voluntarily. If bipartisan support for the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus” bill didn’t convince you of the dangers of bipartisanship in Washington, just wait ‘til you see how this “magical” bill being championed with bipartisan support by Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo plays out.

Never mind that federal law already trumps state law in the food biz, and that federal law already fully supports the science of genetic engineering. Executives at Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, The American Farm Bureau, and every commodity group (including the NPC) have decided to write more law, and in essence go for a Hail Mary pass. And they’re not the least-bit worried about the possibility of an interception.

Not only does Pompeo’s bill cave in by allowing GMOs to be labelled – admitting in essence that there might be something wrong with GMOs – it also includes a threshold limit on GMOs. And this plays right into the hands of organic activists. Guess who’s going to sue American GMO farmers when organic crops are found to be above that level, and can no longer be labelled GMO free?

According to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) – a set of federal standards written by the very-same organic stakeholders who now seek to ban GMOs – there is, currently, no threshold limit on GMO content in organic food. Yes, there are strict threshold limits on synthetic pesticides in organic foods. Pesticides are known to cause health problems above certain levels. GMOs meanwhile have NEVER caused any health problems at any level. As such, organic farmers are only prevented from making use of GMOs; they do not lose organic status due to GMO contact, comingling or cross-pollination.

In fact, no organic farmer anywhere in the world has ever lost certification due to GMOs. Not one. As anyone can plainly see, Pompeo’s GMO labeling bill is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist; an attempt to silence organic activists here in America while reassuring our trading partners that we’re willing to see things their way (i.e. non-scientifically) by labeling GMOs even though they’re perfectly safe, and worse, setting a threshold limit on them.

Rest assured, GMO labelling is not the end-game for organic activists. Neither is forcing crops like GMO potatoes onto the back burner, or keeping a crop like GMO Golden Rice from being approved even though it will prevent a half-million kids from going blind and dying every year due to Vitamin-A deficiency in the Third World. These are all mere skirmishes.

The real goal for organic activists is to ban GMOs outright the way DDT was banned in 1972, a terrible move by these very same activists which resulted in more deaths from mosquito-borne malaria in the Third World than were caused by both world wars.

GMO executives and politicians in Washington need to do their homework. Putting limits on GMO content in organic food will act like a restraining order on the most-promising field of agricultural science since Fritz Haber’s discovery of the ammonia synthesis process. There are already more GMO crops on hold than are approved. And if Pompeo’s bill passes, it will put us in line with Europe where no GMO crops are being developed, while also needlessly delaying the approval of life-saving GMO crops like Golden Rice, all based on the false assumption that GMOs pose some sort of threat to organic crops.



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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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