Friday, May 15, 2015
Cardinal blasts U.S. climate skeptics
Another South American Red priest
The pope’s closest adviser on Tuesday slammed climate-change skeptics, blaming capitalist motivations from “movements in the United States” for opposing the Catholic Church leader’s upcoming environmental letter.
“The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits,” said Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga at a news conference in Rome marking the start of Caritas Internationalis, an annual meeting of Catholic charitable groups, according to The Boston Globe.
Pope Francis is expected to issue his encyclical letter on the environment this year, and Rodríguez said many within and outside of the Catholic Church are looking forward to it “with hope.” The letter also comes ahead of the United Nations’ meeting on climate change in Paris this December.
“I have already heard criticism of the encyclical,” the Honduran cardinal said, calling it “absurd” for skeptics to reject a document that has not even yet been published. The letter is expected to be released in early summer, according to reports.
The Vatican co-hosted an environmental summit with the U.N. last month, during which the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based conservative think-tank, held another event in Rome featuring speakers challenging climate-change science.
“Though Pope Francis’s heart is surely in the right place, he would do his flock and the world a disservice by putting his moral authority behind the United Nations’ unscientific agenda on the climate,” said Joseph Bast, Heartland’s president, in a statement to The Guardian.
Fools who want to play God
John P. Holdren, Obama's chief science adviser, once predicted dismal consequences for the human race unless we curtail population growth and redistribute wealth.
In 1995, Holdren joined with Paul Ehrlich and Gretchen Daily of the Center for Conservation Studies at Stanford to author the opening chapter in a book — "Defining and Measuring Sustainability" — that was "Distributed for the United Nations University by the World Bank."
"We know for certain, for example that: No form of material growth (including population growth) other than asymptotic growth, is sustainable," wrote Holdren and his co-authors.
"At the sustainability limit, there will be a trade-off between population and energy-matter throughput per person, hence, ultimately, between economic activity per person and well-being per person," they said.
"This is enough to say quite a lot," they concluded, "about what needs to be faced up to eventually (a world of zero net physical growth), what should be done now (change unsustainable practices, reduce excessive material growth), and what the penalty will be for postponing attention to population limitation (lower well-being per person)."
In Human Ecology, a 1973 book he co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Obama's future science adviser put his prescriptions in less clinical terms.
"Political pressure must be applied immediately to induce the United States government to assume its responsibility to halt the growth of the American population," Holdren and his co-authors said then.
"A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States," they wrote. "De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with realities of ecology and the global resource situation."
"Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being," wrote Holdren and his co-authors.
"The situation," they wrote, "is best summarized in the statement: "Whatever your cause, it's a lost cause without population control."
But what if your cause were aiding in the achievement of eternal salvation for each of the net additional human lives God brought into being 20 minutes — or 20 years or 2,000 years — after Holdren and his co-authors wrote these words?
Would it have been better, as Obama's future science adviser argued, to halt such net additional human beings from coming into existence in the first place?
Did God truly fail to provide sufficient material resources for the human beings He created and to whom He gave sovereignty over the material world?
The answer to the second question is found in the stars above: We cannot count them all yet, let alone survey them, so we have no idea how vast are the material resources our Creator has put within our potential reach.
The answer to the former question is found by looking back across the extraordinary and sometimes unanticipated improvements in the material well-being of the human race that have occurred just since Obama's science adviser called for inducing "the United States government to assume its responsibility to halt the growth of the American population."
Which one of the inventors of our modern age should the government have halted from coming into being? Could government have picked out the next Einstein — and let him live — even if he was to be the 10th child born to a relatively poor family in a relatively crowded city?
Which life would the government deem less worthy than another?
The real threat to the human race is not in adding numbers to our population but in letting a few people in government play God.
An open letter to Dr. Ben Carson—and all presidential candidates—on energy policies
By Marita Noon
Congratulations on your decision to run for President of the United States. I was at home writing at the time of your announcement. As a professional speaker and someone who has spent more than thirty years training speakers, I felt your presentation was stellar — especially considering that you delivered it without a note. I even posted the following on my Facebook page: “I have work to do but am captivated listening to Ben Carson” — which garnered many “likes” and favorable comments.
I say that to emphasize that I like you. I am glad that you’ve joined the voices that will be utilizing the platforms afforded to them as candidates to educate the public as they expound on important issues facing America today. In fact, the libertarian leaning Reason Magazine applauded you for this exact reason: “To my happy surprise, he spent a good chunk of his announcement speech hinting at a Ross Perot-style crusade against the massive national debt and its drag on the economic growth.” Matt Welch, Reason’s editor in chief continues, “I would be happy if he made such talk the centerpiece of his campaign, particularly at a time when the new GOP congressional majority is already going wobbly on spending. If the guy’s gonna be sucking up oxygen in the race, he might as well be focusing monomaniacally on the giant sucking sound of debt service.”
I know you are not a politician and agree that is an asset for your candidacy. You speak, refreshingly, off the cuff and from the heart, rather than from a poll-tested script. As such, you’ll likely say a thing or two — especially in the early days of your campaign — for you which you’ll later have to apologize (at worst) or dial back on (at best).
I hope such is the case with your energy-themed comments during your first speech in Iowa since your declaration as a candidate, where you quoted President Obama’s deceptive “$4 billion a year in oil subsidies” line. It is disappointing to hear you parroting the president, but especially since it is essentially wrong.
When you use the term “subsidy,” the public automatically thinks a handout of government cash. President Obama chose to use it specifically to give his audience in New Hampshire a negative attitude toward “the oil industry.” Yet, as Forbes columnist Larry Bell found in his analysis of Obama’s attack on “fossil fuel subsidies,” the so-called subsidies are far from cash handouts and some of it doesn’t even go to the industry. I’ll explain.
Bell points out a broad definition for “subsidy” as used by Oil Change International: “any government action that lowers the cost of fossil fuel energy production, raises the price received by energy producers, or lowers the price paid by consumers.” Though different from public perception, this allows tax deductions — akin to those used by most industries — to be relabeled.
Three such tax deductions presently allowed by the IRS are: (The Heritage Foundation offers an excellent primer.)
Oil depletion allowance: Applied to small, independent producers (large integrated corporations haven’t been eligible for this since the mid-1970s), this deduction allows producers to pass depletion deductions (similar to benefits available to all mineral extraction, timber, etc.) on to individual investors.
Expensing drilling costs: Producers can write off expenses in the year occurred rather than capitalizing them and taking the deductions over several years.
Credit for taxes to foreign nations: Provides an offset for international companies that paid foreign taxes so that the companies are not taxed twice on the same income.
While oil-and-gas producers are allowed typical cost-of-doing-business tax deductions, they are singled out to receive fewer tax breaks than other industries. For example, Bell highlights Section 199 of the “American Job Creation Act of 2004” — which was intended “to provide a competitive advantage to domestic companies engaged in product manufacturing, sales, leasing or licensing, and production-related software activities.” Most businesses engaged in “qualified production activities” receive a 9 percent deduction from net income. Yet oil and gas can claim only 6 percent.
Using the broad definition of “subsidies,” there are some large dollar figures that warrant review. A summary of the data from a 2010 OECD-IEA report titled “Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Other Support,” concludes a total of $4.5 billion for oil-related subsidies in the U.S. in 2010 — which may be where the $4 billion talking point comes from. But that, too, is deceptive.
Energy analyst Robert Rapier broke down the data and found, as reported in Forbes:
“The single largest expenditure is just over $1 billion for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is designed to protect the U.S. from oil shortages. The second largest category is just under $1 billion in tax exemptions for farm fuel. The justification for that tax exemption is that fuel taxes pay for roads, and the farm equipment that benefits from the tax exemption is technically not supposed to be using the roads. The third largest category? $570 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. (This program is classified as a petroleum subsidy because it artificially reduces the price of fuel, which helps oil companies sell more of it). Those three programs account for $2.5 billion a year in ‘oil subsidies.’”
As you can see, understanding the whole fossil-fuel subsidy argument is complicated, but it is clearly not the cash give-away the anti-petroleum crowd wants people to believe. And I haven’t addressed all the tax and royalty revenue that comes in from the oil-and-gas industry.
I know you were in Iowa, and you must have felt that you needed to offer some nod to corn-based ethanol, but your suggestion that oil subsidies should, instead, be used to build ethanol-fueling stations, indicates that you are ill-informed on renewable energy as well.
We could take apart your comment about ethanol being 50-80 cents a gallon less than gasoline and being better for the environment — there is plenty to work with there. But for brevity, I am going to stick with the subsidy theme and expand it to include renewables.
Because energy subsidies are complicated, I think the easiest way to look at them is using an energy-received-for-dollar-spent model — which is a good indicator of how federal dollars are being used and the value the nation is getting from them.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA), at the request of Congress, recently updated a study it did in 2010 that evaluated the amount of subsidies the federal government provided energy producers for fiscal year 2013. In short, it found, as reported by the Institute for Energy Research (IER): “The largest increases in federal energy subsidies were in electricity-related renewable energy, which increased 54 percent over the 3-year period, from $8.6 billion to $13.2 billion. Total fossil fuel subsidies declined by 15 percent, from $4.0 billion to $3.4 billion.”
IER took the numbers from the EIA study and calculated the federal subsidies and support per unit of electricity produced. It concluded that “on a per dollar basis, government policies have led to solar generation being subsidized by over 345 times more than coal and oil and natural gas electricity production, and wind is being subsidized over 52 times more than the more conventional fossil fuels on a unit of production basis.”
The Independent Petroleum Association of America did a similar analysis based on the EIA’s 2008 numbers. At the time, it found that “on this basis, the highest figure by far is for ethanol and biofuels, at $5.72 per million BTU for 2007, with oil and gas coming in at just 3 cents per million BTU.”
Dr. Carson, while supporting renewable energy, like ethanol, may seem in vogue, because you are running for the highest office in the land, I encourage you — and all presidential candidates — to learn from the recent elections in the UK.
Consider this: Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey became the first cabinet minister to lose a seat in almost twenty years. Davey, according to the UK’s Mirror, “claimed credit for leading the bid to secure a ‘massive increase’ in renewable electricity in the UK and …he led negotiations for the UK on the world stage at UN climate talks in Qatar, Poland and Peru.” By comparison, Prime Minister David Cameron, who while campaigning in Montgomeryshire, promised if he was re-elected, “We’ll scrap funds for wind farms.” Regarding the unpopular project, Cameron said, “I will seek a further careful consideration of this wind farms/power lines project. It’s financial and environmental madness. It should be abandoned.” Though not predicted, Cameron won “the sweetest victory,” while “Labour was virtually wiped out in Scotland and the Liberal Democrat vote collapsed,” reported The Daily Telegraph.
Dr. Carson, I know you are smart, very smart, but you know medicine. You need very smart people to advise you on energy policy now, before you address the topic any further. I have a cadre of energy experts that I could make available to you — and any candidate who wants smart energy policy.
Call me, maybe?
Wind energy myths spun by lobbyists and salesmen
Industrial wind is a net loser: economically, environmentally, technologically and civilly
Mary Kay Barton
A recent letter in my local paper by American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) representative Tom Vinson is typical of wind industry sales propaganda. It deserves correction.
This is the reality: Industrial wind energy is NET LOSER – economically, environmentally, technically and civilly. Let’s examine how.
Economically. New York State (NYS) has some of the highest electricity rates in the United States – a whopping 53% above the national average. This is due in large part to throwing hundreds of billions of our taxpayer and ratepayer dollars into the wind. High electricity costs drive people and businesses out of the state, and ultimately hurt poor families the most.
A NYS resident using 6,500 kWh of electricity annually will pay about $400 per year more for their electricity than if our electricity prices were at the national average. That’s over $3.2 BILLION dollars annually that will not be spent in the rest of the state economy.
Why destroy entire towns, when just one single 450-MW gas-fired combined-cycle generating unit located near New York City (NYC) – where the power is needed – operating at only 60% of its capacity, would provide more electricity than all of NYS’s wind factories combined.
Furthermore, that one 450 MW gas-fired unit would only require about one-fourth of the capital costs – and would not bring all the negative civil, economic, environmental, human health and property value impacts that are caused by the sprawling industrial wind factories. Nor would it require all the additional transmission lines to NYC.
The Institute for Energy Research tallied the numbers and found that each wind job costs $11.45 million and costs more than four jobs that are lost elsewhere in the economy, because of all the subsidies and the resulting “skyrocketing” cost of electricity. In fact, on a unit of production basis, wind is subsidized over 52 times more than conventional fossil fuels.
In the United Kingdom, David Cameron has finally awakened to the folly of wasting billions on the failed technology of wind. He recently declared, “We will scrap funds for wind farms.”
Environmentally. According to the AWEA, the USA has some 45,100 Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs). Remotely sited IWTs are located far from urban centers where the power is needed. This requires a spider web of new transmission lines (at ratepayers’ expense), which exponentially adds to the needless bird and bat deaths caused by IWTs themselves.
Additionally, sprawling industrial wind factories cause massive habitat fragmentation, which is cited as one of the main reasons for species decline worldwide.
Studies show MILLIONS of birds and bats are being slaughtered annually by these giant “Cuisinarts of the sky,” as a Sierra official dubbed IWTs in a rare moment of candor.
Governor Cuomo’s environmental hypocrisy is also worth noting. Cuomo is supporting “dimming the lights” in New York City to help stop migrating birds from becoming disoriented and crashing into buildings. Yet simultaneously, Cuomo is pushing for many more giant bird-chopping wind turbines – with 600-foot-high blinking red lights, along the shores of Lake Ontario (a major migratory bird flyway), and across rural New York State.
Technically. Because wind provides NO capacity value, or firm capacity (specified amounts of power on demand), wind requires constant “shadow capacity” from our reliable, dispatchable baseload generators to cover for wind’s inherent volatile, skittering flux on the grid. Therefore, wind cannot replace those conventional generation sources. Instead, wind locks us into dependence on fossil fuels – and represents a redundancy (two duplicate sources of electricity), which Big Wind CEO Patrick Jenevein admitted “turns ratepayers and taxpayers into double-payers for the same product.”
The list of accidents, blade failures (throwing debris over a half mile), fires (ten times more than the wind industry previously admitted) and other problems is updated quarterly at a website in the UK. This lengthy and growing list is evidence of why giant, moving machines do NOT belong anywhere near where people live.
Even the AWEA admits that the life of a typical wind turbine is only 10 to13 years (January 2006: North American Wind Power). This is substantiated by studies on these short-lived lemons.
Adding insult to injury, the actual output of all of New York State’s wind factories combined has been averaging a pathetic 23 percent. If IWTs were cars, they would have been correctly dubbed ‘lemons’ and relegated to the junkyard a long time ago.
Civilly. The only thing that has ever been reliably generated by industrial wind is complete and utter civil discord. Neighbor is pitted against neighbor, and even family member against family member. Sprawling industrial wind factories have totally divided communities, which is already apparent in towns across NYS and the country. It is the job of good government to foresee and prevent this kind of civil discord – not to promote it.
Regarding human health, NYS officials admitted at a 2009 NYSERDA meeting on wind that they knew “infrasound” from wind turbines was a problem worldwide. The growing list of problems globally highlights that these problems are only getting worse.
At the NYSERDA meeting, a former noise control engineer for the New York State Public Service Commission, Dr. Dan Driscoll, testified that ‘infrasound’ (sounds below 20 Hz) are sounds you can’t hear, but the body can feel.
Dr. Driscoll said that ‘infrasound’ is NOT blocked by walls, and it can very negatively affect the human body – especially after prolonged, continuous exposure. He said symptoms include headache, nausea, sleeplessness, dizziness, ringing in the ears and other maladies.
NYS Department of Health official Dr. Jan Storm testified that, despite knowing the global nature of the “infrasound” problem, NYS still had not done any health studies (despite having federal money available to do so). Here we are six years later, and indefensibly, NYS officials still have not called for any independent studies to assure the protection of New York State citizens.
“The Golden Rule,” as espoused by Rotary International’s excellent ‘Four-Way Test’ of the things we think, say and do, should be the moral and ethical standard our public servants aspire to uphold. The test asks:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
When applied to the industrial wind issue, the answers are a resounding, “NO!”
NC House votes to freeze renewables standards and scale back corporate welfare subisidies
Everybody that pays a light bill got a break from the Republican led NC House today (5-6-15), assuming the Senate and Governor go along. The House passed HB 760, effectively freezing the state's renewable energy standards and scaled back corporate welfare to select businesses who had to have subsidies to make solar energy work, for themselves. Rep. Mike Hager, one of the key leaders in the issue said: "The winners in this issue are the consumers of North Carolina. What folks (power porducers) need to do int his state is learn to compete."
Americans For Prosperity issued the following statement after the House action:
State Director Donald Bryson of Americans for Prosperity North Carolina released a statement praising the passage of H.B. 760 Regulatory Reform Act of 2015 on its final reading in the N.C. House of Representatives:
"Today's pro-consumer vote by the N.C. House put a dent in state government's culture of corporate favoritism. Lawmakers put their constituents' 'kitchen table' concerns first by stopping a monthly energy fee on residential customers from tripling under the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)."
"This compromise measure provides relief to families who pay their utility bills and work hard to grow the economy without taxpayer support or government favors. We're excited that House lawmakers removed a burden on family budgets rather than pad the pockets of another special interest in Raleigh."
"Removing state government's stranglehold on North Carolina's energy supply lets our private sector create real jobs in a fair, free market that is based on supply, demand and affordability. Bureaucratic control of our economy's engine failed to deliver a net jobs or environmental benefit to the state, but it did slow commercial growth, reduce wages and kill tens of thousands of jobs."
"Finally, this compromise initiates a critical legislative study of the RPS' impact on consumers, to provide state lawmakers a comprehensive understanding of the energy mandate that helps chart a path toward prosperity. We look forward to working with the N.C. Senate on an energy policy that puts people first, fosters innovation and focuses on competitive, cost-effective sources of power."
John Droz, who as a citizen activist is in large measure responsible for this victory, issued the following statement:
Thanks to your support, we have a major NC SUCCESS to report.
The original authors might have been well-intentioned, but Senate Bill 3 (2007) has resulted in eight years of harmful consequences to NC citizens, businesses, military and its environment. Yes, a few people also benefited, but the NET consequences appear to be negative.
Yesterday, despite ferocious opposition by those with their hand in the public trough, the NC House passed a bill (H760) that goes a long way towards stopping some harms caused by SB-3.
Is Australia's Great Barrier Reef 'In Danger'?
If I have the time I do sometimes read Australia's far-Left "New Matilda". I would like to start a blog that regularly demolished their articles -- perhaps to be called "Walzing New Matilda" -- but I have weightier matters to spend my time on. Anyway, the article below is up to its usual standard of presenting only half of the story. Balance is the Devil incarnate to Leftists.
Some scientists do say that the GBR has shrunk by 50% but the interesting question is why there has been any shrinkage at all. The Warmist below knows why, of course. It's because of global warming. Pesky that there has been no global warming for 18 years though. Can something that does not exist cause anything? They also seem to think that Richard Branson is a climate scientist. Enough said on that.
The key point, however, is that the reef does get heavily impacted by natural events such as the many cyclones that have hit North Queensland in recent years. Cyclones are very destructive of coral. HOWEVER, when we look at that storm destruction, we also find that corals grow back rapidly. While that happens, the GBR is in no "danger". Any changes are temporary. See here and here, for instance.
Warmists will say that the cyclones were caused by global warming but again I ask: Can something that does not exist cause anything?
Billionaire Richard Branson has urged the United Nations to list the World Heritage value of the Great Barrier Reef as ‘in danger’ after being approached by advocacy group 1Million Women.
While admitting the campaign may seem “counter intuitive”, Branson argues it is an effective way to “stop further irreversible damage” to the reef “and to protect it for generations to come”.
“Saying the Great Barrier Reef is ‘in danger’ could be just what it needs,” Branson wrote in a blog post yesterday.
The United Nations World Heritage Committee is set to make a decision on whether to change the listing of the reef at a meeting in Bonn, Germany, in June this year.
Like Branson, the UN has expressed concern that port developments and coal ships set to service Australia’s largest ever coal mine, which the federal government approved last year, will further damage the reef.
The Great Barrier Reef has already lost half of its coral cover in the last three decades, and it faces further threats from the Crown of Thorns Starfish and increased agriculture run-off.
In 2013, a federal government report noted that 24 out of 41 attributes which make up the ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ of the reef under the World Heritage Convention are deteriorating.
But the greatest threat to the reef, according to government scientists, is climate change. “The reef’s plight, like many others, is unbearably sad,” Branson said. “It is being totally overwhelmed by climate change impacts through a destructive combination of heat-driven coral bleaching, ocean acidification and tropical storms.”
Despite climate change being the greatest threat to the reef, a recent Australian Government plan designed to guide conservation efforts for the next 35 years and address UN concerns made next to no mention of the risk to the reef from rising emissions.
On Thursday, the United Nations warned that for the first time in millions of years the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earths atmosphere exceeded 400 parts per million.
The Greens environment spokesperson, Larissa Waters, said on Wednesday that she doesn’t “think the government has done enough policy-wise to avert the threat of a world heritage in danger listing for the Great Barrier Reef”.
“Which is an absolute tragedy,” she said, “because we’re talking about one of the seven wonders of the world.”
“The foremost World Heritage Committee has for the past four years now said to Australia ‘slow down, you’re on this path of industrialisation, we’re worried about the future of the reef, your own scientists are worried about the future of your reef, what are you going to do about it?”
“And the government has consistently thumbed its nose at the key recommendations, and it’s made some changes around the edges.”
Waters said she hopes the reef is not listed as ‘in danger’, despite the fact it is “in serious jeopardy”.
Yesterday, The World Wildlife Fund has released a ‘to do’ list, lobbying the government to do more than is proposed in its ‘Reef 2050’ plan.
At least one federal MP is likely to be unimpressed with these recent developments.
George Christensen MP, whose electorate of Dawson takes in part of the Great Barrier Reef, is standing by the government’s “exemplary document”.
The outspoken backbencher recently voiced his outrage at “eco-traitors” who are committing the “treason” of advocating for an ‘in danger’ listing.
“These extreme greens act like Wormtongue from The Lord of the Rings, flying overseas and whispering in the ears of the decision-makers and diplomats who have anything to do with UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee, poisoning their minds on the state of the reef,” Christensen said.
“They belong to groups such as Greenpeace, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, Friends of the Earth, Get Up, and the Environmental Defenders Office.”
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
Posted by JR at 12:39 AM