Sunday, June 14, 2015

Derisive conference comments about global warming -- and the Pope

I like the quote from Inhofe at the end of the article below.  Inhofe said that the Pope should stick to his own specialties and leave the climate to people who know something about it.  Pope Frank would only be taking his own advice if he did that.  In his apostolic exhortation of late 2013, Frank said that the church needs to stop talking about homosexuality etc. and start talking about salvation.  I quote from Evangelii gaudium:

"34. If we attempt to put all things in a missionary key, this will also affect the way we communicate the message. In today’s world of instant communication and occasionally biased media coverage, the message we preach runs a greater risk of being distorted or reduced to some of its secondary aspects. In this way certain issues which are part of the Church’s moral teaching are taken out of the context which gives them their meaning. The biggest problem is when the message we preach then seems identified with those secondary aspects which, important as they are, do not in and of themselves convey the heart of Christ’s message. We need to be realistic and not assume that our audience understands the full background to what we are saying, or is capable of relating what we say to the very heart of the Gospel which gives it meaning, beauty and attractiveness.

35. Pastoral ministry in a missionary style is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed. When we adopt a pastoral goal and a missionary style which would actually reach everyone without exception or exclusion, the message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary. The message is simplified, while losing none of its depth and truth, and thus becomes all the more forceful and convincing."
I don't attempt to track all Roman documents but I try to wade through the major ones.  It can be amusing --JR.

Award winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer declared man-made global warming fears to be “a house of cards” and a “truly a mad issue.”

“This is truly a mad issue,” Happer told the crowd of several hundred at the global warming skeptic conference in Washington DC on Thursday night. The event was sponsored by the Heartland Institute. Happer has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific studies.

“Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, nor will it cause catastrophic global warming,” Happer explained to the audience at the The Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (#ICCC10). “This whole climate scare is a house of cards,” Happer said.

“The social cost of carbon is probably negative. There is no social cost of carbon,” he added. Happer has previously testified to the U.S. Congress. See: Flashback 2009: Will Happer Tells Congress: Earth in ‘CO2 Famine’ — ‘The increase of CO2 is not a cause for alarm and will be good for mankind’ — ‘Children should not be force-fed propaganda, masquerading as science’

Earlier in the day, Atmospheric Physicist Dr. Fred Singer told the summit that the effect of CO2 emissions on climate is “negligible, not important” but very beneficial for agriculture.

Also attending the summit was U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee chairman Senator James Inhofe (R-OK). Inhofe advised Pope Francis to stay out of the climate debate.

“Everyone is going to ride the pope now. Isn’t that wonderful,” Inhofe told reporters. “The pope ought to stay with his job, and we’ll stay with ours.”


Are Airline Prices Going to Rise Because of the EPA?

If we see airline prices go up in 2016, you might be able to thank the lawyers at radical environmental groups Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth.

In response to a lawsuit by these organizations, the EPA has unsurprisingly announced a proposal that airplane emissions do “endanger the public health and welfare of current and future generations.”

While the EPA is selling this regulation as being about the health of the American people, it’s not. The EPA’s conclusion is the latest assault on the consumer in the name of impacting global warming.

The groups, along with other extremist organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, petitioned the EPA in 2007 to determine the effects of airplane emissions on air quality, and subsequently sued the EPA for not doing so. The D.C. District Court mandated that the EPA make a determination and the environmental groups again threatened to sue if EPA did not make a determination by February 2015.

Why was EPA’s conclusion unsurprising? Well, the EPA issued an “endangerment finding” in 2009, stating that carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles was a pollutant dangerous to public health. Consequently, EPA issued a series of greenhouse gas regulations on cars and light-duty trucks. This led to regulations on existing and future power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan, to be finalized jointly this summer. The next moving thing to regulate was clearly planes.

EPA has already initiated a rulemaking process considering how it might regulate airplanes to be in conformity with the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization’s standards on airline greenhouse gas emissions. EPA has been a part of discussions to set ICAO standards, which are expected in February 2016.

These actions are entirely unnecessary, however.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, airplanes have outpaced cars and transit buses to be one of the most energy efficient modes of transportation. Airlines are inherently interested in finding ways to use energy more efficiently (and consequently reduce carbon dioxide emissions) as fuel expenses are the largest source of operating expenses.

From 2004 to 2012, airlines have increased energy efficiency by over 24 percent, and by 70 percent since the 1960s. Airlines have cut costs and increased energy efficiency by using lighter materials, engine control systems, and winglets to improve aerodynamics. Airlines have even reduced the amount of ice carried onboard for complimentary drinks.

Fleets are only going to become more efficient as new planes naturally replace older, retiring planes—according to the Federal Aviation Administration, over half of today’s fleet of airplanes will be retired and replaced with new planes in 10 years.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, airplanes have outpaced cars and transit buses to be one of the most energy efficient modes of transportation.

When it comes to real pollutants like particulate matter, nitrous oxides, volatile organic compounds and sulfur dioxide—pollutants which EPA regulates because at some level these do have negative effects on human health—airplanes create a miniscule fraction of emissions compared to ships, rail and road transportation.

But the EPA’s endangerment finding today has very little, if anything, to do with these pollutants. It has everything to do with the EPA’s dubious conclusion that manmade greenhouse gas emissions—particularly from carbon dioxide—are causing and accelerating catastrophic global warming.

In coming to its endangerment finding for airplanes, the EPA relied on its initial endangerment finding in 2009 that carbon dioxide emissions were harmful to human health because of the alleged connection with global warming, and therefore able to be regulated by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. However, the climate science was dubious then and over the six years since even more scientific data has shown the endangerment finding to be on shaky ground.

Even if carbon dioxide emissions were a problem, airplane emissions aren’t exactly America’s Most Wanted. EIA records carbon dioxide emissions from energy use and jet fuel amounted to just 4 percent of the total in the U.S. for 2014. For comparison, gasoline amounted to 20 percent.

EPA has yet to propose regulations on airplane carbon dioxide emissions. However as with its expensive vehicle and power plant regulations, the costs will ultimately be borne by American consumers, families and businesses unless Congress intervenes first.

When costs of compliance increase, it also means less opportunity (fewer jobs to go around) and forcing people to make tough decisions about their family budgets (in order to pay the higher utilities bill).

EPA’s global warming agenda will affect quality of life. So what are we getting for the costs? Unfortunately, not much.


The Surprising Economic Benefits of Frac Sand Mining

Hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas production has dramatically increased the demand for industrial silica sand, known as “frac sand,” available in great abundance in the Upper Midwest. As new sand mines and processing facilities are proposed, the policymakers and citizens of counties with frac sand resources are being asked to evaluate the potential economic benefits and costs of industrial sand mining.

In this Policy Study, the second in a series addressing frac sand mining topics, Heartland Institute Research Fellow Isaac Orr and geologist Mark Krumenacher address the key issues with which local policymakers and their constituents must contend:

  • the benefits of silica sand mining, including high-paying opportunities for employment, increasing regional economic activity, generating tax revenues for state and local governments, and improving economic diversity in rural communities that rely heavily on agriculture for household income.

  • and the costs, including asserted negative effects on tourism and agriculture, and whether mining might result in “boom or bust” economic cycles and may thus not be a sound foundation for long-term economic prosperity.

  • The authors focus their analysis on Wisconsin, the largest producer of industrial silica sand in the nation, accounting for approximately two-thirds of U.S. frac sand production. They note the state “has strong agricultural and tourism sectors and therefore provides valuable insight into claims industrial sand mining could negatively affect these industries.” They conclude:
    Industrial sand mining has been a significant driver of economic growth across the Upper Midwest. If done in an environmentally responsible manner, it can be an important source of employment and earnings for decades to come.


    Green Groups’ Deceptive Con Game

    As several business owners in North Carolina recently found out, “green” nonprofits aren’t always forthcoming about their agendas. Despite receiving tens of millions of dollars from billionaires like Tom Steyer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, many of these environmental groups have taken to desperate measures to attract support from the general public for their unpopular agendas.

    Recently, investigative journalists at the Asheville Citizen-Times and National Review revealed that the Sierra Club had allegedly added signatories to a petition demanding that Duke Energy cease the operations of one of its coal-fired power plants in Asheville, North Carolina. Of the 80 businesses listed on the petition, at least six had never agreed to lend their support to the Sierra Club at all, several claimed to be victims of bait-and-switch, strong-arming tactics and one didn’t even exist.

    These businesses reportedly signed up for information relating to the Sierra Club’s environmental agenda, which included helping the group address concerns about the Duke plant’s waste management. Calling for the plant’s outright closure, however, was not something they signed their names to.

    These questionable and unethical practices have earned the Sierra Club a spot on Charity Navigator’s “watch list,” a major warning to potential donors and signatories that they may want to think twice before supporting groups that engage in dishonest behavior. Disturbingly, the Sierra Club is only the latest environmental nonprofit to exhibit bad behavior and be forced to address public relations nightmares over the last year.

    Last December, Greenpeace “climate activists”damaged Nazca, a world-renowned United Nations World Heritage site, by traipsing across the drawings that are carved into the desert of this ancient Peruvian city.

    Greenpeace claimed it was trying to spread the good word about climate change to a nearby conference, whose attendees would fly over the ancient artifact. It also claimed that it was saving the Incan monuments for future generations, all the while blatantly disregarding the fragility of this sacred site by using it as the latest backdrop for a publicity stunt.

    Green groups, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, lobbied last year for the government to brand grocery store steaks with warnings similar to those that appear on cigarette cartons. They have shown how disconnected they are from most Americans with their efforts to ban lead in ammunition and by pursuing other restrictions and even bans on plastic grocery bags, bottled water, fireworks, salt and common household products like pesticides and plastics. These groups once even tried to ban the capture and release of butterflies.

    Equally troubling are the actions of these groups’ allies in the government who regularly work to advance their shared objectives through the use of the heavy-handed government regulatory process.

    A hard hitting New York Times exposé last year revealed that the Environmental Protection Agency received extensive assistance from the Natural Resources Defense Council in drafting its highly-criticized proposal to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. It is troubling that the federal government would allow a biased environmental organization to offer input into a regulation that will affect much of the power sector.

    Alarmingly it seems the EPA is taking things a step further, as outlined in a new New York Times investigative piece. The article reports on the EPA’s efforts to manufacture public support for its own rules and regulations. In the most contentious rulemaking efforts, the EPA has spent taxpayer funds to allegedly generate favorable comments to its official docket in an organized campaign that some have indicated could be a violation of the federal Anti-Lobbying Act.

    The EPA’s efforts to confuse the general public on the true level of support for the very regulations the environmental community is alleged to have drafted should outrage every taxpayer.

    While most Americans see themselves as compassionate stewards of the environment, they must be aware that the nonprofit green groups many of them support may actually be engaged in a deceptive con game to further their own agendas.

    Given the new allegations of collusion between green groups and the EPA, perhaps there should be a Charity Navigator watch list for the federal government.


    Mark Levin: EPA 'Pretends to Be Green, When In Fact It’s Red'

    Nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “a radical outpost that pretends to be green, when in fact it’s red.”

    “It’s shutting down coal mines, it’s shutting down coal-fired plants, it’s shutting down utilities, it is shutting down businesses and operations, it’s putting people out of work, it’s putting families on welfare lines, on Medicaid lines,” Levin said on his June 9 broadcast.  Here’s a transcript of what Levin said:

    “So you had an editorial yesterday. And keep in mind, the editorial board of the New York ‘Slimes’ [The New York Times]  is made up of individuals -- left wing, radical, extreme editorial writers. And they go on about President Obama. The title of the editorial is ‘GOP Assault on Environmental Laws.’ Now, if you’ve listened to this program for any length of time, you know it’s the other way around.

    “The Environmental Protection Agency is assaulting you. It’s shutting down coal mines, it’s shutting down coal-fired plants, it’s shutting down utilities, it is shutting down businesses and operations, it’s putting people out of work, it’s putting families on welfare lines, on Medicaid lines,” Levin said.

    “That’s what the Environmental Protection Agency is doing, because it’s a radical outpost that pretends to be green, when in fact it’s red. It’s red, it’s commie, that’s what it is! And it has no respect for private property rights. None!

    “And they go through on the Republican attack on clean water, on the Republican attack on climate change, the Republican attack on natural resources. You people are a bunch of creeps!

    “What a joke at this New York “Slimes”! Not a word about private property rights, and the case I just told you about! Not a word about all those people being put out of work! Not millionaires and billionaires -- hard-working men and women who get dirt under their nails.”


    Land Control: Feds Announce Sweeping Plan to Conserve Sage Grouse Habitat

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), part of the Interior Department, will decide by September 30 whether to list the greater sage-grouse as an endangered or threatened species under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA).

    The stakes are huge: Greater sage-grouse (or prairie chicken) habitat covers 165 million acres across 11 western states, but that is only half of what it used to be, the federal government says. At one time, the greater sage-grouse population likely numbered in the millions, but it is now estimated to be in the 200,000 to 500,000 range.

    The enormous sage grouse habitat also is home to American ranchers and other private land-owners, commercial interests and outdoor recreation spots. To balance those interests with a thriving sage grouse population, the federal government has been working with states and ranchers for several years on “landscape scale” conservation plans.

    Two weeks ago, on May 28, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service released a proposed land use plan that will conserve sagebrush habitat, address threats to the greater sage grouse and “promote sustainable economic development in the West.”

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will now review the federal plan to see if the efforts go far enough in conserving the greater sage grouse habitat so that listing the bird under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is unnecessary.

    Either way, westerners can expect new restrictions on the lands where they work and play.

    “We have confidence that these plans will not only benefit the greater sage-grouse, but will also preserve the West’s heritage of ranching and outdoor recreation; protect hundreds of wildlife species such as elk, mule deer and golden eagles that also rely on sagebrush habitat; and promote balance between conservation and development,” the BLM said.

    "The BLM and U.S. Forest Service play a very important role in greater sage-grouse conservation,” Dan Ashe, director of the FWS, told via email. “We at Fish and Wildlife Service are pleased that BLM and the Forest Service recognize that strong, effective federal land management plans are vital to successful greater sage-grouse conservation.

    “These plans are essential for the service’s evaluation of whether the species still warrants federal protection,” Ashe said.

    Ashe has called this the “biggest conservation effort” of his career.

    According to the FWS, 64 percent of sage-grouse-populated land is owned by the federal government, 31 percent is privately owned, and 5 percent is under state jurisdiction.

    The Bureau of Land Management notes that most oil, gas and other energy resources are outside of the greater sage-grouse habitat.

    Federal land-control

    The federal plan to save and expand the greater sage grouse habitat has three objectives:

    -- Minimize new or additional land-surface disturbances (i.e., restrictions on roads, oil and gas wells, mining, large-scale wind and solar projects, buildings, etc.)

    -- Improve habitat condition (restrictions on livestock grazing as well as "monitoring" and assessment of voluntary and required conservation actions)

    -- Reduce the threat of rangeland fire to sage-grouse and sagebrush habitat.

    Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, calls the federal land-use plan “just flat out wrong.” He said if the Obama administration really cared about the greater sage grouse, it would adopt the state plans, because “the state plans work.”  “This proposal is only about controlling land, not saving the bird,” Bishop said.

     “More than 40 years ago, the Endangered Species Act was enacted with good intentions and bipartisan support to recover species at the brink of extinction,” Bishop said in his opening remarks. “Unfortunately, with less than two percent of the more than 1,500 listed species ever recovered, the law is failing.”

    “Cramming thousands more species onto the list and blocking the use of millions of acres of land—including restricting even how our military servicemen can use lands for military training and readiness -- cannot be a measurement of success,” Bishop said. “States are using resources wisely to recover species and keep them off the list.  We should do more to encourage them.”

    States’ Rights

    For years, the leaders of western states, as well as ranchers, farmers and outdoor enthusiasts have tried to keep sage habitat conservation efforts at the state level.

    In March 2015, western governors released a report arguing against an ESA listing for the sage grouse.

    “The Governors believe that a listing of the greater sage-grouse by FWS later this year will diminish the amount of new voluntary conservation work undertaken and have a significant, negative economic impact across the West,” the executive summary of the report states.

    The report provides “compelling evidence that a listing of the bird as threatened or endangered under ESA is counterproductive and unnecessary.”

    The governors’ report offers details about sweeping conservation efforts made by the states, including comprehensive sage-grouse conservation plans in place in Colorado, Nevada and North and South Dakota.

    Members of the Nevada Mining Association have developed habitat conservation plans on 1.2 million acres, according to the report.

    Colorado, Idaho and Montana, collectively, have put in place 350,000 acres of sage-grouse habitat through purchase or conservation easements.

    In Idaho, state agencies have invested $4 million in improving and restoring habitat. The sate of Utah has completed 85 percent of a 560,000-acre project to manage tree encroachment on sage-grouse management areas.

    And the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has funded more than 90 projects that treat sagebrush habitat over 83,000 acres across eight western states.

    The BLM itself acknowledges that more than 1,100 ranchers and partners across the West have already worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Sage Grouse Initiative to restore more than 4.4 million acres of habitat while maintaining working landscapes.

    “The West is rapidly changing – with increasingly intense wildfires, invasive species and development altering the sagebrush landscape and threatening wildlife, ranching and our outdoor heritage,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said last month, when the federal conservation plan was announced.

    “As land managers of two-thirds of greater sage-grouse habitat, we have a responsibility to take action that ensures a bright future for wildlife and a thriving western economy,” she said.  “Together with conservation efforts from states and private landowners, we are laying an important foundation to save the disappearing sagebrush landscape of the American West.”



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