Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Joe Romm, a paid climate shill, is pumping out the hysteria again -- invoking morality, not science
You would think it was the ravings of a madman or religious fanatic if you didn't know it is his bread and butter. It must feel strange for him to be quoting the Pope as an authority. He quotes no actual climate facts -- just the words of his fellow climate ravers. So let me quote some relevant facts: The "fossil" fuel era has been enormously beneficial. As CO2 levels have grown so has wealth and life expectancy. See the first chart below. Do we want to cut that back? We might if the earth really were dangerously warming but the second chart shows that on a geological timescale there are ups and downs but overall the earth is actually cooling
The next few years are unprecedented in human history. We know with unusually high scientific certainty that the near-term choices we as a nation and a species make about carbon pollution will determine whether or not we will destroy our livable climate in the coming decades — thereby ruining the lives of billions of people irreversibly for centuries to come.
We have no right to destroy the soil (and other elements of a livable climate) for our children and future generations — a point Thomas Jefferson explained was universally self-evident in a 1789 letter to James Madison.
And so we as a nation have a moral imperative to act. The world’s top scientists and governments could not be clearer on that point. Nor could the Pope be in his recent climate encyclical.
We can and should debate what type of action is necessary to act in a moral fashion in these unprecedented times. But it is no longer a rational or moral option to continue being entranced by the Siren song of “technology, innovation, blah, blah, blah” from conservatives like Jeb Bush and other rejectionists. They imply oppose all strategies that could plausibly achieve the kind of steady and serious ongoing reductions we need — such as pricing carbon pollution or regulating carbon pollution.
The stakes behind the CPP are simply too high, as the leading opponents of action have made all too clear. For instance, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has not merely urged states to ignore the law’s requirement for them to put forward a state implementation plan to meet the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan standards.
In one of the most shocking statements ever issued by any U.S. political leader, McConnell actually admitted publicly that his goal is to stop a global deal to avert catastrophic climate change. It was the (primarily) conservative opposition led by McConnell that brought down the 2009 House climate bill in the Senate. That opposition left President Obama and the EPA no choice but to put on the table a plan to enact carbon pollution standards for existing power plants.
Obama’s actual Clean Power Plan is the bare minimum the United States can do and remain a moral nation.
At the end of his encyclical, the Pope called on God to “Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak, and care for this world in which we live. The poor and the earth are crying out.” So not only do we bear the most responsibility for the current problem, we are the country with the most power and money to do something about it — power and money we achieved to a great extent by fossil fuels.
The Alternative Is Catastrophic
The Clean Power Plan is the bare minimum we can morally do because it’s part of an overall U.S. carbon reduction target that itself is not adequate to avoid the 2°C (3.6°F) total that the world’s leading scientists and governments have repeatedly agreed is the absolute limit the world can risk.
And it always bears repeating that inaction is doubly immoral because every major country has the knowledge that action is so damn cheap — especially compared to inaction — because that’s what all the independent economic analyses and all of our real world experience cutting emissions demonstrate.....
The significance of the Clean Power Plan in enabling a climate deal is clear from the fact that the fossil-fuel-funded opponents of action, led by Sen. McConnell, have desperately been trying to kill a Paris deal by persuading the rest of the world that America won’t meet its obligations.
But the truth is that we can and will meet those obligations — and I am certain in fact this nation will surpass them. Why? As morally and scientifically urgent as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is now, that urgency is going to grow exponentially over the next few years, as global temperatures and extreme weather soar, as the dire nature of our situation becomes painfully obvious to more and more people.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr said (“echoing the words of 19th century abolitionist and Unitarian minister Theodore Parker”): “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The bend occurring now is a true inflection point in human history. Some may bet against justice and morality prevailing, but I won’t.
WH Anticipates 'A Difficult Transition' to 'Clean Power'
The usage of "clean" above always amuses me. Muslims describe girls who have been subjected to genital mutilation (cliterodectomy) as "clean". That puts Warmists into exactly the right category, I think
President Obama will unveil the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan on Monday, imposing stricter-than-expected carbon dioxide limits on the states.
"There's no doubt that this is going to be a difficult transition," Obama's spokesman Josh Earnest told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday. "But it's a transition that is clearly in the best interests of our economy, it's clearly in the best interest of the health of children all across the country, and it's in the best interests of the planet."
Earnest said he thinks the EPA Clean Power Plan "is the culmination of what the president talked about in 2007 and 2008."
Even before he became president, Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to wean the nation off coal.
"If somebody wants to build a coal fired plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted," Barack Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008.
He added later in the same interview, “Under my plan -- electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
Rates may skyrocket, but the White House insists customers' bills will come down -- likely because people won't be able to afford as much electricity.
"If we actually make progress in investing in this clean energy, what we're actually going to do, we're actually going to lower costs for consumers," Earnest said on Monday.
The new rules take effect in 2022, and states must meet the carbon dioxide reduction targets -- a 32 percent reduction from 2005 levels -- by 2030. Obama's proposed rule last year called for a 30 percent cut.
"We're going to take the most important, substantial step that our country's every taken to reduce the causes of climate change," Earnest said on Monday. "And what we're going to do, we're going scale back the carbon pollution that our power generators are currently allowed to spew into the atmosphere."
"For too long, we've seen Washington, D.C., putting off and delaying action, serious action, to fight the causes of climate change. And we've seen special interests mobilize to try to fight any effort to do that. And I have no doubt that special interests in Washington, D.C., are going to squeal -- as are the politicians who are in their pocket.
"But the fact of the matter is, these rules are going to do something to finally confront the causes of climate change, it's actually going to have significant benefits for public heatlth, particularly children with asthma, and it's going to accelerate the progress that we've made already in transitioining to a clean energy economy."
As the Associated Press noted, it will be up to Obama's successor to implement the EPA's Clean Energy Plan. The AP also reported that the Obama administration estimated the emissions limits will cost $8.4 billion annually by 2030.
The actual price won't be clear until states decide how they'll reach their targets. But people in the energy industry said the stricter limits make Obama's mandate even more burdensome, costly and difficult to achieve.
Obama's effort to polish climate legacy faces battle from GOP
President Obama wants his signature climate change regulation to be a hallmark of his White House legacy. But whether the rule, which will be finalized Monday, will remain intact won't be decided until after his presidency as Republicans and the energy industry try to kill it through legislation and the courts.
For now, the emissions rules for power plants that Obama will announce at a Rose Garden ceremony Monday afternoon represents a high point for his presidency's environmental credentials.
Environmental allies, who challenged Obama early in his presidency to act on the climate after a sweeping cap-and-trade bill collapsed in the Senate, quickly praised the effort, though some contended the regulation didn't go far enough considering the United States has met nearly half the final rule's goal of slashing electricity emissions nationwide 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
The rest of the roughly 17 percent of emissions the U.S. power sector must cut to meet the mark will be met largely by imposing limits that will shift the power sector away from coal, which provides about 39 percent of the nation's electricity, and toward renewable energy and natural gas.
"It's a simple idea that will change the world: Cut carbon pollution today so our kids won't inherit climate chaos tomorrow. That's what this historic plan will achieve," said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Obama will try to use the rule to achieve one of his most ambitious foreign policy aims: Securing a long-desired international climate change agreement, which countries hope will put the world on a path to keep global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100.
But along the way the administration will have to fight off Republicans, who have sought to undermine international confidence in the rule.
Republicans have suggested the idea of sending a letter to the United Nations regarding climate negotiations that are set to begin in November in Paris. It would resemble Sen. Tom Cotton's, R-Ark., missive to Iran, which said Republicans don't support the nuclear agreement that Obama and other world leaders were crafting. Red states, following a call from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are considering not submitting plans to comply with the EPA rule because they think all or parts of it are illegal.
Republican presidential contenders slammed the rule and said they would scrap it if they win the White House. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has hinted his state won't comply with the rule, said that he would "stop the Costly Power Plan," a play on the rule's name, the Clean Power Plan.
While international negotiators have expressed concern about the Republican resistance, administration officials say diplomats are convinced that the White House is committed to the effort.
After years of the U.S. being a somewhat reluctant participant in the UN negotiations, Obama has vowed to take the lead. Administration officials have told other nations that the U.S. is serious about the talks, with the climate rule serving as the bulwark of the Obama administration's commitment.
"This rule actually enhances in important ways our ability to achieve the international commitments that we have made," Brian Deese, an adviser to Obama, said during a Sunday conference call with reporters.
With the rule now finalized, GOP efforts aimed at weakening the rule are likely to build. They will want to leave a paper trail of disapproval for the rule, which they say will raise electricity costs and kill the coal industry.
Once the rule is submitted to the Federal Register, a GOP Senate source told the Washington Examiner that Senate Republicans are likely to move on a Congressional Review Act, a maneuver that allows Congress to vote down major regulations by majority vote. All 56 Senate Republicans would likely show disapproval of the rule, but centrist Democrats who oppose the rule aren't expected to cross Obama on a Congressional Review Act vote, so it's not likely to survive a veto.
Instead, Senate GOP leadership likely will have to introduce legislation that replaces the power plant rule with an alternative that centrist Democrats might support. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has her bill to roll back the power plant rule waiting in the hopper, which the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is scheduled to take up on Wednesday. The House, meanwhile, already has passed legislation from Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., that would handcuff the rule, and Republicans also plan to use the budget process to limit the rule.
Even if those efforts don't clear Congress, the industry and Republicans think they will have cooled the international community's confidence that the U.S. can deliver on the international promises it has made to curb nationwide emissions 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, a figure that hinges on the yet-uncertain fate of the power plant rule. Most climate scientists say that greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels such as coal, are driving manmade climate change.
"[W]hen 245 house members and 56 senators vote against a rule, even the UN dimwits are going to surmise that all is not well," said Mike McKenna, a GOP strategist who lobbies for energy companies.
Coal-heavy states and the energy industry are expected to file lawsuits, and it's unlikely that they will wrap up in time for the Obama administration to defend it if the rule lands in the Supreme Court. Roger Martella, a partner in the environmental practice at Sidley Austin LLP, suggested that Obama would want a bit more clarity regarding the rule's judicial status heading into the UN talks.
"He's going to want to talk about a rule that's been finalized," Martella said at a Washington event last month. "So there is a question of how soon will the courts look at this."
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy didn't answer a question Sunday about whether the administration would seek an expedited judicial review in the event of a lawsuit.
Some industry officials who oppose the rule have suggested that the administration would delay publishing the rule in the Federal Register — which is when affected parties can officially file lawsuits and Congress can move to a Congressional Review Act — until December to avoid a potential injunction or a vote expressing widespread disapproval of the rule heading into the UN talks. They contend there is precedent for the EPA to delay publishing controversial regulations. For example, more than three months passed before EPA submitted its proposed rule for carbon emissions limits on new power plants after announcing it in September 2013.
McCarthy, when asked when the EPA would publish the rule in the Federal Register, said, "I can't give you an exact date." An EPA spokeswoman told the Examiner that the agency "will follow our normal procedures for publishing in the Federal Register, which is as soon as practicable."
Still, some see the theory that the EPA would wait several months to submit the rule in the Federal Register as "implausible," said William Yeatman, a senior fellow with the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute.
"It would be too cynical, even for this administration, to try to advance its foreign policy via publication tricks in the Federal Register. Also, I think they're very satisfied, even proud, of this rule, and also (mistakenly) confident about its politics," he wrote in an email to the Examiner.
Climate change is about power, not environment
By Rick Manning
Global warming alarmists must be shaking their heads in disbelief. Just when they felt they had the stars aligned to push their anti-free enterprise/capitalism agenda on the international stage and claim the power they crave, the climate and scientists have begun to turn against them.
Sidney, Australia has snow for the first time since 1836. To put this in perspective, in 1836, Andrew Jackson was President of the United States, Victoria was a year away from being crowned Queen of England upon her 18th birthday, and Davey Crockett met his heroic end at the Alamo.
Needless to say, it has been a long time since Sidney, Australia has seen snow.
In other news, the Big Island of Hawaii had snowfall in July. Not to be outdone, the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California also had snowfall this July.
Antarctica set a new record for ice extent in 2014, and continues to set records for how much ice covers the oceans surrounding this southern hemisphere continent as 2015 progresses.
And to confuse the science-is-settled-on-global-warming crowd even further, some solar scientists are now projecting that due to changes in the sun’s cycles, the earth is likely to suffer from what is known as a “Little Ice Age” starting in 2030, as the heat-giving star settles into a very rare pattern of inactivity. Imagine their consternation at learning that the sun actually plays a role in the earth’s temperature.
Alarmists are battling the climate record showing an eighteen-year hiatus from warming by changing and erasing temperature data collection to create the results needed to justify their continued funding; the church of global warming is also struggling to explain why the much more reliable satellite temperature data also continues to embarrass them by showing no new warming for almost two decades.
Yet, the Obama Administration pushes on with their attempts to destroy coal-fired electric generation, as well as the misguided taxpayer funding of bird- and bat-destroying wind farms and regulatory schemes intended to hamstring oil-based domestic energy production.
The reason is simple. The global warming agenda is not about the planet, otherwise world environmental do-gooders would be focused upon the world’s worst polluting nation, China, rather than giving them a pass.
Now, the head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, readily admits that the real climate change agenda has nothing to do with the environment, but instead is about redistribution of wealth stating, “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history.”
Figueres continued, “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the, at least, 150 years, since the industrial revolution.”
So there you have it, you cannot argue climate facts with those determined to twist scientific data to justify a worldwide, fundamental economic transformation toward a socialist model governed by an international body.
The only way to beat this global economic coup d’état is to beat them politically with the first step being to stop taxpayer funding for those who plot our national demise at the Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nations, and elsewhere.
Failure to deny these institutions the political means to enact their plan is an almost guaranteed pathway to their successful collapsing of the free enterprise system along with the middle class that it creates.
Wait, Polar Bears Can Dive?
Scientists are excited to share some breaking news. Polar bears aren’t just good swimmers, they’re good divers too. CBS News has the scoop: “Scientists recently observed a polar bear dive that lasted 3 minutes, 10 seconds, shattering the previous known record by about 2 minutes. … Polar bears are known to dive for food … [and] typically stay submerged for anywhere between 3 and 30 seconds when diving. Sometimes, they’ll stay submerged longer to look for kelp, but the longest recorded kelp dive lasted only about 1 minute, 12 seconds.”
You’re probably thinking, “So what! Tell me more about the dead lion in Africa!” But you’ll never guess what brought about this polar bear adaptation. Well, ok, you probably will. Global warming is melting all the ice. CBS says, “[I]t could be a sign that these animals are evolving to survive in a habitat that is rapidly changing. Global warming is leading to a dearth of sea ice, the researchers said, meaning polar bears have less ice on which to hunt. As such, the animals must spend more time in the water than they did previously.”
But it was just a year ago that some scientists worried about too much ice preventing polar bears from hunting. And as of last September, the Arctic ice cap had expanded substantially. So maybe polar bears have been good at diving all along.
A Leftist account of Australia's climate policy
They see that the current policy is only very light Green. They deplore that. I praise it. I have deleted some abusive adjectives below
In stark comparison to the wide-ranging plan Obama announced to curb America’s carbon pollution, the climate the Abbott government has cultivated around global warming leaves it with very few options.
Clearly, there will be no carbon tax. Axing the tax has - as we all know, know, know - been perhaps the government’s proudest achievement. And true to form, after Labor announced a couple of weeks back that they would introduce an emissions trading scheme, Hunt has repeatedly parroted the false declaration that “an emissions trading scheme is just a carbon tax with a different name”.
Presumably that means that an ETS - favoured by lefty institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and at least 40 national governments worldwide - is also off the cards.
Let’s face it, this government has always been about Direct Action! Getting in there; planting trees; raising a (green) army! That’s the ticket to electoral success and the government shows no indication of admitting one syllable of failure.
But there are other ways - besides great big new taxes on everything - to tackle emissions. In the pensive hours before the major new US policy was detailed, media speculated it would pave the way for a massive escalation in renewables deployment.
On this point too though, the government has been direct with the Australian people about its inaction.
As the Prime Minister, defending the government’s tardiness in slashing the Renewable Energy Target, told broadcaster Alan Jones: “What we did recently in the Senate was to reduce, Alan, capital R-E-D-U-C-E, the number of these things [wind turbines] that we are going to get in the future.”
“Frankly,” Abbott said, “I would have liked to have reduced the number a lot more”.
While it “got the best deal [it] could out of the Senate”, the government only managed to cause investment in renewables to tank by 90 per cent. What a hash! But the point is that renewables have more or less been ruled out by the Abbott government.
So why not just pump up the Direct Action to give the government a way out of this jam?
Here’s the thing; the only way the government could feasibly use Direct Action to cut carbon pollution to the levels that’ll be required after the current 2020 commitment period is by dramatically modifying the so-called ‘safeguard mechanism’ that’s built into the scheme.
Under its policy the Abbott government pays polluters to pollute a little less, and the safeguard mechanism was supposed to prevent the polluters that aren’t being paid from going silly and increasing their emissions.
Right now, it’s more or less lying dormant, which brings us back to that RepuTex analysis and its judgement of the government’s climate policy as “untenable” unless the safeguard mechanism is beefed up.
As the analysis notes, “None of Australia’s top 20 emitting facilities are currently expected to incur any liability under the scheme, despite almost all being forecast to grow their emissions over the next ten years.”
Basically, there’s nothing to stop big polluters from polluting more unless there’s a serious tightening of the policy, and emissions increases from those vast majority of companies that would have no obligation under Direct Action to cut their carbon are likely to far outweigh the mitigation that the government is using our money to pay for.
But there’s hope. “While the scheme is currently a ‘toothless tiger’, it may readily be characterised as a ‘hidden dragon’ given the potential scope for a more meaningful compliance market to emerge,” the RepuTex analysis said.
Unfortunately for the Abbott government the Labor Opposition, which might ordinarily be quite fairly characterised as a ‘toothless tiger’, would exploit the hypocrisy the government would need to display to fix the safeguard mechanism in its quest to make climate change a key battleground at the next Federal election.
For the government to make the ‘safeguard’ mechanism work, it would effectively need to put a cap on carbon in the economy and create a financial disincentive for polluters who exceed their share.
On Hunt’s logic, which dismisses anything that caps pollution, that’s just another damn carbon tax.
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Posted by JR at 12:40 AM