Friday, August 21, 2015
The End of the Arctic? Ocean Could be Ice Free by 2015
So said well-known Warmist idiot Mark Hertsgaard in 2013 -- excerpt below. No need to say he is a false prophet, is there? Arctic ice has in fact become more extensive recently. What he says sounds so reasonable and well-informed. Paranoid schizophrenics often do. Though I think he is really just a publicity hound who will do and say whatever it takes to get noticed. He is known to be economical with the truth, cheerfully representing himself as being what he is not. Another one of his gems is that we are going to run out of wheat. He also fancies himself as Galileo but has got it exactly backwards. It is Hertsgaard who relies on conventional authority and who quotes not one single scientific fact. He's diligent in his evangelism, though. He has written six books including, most recently, “HOT: Living Through the Next 50 Years on Earth.”
Say goodbye to polar bears and a whole lot of ice. New research suggests the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free by 2015, with devastating consequences for the world. Can it be stopped?
Someone better tell Santa Claus. First it was polar bears that were threatened by global warming. Now it’s reindeer too. As temperatures in the Arctic skyrocket, reindeer are suffering staggeringly large, rapid population losses. “Herds of reindeer have declined by one-third since the 1990s as their access to food sources, breeding grounds and historic migration routes have been altered,” reports the environmental audit committee of the British Parliament.
The entire planet is getting hotter, but the top of the world is warming twice as fast as the global average. One leading expert, Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, says the Arctic Ocean could be completely free of ice in summer as soon as 2015. An overheated Arctic in turn threatens catastrophic knock-on effects for the rest of the globe, including more extreme weather; faster sea level rise; and a higher chance of accelerating global warming to where it becomes unstoppable—what scientists refer to as “runaway” global warming.
Yet even as the number of reindeer in the Arctic is declining, the number of warships, cargo vessels and drilling rigs is increasing. In a little-noticed announcement, the United States Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, said on November 22 that the Pentagon is increasing its Arctic presence. Citing a “potential for tapping what may be as much as a quarter of the planet’s undiscovered oil and gas,” Hagel declared that the US “will remain prepared to detect, deter, prevent and defeat threats.” For his part, Russian president Vladimir Putin has pledged to turn the Arctic into “an international transport artery” that could cut one-third of the travel time and costs for trade between Europe and Asia compared to the traditional route through the Suez Canal. China, too, is setting its sights upon the Arctic. In May, it gained “observer” status on the Arctic Council—a high level intergovernmental group that coordinates international policies at the top of the world—despite its lack of territorial holdings in the Arctic. Chinese state-owned firms have also signed deals to exploit oil, gas and minerals in the Arctic.
Arctic ice cover has been declining since the 1950s, said professor Wadhams, who has led forty polar expeditions since first visiting the region in 1969. The biggest decline occurred in 2007, when the area covered by ice in summer decreased to roughly half of its usual amount. That left “an ocean of open water at the top of the planet—an unprecedented effect,” Wadhams said in an interview.
There was another large decrease in 2012, but Wadhams and other experts also worry that the thickness of Arctic ice is plummeting. Since satellites cannot accurately measure ice thickness, Wadhams has been going on board British nuclear submarines to map the ice from below with sonar. Arctic ice thickness has declined by 43 percent between the 1970s and 2000s, Wadhams has calculated, “an enormous loss” that he attributes to the higher temperatures of both air and sea in the Arctic.
Billionaire George Soros warms up to coal as stock prices hit bottom
He clearly expects coal usage to bounce back. He will profit off other people's losses -- losses he helped engineer
Billionaire investor George Soros, who has demonized fossil fuels for years through his think tanks and political contributions, seems to have warmed up to Big Coal now that stocks are dirt cheap.
The left-wing hedge fund legend has raised eyebrows with major purchases of stock in two large coal companies, firms his critics say he helped bring to their knees. While buying low is the hallmark of any shrewd investor, buying coal goes against the political and environmental ideology Soros has long espoused.
“I find it very interesting that George Soros would buy shares in those coal companies,” said Daniel Simmons, vice president for Policy at the Washington DC-based free market energy group, Institute for Energy Research. “I am confused given the non profits he funds and how hard they have worked to demonize coal.”
Soros, whose Climate Policy Initiative think tank recently urged the world to stop using fossil fuels in general and coal in particular, snapped up 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and half a million shares of Arch Coal, giving him significant stakes in what’s left of the U.S. coal industry.
The trades would have cost Soros a lot more six years ago, when Peabody, which trades under the symbol BTU, was at about $90 a share. Under the Obama administration, which has punished the coal industry with costly mandates and regulation, Peabody shares have fallen to around $1.
Neither Soros nor his New York-based investment firm, Soros Fund Management, would comment on the coal play, citing a longstanding policy of not discussing investments.
The 85-year-old hedge fund manager has a net worth of $24.2 billion, according to Forbes.com, which makes him the 19th wealthiest person in U.S. and second among hedge fund managers.
The most recent filing shows Soros Fund Management holds stakes in 263 companies with a total value of nearly $11 billion.
The filing shows the purchases of 553,200 shares of Arch Coal for $188,000 and an investment of $2,254,000 into Peabody Energy for 1,029,400 shares, which means he’s lost money on both so far. Peabody, the biggest coal producer in the U.S. by output, said in a recent statement that it “has been trying to turn itself around as it faces challenges from low natural-gas prices, a glut of global coal supplies, weakened demand from China and a growing public call to cut carbon emissions.”
Free market energy experts note Soros has invested more than a billion dollars into think tanks, lobbyists, political action committees and politicians who have pushed for regulations that have nearly destroyed the coal industry, in favor of so called “clean energy.”
Soros backed President Obama, who notably campaigned in 2008 shutting down the coal industry, a promise industry experts say he’s kept.
“The drop in coal market stock is directly related to the promise that Obama made to his environmental extremist supporters – ‘you can build coal fired power plants, but we will shut them down,’” said John Sparr, a mining engineer and geologist who specializes in the coal industry.
Investments in coal under current conditions bear little risk given the low stock prices. “With markets dwindling, coal companies shutting down and workers being laid off, it is no wonder that stocks are crashing,” Sparr said.
But should there be a change in the regulatory climate, coal stocks could become a bargain.
Michael South, a UK-based mining and energy consultant, told FoxNews.com that while coal prices have suffered around the world in part because of a drop in demand from China and other countries, and fracking, which produced natural gas at a cheaper price, there is still a huge need for coal, and eventually prices will go up.
“George Soros spent millions of dollars and multiple years helping to driving down price of coal,” said H. Sterling Burnett, research fellow and managing editor, at the Heartland Institute. “If he buys enough stock to have controlling interests in these coal businesses, closes them down and leaves the coal in the ground, we might accept that he is a true believer, that his investment was all about stopping climate change and saving the environment."
“But my suspicion is that he helped to drive stocks down, bought as many shares as he can, and, when stocks rebound, he can sell his shares and make a huge profit.”
After Curbing Coal, EPA Proposes Steep Cuts in Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Wells
Because the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan will force states to reduce the energy derived from coal-fired power plants, the states are expected to rely more on cleaner-burning natural gas -- and that explains the EPA's new plan to reduce methane emissions.
The EPA announced on Tuesday that it aims to reduce methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by the year 2025.
“Cleaner-burning energy sources like natural gas are key compliance options for our Clean Power Plan, and we are committed to ensuring safe and responsible production that supports a robust clean energy economy,” EPA Administration Gina McCarthy said.
The proposed methane standards -- now subject to a 60-day public comment period -- will complement voluntary efforts by the oil and natural gas industry, and they are based on technology currently used by the industry, the EPA said.
But the oil and gas industry says its voluntary efforts are working just fine:
“The oil and gas industry is leading the charge in reducing methane,” American Petroleum Industry CEO Jack Gerard said in a news release. “The last thing we need is more duplicative and costly regulation that could increase the cost of energy for Americans.
"Even as oil and natural gas production has surged, methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells have fallen nearly 79 percent since 2005, and CO2 emissions are down to 27-year lows. This is due to industry leadership and significant investments in new technologies,” Gerard added.
To cut methane and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, the EPA will require the oil and gas industry to:
-- Find and repair leaks;
-- Capture natural gas from the completion of hydraulically fractured oil wells;
-- Limit emissions from new and modified pneumatic pumps; and
-- Limiting emissions from several types of equipment used at natural gas transmission compressor stations, including compressors and pneumatic controllers.
McCarthy called the proposed rules "cost-effective" and said they underscore EPA's commitment to "reducing the polllution fueling climate change and protecting public health, while supporting responsible energy development."
To the EPA, "responsible" energy development means wind, solar and other "green" technologies that are more expensive than fossil fuels and are still in development.
The EPA describes methane, a key constituent of natural gas, as a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide.
It says methane is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities, and nearly 30 percent of those emissions come from oil production and the production, transmission and distribution of natural gas.
The American Petroleum Institute points to the EPA's own analysis, which shows that total methane emissions from natural gas systems are down 11 percent since 2005 – a direct result of industry innovation at the same time production has increased significantly.
"API supports a common-sense regulatory approach that builds on cost-effective controls already required by EPA for new equipment,” CEO Gerard said. “Combined with smart, voluntary efforts for existing sources, this approach will continue to lower methane emissions. To avoid undermining American competitiveness, we urge the EPA to coordinate its efforts and not add duplicative rules.”
(The EPA's Clean Power Plan, announced two weeks ago, requires the nation to cut its carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. Individual states have until 2018 to submit their final emission reduction plans to the EPA.)
Obama's Toxic Environmental Pollution Agency
By Michelle Malkin
Here in my adopted home state of Colorado, orange is the new Animas River thanks to the blithering idiots working under President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency.
It's just the latest man-caused disaster from an out-of-control bureaucracy whose primary mission is not the Earth's preservation, but self-preservation.
As always, the government cover-up compounds the crime — which is why the agency's promise this week to investigate itself has residents across the Rocky Mountains in stitches. Or tears.
After the EPA and officials and their contract workers accidentally spilled three million gallons of pent-up toxic sludge on August 5 from a defunct mine in San Juan County that hadn't operated since 1923, EPA apparatchiks delayed notifying residents for more than 24 hours. They vastly underestimated the volume and spill rate of gunk. Then, while refusing to release data, EPA head Gina McCarthy flew to the glowing river to fecklessly declare that the water "seems to be restoring itself."
The cleanup costs for the Colorado spill alone are estimated at $30 billion. Small farmers, ranchers and tourist-related businesses will be reeling for years to come — yet the EPA is simultaneously pushing forward with Draconian ozone regulations (based on cherry-picked junk science) that will punish the state's residents with no discernible health benefits.
If only Mother Nature could help wash away the institutionalized corruption that has been leaching from Obama's EPA headquarters since Day One:
—BP oil spill data doctoring. Former White House Director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy Carol Browner and the EPA suffered no consequences after they repeatedly lied and cooked the books in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010. Browner, who pulled the puppet strings of then-EPA head Lisa Jackson, misled the public about the scope of the disaster by falsely claiming that 75 percent of the spill was "completely gone from the system." Then she falsely claimed that the administration's initial report on the disaster was "peer-reviewed."
The Interior Department inspector general also singled out Browner for misrepresenting the White House's blue-ribbon science panel, which opposed a six-month drilling moratorium, and exposed how she butchered their conclusions to justify the administration's preordained policy agenda.
Browner, an inveterate left-wing crony lobbyist/activist, left office without so much as a wrist slap. Brazen data doctoring and destruction are her fortes. As EPA head during the Clinton administration in the 1990s, she was held in contempt by a federal judge after ordering a staffer to purge and delete her computer files. Browner had sought to evade a public disclosure lawsuit by conservative lawyer and author Mark Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation.
—Email evasion and transparency trouncing. While Browner was doing her dirty work as Obama's unaccountable eco-czar, Jackson busied herself creating sock-puppet email personalities to circumvent public disclosure rules as the agency crafted radical climate-change policies in secret. She learned the tricks of the trade from Browner. Jackson admitted to using the pseudonym "Richard Windsor" on one of at least two separate secret government accounts. Competitive Enterprise Institute fellow Christopher Horner discovered the elaborate ruses in 2012. The agency had stonewalled Horner's FOIA requests on the use of alias accounts at the agency; CEI sued to force the administration to comply.
In December 2012, Jackson resigned amid multiple investigations. Not a wrist slap. Not a scratch. In March of this year, a federal judge blasted the agency for avoiding a separate FOIA request by Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation related to sock-puppet email accounts created by Jackson and others "who may have delayed the release dates for hot-button environmental regulations until after the Nov. 6, 2012, presidential election."
Apple Computer hired Jackson in 2013 (and all of her multiple personalities). Two months ago, the company proudly announced that it was promoting Jackson to "vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives" and head of the company's "global government affairs and public policy teams."
—Enabling sex predators and porn addicts. Last month, the EPA inspector general finally testified on Capitol Hill about the agency's chronic mismanagement of alleged sexual perverts on the payroll. One employee "engaged in offensive and inappropriate behavior toward at least 16 women, most of whom were EPA co-workers," the IG reported. Supervisors "were made aware of many of these actions and yet did nothing."
Well, not exactly "nothing." The employee was actually promoted to assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Homeland Security — a position he used to harass six more women.
Two other EPA workers were caught binging on porn during work hours; one was observed getting his X-rated fix by a minor who was at the office during Bring Your Child To Work Day. EPA allowed one perv to retire with full benefits; the other is still on leave collecting a $120,000 yearly salary.
Double standards. Data destruction. Imposition of radical job-killing regulations. Law-breaking with impunity. Only in Washington does a rogue government agency with an $8 billion budget get away with such serial incompetence and criminality in the name of the "public good." Protecting the environment has become a full employment racket for green crooks and cronies.
America’s big ‘green’ wrecking machines
Politically connected industrial wind zealots are destroying rural America and electricity markets
Mary Kay Barton
“If you have no conscience, no morals, no aesthetic sensibility, no understanding of free markets; if you hate wildlife, people and the natural landscape; if you loathe private property… then the ... wind industry is undoubtedly the place for you.... Only the Taliban at Bamiyan or ISIS at Palmyra can really come close to matching the wind industry’s scorched-earth zeal...” ~ James Delingpole
The destruction of rural America is ongoing, thanks to those who continue to push industrial wind energy as a fantasy-cure for the alleged problem of “Climate Change.”
$Trillions have been spent on ‘renewables’ worldwide, yet carbon dioxide has not been significantly reduced, while rural America is paying the ultimate price. Our countrysides, wildlife and Constitutional private property rights are being sacrificed on the altar of “green” energy … for no net benefit.
U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers need to awaken to the environmentally destructive wealth transfer and corporate land grab that is industrial wind energy, before more of our priceless American countrysides and wildlife are destroyed.
Ironically, many states are outlawing certain pesticides to “protect bees, birds, butterflies and other pollinators,” while continuing to use Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) to mandate industrial wind sprawl, which slaughters pollinators, eagles, and countless other birds and bats.
Elected officials – Democrat and Republican alike – who are onboard with President’s Obama’s ‘green’ assault in the name of halting “climate change” – are complicit in destroying the rural fabric, environment and wildlife that is the grandeur of America, including the slaughter of our nation’s bald and golden eagles. This assault must be ended, and those who promote it removed from office.
WHY should American taxpayers continue to fund dysfunctional wind energy, when even USEPA air chief Janet McCabe admits that the EPA’s analysis shows “wind power can expand throughout the Clean Power Plan compliance period, from 2022 to 2030, even if the tax credit is not renewed”? As long as taxpayer-funded wind welfare (the Wind Production Tax Credit, or PTC) exists, states without RPS policies are subsidizing the market-distorting, environmentally-destructive energy choices imposed by the politically powerful, while those with RPS policies are shielded from the true costs of wind energy.
Having fought industrial wind development for years in my community, I have come to understand that only a grassroots rebellion, led by rural environmentalists against the wealthy, powerful, special-interest urban fake-environmentalists will be able to turn the tide.
A brochure recently distributed by APEX ‘Clean’ Energy in western New York State, along the shores of Lake Ontario, is typical of deceitful windy-disinformation campaigns seen across the United States. Much like APEX’s website – which pictures APEX’s staff in an idyllic countryside setting with NO industrial wind turbines in sight – the front cover of APEX’s brochure pictures a farm without a single industrial wind turbine in sight! It is absurdly titled: “Wind Energy: Good for Property Values.”
How stupid does APEX think people are? Any honest real estate agent will tell you the most important consideration when buying a property is: “Location, Location, Location!”
Even worse is the shameless Wyoming County (New York) supervisors who are quoted in APEX’s brochure: Eagle’s Joe Kushner and Sheldon’s John Knab, both of whom will not seek re-election this year. At least one is reportedly leaving the area.
Both Kushner and Knab pimped their towns out to Big Wind for a few recycled taxpayer dollars, making themselves some of the wind industry’s favorite go-to-guys. Sheldon Supervisor John Knab has traveled as far as the state of Alabama (that we know of), speaking on behalf of the wind industry. The two seem despicably intent on turning more countrysides into bird-slaughtering, industrial wind factories, by aiding and abetting Big Wind hucksters like APEX and their blowhard-disinformation campaigns.
The civil discord and environmental destruction that Knab and Kushner orchestrated here in Wyoming County, NY is reminiscent of Native Americans who sold Manhattan for a bunch of beads, their naiveté taken advantage of by those who could not care less about them.
APEX’s brochure also disingenuously lists two Orangeville, NY properties as selling above assessed value, while failing to mention that both properties had significant acreage. That’s an important consideration, since Wyoming County farmland has been selling for $6,000 - $12,000 per acre since the Batavia yogurt factory was built.
For obvious reasons, APEX did NOT mention the fact that at least ten Orangeville properties have sold below their assessed value since Invenergy’s wind factory went up, and many others haven’t sold at all.
APEX’s brochure also neglected to mention the ongoing lawsuit in Orangeville, and our skyrocketing Wyoming County tax rate, which has risen yearly for the past 12 years (another 9.68% this year), in direct correlation with the installation of wind factories here. It is likewise no surprise that APEX didn’t include this report – which shows a 56% decrease in property values near APEX’s Illinois project.
It’s the same story everywhere. Sprawling industrial wind factories negatively impact property values!
More wind also means “skyrocketing” electricity rates – just as President Obama promised, and as is happening in New York and other “green” energy states.
According to NYSERDA, the average NYS residential electricity rate in 1999 was 13.3 cents per kilowatt hour. The first NYS wind factories went up in 2000 (Wethersfield & Madison). Twenty wind factories later, the average residential electricity rate in NYS as of February 2015 is 19.8 cents per kWh (according to the EIA, as cited by NYSERDA). That is one of the highest rates in the nation, and nearly a 50% increase since New York State began mindlessly plastering countrysides with industrial wind factories. Only 2% of NYS’s electricity comes from coal, and we have an endless supply of hydro.
The truth is, wind energy’s actual performance shows it is a LEMON by any measure. Indeed, New York State’s wind factories have been averaging a pathetic 24% of rated capacity. Any other piece of equipment – be it a machine, person or animal – that operated only 24% of the time would have been put out to pasture long ago! Who among you would buy a vehicle that only operated 24% of the time? You wouldn’t. You couldn’t afford to. It’s just that simple.
But when the state and federal government are in charge of spending our money, economic reality doesn’t seem to matter. It’s not their money, and they are never held personally accountable.
Physicist and Malone, NY town board member Jack Sullivan recently explained the reality of wind power’s abysmal energy output in his article, “Some lessons from New York.” Both Vesta and GE turbines have a manufacturer’s life expectancy rating of only 20 years, he notes – and yet “no New York wind project is on track to sell enough electricity in 20 years to pay for itself.” [emphasis added]
Even worse, Sullivan’s calculations are based on the wind industry’s self-serving claim that turbines have a 20-year life expectancy. The added inconvenient reality, however, is that “wind turbines last only half as long” as the industry claims – making their cost-benefit claims even more fraudulent.
These facilities are not “wind farms.” They’re tax farms. They are in the business of harvesting our hard-earned taxpayer and ratepayer dollars – and transferring them into the pockets of rich, multi-national corporations that then give big dollars to the politicians who keep this scam rolling merrily along.
All of this is enabled by obscene cronyism in high places and by the short-sightedness, willful ignorance and rampant greed of those who are willing to suck on the teat of wind welfare at the rest of our expense.
Australia seeks to hobble Greenie lawfare against coal mining
Canberra plans to restrict the rights of green groups to challenge government approval of mining projects, in a move to prevent what Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, says is “endless legal sabotage” that is costing jobs.
The crackdown follows expressions of concern from India over an Australian court’s decision this month to overturn approval for Adani Mining’s A$16bn (US$12bn) Carmichael coal mine in Queensland because of its potential impact on the endangered yakka skink and ornamental snake. It marks the latest stage in a battle between the government and campaigners that accuse Mr Abbott of prioritising industrial development over environmental protection.
“Everyone wants to give the Carmichael mine in Queensland a fair go,” Mr Abbott said on Wednesday.
“They shouldn’t be subject to endless legal sabotage because the law gives green groups an unusual level of access to the courts.”
The coalition plans to table legislation in parliament to alter a law that allows campaign groups to challenge government environmental approvals for major investments. Under the proposed changes, only people directly affected by a development could challenge its approvals.
The coalition faces a battle to pass the amendments through the Senate, where it needs to draw on the support of independent senators. The opposition Labor and Green parties have said they oppose the changes.
India’s High Commissioner to Australia, Navdeep Suri, recently expressed his disappointment to Andrew Robb, Australia’s trade minister, over delays to Adani’s proposed mine. This prompted Mr Robb to warn last week that green groups’ campaign against Adani’s mine was jeopardising talks over a trade deal between Australia and India.
The Federal Court of Australia’s decision to set aside government approval for Adani followed a legal action by a local green group. It forces Australia’s environmental minister to reconsider Adani’s application to build a huge mine in the Galilee basin — one of the world’s biggest untapped coal reserves.
Adani’s mine, port and rail project has become a potent symbol of the battle between the fossil fuel industry and environmentalists, who say burning the coal reserves in the Galillee basin would cause catastrophic climate change and damage the nearby Great Barrier Reef.
Human rights groups warn that the government’s proposed legal change threatens to undermine core democratic freedoms.
“The ability to take legal action in the public interest is central to ensuring governments remain accountable. Locking particular groups out of the courts is heavy-handed and will mean that bad decisions will go unchecked and unchallenged,” said Ruth Barson, senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre.
Industry groups representing the mining sector have welcomed the government’s crackdown on environmentalists.
“Over recent years a large number of new projects and mine expansions have been subject to a calculated campaign of protests and harassment, including vexatious and incessant legal appeals lodged by a small band of extreme environmental groups,” said Brendan Pearson, chief executive of the Minerals Council of Australia.
He said a BAEconomics study found that reducing project delays by one year would add A$160bn to national output by 2025 and create 69,000 jobs.
Research by the Australia Institute, a progressive think-tank, suggests third-party appeals to the Federal Court have affected just 0.4 per cent of all projects referred under the legislation.
The ruling Liberal-National coalition recently convened a parliamentary committee to consider how to strip tax privileges from environmental groups that campaign against resource projects.
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 12:43 AM