Monday, November 16, 2015

NOAA: Deaths Caused by Severe Weather Hit 22-Year Low in 2014

Strange new honesty from NOAA.  NASA came clean with the Zwally article and now NOAA is following suit.  Is this a sign of a new skepticism?

Severe weather caused 333 deaths in the United States in 2014, according to the National Weather Service's Summary of Natural Hazard Statistics for 2014.  That was the fewest in 22 years.

"Fortunately, the United States was again spared any major land falling tropical storms. There were no U.S. tropical storm related deaths in 2014," according to the report.

The last time there were fewer "fatalities caused by severe weather" was in 1992, when 308 such deaths were recorded, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"For the third consecutive year, weather-related deaths dropped significantly," said the NOAA summary. NOAA reported 446 fatalities caused by severe weather in 2013 and 528 in 2012.

The 2014 number was also "below the 10-year average of 638 deaths," the summary stated.

Twice as many males (67 percent) as females (30 percent) died from extreme weather conditions last year, according to NOAA.

Rip-currents caused the most severe weather-related fatalities (57) in 2014, followed by wind (54), tornadoes (47), cold (43), winter (41), lightning (26), heat (20), and hurricanes (zero).

A spokeswoman for NOAA told that the fatality figures are a compilation of "weather-related deaths when we have weather warnings in place," noting that they do not include all weather-related fatalities in the U.S.

NOAA data on deaths caused by lightning, tornadoes, floods and hurricanes go back to 1940. The agency added heat- and winter-related fatalities in 1986, and cold-related fatalities in 1988.

Two additional categories were added later: wind fatalities in 1996 and rip-current fatalities in 2002. However, even with the addition of these two categories, the 333 deaths in 2014 were still the fewest since 1992.

These 333 deaths cause by severe weather included 20 excessive-heat-related fatalities, including 12 in Nevada. That was down from 92 excessive-heat-related fatalities in 2013.

There were 43 cold-related and 41 winter-related deaths in 2014. These included those caused by winter storms, ice and avalanches. IIllinois had with the highest cold-related death toll (21).

The NOAA spokeswoman said that 48 percent of the winter-related fatalities involved vehicular accidents caused by ice and winter storms.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issues excessive heat warnings “when the maximum heat index is expected to be 105 degrees or higher for at least two days and night time air temperatures will not drop below 75 degrees.”

Extreme cold warnings are based on the windchill index, defined as “a combination of ambient temperatures at or below 40 F and wind speeds greater than or equal to 3 mph that can lead to dangerous hypothermia and/or frostbite conditions.”

The 20 heat-related fatalities in 2014 were far below their 10-year average of 124. The number of deaths in 2014 from other weather-related causes such as tornadoes, floods and hurricanes were also all below their 10-year averages.

However, the number of cold- and winter-related fatalities exceeded their 10-year averages of 29 and 27 respectively.

Since 1986, when NOAA began keeping temperature-related fatality statistics, there were a total of 3,839 heat-related deaths, compared to 1,940 cold- and winter-related fatalities.

The highest number of heat-related fatalities during the past 29 years occurred in 1995, when 1,021 people died, according to NOAA.

"1995 was a disastrous year for heat-related fatalities," the agency noted.  Many of the deaths that year occurred in Chicago during a record July heat wave.

"The July 1995 heat wave at Chicago and Milwaukee was a highly rare, and in some respects, unprecedented disaster," the agency noted.

In 2014, 20 people died as a result of extreme heat, down dramatically from the 2013 total of 92 fatalities and even more dramatically from the 2012 total of 155. This number is well below the 10-year average for heat-related fatalities (124).

2004 tied with 1989 for the lowest number of heat-related deaths during the past three decades, with six reported in each of those years.

1989 also had the highest number of cold- and winter-related fatalities, which totaled 164 that year.

According to the NOAA data, weather-related incidents in 2014 caused $7.6 billion in crop and property damage, down from $12.7 billion in 2013.


You knew it!  The terrorist attacks in Paris were all about global warming

A Greenie explains below.  Just another conspiracy theory

Is it a coincidence that the terrorist outrage in Paris was committed weeks before COP21, the biggest climate conference since 2009? Perhaps, writes Oliver Tickell. But failure to reach a strong climate agreement now looks more probable. And that's an outcome that would suit ISIS - which makes $500m a year from oil sales - together with other oil producers.

Yes, it's still about the climate, very much so. But there are also compelling reasons of national and global security to reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels, oil in particular.
The first thing to be said about the terrorist attacks on Paris yesterday is that they are a dreadful crime that deserves only the most fervent condemnation.

The attackers showed a total contempt for human life and chose soft, civilian targets where their victims were unable to put up any defence against military grade weaponry.

But we must also ask: Why Paris? And why now?

Yes, France has been especially active in its air strikes against ISIS in Syria. And yes, there there is a huge reservoir of discontent among the socially excluded youth of the banlieue, the concrete jungle of impoverished outer suburbs that surround Paris and other big cities - where ISIS can perhaps find willing recruits to its ranks.

But is that all? In just a few weeks time, the COP21 climate conference will take place, in Paris, the biggest such event since COP15 in Copenhagen six years ago. The event offers the world a desperately needed opportunity to reduce its carbon emissions and limit global warming to 2C.

And that's surely something the attackers, or at least their (presumably) ISIS commanders, must know all about.

Could the attacks and COP21 possibly be related?

To answer that question we should first ask, what do the attacks mean for COP21?

For a start, the negotiations taking place at the conference centre at Le Bourget will surely be even more isolated from Paris itself, and civil society, than they were already going to be. Le Bourget is home to one of Paris's main international airports - perfect for VIPs to fly in and out without ever leaving the airport and conference complex.

Undoubtedly France already had a high level of security planned for Le Bourget. But now, whatever those plans are, they will be redoubled. Expect a ring of steel and concrete to go up.

Expect it to be far harder for accredited journalists, campaigners, activists, even businessmen to gain access to the conference, with stringent searches, long queues, and arbitrary refusals to people who may have travelled thousands of miles to be there.

Expect leaders, politicians, negotiators present at the conference to remain more firmly ensconced in their secure surroundings at Le Bourget - instead of travelling into central Paris to enjoy the city's many charms.

And as for civil society ...

It's estimated that ten thousand or more climate activists from around the world may be planning to stay in Paris for the duration of the conference, both to demand a strong and effective agreement, and to develop their own agenda, alliances and plans for climate action.

There is certain to be a far larger and more repressive security presence around them than previously planned - not just at Le Bourget but in central Paris where most of the events, conferences and demonstrations are due to take place.

Police surely fear the presence of terrorists taking shelter among the climate activists - and in many a policeman's world view, there may be no huge difference between murderous terrorists and (generally) peaceful demonstrators anyway. Both are likely to be seen as the 'enemy'.

Meanwhile the activists could reasonably fear terrorism themselves. What yesterday's attacks tell us is that any target will do. Climate campaigners have no reason to feel any safer than anyone else. And a demonstration of tens of thousands densely packed on the streets of Paris would offer a highly vulnerable target.

So the effect of the attacks on COP21 is likely to be a chilling one. Faced with a combination of terrorist threat, and likely heavy-handed policing, their numbers - and their political impact - are likely to fall.

Eyes off the climate ball?

Another outcome that will surely be felt at the highest levels in the conference itself is a loss of focus on the climate, and a refocussing among world leaders present in Paris on terrorism and security.

Yes, negotiators will still be arguing over square brackets in texts as they always do. But the potential of important 'big picture' climate deals cemented between presidents and prime ministers now look less likely than before - for the simple reason that world leaders are likely to take the opportunity of COP21 to talk about more immediately pressing security matters.

So with world leaders distracted from questions of climate, the prospects of serious inter-governmental agreement on the key issues at stake in the talks - from climate finance to the legal status of any agreement reached - have just receded.

Of course, this may all be accidental. Maybe Paris was just hit because of French attacks on ISIS. And maybe the now more likely failure of COP21 to achieve its aims is mere collateral damage in the increasingly savage 'great game' of global power politics.

ISIS Inc defending its corporate interests?

But it may not be. As the FT put it last week in an article titled 'Isis Inc: how oil fuels the jihadi terrorists', "Oil is the black gold that funds Isis' black flag - it fuels its war machine, provides electricity and gives the fanatical jihadis critical leverage against their neighbours ...

"Estimates by local traders and engineers put crude production in Isis-held territory at about 34,000-40,000 bpd. The oil is sold at the wellhead for between $20 and $45 a barrel, earning the militants an average of $1.5m a day ...

"While al-Qaeda, the global terrorist network, depended on donations from wealthy foreign sponsors, Isis has derived its financial strength from its status as monopoly producer of an essential commodity consumed in vast quantities throughout the area it controls. Even without being able to export, it can thrive because it has a huge captive market in Syria and Iraq."

But ISIS's ambitions surely don't stop there. Its aim is to consolidate its hold of the regions it already occupies, extend its empire to new regions and countries, and establish a Caliphate whose power and income will largely derive from oil. So the last thing it needs is a global climate agreement that will, over time, limit global consumption of fossil fuels.

Oil prices are low at around $50 per barrel. The IEA estimates that OPEC states have lost half a trillion dollars a year in revenues since the oil price fell from over $100 a barrel in 2011-2014 to current levels. And this is causing deep tensions among OPEC members - due to meet on 4th December in Vienna to thrash out solutions.

The main problem is that Saudi Arabia is over-producing oil in order to suppress investment in and production of high cost oil in the the US, Canada, UK and other countries - and so capture the lion's share of an oil market it thinks will keep on growing for decades to come.

Thus OPEC scenarios foresee oil demand increasing from 111 to 132 million barrels per day (mb/d) by 2040. However the International Energy Agency thinks that even modest carbon constraints will see demand for oil slump to around 100 mb/d by 2040 - and considerably lower with tough climate policies.

And that is surely an outcome that not just ISIS but all major oil exporters fear and wish to avoid.

Was it or wasn't it?

So, assuming - as seems probable at this stage - that the Paris outrage was carried out by or for ISIS, was it in any way motivated by a desire to scupper a strong climate agreement at COP21? And so maintain high demand for oil long into the future, together with a high oil price?

Let's just say that it could have been a factor, one of several, in the choice of target and of their timing. And of course ISIS was not necessarily acting entirely on its own. While not alleging direct collusion between ISIS and other oil producing nations and companies, it's not hard to see a coincidence of interests.

So if that is the case, or even if might be the case, there's an important message in it for us all. The effort to shrink the importance of fossil fuels in the global energy landscape - and oil in particular - just took on a whole new dimension.

Yes, it's still about the climate, very much so. But there are also immediate and compelling reasons of national and global security to reduce the world's demand for oil even faster than the IEA's projections.

And an important part of achieving that is to reach a strong agreement in Paris next month, sending a clear message to energy corporations and investors that oil and other fossil fuels are no longer a smart investment - and instead to put their resources into the clean, green, renewable energy technologies of the future.

So as well as standing with France in at this time of horror, we must also take a poweful resolve - and communicate it it ceaselessly to our leaders - for a strong, effective climate agreement: the Paris Treaty.


Green Tech – the climate crisis syndicate

Manufactured climate crisis fears and renewable energy schemes create gold mine for the rich

Paul Driessen

Renewable Portfolio Standard advocates recently held their 2015 National Summit. The draft RPS agenda suggests it was quite an event – populated by bureaucrats, scientists and consultants who have jumped on the climate and “green energy” bandwagon, to follow the money.

Indeed, they are no longer content with 10% corn ethanol in gasoline, or some wind and solar power in the electricity mix. Now they want to convert the entire electrical grid from fossil-fuels to renewable sources and, if Catholic bishops get their way, totally eliminate hydrocarbons by 2050, despite the horrendous impacts that would have on workers, families and the world’s poorest people.

There’s certainly a lot of money to be made. The green revolution is estimated at $1.5 trillion per year, which means potentially huge profits for those with political connections. Many who are making big bets on green technologies are ultra-wealthy people who say they are protecting the planet, when they really seem to be “protecting their wealth for future generations” of family members and cronies.

One is Ward McNally, great-great-great grandson of the founder of Rand McNally maps. He and 11 other billionaire families created the Green Tech Syndicate in 2010. So far they have invested $1.4 billion in green schemes – for a greener environment, but mostly to put still more green in their bank accounts.

Wags might suggest that “syndicate” is a perfect name, as it recalls Capone, Cosa Nostra, yazukas and tongs. But what they are doing seems perfectly legal, if not always in the public interest. And the “climate crisis” foundation of this vast enterprise seems increasingly based on exaggerated, manipulated, even fabricated science, data, computer scenarios and official reports – and on silencing CAGW skeptics.

President Obama is the piper leading the nation and world to a green Shangri La. As he continues to impose policies that move the US economy away from fossil fuels and toward pseudo-alternatives, he is calling for public and private investments. The Clean Energy Investment Initiative, for example, seeks investors who will plow $2 billion into wind, solar and other infrastructure projects – all of them augmented with money from taxpayers and consumers who have no voice in the decisions.

There’s another problem: Fossil fuels remain more affordable than renewable energy, a better value for consumers and generally better for the environment. For green investors and the Administration, this means coal, oil and natural gas must be made more costly, so that renewables can compete. What to do?

As a 2014 Senate Environment and Public Works Committee staff investigation revealed, a cabal of billionaires, millionaires, foundations and “charitable” organizations are colluding to smear fossil fuels and scare Americans about fracking and climate change. They funnel millions of dollars into far-left environmentalist groups, which launch campaigns and create phony grassroots groups that hold protests and spread more anti-fossil fuel propaganda, to kill projects and jobs and reduce living standards.

Using an Amazon-sized river of cash, these 0.1 Percenters buy the services of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, American Lung Association and many similar groups, to stir up fear, loathing and opposition among the 99 Percenters. They want to make the electorate feel guilty about pseudo-problems: the plight of polar bears, rising asthma rates, and “environmental injustice” – the claim that minorities are disproportionately affected by fossil fuels and “dangerous manmade climate change.”

Their “charitable” contributions fund and its battles against fossil fuels. Founder Bill McKibben has called the organization “a scruffy little outfit” with “almost no money.” But between 2011 and 2014 it received multiple six-figure grants from outfits like the Park Foundation, Marisla Foundation, Tides Foundation, Climate Works Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and Rockefeller Family Foundation – with much of the money passed through the Sustainable Markets Foundation.

The Senate report says such pass-throughs allow secretive donors to remain anonymous and get tax deductions for contributing to a supposed charity. Last year, spent more than $8.3 million on anti-fossil fuel activities around the globe.

But pales in comparison to the Energy Foundation (EF), the “quintessential example of a pass through.” The report says EF receives huge sums from the Sea Change Foundation, which gets money from Vlad Putin cronies and whose other “major donors are heavily invested in renewable technologies.”

Sadly, this is not the first time a greedy few have elevated their interests over the needs of working-class consumers. A prime example is the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). With its ethanol mandate, the RFS was pitched to the public as a way to wean America off foreign oil, which fracking does much better. But one of its primary goals was to “incentivize” the U.S. ethanol industry. It certainly did that.

Corn farmers and ethanol producers grew fat, while American families footed the bill. Forcing ethanol into motor fuels caused food prices to climb, vehicle engines to be damaged, and motorists to get fewer miles-per-gallon. Ohio motorists alone paid $440 million more in additional fuel costs during 2014.

Since the RFS was passed ten years ago, the clever racket that gives influential 0.1 Percenters sway over environmental and energy policy has become increasingly sophisticated and less transparent. The RFS was negotiated openly, but today’s policies appear to be generated by a group of insiders who put profits over honesty and fairness, and rabid environmentalism over the well-being of our nation and citizens.

Indeed, EPA justifies the ethanol mandate by claiming it reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). However, even the Environmental Working Group says ethanol puts more carbon dioxide into the air, not less. In October, the EPA Inspector General said it would investigate ethanol’s impact on GHGs.

Unfortunately, most Americans do not comprehend the huge self-interest behind the green movement, nor its harmful effects and minimal benefits. EPA’s anti-coal Clean Power Plan, for example, will sharply hike electricity rates and lower household incomes by $2,000 a year – but reduce global temperatures by only 0.02 degrees C (0.03F) over the next 85 years, assuming CO2 actually drives climate change!

In reality, global temperatures haven’t warmed in 19 years, no category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States in ten years, Antarctic sea ice is expanding, and seas are rising at just seven inches a century. But anyone who questions climate chaos mantras faces vilification, and worse. Famed French meteorologist Philippe Verdier was fired from his TV job after calling climate change hype a “global scandal.” A Paris journalist says Verdier was the victim of an “outrageous, unjust, ridiculous” climate “fatwa.”

But these critically important facts get short shrift in the radical world of climate cataclysm. They will certainly be ignored at the upcoming UN climate gabfest in Paris. Legions of bureaucrats and activists will gather there to plot global governance, energy restrictions and wealth redistribution – while crushing debate and free speech, to prevent the world from learning the truth about climate chaos deception.

Returning to the RPS conference, its agenda notes that Day Two was closed to the public and open only to selected federal and state officials. That’s because a major discussion topic was the scheduled reduction in federal solar tax credits, from 30% to 10% at the end of 2016. Green investors are up in arms, have launched a TV ad blitz, and wanted to lobby officials privately for expanded government largess.

Wake up, America. The ruling class and rich elites are picking your pockets. Don’t get snookered by the president’s claim that climate change is the biggest threat to future generations. Don’t blithely assume the government is working in your best interests. (That’ll be the day.) Don’t buy claims that the enemy is corporate greed. That ancient diversionary tactic is designed to make you look the other way, while the Green Cabal, Climate Crisis, Inc. and renewable opportunists enrich themselves at your expense.

Above all, pay attention to next year’s elections. Your own and your children’s futures are at stake.

Via email

Leave fossil fuels in the ground? That’s madness

The campaign against fossil fuels will ruin more than Big Oil

‘I don’t think the debate about divestment is a debate about whether we should keep fossil fuels in the ground. It seems to me that the debate about keeping fossil fuels in the ground is well and truly sealed. We know that 80 per cent of those reserves need to stay in the ground if we are to have a habitable planet by the time my children grow up.’

So said climate campaigner Danni Paffard during a recent Battle of Ideas debate about the fossil-fuels-divestment controversy. For Paffard, dealing with climate change was an ‘existential threat’ to the fossil-fuel industry, and ‘therein lies a lot of the problems that we’re coming up against’. In other words, if it weren’t for the malevolent actions of Big Oil, Coal and Gas, we would be well on the way to reducing carbon emissions, rolling out renewable energy on a grand scale, and saving the world for our children. Her answer is divestment – withdrawing funds from fossil-fuel companies in order to show they have lost their ‘social and political licence to operate’.

It came as something of a shock to her, then, when I politely suggested that the debate was far from over. The continuing popularity of fossil fuels has little or nothing to do with the lobbying of Exxon, Shell, BP and the rest. Indeed, the rapid decarbonisation of the global economy would be both disastrous and extremely unlikely.

Climate change is a mere trifle next to the disaster that would be a world without the kind of cheap, reliable and abundant energy that fossil fuels provide. Droughts would kill millions because the world market in food that we currently enjoy would not be possible without fossil fuels to power machinery, create fertilisers and other agri-chemicals, and transport crops. So if food suddenly stopped growing where you happen to live, you wouldn’t be able to get hold of more, even if we could feed the world without industrialised agriculture. Extreme weather events would kill because getting aid to those afflicted would be impossible without fossil-fuelled transport. In fact, the kind of economic development that has cut extreme-weather deaths by 98 per cent since the 1930s wouldn’t be possible at all. Everyone’s life would be harder because the cost of doing pretty much anything, from heating, cooling and lighting our homes to making new products, would be more expensive if we had to rely on low-carbon energy.

That doesn’t mean we will always need fossil fuels. Devoting research resources to superseding fossil-fuel energy would be a good idea, and not just to counter climate change in the future. We should constantly be searching for new ways to create abundant, cheap energy – we’re going to need a hell of a lot of it if we are to have any hope of dragging the majority of the world’s population up to the living standards of the developed world, which should be the bare minimum of our ambitions in the medium term.

But at present, the options for low-carbon energy are too expensive and unreliable. For renewables to succeed, we would need to build them on an enormous scale, create huge power grids and massive storage facilities that might just be able to cope with the fluctuations. If it is ‘green’ to cover the landscape in windfarms and solar-panel arrays, at enormous cost, then that’s a very odd attitude to the environment. Nuclear is safe and more reliable than renewables and could be considerably cheaper than the current plans for plants in the UK. But it isn’t as flexible as gas-fired power stations, for example, and it still requires enormous expertise, which even the UK has in short supply today. And we wouldn’t just have to replace our current electricity production; we would also need to replace all current vehicles with electric or hydrogen-powered versions, and that will demand enormous amounts of energy, too.

I don’t think it is any accident, therefore, that developing countries are using fossil fuels to try to provide the energy needed for their development. By 2040, according to the International Energy Agency, the world’s energy needs will be met in four parts: a quarter each for oil, gas, coal and low-carbon sources, including renewables, nuclear, hydro and biomass – and even that depends on adopting policies that do much to promote low-carbon energy. The US Energy Information Administration notes that developing-world greenhouse-gas emissions are today already 38 per cent higher than those in the developing world in 2010. By 2040, they will be 127 per cent higher.

Given the worries about climate change, if low-carbon sources of energy were able to provide plenty of reliable and flexible energy at a price even close to that of fossil fuels, we’d be using them much more than we are right now. We’re not using them because they’re not up to the job. Maybe at some point in the medium to long term they will be, but not any time soon.

There’s another problem with the divestment campaign: it sidelines the public. Unable to convince voters of the merits of the policies they espouse, campaigners have decided to bypass democracy in favour of badgering individual foundations and, ultimately, companies into falling into line with their views. At present, they have been able to convince a number of institutions with relatively small investments to ditch fossil fuels. But the aim is to stigmatise fossil fuels and persuade the political elite to regulate against them. We’ve seen the dangers of this already in the UK Climate Change Act, where a bidding war went on in parliament about who would vote for the biggest emissions cuts (we ended up with a target of 80 per cent cuts by 2050). Never mind that none of the politicians who voted for that will be around in 2050 or has the first clue about how such cuts might be achieved. Never mind the electorate had no say in the matter. None of the parties likely to form a government has talked seriously about watering down those targets even slightly. An indication of how little interest there is in such policies can be seen in the relatively small numbers of votes that green parties attract. The UK Green Party, for example, won just 3.8 per cent of the vote in this year’s General Election.

As Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates noted in an interview with the Atlantic recently, divestment is a ‘false solution’ that uses up the idealism and energy of people who want to make the world a better place. In the short term, we should be devoted to solving the problems we have right now. There are plenty of them – malnutrition, disease, lack of access to electricity and clean water, and much more. Access to fossil fuels will be crucial to doing that, which is why we’ll carry on using more and more of them.

We should devote more energy to the problem of energy. We’re spending, in relative terms, peanuts on that kind of research when we should be searching for the cheap, abundant and reliable energy that could go a long way to liberating humanity. Just as the ‘green revolution’ of the Sixties and Seventies transformed our ability to grow food, so we need a global, intensive effort to transform our ability to generate energy.


Union Leader on Keystone: Obama’s ‘Disdain for Working People is Evident,’ He’s ‘A Pompous, Pandering Job Killer’

In reaction to President Barack Obama’s decision to not allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built, Terry O’Sullivan, the president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA!), said Obama had “once again” thrown “hard-working, blue-collar workers under the bus” while “doing little or nothing to make a real difference in global climate change.”

“His actions are shameful,” said O’Sullivan in a press release. “The president may be celebrated by environmental extremists, but with this act, President Obama has also solidified a legacy as a pompous, pandering job killer.”

Last week, President Obama announced his decision to kill the pipeline proposal because Secretary of State John Kerry and the State Department had informed him that Keystone XL “would not serve the national interest of the United States.”

Obama also stressed the necessity for America to “transition” to a “clean energy economy,” and added, “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change.  And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.  And that’s the biggest risk we face -- not acting.”

LiUNA’s President Terry O’Suillivan said, “President Obama today [Nov. 6] demonstrated that he cares more about kowtowing to green-collar elitists than he does about creating desperately needed, family-supporting, blue-collar jobs.  After a seven-year circus of cowardly delay, the President’s decision to kill the Keystone XL Pipeline is just one more indication of an utter disdain and disregard for salt-of-the-earth, middle-class working Americans.”

“We are dismayed and disgusted that the president has once again thrown the members of LIUNA, and other hard-working, blue-collar workers under the bus of his vaunted ‘legacy,’ while doing little or nothing to make a real difference in global climate change,” said O’Sullivan.  “His actions are shameful.”

O’Sullivan also criticized Obama’s remarks about Keystone XL that the construction jobs it would create are “temporary, and added, “Ironically, the very temporary nature of the president’s own job seems to be fueling a legacy of doing permanent harm to middle- and working class families.”

“From this decision on the Keystone XL, to the attack on quality healthcare through the so-called ‘Cadillac Tax,’ to his efforts to ship good jobs overseas through the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Barack Obama’s disdain for working people is evident,” said LiUNA’s O’Sullivan.

“The President may be celebrated by environmental extremists, but with this act, President Obama has also solidified a legacy as a pompous, pandering job killer,” said O’Sullivan.

The Keystone XL pipeline would have run from Canada down through the Midwest United States to refineries in Texas and Illinois, and to a distribution center in Oklahoma.

According to the American Petroleum Institute, construction of the Keystone XL pipeline “could support 42,000 jobs and put $2 billion in workers’ pockets.”

LiUNA, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, was founded in 1903 and currently has 557,999 members. It is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Terry O’Sullivan has been president of LiUNA since 2000.


Now, let’s set a few things straight on climate change

Chris Kenny comments from Australia

AT the risk of getting lost in a maze of mirrors where columnists respond to columnists responding to columnists, let me talk about colleague Laine Anderson’s climate-change column last week.

She was responding to Andrew Bolt, who can look after himself, but personalising an issue as important as climate change is to miss the point.

This is not science versus Bolt, public opinion versus Bolt or facts versus Bolt. In fact, his contributions to the debate — whether you agree with him or not — are replete with facts and detailed arguments.

Whereas Anderson trotted out the sort of emotive nonsense that shows exactly what is wrong with the climate debate.

Apart from telling us she disagrees with Bolt’s climate scepticism and that she believes global warming is a problem, Anderson did little to address the facts.  And she finished off with a fact-free, emotional catch-all.

“The way I look at it is this: any action today means a cleaner world tomorrow,” she wrote.  “Man-made climate change or no, isn’t that the world you want for your kids and grandkids?”

Clean world versus dirty world. Good citizens versus bad.

These false binaries avoid all the details and complicated arguments, reducing debate to a morality play. Using these tactics, climate alarmists often seek to render some views worthy and try to silence others.

Such lazy thinking permeates too many debates but none more so than climate. So let’s expose some of the silliness.

To start with, characterising carbon dioxide as pollution is an Orwellian twist that overlooks the critical role this gas plays in our natural cycles.  Plants thrive on CO2, turning it into foliage and emitting oxygen; this is why planting trees abates CO2.

Whatever your views on global warming, to talk about carbon dioxide pollution is emotive and to suggest it’s about clean air is also misleading.

China’s terrible air pollution, for instance, is due to particulate pollution (which experts say actually helps reduce global warming) rather than CO2.

Air pollution is a real problem in some parts of the world and needs to be tackled but this is a separate argument to global warming.

Scientists have found that one of the reasons we saw global temperatures rise in the past two decades of last century was because western countries reduced sulphur dioxide pollution.

This is not an argument in favour of pollution but a demonstration of the complexities.  And it is nonsense to suggest people who take a contrarian view on global warming are comfortable with pollution.

Many argue we should be putting more resources into tackling more pressing or pragmatic pollution challenges such as water, air and land degradation, rather than obsessing on CO2.

No matter what any activists or scientists say about climate forecasts everyone is stuck with the same reality that there has been no discernible increase in global average temperature for 17 years.

Yes, temperatures have remained high. Yes they could rise again soon. Yes, other factors are at play. But we can’t ignore how all the modelling favoured by the IPCC and others, so far, has proven incorrect.

That is not my view. That is just the reality of empirical measurements versus theory.

Explaining this divergence has been the critical debate in climate science over the past four or five years (as the Climategate emails revealed).

Again, whether you are a climate alarmist or agnostic, these are just the realities of the debate.

Also, if you argue, like Anderson, that the threat is serious and requires action, you need to define that action.

Going to a candles-only Earth Hour dinner won’t cut it. No matter whether you favour the government’s Direct Action policy or Labor’s carbon price policy, you have to deal with the reality that reductions in Australia’s carbon emission can have little if any impact on the planet.

Our emissions make up 1.3 per cent of the global total — a reduction of 5 per cent of 1.3 per cent is what a scientist might call diddly-squat.

And even if Australia delivers these cuts the current growth of emissions in China alone would more than make up for them within a few months.

No matter what Australia does — even if we were to shut down our nation — global emissions will rise over the next decade. So those arguing for action have to explain what and why.

Are we spending money and adding to our costs just to make climate activists feel good?

If we really believe this is serious, shouldn’t we spend the money on adapting to the warming climate?

Should we also plan to take advantage of the benefits of a warmer climate in some places?

Or if we think the global economy really can change the planet’s climate patterns, shouldn’t we at least wait until China, India and America join an international trading scheme (if it ever happens)?

Instead of these discussions, we tend to read and hear about catastrophic scenarios — oceans rising six metres and the like — and if you reject the alarmism you are anti-science.

How, decidedly unscientific.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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


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