Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Cozy Relationship Between Big Business and Climate Change Activists

Polls bear it out: When it comes to climate change, the world isn’t much interested in taking action. Most folks, it seems, are reluctant to embrace expensive, lifestyle-changing, ineffective “solutions” to a non-evident problem.

But some big companies are gung-ho about “fighting” climate change. Well, at least they’ve jumped on the Obama administration’s climate-treaty bandwagon, backing an as yet unwritten pact to be hammered out next month in Paris.

Big Business knows that when the deal’s going down, you’ve got to grab a seat at the table to protect your interests. That’s especially true when you know the deal will impose job-killing, growth-stunting regulations: sitting at the table, you can make sure they’re crafted in a way that will damage your competitors—domestic and international—at least as much as they wound you.

Market share matters to Big Business, but most people aren’t interested in absorbing damage in the name of climate change. And that holds true for people in the developing world who, the Obama administration constantly claims, will be hurt most by climate change.

The United Nations “My World” survey asks people around the world to identify the issue that matters most to them. More than 8.58 million people responded to the latest survey, and “action taken on climate change” came in dead last—both overall and among those countries ranked lowest on the Human Development Index.

In the United States, the level of concern is similar. Earlier this year, a Pew Research Poll found that action on climate change ranked twenty-second out of twenty-three on the list of public policy priorities. Only global trade ranked lower.

The lack of urgency is understandable. Though the climate has changed, it always has. And the threat does not appear to be as clear, present, and catastrophic as the federal government makes it out to be. Observed data have proved that the climate models the government relies on to justify regulations restricting the use of coal, oil, and natural gas run too hot, predicting more warming than has actually occurred.

More problematic, the proposed “solutions” will do little, if anything, to mitigate global warming. The far more profound effect will be to raise energy costs, reduce economic output, and lower levels of prosperity in both developed and developing countries.

So why are some big companies—outfits like Walmart, Apple, Google, Costco, Bank of America, Best Buy, and Coca-Cola—lining up in support of the administration’s efforts to reach an international agreement to cap and cut greenhouse gas emissions? Several reasons present themselves, none of them good for American households.

Because conventional fuels produce the overwhelming majority of power for the world, a treaty forcing cuts in carbon emission will inevitably raise energy prices and the cost of doing business. If an international agreement imposes these restrictions on other countries, businesses will see it as “leveling the playing field.” They will also claim that it provides them with certainty.

But the only certainty here is that those higher costs will be passed on to consumers. The real bottom line is that everything we pay for, whether it’s made here or abroad, will cost more.

The best way to level the playing field and create business certainty is for policymakers to reject climate regulations altogether. If businesses want to be climate-conscious, invest in renewable energy, or invest in more energy-efficient technologies, they should do so on their own, not be forced into it.

Another reason Big Business may support domestic and international climate regulations is that it disproportionately hurts smaller businesses. Climate regulations are one of many problematic policies harming small business growth and entrepreneurship in the United States. Big businesses that have a seat at the table can negotiate for exemptions and exclusions and can more easily manage higher energy bills.

On the other hand, small businesses are largely left out of this special interest game. Instead, they face the same higher prices for energy and other products as homeowners. This makes it harder and harder for Main Street businesses to compete against the mega-corporations.

President Obama’s climate regulation push has won support from some of the big boys, but small businesses and American families are the ones that will be left out in the cold. That’s a typical result when Big Business and Big Government collude. And when it’s Big International Business and Big International Government cutting the deal, the damage can be even worse.


Some Questions for Bill Nye Six Years After Our 'O’Reilly Factor' Debate

By Joe Bastardi

This article caught my eye, since during the last El Niño I was on “The O'Reilly Factor” debating Bill Nye (Feb. 2010):  "Bill Nye demolishes climate deniers: “The single most important thing we can do now is talk about climate change.”

A quick aside: There are numerous rebuttals to Bill, an example here by Dr. Roy Spencer, who happens to have a PhD in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At the end of our debate, I challenged Bill to a grand experiment, something a man of science like him should love. I put forth an idea on where the temperature would go by 2030. I opined it would return to the level, as measured by the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), it was in the late 1970s when we began recording real-time temperatures.

You may have noticed over the years Bill Nye’s increasingly shrill tones on this matter. I haven’t followed his career all that much, though I knew before I debated him that he and I did not share the same opinion on global warming. My kids, then 14 and 11, pointedly told me I was in essence debating a man as beloved as Santa Clause and that I should be “nice.”

I want you to read the whole article above. Here is a man who never responded to my challenge now saying this, from the article:

    “Part of the solution to this problem or this set of problems associated with climate change is getting the deniers out of our discourse. You know, we can’t have these people — they’re absolutely toxic.”

Is this the way of man of science speaks? Labels people who disagree with him as toxic? Then again, in spite of a degree in engineering from Cornell, the fact is he is not a man of science. He is an actor. That is his profession. We shared the same math and physics classes as a foundation for the core of our majors, but the big difference is that I have worked almost forty years in meteorology and made knowing what happened before a foundation to my forecasting methodology, while he has become an actor. A person with science as his driving motive does not refer to people who disagree with him — such as these 30,000 degreed scientists, over 9,000 of whom have PhDs — as “toxic.” Only a man with other motives would seek to isolate, demonize and destroy those who disagree with him — something you see out of the book Rules for Radicals, which I have read and can be summed up nicely here.

Please read Saul Alinsky’s rules and ask yourself: Is that not what is being used and personified by Bill Nye?

This year another El Niño is spiking global temperatures, so I will challenge Bill to confront three simple facts.

1.) Please explain the lack of linkage between CO2 levels and temperatures in the established geological record of the earth. It’s easy to not see the linkage here.

2.) Since the debate, NCEP real-time temperatures reveal that, following the last El Niño spike, temperatures fell, just like they did after the previous El Niño in 2006-2007.

3.) As stated, we are in another spiking period. Since Bill won’t take part in the grand experiment I suggested, perhaps he can tell us where global temperatures, as measured by NCEP data, will be one, three or five years from now.

To help him out, I have it warmer next year at this time than now, colder than 2016 in 2017 and temperatures in 2018 and/or 2019 at or below their lowest point in 2012.

Now if Bill concedes my point and actually makes a forecast, rather than calling people like me toxic for challenging him, then he will be saying that the 14-year period ending in 2019 would have no temperature rise and even a fall! That would mark over 20 years with no rise dating back to the late 1990s. Given the increase of CO2 of 1.8 ppm a year, that would mean we increased carbon dioxide levels close to 10% since the late ‘90s, but with no increase in temperatures.

If he says they will be warmer, then finally we’ll have him on record — even though temperatures fell without him participating in the challenge in 2010 — and we can see who is right and wrong, as I have to do every day in my job. Apparently, no such standard exists for actors playing scientists. If he challenges the scale, then he challenges NCEP. By doing so, he implies that its system for measuring temperatures — something essential for model initialization — is wrong. If so, then Congress, instead of investigating climate skeptics under RICO statutes, should investigate NCEP for all the money it has spent developing models that, according to Bill Nye, are wrong. (Note the sarcasm. NCEP temperatures, the gold standard of real time temperatures in my opinion, are just fine.)

So to reiterate these three simple points:

1. Explain why there’s no linkage in the entire known CO2-temperature history of the planet.

2. Explain the lack of warming in real-time temperature data, and why so far I have been right.

3. Make your forecast. You claim to be a leader yet refuse to take a stand. Instead you sit in the stands and never allow what you are saying to be verified. What kind of science is that?

No need for another debate, though, for as Bill so eloquently says in his article, "Part of the solution to this problem or this set of problems associated with climate change is getting the deniers out of our discourse.“

Real nice, huh? Let’s silence free speech and thought while we are at it!

I am not looking for another debate, since he has not answered the challenge I put to him in the first one. I want his forecast! Put up or shut up.

I don’t think any of this is toxic, except to someone who refuses to confront simple realities and instead makes statements much more in line with an agenda-driven zealot than a man of science who’s in pursuit of the correct answer no matter where it leads him.


EPA Smog Rule: 40x Estimated Cost?

Last month, the EPA released its smog rule after a four-year delay. While not as stringent as many ecofascists had hoped it would be, the regulations will nonetheless be expensive for the energy industry. And not just expensive, but perhaps as much as 40 times more expensive than the agency predicted. The EPA estimated the cost would be around $1.4 billion a year, which isn’t exactly chump change. But according to the American Action Forum, “Observed nonattainment counties experienced losses of $56.5 billion in total wage earnings, $690 in pay per worker, and 242,000 jobs between 2008 and 2013.”

Not only that, AAF says, but “EPA’s ozone standards affect a broad array of industries, and due to the nature of how ozone actually forms, nonattainment areas can have difficulty meeting standards quickly. California, for example, will have nearly a generation to reach the new standards.”

Well, environmentalists say, saving the planet and our health is worth the cost. But what are we getting in exchange for this gargantuan bill? Reducing ozone levels from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion.

The EPA claims this will bring all sorts of amazing benefits like preventing 325,000 cases of childhood asthma and 1,440 premature deaths — though it’s awfully hard to say someone lived five years longer solely because of this rule. Never mind the constitutional objections, we in our humble shop just don’t think this sounds like a good deal.


When Colleges Divest, Who Wins?

The National Association of Scholars (NAS) released today the first comprehensive account of the campaign to get colleges to sell off their investments in coal, oil, and natural gas companies.

Inside Divestment: The Illiberal Movement to Turn a Generation Against Fossil Fuels finds that the campus fossil fuel divestment campaign undermines intellectual freedom, democratic self-government, and responsible stewardship of natural resources. The report presents a wealth of original research and concludes with new essays by writers including Bill McKibben, the national leader of the divestment campaign, and Willie Soon, the Harvard Smithsonian physicist who is a prominent critic of the global warming “consensus.”

More Political Than Practical

Issued less than a month before the Paris climate talks in which President Obama is expected to repeat his vow to move America off fossil fuels to combat global warming, the NAS report shows that divestment is more of a political rallying cry than a practical step to improve the environment.

Peter Wood, president of the NAS, explained, “Divestment divides the political left.  The campus activists often criticize President Obama for not going far enough in his ‘war on coal’ and his opposition to the Keystone Pipeline.  Their campaign is meant to pressure him to take even more radical steps.”

As the study details, most divestments are empty political promises with little financial effect on fossil fuel companies. The leaders of the movement see the sham divestment decisions as part of the strategy. “The divestment campaign is designed to fail,” said Rachelle Peterson, director of research projects at NAS and author of Inside Divestment. “The organizers’ goal is not to cause colleges to divest, but to anger students at the refusal of colleges to divest fully and to turn their frustration into long-term antipathy toward the modern fossil fuel-based economy.”

Wood explained, “The movement pretends to change the way we generate energy, but its actual aim is to generate resentment, which is fuel for political demagoguery.  The ultimate beneficiaries are rich people whose investments in ‘green energy’ will prosper only if they can trick the public to strand our reserves of coal, oil, and gas underground. They favor high-priced, inefficient technologies that happen to require massive government subsidies coupled with sweeping new government powers.  Students drawn by ‘save the world’ rhetoric and prevented from ever hearing arguments on the other side have become willing pawns for a movement that, rightly understood, is profoundly anti-democratic and that will also consign much of humanity to perpetual poverty.”

Students as Pawns

Divestment campaigns, now on more than 1,000 American colleges and universities, have adopted tactics that violate the free speech of others.  The activists increasingly obstruct fair and open debate by smearing opponents and by bullying other students. The NAS study documents these tactics with case studies of several colleges, including the birthplace of the divestment movement, Swarthmore College.

Wood explained, “The divestment campaigns have been organized by professional activists.  Our report peels back the image the campaign projects of an organic student-led movement.  In fact, it is a nationally orchestrated campaign with top-down directives.”, the organization that brought the campaign to national prominence, pays and trains students for activism and schedules campus protests. “The divestment movement is astroturf,” said Peterson.

Peterson also shows that some of the activists’ key claims are hollow. “We found that colleges and universities that claim to divest overwhelmingly choose to retain large portions of their fossil fuel investments.” On average, divestment decisions affect only about 1 percent of the college endowment and leave approximately 50 percent of fossil fuel investments in place. The study lists four “DINOs,” or divestments in name only; these are universities, including Oxford, whose divestment decisions resulted in selling no investments at all.

Download "Inside Divestment" (pdf)

Via email

Australia makes a small concession on global warming

Agreed to talk about refrigerant gases. But Warmists overjoyed by even that small validation for their beliefs

Australia has been applauded by delegates at climate change ministerial talks in Paris for returning to active climate diplomacy.

With the major UN climate summit set to begin at the end of this month, some 60 countries have sent ministers to Paris for advance talks.

Climate activists have praised Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt's work for achieving a breakthrough in a six-year-old deadlock on a side protocol, delivering a bonus cut equal to two years' total global carbon emissions.

And Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has negotiated for Australia to become one of two co-chairs of the UN's Green Climate Fund, a  body that Tony Abbott once derided as a "Bob Brown bank".

"We bring a new energy and a new commitment to these processes," Mr Hunt told Fairfax Media.

"At the first plenary session in the ministerial meeting, of all the countries that spoke only two countries received strong applause – Australia and Canada," in response to their opening statements, Mr Hunt said. The session was closed to the media.

A prominent Australian activist, the Climate Institute's John Connor, said: "There's an audible sigh of relief around the world when everyone realised that two countries with formidable diplomatic corps are not going to be ridden on mandates to be difficult."

Both countries have recently replaced conservative prime ministers with more centrist ones.

The Paris meeting is not expected to meet the international commitment to restrain global temperatures to 2 degrees above the pre-industrial average.

Hopes of achieving this by the end of the century now depend on a follow-up process that the Paris meeting is to design.

"Paris will produce an outcome of about 2.7 degrees but everybody is committed to the Paris process to review national targets," said Mr Hunt.

"The only figure being talked about is five years  - we will probably come back every five years, in 2020, 2025 and 2030, for subsidiary rounds of new pledges" for the pledging period to 2030.

"The Paris meeting won't deliver 2 degrees, but the Paris process will," he said.

Last week Mr Hunt led a breakthrough in a deadlocked effort to cut greenhouse emissions through the Montreal Protocol.

Set up 30 years ago to cut ozone-depleting gases, the international Montreal Protocol was hailed as a success. The looming ozone problem was averted.

But the replacement gases that were embraced, hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs, have become a new problem because they add to the greenhouse effect of global warming.

Countries have been trying to phase these gases out through the Montreal Protocol but have been stymied by a negotiating standoff.

Mr Hunt brokered an agreement at a meeting of 197 countries in Dubai last week. That has started the process of planning the phase-out of HFCs.

The process is expected to take over a decade. But it is expected to eliminate the equivalent of at least 90 billion tonnes of carbon emissions, equal to two years of total global carbon output.

The Climate Institute's Mr Connor said: "We think it's a really important move and the Australian government played a good role. For too long it's been shoved around. India was a blockage."


Canada’s New Minister of Climate Change: 'The Science is Indisputable’

But she doesn't say what it is.  She mentions no climate fact at all

Catherine McKenna was sworn in last week as Canada’s first Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

The newly renamed position in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet has already departed for Paris ahead of the United Nations climate change conference, according to CBC News.

McKenna says the new Liberal government is committed at looking at Canada’s role in finding solutions to climate change.

“If Canada actually shows that it’s serious, that it’s back -that we understand that the science behind climate change is real, that we need to be taking action, that we need to be looking at what measures we can take to reduce emissions.  I think that will send a extraordinarily strong signal,” McKenna told CBC News.

In May, Canada submitted emission reduction targets to the UN, aiming to reduce emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by the 2030.

CBC reports that new targets will not be drawn up until well after the summit is over.

"We're going to be having a price on carbon and we're going to be reducing our emissions," McKenna said.



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