Tuesday, March 08, 2016

NASA study shows worst drought in 900 years may be behind Middle East upheaval

This is actually a rather old story but this time we are relying on dendrochronology.  Amusing that tree rings in other Warmist studies are said to represent temperature but below are said to represent water shortage. Versatile!  I wonder which button you push to get the two different readings? Obviously, what you make of them is very much open to interpretation -- and we can expect only one interpretation from Warmists: Doom!

But even if we take the study seriously, it's just guesswork that attributes the severity of the drought to global warming.  The Saharah was once lush but went into drought.  Was that because of all those ancient Egyptians running around in SUVs when they weren't building pyramids?  Climates certainly change but nobody so far has been able to predict it

And right in the middle of it is Israel, which has NO water shortages these days.  Clearly politics is the crucial difference in providing water to farmers.  Has Israel seized everybody else's water?  No. Only Israel desalinates

I am actually rather peeved at the moment over the cooling that has gone on in my neck of the woods. In January, I normally have a 17 metre long solid expanse of blossom from my eight Crepe Myrtle trees.  But they missed out entirely this year.  No blossom. They are temperature sensitive.  They need solid high temperatures for weeks to bloom.  And we just did not have that this year.  So does that indicate global cooling?  No.  Any more than drought in the Middle East indicates warming.  It just indicates unpredictable natural variability

And drought usually goes with cooling, not warming.  Warm oceans give off more water vapour which brings rain.  So are we saying that the Middle East has been really cool in recent years?  Could be

And are we allowed to mention that it's actually ISIS causing all the trouble over there -- and not global warming?

THE incredibly complex chaos of Islamic State and the upheavals of Syria and Iraq may have a very simple cause: The region’s worst drought in 900 years.

A NASA study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres shows the Middle East is in the grip of a mega-drought that began in 1998. It has taken hold in Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey.

The water shortage has been taking a steadily increasing toll on farmers and the region’s ecology, with crop failures, dust storms and record-breaking heat now an annual event.

But the true extent of the drought is only now becoming clear.

“The range of how extreme wet or dry periods were is quite broad, but the recent drought in the Levant region stands out as about 50 per cent drier than the driest period in the past 500 years, and 10 to 20 per cent drier than the worst drought of the past 900 years,” a NASA statement reads.

NASA climate scientists have been mapping a database of the Mediterranean and Middle East’s tree rings — the pattern in which a plant’s new growth is laid upon itself each season — spanning several thousand years.

Tree rings are a kind of ecological fingerprint.  Each band reveals how much water the tree has been taking in, and how optimal conditions were for growth.  When a tree goes through a period of drought, the bands get thinner. The more thin bands, the longer the drought.

Mapping when — and where — these trees were suffering water starvation offers an opportunity to understand the natural variation in the areas weather.

“If we look at recent events and we start to see anomalies that are outside this range of natural variability, then we can say with some confidence that it looks like this particular event or this series of events had some kind of human caused climate change contribution,” says lead author of the study Ben Cook.

In the case of the Middle East, a wide-reaching drought spanning more than 15 years has not been seen for more than 900 years.

Historical documents dating from 1100AD were used to corroborate the accuracy of the tree-ring map.

The flood of refugees out of the Middle East and into Europe is a natural consequence of the conditions, the study infers.

Historically, when there is drought in the Eastern Mediterranean, there is no escape to the west. Both ends tend to suffer at the same time. Which generates cause for conflict.

“It’s not necessarily possible to rely on finding better climate conditions in one region than another, so you have the potential for large-scale disruption of food systems as well as potential conflict over water resources,” says co-author Kevin Anchukaitis.

But the patterns established over thousands of years do suggest refuge: To the north.

When eastern North Africa is dry, Greece, Italy, France and Spain tend to be wet. And vice-versa.

From these patterns, the NASA scientists were able to identify the engines behind the Middle East’s weather: The North Atlantic Oscillation and the East Atlantic Pattern.

These regular wind patterns over the Atlantic are themselves driven by oceanic currents and temperatures. Periodically they push rainstorms away from the Mediterranean, instead causing long dry winds to circulate in their place.

The NASA research shows that this time, however, the drought is different. Its behaviour does not match the patterns clearly established over the past thousand of years.

“The Mediterranean is one of the areas that is unanimously projected as going to dry in the future [due to man-made climate change],” climate scientist Yochanan Kushnir states in the NASA release.


There were disastrous climate changes long before the 20th century

Climate change, weather, and agricultural cycles all played their part in religious history. On occasion, disasters drove paranoia and persecution – see my columns on the years around 1680. My discussion of the c.1740 era suggested how a deep crisis might create an audience open to revivalism. No less fundamentally, catastrophe could decide something as basic as the world’s religious map, of where different faiths found their main centers of strength.

In my Lost History of Christianity, I wrote about the dreadful years of anti-Christian and anti-Jewish persecutions around 1320. To over-simplify a lengthy story, that coincided with a massive change in climate and the onset of the Little Ice Age. Populations had swelled during the warming period between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. Europe’s population more than doubled during these prosperous times, forcing settlers to swarm onto marginal lands. In the late thirteenth century, however, Europe and the Middle East entered what has been described as the Little Ice Age, as pack ice grew in the oceans, and trade routes became more difficult both by land and by sea. Summers became cooler and wetter, and as harvests deteriorated, people starved. Some accounts date the crisis to a full decade, roughly 1315-25.

As another author wrote, the weather went all medieval.

Just how bad was that era? Finnish historian Timo Myllyntaus writes that

In north-central Europe and the British Isles torrential rains and floods caused a famine between 1315 and 1322 that turned out to be the severest of the medieval period. Historians regard this Great Famine as one the most catastrophic subsistence crises ever to strike northern Europe. For centuries afterward it haunted the minds of Europeans, who recalled tales of widespread starvation, violent social conflicts, tax revolts, ruthless crimes, epidemic diseases, and terribly high mortality.

In 1306 and 1323, the Baltic Sea was completely ice-bound.

I have already referred to a recent atlas mapping drought in European history. This offers a superb visual of the year 1315, with most of Europe overwhelmed by heavy rains that made farming all but impossible. Only the tip of Italy escaped.

One good book on this era is William Rosen’s The Third Horseman: Climate Change and the Great Famine of the 14th Century (2014). As a reviewer summarizes his conclusions:

With the rains, not only were crops ruined, but wood was too wet to use for fuel, which in turn made producing salt almost impossible. Salt was the period’s food preservative. Without it, every commodity that depended on salt was in turn ruined: salted herring and cod, and cheese. In addition to the rains, the weather change brought colder, longer winters, which froze the waters. The frozen oceans demolished the fishing trade. It also made wool production plummet, decimating the wool and textile trade on which much of the English and northern European economy depended. Animal epidemics added to the suffering, killing off most of the animals used for plowing, meat, milk and wool.

The world could no longer sustain the population it had gained during the boom years. Europe suffered its horrific Great Famine between 1315 and 1317, with reports of widespread cannibalism in 1318–20. Here is a contemporary English account from Johannes de Trakelowe:

The dearth began in the month of May and lasted until the feast of the nativity of the Virgin [September 8]. The summer rains were so heavy that grain could not ripen. It could hardly be gathered and used to bake bread down to the said feast day unless it was first put in vessels to dry. Around the end of autumn the dearth was mitigated in part, but toward Christmas it became as bad as before. Bread did not have its usual nourishing power and strength because the grain was not nourished by the warmth of summer sunshine. Hence those who ate it, even in large quantities, were hungry again after a little while. There can be no doubt that the poor wasted away when even the rich were constantly hungry…. Four pennies worth of coarse bread was not enough to feed a common man for one day. The usual kinds of meat, suitable for eating, were too scarce; horse meat was precious; plump dogs were stolen. And, according to many reports, men and women in many places secretly ate their own children….

Populations contracted sharply across Eurasia. Weakened populations were exposed to epidemic diseases, and the coming of the Black Death in the 1340s proved the coup de grace.

Those changes rewrote the history of religions, as terrified societies sought scapegoats, and launched persecutions on a scarcely precedented scale.

Around 1320, Middle Eastern Christians suffered a general cataclysm. Muslims targeted Christians who had long enjoyed broad tolerance. In Egypt, many Coptic churches and monasteries were destroyed, with 1321 a notoriously violent year. Meanwhile, the once-powerful Christians of Iraq/Mesopotamia were subject to brutal pogroms, and forced conversions became commonplace.

Throughout these conflicts, violence was repeatedly driven by paranoia, by suspicion of plots launched by minorities against the mainstream society. In the Middle East, that meant labeling and demonizing Christians. At one point in Egypt, Christians were blamed for setting fires across Cairo, allegedly aided by Byzantine monks armed with ingenious incendiary bombs. When some of the accused confessed under torture, the authorities were forced to support the popular movement. At one point, the sultan faced a mob some twenty thousand strong, all calling for the suppression of Christians and the destruction of chucrhes.

By midcentury, Muslim writers had access to a whole catalog of anti-Christian charges that bear close resemblance to scabrous anti- Jewish tracts like the later Protocols of the Elders of Zion. According to writers like al-Asnawi, Christians were spies ever on the lookout for opportunities to betray the Muslim cause; and cases in both Egypt and Syria proved they were serial arsonists. Given modern-day stereotypes of Islam in the West, it is ironic that Christian minorities were so feared because they were allegedly plotting terror bombings against prestigious symbols of Muslim power.

The Christian world too now became massively less tolerant, and acquired a lengthy list of demonic enemies plotting against its survival. This was indeed the era in which the great European witch persecutions began. The papacy formally listed witchcraft as a heresy—that is, as an evil alternative religion—in 1320, and women were soon being accused of the familiar package of crimes, including devil worship, poisoning, and black magic. The Irish case of Dame Alice Kyteler was one of the first of the classic witch trials. In 1320–21, southern France and Aragon suffered two outbreaks of hysterical violence, the Shepherds’ Crusade and the Lepers’ Plot. The world was changing, and definitely for the worse.

The main European victims were the Jews, who were regularly blamed for disasters of all kinds, and especially for epidemics. Pogroms and massacres surged from the 1320s. The Shepherds’ Crusade was mainly directed against Jews, and it was at this time that we hear charges of Jews and lepers conspiring to poison wells. In 1321, the King of Castile forced Jews to wear a yellow badge, and the following year the King of France ordered Jews expelled from his realm. That order was not revoked until 1359. Attacks reached new heights during the Black Death. Across Western Europe, Jewish communities were uprooted and destroyed, leading to mass migrations to the East, to lands then controlled by Poland and Lithuania.

All this, by the way, is over and above the purely secular revolts and disasters that raged in these years, such as the extensive baronial revolts against Edward II in England in 1321-22. In 1321 similarly, a civil war erupted in the Byzantine Empire.

The result of the climate-driven catastrophe was the religious world that we know in more recent times. Christians were reduced to the status of a small minority in the Islamic world, while Europe’s Jews mainly concentrated in the eastern parts of the continent – where they remained until the new massacres of the Holocaust. And Europe’s witch-panic endured for four more centuries.


Climate change resistant crops needed (?)

Dr Fowler is quite wrong.  He would only have to think 5 minutes to see that global warming will NOT bring food shortages. Let me say it all again:

Greenies have been making false prophecies of food shortages for years now.  Even Hitler did it. And I have often rebutted them. In brief: The world's internationally-traded food problem has for a long time been glut;  Warming would open up new agricultural land in Canada and Russia; Warming should cause more evaporation from the oceans, thus giving MORE rainfall, not less.  A prediction of flood might make some sense but a prediction of water shortage makes no sense at all

The modelling crap below is a laugh a minute. If global warming DID exist, it would be INCREASING food-crop yields. Plants gobble up CO2. It is their basic food. And a warmer world would be a wetter one -- again giving plants a boost. The increased level of CO2 now in the atmosphere has already benefited plant growth, with the greening of the Sahel the most vivid example of that

Aside from Greenie folly and basic biology, however, there is China. China was a food-importer under Mao and any Greenie wisehead would see that as inevitable given that an area about the same as the contiguous United States has to feed 1.3 billion people with primitive technology. Poop is their main fertilizer.

But under capitalism China feeds the world. It is a huge exporter of food and exports to most countries on the globe. For instance: "By value, China is the world's No.1 exporter of fruits and vegetables, and a major exporter of other food products ranging from apple juice to garlic and sausage casings. Its agricultural exports to the US surged to $US2.26 billion last year". And that quote was from 2007!

And have another look at Russia.  How many people know how big Siberia is?  It is roughly 5 milllion sq. miles, compared to about 3 milion sq. miles for the continental USA.  It's BIG.  So if warming opened up Southern Siberia to agriculture, the potential for new food production would be enormous.

Politics and economics are the main constraints on the food supply, nothing else. Capitalism is its friend. Greenies are its enemy

More investment is needed to develop climate change resistant varieties of crops to prevent paying the ‘ugly’ price of food shortages, an expert has warned.

Rising temperatures are set to hit key crops, damaging food supplies and sparking national security and geopolitical threats, according to Dr Cary Fowler, former head of the Crop Trust and member of the board advising US government aid agency USAID on agriculture.

Investing in developing varieties of crops that are resistant to drought, floods or high temperatures, were ‘low-cost investments with a big pay-off’, he suggested.

But a failure to do so could prompt starvation, malnutrition and war or unrest.

Dr Fowler was speaking as the Crop Trust’s ‘doomsday’ Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway, which provides a back-up for gene banks of seeds in countries around the world, received more key varieties of crops including sunflower, squash, tomato, watermelon, carrot and barley.

He said it was important to preserve the diversity of crops grown worldwide, many of which were being lost as farmers moved on to new varieties, but which could have traits to help develop more resistant types of grains, seeds, fruit and vegetables.

An example, he said, was yams, which tens of millions of people relied on for food across sub-Saharan African countries that face temperatures well above historic growing conditions. But there are just six plant breeders working on new varieties of yams.

‘We need to make more investment in these types of crops which have a big pay-off,’ he said.

‘If we don’t, we pay a very different price, a very ugly one, a high one,’ he warned.  ‘We know from a number of studies there is a high correlation between growing seasons with abnormally high temperatures and war and civil strife.’

Pointing to the Arab Spring, which began in the wake of drought and food price spikes, he said: ‘We only have to look to that to see it’s not a problem that’s just a food security, but a national security, geopolitical, issue as well.’


The Debate Over Global Warming Is Just a Big Misunderstanding, Says Study.  Or is it?

Ronald Bailey

A recent Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 63 percent of Americans think climate change is a serious problem—down from 69 percent last June. Among Democrats, 80 percent thought global warming is a serious problem, 65 percent wanted more federal government action to stop it, and 57 percent believed most scientists agree on whether global warming is happening. In contrast, 60 percent of Republicans said climate change is not a serious problem, less than 25 percent wanted more government action, and two-thirds thought there is "a lot of disagreement among scientists" about the issue.

What accounts for this partisan divide? According to a new study by the Princeton psychologist Sander van der Linden and his colleagues, Republicans doubt man-made global warming largely because that they don't know most climate scientists think it's a real and urgent problem. Once conservatives, liberals, and moderates are informed that a scientific consensus on climate change exists, the study concludes, they lay down their debating points and come together in a climatic kumbaya of political harmony and depolarization. The climate change political fight is just one big misunderstanding that can be cleared up simply by telling Americans what scientists think about the issue.

It would be good news indeed in these contentious times if simply providing people with information about what scientists think would dispel intense conflicts over public policy issues. But the study's data don't do much to support the authors' bold claims.

The researchers conducted a survey of more than 6,000 Americans, who were divided into two groups. One group was told that "97 percent of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening" and then asked about climate change issues; the other was not given the 97 percent figure. That statistic was most likely drawn from a 2013 review of the scientific literature; the number is, to put it mildly, somewhat controversial. In any case, the researchers report that only 10 percent of Americans "correctly understand that the scientific consensus ranges between 90 percent to 100 percent." Twenty-five percent of liberals shared this understanding; just 5 percent of conservatives did.

Van der Linden and company claim that their new study replicates findings in a similar study they did in 2015. In that earlier paper, they surveyed more than 1,000 Americans about their beliefs concerning climate change and then told them about the 97 percent consensus among scientists. Did that change their beliefs about climate change? Very marginally.

Using a 100-point scale, they found that all respondents increased their "belief certainty" about the occurrence of climate change from 73.08 points to 77.01 points after being told about the consensus. Correspondingly, human causation belief certainty went from 63.98 to 68.02; worry rose from 62.84 to 67.32; and support for government action increased from 75.19 to 76.88 points.

The researchers also claim that providing information about the consensus resulted in greater belief certainty increases among conservatives than among liberals. (Oddly, they do not provide the raw survey data.) From these results, they concluded that "effectively communicating the scientific consensus can also help move the issue of climate change forward on the public policy agenda." Drawing this conclusion from a one-shot survey that shifted the strength of opinions about climate change by less than 5 percentage points seems a bit of a stretch.

The new study is no stronger. Again they leave out the raw survey data. But using a 7-point scale this time, they report that conservatives' belief that global warming is happening measures 4.57 points. (Just for comparison, moderates score 5.38 on that question and liberals 6.16.) Once conservatives are informed about the scientific consensus, their score increases to 4.81 points. Conservative support for government action on climate change increases by .08 points after they're told about the consensus.

The researchers also claim that they do not find any evidence for conservative "belief polarization"—that is, a counter-reaction to claims about the consensus that would lead them to believe less strongly in man-made global warming. They do find that conservatives, even after being told about the scientific consensus, still express lower acceptance that global warming is caused by humanity, less worry about it, and less support for government action than do similarly informed moderates and liberals.

Overall, the authors espouse what they call the "gateway belief" model of persuasion: If Americans are told that most scientists think man-made climate change is happening, they will think so too. Not only that: They will become more worried about it and start demanding government action to stop it. And so the study essentially endorses more science education as the way to resolve climate change rows.

These findings contradict previous research from the Yale Cultural Cognition Project, which concluded that beliefs about politicized areas of science are generally treated as cultural signals telling fellow partisans that you are a good person who is on their side. According to the Yale researchers, getting people to change their minds about a politicized issue amounts to trying to persuade them to betray their tribe. This dynamic makes them highly resistant to attempts to bombard them with alleged widely agreed-upon facts. Contrariwise, the folks at the Cognition Project find that the smarter a person is, the easier it is for them to find "proof" for his or her beliefs.

Do the results reported by van der Linden and his team show the way to a political consensus on climate change? Not hardly, says the Cognition Project researcher Dan Kahan. In fact, recent polling data from the Cognition Project and the Annenberg Public Policy Center aimed at measuring "ordinary science intelligence" show that as the science comprehension of both Republicans and Democrats goes up, they become more, not less, polarized on climate change. (See below.)

In addition, as the science comprehension of both conservatives and liberals increases, so does the perception by both that there is scientific consensus on climate change. But scientifically literate conservatives don't believe that the consensus is right.

"As relatively 'right-leaning' individuals become progressively more proficient in making sense of scientific information," Kahan reports, "they become simultaneously more likely to believe there is 'scientific consensus' on human-caused climate change but less likely to 'believe' in it themselves!" He adds, "One thing that is clear from these data is that it's ridiculous to claim that 'unfamiliarity' with scientific consensus on climate change 'causes' non-acceptance of human-caused global warming."

The slim statistics supplied by van der Linden and his team don't change that much. Constantly hammering on the message that there is a consensus among climate scientists does not seem to be a fruitful route toward depoliticizing the issue.


House Acts to Save American Brick Industry from the EPA

The House took a stand Thursday against an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that threatens the survival of the small companies that make up the bulk of the American brick industry. The EPA's Brick Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Brick MACT) rule will require brick plants to install costly new emission reduction equipment, after first tearing out the expensive equipment they installed to comply with a previous, less stringent version of the rule. The new equipment will cost about $2.2 million per kiln, yet will eliminate only a negligible amount of mercury emissions per year, far less than is in the teeth of the American population.

The bill passed by the House Thursday, H.R. 4557, the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act, would delay enforcement of the onerous new EPA regulation until the courts can resolve legal challenges to the rule. That seems like common sense—don't force Americans to comply with a rule before it's determined to be lawful—yet 163 members of the House (all Democrats) voted against the bill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) praised passage of the bill, noting that “The brick industry is the latest target of the Obama administration’s regulatory assault on American manufacturing. The EPA’s burdensome emission standards are another breach of executive power that may well be struck down by the courts, but not before jobs are lost and the industry suffers."

Jobs have already been lost, as the American brick industry was reduced from 209 plants to 131 plants during the last twenty years, due to the costly regulations already imposed on it by the federal bureaucracy. The new rule further threatens the survival of many of the small brick companies that still exist along with the livelihood of their workers. As the president of a small Ohio brick company testified to Congress last week, "Many of our employees have never graduated from high school and would have great difficulty finding similar employment without significant additional training."


Last-ditch assaults on affordable energy

Obama and allies double down on biofuels and climate, and against carbon-based fuels

Paul Driessen

Separating reality from ideology and political agendas is difficult, but essential, if we are to revitalize our economy and help the world’s poorest families take their rightful places among Earth’s prosperous people. Energy reality is certainly in our favor. But ideological forces are powerful and persistent.

Right now, 82% of all US energy and 87% of world energy comes from oil, natural gas and coal. Less than 3% is non-hydroelectric renewable energy – and globally half of that is traditional biomass: wood, grass and animal dung that cause millions of respiratory infections and deaths every year. Thankfully, the transition to fossil fuels and electricity continues apace, replacing biomass and lifting billions out of abject poverty, with wind and solar meeting basic needs in remote areas until electricity grids arrive.

In the USA, hydraulic fracturing has taken petroleum production to its highest level since 1972, and oil imports to their lowest level since 1995. America now exports crude oil, natural gas and refined products.

The fracking genie cannot be put back in the bottle. In fact, it is being adopted all over the world, opening new shale oil and gas fields, prolonging the life of conventional fields, leaving less energy in the ground, and giving the world another century or more of abundant, reliable, affordable petroleum. That’s plenty of time to develop new energy technologies that actually work without mandates and enormous subsidies.

So much for the “peak oil” scare. Indeed, in some ways, the world’s current problem is too much oil.

In the face of this global abundance and tepid American, European, Chinese and world economies, Saudi Arabia has increased its oil production, to maintain market share and try to drive more US oil companies out of business. Oil prices have plummeted from $136 per barrel in 2008 to less than $35 or even $30 today. Natural gas has gone from $13.50 per million Btu in 2009 to $3 or less today.

Those low prices are saving families billions of dollars a year, and spurring investments in new US petrochemical and other manufacturing facilities. However, they have also cost thousands of oil patch jobs, left many energy companies near bankruptcy, and sent shockwaves through states and countries that depend on energy production and revenues for their tax base, government programs and public assistance. Prices will eventually rise again, but nowhere close to those record highs.

Amid this turmoil, as if to ensure more petroleum industry bankruptcies, President Obama wants to slap a $10.25 tax on every barrel of produced oil, and use the revenues to bolster his climate change and renewable energy agenda. Under her presidency, says Hillary Clinton, a ban on oil, gas and coal production from federal lands would be a “done deal” and the United States would have “at least 50% clean or carbon-free energy by 2050.”

Such policies would kill millions of jobs, torpedo the manufacturing renaissance, eliminate the assumed revenues by strangling the oil production that generates them, impact croplands and wildlife habitats, and prolong America’s economic doldrums. They would hammer poor, minority and blue-collar families, which spend much higher portions of their budgets on energy than do wealthy households.

Renewable energy schemes defy the laws of nature and economics. Government commands cannot make apples fall upward from Newton’s tree – or turn economic losers into success stories.

As a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology study explains, without government mandates and massive taxpayer subsidies, “green” energy simply cannot compete with conventional fuels and power plants. Wind, solar and biofuel “alternatives” work only when traditional energy prices are extremely high – which in the absence of a major Middle East or global war is not likely to happen for some time.

Similarly, a brand-new University of Chicago study found that oil prices would have to top $350 a barrel before Tesla and other electric cars become cheaper to operate than gasoline-powered vehicles! That’s because battery and charging costs are $325 per kilowatt-hour for plug-in models. No wonder Americans bought only 116,099 electric cars in 2015 – out of a record 17,500,000 cars and light trucks sold – despite huge rebates, free charging stations and single-occupant access to express lanes for electric cars.

Nevertheless, renewable energy mandates have a lot going for them. They reward political cronies. They put unelected, unaccountable activists and bureaucrats in charge of our energy decisions and living standards. They redistribute wealth: from taxpayers to politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists, wealthy investors, and workers and senior management in lucky greenback green industries and corporations.

By virtue of their wealth, political power, or employment by government agencies that operate under different rules than those they enforce on citizens and businesses, these chosen few are also shielded from the consequences of policies and decisions they impose on the rest of us.

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, Tom Steyer, Bill Gates, Leonardo DiCaprio, Elon Musk, EPA and DOE officials, and climate researchers who receive millions in taxpayer funding insist that manmade global warming threatens the world, and renewable energy is the solution. But for them to lecture us and dictate our livelihoods and living standards – while enjoying their mansions, yachts, limousines and jet-setter lifestyles – strikes many as hypocritical and intolerable.

Moreover, less developed countries signed the Paris treaty to get trillions of dollars in climate change “adaptation” and “compensation” funds; they have no intention of curbing their economic growth, fossil fuel use or CO2 emissions anytime soon. Non-elite Americans’ energy and economic sacrifices will thus bring no global benefits. It is also true that a then healthier oil industry generated the only economic and employment bright spots that (in conjunction with lies about Benghazi) got President Obama reelected.

But none of this is preventing the president from launching a final regulatory assault, to carve his policy agenda in stone, reward his allies, and pummel states and companies on his “enemies of nature” list. Nor does it prevent him from telling Africans to develop only to the extent enabled by “sustainable” wind, solar and biofuel energy because, if each of you “has got a car and a big house, the planet will boil over.”

While bridges and defense languish, he dedicates billions of dollars in his last budget for “clean” energy research, such as E. coli bacteria for next-generation biofuels; billions for climate cataclysm studies; and $2 billion for “vulnerable” Alaskan and Lower 48 communities “threatened” by oceans that are rising at barely seven inches per century. (He ignores the fact that Arctic warming and cooling cycles go back centuries, and scientists still cannot differentiate between natural and human factors in climate change.)

Mr. Obama wants his BLM, EPA, USFS, USFWS, BOEM, OSHA and other alphabet-soup agencies to implement dozens of costly but environmentally meaningless rules on energy production from federal lands. That will further cripple western state economies, just as his administration did to West Virginia.

Meanwhile, in another rubberstamp of heavy-handed government actions, the post-Scalia Supreme Court just ruled that EPA may continue forcing states and utility companies to spend billions of dollars trying to comply with coal-fired power plant rules, while lower courts spend years reviewing challenges to them.

And still erudite “experts” ponder why the US economy is stagnant. Here’s part of the answer: Crushing tax rates and an impenetrable Tax Code. Regulations that cost companies and families nearly $2 trillion a year. Bureaucrats who impose costly agendas with no accountability for blatant incompetence, outright fraud or intentional harm. Too many programs that reward people for not working, not looking for work, not finishing school, and having children they can’t care for with guys who can’t bother to be fathers.

The 2016 election year stakes are huge. Candidates need to end the insults, and start focusing on issues that matter, amid Mr. Obama’s ongoing efforts to “fundamentally transform” the United States. Voters need to ask tough questions – and demand to know exactly how candidates intend to “make America great again,” control the federal behemoth and pay for all these “essential” government programs.

Via email


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.  

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