Sunday, August 07, 2016
‘Climate change’ front and center at Olympics opening ceremony
I've always thought that Olympic opening ceremonies were a lot of BS and this does tend to confirm it
THE 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro commenced Friday night with an opening ceremony that made a global plea to reverse climate change and conserve the Earth’s resources.
It’s Brazil’s first time hosting the Olympics. In fact, it’s the first time any South American country has welcomed more than 200 nations’ athletes for the historic games.
The opening ceremonies’ planning committee put on a more earthy, funky and down-to-Earth experience than previous summertime host countries like London and Beijing. Part of that focus was calling on all nations to save the environment, an almost ironic plug considering the neglected state that parts of Rio are in despite the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.
How Lowering Crime Could Contribute to Global Warming
This report is a bit of a laugh but it is vaguely encouraging to see Warmists taking ALL the costs of a given policy into account for once
It sounds simple: If something has a big carbon footprint and you get rid of it, you eliminate those carbon dioxide emissions. Right?
But it’s not always that easy. In a recent study published in The Journal of Industrial Ecology, researchers at the Center for Environmental Strategy at the University of Surrey in England estimated the annual carbon footprint of crime in England and Wales, and found that reducing crime could actually cause society’s overall carbon footprint of society to increase.
The findings illustrated the rebound effect, which describes how reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases in one area can lead to more emissions in the aggregate, because of direct or indirect effects. It’s something that policy makers have often been encouraged to consider when they set out to reduce emissions.
Crime is one example where a rebound in carbon emissions could be an issue, according to this study. While there is an energy cost to operating prisons, the study notes, inmates generally consume less than an average citizen in the country, so fewer prisoners might mean higher overall energy consumption.
Additionally, the money saved from reducing crime would go into the government’s budget and people’s pockets. All that money could be spent in other ways — infrastructure, buildings or goods — that may require more energy to produce or operate, possibly adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
Although there is a lot of uncertainty in calculating the rebound effect, the researchers tried to quantify the consequences of reducing domestic burglary by about 5 percent, and determined a rebound effect of 2 percent. That may sound small, but it would mean a growth in society’s overall carbon footprint equivalent to about 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide, which is similar to the annual emissions of about 2,250 households in the Britain
It’s more common to hear about rebound effects when it comes to certain areas of energy policy, like cars: If a car is more energy efficient, some scientists say, people may drive more, possibly leading to more fuel consumption overall.
Alan Meier, a senior scientist at the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab who studies behavior and energy consumption, notes that even as electronic appliances become more efficient, people often have more of them, which may also drive up energy use.
“But numerous studies have demonstrated that rebound effects are small and the energy savings dominate,” Dr. Meier said.
Other scientists agree, saying that fears of rebound effects are often overblown, and are a distraction from sensible energy policy.
In a 2013 study published in Nature, environmental economists argued that consumer behavior may prune between 5 percent and 30 percent off intended energy savings —- possibly reaching as high as 60 percent in some cases when larger economic forces are taken into account — but doesn’t negate the savings altogether.
Kenneth Gillingham, one of the authors of that study and a professor of economics at the Yale School of Forestry, said that studying the carbon footprint and rebound effects of crime was “unusual,” but it may help us to better understand the society we live in.
However, “there are probably also productivity effects of reducing crime that lead to more economic growth and more welfare, which may lead to greater energy use and emissions,” Dr. Gillingham said.
In the new study, the scientists compared the rebound effect with the one associated with the backup energy sources required for offshore wind energy, or other renewable sources. Since the amount of wind fluctuates, it doesn’t generate the same amount of energy all the time, so a backup system, often powered by fossil fuels, is needed.
And while the researchers expressed concern about the rebound effects of reducing crime — and where the money saved from reducing crime would be spent — they conclude that it’s important to raise awareness of the environmental costs of crime, and incorporate this in overall policy, though it may be “unrealistic to expect police and criminals to consider their carbon footprint.”
Criminal Charges Forthcoming in EPA Mine Spill?
An EPA internal review of the Gold King Mine breach commissioned last August claimed “the Adit blowout was likely inevitable” even though it admitted some red flags and safeguards were ignored. The agency, in typical bureaucratic fashion, was desperately trying to exonerate itself of wrongdoing. But the Department of the Interior came to a somewhat different conclusion when it released an independent assessment in October.
As explained in a Government Executive piece at the time, “Specifically, the report says that EPA did not adequately evaluate the buildup of fluid in the mine and the groundwater conditions around it.” Significantly, the study notes, “Had it been done, the plan to open the mine would have been revised and the blowout would not have occurred.” If that’s mere negligence, it comes at much too high a cost.
Any rationally minded person would demand someone be held liable. Well, this week we can finally report some good news. The levying of criminal charges was put back on the table after the Justice Department, together with EPA’s Office of Inspector General, began an investigation into the Gold King Mine debacle. We shouldn’t get our hopes too high, of course — remember, AG Loretta Lynch is at the helm, which means the chances of an EPA official serving time in jail aren’t much better than Hillary Clinton facing consequences for her unscrupulous behavior.
Still, the fact Justice feels obligated to intervene is more evidence that the EPA still hasn’t come clean about what really set the August 5, 2015, mine spill into motion. And depending on which administration replaces Obama’s, next year’s DOJ may actually do something about it.
Senate Liberals, Targeting Climate Change ‘Deniers,’ Demand to Know Donors to 22 Think Tanks
Some of the Senate’s most liberal Democrats, demanding that 22 national and state-based think tanks disclose their donors, disparaged them as being part of a network of free-market policy organizations the senators accuse of “laundering” identities while denying climate change exists.
The existence of the conservative and libertarian policy research and education organizations, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and eight fellow senators wrote in a letter to some of the organizations’ leaders, suggests the extent of a “web of denial” about man’s contribution to global warming, or climate change.
“Because your organizations do not regularly disclose where your donations come from, we cannot know for sure how deep and wide the web of denial truly is,” the nine senators write.
Reid and the other senators also assailed the Virginia-based State Policy Network as “a network of organizations bound together by common funding, shared staff, and false messages.”
The network’s members include private, nonprofit Washington institutions such as The Heritage Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Americans for Tax Reform, but also private, free-market think tanks in Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, and other states.
“Freedom of speech does not prevent us from speaking out when your organizations, as well-funded agents of hidden principals with massive conflict of interest, subject our constituents to an organized campaign to deceive and mislead them about the scientific consensus surrounding climate change,” the senators say in their letter to representatives of Heritage and the 21 other think tanks and policy organizations.
Ashley Varner, senior director of strategic communications for the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which is not a formal member of the State Policy Network, called the senators’ letter alarming.
“It should alarm everyone, Democrats, Republicans and Independents, that federal officials would abuse their office to intimidate groups of people from exercising their rights to speech and assembly,” Varner said in an email to The Daily Signal.
“If the debate on climate change in the public arena represents the future of open discussion, then the notion of free speech as embodied by the First Amendment is in serious peril,” Fred Birnbaum, vice president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, told The Daily Signal.
The Democrats challenge the organizations for questioning them, saying “there is a simple thing you can do to prove us wrong: disclose all of your donors.”
The Senate’s No. 2 and No. 3 Democrats, Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois and Charles Schumer of New York, signed the letter along with Reid.
The five other Democrats who signed are Barbara Boxer of California, Al Franken of Minnesota, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, also signed.
The letter, dated July 22, responds to a critical letter sent to 19 Senate Democrats 10 days earlier by the coalition of leaders. The leaders did not write Sanders, although the former Democratic presidential candidate signed the reply along with eight of the 19 Democrats.
The nine senators particularly criticize the State Policy Network, an umbrella organization devoted to advancing the cause of state-based, free-market, nonprofit groups. Inspired by former President Ronald Reagan, conservative leaders founded the network in 1992.
The senators write:
SPN has received nearly $20 million from identity-scrubbing, Koch-funded Donors Trust and Donors Capital as well as money directly from Koch family foundations. SPN serves as an identity launderer as well, passing along large sums of money to several of the groups on your letter…
The State Policy Network describes itself as dedicated to “improving the practical effectiveness of independent, nonprofit, market-oriented, state-focused think tanks.”
The Democrats and Sanders single out three state-based organizations that belong to the network, questioning hundreds of thousands in donations to the Idaho Freedom Foundation, the Florida-based James Madison Institute, and the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
The Daily Signal, the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation, obtained copies of the original letter and the reply from Bridgett Wagner, Heritage’s vice president for external relations, who was among those who wrote the senators.
Wagner and the other signers said they used their employers’ names for identification purposes, and were not speaking for them.
In their July 12 letter, Wagner and officials with the 21 other organizations express concern that the Democrats who that day staged criticism of climate change skeptics on the Senate floor had put together an “enemies list” of “intellectual foes.”
The conservative free-market advocates tell the senators that their “enemies list” could quell free speech:
Your enemies list groups together organizations that themselves maintain differing perspectives. While you have singled us out, labeling us as the enemy, we don’t even always agree with one another. And that’s the point: Disagreement breeds solutions. We hear you. Your threat is clear: There is a heavy and inconvenient cost to disagreeing with you. Calls for debate will be met with political retribution. That’s called tyranny. And, we reject it.
In their reply, nine senators argue that because Heritage and the other private organizations don’t typically disclose donor information, it is difficult to determine how “deep and wide” the “web of denial” about climate change is.
The senators, dismissing “perceived grievances,” cite the Climate Investigations Center as determining that the groups whose officials signed the letter of complaint had received more than $92 million from “the Koch family, Donors Trust, Donors Capital, and Exxon Mobil.”
The senators describe a web of “climate change denial” that is “so big and sophisticated” that it dupes the public into believing “it is not a single special interest-funded front.”
The 19 Democrats took to the Senate floor July 12 to accuse free-market groups and others of spinning that “web of denial” on global warming.
“It is no surprise these progressive senators would conflate the debate on climate change with a discussion of those who donate to our organizations,” Birnbaum of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, told The Daily Signal.
In a written response to the senators’ criticism of his organization, Birnbaum added:
The reality is that those who have publicly called into question elements of the climate change story have faced personal and professional threats. So when these progressives say, ‘we would just like to know whom it is we are debating’ what they are really stating is that they would just like to know who they can intimidate with the full police power of the federal government.
The Idaho Freedom Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational research institute that promotes free-market solutions and acts as a watchdog on government.
“The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has been publicly disparaged by U.S. senators simply because we oppose politicians using the federal courts to criminalize debate and intimidate their political opponents,” John Mozena, the center’s vice president for marketing and communications, said.
Mozena was referring to efforts by state attorneys general, environmental organizations, and others to punish climate change skeptics. In his formal statement provided to The Daily Signal in response to the senators, he added:
The Senate—and the nation—look back with shame on the era when Sen. Joseph McCarthy led his fellow senators down a path of guilt by association and conviction by allegation. McCarthy’s actions stained our nation and we couldn’t stand by and silently watch history repeat itself, even though we knew we would expose ourselves to a modern reinterpretation of his methods.
Also nonprofit and nonpartisan, Mackinac Center works to highlight the role voluntary associations, businesses, and families play outside government.
Mozena said the center has fought for its principles for 28 years, “regardless of politics,” including working in Michigan for government transparency. Allies there, he said, included the ACLU of Michigan and the Sierra Club’s Michigan chapter.
Last month, he noted, Mackinac Center sued Michigan’s Republican governor over his administration’s delay in responding to its request for records on the Flint water crisis under freedom of information laws.
Given our demonstrated, decades-long commitment to these principles, we don’t need lectures from senators in which they try to analogize their campaign finance restrictions with our supporters’ right to privacy. They are public officials with responsibilities, we are private individuals with rights. No matter how much they’re willing to ignore their ‘sense of decency’ and abuse their offices for political gain, we will not be intimidated into sacrificing those rights and we will continue to support any organization that finds itself on their enemies list.
The 10 Senate Democrats who received the leaders’ letter but didn’t join Reid and the others in the response are Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Christopher Coons of Delaware, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Gary Peters of Michigan, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Tom Udall of New Mexico.
Also among the 22 organizations listed on the letter, and criticized by the senators, are Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon; Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Washington, D.C.; Franklin Center for Government and Policy Integrity, Virginia; Georgia Public Policy Foundation; Heartland Institute, Illinois; John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, Wisconsin; John Locke Foundation, North Carolina; Kansas Policy Institute; Montana Policy Institute; Nevada Policy Research Institute; Pacific Research Institute, California; Pelican Institute for Public Policy, Louisiana; Rio Grande Foundation, New Mexico; Virginia Institute for Public Policy; and Yankee Institute for Public Policy, Connecticut.
Why Does the Left Ignore Nuclear Power?
They focus on wind and solar, but those sources are miles behind
Predictably absent from the Democrats' party platform for 2016, as it was in 2012 and in 2008, is a coherent energy strategy that matches their rhetoric on climate change. Once again, they have had the opportunity to face the facts on the benefits of nuclear power, and once again, they have chosen to demonize the one non-fossil fuel energy source that can come close to meeting their lofty goals of reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
It’s not that the Dems are ignoring nuclear power. As Robert Bryce, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, points out, they bring up “nuclear” plenty of times. It’s just that each mention links the word to other catchy terms like “annihilation” and “weapon.” Nuclear as a source of clean energy that the Left craves is never brought up. It just doesn’t fit the narrative.
Throughout the Obama administration, the Left, which has always run the EPA, spoke the gospel of clean energy. They overhyped the global threat of climate change, declared it primarily attributable to human behavior, calculated that only lower greenhouse gas emissions could save us, then set about reducing those gases by any means available.
The administration established the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 730 million tons by 2030, and called for the energy sector to fall into line. They were so adamant to make this happen that they set out, and have nearly succeeded, in destroying the coal industry. And they have raised automobile fuel efficiency standards beyond a level with which the automotive industry can comply or consumers can afford.
In 2008, Obama told the American people straight up that his policies would ensure their electricity bills would skyrocket, and we are seeing the effects of this damn-the-torpedoes strategy ripple throughout the economy. The energy industry affects virtually every other industry in this country, from manufacturing to transportation to retail and beyond. There’s no mistaking that the Democrats' cockeyed energy strategy is a least partly responsible for sluggish employment, stagnant wages and a generally moribund economy.
Regardless of your politics, it can be reasoned that cleaner sources of energy are better for everyone. Unfortunately, when the Left speaks of clean energy, they only mention wind and solar. Nuclear never comes into the equation. Ignoring the benefits of nuclear as a clean energy source is an epic mistake.
As Bryce notes, America’s nuclear reactors save the U.S. an additional 600 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. These reactors are also producing four times as much energy as wind and 21 times more than solar. Nuclear accounts for nearly 20% of America’s electricity.
Nuclear is also still a cheaper energy option than wind and solar. It can be argued that nuclear had a bit of a head start and that the infrastructure for wind and solar has some catching up to do. But it will take wind close to half a century to catch up to nuclear in terms of cost per unit, and it will take solar a whole century to do likewise.
There’s also the sticky problem that we have yet to develop an effective means of storing energy from wind and solar. The energy produced by these means is not easily transportable, and it pretty much must be used as it is produced, preventing mass production and consumption on power-plant-like scale.
There is a place for wind and solar in any energy strategy that America choses to embrace. However, we cannot cling to the platitudes of the Left that insist these are the only keys to a low-emissions energy future. Nuclear has been with us for decades, and that is because it is clean, it is largely safe, and over the long haul, it is cheap. Ignoring these facts will keep us from meeting our energy goals, and it will ultimately keep us from being the strong economic power that we need to be again.
AUSTRALIAN SENATE COUNT FINALISED
More than a month after the Double Dissolution Election, the Senate Count has been finalised. For the growing number of Australians worried about the harm being done to our economy and our future by the Global Warming Cult, the result has been worth the wait.
On the Senate cross-benches there are now seven Senators who simply will not accept the official line that our liberties and our economic future should be seriously constrained for the sake of meeting arbitrary emissions reduction targets. There are seven senators who will not be bullied by the Global Warming Cult. As time goes on, more and more Australians will acknowledge these Senators as “The Magnificent Seven”.
I’ll mention firstly the re-elected senators.
Senator Bob Day AO of Family First has been re-elected in South Australia. On 30 November 2015 Senator Day told the Senate: “As for calling CO2 pollution, that is the most ludicrous, unscientific statement one could possibly make.”
Senator Jacqui Lambie is back in Tasmania for the Jacqui Lambie Network. Here is an extract from her speech to the Senate on 17 March 2016: “It is clear that a government making Australian pensioners, businesses and families pay more for their energy will never stop world climate change. It will only increase the cost of living for our families and kill off Australian jobs and businesses, and for no return.”
New South Wales has re-elected the veterinarian Senator David Leyonhjelm. In his Maiden Speech on 9 July 2014, Senator Leyonhjelm said: “Environmental fanatics are not omniscient geniuses: they do not know enough to tell other people how to live their lives any more than I do.”
In the biggest and most welcome surprise of the election, to those three stalwart senators have been added four new Senators, all representing Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. Senator-elect Pauline Hanson will be supported by her fellow Queenslander Malcolm Roberts, Senator-elect Brian Burston of NSW and Senator-elect Rod Culleton of Western Australia. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation missed getting a fifth Senate place in Tasmania, by only 141 votes.
Unlike the leaders of larger political parties, Pauline Hanson respects scientists and upholds science, as evidenced by her inspired choice of Malcolm Roberts as her running mate in Queensland. Malcolm Roberts as the leader of the Galileo Movement made a great contribution to the defeat of the Carbon Tax.
Yesterday at his Press conference with Party spokesman James Ashby, Malcolm Roberts wasted no time in stating that there is not one piece of empirical evidence anywhere to support the theory of man-made climate change. Malcolm Roberts is in no doubt that the United Nations is attempting to impose global government through climate policy.
The Turnbull Government cannot afford to ignore Pauline Hanson and the other Senators who comprise the Magnificent Seven. Australian politics has been dramatically changed, and changed for the better.
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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Posted by JR at 12:31 AM