Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sarkozy sparks storm over claims man 'not sole cause' of climate change

Nicolas Sarkozy was accused of "dragging France 15 years backwards" on climate for insisting that man is not "the sole cause" of global warming.

The 61-year-old ex-president is on the campaign trail ahead of primaries in November in his Republicans party, and opinion polls suggest he has closed the gap with the current favorite, Alain Juppé.

On Wednesday night, in a speech at a business institute, Mr Sarkozy said: "We had a conference on climate (the historic COP 21 summit in Paris earlier in December in which ambitious new targets to cut global warming were agreed)."

"People talked a lot about climate change. That's very interesting but the climate has been changing for the past 4.5 billion years. Man is not the sole cause of this change."

His main party rival, Mr Juppé, for his part said he was "convinced that human activity bears a heavy responsibility in the production of greenhouse gases and thus in global warming".

"To deny this is to deny reality," he said.

The Socialist government slammed his comment as a "serious strategic error".  Emmanuel Cosse, the housing minister, said: "Sarkozy is dragging us 15 years backwards."  Barbara Pompili, minister in charge of biodiversity accused the Right-winger of being "regressive and retrograde".

Besides criticism from politicians, climate expert Valérie Masson-Delmotte, who is part of the prestigious Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, expressed her "deep concern" at his comments.

"In 2009, Mr  Sarkozy gave a speech at the UN saying the scientific conclusions were clear and it was urgent to act.  Our developed societies have been built on a pact between scientists and politicians," she said, suggesting he was flouting this pact.

"The influence of man on climate change has been clearly established. There is no doubt that the level of green house gases is down to our activity."

"The scientific evidence is there, it is solid, and it was transmitted to Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 (when he was elected president)."

Mr Sarkozy has irked environmentalists by suggesting France should be open to drilling for shale gas.

However, Luc Chatel, an MP and Sarkozy supporter played down the fuss as a "false controversy" as he was merely pointing out an "edifying truth", namely that "the climate has been evolving since the origin of man, that's a reality."

The ex-president has tacked Right in his primary campaign, making a string of statements designed to woo wavering far-Right voters.


A UN and tribal takeover?

Hidden provisions in congressional energy bills undermine America’s water and property rights

Lawrence Kogan

A massive 792-page Senate Energy Committee bill threatens to authorize federal bureaucrats to cede extensive control over western state water and property rights, energy development and forest management to Native American tribes, local UN sustainability councils and radical environmentalist groups. Certain provisions could undermine the foundations of our nation from within our nation.

S.2012, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2016, incorporates some 393 amendments. Incredibly, it is being driven forward by U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and other members of Congress behind closed doors. Probably very few have read the bill in its entirety. Virtually none understand its likely impacts on western and other rural land, water and property rights, potentially throughout America, or on the families and communities whose lives will be upended.

This secretive approach – with no opportunities for meaningful public examination or comment, even by those who will be most affected – is almost unprecedented. It could well become another example of “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it.” But numerous people will have to live with the consequences, while the authors and implementers walk away exempted, unscathed and unaccountable.

The bill’s tribal government forest management provisions are extremely harmful and could severely diminish the constitutionally protected rights of private property owners throughout the United States, the Western States Constitutional Rights consortium emphasizes. Indeed, the pending legislation is itself unconstitutional, as explained in a legal memorandum the consortium sent to 13 members of Congress.

This Montana-based nonprofit was formed to safeguard the property rights of farmers, ranchers and other land and business owners against reckless federal, state and local government laws, regulations and policies. WSCR members live on or near the Flathead Irrigation Project within the Flathead Indian Reservation, and in other parts of northwestern Montana. But their concerns are widely shared by many citizens throughout the western and rural United States. It has a long, hard road ahead on these issues.

The apparent “shell game” is likely intended to disguise a hidden agenda and confuse people. In fact, Congress is quietly considering two versions: a Senate-passed Murkowski version without forestry measures and a House of Representatives version with both forestry and tribal forest management measures (H.R. 2647, the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, sponsored by Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and cosponsored by 11 Republicans and 2 Democrats). Bipartisan chicanery.

On September 8, the two versions were submitted to a conference committee, to be reconciled so that both chambers can pass a bill and President Obama can sign it into law. The problems are extensive.

The House/Senate versions’ forestry measures embrace Euro-UN-Agenda 21 sustainable forest management principles, plus United Nations Indigenous Peoples Rights policies that would supersede the U.S. Constitution – while implementing unscientific climate change and sustainability objectives devised by the White House and “Forest Service Strategic Energy Framework.”

Tribal Forest Management (TFM) provisions in House/Senate S.2012 are more problematic, because they would racially discriminate in favor of Native American tribes. They would do so by using the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to recognize off-reservation aboriginal pre-European land and water rights – where none exist in U.S. law – at the expense of all other Americans’ constitutionally protected private property rights. S.2012s’ TFM provisions would also:

* Supplant states’ authority and jurisdiction over their natural resources, as recognized by the Tenth Amendment requirement that these resources be held in “public trust” for the benefit of each state’s citizens – including incredibly hard-working western ranchers who put so much food on your table.

* Enable Native American Tribes to treat “Federal Forest Lands” (including national forests and national parks belonging to all Americans) as “Indian Forest Lands,” merely by establishing that “the Federal forest land is located within, or mostly within, a geographical area that presents a feature or involves circumstances principally relevant to that Indian tribe.” That means a tribe only has to show that the lands are covered by an Indian treaty, are part of a current or former Indian reservation, or were once adjudicated by the former Indian Claims Commission as part of a “tribal homeland.”

* Provide Native American Tribes near U.S. national forest and park lands with federal “638” contracts to manage, oversee and control such lands and appurtenant water resources for federal regulatory and other purposes, even when they are well beyond the boundaries of Indian reservations.

* Expand tribal political sovereignty and legal jurisdiction and control, especially over mountainous forest lands – the source of most snowpack and other waters that farmers, ranchers, and even towns and cities rely on for irrigation, drinking and other water needs.

* Enable tribes to impose new federal fiduciary trust obligations on the U.S. government to protect their religious, cultural and spiritual rights to fish, waters and lands located beyond the boundaries of Indian reservations, by severely curtailing non-tribal members’ constitutionally protected private water and land rights, without paying “just compensation” as required by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

A recently filed federal lawsuit by the Hoopa Valley Tribe of northern California against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and National Marine Fisheries Service underscores the importance of this so-called federal fiduciary trust obligation. The tribe wants to compel the agencies to protect the tribe’s alleged off-reservation aboriginal pre-European water and fishing rights in southern Oregon’s Klamath River and Upper Klamath Lake – even though their reservation is more than 240 miles southwest of the lake!

A tribal court victory would severely curtail Klamath irrigators’ ability to exercise their rights to vitally needed water. Northern California’s Yurok Tribe says it will soon file its own lawsuit. A cascade of such legal actions would disrupt or destroy the entire western water rights system.

Combined with S.3013 (Montana Democrat Senator John Tester’s Salish and Kootenai Water Rights Settlement Act), the TFM provisions would expand and codify into federal law off-reservation aboriginal water and fishing rights that the tribes now claim. That precedent could then be used by other litigious tribes to override water and private property public trust obligations that Montana, Oregon, California and other western states owe their citizens under state constitutions. It could happen throughout America!

S.2012 would cause even more problems if Congress adds a Wyden-Merkley Amendment that provides federal funding and implementation for the controversial Klamath Basin Agreements Tribal Rights Settlement. That would greatly expand tribal water rights, in violation of U.S. constitutional requirements that any such expansion be pursuant to Congress’s authority to approve or reject interstate compacts or regulate commerce with Indian tribes.

It would also create a federal and interstate template for greatly diminishing regional – and potentially all irrigators’ – state-based private property rights, in favor of Native American tribes. Its proponents have grossly misrepresented the settlement’s alleged benefits and substantially understated the damage it would impose on Klamath Basin residents.

If S.2012 is enacted into law with the tribal forest management, Wyden-Merkley Amendment and Salish-Kootenai Settlement, Congress will cede control over western and rural lands and waters to Native American tribes in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Fourteenth Amendments.

This year’s presidential and congressional elections are a referendum on the role and performance of government. We the People must demand an end to the secrecy, shady backroom deals, and usurpation of our natural and constitutional freedoms and property rights. Congress’ immediate withdrawal or modification of this grotesque omnibus energy bill would be a good first step in this direction.

Via email

How Much Will Americans Pay to Battle Climate Change?

A Warmist mourns

When economists and policymakers want to assess the benefits of an environmental policy, they often turn to the concept of “willingness to pay.” Think of it this way: if you knew someone was coming to your house tonight to steal $20, how much would you pay to avoid that? You would almost certainly be willing to pay up to nearly $20, right?

This is what researchers from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and the Associated Press—NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago set out to better understand. Their nationally representative poll found that 43% of Americans were unwilling to pay an additional $1 per month in their electricity bill to combat climate change—and a large majority were unwilling to pay $10 per month. That’s despite the fact that a whopping 77% said they think climate change is happening and 65% think it is a problem the government should do something about. Support plummets as the amount of the fee increases.

This is an upside-down result. The best available science tells us that Americans should be willing to pay considerably more, because the damages from climate change are so great—including to them personally. If we use the federal government’s estimate of the combined social cost of carbon pollution and apply it to the typical U.S. household’s electricity consumption on today’s national grid mix, the average household faces damages of almost $20 per month. Yet just 29% of respondents said they would be willing to pay at least that much.

The reality may be that while most Americans see climate change as a collective threat, they don’t see it as a threat to them personally. When people do understand personal threats, they are willing to pay more. Take, for example, air pollution. In one analysis of the Clean Air Act, my colleague Michael Greenstone and his co-author found that property values were higher in counties where there was less air pollution. In other words, people in these specific counties were willing to pay more for a house when the air was cleaner, and by a wide margin—in these cleaner zones property values increased by $45 billion in total between 1970 and 1980.

More recently, an innovative analysis by my colleague Koichiro Ito and his co-author examined how much consumers in China were willing to pay for cleaner air through their buying habits of air purifiers. The study’s analysis suggests that residents of Northern China would be willing to spend about $491 over five years to bring their air quality in line with national standards. That’s more than the real-world policies implemented by governments in the region actually cost.

This suggests that despite the massive flooding,  long droughts and extreme weather that scientists have linked to a changing climate, many Americans are still not associating their personal damages from these events with climate change. This is potentially bad news for climate policy. After all, if 43% of Americans are unwilling to pay even $1 to solve  a $20 problem, the policy landscape is likely to be challenging.



We have regularly over the years been regaled by the BBC with the exploits of those intrepid climate activists who travel up to the Arctic to prove that, thanks to global warming, its ice is melting away so fast that there will soon be none left.

In 2008 there was the bid by Gordon Pugh to paddle a kayak all the way to the North Pole. Alas, after only a few days he found it was so cold and the ice so thick that he had hastily to be rescued.

In 2009 it was the expedition led by Pen Hadow which planned to walk 600 miles to the Pole, measuring just how rapidly the ice was thinning. They too found it so cold and the ice so dangerously thick that they soon had to be airlifted to safety.

This year’s expedition, led by David Hempleman-Adams, hoped to make history by sailing right round the north of Europe and North America, guided by a legendary Russian yachtsman, Nikolai Litau. Last week they triumphantly ended their journey in Canada; but only after several hairy weeks dodging huge lumps of ice in the Laptev Sea off Siberia. They were lucky, because this September the Arctic has begun its annual refreeze earlier than at any time for 19 years.

In fact the Danish Meteorological Institute’s satellite record shows that there is now 22 per cent more ice than there was at this time in 2012. And, far from these people being the first ever to sail in a yacht through both the North West and North East Passages, Nikolai Litau himself – as revealed by Paul Homewood on his Notalotofpeopleknowthat website – not only made both those journeys between 1996 and 2002; he took in the Antarctic as well. But we didn’t hear about that from the BBC. It wouldn’t have fitted their “narrative”.


New Australian coalmine recommended for approval

The controversial Drayton South open-cut coal mine planned for the Hunter Valley has been given the green light by the NSW department of planning, taking the battle between the region’s prestigious horse studs and mining giant Anglo American to an independent commission.

Despite being rejected three times in the past by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission, the planning and environment department said it believes the coal mining and thoroughbred stud industries can “operate as neighbours without major impact on either industry.”

“Based on new independent reports, new evidence … the department has concluded that, with appropriate management and mitigation measures, the two industries can continue to operate in proximity,” a spokesperson for the Department said.

The Coolmore and Darley stud properties are across a road from the proposed mine site, and have previously said that if approved, the project could force them to move.

In a detailed report released today, the department recommended the project for approval, subject to 23 measures to manage dust, noise, blasting and water.

Strict air quality controls, noise criteria and water management performance measures would mean the mine would have minimal impact on the surrounding properties.

Anglo American commissioned a report by Dr Greg Houston, who concluded the thoroughbred industry would still exist even in the unlikely event Coolmore and Darley chose to leave the Upper Hunter.

An independent peer-review of Dr Houston’s report, commissioned by the department and written by the Australian National University’s Professor Jeff Bennett, broadly supported the findings. “I am in agreement with the major conclusions drawn by (Dr Houston’s) Report,” Professor Bennett wrote.

He also said “the Stud’s operational potential will not be compromised by the Drayton South operation.”

The Upper Hunter thoroughbred industry contributes an estimated $5 billion a year to the economy, and ranks alongside Kentucky in the US and Newmarket in Britain as a high-quality breeding area.



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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