Friday, October 14, 2016

New book: Twenty-five Myths That Are Destroying the Environment: What Many Environmentalists Believe and Why They Are Wrong

Written by Daniel Botkin. Published by Rowman & Littlefield Lanham, MD 20706. $12.71 from Amazon

The Introduction discusses the distinctions between myths, folktales, and science, and the chapters discuss which generalizations about environment are which of these.


Myth 1 We Are the Only Species That Has Had Global Effects on Environment
Myth 2 Life Is Fragile and Can't Adjust Easily to Change
Myth 3 Extinction Is Unnatural and Bad, but Easy to Accomplish
Myth 6 Beauty in Nature Happens Only in Areas Completely Undisturbed by Us
Myth 10 People Have Changed Environment Only Since the Industrial Age
Myth 11 Without Human Interference, Earth's Climate Is Stable
Myth 13 Climate Change Will Lead to Huge Numbers of Extinctions
Myth 20 We Can't Do Much about Environmental Risks
Myth 21 Smokey Bear Is Right: Only You Can Prevent Wildfires
Myth 23 Solar and Wind Energy Require Huge Areas
Myth 24 Large-Scale Solar Energy Projects RequireVery Hot Climates
Myth 25 Compared to Climate Change, All Other Environmental Issues Are Minor

Clinton pumps out mainstream climate BS

Of all the problems facing this nation, climate change is at the top, Democrat Hillary Clinton told a campaign rally in Miami, Florida on Tuesday.

"And I will tell you this -- it is one of the most important issues at stake in this election," she said.

Appearing with climate change activisit Al Gore -- her husband's vice president -- Clinton capitalized on Florida's recent brush with Hurricane Matthew, saying the storm was "likely more destructive because of climate change."

She painted a doom-and-gloom scenario of rising oceans, Zika-spreading mosquitoes, and a rise in asthma and allergy cases due to longer pollen seasons.

"Look at it this way," Clinton said. "Our next president will either step up our efforts to address climate change to protect our planet, to protect our health, and to create good jobs that cannot be outsourced, by growing our clean energy economy -- or, in the alternative, we will be dragged backwards, and our whole future will be put at risk. So we've really got to get this right.

"And if you need additional convincing, just remember what happened this week. Hurricane Matthew killed at least 26 people in our country, more than 1,000 as far as we know right now in Haiti. North Carolina is still dealing with serious flooding...Now some will say, we've always had hurricanes. They've always been destructive. And that's true.

"But Hurricane Matthew was likely more destructive because of climate change. Right now, the ocean is at or near record high temperatures, and that contributed to the torrential rainfall and the flash flooding that we saw in the Carolinas. Sea levels have already risen about a foot -- one foot -- in much of the Southeast, which means that Matthew's storm surge was higher and the flooding was more severe.

"Plus, as you know, the impact of climate change goes beyond extreme events like hurricanes. It's become a daily reality here in Miami." Clinton noted that streets in Miami Beach are now flooding at high tide. "The ocean is bubbling up through the sewer system. Sometimes, people call 311 because they assume a water main must have broken when actually, it is the sea rising around them. So if you need proof that climate change is real and that it's costly, there you go."

Clinton predicted that one in eight homes in Florida could be underwater by the end of the century.

And she slammed "climate change deniers," including her rival Donald Trump: "Please, let's come together as a country and do something about it. We cannot risk putting a climate denier in the White House."

As president, Clinton said she wants to "have 500 million more solar panels installed across America by the end of my first term." She said she plans to "transform our economy" with "new clean energy solutions."


Improper Recycling Could Land You in Jail: How Overcriminalization Threatens Everyone

Criminal laws and regulations in the United States have increased to absurd proportions in the past few decades, posing a growing threat to our constitutional liberties.

There are nearly 5,000 criminal laws and an estimated 300,000 or more criminal regulations at the federal level alone. In fact, there are so many possible criminal offenses that Harvey Silverglate, a civil liberties attorney, contends the average American probably commits at least three felonies a day, most without knowing it.

In April, the perils of overcriminalization were on full display when Brian Everidge traveled to Michigan with more than 10,000 bottles and cans, seeking to capitalize on Michigan’s generous 10 cents-per-bottle refund program. He stood to make $1,000.

Everidge was pulled over for speeding and found himself facing a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison after the state trooper discovered his cargo. As it turned out, transporting more than 10,000 bottles into Michigan with the intent to collect a deposit is a felony.

The average American probably commits at least three felonies a day, most without knowing it.

Besides Michigan, nine other states have bottle deposit laws—California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont. Though each state law varies slightly from the others, each law operates on the same basic premise: Consumers pay a deposit on specified beverage containers and get reimbursed upon returning the emptied container.

Deposits vary from 5 cents to 15 cents by state and container size. When a person knowingly brings in containers sold outside the state, they are deceiving state officials by seeking the return of a deposit they never paid.

Surprisingly, interstate bottle fraud can be big business. In 2015, California officials uncovered a recycling ring that raked in $14 million from 2012 to 2014 on approximately 250 million containers brought from Arizona to California recycling centers.

The Michigan Treasury Department reported that interstate bottle fraud costs the state $10 to $13 million every year. Michigan state Rep. Kenneth Kurtz, a Republican, said of repeat “scammers who drive car and truck loads of cans from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Ohio,” that “If you are intending to defraud … then you should be held accountable for it.”

Six of the 10 bottle bill states—California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Vermont—have codified penalties specifically for cashing in on out-of-state bottles, or attempting to. Only Michigan and California, however, make it a crime.

Michigan’s penalties work on a sliding scale. Attempt to return up to 99 containers, you’ll get off with a civil fine; attempt to return 100 to 9,999 containers, you’re guilty of a misdemeanor; and if you attempt to return 10,000 or more, you’re now a felon and subject to up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.

Other types of fraud, such as dishonest practices in connection with official records on milk and butter production or failing to label imitation leather boots as such, are misdemeanors—no matter how much butter is produced or how expensive the boots are.

In California, trading in out-of-state recyclable containers is also a felony if the redemption value is more than $400. One truck driver faced criminal charges for smuggling 7,000 pounds of containers worth more than $7,100 in redemptions, with possible jail time of six months to three years.

The United States Supreme Court stated recently, in Bond v. U.S. (2014), that states “have broad authority to enact legislation for the public good—what we have often called a ‘police power.’” It also ruled in Minnesota v. Clover Leaf Creamery (1981) that a state can outright ban the sale of retail goods in a “plastic nonreturnable, nonrefillable container” if it so chooses, respecting the states’ broad discretion to implement environmental policies.

Heritage Foundation scholars have argued, however, that “the most successful environmental policies emanate from liberty.”

Lawmakers must reassess current laws and scrutinize any new laws that use criminal instead of civil penalties.

Criminal laws and penalties, writes John Malcolm, director of Heritage’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, are “meant to enforce a commonly accepted moral code that is set forth in language the average person can readily understand and that clearly identifies the prohibited conduct.”

Administrative schemes like state bottle recycling programs, Malcolm writes, should “establish rules of the road (with penalties attached for violations of those rules) to curb excesses and address consequences in a complex, rapidly evolving, highly industrialized society.”

Maine’s bottle fraud rules exemplify a proper understanding of how law ought to work. Maine imposes civil fines whenever a person attempts to deposit more than 48 containers not sold in the state, with the penalty being the greater of a $100 fine for each container or $25,000 fine for each attempted transaction.

This creates a disincentive for cashing in on out-of-state containers and more than compensates the state for its losses without branding every person who violates the scheme as a criminal.

Moreover, Maine requires all recycling centers to post a sign that clearly defines “bottle fraud” and warns customers of its penalties, so anyone who unlawfully takes advantage of Maine’s incentive structure does so with a full understanding of the consequences.

Heritage scholars have identified ways to address the overcriminalization crisis. Lawmakers must reassess current laws and scrutinize any new laws that use criminal instead of civil penalties, incorporating safeguards to ensure that the criminal code is not a trap for the unwary. Everidge and the many others caught up in cases of overcriminalization deserve better from our justice system.


First US Offshore Wind Plant Costs $17,600 Per Home Powered

America’s first offshore wind power plant will cost about $17,600 dollars to build per home it will power. Three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, the wind farm is supposed to generate enough energy to power 17,000 homes, but will cost $300 million to build five turbines. This cost is just to build the turbines, not to operate them.

The extremely high cost of offshore wind doesn’t worry environmentalists and progressives, however, because, as says about the project, “it’s the precedent that counts.”

Despite the extremely high cost, federal officials want to power a whopping 23 million homes with offshore wind by the year 2050.

Offshore wind power is so expensive because installing and maintaining any kind of infrastructure underwater is extremely difficult. The salt water of the ocean is incredibly corrosive and makes operating such facilities difficult and expensive. Electricity is so comparatively cheap in most parts of the country that offshore wind isn’t generally necessary.

Offshore wind is so pricey that early investors in it, like Germany, plan to stop building new turbines to lower the costs of electricity and prop up its ailing power grid.

However, the average American’s electric bill has gone up 10 percent since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, due to regulations imposed by government officials and taxpayer support for green energy.

Most analysts agree rising residential electricity prices are also harmful to American households. Pricey power disproportionately hurts poorer families and other lower-income groups as the poor tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on “basic needs” like power, so any increase in prices hits them the hardest.

As essential goods like electricity become more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything. The higher prices are ultimately paid for by consumers, not industries.


Power fully restored across South Australia -- after two weeks

So who in their right mind would want to set up a business there? Greenie craziness will have done huge damage to employment in S.A.

Big industrial companies in South Australia finally have full loads of electricity two weeks after extreme weather damaged transmission towers and plunged the state into darkness.

ElectraNet, which provides electricity infrastructure across Australia, has announced the third damaged circuit was back in action ahead of schedule and was energised, returning full access to the transmission network.

The company has built five temporary transmission towers near Melrose in regional South Australia after three transmission lines and 22 towers were damaged in the September 28 storm.

The damage led to a statewide blackout and several regional communities were left without power for days.

ElectraNet has previously described the damage to the lattice steel towers, which were made in the 1980s, as unprecedented.

ElectraNet chief executive Steve Masters said in a statement that "full access to the South Australian transmission network has been restored to all our customers across the state".

"This is a significant achievement that will allow work to begin on permanent repairs," Mr Masters said.

"While the design and scheduling details are still being confirmed, we expect permanent towers to be in place over the coming months, provided weather conditions remain stable."

South Australian Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis tweeted that large companies like BHP would have a "full load" with the system "effectively" back on.

Large industrial sites in the days since the storm had access to some power but not normal loads.

Power was urgently restored to Whyalla's Arrium steelworks which minimised its loss to about $10 million, while the furnace at Port Pirie's Nyrstar smelter was damaged during the outage which is expected to cost the company millions of dollars.



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