Friday, April 29, 2016

Munshi nails it again

Jamal Munshi is a very bright and very skeptical climate scientist.  He must have tenure or wouldn't get away with it. His latest paper is a new study of radiocarbon levels -- which shows that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is NOT the result of human activity.  Beat that!

Dilution of Atmospheric Radiocarbon Co2 by Fossil Fuel Emissions

Jamal Munshi


Post bomb period data for 14C in atmospheric carbon dioxide from seven measurement stations are available in small samples up to and including the year 2007. They do not support the theory that dilution by 14C-free fossil fuel emissions is responsible for falling levels of 14C in atmospheric CO2. We find instead that the observed decline of 14C in atmospheric CO2 is consistent with the exponential decay of bomb 14C. We also find that the attribution to fossil fuel emissions of the pre-bomb dilution of 14C in atmospheric CO2 in the period 1900-1950 found by Stuiver and Quay in tree-ring data is inconsistent with total emissions and changes in atmospheric CO2 during that period. We conclude that the data for 14C in atmospheric CO2 do not serve as empirical evidence that the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 since the Industrial Revolution is attributable to fossil fuel emissions.


Another failed Greenie prediction

One of the most enduring lies from the Greenies is that "sustainable" power will save you money in the long run. They figure that only by making most unrealistic assumptions, usually ignoring maintenance costs, for instance. But reality does catch up and the promised savings turn into costs. The latest example below

Lake Land College recently announced plans to tear down broken wind turbines on campus, after the school got $987,697.20 in taxpayer support for wind power.

The turbines were funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, but the turbines lasted for less than four years and were incredibly costly to maintain.

“Since the installation in 2012, the college has spent $240,000 in parts and labor to maintain the turbines,” Kelly Allee, Director of Public Relations at Lake Land College, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The college estimates it would take another $100,000 in repairs to make the turbines function again after one of them was struck by lightning and likely suffered electrical damage last summer. School officials’ original estimates found the turbine would save it $44,000 in electricity annually, far more than the $8,500 they actually generated. Under the original optimistic scenario, the turbines would have to last for 22.5 years just to recoup the costs, not accounting for inflation. If viewed as an investment, the turbines had a return of negative 99.14 percent.

“While they have been an excellent teaching tool for students, they have only generated $8,500 in power in their lifetime,” she said. “One of the reasons for the lower than expected energy power is that the turbines often need to be repaired. They are not a good teaching tool if they are not working.”

The college estimates it would take another $100,000 in repairs to make the turbines function again after one of them was struck by lightning and likely suffered electrical damage last summer.

Even though the college wants to tear down one of the turbines, they are federal assets and “there is a process that has to be followed” according to Allee.

The turbines became operational in 2012 after a 5-year long building campaign intended to reduce the college’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to fight global warming. Even though the turbines cost almost $1 million, but the college repeatedly claimed they’d save money in the long run.

“It is becoming more and more difficult for us financially to maintain the turbines,” Josh Bullock, the college’s president, told the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier last week. “I think it was an extremely worthy experiment when they were installed, but they just have not performed to our expectations to this point.”

Bullock states that the turbines simply haven’t been able to power the campus’ buildings and that most of the electricity wasn’t effectively used.

Lake Land plans to replace the two failed turbines with a solar power system paid for by a government grant. “[T]he photovoltaic panels are expected to save the college between $50,000 and $60,000 this year,”Allee told the DCNF.

Globally, less than 30 percent of total power wind capacity is actually utilized as the intermittent and irregular nature of wind power makes it hard to use.Power demand is relatively predictable, but the output of a wind turbine is quite variable over time and generally doesn’t coincide with the times when power is most needed. Thus, wind power systems require conventional backups to provide power during outages. Since the output of wind turbines cannot be predicted with high accuracy by forecasts, grid operators need to keep excess conventional power systems running.

Wind power accounted for only 4.4 percent of electricity generated in America in 2014, according to the Energy Information Administration.


Alarmists Censoring Sound Science again -- While Silencing Dissenters (of course)

Another recent study dispels the spirited, scaremonger-filled claim that fracking pollutes water supplies. But you probably haven’t heard one iota about it is because the ecofascist lobby wanted it buried. According to University of Cincinnati in Carroll’s Dr. Amy Townsend-Small, who spearheaded a years-long study on the effects of fracking on water reservoirs, “We haven’t seen anything to show that wells have been contaminated by fracking.” Townsend-Small made these remarks in February at a Carroll County Concerned Citizens in Carrollton gathering. But here’s the kicker.

At the same meeting, she gave a remarkably candid explanation for why the study won’t be made publicly available: “I am really sad to say this, but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results. They feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping this data could be a reason to ban it.” Give her props for honesty. Keep in mind, the study was partially taxpayer subsidized. Remember that next time a government official mentions “settled science.” It’s easy to find a consensus when you cherry the pick data to comport with a narrative.

Fracking is greener and more financially beneficial than alternate methods. This coupled with the aforementioned new research has National Center for Public Policy Research fellow Jeff Stier asking, “Why Are They Hiding the Good News About Fracking?” As he points out, “Back in 2011 … former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson admitted that there hasn’t been a ‘proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.’ Two years later, current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy affirmed Jackson’s remark, stating, ‘I am not aware of any definitive determinations that would contradict those statements.’”

If only they’d actually look. “The University of Cincinnati’s fracking research further establishes what myriad studies have already shown: Concerns about groundwater contamination are baseless,” Stier concludes. Meanwhile, here’s another question: Why are greenies opposed to a greener world brought on by increased CO2, anyway? At the very least, Americans should be wondering why groups that once supported natural gas — like the Sierra Club — are suddenly trying to shut down the industry even though science supports it. They know they’re wrong — which is why they want to silence and criminalize climate dissenters. Who are the crooks again?


Obama Breaking U.S. Law to Push Climate Treaty

Current U.S. law prevents the United States from forking over money to a United Nations organization if a group that is not an officially recognized state is also a member. And while it may seem like the rule splits hairs, there’s good reason for it. As The Hill explains, the rule was established so that the Palestinians can’t pull a foreign policy fast one and leverage the UN to declare statehood without first sitting down and negotiating a lasting peace deal with Israel. But peace in the Middle East isn’t as important to Barack Obama as cementing a legacy of climate change policies that pander to ecofascists.

Senate Republicans point out that the U.S. cannot give $10 million a year to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) because the Palestinian Authority also signed onto the framework. But as the whole climate change treaty wasn’t a treaty when Obama didn’t want to try winning approval from the Senate, Obama says the organization the treaty established is not an organization. “The UNFCCC is a treaty, and the Palestinians' purported accession does not involve their becoming members of any UN specialized agency or, indeed, any international organization,” State Department spokesman John Kirby argued. “Further, we do not believe that it advances U.S. interests to respond to Palestinian efforts by withholding critical funds that support the implementation of key international agreements, which could undermine our ability to pursue important U.S. objectives.” See? The ends justify the means.

But Obama’s arguments don’t hold water, according to The Heritage Foundation’s Brett Schaefer and Steven Groves. The two wrote that UNFCCC is an organization established by the treaty — one that employs about 500 people, similar to organizations like INTERPOL. As a result, Congress should exercise its power of the purse and pull the strings shut on this implementation of Obama’s ecofascist plan.


Welsh village to sue government over 'alarmist' rising sea level claim

A Welsh village is to sue the government after a climate change report suggested their community would soon be washed away by rising sea levels.  The document says Fairbourne will soon be lost to the sea, and recommends that it is "decommissioned".

Angry villagers say predictions of that the sea level will rise by a metre a year are alarmist, and have hit house prices and investment in the village.

At a local meeting they voted overwhelmingly in favour of pursuing legal action over the controversial Shoreline Management Plan 2 (SMP2), saying it had "blighted" their community.

The plan for Fairbourne, in Gwynedd, surrounded by the Snowdonia National Park, was commissioned by Pembrokeshire and Gwynedd local authorities and signed off by the Welsh Government. It is not yet clear who would foot the bill should the legal campaign be successful.

Currently, Fairbourne is included in the West of Wales (SMP2) which recommends that, while the village will be protected against flooding over the next few years, in the longer term, as sea levels rise, it will undergo "managed realignment" and Farbourne will eventually be "decommissioned".

As a result, house prices in Fairbourne have plummeted and businesses have struggled for long-term investment.

The SMP2 plan states that Fairbourne will see sea levels rise by one metre in the next century, but Fairbourne Facing Change (FFC), a community action group looking to sustain the coastal village for as long as possible, has always dismissed this data as misleading.

The chairman of FFC, Pete Cole, said: "There are four Shoreline Management Plans for Wales, two of which, including the one covering Fairbourne, used the more aggressive sea level rise predictions of one metre in 100 years.

"The other two used more optimistic forecasts. If these had been used in Fairbourne the timeline would have been extended by many years.

The SMP2 plan states that Fairbourne will see sea levels rise by one metre in the next century

"It's ridiculous that had Fairbourne been separated by two different SMPs, one side of the village would be a metre under water 30 to 40 years before the other half - it's nonsensical.

"The 2016 sea level rise forecast produced by the esteemed National Tidal and Sea Level Facility concluded that sea levels could be exp¬ected to rise 50cm rather than one metre in the next 100 years and with only a modest 20 to 30cm rise in the next 50 years.

"FFC has never accepted the predictions used for our SMP2. Latest scientific evidence proves that we were right."

Seeking 'legal redress', FFC and Fairbourne are hoping to claim back the original value of all the properties and businesses in Fairbourne following the "enormously damaging" claims put forward by the SMP.

"We have been hurt by the actions of the agencies who adopted these plans without thinking of the ramifications," added Mr Cole.

"Serious questions should be asked about the 'due diligence' of these bodies which are overseeing a system which is not consistent across the whole of the country.

"A barrister from Gray's Inn Square Chambers in London, specialising in the fields of planning and local government law, has reviewed our situation and concludes that there could be a potential claim. "We could be looking at a substantial return, tens of millions, but perhaps even £100 million.

"The barrister has offered to undertake the legal work on a fixed-fee basis of around £20,000.

"Public meetings held on Friday, 5 February, agreed overwhelmingly to personally commit to contribute to the funding covering legal costs and that FFC would ask the barrister to proceed with the initial review and application of those facts to the law.

"We have already raised a four-figure sum towards the legal fees, almost a 10th of the amount required."


Greenies trying to stop oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight

It's Greenies doing what Greenies do and compromise is unknown to them.  But if drilling is to be banned there, drilling is impermissible anywhere.  For most of the length of the bight (over 1,000 kilometers), the land adjoining the Bight is basically desert.  There's nothing there.  So virtually no people to endanger in any way.  The land concerned is not called the Nullarbor plain for nothing.  Most people seem to think it is an Aboriginal name but it is in fact Latin -- meaning "No trees".   That's how barren it is.

And the minimal runoff from the land means that there is not much to encourage life in the seas there either.  There will of course be marine life feeding off marine algae and the like but there is no reason to think any of it is unique, let alone importantly unique.  All deserts have creatures in them at low densities so the Greenies can claim that creatures on land and sea there are "endangered" but that is just a reflex.  Nobody that I know has shown that there are in fact unique creatures there, let along importantly unique ones. No doubt there are whales etc there but are there any whales there that are not found elswhere?  Even the Greenies have not yet claimed that

So if exploration even in a desert area is impermissible, where is it permisible?  To Greenies NO oil exploration or new production is permissible but less obsessed  people do not have to agree

When executives of the global oil giant BP fronted the company’s general meeting in London this month they knew they faced ­plenty of upset shareholders.

The mop-up from the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had just eaten up another $US20 billion ($25bn) of shareholder funds in a major legal settlement, and collapsing world oil prices had smashed the company’s full year profit, causing an investor revolt over an executive bonus scheme that seemed completely at odds with the financial performance.

But when the most senior BP executives faced investors, the level of hostility towards an oil ­exploration project 16,000km away took them by surprise.

“Gosh, this investment in Australia is not very popular today,” BP chief executive Bob Dudley said. But he couldn’t see why all the fuss. “The country had an area and invited people to participate in a bid,’’ Dudley said. “We do this around the world in exploration; ­it is not a particularly unusual or harsh area.”

BP’s plans, along with rival oil giants, to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight is highly contentious, but the potential rewards — up to 1.9 billion barrels of oil worth up to $110bn (at today’s depressed prices) are great. But so are the risks. It could be the next Bass Strait, enthusiastic backers claim. Or it could be the next Deepwater Horizon disaster, passionate ­opponents warn.

At the general meeting, BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg emphasised that the company was not trying to pressure governments. “To run Bight or not run Bight is not a decision for BP,” he said. “It is a ­decision for Australia.”

Now, as BP plans a $1bn exploration program and a $US750 million drilling rig nears completion in a South Korean shipbuilding yard, the federal Senate is taking a very keen interest.

Today, a Senate inquiry holds its first public hearings, hoping to determine how the contentious drilling permits were issued and administered and whether the great risks in drilling in such a ­hazardous environment as the Great Australian Bight were properly assessed.

The Bight drilling program is at a very early stage but is vigorously touted as being the next Bass Strait: an area containing billions of dollars worth of oil reserves that could transform Australia from a net importer of crude oil into an exporter.

For risk-hungry explorers it represents one of the world’s great unexplored deepwater oil regions, similar in potential to that of the Niger and Mississippi deltas. Major oil companies, led by BP, Statoil, Chevron and Santos, are lining up for a piece of the action.

But the calamitous events six years ago in the Gulf of Mexico, when an explosion on BP’s Deepwater Horizon well killed 11 wor­kers, spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the ocean, killing countless wildlife, ruining fisheries and decimating local communities, mean that the Great Australian Bight drilling plans have put environmental groups on high alert.

Leading environmental groups have spent many months war gaming a major confrontation with BP over its Great Australian Bight plans. The campaign dovetails into a broader agenda to limit fossil fuel developments, most particularly in new frontier and ­potentially difficult areas like ­Alaska and deepwater targets such as the Great Australian Bight.

BP says in its submission to the federal Senate inquiry, it wants the matter concluded quickly “given the Senate has taken the unusual step of specifically naming our company and its proposed investments in Australia”.

Global oil and gas production will keep rising over the next two decades, it says, to help meet world demand for primary energy. It points out that Australia has produced oil since the 1960s with a history of drilling in Commonwealth Marine Areas, including the Great Australian Bight. And Australia is a net oil importer, as consumption keeps rising despite domestic oil production steadily falling. The whole nation would benefit from the discovery of a new oil or gas region, and not just through tax and other macro­economic benefits, BP says.

“Wood Mackenzie, an independent oil and gas analytical firm, estimates the potential resource in the Great Australian Bight to be 1900mmboe (million barrels of oil equivalent) of oil — more than 20 times the entire ­Australian production in 2014,” BP’s Senate submission says. “A new oilfield development could make a material difference to the balance of payments — and to tax revenues.”

Ironically, BP was granted special tax arrangements over its Great Australian Bight exploration program and can deduct 150 per cent of costs from its royalty obligations. But in response to publicity about the tax arrangements, the company said it “considers transparency an important requirement to increasing trust in tax systems around the world”. The company told an earlier Senate hearing into tax avoidance that BP Australia’s effective tax rate had averaged 28.4 per cent over the past five years with income tax payments alone exceeding $2.2bn.

Given the company’s recent history in the Gulf of Mexico, however, it is not tax matters that concentrate the minds of environ­mental groups.

The Great Australian Bight is an “extra­ordinary ocean and coastal environment of global conservation significance”, the Wilderness ­Society says in its Senate inquiry submission. “It is remote, wild and pristine, with more local marine life diversity than the Great Barrier Reef.

“While scientists are still trying to understand the diverse eco­logical values of the Bight, we know already that it is a major haven for whales, including the threatened southern right whale, and home to other significant ­marine wildlife such as the Aus­tralian sea lion, giant cuttlefish, dolphins, great white sharks and a vast array of seabirds. All of this life and ­immense natural beauty supports thriving fishing and ­tourism ­industries and a uniquely Australian way of life for the many ­coastal communities of the Bight.”

Both sides are haunted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. ­According to BP, if the Bight was hit by a worst-case scenario — a loss of control of the well resulting in uncontrolled flow of petroleum into the ocean, “oil would take ­several weeks to reach shore and the direction in which it could drift ­varies due to seasonal differences in current and wind direction”.

But the Wilderness Society says an oil spill from a deep-sea well blowout could close fisheries in the Bight, Bass Strait and even the Tasman Sea while even a low-flow oil spill could affect all of southern Australia’s coast, from Western Australia right across to Victoria through Bass Strait and around Tasmania.

BP aims to begin exploratory drilling in October and has a $US750m harsh environment, semi-­submersible oil drilling rig nearly completed in South Korea and ready to ship to the Bight.

The Senate has a fortnight to investigate but given the looming federal election, it is feasible the Senate may not finish the task. The inquiry terms of reference call for an assessment of the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of BP’s plans, including the risks of something going wrong.

Submissions to the inquiry ­include local councils and fishing groups. The city of Victor Harbor thinks the risk of an oil spill within the Bight may be low but the ­consequences potentially catastrophic. It points out that the Bight is a pristine environment and a critical sanctuary for many threatened species that support two significant industries: fishing and tourism.

The South Australian Oyster Growers Association says it does not want to block potentially beneficial oil projects for the Eyre Peninsula and South Australia. But drilling for oil does pose a “significant risk to the currently pristine unpolluted environment and the image of this”.

“These are the features that our reputation and credentials in the marketplace are based upon, and have taken decades to ­establish and promote,” the association says.

Then there’s damning evidence by the world’s foremost engineering disaster expert, Bob Bea. Bea, nicknamed the “Master of Disaster”, criticises BP, saying there is not “sufficient information to determine if BP has properly ­assessed the risks”.

“The information that has been presented indicates that BP has apparently integrated the key ­aspects of what has been learned about drilling in high-risk environments,” Bea says. “However, the information is not available to ­determine if BP has properly assessed and managed the risks ­associated with an uncontrolled loss of well control.”

Bea, professor emeritus at the Centre for Catastrophic Risk Management, University of California-Berkeley, has worked for more than 55 years on offshore oil and gas industry operations in 72 countries.

The American ­Society of Mechanical Engineers journal says: “If Robert Bea turns up on your project, it’s not a good sign. Either you’re in the middle of a major disaster or someone is worried enough to send out the ­nation’s foremost forensic engineer to take a look.”

The Wilderness Society says BP has admitted containment booms and skimmers will not work in the Bight and that the area is “right on the edge of” the reach of helicopters. But of major concern is the level of secrecy ­imposed by the government-­sanctioned ­appro­v­ing authority, which has all of the environmental powers of the federal government over the offshore exploration area including endangered and listed marine species.

The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority is an ­independent statutory authority that is the national regulator for health and safety, well integrity and environmental management for offshore oil and gas activities in Australian waters.

Green groups demand that BP release its environmental plan and that the federal government assemble an independent expert panel to look at oil drilling in the Bight. They claim NOPSEMA does not have necessary environmental expertise. “While we know the Bight is a pristine marine environment with at least 36 species of whales and dolphins, there is still much we don’t know as the GAB Research Project, which BP has partly funded, won’t report until mid-2017,” a Wilderness Society spokesman says.

The Wilderness Society is ­demanding a transparent process. “Instead, we have an Environment Minister who has handed off his responsibility to protect the environment to a poorly known regulator; one running a highly flawed and opaque process that fails to ensure the protection of our environment or properly assess the cumulative impacts of all potential oil development in the Great Australian Bight.”

BP is no doubt banking on the Senate inquiry falling victim to the electoral cycle. It wants to start drilling in October and the federal government has delegated the ­decision to its regulator.

In its own Senate submission, NOPSEMA says a final decision on the BP plans for the Bight is yet to be made. It notes that two statutory independent reviews found NOPSEMA to be a “robust, rigorous and competent regulator”.



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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Percentage of Americans Who Identify as 'Environmentalists' Down 36 Points Since 1991

A Gallup poll released on Friday shows that the number of Americans who identify as environmentalists has dropped 36 points, from 78 percent in 1991 to 42 percent in 2016. There has also been a decline in Americans expressing concern about environmental problems, such as pollution.

The Earth Day poll is conducted annually by Gallup. The polling firm cites the politicization of environmental issues as one possible reason for the decline, highlighting the growing partisan gap in those who identify as environmentalists.

A large percentage of Americans (Republicans and Democrats) – 78 percent – considered themselves environmentalists in 1991. That number today is 42 percent.

Also, only 27 percent of Republicans identify as environmentalists, compared with 56 percent of Democrats, a partisan gap of 29 percentage points.

However, Gallup notes the “broader decline in personal environmentalism at the same time that the environment has turned into more of a Democratic than Republican issue,” citing the large decline in Democrats who consider themselves environmentalists -- 56 percent today versus 78 percent 25 years ago.

Gallup also notes a decline in Americans’ concern over environmental problems, such as air pollution and pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Concern over polluted drinking water is down from 65 percent in 1989-1990 to 61 percent today.

Concern over air pollution is down from 61 percent to just 43 percent today.

While concern over climate change has risen slightly (from 33 percent to 37 percent) since 1990, Gallup notes that, “on a relative basis, global warming is still of less concern than most of the other problems.”

Gallup’s poll results are based on telephone interviews conducted March 2-6, 2016, with a random sample of 1,019 adults, aged 18 and older.


Global warming hits a British spring

EVERYTHING is caused by global warming

Snow and sleet has fallen in many parts of the UK as temperatures struggle to get into double figures with the prospect of a Spring-like May a long way off.

Despite the time of year, forecasters are warning the unsettled picture will continue for much of the week with freezing conditions in many parts.

Thunder, lightning and sleet showers are expected with some in northern areas witnessing heavy snowfall, including on the North Yorkshire Moors and parts of Scotland.

The blizzard seen all over the UK were reminiscent of the bizarre scenes on the very same day 35 years ago, when snowstorms hit the British spring.

Cars were buried on the roads as the nation was blanketed in a thick layer of snow on April 26 1981, which saw the worst blizzards for that time of year in a century.

Yesterday's downfall was the latest widespread snow has been seen in the UK since May 6, 1997, when more than 200 weather stations recorded it.

Before that forecasters have to go back to April 27, 1985 when several London weather stations recorded sleet.

Snow even stopped play at The Oval cricket ground this afternoon as the south was dusted in the white stuff.

The type of snow flurry seen in London is known as 'thundersnow'. It is a phenomenon caused by heavy showers accompanied by lightning storms.

Forecasters think parts of Britain will be colder than Siberia and Greenland this week. There is a strong risk of hail showers throughout the country, with a chance of snow settling down to 200 metres.


Clearing the Air on Fossil Fuels

A few years ago, Hal Willis, a scientist from the University of California, Santa Barbara, resigned from the American Physical Society after 67 years as a member. Why? He cited the global warming/climate change issue and the blind allegiance to global warming theory by so many of the Society’s members, as well as the organization’s failure to challenge these members in the name of true scientific investigation. Moreover, he noted that billions of dollars of research funding is a major reason the practice of true science on climate change has been replaced by ideological advocacy.

Of the climate change issue Willis said, “It is the greatest pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a scientist.” His position has support from other scientists, among them Dr. Ivar Giaever, a 1973 Nobel Prize-Winner for physics.

Giaever joined more than 70 Nobel Science Laureates in signing an open letter in October 2008 expressing strong support for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, who had proclaimed that “no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.” Seven years later, Giaever believes Obama’s warning was a “ridiculous statement.” He told a Nobel forum last July, “I would say that basically global warming is a non-problem.”

Dr. Richard Lindzen is emeritus professor of Atmospheric Sciences at MIT. Citing the growing shrillness of the cries about “global warming” during his 30 years there, during which time he says “the climate has changed remarkably little,” he notes that the less the climate changes, the louder the warnings of climate catastrophe become.

In a recent video presentation for Prager University, Lindzen asserts that participants in the climate change debate fall into one of three groups:

Group One, he says, is associated with the scientific part of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Working Group 1), and are scientists that generally believe recent climate change is due to burning fossil fuels, which releases CO2 (carbon dioxide) and might eventually dangerously harm the planet.

Group Two is made up of scientists who, like Lindzen, don’t see the problem identified by Group One as an especially serious one. They say there are many reasons why the climate changes — the sun, clouds, oceans, the orbital variations of the Earth, as well as a myriad of other inputs, none of which are fully understood.

Group Three is made up of politicians, environmentalists and the media. Climate alarmism provides politicians money and power and environmentalists also get money as well as confirmation of their religious zealotry for the environment, while the issue satisfies the media’s need for a cause to support, money and headlines. As Lindzen put it, “Doomsday scenarios sell.”

From the climate alarmists' point of view, virtually every problem on Earth stems from climate change — as Lindzen said, “everything from acne to the Syrian civil war.”

The Director of the Center for Industrial Progress, and author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” Alex Epstein, shows us in another Prager University video presentation (complete with thorough sourcing for his assertions) that burning fossil fuels has improved the lives of millions in the developed world by helping solve their biggest environmental challenges, purified their water and air, made their cities and homes more sanitary and kept them safe from potential catastrophic climate change.

Could we have built reservoirs, purification plants, and laid networks of pipes to bring clean water to homes without fossil fuels, Epstein asks? Fossil fuels can do the same for those in the developing world, if the powers that be will allow it. More fossil fuel use equals more clean water.

Epstein further shows that despite an increase in fossil fuel use from 1.5 billion tons in 1970 to around 2.0 billion tons in 2010, emissions dropped from about 300 million tons to about 150 million tons during the same period. This resulted from using anti-pollution technology powered by … fossil fuels.

If CO2 emissions cause harmful changes in the environment, and if emissions have increased, then more people must be suffering “climate-related deaths,” due to things like droughts, floods, storms and extreme temperatures. But no, Epstein said. “In the last 80 years, as CO2 emissions have rapidly escalated, the annual rate of climate-related deaths worldwide has rapidly declined — by 98%.”

“In sum,” Epstein said, “fossil fuels don’t take a naturally safe environment and make it dangerous; they empower us to take a naturally dangerous environment and make it cleaner and safer.”

That understanding gets to the heart of the disagreement.

A large segment of the public has bought into the “we are killing our environment” idea put forth by the climate alarmists, and they now meekly accept it when the United Nations and their own governments advocate harmful solutions to climate change, ignoring the mounting pile of contrary data. Consequently, the economic damage done to regions of the U.S. and the thousands of American workers put in the unemployment line by the foolish policies of the Obama administration basically are considered necessary collateral damage.

A strong case has been made that fossil fuels aren’t significantly harmful, and that they have been and will be extraordinarily helpful to the people of the world, if only we will listen.


Sierra Club's Next Target Is Natural Gas

The Sierra Club has relentlessly, tirelessly and now successfully worked to smother the coal industry. Consequently, the effects are being felt in the form of higher energy bills. But if the Sierra Club gets its way, prices at the pump could also skyrocket. And it’s all thanks to the ecofascist group’s unnecessary disinformation campaign that’s now looking to quell hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).

Lena Moffitt, the director of Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign, tells S&P Global Market Intelligence, “We have moved to a very clear and firm and vehement position of opposing gas. Our board recently passed a policy that we oppose any new gas-fired power plants. We also have a policy opposing fracking on our books.” She added, “We are doing everything we can to bring the same expertise that we brought to taking down the coal industry and coal-fired power in this country to taking on gas in the same way.”

“That’s an amazing admission,” says Investor’s Business Daily, “given that natural gas is a clean-burning fuel that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and real pollutants, too. There have been no reported cases of water contamination from fracking technology, as even the Obama administration has admitted.” Not to mention “the idea that America will be 100% reliant on green energy is a deeply delusional and dangerous fantasy. Even after more than $100 billion in government subsidies over the past decade, wind and solar power are so expensive and unworkable that they account for less than 4% of our energy supply. Is America really expected to give up on the other 96%?”

It’s eerily demonstrative of what Rick Moran recently wrote concerning Sanders' climate proposition: “His policies are not designed to deal with energy as much as they’re supposed to impoverish us by reducing output for reasons having nothing to do with generating electricity or fueling our cars.”

Democrats once loved natural gas. As recently as 2012, the Obama administration welcomed a future replete with liquefied natural gas. But behind all the Democrats' philandering is a strategic ruse. Columnist John Goodman makes an important insight when he writes, “We naturally assume that that public policy advocates actually want to achieve the things they advocate. But there are a lot of people both on the right and the left — but especially on the left — for whom that probably isn’t true. … Causes are vehicles to money and power.” Take away the cause, and “the donations would dry up. The jobs would go away. The research grants would vanish.”

Today, Democrats claim to hate natural gas. That’s probably because their prerogative isn’t to solve anything — rather it’s to keep the issues alive and milk them for all their political worth.


Victim of AGs’ Climate Change Inquisition Fights Back

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has launched a fierce counter-attack against Claude Walker, the attorney general for the Virgin Islands, who recently served a subpoena on CEI demanding documents related to CEI’s research on global “climate change.”

On April 20, CEI’s attorney, Andrew Grossman, filed a long and extensive objection to the subpoena and made it clear that CEI will not comply with it. Grossman, a lawyer at BakerHostetler and co-founder of the Free Speech in Science Project, told Walker in his cover letter that the attorney general’s legal action targeting CEI is “a blatant attempt to intimidate and harass an organization for advancing views that you oppose.”

The only reason to try to force CEI to turn over its internal research and documents on this issue is “to punish [CEI] for its public policy views, chill its associations, and silence its advocacy.”

Grossman cites Walker’s own statements at the press conference held by AGs United for Clean Power on March 29 to show that Walker launched this investigation to achieve political ends, not “carry out any law enforcement duty.”

Walker said his investigation was intended to “make it clear to our residents as well as the American people that we have to do something transformational” about climate change, stop “rely[ing] on fossil fuels,” and “look at reliable energy.” As Grossman says, Walker is entitled to his opinions on public policy, but Walker doesn’t have a right to wield his “power as a prosecutor to advance a policy agenda by persecuting those who disagree with” Walker.

The objection filed by Grossman on behalf of CEI not only points out the constitutional problems with Walker’s investigation, but some crucial procedural mistakes made by Walker. For example, Walker didn’t actually get a court in the Virgin Islands to issue the subpoena; he simply issued it himself.

Subpoenas that are not issued by a “court of record” and that are not part of a “pending judicial action” cannot be domesticated in another jurisdiction like the District of Columbia where CEI is located and was served with the subpoena. This is the type of basic error that one might expect from a young law firm associate, not the attorney general of a U.S. protectorate.

But more fundamentally, CEI is objecting on First Amendment grounds, citing to court cases prohibiting the compelled disclosure of the type of information and documents that Walker is trying to obtain. Grossman claims that the subpoena “violates the First Amendment because it constitutes an attempt to silence and intimidate, as well as retaliate against, speech espousing a particular viewpoint with which the Attorney General disagrees.”

CEI asserts that the subpoena is also “invalid because the underlying investigation is pretextual, is being undertaken in bad faith, is intended as a fishing expedition, and is in support of an investigation of charges that have no likelihood of success.”

In what may be a sign of the involvement of the plaintiffs’ bar in pushing these climate change persecutions in the same way it helped instigate the massive tobacco industry litigation, CEI says the subpoena is invalid and violates the Fifth and 14th Amendments because Walker has delegated “investigative and prosecutorial authority to private parties.”

CEI is referring to the fact that Walker’s subpoena was handled by a private law firm in Washington, D.C., Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, which has been called one of the “most feared plaintiffs’ firms” in the country. The firm itself brags about being the “most effective law firm in the United States for lawsuits with a strong social and political component” (emphasis added).

CEI says that Walker’s investigation “could result in penalties available only to government prosecutors.” Thus, delegating “investigative and prosecutorial authority to a private attorney, Ms. Linda Singer, and a private law firm, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, that are most likely being compensated on a contingency-fee basis, violates due process of law.”

That raises a very interesting question about “AGs United for Clean Power”—are they hiring private firms like Cohen Milstein on a contingency basis to target climate change deniers?

CEI’s objection also claims that Walker, Singer, and the Cohen Milstein firm may be subject to sanctions for violating a local court rule in the District of Columbia that required them to “take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense” on CEI, and that this broad, burdensome subpoena “plainly violates that duty given its facial invalidity, astonishing overbreadth, and evident purpose of imposing unwarranted and illegitimate burdens on CEI and CEI’s exercise of its constitutional rights.”

CEI says that Walker, Singer, and the firm “violated their ethical obligations” under a D.C. Bar Rule that prohibits an attorney from “knowingly us[ing] methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of” a third party.

CEI’s attorney concludes his letter to Walker by calling him (and all of the other attorneys general involved in this climate change cartel) out in very plain spoken terms: "Your demand on CEI is offensive, it is un-American, it is unlawful, and it will not stand"

He gives Walker a warning and a choice: “You can either withdraw [the subpoena] or expect to fight … the law does not allow government officials to violate Americans’ civil rights with impunity.”


Some news from Scotland


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


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Biodegradable bags aren’t better than regular plastic bags, Australian report finds

CONSUMERS like to believe we’re doing the right thing for the environment. Purchasing plastic bags or coffee cups marked “biodegradable”, “compostable” or even plain old “environmentally friendly”, helps us sleep better at night.

But a new Senate inquiry into the threat of marine plastic pollution in Australia has found that “biodegradable” plastic bags are just as bad as regular plastic bags.

“While consumers might feel they are ‘doing the right thing’ by choosing biodegradable or degradable plastic, these products simply disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces to become microplastic,” read the report based on the senate’s findings.

“The committee also notes that there is some community confusion regarding the differences between biodegradable, degradable plastic, compostable and traditional plastic.

“The committee strongly considers that education campaigns are required to ensure consumers make informed choices about the alternatives to traditional plastics being offered.”

Normal plastic bags are usually made from petroleum, while biodegradable bags are made from plant or organic material which can decompose much faster.

But UNSW biodiversity expert Mark Browne, one of several scientists who made submissions to the inquiry, says the biodegradable material has the “same level of environmental impact” as that in regular plastic bags.

“These pieces of microplastic can be ingested or inhaled by animals,” Mr Browne told “They can enter their lungs or guts and can transfer chemicals into the blood and surrounding tissues, which can affect how well they’re able to fight off infections.

“In plants, they can block the plant’s access to light, and plants need light to photosynthesise and produce food,” he said.
Plastic bags can kill marine life. Here a scuba diver swims over a discarded plastic bag tangled on a coral reef.

These microplastics can also affect how much food and water animals can consume. “The particles fill up the animals’ guts and they’re not able to consume as much water or food. They may die from dehydration or starvation or being infected because their immune systems have been reduced,” Mr Browne said.

“The public is buying or using these bags thinking that they’re a quick fix, but there is not enough testing to prove they’re safe.”

Clean Up Australia managing director Terrie Ann Johnson told the inquiry marine plastic pollution is a growing global threat to biodiversity. “[It’s already having a devastating impact on the Australian environment with significant potential to disrupt our lifestyle and lead to substantial economic loss,” she wrote in a submission.

Ms Johnson said it was a common misconception that marine debris and plastic pollution in Australia is a result of international pollution, or waste generated “at sea”.

According to the CSIRO, around 75 per cent of our marine debris is generated by Australian people, “not the high seas, with debris concentrated near cities”.


Earth Day Anniversary and the Balance of Nature Myth

The balance of nature theory, that nature without the influence of human beings is in harmony, is a myth. But in the wake of environmental disaster, it can be especially compelling. Case in point: the 1969 Santa Barbara, California oil spill, which saw images of oil-coated seabirds and poisoned seals and dolphins splattered on American television. The urge to do something to prevent similar catastrophes sparked unprecedented participation at the grassroots level, and a year later, on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans celebrated the first Earth Day, marking the birth of the modern environmental movement. Soon thereafter, Congress codified the movement by passing the Clean Water Act (1972), the Clean Air Act (1973), and the Endangered Species Act (1973).

In nearly fifty years since that first Earth Day, U.S. environmental policy has been built on the assumption that nature returns to a state of harmony and balance when humans leave it undisturbed. But for all its appeal, the balance of nature theory is supported by neither historical nor ecological evidence, and most ecologists have not subscribed to it for decades.

There is no reason to believe that the Earth would be desolate in our absence, but that surely does not mean that Earth would be better off without us. Though it is commonly assumed that human beings are distinct from nature, the reality is that Homo sapiens is the result of the same natural selection process that resulted in everything else that we call nature. Far from being separate from nature, we are part of it.

If true, the balance of nature theory would indicate that the healthiest ecosystems are those that, undisturbed by humans, arrive at a climax ecology and change little from that state. Natural history does not support this claim. Rather, disturbance and change, not balance and harmony, best describe nature. To offer but one obvious example, four of the five historical mass extinctions were the result of natural causes, not human activity.

The process of survival has never been a harmonious one. Individual organisms, even entire species, that are unable to compete are ruthlessly weeded out by natural selection. Those that are adept at navigating changes in their environment survive.

When based on the evidence of natural history and ecological science, environmental regulation is one method of addressing pollution concerns. The politics of policy-making, however, mean that legislation can be heavily influenced by the mistaken assumptions of radical environmental groups, which results in inherently flawed legislation. T he balance of nature theory is particularly damaging when used as justification for environmental policy. When emotion and environmental mysticism, instead of historical evidence and ecological science, hold sway over policymakers, poor policy is the inevitable result.

This April 22 is the 46th celebration of Earth Day. It is an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of U.S. environmental policy since the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969 and the first Earth Day in 1970. The idea that nature does best when we leave it alone is tempting, especially after the tragedy of human-caused environmental disasters. Despite its appeal, though, the balance of nature theory is a poor foundation upon which to build good environmental policy. Scientists have abandoned it, and it is about time legislators do the same.


The 'Settled' Consensus Du Jour

Authoritarianism, always latent in progressivism, is becoming explicit. Progressivism’s determination to regulate thought by regulating speech is apparent in the campaign by 16 states' attorneys general and those of the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, none Republican, to criminalize skepticism about the supposedly “settled” conclusions of climate science.

Four core tenets of progressivism are: First, history has a destination. Second, progressives uniquely discern it. (Barack Obama frequently declares things to be on or opposed to “the right side of history.”) Third, politics should be democratic but peripheral to governance, which is the responsibility of experts scientifically administering the regulatory state. Fourth, enlightened progressives should enforce limits on speech (witness IRS suppression of conservative advocacy groups) in order to prevent thinking unhelpful to history’s progressive unfolding.

Progressivism is already enforced on campuses by restrictions on speech that might produce what progressives consider retrograde intellectual diversity. Now, from the so-called party of science, aka Democrats, comes a campaign to criminalize debate about science.

“The debate is settled,” says Obama. “Climate change is a fact.” Indeed. The epithet “climate change deniers,” obviously coined to stigmatize skeptics as akin to Holocaust deniers, is designed to obscure something obvious: Of course the climate is changing; it never is not changing — neither before nor after the Medieval Warm Period (end of the 9th century to the 13th) and the Little Ice Age (1640s to 1690s), neither of which was caused by fossil fuels.

Today, debatable questions include: To what extent is human activity contributing to climate change? Are climate change models, many of which have generated projections refuted by events, suddenly reliable enough to predict the trajectory of change? Is change necessarily ominous because today’s climate is necessarily optimum? Are the costs, in money expended and freedom curtailed, of combating climate change less than the cost of adapting to it?

But these questions may not forever be debatable. The initial target of Democratic “scientific” silencers is ExxonMobil, which they hope to demonstrate misled investors and the public about climate change. There is, however, no limiting principle to restrain unprincipled people from punishing research entities, advocacy groups and individuals.

But it is difficult to establish what constitutes culpable “misleading” about climate science, of which a 2001 National Academy of Sciences report says: “Because there is considerable uncertainty in current understanding of how the climate system varies naturally and reacts to emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, current estimates of the magnitude of future warming should be regarded as tentative and subject to future adjustments (either upward or downward).” Did Al Gore “mislead” when he said seven years ago that computer modeling projected the Arctic to be ice-free during the summer in as few as five years?

The attorney general of the Virgin Islands accuses ExxonMobil with criminal misrepresentation regarding climate change. This, even though before the U.S. government in 2009 first issued an endangerment finding regarding greenhouse gases, ExxonMobil favored a carbon tax to mitigate climate consequences of those gases. This grandstanding attorney general’s contribution to today’s gangster government is the use of law enforcement tools to pursue political goals — wielding prosecutorial weapons to chill debate, including subpoenaing private donor information from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington think tank.

The party of science, busy protecting science from scrutiny, has forgotten Karl Popper (1902-1994), the philosopher whose “The Open Society and Its Enemies” warned against people incapable of distinguishing between certainty and certitude. In his essay “Science as Falsification,” Popper explains why “the criterion of a scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability.” America’s party of science seems eager to insulate its scientific theories from the possibility of refutation.

The leader of the attorneys general, New York’s Eric Schneiderman, dismisses those who disagree with him as “morally vacant.” His moral content is apparent in his campaign to ban fantasy sports gambling because it competes with the gambling (state lottery, casinos, off-track betting) that enriches his government.

Then there is Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who suggests using the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, written to fight organized crime, to criminalize what he calls the fossil fuel industry’s “climate denial apparatus.” The Justice Department, which has abetted the IRS cover-up of its criminal activity, has referred this idea to the FBI.

These garden-variety authoritarians are eager to regulate us into conformity with the “settled” consensus du jour, whatever it is. But they are progressives, so it is for our own good.


Most Americans Enjoy Global Warming Trend

Environmental concerns don’t exactly rank near the top of most Americans' worries. There are a few reasons for that. One is because there are far more urgent problems to deal with — like how to mitigate terrorism and kick-start the still-anemic economy. Junk science also has a lot to do with it. But another reason could be that most Americans actually enjoy the effects of global warming. (Imagine that!) In a new study published in the journal Nature, New York University’s Patrick J. Egan and Duke University’s Megan Mullin write:

“Using previous research on how weather affects local population growth to develop an index of people’s weather preferences, we find that 80% of Americans live in counties that are experiencing more pleasant weather than they did four decades ago. Virtually all Americans are now experiencing the much milder winters that they typically prefer, and these mild winters have not been offset by markedly more uncomfortable summers or other negative changes.”

Still, the authors say to enjoy the pleasant environment while it lasts. “Climate change models predict that this trend is temporary, however, because US summers will eventually warm more than winters,” they add. “Under a scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions proceed at an unabated rate (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5), we estimate that 88% of the US public will experience weather at the end of the century that is less preferable than weather in the recent past. Our results have implications for the public’s understanding of the climate change problem, which is shaped in part by experiences with local weather.”

But if past climate models were right, the Arctic should be ice-free by now and its subsequent effects would be destroying the world. Of course, we already knew that a warmer climate is far more efficient than a cold one, and is therefore more beneficial to society. Plants, after all, could not survive without CO2, and studies show that plants thrive when more CO2 is in the air. That’s why even if global warming is causing some unwanted effects, a better response is to adapt rather than engage in a futile attempt to reverse it. If we really want to celebrate Earth Day and usher in a greener world, let’s stop trying to choke off its food supply — CO2.


Earth Day’s anti-fossil fuel focus could plunge millions into green energy poverty

Friday, April 22, marked the 47th Earth Day. You may think it is all about planting trees and cleaning up neighborhoods. But this year’s anniversary was closer to its radical roots than, perhaps, any other since its founding in 1970. Considered the birth of the environmental movement, the first Earth Day took place during the height of America’s counterculture era. According to, it gave voice to an “emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns on the front page.”

We did need to clean up our act. At that time “littering” wasn’t part of our vocabulary, The air in the Southern California valley where I grew up was often so thick with smog we couldn’t see the surrounding mountains.

Thankfully, that has changed.

Look around your community. You’ll likely see green trees, blue skies, and bodies of water sparkling in the sunshine. With the success of the environmental movement, its supporters, and the nonprofit groups it spawned, had to become ever more radical to stay relevant.

Environmentalism has changed.

The morphing of the movement may be most evident in Earth Day 2016 — which some are calling “the most important Earth Day in history.”

This year, on April 22, in a high-level celebration at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the Paris Climate Agreement will officially be signed. Thirty days after its signing by at least 55 countries that represent 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the agreement will take effect — committing countries to establishing individual targets for emission reductions with the expectation that they will be reviewed and updated every five years.

While news reports of Earth Day 2016 will likely depict dancing in the streets, those who can look past the headlines will see a dire picture — one in which more than 10 percent of a household’s income is spent on energy costs; one of “green energy poverty.”

To meet the non-binding commitments President Obama made last December in Paris, he is counting on, among many domestic regulations, the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

Last week, on the Senate floor, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered remarks in advance of Earth Day on the unattainability of the U.S. climate commitments. He said: “The Clean Power Plan is the centerpiece of the president’s promise to the international community that the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent.” It would “cause double digit electricity price increases in 40 states” and “would prevent struggling communities from accessing reliable and affordable fuel sources, which could eventually lead to poor families choosing between putting healthy food on the table or turning their heater on in the winter.”

The Heritage Foundation has just released a report on the devastating economic costs of the Paris Climate Agreement, which it calls “a push for un-development for the industrialized world and a major obstacle for growth for the developing world.” Because global warming regulations “stifle the use of the most efficient and inexpensive forms of electricity, businesses as well as households will incur higher electricity costs.” The report concludes: “restricting energy production to meet targets like those of the Paris agreement will significantly harm the U.S. economy. Bureaucratically administered mandates, taxes, and special interest subsidies will drive family incomes down by thousands of dollars per year, drive up energy costs, and eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs. All of these costs would be incurred to achieve only trivial and theoretical impacts on global warming.”

Real world experience bears out the both Inhofe’s observations and the Heritage Foundation’s conclusions.

Germany is one of the best examples of green energy poverty as the country has some of the most aggressive greenhouse gas reduction programs that offer generous subsidies for any company producing green energy. Based on an extensive study done by green energy believers in 2014, I addressed the program’s overall result: raised costs and raised emissions. I stated: “After reading the entire 80-page white paper, I was struck with three distinct observations. The German experiment has raised energy costs to households and business, the subsidies are unsustainable, and, as a result, without intervention, the energy supply is unstable.” At that time, I concluded: “The high prices disproportionately hurt the poor, giving birth to the new phrase: ‘energy poverty.’”

More recently, others have come to the same conclusion (read here and here). On April 13, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opined: “Germany’s 16-year-old Energiewende, or energy transformation, already has wrecked the country’s energy market in its quest to wean the economy off fossil fuels and nuclear power. Traditional power plants, including those that burn cleaner gas, have been closing left and right while soaring electricity prices push industries overseas and bankrupt households. Job losses run to the tens of thousands.” Meanwhile, emissions over the past seven years have increased. Last month, Mike Shellenberger, President, Environmental Progress and Time magazine “Hero of the Environment,” tweeted: “people really want to believe good things about Germany’s energy shift, but … its emissions rose.” WSJ concludes: “The market distortions caused by overreliance on expensive but undependable power already have pushed German utilities to rely more on cheap and dirty coal-fired power plants to make up the shortfall when renewable sources can’t meet demand.”

Germany is not alone.

The U.K., according to Reuters, is facing “fuel poverty.” The report states: “The government is also under pressure to curb rising energy bills with 2.3 million of Britain’s 27 million households deemed fuel poor, meaning the cost of heating their homes leaves them with income below the poverty line.” Another account covers the U.K.’s cuts to solar subsidies, saying: “The government says the changes were necessary to protect bill payers, as the solar incentives are levied on household energy bills.”

The Netherlands, which is already behind in meeting its green energy targets, has, according to the Washington Post, had to build three new coal-fueled power plants—in part, at least, to power the high percentage of electric cars. Additionally, the country has hundreds of wind turbines that are operating at a loss and are in danger of being demolished. A report states: “Subsidies for generating wind energy are in many cases no longer cost-effective. Smaller, older windmills in particular are running at a loss, but even newer mills are struggling to be profitable with insufficient subsidies.”

Bringing it closer to home, there is über-green California—where billionaire activist Tom Steyer aggressively pushes green energy policies. Headlines tout California has the most expensive market for retail gasoline nationwide. But, according to the Institute for Energy Research, it also has some of the highest electricity prices in the country—“about 40 percent higher than the national average.” A 2012 report from the Manhattan Institute, states that about one million California households were living in “energy poverty”—with Latinos and African Americans being the hardest hit. With the Golden State’s headlong rush toward lower carbon-dioxide emissions and greater use of renewables, the energy poverty figure is surely much higher today.

This week, as you hear commentators celebrate “the most important Earth Day in history” and the global significance of the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, remember the result of policies similar to CPP: green energy poverty. Use these stories (there are many more) to talk to your friends. Make this “Green Energy Poverty Week” and share it: #GEPW.

We, however, do not need to be doomed to green energy poverty. There is some good news.

First, the Paris Climate Agreement is non-binding. Even Todd Stern, U.S. climate envoy, acknowledged in the Huffington Post: “What Paris does is put in place a structure that will encourage countries to increase their targets every five years.” While the requisite number of countries will likely sign it before the election of the next president, the only enforcement mechanism is political shaming. Even if it was legally binding, as was the Koyto Protocol, Reason Magazine points out what happened to countries, like Canada and Japan, which “violated their solemn treaty obligations”—NOTHING. The Heritage report adds: “History, however, gives little confidence that such compliance will even occur. For instance, China is building 350 coal-fired power plants, and has plans for another 800.”

Then there is the legal delay to the implementation of the CPP—which, thanks to a Supreme Court decision earlier this year, will be tied up in courts for at least the next two years. Inhofe stated: “Without the central component of (Obama’s) international climate agenda, achieving the promises made in Paris are mere pipe dreams.”

“President Obama’s climate pledge is unobtainable and it stands no chance of succeeding in the United States,” Inhofe said. “For the sake of the economic well-being of America, that’s a good thing.”


The Green War Against the Working Class

There was a time in America—and it wasn’t even so long ago—that liberals actually cared about working class people. They may have been misguided in many of their policy solutions (i.e., raising the minimum wage) but at least their heart was in the right place.

Then a strange thing happened about a decade ago. The radical leftwing environmentalists took control. These are people who care more about the supposed rise of the oceans than the financial survival of the middle class. The industrial unions made a catastrophic decision to get in bed with these radicals and now they—and all of us—are paying a heavy price.

The latest evidence came last week when another coal giant in America, Peabody Energy Corp., declared bankruptcy. This is the same fate suffered by Arch Coal Inc., Alpha Natural Resources Inc., and other coal producers that have filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors.

Peabody has stated that the lower cost of natural gas may have been a factor in their decline, and I am all for market competition, but this isn’t a result of free market creative destruction. This was largely a policy strategy by the White House and green groups.

They wanted this to happen. This was what Clean Power Plant rules from the Environmental Protection Agency were all about.

The EPA set standards by design that were impossible to meet and even flouted the law that says the regulations should be “commercially achievable.” This was a key component of the climate change fanaticism that pervades this White House.

Ideas have consequences. Obama has succeeded in decimating whole towns dependent on coal—in Wyoming, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

Progressive liberals don’t seem to care that an estimated 31,000 coal miners, truckers, engineers, construction workers and others have lost their job since 2009 as a result of this global warming fanaticism. Another 5,000 or so could be given pink slips at Peabody.

To the left, the families whose lives are ruined are collateral damage to achieve their utopian dream of saving the planet. The Stalinists who now run the green movement believe the ends justify the ruthless means.

Investors have gotten crushed too as a result of coal’s demise. The coal industry has lost tens of billions of dollars in stock value since 2009—with many of these losses in union pension funds and 401k plans.

What is maddening about all of this is that coal is much cleaner than ever before. EPA statistics show that emissions of sulfer, lead, carbon monoxide, and smog from coal plants have been reduced by 50 to 90 percent in the last 40 years.

(The air we breathe is cleaner than ever. Carbon dioxide, by the way, is not a pollutant—it doesn’t make you sick.)

Global warming fanatics should ask themselves what they are accomplishing. For every coal plant we shut down, China and India build another 10 or so. Our coal is much cleaner and our environmental laws much stricter than China’s and India’s, so this shift of output and jobs from the U.S. to our rivals succeeds in making us poorer and the planet dirtier.

America is the Saudi Arabia of coal. We have an estimated 500-year supply. So for economic and ecological reasons, we should want American coal to dominate the world market, but the mindless environmentalists’ rallying cry is: “Keep it in the ground.”

Do liberals care that the demise of coal could lead to major disruptions in America’s electric power supply?

Coal still supplies more than one-third of our electricity, because it is cheap and highly reliable—much more so than wind and solar energy. Perhaps the millennials will realize their mistake when they won’t be able to power up their PlayStation 4s, their iPhones, and their laptops.

Republicans in Congress aren’t blameless here. They have controlled the House for five years and both chambers since 2015. But they have sat by while the EPA destroys an iconic American industry.

Why has Congress not overruled EPA rules on carbon, which is not a pollutant? Every poll shows Americans care most about jobs and the economy—and only about 3 percent care most about climate change. Yet, they refuse to stand up to Obama and take the side of the American worker.

It’s not too late to revive American coal, but that strategy starts with putting jobs first. I thought that’s what both parties have been promising.



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


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The greatest false prophets of all time

Organic Fertilizer Is Great at Killing Bees

There have been huge Greenie panics about recurrent deaths among bees. They are all sure that modern insecticide and fertilizer usage is the cause.  But could it be that "organic" farming is the real culprit?

A given of the organic agriculture movement is that organic growers don’t use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, like organophosphates and glyphosate (RoundUp). All that fear-mongering about pesticides is only possible because environmental groups only test for the synthetic kind, they don’t test for the pesticides and fertilizers used by organic growers.

Because those are safer? Absolutely not.

In the Journal of Economic Entomology, Brazilian scientists studied the effects of copper sulfate, a fertilizer and pesticide that is approved in the U.S. for use in organic agriculture and applied to the leaves of crop plants. Obviously the smarter approach is to treat seeds instead of using a broad spectrum pesticide, and that is the premise behind neonicotinoids, which environmental groups also protest — by treating seeds, which bees have no interest in, rather than plants, which bees do have an interest in, farmers get better yields with less environmental impact.

So why do organic farmers insist on carpet-bombing plants with chemicals instead? The science is clearly against them, so it’s for psychologists to figure out. The new paper adds to the literature showing that a targeted approach is just better, not just for honeybees, but also for stingless bees (Friesella schrottkyi), which are native to the Americas and not an introduced species like the honeybee. They are known to pollinate crop plants.

What did they find? The organic pesticide approach is incredibly toxic for bees.

The investigators compared the effects of copper sulfate and another leaf fertilizer mixture, as well as a commonly used insecticide (spinosad) on the stingless bees. They found that the copper sulfate was more lethal to the bees than the insecticide when the insects ingested it in a sugar solution.

They wrote: “[L]eaf fertilizers seem to deserve attention and concern regarding their potential impact on native pollinators, notably Neotropical stingless bees such as F. schrottkyi. Their heavy metal content is above the safety threshold for the stingless bee species studied, which may also be the case for related species. Furthermore, the mix of heavy metals in some leaf fertilizers and the presence of S[ulfur] and sometimes B[oron] may increase their risks. In sum, leaf fertilizers deserve proper risk assessment because of the isolated and mixed use of heavy metals in such fertilizers.”

So, the next time you read organic marketing claims about how synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are dangerous, be a little more skeptical. When they are applied by spray, there’s really no reason to distinguish between the two types.


A good reminder that Warmist climate predictions are all totally dependant on heroic assumptions about "feedbacks"

But the feedbacks are all highly theoretical and don't overall seem to work the way the Warmists say.  Video from 2013 by Dr. David M.W. Evans. Watch towards the end. It gets very interesting.

Sanders' Climate Policies Are Anything but Green

On Bernie Sanders' campaign website, he erroneously claims, “While fossil fuel companies are raking in record profits, climate change ravages our planet and our people — all because the wealthiest industry in the history of our planet has bribed politicians into ignoring science.” Yet ignoring science is exactly what he’s doing when he claims to have a magic formula for reversing global warming.

Writing in Foreign Policy, Keith Johnson and Molly O'Toole observe, “Fracking for natural gas has helped utilities mothball dirty coal plants. And nuclear power provides 20 percent of U.S. electricity — and all of it is emissions free. Both energy sources would be targeted by Sanders, yet very hard to replace.” Citing a study by the think tank Third Way, Johnson and O'Toole say “getting rid of nuclear power means U.S. carbon emissions would ‘go up dramatically,’ and in the worst-case scenario, could ‘wipe out a decade’s worth of progress’ and return U.S. carbon emissions to levels last seen in 2005. That’s because retired nuclear plants would almost always be replaced by natural gas or coal.”

Germany is a good example. While slowly weaning itself off of nuclear power, emissions are on the increase. As Rick Moran at PJMedia points out, “Today, solar power accounts for only one percent of the electric grid. Wind power is responsible for 5%. Despite tens of billions of dollars in grants and loans given to these ‘renewable’ energy companies over the last 8 years, nuclear power still generates more than twice the electricity as solar and wind put together. And Sanders wants to destroy the nuclear industry.” He adds that Sanders' ideals “are not designed to deal with energy as much as they’re supposed to impoverish us by reducing output for reasons having nothing to do with generating electricity or fueling our cars.” This is Socialism in a nutshell.


Climate Alarmists Alarmed Public No Longer Panicked About The Climate, Demand More Doomsday Headlines!

Climate science critics Dr. Sebastian Lüning and professor Fritz Vahrenholt present some findings that climate alarmists are not very amused over: Climate alarmism has waned and is no longer making any headlines.  The two co-authors of “The Neglected Sun” write at their site:

“People aren’t dumb. Climate alarmism just isn’t working. The public is fed up with the constant unending apocalypse, for which there are still no reliable indications. Gradually the alarm has been disappearing from the headlines.

Here the UN is getting very worried because with the help of climate panic they wish to justify huge finance transfers from the rich to the poor. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has expressed these concerns in a press release.

It is indeed absurd that the climate change is being hyped as the ‘greatest problem for humanity’ at a time when the world is currently suffering from rampant terrorism and migration crises.

What on earth is going through the heads of the climate romanticists? Do they not want to or are they just unable to see the reality? Is it all about money? Or power? Read the following from the IFAD press release April 6, 2016, which will leave you amazed:

‘Despite being “the biggest threat facing humanity” climate change and its impacts fail to make headlines, says IFAD study

Even as 60 million people around the world face severe hunger because of El Niño and millions more because of climate change, top European and American media outlets are neglecting to cover the issues as a top news item, says a new research report funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) today.

“It’s incredible that in a year when we have had record temperatures, 32 major droughts, and historic crop losses that media are not positioning climate change on their front pages,” said IFAD President, Kanayo F. Nwanze. “Climate change is the biggest threat facing our world today and how the media shape the narrative remains vitally important in pre-empting future crises.”

The report, “The Untold Story: Climate change sinks below the headlines” provides an analysis of the depth of media reporting around climate change in two distinct periods: two months before the 21st session of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, and two months after. Specifically, it explores whether issues connecting climate change, food security, agriculture and migration made headlines, and if so, how much prominence these stories were given.

Among some of its key findings:

* Climate change stories were either completely absent or their numbers decreased in major media outlets in Europe and the United States before and after COP21.

* Coverage on the consequences of climate change, such as migration, fell by half in the months after COP21 and people directly impacted by climate change rarely had a voice in stories or were not mentioned at all.

* News consumers want climate change issues and solutions to be given more prominence in media outlets and, in particular, want more information on the connections between climate change, food insecurity, conflict and migration.

The release of the report comes just days before world leaders gather at the United Nations in New York to sign off on the Paris Agreement coming out of COP21. In December, the agreement made headlines and led news bulletins across the globe. But leading up to COP21 and in the months following it, coverage on climate change significantly fell off the radar of major media outlets across Europe and the United States. […]


Smelling blood in the political water

Having destroyed US coal industry, Democrats and eco allies are now attacking all fossil fuels

Paul Driessen

The great white environmentalist sharks smell blood in the water. It’s gushing from mortally wounded US coal companies that the Obama EPA has gutted as sacrifices on the altar of “dangerous manmade climate change” prevention and other spurious health, ecological and planetary scares.

Peabody Energy, Arch Coal and other once vibrant coal producers have filed for Chapter 11 protection, shedding some $30 billion in shareholder value and tens of thousands of jobs in their companies and dependent industries. The bloodletting has left communities and states reeling, union pension funds and 401k plans empty, and the health, welfare, hopes and dreams of countless families dashed on the rocks.

President Obama promised to bankrupt coal companies with punitive regulations, and he kept his word.

Hydraulic fracturing did play a role. It made natural gas abundant and inexpensive, and gas-fueled power plants increasingly attractive for utilities that were forced to shutter modern coal-fired units that provided reliable, affordable power, emitted little harmful pollution, and had years of useful life remaining.

However, as economist Stephen Moore noted, coal’s demise wasn’t “a result of free market creative destruction. This was a policy strategy by the White House and green groups. They wanted this to happen.”

“This was what EPA’s Clean Power Plan rules were all about,” Moore adds. “The EPA set standards that by design were impossible to meet, and even flouted the law that says the regs should be ‘commercially achievable.’ This was a key component of the climate change fanaticism that pervades this White House.”

To this president, the EPA and the Left in general, he concludes, “the families whose lives are ruined are collateral damage to achieve their utopian dream of saving the planet.” It’s a Climate Hustle.

It is today’s equivalent of New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief and Stalin apologist Walter Duranty’s favorite line: “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.” But after tens of millions of broken human “eggs,” where are the communist and green utopia omelets?

40,000 elderly Europeans died this past winter, because they could no longer afford adequate wintertime heat, after EU climate policies sent electricity rates “necessarily skyrocketing” more than 40% since 1997. Millions die every year in Africa from lung, intestinal and other readily preventable diseases, while President Obama tells Africans they should forego fossil fuels and rely on wind, solar and biofuel power, because “if every one of you has got a car and … a big house, well, the planet will boil over.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama joined Chinese, Indian and other world leaders in signing the Paris climate treaty on Earth Day, ignoring the requirement for Senate ratification. The hypocrisy and insanity are boundless.

The treaty will obligate the United States and other developed nations to slash their fossil fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions and economic growth. China, India and other developing economies are under no such requirement, unless and until it is in their interest to do so. For them, compliance is voluntary – and it should be. They simply cannot afford to eliminate fuels that supply 85% of all global energy and are their ticket out of poverty and into the world of modern health and prosperity that we enjoy, thus far.

In fact, while unaccountable EPA bureaucrats are shutting down US coal-fired generators, these countries have built over 1,000 coal-fired power plants and plan to build 2,300 more – 1,400 gigawatts of new electricity. China and India account for 1,077 GW of this total. They are also lining up for free energy technology and billions of dollars a year from developed nations for climate change “reparations.”

That is why poor countries signed the Paris treaty. It has nothing to do with preventing climate change.

But none of this has stopped the environmentalist sharks from starting a fossil fuels feeding frenzy. The bloodied American coal companies have them churning the water, chomping for more. They’ve launched a “keep it in the ground” movement, to make hydrocarbons off limits forever.

In fact, environmentalism is morphing into an anti-hydrocarbons climate movement that claims every weather event and climate blip is unprecedented, a harbinger of Armageddon – and caused by our using oil, gas and coal to power modern civilization and improve human health and living standards.

Drexel University sociologist Robert Brulle tallies and 20 other climate coalitions, comprised of 467 separate organizations, just in the USA. Funded and directed by Rockefeller and other wealthy liberal foundations, they increasingly rail against “dangerous manmade climate change” as an “existential threat” to humanity and planet.

President Obama is totally onboard. His policy and regulatory agenda confirms that. So are Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and most of an increasingly far-Left Democrat Party.

Sanders flatly opposes all “fracking” and has introduced legislation to keep America’s abundant fossil fuels locked up in perpetuity. Clinton opposes all fossil fuel energy extraction from federal lands, wants to block fracking by imposing countless regulatory obstacles, and intends to make the United States 50% dependent on renewable energy by 2030. As president, they would achieve this by executive decree.

The consequences would be disastrous: enormous acreage, water, fertilizer, pesticides and fuel devoted to producing biofuel, millions of birds and bats butchered by wind turbines to generate electricity, millions of jobs lost, millions of families sent into fuel poverty as energy costs rocket upward. For what benefits?

The rest of the world will continue using hydrocarbons. That means, even assuming CO2 now drives Earth’s climate, ]implementing EPA’s draconian Clean Power Plan would keep average planetary temperatures from rising an undetectable 0.03 degrees Fahrenheit, and seas from rising an imperceptible 0.01 inches, by the end of the century. (Oceans have already risen 400 feet since the last nature-driven ice age ended and all those mile-high glaciers melted.)  See CFACT’s Climate Hustle movie on Monday!

The “keep it in the ground” crowd doesn’t care about this or the mounting death tolls resulting from their anti-fossil fuel policies. The typical voter or street protester probably hasn’t thought it through. But the leaders have. They’re just callously indifferent. It’s one more depressing example of “the well-intentioned but ill-informed being led around by the ill-intentioned but well-informed.”

Politicians, environmentalists, alarmist scientists and renewable energy industrialists have built a $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Crisis industry that gives them research grants, campaign cash, mandates, huge subsidies – and vast regulatory power to eliminate conventional energy; make electricity rates skyrocket; fundamentally transform economic systems; control lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties; and redistribute the world’s wealth. Poor, minority and working class families will suffer most.

The ruling elites don’t care. They will do well, travel often, keep their pensions and get still wealthier. Climate rules, deprivation and “sustainability” are for the Little People.

This entire system is based on the unproven bald assertion that fossil fuels are causing dangerous and unprecedented weather and climate disruption … carbon dioxide has replaced the complex natural forces that drove drive climate change in previous centuries … there is no longer any room for debate over these “facts” … and the only issue still open to discussion is what to do to avert “imminent catastrophe.”

We “skeptics” challenge these claims. We point out that Earth’s temperature, climate and weather have always changed in response to powerful natural forces, and differ little today from what they have been for the past 50-150 years. We say the problem is not climate change, but policies imposed in the name of preventing climate change. We threaten the Climate Crisis Establishment, and its money and power.

That’s why they want to shut us up and shut us down – by prosecuting us for “racketeering,” and denying us our constitutional rights to speak out about policies that affect our lives. It is a disgraceful, un-American return to Inquisition tactics and fascist book burnings.

We must all take a stand, fight back and assert our rights. Otherwise, our children face a grim future.

Via email

Inhofe: Obama’s Wrong. Climate Change Is Not Our Biggest Threat

Last year, Vox pressed the president on the matter, asking if he truly believes it is a greater threat than even terrorism. He responded by saying “absolutely,” and his press secretary Josh Earnest reaffirmed a day later saying unapologetically, “the threat of climate change is greater than the threat of terrorism.”

Just a few days after the administration’s remarks, the Islamic State beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in the Middle East and posted it on the Internet for all to see. While the president is busy pushing climate change as the most important issue among international elites, the Islamic State is working to recruit its newest members using such tactics as this.

Whether in San Bernardino, Brussels, London, Madrid, Paris, Israel, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Chad, Mali, Philippines, Australia, or across the globe, deadly and violent attacks by radical extremists are happening on a regular and increasing basis.

To suggest that rising temperature is the cause for these efforts is not only disingenuous, but also dangerous.

The objective of these acts of terror is to destroy Western way of life, extinguish religious minority groups, drive out vulnerable and poor populations, and suppress women and children’s freedom and participation in society. To suggest that rising temperature is the cause for these efforts is not only disingenuous, but also dangerous.

On April 13, I held a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to highlight the consequences of the Obama administration’s rhetoric that elevates the theory of man-driven climate change above the current threats our society is facing.

Retired Major Gen. Bob Scales provided an expert perspective on the tendency for liberals to compare climate change and war, saying that:

The administration’s passion to connect climate change and war is an example of faulty theories that rely on relevance of politically correct imaginings rather than established historical precedent or a learned understanding of war.

Gen. Scales went on to testify that the greater threat is the Obama administration’s syphoning off of defense dollars in order to pay for his climate change initiatives. The $120 billion spent by the Obama administration on climate change in the past seven years would have better served our national defense.

Instead the administration has put into motion $1 trillion in defense budget cuts while also using precious defense funds for wasteful green energy initiatives to include building biofuel refineries for the private sector—a job more suited for the Department of Energy.

Gen. Scales highlighted that as a result of this misprioritization of taxpayer dollars, our “soldiers and sailors today are bombarded by a series of global threats and diminishing resources. The additional distraction of focusing on climate change in the midst of all this is simply counterproductive.”

Today, the international community gathers once again in the name of climate change, this time in New York City to sign the Paris agreement. We will undoubtedly hear speech after speech about how today’s actions are necessary in order to save our children’s children from an imperiled future.

The U.N. is great at hyping up the legitimacy of photo-op diplomacy. But these actions are a distraction from the fact that climate change policies come at a high economic cost while having no actual impact on the climate change.

These actions are a distraction from the fact that climate change policies come at a high economic cost while having no actual impact on the climate change.

For the United States, the high profile distraction being led by Secretary of State John Kerry is meant to settle the concern among some international circles that President Obama will not be able to follow through on his emission reduction promises.

But these concerns are well founded, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s truly historic stay against his Clean Power Plan, which makes delivery of his 26 to 28 percent emission reduction promise wholly unrealistic.

It’s a shame the president and the U.N. will spend the day celebrating an agreement that has no legal weight and will ultimately fail just like the Kyoto Protocol.

Their time and our resources would have been better spent unifying the international community around a need to protect and defend our citizens from the real threat at the door step—radical Islamic extremism.



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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