Friday, June 30, 2017

EPA chief met with Dow CEO before reversing his agency’s push to ban a harmful pesticide

So what? Any evidence that something improper occurred? Suspicion proves nothing. Pruitt continued approval for something that had been used on a large scale without problems for many years.  Big deal!

AMERICA’S top environment official has refused to ban a dangerous pesticide after meeting the CEO whose company produces it.

THE Trump administration’s top environmental official met privately with the Australian chief executive of Dow Chemical shortly before reversing his agency’s push to ban a widely used pesticide after health studies showed it can harm children’s brains.

According to records obtained by The Associated Press, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s schedule shows he met with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris for about a half-hour on March 9 during a conference held at a Houston hotel.

Twenty days later, Mr Pruitt announced his decision to deny a petition to ban Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide from being sprayed on food, despite a review by his agency’s scientists that concluded ingesting even minuscule amounts of the chemical can interfere with the brain development of foetuses and infants.

In December, President Trump appointed 62-year-old Mr Liveris as head of an “American manufacturing council” tasked with bringing industry back to the US.

EPA released a copy of Mr Pruitt’s March meeting schedule earlier this month following several Freedom of Information Act requests.

Asked by the AP in April whether Mr Pruitt had meet with Dow executives or lobbyists before his decision, EPA spokesman J.P. Freire replied: “We have had no meetings with Dow on this topic.”

EPA did not respond this week to questions about what Mr Pruitt and Mr Liveris did discuss during their March 9 meeting, or whether the two had also met on other occasions.

Mr Liveris has close ties to the Trump administration. He heads a White House manufacturing working group, and Dow wrote a $US1 million ($1.3 million) cheque to help underwrite the president’s inaugural festivities.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has urged Mr Pruitt to take chlorpyrifos off the market.

The group representing more than 66,000 paediatricians and paediatric surgeons said on Tuesday it is “deeply alarmed” by Mr Pruitt’s decision to allow the pesticide’s continued use.

“There is a wealth of science demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing foetuses, infants, children, and pregnant women,” the academy said in a letter to Mr Pruitt. “The risk to infant and children’s health and development is unambiguous.”

The AP reported in April that Dow is lobbying the Trump administration to “set aside” the findings of federal scientists that organophosphate pesticides, including chlorpyrifos, are also harmful to about 1800 critically threatened or endangered species.

US farmers spray more than 2.7 million kilograms of chlorpyrifos each year on citrus fruits, apples, cherries and other crops, making it one of the most widely used pesticides in the world.

First developed as a chemical weapon prior to WWII, Dow has been selling chlorpyrifos as a pesticide since the mid-1960s.

It has been blamed for sickening dozens of farmworkers in recent years. Traces have been found in waterways, threatening fish, and experts say overuse could make targeted insects immune to the pesticide.

Under pressure from federal regulators over safety concerns, Dow withdrew chlorpyrifos for use as a home insecticide in 2000. EPA also placed “no-spray” buffer zones around sensitive sites, such as schools, in 2012.

But environmental and public health groups said those proposals don’t go far enough and filed a federal lawsuit seeking a national ban on the pesticide. In October 2015, the Obama administration proposed revoking the pesticide’s use in response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defence Council and Pesticide Action Network North America.

A risk assessment memo issued in November by nine EPA scientists concluded: “There is a breadth of information available on the potential adverse neurodevelopmental effects in infants and children as a result of prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos.”


Energy Secretary: Debate on Climate Change Should Center on How Much Man Impacts Climate and What to Do About It

Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Tuesday that he believes climate is changing and man is having an impact on it, but how much much effect that is and what the U.S. is going to do to affect that is up for debate.

During a White House press briefing on the president's energy policy, Perry was asked if he believes climate change is happening and that human activity has made it worse.

"Here’s what I believe -- and I’m pretty much on the record but I love getting the opportunity to talk about it again -- is the climate is changing.  Man is having an impact on it.  I’ve said that time after time. The idea that we can’t have an intellectual conversation about just what are the actual impacts," Perry said.

He pointed to former Obama administration Energy Undersecretary Steve Koonin, who has said that Obama administration officials spun scientific data to sway public opinion on climate change, as a reason why there should be a conversation about the issue.

“What you saw coming out of the press releases about climate data, climate analysis, was, I’d say, misleading, sometimes just wrong,” Koonin said, according to an April 24 article in the Daily Caller.

"I mean, as late as this last week, an undersecretary for the Obama administration, Steve Koonin -- he believes that we need to have a sit-down and have a conversation. That the data is not, from his perspective -- and obviously he was a good enough scientist to be asked by the Obama administration to come in and be an undersecretary at the DOE -- he doesn’t think that the science is settled. So why not have a conversation about that?" Perry asked.

"I mean, what is the other side?  The people who say the science is settled, it’s done -- if you don’t believe that you’re a skeptic, a Luddite.  I don’t buy that. I don’t think there is -- I mean, this is America.  Have a conversation. Let’s come out of the shadows of hiding behind your political statements and let’s talk about it. What’s wrong with that? And I’m full well -- I can be convinced, but let’s talk about it." Perry added.

"You said that you do believe that climate change is happening and you do believe that human activity is contributing to it. So the discussion you’re asking for is just what to do about it?" a reporter asked.

"Sure. Is that okay? I mean, don’t you think we ought to do that?" Perry asked.

When asked later in the briefing to clarify his stance on climate change, Perry said there needs to be a debate on how much man affects the climate and what to do about it.

"You are saying that climate change -- man has affected climate change, and that the discussion is about what we do with it, not whether or not we've affected it. So going forward, that’s resolved," a reporter asked.

"No, what I said was:  Climate is changing, always has. Man at this particular point of time is having effect on it. How much effect is what’s at debate here? And more importantly, what is the United States going to do to affect that? Are we going to sign an agreement with somebody that really doesn’t call anybody to making any changes? You look at that agreement and what China and what India are required to do and they’re nothing," Perry said about the Paris climate agreement.

"How many coal plants? Three hundred plus coal plants we built in India. So why would we sign on to an agreement that is not holding other people to account and asking us to give $3 billion? I mean, that’s the first ante, and the Trump administration said that’s nonsense. I agree with them it's nonsense," he added.

"Now, can we agree we ought to have a conversation as a people? Intellectually engaged, not screaming at each other, and not standing up in the middle of my speeches and saying you’re a climate denier, when the fact is, I just want to have a conversation about this," Perry said.

"Isn’t that what the scientists have done?" the reporter asked.

"No, they haven’t, because when you have a scientist like Steve Koonin who stands up and says the science isn’t settled yet, I can say, okay, well let’s have a conversation and get these guys together. In my Senate committee, I said let’s -- Senate hearing -- I said let’s have a conversation about the blue team and red team getting together and talking this out," Perry said.

When asked whether President Donald Trump shares Perry's view on climate change, Perry said, "I have not had that conversation with him."


Trump’s Push to Deregulate Energy Will Unleash America’s Energy Industry, Benefit All

This week, the President is scheduled to talk extensively about U.S. energy policy and the administration’s push for “energy dominance” at a time when oil giants like OPEC are looking more fragile than ever.  The President and his team are putting in place policies to continue the boom in domestic energy and turn America into an energy exporter with fewer limits and regulations on American energy production.

Early in the Trump presidency, it’s clear that some of the administration’s most significant successes have come in the form of removing harmful energy regulations. The Energy Independence Executive Order, the elimination of the Stream Protection Rule, and the extension of the National Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, are each major actions designed to combat the rampant federal overreach that average American’s have dealt with for the past eight years.

Economic growth in the U.S. is dependent on a vibrant energy infrastructure and a regulatory environment which supports businesses.  Halfway through 2017, the United States’ economy is looking strong. Job growth, employment and wage growth all show significant increases. Consumer confidence and economic optimism both jumped to nine-year highs as people are finally starting to feel some financial security.

Energy is one of the largest drivers of economic revenue in the country. It’s also one of the greatest sources of jobs. 6.4 million Americans work in the traditional energy and energy efficiency industries. These industries added 300,000 new jobs over the course of 2016 and represented approximately 14 percent of the nation’s job growth. We have a bounty of resources in America. Petroleum, natural gas, and coal account for more than 75 percent of our energy consumption. These fuels are used to support transportation and industrial projects while keeping utility prices low.

President Trump is successfully fighting back against the web of damaging regulations put in place by the Obama administration. Instead of utilizing our vast resources to bring economic prosperity to America, politicians decided to wage war on the energy industry. Over the course of Obama’s presidency, the EPA published thousands of complex regulations – The Clean Power Plan, EPA Regional Haze Goals, and EPA Emissions Standards among them – as a series of ideological barriers which worked to undermine the energy infrastructure in resource-rich states.

The Clean Power Plan, for example, would have required North Dakota to reduce its carbon dioxide emission rate by 44.9 percent, even though North Dakota is one of only 12 states that achieves all of EPA’s air quality standards for public health. Even if all industry was shut down in the state, the EPA Regional Haze goals would still be impossible to achieve.

Energy regulations are needed, but let’s be clear, none of these even make a dent in the effort to curb emissions. Its limited environmental gain for real economic pain. The Clean Power Plan, is projected to reduce global CO2 emissions by a mere 1.8 percent by 2030 and forestall global warming by 0.019 degrees Celsius over the next 83 years. This negligible difference is nowhere near worth the $39 billion price tag for consumers and businesses.

Beyond businesses, it’s the poor and the elderly that are hit the hardest.  States will see increases in energy costs. Wisconsin, for example, under the Clean Power Plan would increase the average electricity prices by nearly 20 percent. That will affect whether or not someone could heat their home or put food on the table.

The Trump administration has embraced a top down and bottom up approach designed to dismantle the government-wide architecture put in place by the Obama team who viewed virtually every action or policy through the lens of its impact on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

Take the revisions to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone. The EPA under President Obama lowered the mandated standard to 70 parts per billion, and in doing so, effectively destroyed tens of thousands of jobs across the country. Areas that wouldn’t be able to meet this new standards would face the threat of “increased regulatory burdens, restrictions on infrastructure investment, and increased costs to businesses,” according to the EPA. Replacing open threats with genuine cooperation, the Trump administration has decided to work with the states so they can address their environmental responsibilities without devastating their economies. Just earlier this month, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced that they will extend deadlines for the 2015 Ozone area designations and “will continue to work with states to ensure they are on a path to compliance.”

During this energy week, I applaud the president for taking a stand and supporting access to affordable energy. A push for U.S. dominance in the energy space is better for the average American’s wallet and our national security interests. The Trump administration is doing something from which we all benefit– unleashing America’s energy industry.


Ocean Acidification Improves the Growth and Temperature Tolerance of Eelgrass
Paper Reviewed: Zimmerman, R.C., Hill, V.J., Jinuntuya, M., Celebi, B., Ruble, D., Smith, M., Cedeno, T. and Swingle, W.M. 2017. Experimental impacts of climate warming and ocean carbonation on eelgrass Zostera marina. Marine Ecology Progress Series 566: 1-15.

In an intriguing new paper published in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series, Zimmerman et al. (2017) investigate the controversial topic of ocean acidification, or as they more correctly describe it, ocean carbonation.

Writing as background for their work, the eight U.S. researchers note how numerous studies have shown that elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide not only increase terrestrial plant photosynthesis, but also enhance the productivity of aquatic ecosystems. In particular, they cite studies documenting how the dissolution of CO2 into surface waters of the world's oceans (i.e., ocean acidification or ocean carbonation) has benefited certain taxonomic groups, including nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria, coccolithophores and seagrasses, the latter of which group was the focus of their present study. Concentrating specifically on eelgrass (Zostera marina), Zimmerman et al. set out "to quantify the extent to which CO2 enrichment can improve the ability of eelgrass to tolerate stressful summer temperatures." Their reason for selecting eelgrass was due to the relatively large number of CO2 enrichment studies previously performed on this macroalgal species, plus the important role it plays in "sediment stabilization and habitat provision for many ecologically and economically important invertebrates and fish."

Their experiment was conducted at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, where they pumped seawater from a nearby estuary into a series of outdoor aquaria containing eelgrass transplants. The aquaria were maintained at 5 different pH values (7.7, 7.4, 6.9, 6.5 and 6.1) for a period of 18 months (June 2013 through November 2014) by injecting CO2 into the airstream in each tank. Because this was an outdoor experiment, all treatments were exposed to natural fluctuations in total solar radiation, temperature and salinity.

Results of their study revealed that ocean carbonation increased eelgrass survival, shoot number, size, and growth. By the end of the experiment, eelgrass plants in the highest CO2 seawater treatment were some three times larger than the plants growing under ambient conditions. Visual documentation of such differences can been seen in the figure below. Elevated CO2 also stimulated leaf sugar concentration by five-fold, of which accumulation the authors say it "may be critical in regulating the flowering process in eelgrass," which rates under elevated CO2 were between 3 and 5 times higher than the 10 percent flowering rate typically observed under ambient conditions.

Another major benefit of ocean carbonation was the surprising observation that elevated CO2 mitigated the impact of warm temperatures on eelgrass growth and survival. As described by Zimmerman et al., elevated CO2 "prevent[ed] shoot losses during the warm summer when water temperature exceeded the 25°C threshold for thermal stress" and it "eliminated the lethal effects of temperature."

In light of the above, Zimmerman et al. conclude "it appears that ocean carbonation (ocean acidification) can serve as a quantitative antagonist to counter the negative impact of climate warming on eelgrass growth and survival," while adding that their findings "reinforce the emerging paradigm that eelgrass may benefit significantly from a high-CO2 world." And that is news worth reporting and celebrating!


Australia: "Green" NT government wants a free ride

They want to abandon a major source of revenue and then turn to the rest of Australia to pay their bills?? Typical Leftist irresponsibility

The Northern Territory government says Canberra is threatening to cut its share of GST further if it doesn't lift a fracking ban.

NT treasurer Nicole Manison says it's an "an absolute disgrace" that her federal counterpart Scott Morrison is attempting to bully her government into ending a temporary ban on unconventional gas exploration.

"Territorians should not be held to ransom on the future of their GST funding based on whether or not we seek fracking," she told reporters in Darwin.

On Wednesday Mr Morrison took aim at the government's moratorium, saying it had stymied investment and was holding the Territory economy back.

"The bottom line is this, Australia needs more gas and the Territory needs more jobs," he said. "And it needs to take advantage of the resource opportunities that it has here, whether it's on gas or anywhere else.This is important for the Territory's development and its future."

Mr Morrison said an upcoming Productivity Commission review of GST distribution would examine whether the formula was hurting the national economy by giving jurisdictions like the NT a "leave pass" for "not getting on and doing things".

"And should that sort of decision be rewarded by getting extra GST when you've got a state like Western Australia which has been realising their resource opportunities and has been penalised under the system for doing it?" he said. "I think it needs a fair dinkum look at it."

Labor says it won't lift a ban on the controversial gas extraction method until an independent inquiry releases its report in December, which was an election commitment.

Ms Manison is seeking infrastructure project investments from Canberra to mitigate the blow of huge GST cuts already announced in March, which make up 50 per cent of the NT's revenue.

She said in order for the NT to stop relying on handouts from the commonwealth it must diversify its economy, and can't put its pastoral, agriculture and tourism industries at risk by waving through hydraulic fracturing.



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Thursday, June 29, 2017

You're 'Still In'? Too Bad for You. We're Out

Pure symbolism. That’s what “We Are Still In” really is.

“We Are Still In” is the petulant response of nine states — eight blue (CA, CT, HI, NY, OR, RI, VA, WA) and 1 red (NC) out of 50; 202 cities and counties (mostly in blue states) out of 3,144 (cities, counties, and county equivalents); 308 institutions of higher learning out of 4,140; and 1,530 “businesses and investors” out of 18.2 million businesses and about 160 million owners of stocks to President Trump’s announcement that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

In other words, 18% of states, 6% of cities and counties, 7% of institutions of higher learning, and 1% of businesses (if you count all the “still in” investors as businesses) or 0.001% of businesses and investors (if you count all the “still in” businesses as investors) are “still in.”

The larger the entity, the higher the percentage that are “still in.” Might that be because those decision-makers that are closer to the people they represent are less likely to embrace Paris?

Since the nine states that are “still in” account for about 34% of the country’s gross domestic product, you might think their being “still in” represents 34% of the American economy. But what makes those states “still in” is simply their governors signing on. None passed a referendum. None of their legislatures voted them “still in.” And the fact that only about one in 100,000 businesses and investors have signed on suggests that the percentage of the American economy truly represented as “still in” is actually minuscule.

Only 52% of all voters considered the environment “very important” — 69% of Clinton voters and 32% of Trump voters. And climate change isn’t all there is to “environment.” Only 47% of all voters considered climate change very important — 69% of Clinton’s voters and 32% of Trump’s.

So the “We Are Still In” website’s claim to represent “a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy,” let alone a sizeable percentage of Americans, is baloney.

And what does it mean to be “still in”? It means those states, counties, cities, colleges, businesses, and investors say they’ll “pursue ambitious climate goals.”

For the cities, the pledge is a repeat performance.

In 2005 Greg Nickels, mayor of Seattle, started the “Climate Protection Agreement,” pledging to cut carbon dioxide emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by 2012. Mayors of over 1,000 other cities joined.

How’d they do?

Todd Myers, writing in National Review, reports that he contacted the mayors of thirty of the cities in Washington who signed on to find out how they’d done. Two-thirds didn’t know what he was talking about — i.e., their cities had forgotten the pledge.

Seattle had remembered, though, and found that it had reduced to only 1% below 1990 emissions — 1/7th of its goal.

New York, where then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg had pledged in 2007 to cut emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, will miss that target at the current rate. His successor, Bill de Blasio, pledged to reach 80% emission reductions by 2050, but “the city is already more than 4 percent behind and will need to reduce emissions at more than four times the current rate to have any hope of meeting [the] goal.”

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley pledged to push emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. Right now its emissions are 10% higher than needed to be on track for that goal, and its “Climate Action Plan” says the current trend will leave it at more than 1/5th above 1990 levels and 3/5ths above its target.

Myers is right to say, “The failure of these cities to achieve existing goals is a stark demonstration of the gap between environmental rhetoric and results from those who style themselves as environmental heroes.”

Such green hypocrisy is par for the course.

Of course, even if those “still in” manage to keep their pledges, the impact on global temperature will be indetectably small. Complete implementation of the Paris agreement by all 195 signing countries would cut only 0.3˚ from global temperature in 2100, at a cost of $23.3 to $46.6 trillion per tenth of a degree. No wonder the author of "The Art of the Deal" considered it a bad deal!

From all the rest of America to those who are “still in”: You might be, but we’re out, and gladly so.


Can’t grow the economy and prevent default without expanding the electric grid

The nearly $20 trillion national debt will consume economy if we don’t start growing robustly — and soon

Here are some sobering numbers. Since the year 2000, the debt has been growing nominally at almost 7.7 percent a year. But the economy, before adjusting for inflation, has been growing much slower at little more than 3.9 percent a year.

As a result, the nation’s debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has grown, from 55 percent to 104 percent today in just 17 years.

If these two factors remain constant, in 20 years, the national debt will be a whopping $96.4 trillion while the economy’s GDP will only be $40.8 trillion — a unimaginable debt to GDP ratio of 236 percent.

In 2016, the U.S. paid $429.9 billion of gross interest owed on the debt, according to the Office of Management. That is an effective interest rate of 2.2 percent. At nearly $100 trillion of debt, well you can do the math, that would be $2.12 trillion of annual interest payments.

That’s a lot. In 2016, the government collected almost $3.3 trillion in tax revenue. If the economy were to really grow to $40.8 trillion by 2037, one might expect revenues to rise to an annual $7.2 trillion in that time, that is, if the revenue to GDP ratio remained constant.

Even then, about 29 percent of the federal government’s tax revenues would go to paying interest owed on the debt. Right now, that ratio is a little more than 13 percent.

Are you seeing red? Perhaps that’s because your eyes are now bleeding. Can you say downgrade? Nobody wants to admit the problem, but we’re practically whistling past the graveyard at the moment.

The solution, naturally, would be to balance the budget as quickly as possible. To its credit, the Trump administration has proposed a budget that gets to balance within 10 years, with $4.5 trillion of real spending cuts off of the government’s projected baseline spending over the next decade.

But we know how Congress deals with these matters. The President’s budget is never adopted. All Congressional “leaders” — I use the term generously — appear myopically capable of in recent times has been simply approving the same budget year-in, year-out.

Again, assuming nothing changes fiscally and to do with economic growth, the debt to GDP ratio will be a shocking 236 percent by 2037.

So, if Congress is not going to do anything to help, which, why would they? Sorry to be a pessimist but perhaps when Congress actually does something to lower the debt to GDP ratio on its own, which given how slowly the economy is growing, would practically require a balanced budget overnight, then we can change that assumption. In the meantime, nobody should expect Congress to solve our fiscal woes on its own.

Not without some help from the economy, that is. Yes, the other way to reduce the debt to GDP ratio would be to rapidly expand the economy, nominally faster than the debt.

Meaning, almost everything you can think of. Cut taxes, bring production back into the U.S., slash regulations, lower health care costs, incentivize investment in U.S.-based businesses and a key one not often discussed, expand the U.S. electricity grid.

In the past decade, the U.S. electricity grid has not produce any additional electricity. We produced 4 trillion kilowatt hours in 2007 and 3.9 trillion kilowatt hours in 2016. No growth whatsoever.

No wonder the economy has barely grown the past 10 years, which adjusting for inflation, was the worst economic growth since the GDP was invented as a measure.

Therefore, one of the greatest impediments to growth — which will make us go bankrupt and if you need a reminder see above — is the inability of the federal government to allow the electrical grid to expand. Instead, we’ve been closing power plants, leaving little spare capacity for the economy to grow.

This week, President Donald Trump is promoting energy week and will talk up American energy dominance at a speech in Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Given the state of the economy after enduring the Obama administration’s power-freezing regulations, the emphasis on expanding U.S. access to energy is particularly well-timed.

It’s a rather simple choice for the nation and for the establishment in Washington, D.C. that foisted these regulations upon us. The economy cannot grow without expanding the electric grid. And if we do not grow the economy, we’re going to go broke.


NOAA: Record 140 Straight Months Without Major Hurricane Strike

Saturday, June 24 marked the completion of a record 140 straight months since the last major hurricane made landfall in the continental United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The last major hurricane to hit the continental U.S. was Hurricane Wilma, which struck Florida on Oct. 24, 2005. According to NOAA, four major hurricanes hit the continental United States that year. They included Wilma, Rita, Katrina, and Dennis.

But since Wilma, no Category 3 or above hurricane has made landfall in the continental United States, making June 24, 2017 the end of a record 140 months without a major hurricane strike.

Prior to this 140-month stretch without a major hurricane strike, the longest major hurricane drought was the 96 months between September 1860 and August 1869.

NOAA has published data on all hurricanes striking the United States since the year 1851.

A "major hurricane" is defined as one that is Category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which means it has sustained wind speeds of more than 111 miles per hour and is capable of causing damage that is “devastating” or “catastrophic.”

NOAA is currently predicting that an "above normal Atlantic hurricane season is likely for this year.”

"For the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, forecasters predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season," NOAA says on its website.

"Forecasters predict a 70 percent likelihood of 11 to 17 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher)," says NOAA, "of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4, or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher)."

"An average season," said NOAA, "produces 12 named storms of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes."


EPA’s Carbon Capture and Sequestration Is a Taxpayer-Funded Boondoggle That’s Destroying American Coal

A power plant once heralded by the Obama administration as the poster child for clean coal is now on its deathbed.

The plant hemorrhaged billions in cost overruns despite being heavily subsidized by the federal government. Mississippi regulators are ready to pull the plug.

Southern Company’s Kemper County Energy Facility had intended to use carbon capture and sequestration technology to gasify the coal, but instead, the plant has been running on natural gas since 2014.

The Mississippi Public Service Commission has unanimously passed a motion that the plant should only use natural gas moving forward.

The Obama administration touted the Kemper plant as a leading example of how a power plant would operate under climate change regulations for new power plants.

The regulations set new standards for carbon emissions that power plants could only meet by using carbon capture and sequestration technology. This would effectively have banned new coal-fired power plants from being built.

But carbon capture and sequestration technology poses its own obstacles. There is in fact no credible basis to state that it is adequately demonstrated proven technology, since no large-scale power plant in the United States currently uses it.

Yet it seems as though politicians and regulators in Washington may have watched “Field of Dreams” one too many times.

Adapting from the famous line, “If you build it, they will come,” the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy urged with regard to coal, “If you regulate and subsidize, the technology will come.”

In fact, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy claimed, “Rather than killing future coal, [the new rules] actually [set] out a certain pathway forward for coal to continue to be part of a diverse mix in this country.”

In the EPA’s regulatory impact analysis for the proposed New Source Performance Standards for new power plants, the EPA wrote:

“The EPA intends this rule to send a clear signal about the current and future status of [carbon capture and sequestration] technology. Identifying partial implementation of [this] technology as the best system of emission reductions for coal-fired power plants promotes further development of [carbon capture and sequestration], which is important for long-term CO2 emission reductions.”

From the subsidy side of the equation, former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz chimed in, stating that “[s]ince the beginning of the administration, [the Department of Energay] has invested around $6 billion to advance clean coal technologies—particularly in carbon capture, utilization, and storage—that substantially reduce carbon emissions.”

Years and billions of dollars in cost overruns later, the fact remains that carbon capture and sequestration is a taxpayer-funded boondoggle. Southern Company’s Kemper plant in Mississippi, a stimulus handout recipient, has been plagued with delays and cost overruns.

The estimated cost, initially projected at $2 billion, now stands at $7.5 billion, making it the most costly coal-fired electricity generating unit in U.S. history and causing Moody’s Investors Services to downgrade Mississippi Power’s ratings in March 2017.

Two years ago, Mississippi Power applied for a 41 percent rate increase to offset construction costs.

One issue at hand is the definition of so-called clean coal.

Many environmental activist organizations believe clean coal is oxymoronic. That’s simply not the case. Regulations required coal-fired power plants to install scrubbers that significantly reduce the pollutants like soot and chemicals that have adverse public health impacts and environmental costs.

Technological improvements have improved efficiencies of power plants, reducing emissions. Overall, the pollutants known to cause harm to public health and the environment have been declining for decades.

The definition of clean coal commonly used today includes coal without any carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas that does not have any direct human health impacts.

Our coal-fired generating units in the U.S. without carbon and capture sequestration do not run like those in China. Coal in America is already clean.

The failure of the Kemper plant should raise a giant red flag for policymakers, regulators, and White House officials. Appropriators should not throw good money after bad. It’s time to end carbon and capture sequestration programs within the Department of Energy.

The EPA should roll back Obama-era regulations for new power plants and emphasize that carbon and capture sequestration technology should be used only if companies believe it is in their economic interest to do so.

Technological innovation in energy markets moves at a blistering clip, far outpacing Washington.

But that doesn’t mean policymakers can dream up ideas and use taxpayer-funded subsidies and its regulatory power to bring that wishful thinking to fruition. It is a waste of money and diverts resources away from other competitive uses.

Like Mississippi’s Public Service Commission, Washington should pull the plug on clean coal.


An energy consultant says "Green" South Australia will soon pay the most in the world for electricity

An energy market consultant says South Australian homes will soon be paying the highest electricity prices in the world.

Energy market consultant Bruce Mountain says SA will overtake Denmark on Saturday when electricity retailers hit most households with an average rise of about 18 per cent.

"My estimate is that the representative household in South Australia is paying a price that is a little bit higher than the representative household in Denmark or elsewhere and Denmark has known to be the highest," Mr Mountain told ABC radio on Wednesday.



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   main.html 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, June 28, 2017

How Environmental Groups Are Responding to Trump’s ‘Solar Wall’ Pitch

I suspect that this was mainly a tease on Trump's part

President Donald Trump’s idea of putting solar panels on his long-promised border wall hasn’t gained a lot of support among top environmental lobbying groups—even though the organizations have long backed solar power as a key renewable energy.

“This way, Mexico will have to pay much less money,” @POTUS says.

“The problem with talking about solar panels on Trump’s border wall is that it’s science fiction,” Travis Nichols, a spokesman for Greenpeace, a liberal environmentalist group, told The Daily Signal. “Just like clean coal does not exist and will never exist, Trump’s wall with solar panels won’t exist, so it’s irrelevant to discuss climate issues.”

A spokesman with the Sierra Club referred to a tweet storm by the Sierra Club executive director, Michael Brune, reacting to Trump’s proposal for solar panels on the border wall.

Speaking Wednesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump proposed putting solar panels on the wall. Such panels would capture power along the hot southern border, to help increase the power supply, which the president said would help pay for the wall.

“We’re thinking of something that’s unique, we’re talking about the southern border, lots of sun, lots of heat. We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy and pays for itself. And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money,” Trump told the Iowa crowd.

“And that’s good, right? Is that good? You are the first group I’ve told that to. A solar wall. It makes sense. Let’s see. We are working it out. Solar wall panels.”

Trump added: “Pretty good imagination, right? Good? My idea.”

There would likely be more effective ways to pay for the wall, said Steven Camarota, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies, a pro-border enforcement think tank.

“It is one of the sunnier parts of the country, but solar panels are fairly fragile,” Camarota told The Daily Signal. “Each illegal border crosser has a cost of about $75,000 for taxpayers. A modest reduction in border crossings could help pay for the wall.”

Camarota, who believes interior enforcement is perhaps more important than the wall, said the reduction in needed law enforcement and health costs from drugs not entering the country would also offset the costs.

There are too many uncertainties to know whether this would cover the cost of the border wall, said Nick Loris, a research fellow in energy and environmental policy at The Heritage Foundation.

“It’s entirely too early to tell and there are too many outstanding questions. If the solar panels are subsidized, we’re just paying for them through another mechanism,” Loris told The Daily Signal. “It’s difficult to know what the solar panels would cost, how much energy they’d produce standing vertically as opposed to angled horizontally like you see at a solar farm or a rooftop.”

It would require additional building, Loris said, adding:

You also have to factor in the transmission lines to take the energy from remote places to where it’s needed. There’s repair, replacement, and waste costs. They’re also not very efficient compared to other forms of energy, which is why they only account for a meager 2 percent of our net electricity generation, even with generous support from the taxpayer. There’s a lot of question marks surrounding the project so that it’s difficult to know how costly or beneficial it would be.

A Wall Street Journal op-ed headlined “A Shiny Border Wall That Pays for Itself” by Vasilis Fthenakis, an earth and engineering professor at Columbia University, and Ken Zweibel, director of the Solar Institute at George Washington University, contends:

Resolving the political impasse between Mexico and the U.S. over a border wall requires innovative thinking. How about this: Presidents Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto should work together to construct a ‘solar wall’—a massive string of photovoltaic panels—on the Mexican side of the border.

Another op-ed in the liberal Huffington Post on Dec. 16, 2016, “Instead of Trump’s Wall, Let’s Build A Border of Solar Panels,” by Homero Aridjis, a poet and novelist, and James Ramey, a professor at Metropolitan Autonomous University and member of Mexico’s National System of Researchers, said:

There is indeed a way that Mexico could create a barrier between the U.S. and Mexico, one constructed exclusively on the Mexican side, with substantial benefits for both countries and the planet: a solar border. …

If one were to construct the equivalent of a strip of arrays one-third the width of a football field south of the entire U.S.-Mexico border, wider in some areas and narrower in others, with a wide berth allowed for populated areas and stretches of rugged terrain, sufficient energy might be produced to also supply Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Dallas, and Houston. For the U.S. cities, it would be a way to obtain cheaper and cleaner energy than they can from other sources.


U.S. Forest Service Can’t Cut It

“Budget cuts threaten forests’ roads, hunting, fishing,” headlines the piece by McClatchy reporter Anshu Siripurapu. Trails “could get messier,” and maintenance on bridges, dams and recreation sites “could” become tougher. “That’s the potential fate of national forest projects, thanks to President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal 2018,” Siripurapu warns. The president seeks $100 million for forest service capital improvement and maintenance, down from $363 million and “a 73 percent cut.” Actually it isn’t, and we are not talking about trees here. The U.S. Forest Service is a federal bureaucracy and if it gets less money than bosses want, strictly speaking, that is not a cut. Likewise, as we noted, if a politician gets a raise of 4 percent instead of 6 percent, that is not a salary “reduction.” For all his alarm, Mr. Siripurapu nowhere questions whether the U.S. Forest Service has been doing a good job with all those taxpayer dollars.

As economist Robert H. Nelson notes, in a 2013 survey federal workers ranked the U.S. Forest Service worse than 260 out of 300 similar agencies. Forest Service mismanagement allowed wildfires to threaten communities and resources throughout the West at record levels, and this problem endured for 15 years. The agency also failed to address declines in forest health and dropped “multiple use management” in favor of “ecosystem management.” This resulted in “a radical curtailing of timber harvesting, forest thinning and other more aggressive actions that would have helped to address the continuing fire problem.” Nelson recommends a management model similar to charter schools, freeing the agency from a “bureaucratic straitjacket” and holding them accountable for results.

Sterling Burnett of the Heartland Institute told Siripurapu the government should consider selling some of its land to private companies to raise money and to reduce the amount of forest it has to manage. As Burnett explained, “There is no reason the federal government needs to own 100 million acres of forest.”


UK: Bad green policies waste money

Matt Ridley

Even Michael Gove’s enemies concede he is good at tackling vested interests. Even his friends concede he has a knack for making enemies in the process. In his new job as secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, if he is to achieve anything, he may have to do a lot of both. So here’s a field guide to the vested interests he will encounter in the countryside.

Bruce Yandle, the American economist, once coined a phrase to explain why the disastrous policy of prohibition became law in the United States between 1920 and 1933: “Bootleggers and Baptists”. A very effective coalition developed between high-minded, high-profile moral campaigners and low-mind, low-profile smuggling profiteers to push for the outlawing of alcohol. The result was legislation that was good for bootleggers and Baptists but bad for society as a whole.

As Mr Yandle put it: “Baptists lower the costs of favour-seeking for the bootleggers, because politicians can pose as being motivated purely by the public interest even while they promote the interests of well-funded businesses”.

This coalition is alive and well in the farming and environmental world. Bootlegger car makers got politicians to give tax breaks to diesel cars on the Baptist grounds that they produce less carbon dioxide, with the result that we have worse air pollution than we would have had. Baptist greens preach about the imminent dangers of climate change, enabling their bootlegger chums in the renewable-energy industry to trouser vast subsidies for ruining landscapes and killing eagles while reducing emissions very little, if at all. Politicians fall for it.

Farmers nobly say they are feeding a hungry world and protecting the countryside from ruin, while actually defending a subsidy system that deters innovation, gives them a retirement income and pushes up the price of land.

In other words, Mr Gove will not have to learn the difference between the lesser whitethroat and the spotted flycatcher to do well in his new job, but he will have to spot the vested bootleggers hiding behind the green Baptists. He will be familiar with the problem from his time as education secretary, where he took on the teachers and civil servants on the grounds that they were sometimes serving their own interests more than those of their clients — children.

The civil servants in Defra are almost entirely in thrall to whatever the big environmental pressure groups say, in a fine case of regulatory capture or Parkinson’s law: greens lobby for regulations, which civil servants need bigger budgets to administer, and the monitoring of which can be outsourced back to the same greens.

Try telling an environmental bureaucrat that you think his or her priorities or methods are wrong and prepare to be denounced on moral — not practical — grounds by their allies in organisations with very big budgets. Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the World Wide Fund For Nature are huge multinationals these days with a combined annual budget of more than a billion dollars, a big chunk of which is spent on lobbying, suing and public relations — rather than practical conservation.

Yet some green priorities are wrong and somebody needs to say so. The current obsession of the environmental pressure groups, shared by the civil servants and quangocrats, is that there must be no “watering down” of environmental designations after Brexit. That is to say, the alphabet soup of “special protected areas”, “marine conservation zones”, “Ramsar sites”, “sites of special scientific interest”, “areas of outstanding natural beauty” and so forth must not be lost, even though some of them derive from European legislation.

Nor should they be lost. But the risk of that is zero. What actually happens inside those zones and in the rest of the countryside to encourage nature to thrive is of far greater importance. And today the environmental bureaucracy and the green lobbyists with which it is allied are more obsessed with attending conferences, producing reports and monitoring compliance than with taking practical, active measures to conserve species. Too many wear suits and not enough wear boots.

Let me give you a specific example. The curlew is one of Britain’s most iconic birds, its haunting call synonymous with a Pennine dawn in spring. These islands host 25 per cent of the world’s population but in Ireland their numbers are now down by 90 per cent, while in southern England they have all but vanished as a breeding species, and even in uplands such as the Lake District and Wales they are becoming worryingly scarce. Of the world’s eight species of curlew, two have almost certainly gone extinct.

Fortunately, curlews are thriving in the North Pennines. Earlier this spring I spent several dawns watching birds in a Durham dale and the bubbling song of hundreds of curlews was continuous. This success is not because of legislation or the designation of the area as a nature reserve. It is because of grouse shooting, a self-financed form of conservation that protects and manages the habitat that curlews like and controls the predators that eat their eggs and chicks — chiefly crows, foxes and stoats.

The result is a landscape from which those subsidised bootlegger blights of the uplands — wind farms, non-native blocks of forestry and overgrazing — have been excluded, allowing curlews to thrive along with golden plovers, merlins, lapwings, ring ouzels, redshanks, black grouse and short-eared owls, all of which I saw in my dawn vigil last month.

Mr Gove should demand that environmental policies are judged by their results, not their intentions. In fisheries, air pollution, tackling invasive species, reforming farm subsidies, wildlife conservation, badgers, landscape protection, genetically modified food and pesticides, what counts is not the size of the budget going in, the moral motive behind it, or the number of committees overseeing it — but whether it gets results. That should be the watchword of the new Defra secretary.


Warmists go to court in New Zealand

The Prime Minister says a law student is "free to try" to change Government policy or the law with her case against the Government saying not enough has been done to combat climate change.

Some big guns are backing the little player in a David and Goliath battle.

Sarah Thomson's judicial review against the Minister of Climate Change in the High Court in Wellington claims the Government's Paris Climate Agreement targets don't go far enough - but the Government argues its targets are fair.

Bill English [PM] today said that "the targets for New Zealand are already pretty challenging" and added that Ms Thomson is "of course free to try like anyone else to influence Government policy or the law in this respect".

This is the first time in New Zealand history where a case has been taken against the Government over climate change, and while Ms Thomson told 1 NEWS she is nervous ahead of the review, she is also confident.

"I've got the backing of amazing lawyers and scientists," she said. "I see it as an ordinary person taking a stand, you know?
"You don't need to be an expert or have a position of power to make a difference and I hope that message gets through.


One lonely molecule…

Ian Plimer

The 24 million people in Australia generate 1.5 per cent of annual global human-induced CO2 emissions. USA emits 14 times and China emits 26 times more CO2 than Australia. Australia has 0.33 per cent of the global population.

Our high standard of living, a landmass of 7,692,024 square kilometres with a sparse inland population and greenhouse gas-emitting livestock combined with the transport of livestock, food and mined products, long distances to cities and ports and the export of ores, coal, metals and food for 80 million people result in high per capita CO2 emissions. Australia’s exports of coal, iron ore and gas contributes to increasing the standard of living, longevity and health of billions of people in Asia.

If Australia emits 1.5 per cent of global annual CO2 emissions, 3 per cent of the total annual global emissions are anthropogenic and the atmosphere contains 400 parts per million by volume of CO2, then one molecule in 6.6 million molecules in the atmosphere is CO2 emitted from humans in Australia. This molecule has an atmospheric life of about 7 years before it is removed from the atmosphere by natural sequestration into life and limey sediments.

Australia has far greater economic priorities than to change a whole economy, increase energy costs, decrease employment and decrease international competiveness because of one poor lonely molecule of plant food in 6.6 million other atmospheric molecules. It is a very long bow to argue that this one molecule of plant food in 6.6 million other atmospheric molecules derived from Australia has any measurable effect whatsoever on global climate. Furthermore, it has yet to be shown that human emissions of CO2 drive global warming, so why even bother with a Renewables Energy Target?

Australia exports a significant global share of refined aluminium, zinc, lead, copper and gold and hence takes a per capita emissions hit for countries that import and use Australia’s metals, because smelting and refining in Australia result in CO2 emissions. Neither smelting nor refining of the metals for other countries could take place without burning fossil fuels. For example, a steel mill uses coal to reduce iron oxide into iron metal and the carbon in coal is oxidised to CO2. A modern economy cannot rely on sea breezes and sunbeams to generate base load electricity for industry and a decarbonised economy would be a deindustrialised economy.

Annual Australian per capita CO2 emissions are in the order of 20 tonnes per person. There are 30 hectares of forest and 74 hectares of grassland for every Australian and each hectare annually sequesters about 1 tonne of CO2 by photosynthesis. CO2 is plant food. On the continental Australian landmass, Australians are removing by natural sequestration more than three times the amount of CO2 they emit. Crops remove even more CO2 from the atmosphere. Australia’s net contribution to atmospheric CO2 is negative and this is confirmed by the net CO2 flux estimates from the IBUKI satellite CO2 data set.

Australia’s continental shelf is 2,500,000 square kilometres in area. Carbon dioxide dissolves in ocean water and the cooler the water, the more CO2 dissolves in water. Living organisms extract dissolved CO2 and calcium from seawater to build corals and shells. This natural marine sequestration locks away even more Australian emissions of CO2 and adds to the negative contribution of atmospheric CO2 made by Australia.

Using the thinking of the IPCC, UN and activist green groups, Australia should be very generously financially rewarded with money from populous, desert and landlocked countries for removing from the atmosphere its own emitted CO2 and the CO2 emissions from many other nations. By this method, wealthy Australia can take money from poor countries. This is, of course, normal for the green industry. For example, the subsidising of wind and solar power takes money from the poor and passes it on to companies making a fortune from the government’s RET.

Satellite measurements show that there has been a greening of the planet over the last few decades, thanks to a slight increase in traces of plant food in the atmosphere. Without CO2, there would be no plants and without plants, there would be no animals. Geology shows that atmospheric CO2 has not driven global warming since planet Earth formed. Why should it now? Dangerous global warming did not occur in the past when the atmospheric CO2 content was hundreds of times higher than now. Each of the major ice ages was initiated at a time when there was more CO2 in the atmosphere than now.

The planet has not warmed for two decades despite a massive increase in CO2 emissions during the industrialisation of Asia. Computer models predicted a steady temperature increase over this time and over 30 million weather balloons have not detected a modelled hot spot over the equator. All models have failed and are not in accord with measurements.

Australia has thousands of years of energy as coal, gas, oil and uranium and is one of the world’s biggest exporters of energy. Yet it has unreliable and very expensive energy. We have wasted billions on unreliable ‘renewable’ electricity resulting in energy poverty on the assumption that human emissions of CO2 drive global warming. It has never been shown that human emission of CO2 drives global warming and the Australian contribution of one lonely molecule in 6.6 million is not worth expenditure of a single penny. President Trump did not fall for one of the biggest cons in the history of time. Australia needs leadership rather than marching down the RET path to international uncompetiveness. If subsidies paid by consumers for unreliable inefficient electricity were abandoned, the markets would quickly reaffirm that energy from fossil fuels is the cheapest and most reliable source of electricity for an industrialised economy.



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   main.html 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, June 27, 2017

Scientific Consensus Up In Smoke: ‘Big Bang Theory Is Wrong, Basic Maths Is Incorrect’

Stephen Hawking’s ideas about the origins of the universe — which have long been at the centre of physics and cosmology — are wrong, says one of his closest friends.

Professor Neil Turok, director of the Perimeter Institute in Canada, has long questioned Hawking’s vision of the Big Bang, when space, time and matter are thought to have burst into existence. Now he has published research suggesting that the basic maths behind Hawking’s views is incorrect and that science must rethink the origins of the universe.

“Our research implies that we either should look for another picture to understand the very early universe, or that we have to rethink the most elementary models of quantum gravity,” said Job Feldbrugge, one of Turok’s co-authors.

Hawking’s views date to the 1980s, when he and James Hartle published mathematical research suggesting that the universe emerged smoothly from an infinitesimally small point.

However, in a paper entitled No Smooth Beginning for Spacetime, Turok and his colleagues re-examined Hawking’s work using new mathematical techniques to show that the energies within such a universe would be so wild and fluctuating that it would immediately destroy itself.

The maths Turok used was not around when Hawking produced his theories, he said.

Turok, who was once a professor of applied maths and theoretical physics working with Hawking at Cambridge, offered a new theory for the universe: “the Big Bounce”. This suggests the universe is locked in a perpetual cycle of big bangs in which it expands, then contracts to a tiny point before exploding outwards again.


Glastonbury aftermath in Britain, enjoyed by tens of thousands of eco warriors, environmentalists and some anti fracking campaigners, all saving the planet

A 500-Year Record of Sea Level from Goa, India:  Recent Stability
Exceptionally well-validated work

Paper Reviewed: Mörner, N.-A. 2017. Coastal morphology and sea-level changes in Goa, India during the last 500 years. Journal of Coastal Research 33: 421-434.

One of the main fears about CO2-induced global warming is that temperatures will rise to such a degree that vast amounts of ice across the surface of the Earth will melt, thereby raising sea levels and potentially displacing millions of inhabitants who presently live in coastal regions. And in light of these concerns, scientists have been meticulously monitoring sea level rise, to see if there exists any indication that such a disaster is indeed imminent.

Fortunately, as revealed in a number of recent studies, proof of such an acceleration of sea level rise remains elusive (see the many reviews we have posted on this topic under the subheading of Sea Level here). The latest work to demonstrate that there is nothing unusual, unnatural or unprecedented about current rates of sea level rise comes from a paper written by sea level expert Nils-Axel Mörner (Mörner, 2017) and published in the Journal of Coastal Research.

For his analysis, Mörner utilized coastal morphology, stratigraphy, radiocarbon dating, archaeological remains, historical documents and tide gauge records to present "a detailed record of the changes in sea level in Goa, [India] over the last 500 years. This new record was then compared with ten other sites located within the Indian Ocean and evaluated for accuracy.

Results of this analysis revealed the oscillatory behavior of the Goa record (see figure below). Sea levels were lower than present in the early 1500s, then rose to a height of approximately 50 cm above the current stand in the 17th century. Thereafter, it dropped again to near-previous low levels in the 18th century before rising again to a height approximately 20 cm above present in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most recently, during the majority buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere, the sea level at Goa fell by approximately 20 cm over the period 1955-1962, thereafter experiencing, in the words of Mörner, "a virtually stable level over the last 50 years."

As for the cause of the Goa sea level oscillations, Mörner says they are "primarily driven by deformations of the dynamic sea level and redistribution of water masses," including (1) changes in evaporation/precipitation that can lower/raise the sea level by 30-40 cm, (2) changes in ocean currents, (3) monsoon regime changes, (4) an east-west redistribution of water masses and (5) a low-high latitude interchange of water masses.

In commenting on the Goa record, Mörner says that its comparison with the ten other sites in the Indian Ocean yields "a surprisingly unified picture of the sea-level changes during the last 500 years" that "seems to lack ... any alarming sea-level rise in recent decades." Such findings would therefore appear to fly in the face of alarmist predictions of rapidly increasing rates of sea level rise in response to CO2-induced global warming. The scare stories are simply not materializing.


We should be glad the US is out of the climate club

States that claim they’re committed to Paris do nothing for the climate and ill serve their citizens

Paul Driessen and David R. Legates

Ten states, some 150 cities, and 1,100 businesses, universities and organizations insist “We are still in” – committed to the Paris climate agreement and determined to continue reducing carbon dioxide emissions and preventing climate change. In the process, WASI members claim, they will create jobs and promote innovation, trade and international competitiveness. It’s mostly hype, puffery and belief in tooth fairies.

Let’s begin with the climate. When Delaware signed on to WASI, for example, Governor Carney cited rising average temperatures, rising sea levels, and an increase in extreme weather events. In Delaware, sea level rise is almost entirely due to subsiding land resulting from compaction of glacial outwash, isostatic response from the retreat of the ice sheets more than 12,000 years ago, and groundwater extraction.

The biggest threat to homes, roadways and wildlife habitats lies not in sea level rise – but in the effects of nor’easters, tropical storm remnants and other weather events that impact Delaware’s sand-built barrier islands. Moreover, not a single category 3-5 hurricane has struck the US mainland for a record 11.5 years.

Climate models have long overstated the supposed rise in air temperature. Recently, even alarmist scientists like Ben Santer have agreed that a warming hiatus has kept air temperatures unchanged for over 15 years, even as plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere rose to 400 parts per million.

No trends exist in tropical cyclones, tornadoes, floods, droughts or other weather extremes. Contentions that these changes will pose health risks and threaten our economy are purely scare tactics. Climate has always changed and weather is always variable, due to complex, powerful natural forces. Insisting that these events must be caused or exacerbated by human activity reflects a denial of basic climate science.

Full adherence to the Paris Treaty by all nations would prevent an undetectable 0.3°F (0.2°C) rise by 2100 – assuming that all climate change is driven by humans and not by natural forces. This meaningless achievement, by switching to 100% renewable energy, would cost $12.7 trillion to $93 trillion by 2030.

Surely, WASI members and the rest of the world have better uses for that money than chasing climate chimeras. Paying their massive state debt, pension, welfare and retirement obligations, for instance; in developing nations, getting electricity and safe water to people and ending their poverty and disease.

But substantially reducing CO2 emissions will create jobs, won’t it? For every job these mandates and subsidies create, multiple jobs will be lost in businesses that require affordable, reliable energy. Your local or statewide CO2 emissions may decrease. But in 150+ countries that are under no obligation under Paris to reduce their fossil fuel use, emissions will increase. WASI groups may take pride in “resisting Trump,” but their actions really hurt America’s working class families, who had no vote on the matter.

WASI members California, Connecticut, Hawaii and New York already have among the worst unfunded pension liabilities. Their residential electricity prices are already outrageous: 17 cents a kilowatt-hour in NY, 19 in CA, 20 in CT and 29 in HI – versus 9 cents in North Dakota. Honoring “Paris commitments” would send rates skyrocketing to German and Danish levels: 37 cents per kWh. Expensive energy will hurt poor and minority families the most and send jobs to countries where energy costs less.

Just imagine what your WASI actions would do to households, hospitals, businesses, factories, malls and schools. How it would kill jobs and swell unemployment and welfare rolls – while creating a lot of low-pay, largely part-time jobs. Rather than producing jobs, the Paris Treaty is a job-killer for the USA.

For all these reasons, we should be glad we are out! We ask those who have told their constituents they are “still in,” How exactly will you meet your Paris commitments, and what exactly will you achieve?

How will you slash your CO2 emissions by 26-28% by 2025, as required for the USA under the Paris pact?  The United States reduced CO2 emissions by 12% between 2005 and 2015. But that was accomplished by a downturn in the economy and increased reliance on natural gas, most of which is produced by hydraulic fracturing. Will you support fracking and build more gas-fired power plants?

Or will you build new nuclear and hydroelectric power plants to reduce your fossil fuel dependence? You cannot rely on wind and solar, as they currently account for barely 2% of overall US energy needs and the mining required to get rare earth metals, cadmium, iron, copper, limestone and other raw materials for these technologies has extensive, often horrendous environmental, health and human rights impacts.

Growing populations mean more energy will be needed. Do you expect wind and solar to grow to cover the new demand? These highly expensive technologies require vast land areas, much of it taken from wildlife habitats – and huge government/taxpayer subsidies. From whom will you take this money?

What will you get for your efforts? The cost is enormous, for minimal benefits. Higher electricity prices will affect businesses, hospitals, jobs and families in your state. The impact of 30, 40 or 50 cents per kilowatt-hour electricity will be devastating – especially for the poor, minority and blue-collar workers and families you say you care deeply about. They will be forced to choose among energy, food, clothing, shelter, health and safety. How will this serve climate and environmental justice?

By contrast, a change in global air temperature of about 0.01°F will have zero impact. That’s how much reduced warming the world is likely to see from all the sacrifices imposed by “We are still in” programs. Storms, floods and droughts are not linked to CO2 concentrations, so your actions will have no effect in these areas. Avoidance of an un-measurable increase in air temperature is simply not worth the cost.

Governors who have committed their states to this climate-centered resistance movement have done so without approval from the legislature or their constituents. How do you propose to pay for this unilateral executive decision? With tax increase and soaring energy costs? How will your constituents react to that?

The “We are still in” press release proudly proclaims that its members contribute $6.2 trillion a year to the US economy. That’s one-third of the United States $18.5 trillion GDP in 2016.

Under the Paris formula, the United States is to contribute $23.5 billion per year initially to the Green Climate Fund – with the US contribution rising to some $106 billion per year by 2030, based on the same percentages. Your one-third WASI share of that would be $7.8 billion in 2017, rising to $35 billion a year by 2030. Is this part of your vaunted commitment to the Paris treaty? How do you anticipate paying that?

Can individual cities and counties opt out of your pact, and become sanctuary cities or counties, to protect their jobs and families against runaway energy costs, climate fund payments and more autocratic actions?

By deciding that their schools will stay in the Paris Treaty, college and university presidents will drive up energy and other costs on their campuses. Did you consult with and get approval from your boards of trustees, legislators, taxpayers, students and parents – or was this simply another executive decision?

Delaware gets 95% of its electricity from natural gas, coal and oil. How exactly will the University of Delaware slash its fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions by the 26-28% required by Paris? How will George Mason University, with Virginia getting 63% of its electricity from fossil fuels?

Have you calculated how much this will cost? Will you make up the difference by increasing tuition? How will you compensate those who can least afford these increasing expenses? In the interest of integrity, accuracy, transparency and ethics, have you made those analyses public (if they exist)?

Did all you “socially responsible” companies and organizations in WASI get approval from your boards of directors, shareholders, customers and clients before committing to stay in Paris? Did you analyze and discuss the likely economic and employment ramifications? Or are you the real climate deniers – denying the costs of anti-fossil fuel, renewable energy commitments, regulations, subsidies and mandates?

Finally, for the millions of voters, taxpayers, citizens, students, workers and consumers who are being impacted by “We are still in” states, cities, colleges, universities, businesses and organizations, we ask:

Are you still in with expending trillions of dollars to have an undetectable effect on Earth’s future climate? If not, perhaps it’s time you made your voices heard – and started resisting The Resistance.

Via email

Australia: Nice work for a Greenie

QUESTION: Where can you get a job where you only have to turn up to the office one day a week and don’t have to produce any tangible work?

Answer: The Greens.

That is the extraordinary claim at the heart of a court case where a top former Greens officer is suing the progressive pro-worker party for sacking her and withholding her entitlements after she raised concerns about another senior official who didn’t appear to do anything.

Apparently, according to a sensational legal claim obtained by, not doing anything in the Greens can get you a promotion and a shot at parliament.

In a statement of claim filed in the NSW Supreme Court, former NSW Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf says she was hired in 2014 to “professionalise” the party’s management and “introduce policies of corporate governance”.

However she says her position became untenable after she raised concerns about Planning and Environmental Law Officer James Ryan, who was later promoted to campaign coordinator.

Ms Medcalf claims she was terminated so that Mr Ryan and NSW Greens co-convenor Hall Greenland could spend the party’s taxpayer-funded election monies without proper scrutiny – something the party denies.

She said both her and the Greens agreed that she would leave with a termination payment of over $90,000 only to have the party later accuse her of “serious misconduct” and withhold the payment. She is now suing the party for wrongful dismissal as well as aggravated damages to express the court’s “disgust”.
Former Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf is suing the party for wrongful dismissal.

Former Greens executive officer Carole Medcalf is suing the party for wrongful dismissal.Source:News Limited

In a statement of claim tendered to the NSW Supreme Court — largely disputed by the Greens — Ms Medcalf said Mr Ryan worked only three days a week, including two days from home.

He was supposed to produce monthly performance reports on what he actually did, but did not produce any, the claim alleges. Nor did he produce any “reports, memoranda, notes or other documents” to demonstrate any of his work.

However the Greens deny that Mr Ryan’s work was inadequate or that he failed to properly report to Ms Medcalf.

Comment has been sought from Mr Ryan.

In late 2015 Mr Ryan was promoted to “Campaign Coordinator” for NSW ahead of the 2016 federal election, at which the Greens Senate vote in NSW went slightly backwards and where they failed to win any lower house seats.

In her statement of claim, Ms Medcalf says Mr Ryan “failed to properly manage his role and the activities of those beneath him … adequately, or at all” and would tell staff he had delegated other tasks and functions “when he had not done so”.

And when he was made campaign coordinator, Ms Medcalf had deemed it unnecessary to fill his previous position because Mr Ryan had not actually done anything in it.



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   main.html 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


Monday, June 26, 2017

"Yes Minister" returns.  Very sound on global warming

Part 2

Hottest temperature in Britain was just an urban heat island effect

Lots of very hot surfaces and big heat outputs at airports.  All those jet exhausts are pretty toasty

Headline writers were itching during last week’s heatwave to proclaim that it was a “record breaking” June, particularly on June 21, when the BBC flashed up that the temperature had hit “35 degrees” (in fact it had only been 34.5).

The problem, as all had to admit, was that this was only the hottest June spell since the drought year of 1976, when June temperatures on seven days exceeded 34.5, followed by months more of exceptional heat before the drought broke in September.

But the suspicions of that expert analyst Paul Homewood were aroused when he noticed that the 34.5 degrees had only been recorded in one place, Heathrow airport: just as happened two years ago when the Met Office splashed across the media that July 1 2015 had been “the hottest July day ever”, with a temperature of 36.7 degrees, again recorded only at Heathrow airport.

SOURCE.  Homewood here

We've been here before

Charlie Munger: Gore’s ‘not very smart’ & ‘an idiot’, but became filthy rich investing in ‘global warming’

Warren Buffett’s vice chairman, Charlie Munger, told a small meeting of investors that former Vice President Al Gore is “not very smart” and “an idiot” but was still able to make “$3 or $400 million in your business” by “obsessing” about “global warming.”
“Al Gore has hundreds of millions dollars in your profession. And he’s an idiot. It’s an interesting story. And a true one,” Munger told investors.

According to CNBC on June 23: “Though the comments were made more than four months ago, they went largely unnoticed and have not been widely reported on elsewhere.”

“Al Gore has come into you fellas business, Munger said. “He has made $3 or $400 million in your business. And he’s not very smart. He smoked a lot of pot as he coasted trough Harvard with a gentleman’s C. But he had one obsessive idea that global warming was a terrible thing and he would protect the world from it,” he explained.  [Note: Gentleman’s C is defined by Urban Dictionary as “A grade given to a student (traditionally with wealthy parents) instead of a failing grade.”]

“So his idea when he went into investment counseling is he was not going to put any CO2 in the air,” Munger explained to the investors noting that Gore’s simple strategy of buying only service company stocks enabled the former Vice President to become very rich.

Munger explained: “So he found some partner to go into investment counseling with and says we’re not going to have any (carbon dioxide). But this partner is a value investor and a good one. So what they did is, is Gore hired staff to find people who didn’t put CO2 in the air. Of course that put him into services. Microsoft and all these service companies were just ideally located. And this value investor picked the best service companies. So all of a sudden the clients are making hundreds of millions of dollars and they are paying part of it to Al Gore.

CNBC reported: Hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson in one of his email newsletters pointed to the YouTube videos of Munger’s informal question-and-answer session held after the Journal meeting, and other investors have confirmed the subject matter of the talk.

Munger is one of the most celebrated investors in the world and was an essential partner in Buffett‘s success. Before becoming vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the billionaire had quite the track record himself. From 1962 to 1975 Munger’s investment partnership generated 20 percent annual returns versus the S&P 500‘s 5 percent.


The Nanny State, Showerheads, and the Declining Quality of Life

 Fortunately, the showerhead nonsense has not spread to Australia.  I have great showers -- JR

When I write about regulation, I usually focus on big-picture issues involving economic costs, living standards, and competitiveness.  Those are very important concerns, but the average person in American probably gets more irked by rules that impact the quality of life.

    Inferior light bulbs
    Substandard toilets
    Inadequate washing machines
    Crummy dishwashers

That’s a grim list, but it’s time to augment it.

Jeffrey Tucker of the Foundation for Economic Education explains that the government also has made showering a less pleasant experience. He starts by expressing envy about Brazilian showers.

    …was shocked with delight at the shower in Brazil. …step into the shower and you have a glorious capitalist experience. Hot water, really hot, pours down on you like a mighty and unending waterfall… At least the socialists in Brazil knew better than to destroy such an essential of civilized life.

I know what he’s talking about. I’m in a hotel (not in Brazil), and my shower this morning was a tedious experience because the water flow was so anemic.

Why would a hotel not want customers to have an enjoyable and quick shower? The answer is government.

    …here we’ve forgotten. We have long lived with regulated showers, plugged up with a stopper imposed by government controls imposed in 1992. There was no public announcement. It just happened gradually. After a few years, you couldn’t buy a decent shower head. They called it a flow restrictor and said it would increase efficiency. By efficiency, the government means “doesn’t work as well as it used to.” …You can see the evidence of the bureaucrat in your shower if you pull off the showerhead and look inside. It has all this complicated stuff inside, whereas it should just be an open hole, you know, so the water could get through. The flow stopper is mandated by the federal government.

The problem isn’t just the water coming out of the showerhead. It’s the water coming into your home.

    It’s not just about the showerhead. The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades, thanks to EPA mandates on state and local governments. This has meant that even with a good showerhead, the shower is not as good as it might be. It also means that less water is running through our pipes, causing lines to clog and homes to stink just slightly like the sewer. This problem is much more difficult to fix, especially because plumbers are forbidden by law from hacking your water pressure.

So why are politicians and bureaucrats imposing these rules?

Ostensibly for purposes of conservation.

    …what about the need to conserve water? Well, the Department of the Interior says that domestic water use, which includes even the water you use on your lawn and flower beds, constitutes a mere 2% of the total, so this unrelenting misery spread by government regulations makes hardly a dent in the whole. In any case, what is the point of some vague sense of “conserving” when the whole purpose of modern appliances and indoor plumbing is to improve our lives and sanitation? (Free societies have a method for knowing how much of something to use or not use; it is called the signaling system of prices.)

Jeffrey is right. If there really is a water shortage (as there sometimes is in parts of the country and world), then prices are the best way of encouraging conservation.

Now let’s dig in the archives of the Wall Street Journal for a 2010 column on the showerhead issue. Apparently bureaucrats are irked that builders and consumers used multiple showerheads to boost the quality of their daily showers.

    Regulators are going after some of the luxury shower fixtures that took off in the housing boom. Many have multiple nozzles, cost thousands of dollars and emit as many as 12 gallons of water a minute. In May, the DOE stunned the plumbing-products industry when it said it would adopt a strict definition of the term “showerhead”… A 1992 federal law says a showerhead can deliver no more than 2.5 gallons per minute at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch. For years, the term “showerhead” in federal regulations was understood by many manufacturers to mean a device that directs water onto a bather. Each nozzle in a shower was considered separate and in compliance if it delivered no more than the 2.5-gallon maximum. But in May, the DOE said a “showerhead” may incorporate “one or more sprays, nozzles or openings.” Under the new interpretation, all nozzles would count as a single showerhead and be deemed noncompliant if, taken together, they exceed the 2.5 gallons-a-minute maximum.

And here’s something that’s both amusing and depressing.

The regulations are so crazy that an entrepreneur didn’t think they were real.

    Altmans Products, a U.S. unit of Grupo Helvex of Mexico City, says it got a letter from the DOE in January and has stopped selling several popular models, including the Shower Rose, which delivers 12 gallons of water a minute. Pedro Mier, the firm’s vice president, says his customers “just like to feel they’re getting a lot of water.” Until getting the DOE letter, his firm didn’t know U.S. law limited showerhead water usage, Mr. Mier says. “At first, I thought it was a scam.”

Unsurprisingly, California is “leading” the way. Here are some passages from an article in the L.A. Times from almost two years ago.

    The flow of water from shower heads and bathroom faucets in California will be sharply reduced under strict new limits approved Wednesday by the state Energy Commission. Current rules, established in 1994 at the federal level, allow a maximum flow of 2.5 gallons per minute from a shower head. Effective next July, the limit will fall to 2.0 gallons per minute and will be reduced again in July 2018, to 1.8 gallons, giving California the toughest standard of any U.S. state.

Though “toughest standard” is the wrong way to describe what’s happening. It’s actually the “worst shower” of any state.



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   main.html 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


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Rick Perry got a tongue lashing from the American Meteorological Society. Did he deserve it?

By Roy Spencer

Asked in an interview on CNBCs “Squawk Box” whether he believed carbon dioxide was “the primary control knob for the temperature of the Earth and for climate,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said, “No, most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in.”

Perry added, “the fact is this shouldn’t be a debate about, ‘Is the climate changing, is man having an effect on it?’ Yeah, we are. The question should be just how much, and what are the policy changes that we need to make to effect that?”

In response, the Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), Keith Seitter, said in a letter to Perry:

"While you acknowledged that the climate is changing and that humans are having an impact on it, it is critically important that you understand that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the primary cause.

This is a conclusion based on the comprehensive assessment of scientific evidence. It is based on multiple independent lines of evidence that have been affirmed by thousands of independent scientists and numerous scientific institutions around the world.

We are not familiar with any scientific institution with relevant subject matter expertise that has reached a different conclusion. These indisputable findings have shaped our current AMS Statement on Climate Change, which states:

“It is clear from extensive scientific evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane, and nitrous oxide.”

Most of the headlines I’ve seen on the CNBC interview, like one in the Washington Post, refer to Perry with the usual “denier” terms.

Does Perry deserve the epithet? And was AMS’s Seitter right to scold him?

Basically, Perry is saying he believes nature has a larger role than humans in recent warming. I, too, believe the oceans might well be a primary driver of climate change, but whether the human/nature ratio is 50/50, or less, or more than that is up for debate. We simply don’t know.

So, while Sec. Perry goes against the supposed consensus of scientists, what he said was not outlandish, and it wasn’t a denial of a known fact. It was a valid opinion on an uncertain area of science.

Seitter calls the claims in his letter “indisputable.” Really? In my opinion, the AMS view (which draws upon the U.N. IPCC view) is much more definitively stated than the evidence warrants.

Sure, all the scientific institutions are on the bandwagon, with politically savvy committees agreeing with each other. They are, in effect, being paid by the government to agree with the consensus through billions of dollars in grants and contracts.

No global warming crisis, no government funding—or very little—to study it. And then thousands of climate-dependent careers (including mine) cease to exist.

That money also trickles down to the AMS, which is paid to hold scientific conferences and workshops and publish the resulting research studies in scientific journals. They have a vested interest in keeping the gravy train going.

So, maybe I can ask the AMS: Just what percentage of recent warming was natural in origin? None? 10%? 40%? How do you know? Why was the pre-1940 warming rate—caused by Mother Nature—almost as strong as recent warming?

The truth is, no one knows just how much of recent warming was human-caused, including those thousands of “independent” scientists. They pin the blame on CO2 partly because that’s all they can think of, and we still don’t understand natural sources of climate change.

Besides, in the climate business, there are no thousands of independent scientists, anyway. They live and work in an echo chamber, and very few have the breadth and depth of knowledge to make an informed judgement on the issue. The vast majority are specialists in some narrow field of research. They go along to get along … and to keep funding coming.

Young climate researchers today cannot voice doubts about anthropogenic global warming, or they might not have a career. They can’t go to Big Energy for research funding because, as far as I know, such funding does not exist. Big Energy knows they don’t have to pay people to prop up petroleum, natural gas, and coal, because the world (for the time being) runs on the stuff.

What we do know with considerable confidence is that increasing CO2 should cause some warming. (I’ll admit that my opinion here is mostly based upon a theoretical extrapolation from laboratory measurements of how CO2 absorbs and emits infrared energy.) But we really don’t know how much. We certainly don’t have enough confidence to claim it is “indisputable” that our greenhouse gas emissions are the dominant cause, as Seitter claims.

I am ashamed that the climate research community allows such pronouncements to be made. The AMS became a global warming advocacy group many years ago, and as a result it lost a lot of established members, including myself.


Trump Takes a Dig at Wind Farms: ‘As the Birds Fall to the Ground’

President Trump said Wednesday he was supportive of a range of energy sources, from coal to solar to nuclear, but took a dig at wind power.

“I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories,” he told enthusiastic supporters at a rally in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As the applause died away, he added, “As the birds fall to the ground.”

After hailing steps to end “the war on clean, beautiful coal” and announcing that 33,000 mining jobs had been added since he took office, Trump said, “We’re going to have all forms of energy.”

“Whether it’s natural gas, whether it’s alternative sources, we’re going to have everything.”

“We use electric, we use wind, we use solar, we use coal, we use natural gas, we will use nuclear if the right opportunity presents itself. We’re going to be strong for the future,” he said.

Later in the speech, Trump announced – for the first time in public, he said – that he was mulling the possibility of having the envisaged wall along the U.S.-Mexico border powered by solar panels.

“We’re thinking of something that’s unique,” he said, noting that the southern border region has “lots of sun, lots of heat.”

“We’re thinking of building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy – and pays for itself.”

“And this way,” he added, “Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good, right?”

Trump also said the panels would look “beautiful,” and pointed out with a grin that “the higher it goes, the more valuable it is.”

 “Pretty good imagination, right? Good?” he asked the crowd. “My idea.”

Trump’s reference to birds falling to the ground relates to concerns about birds dying as a result of the giant turbines used in wind farms

A 2013 study found that between 140,000 and 328,000 birds die in the U.S. every year as a result of colliding with wind turbines.

It also found that taller turbines, deemed to be more efficient in generating power, pose a greater risk of fatal collisions.

The Washington-based American Wind Energy Association, a national trade group, contends that collisions with buildings, communication towers and high-tension wires kill far more birds each year.

AWEA also argues, citing extinction predictions by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that climate change is the biggest threat to wildlife.


The Gory Facts About Solar vs. Coal Energy Employment

On "Fox News Sunday" with Mike Wallace June 4, former Vice President Al Gore said solar energy has created jobs 17 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole. He also pointed out that solar now employs more people than coal.

He saw those both as reasons to celebrate. The truth is the opposite.


Because solar jobs are a tragic waste of human labor.

Gore’s right that solar employs more than coal now — roughly twice as many. At the end of 2016, solar employed about 374,000, while coal employed about 160,000.

But in 2016, coal produced 15 percent of all energy consumed in the U.S., and solar only 0.06 percent. That means coal produces 5,000 times as much energy per job as solar.

As the graphic from the EIA shows, solar provides six percent of renewable energy’s 10 percent of total energy; 0.1 * 0.06 = 0.006. Coal provides 15 percent not of renewable’s 10 percent of total energy but 15 percent of total energy; 15/0.006=2,500. But it takes twice as many workers for solar to provide that 0.006 percent of total energy, so the productivity of coal per job is 2,500 x 2 = 5,000 times the productivity per job.


Trump’s Green Energy Plan Has The Democrats Lose Their Minds

President Trump on Wednesday made his first public pitch to install solar panels on his border wall with Mexico.

It was the first time that the president mentioned his plan publically. Earlier this month, two congressional Republicans told The Wall Street Journal about the plan after a private meeting with Trump.

“Think of it,” Trump told the audience Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “The higher it goes, the more valuable it is. Pretty good imagination, right?”

The president joked, “This way, Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good. A solar wall. Makes sense.”


Australia: Great white shark debate: Lifting protection hinges on scientific population finding

The Liberal Party federal council has unanimously moved to lift protection of great white sharks if the CSIRO’s forthcoming population study finds the species is no longer endangered.

The council is the party’s highest forum for debating policy. More than 100 delegates, including MPs, voted for the motion, proposed by Anthony Spagnolo, WA Liberal Party vice-president.

The motion said the “federal government should remove the white shark as a vulnerable and threatened species from the EPBC Act should the finding of the CSIRO study prove that the species is no longer endangered.”

Speaking from the council meeting in Sydney, WA senator Linda Reynolds told The Australian the vote “reinforces that there are other opinions than those held by environmentalists”.

“It starkly illustrates the divide between the far left and mainstream Australia, who think human life always comes first,” Senator Reynolds said.

She said that relying on the CSIRO was “unequivocally the right course of action”.

“We want to base any future measures on scientific evidence, not emotional rhetoric.”

Last week, former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott told The Australian that lifting protection and restarting commercial shark fishing would “ensure that we have a stronger economy and a safer society”.

“They’ve been protected now for 20 odd years. Every fisherman knows the numbers are exploding. They are not an endangered species.”

Federal Environment minister Josh Frydenberg this month said he expected the CSIRO population study to be delivered this year.

South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint said it was time to start protecting Australians.

“We must protect our swimmers and surfers and hard-working Australians like abalone divers from being attacked or killed by sharks,” she said.

“In an era when rates of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are at an all-time high, we should be encouraging more, not less, people to be active. This means keeping them safe from shark attacks along our coastline.

“I strongly support the Liberal Party’s Federal Council Motion today moved by the WA Division. We need evidence-based decision making and management of great white shark populations.”



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   main.html 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