Monday, December 10, 2018

Global carbon emissions reached a record high in 2018

Half the story again, in the usual Leftist way.  I have yet to see them give the whole story on anything.  They can't afford to. Reality is solidly against their dreams.

I am not for a minute going to challenge their claim of maximal CO2 levels this year.  CO2 has been rising fairly steadily for many years now.  But why does that matter?  CO2 is referred to only because of its supposed influence on the global temperature.  So it is the temperature that is the real issue. It is the temperature that is the important part of the story.  Warmist theory does say that as CO2 levels go up so will temperatures.  So were the temperatures in fact higher in 2018?

We can check that.  Anyone can check that. Go here for the official GISS monthly temperature record.  You will see that in all months but one the 2018 temperatures were LOWER than 2016.  If we can take just one year as informative -- which Warmists regularly do -- the temperature is in fact FALLING!

Global emissions of carbon dioxide have reached the highest levels on record, scientists projected Wednesday, in the latest evidence of the chasm between international goals for combating climate change and what countries are actually doing.

Between 2014 and 2016, emissions remained largely flat, leading to hopes that the world was beginning to turn a corner. Those hopes have been dashed. In 2017, global emissions grew 1.6 percent. The rise in 2018 is projected to be 2.7 percent.

The expected increase, which would bring fossil fuel and industrial emissions to a record high of 37.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, is being driven by nearly 5 percent emissions growth in China and more than 6 percent in India, researchers estimated, along with growth in many other nations throughout the world. Emissions by the United States grew 2.5 percent, while emissions by the European Union declined by just under 1 percent.

As nations are gathered for climate talks in Poland, the message of Wednesday’s report was unambiguous: When it comes to promises to begin cutting the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change, the world remains well off target.

‘‘We are in trouble. We are in deep trouble with climate change,’’ United Nations Secretary General António Guterres said this week at the opening of the 24th annual UN climate conference, where countries will wrestle with the ambitious goals they need to meet to sharply reduce carbon emissions in coming years.

‘‘It is hard to overstate the urgency of our situation,’’ he added. ‘‘Even as we witness devastating climate impacts causing havoc across the world, we are still not doing enough, nor moving fast enough, to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate disruption.’’

Guterres was not commenting specifically on Wednesday’s findings, which were released in a trio of scientific papers by researchers with the Global Carbon Project. But his words came amid a litany of grim news in the fall in which scientists have warned that the effects of climate change are no longer distant and hypothetical, and that the impacts of global warming will only intensify in the absence of aggressive international action.

Scientists have said that annual carbon dioxide emissions need to plunge almost by half by the year 2030 if the world wants to hit the most stringent — and safest — climate change target. That would be either keeping the Earth’s warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius — when it is already at 1 degrees — or only briefly ‘‘overshooting’’ that temperature.


Brendan Clark is a sad soul.  He is brimming over with hate

Brendan Clark [] sent the following message to Marc Morano.  Most of the Left cannot argue.  Abuse is all they have.  It must be very uncomfortable to be so full of rage

Messaging you to let you know how much of a horrible person I believe you to be. The propaganda you spread is horrifying. I cannot wait for the day you die and are sent straight to hell, in fact I pray for it every day. From now on you will receive an email from me once a day until you are dead. Dont try to block me as I will just make a new email.
Go fuck your mother

America turned into a net oil exporter last week, breaking 75 years of continued dependence on foreign oil

The shift to net exports is the dramatic result of an unprecedented boom in American oil production, with thousands of wells pumping from the Permian region of Texas and New Mexico to the Bakken in North Dakota to the Marcellus in Pennsylvania.

While the country has been heading in that direction for years, this week’s dramatic shift came as data showed a sharp drop in imports and a jump in exports to a record high. Given the volatility in weekly data, the U.S. will likely remain a small net importer most of the time.

“We are becoming the dominant energy power in the world,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. “But, because the change is gradual over time, I don’t think it’s going to cause a huge revolution, but you do have to think that OPEC is going to have to take that into account when they think about cutting.”

The shale revolution has transformed oil wildcatters into billionaires and the U.S. into the world’s largest petroleum producer, surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia. The power of OPEC has been diminished, undercutting one of the major geopolitical forces of the last half century. The cartel and its allies are meeting in Vienna this week, trying to make a tough choice to cut output and support prices, risking the loss of more market share to the U.S.

The U.S. sold overseas last week a net 211,000 barrels a day of crude and refined products such as gasoline and diesel, compared to net imports of about 3 million barrels a day on average so far in 2018, and an annual peak of more than 12 million barrels a day in 2005, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The EIA said the U.S. has been a net oil importer in weekly data going back to 1991 and monthly data starting in 1973. Oil historians that have compiled even older annual data using statistics from the American Petroleum Institute said the country has been a net oil importer since 1949, when Harry Truman was at the White House.

The massive Permian may be even bigger than previously thought. The Delaware Basin, the less drilled part of the field, holds more than twice the amount of crude as its sister, the Midland Basin, the U.S. Geological Service said Thursday.

While the net balance shows the U.S. is selling more petroleum than buying, American refiners continue to buy millions of barrels each day of overseas crude and fuel. The U.S. imports more than 7 million barrels a day of crude from all over the globe to help feed its refineries, which consume more than 17 million barrels each day. In turn, the U.S. has become the world’s top fuel supplier.

“The U.S. is now a major player in the export market,” said Brian Kessens, who helps manage $16 billion at Tortoise in Leawood, Kansas. “We continue to re-tool our export infrastructure along the Gulf Coast to expand capacity, and you continue to see strong demand globally for crude oil.”

On paper, the shift to net oil imports means that the U.S. is today energy independent, achieving a rhetorical aspiration for generations of American politicians, from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush. Yet, it’s a paper tiger achievement: In reality, the U.S. remains exposed to global energy prices, still affected by the old geopolitics of the Middle East.

U.S. crude exports are poised to rise even further, with new pipelines from the Permian in the works and at least nine terminals planned that will be capable of loading supertankers. The only facility currently able to load the largest ships, the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, is on pace to load more oil in December than it has in any other month.


SCOTUS Rejects Ecofascist Challenge to Border Wall

President Trump gets an all-too-rare immigration win in the courts

A gaggle of three ecofascist groups just saw their hopes of preventing President Donald Trump from constructing a border wall based upon their environmental “concerns” rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices refused to take up the case in which California Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel had ruled in February in favor of Trump. Curiel determined that the president had not exceeded his powers and had the legal authority to waive environmental laws based upon a 1996 law that was designed to stem illegal immigration.

In his ruling, Curiel quoted Chief Justice John Roberts: “Court(s) are vested with the authority to interpret the law; we possess neither the expertise nor the prerogative to make policy judgements. Those decisions are entrusted to our Nation’s elected leaders, who can be thrown out of office if the people disagree with them. It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.” That was Roberts’s opinion in upholding ObamaCare despite clear constitutional reasons to strike it down, so Curiel’s choice of a quote was … interesting.

It’s important to note that it takes the approval of only four justices for a case to be heard before the High Court. Thus, the fact that not even four justices agreed to hear arguments sends the message that this case — obviously aimed at stymying Trump’s immigration-enforcement agenda — didn’t meet muster even for the Court’s left wing.

This is a clear win for Trump. It’s also ironic given that it originated with Curiel, a judge Trump previously criticized in a 2016 lawsuit regarding his now-defunct Trump University. At the time, Trump accused Curiel of being biased due to his Mexican heritage. But Curiel acted as any good judge should — upon the merits of the case as it relates to the law and not upon personal animus or bias.

Whether Trump gets congressional funding to build the wall is another matter entirely, but at least this roadblock cooked up by anti-Trump ecofascists has been removed.


Barmaid Sandy declares climate change 'the civil rights movement of our generation'

It's just a political football

Liberal Democrats and environmental groups are urging the next Congress to do more to push back against the effects of climate change after watching the issue get sidelined over the first two years of the Trump administration.

Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont hosted a town hall Monday where he and other “climate justice” warriors, including Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, warned that the longer President Trump and elected leaders refuse to address the “great crisis,” the more that people, the planet and the economy will be hurt.

“The time is late,” Mr. Sanders said. “Countries all over the world are going to have to stand up [and] take on the fossil fuel industry if we are going to leave our kids and our grandchildren a planet that is habitable.

“This is a crisis situation,” he said. “It is unprecedented and we have got to act in an unprecedented way.”

The town hall event coincided with the start of the United Nations climate change summit in Poland and came about a month after Democrats took control of the House — leaving activists excited about the role that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and other activists turned politicians could play in focusing more attention on the issue.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez highlighted her push for a “Green New Deal” that calls for a select committee to put together a plan to combat climate change by 2020.

“This is going to be the great society, the moon shot, the civil rights movement of our generation,” she said.

The calls for action on climate change spiked last month after 13 federal agencies released a report — the Fourth National Climate Change Assessment — that provided stark warnings about how rising temperatures could lead to more drought, fires and flooding, and devastate the economy and people’s health.

Mr. Trump, who has rolled back regulation targeting carbon emissions, dismissed the findings and GOP lawmakers have basically followed suit.

Likely contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination have pounced on the report, and the issue. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is slated on Tuesday to be in Iowa to screen a new documentary called “Paris to Pittsburgh” that highlights the impact of climate change and what people are doing to address the problem.

The title of the documentary, which Mr. Bloomberg helped finance, alludes to Mr. Trump’s announcement last year that he was pulling the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement because, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

“Iowans understand what too many leaders in Washington don’t: Fighting climate change is good for our health and our economy,” Mr. Bloomberg said Monday in a Des Moines Register op-ed.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another likely 2020 contender introduced legislation this year that would mandate public companies disclose more information about their exposure to climate-related risks. Half the bill’s eight co-sponsors — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Kamala D. Harris of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — are thought to be lining up presidential bids.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, has called on her caucus to revive a select committee on climate change that was defunded when Republicans took over the chamber, and others have vowed to tackle the issue in congressional hearings.

It remains to be seen how much could change legislatively in Washington next year — particularly with Republicans calling the shots in the Senate.

What is clear is that climate is poised to get more of a look in the Democrat-controlled House, where lawmakers already are laying out plans to hold a series of congressional hearings on the subject early next year.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez helped thrust the issue into the headlines last month when she joined grass-roots activists protesting outside Mrs. Pelosi’s office last month demanding more action on climate change.

“I believe that the progressive movement is the only movement that has answers right now,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said Monday.


The Climate Change Ignorance Of Millenials

If the hair doesn’t go up on the back of your neck when reading this sort of thing, it damn well should.

It was a moment of the kind that changes lives. At a press conference held by climate activists Extinction Rebellion last week, two of us journalists pressed the organisers on whether their aims were realistic. They have called, for example, for UK carbon emissions to be reduced to net zero by 2025. Wouldn’t it be better, we asked, to pursue some intermediate aims?

A young woman called Lizia Woolf stepped forward. She hadn’t spoken before, but the passion, grief and fury of her response was utterly compelling. “What is it that you are asking me as a 20-year-old to face and to accept about my future and my life? … This is an emergency. We are facing extinction. When you ask questions like that, what is it you want me to feel?” We had no answer.

Softer aims might be politically realistic, but they are physically unrealistic. Only shifts commensurate with the scale of our existential crises have any prospect of averting them. Hopeless realism, tinkering at the edges of the problem, got us into this mess. It will not get us out.

Oh really?

The entire premise rests on the belief that there are exponential tipping points beyond which there is no redemption, ever, when it comes to climate — and we’re driving the Earth’s systems in the direction that will reach them.

Let me point that there is no scientific evidence for that position.  None whatsoever.

There is, however, nearly-irrefutable evidence for the converse.  It rests in the fact that we’re here, today, on this rock.

What am I referring to?  What are known in concert as buffering reactions.

The Earth possesses them as does every living thing on the planet both through physical chemistry and, in the case of living things, biological process. This is irrefutable fact.

You are alive because of such buffering reactions.  One of hundreds in your body, which is a complex biochemical process, deals with respiration.  The process of biochemical reactions that produce energy in your body result in CO2 and other waste products (uric acid, etc) being released.

The CO2 in the blood stream is a dissolved gas and dissolving a gas disassociates the ions in question; the result is a small amount of CH2O3, or carbonic acid, being present in the blood.  That in turn slightly lowers blood pH since acids, by definition, have a lower than neutral pH.

Your body reacts to this by increasing the respiration (breathing) rate.  The CO2 is thus expelled from the body and the carbonic acid is removed, slightly raising the pH of the blood.  Your breathing then slows.

Let me emphasize something here: The change in pH as a result of this process is extremely small; normal blood pH ranges from 7.35 to 7.45 (7.0 is neutral.)

Yet your body, indeed that of every animal that respires, is tuned to these extraordinarily small changes and responds with a buffering reaction that attempts to reverse that change.  It does so automatically and immediately — within seconds.

Most people believe that the body keeps arterial O2 saturation in the blood at almost-100% by direct biochemical measurement.  Not so.  This is why you will suffocate silently and painlessly if you breathe an atmosphere that has no oxygen in it.

Your body doesn’t think anything is wrong because there is no increase in CO2 level nor change in blood pH, there is no respiratory response or distress (breathing faster trying to get what little O2 may exist), you just pass out and die.

Now if you are chronically diseased (such as by smoking for decades) then this reaction will become damaged.  Normally, without a secondary mechanism to regulate respiration, that condition would immediately kill you as your O2 saturation would fall below lethal limits or your blood pH would go out of the required range to support life.

It doesn’t, because the body has a secondary mechanism; it can directly determine O2 saturation to some degree and if your CO2 sensing mechanism is damaged to the point that it doesn’t function properly it is capable of taking over sufficiently to keep you alive.  But that “backup” is much slower, much less-precise and your exercise tolerance is essentially zero if your body is using that mechanism.

The Earth has thousands of such buffering reactions.  The oceans, specifically and just as one of these reactions, have an utterly enormous amount of carbonate dissolved in them.  You might recognize that word, and you should, because it’s the same molecule — CO2 — that is dissolved in the blood.

The oceans (indeed, all bodies of water) constantly exchange CO2 with the atmosphere.  This is known.  But what’s not known well at all is exactly what sort of boundaries are on this reaction, where equilibrium points are, what shifts said equilibrium points, or what the shape of the curve looks like in the actual world rather than in a laboratory.

It’s a hell of a lot more-complex than it first appears and there’s a damn good argument to be made that this singular buffering reaction is largely responsible for the possibility of life on this rock.

Throughout the history of the planet some extremely large disruptive events have happened.  Very large volcanic eruptions that make anything experienced in the history books look like firecrackers and asteroid strikes to name two.  We know these happened because they leave behind direct evidence, and we know roughly when they happened.

In the absence of buffering reactions within the larger context of the planet’s chemistry life on this rock would have been extinguished millions of years ago and this would be a lifeless rock.  It wasn’t and isn’t.

Now it is absolutely true that the Earth cannot support unlimited and permanent exponential population growth of any species.

There is no such thing as permanent exponential growth of anything, ever, period.  You must stop such growth voluntarily at some point or you will be forced to stop by a foldback event where you cannot support what you grew.  This is true for populations and it is true for economies.

Governments refuse to accept this and make promises based on the belief they can violate this law of mathematics.  They’re not just “wrong” by accident either — they know they’re lying.

As I pointed out in Leverage behind every unit of GDP is a unit of energy.  Energy can neither be created or destroyed; it can be exchanged through nuclear reactions with matter (E = MC^2 and all) but if stored by some process and then released it is inherently dissipated back into the environment.

Sequestering the product somewhere (again) also requires energy from some other place; CO2 is sequestered into plant material by solar energy as just one example. All chemical reactions have (although often omitted when not being quoted by a chemist or other scientist) an energy term in joules/mol — either liberated or required.  There is no such thing as a free lunch.

While it would be nice to postulate that we will come up with some sort of Star Trek technology improvement before we hit the natural limits and foldback points of exponential expansion, especially of people, that’s not exactly comforting.

Maybe we will and maybe we won’t, but history suggests it will be won’t and we’ll get the nasty.  Nature has a way of doing that, and the “nasty” is frequently something like the plague that kills off a material percentage of the population!

In point of fact warming and higher CO2 levels are, on a planetary scale, beneficial.  Higher atmospheric CO2 levels make plants grow faster, which is good if you need them to either feed people directly or feed animals that then feed people.  In addition while warmer temperatures will shift crop production they too are beneficial in that longer growing seasons also improve crop yields.

While it is absolutely true that severe warming would inundate certain areas that’s a local issue, not a global one.  On a global — not local — basis if you are interested in trying to sustain an exponential population growth pattern for a longer period of time you want more CO2 in the atmosphere and you want a warmer climate — period.

This is a function of math, not politics.

If you could stop warming and CO2 emission then you need to also not only stop population growth you must kill off a material percentage of the people already here.  Those screamers who are hollering “emergency!” are in fact intending to do exactly that as it is the only way to get where they want to go.  What they won’t discuss is exactly who and how they intend to murder.  May I remind you that at least Hitler was quite clear in who he intended to (and did) target?

But for the globull-warming screamers as I noted recently in this column the more-likely scenario — by far — is that we’re setting up for a Maunder Minimum sort of event and there is nothing we can do about it since the source is that nuclear-fusion-based flaming ball in the sky commonly called “the Sun.”

If if in fact we are at the entry to a prolonged period of much less solar sunspot activity then the decrease in radiation absorbed by the planet will produce not warming but cooling which will utterly decimate global crop production and kill a couple of billion people.

Most of those who die won’t be in the “developed” world; the United States and Europe are capable of producing sufficient food, even with crop yields well below current levels, to avoid a famine-style problem.  Other parts of the world have managed to survive exponential population growth by importing food from places like the United States and if a Maunder Minimum style event comes to pass that source will be cut off because we will need that food here.

Thinking though the implications of that sort of thing ought to sober you up fast.  See, starving people do desperate things, and in a world where advanced, mass-destructive weaponry is not only fairly common it can be stolen and “proliferated” if you think such an event is going to take place without at least some of the starving trying to take what they need by force you also need to become a better student of history.



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Sunday, December 09, 2018

Sir David Attenborough: Climate change 'our greatest threat'

What drives this nonagenarian  propagandist?  For a start, he has always been a Greenie.  His lifelong work of documenting the natural world predisposes him to that.  The natural world is obviously his love. So any apparent threat to the natural world has him come out fighting.

But it is worse than that.  Being in favour of the natural world has also made him  a misanthrope.  His love of nature seems to have made him an enemy of people.  He has repeatedly said that there are too many of us and he supports just about every measure that would put a lid on the human population.

But to do that you need control and global warming is the main hope of controlling people in democratic societies.  So he pushes that gospel relentlessly.

He obviously hopes that his acclaim as a naturalist might cause him to be seen as an authority. But taking pictures of interesting animals does not make you a scientist.  And he obviously knows nothing of the science of the matter. He could not be so sweeping if he did.  Note for example the much discussed paper by Fyfe et al in which a large group  of Warmist scientists discuss the fact that temperatures did not rise as they should in the early 21st century.  It was about as UNsweeping as you can get.  In its conclusiion it speaks of "the EMBRYONIC field of decadal climate prediction".  The way Attenborough talks has nothing in common with the rightfully cautious way scientists talk.

And there is an element of hypocrisy in where Attenborough lives.  He wants us all to live in  some sort of Green Eden But he does not practice what he preaches. He lives in polluted old London despite his proclaimed love of natural environments. He could go much nearer to practicing what he preaches by living in the Southland of New Zealand -- infinitely more pristine and naturally beautiful than London. And they even have good internet access there and speak English. And you can definitely drink the water. He might also discover what fresh food tastes like in New Zealand

The naturalist Sir David Attenborough has said climate change is humanity's greatest threat in thousands of years.

The broadcaster said it could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of "much of the natural world".

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

The meeting is the most critical on climate change since the 2015 Paris agreement.

Sir David said: "Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change.

"If we don't take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon."

The naturalist is taking up the "People's Seat" at the conference, called COP24. He is supposed to act as a link between the public and policy-makers at the meeting.

"The world's people have spoken. Their message is clear. Time is running out. They want you, the decision-makers, to act now," he said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, said climate change was already "a matter of life and death" for many countries.

He explained that the world is "nowhere near where it needs to be" on the transition to a low-carbon economy.

But the UN Secretary-General said the conference was an effort to "right the ship" and he would convene a climate summit next year to discuss next steps.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has announced $200bn in funding over five years to support countries taking action against climate change.


The Green Agenda Burns to Ashes in Paris

Macron has completely backed off his fuel tax increasses

A riot is an ugly thing.

The anarchical mayhem in the streets of Paris in recent days paint a picture of a fractured society with deep-seated problems—a breakdown of the fragile yet essential rule of law.

While we’ve come to expect such things in France, there are specific reasons why these protests have erupted in the last month.

The “climate” agenda, peddled as a means to save the planet and reduce inequality, is being exposed in France as an agenda inherently at odds with the interests of middle- and working-class people.

Last year, a wide range of American and international media, celebrities, and activists excoriated President Donald Trump for pulling the United States out of the international Paris climate agreement. Trump said in 2017 that he would put “no other consideration before the well-being of American citizens” and that he would reject an agreement that would force taxpayers to “absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”

Former Vice President and climate change activist Al Gore said at the time that leaving the deal was a “reckless and indefensible action.”

But Americans may in fact have a better grasp of their interests than a tiny elite across the pond and in America’s powerful media institutions. For proof, look to the streets of Paris.

Paris is now burning, and French President Emmanuel Macron, who was once widely praised as a kind of “centrist” savior of the global community, is in hot political waters.

Macron’s approval ratings sit at 23 percent in a recent poll, according to Reuters, a new low for his presidency. The “yellow vest” protesters, as they’ve been called, have forced his administration to back off its proposed new gas and utility taxes.

The protesters appear to come from a vast swath of French society and don’t fit neatly on the ideological spectrum. They’ve rebelled against high taxes while also calling for increases in the minimum wage.

Alas, the consequences of living in a society where the government is involved in every aspect of a person’s life.

“France’s violent Yellow Vest protests are now about many domestic concerns, but it’s no accident that the trigger was a fuel-tax hike,” read an editorial for The Wall Street Journal. “Nothing reveals the disconnect between ordinary voters and an aloof political class more than carbon taxation.”

France’s widespread use of nuclear power has allowed it to move a bit further away from the carbon economy in terms of energy costs, but its transportation sector is still highly reliant on oil, The Wall Street Journal noted.

Nicolas Loris, an economist and regulatory expert at The Heritage Foundation, highlighted the widespread economic harm that’s caused by “green” policies:

Global warming regulations for new and existing power plants will drive electricity bills higher for families and businesses. Fuel efficiency mandates for cars, trucks, and heavy-duty vehicles increase the up-front cost of vehicles by thousands of dollars. Methane regulations on oil and gas would introduce burdensome, complex processes that would likely slow the industry’s current efforts to reduce emissions, which have been falling for decades.

For the average person, the cost of the war on climate change can be severe.

In a country like France, which is already dealing with economic hardship, low growth, and high joblessness rates, you have a recipe for disaster.

Maybe there is something to be said about leaders asserting national self-interest after all.

The shocking images of riots are nevertheless emblematic of the collapse of the green agenda and the animosity it engenders from the people it harms: the forgotten men—squeezed by regulations and taxes—who don’t count themselves among the privileged few who receive generous green energy subsidies.

In France, many see this dysfunctional system as inevitable and unchangeable without extreme recourse.

Certainly, we should deplore the mobs and destruction of property. In America, we’d hope that our differences can be solved through elections, deliberation, and peaceful protest, if necessary.

This is certainly possible as long as we maintain our constitutional system and a cultural respect for the rule of law that the Founding Fathers and generations of Americans blessed us with.

While France’s economy is stagnant, the U.S. economy has been booming—in part due to the flourishing oil industry and the curtailment of regulations that were a hallmark of the Obama era.

Are the conditions in Europe really what we want to replicate in the U.S.?

California is going down this path, and perhaps the new Congress will as well. But the chaos in France should serve as a stern warning of what lies down the road.


Resources Are Almost 5 Times as Abundant as They Were in 1980

Humanity is enjoying a world of increasingly cheap and ever more abundant mineral, argicultural, forestry and energy resources reports a brilliant new study, the Simon Abundance Index. This analysis by Marian Tupy,* editor of Human Progress at the Cato Institute, and Professor Gale Pooley from Brigham Young University – Hawaii uses data on 50 different commodities to track their price trajectories over the past 37 years from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. They find in real price terms their basket of commodities decreased by an average of 36.3 percent between 1980 and 2017.

That's great, but their breakthrough insight is that, since 1980, global real hourly income rate per capita has grown by more than 80 percent, which means that the commodities that took 60 minutes of work to buy in 1980 now take only 21 minutes of labor to buy in 2017. As a result, the "time-price" of their basket of commodities has fallen by 64.7 percent.

Tupy and Pooley also devise a price elasticity of population (PEP) measure that finds that resource abundance increases faster than population does. In economics, they explain, elasticity is a measure of a variable's sensitivity to a change in another variable. They report:

Between 1980 and 2017, the time-price of our basket of commodities declined by 64.7 percent. Over the same time period, the world's population increased from 4.46 billion to 7.55 billion. That's a 69.3 percent increase. The PEP indicates that the time-price of our basket of commodities declined by 0.934 percent for every 1 percent increase in population.

[P]eople often assume that population growth leads to resource depletion. We found the opposite. Over the past 37 years, every additional human being born on our planet appears to have made resources proportionately more plentiful for the rest of us.

Tupy and Pooley combine their findings with regard to time-price and PEP trends to derive the Simon Abundance Index (SAI). The index is named in honor of University of Maryland economist Julian Simon. Simon famously bet Stanford University population bomber Paul Ehrlich and his colleagues that the real prices of a basket of commodities chosen by Ehrlich priced $1,000 would decline between 1980 and 1990. In October 1990, Ehrlich mailed Simon a check for $576.07, meaning that the price of the commodities had fallen by more than 50 percent.

The new SAI, explain Tupy and Pooley, represents the ratio of the change in population over the change in the time-price, times 100, with the base year at 1980 and a base value of 100. They report that "between 1980 and 2017, resource availability increased at a compounded annual growth rate of 4.32 percent. That means that the Earth was 379.6 percent more abundant in 2017 than it was in 1980."

They also report that the SAI rose to 479.6 in 2018, meaning the Earth was nearly five times more plentiful with respect to the 50 commodities they track than it it was when Ehrlich and Simon laid their famous wager. What about the future? Tupy and Pooley calculate if current trends continue that "our planet will be 83 percent more abundant in 2054 than it was in 2017."

"The world is a closed system in the way that a piano is a closed system. The instrument has only 88 notes, but those notes can be played in a nearly infinite variety of ways. The same applies to our planet," write the authors. "The Earth's atoms may be fixed, but the possible combinations of those atoms are infinite. What matters, then, is not the physical limits of our planet, but human freedom to experiment and reimagine the use of resources that we have."

The SAI devised by Tupy and Pooley elegantly refutes the primitive zero-sum intuitions peddled by the likes of Ehrlich and his acolytes that afflict so much of popular and policy discourse with respect to population and resource availability trends.


Electric Vehicle Subsidies Benefit Wealthiest Americans, Produce Next to No Climate Benefit

Frustrated with General Motors Co.’s recent announcement of plant closures and layoffs, President Donald Trump said the administration is now looking at cutting at subsidies to the automaker, including for electric vehicles.

Good. Families should be empowered to purchase the car they want without nudging from Washington and the financial help of their fellow taxpayers.

Electric vehicle handouts subsidize the wealthiest Americans and, despite their being advertised as a more “climate-friendly” option, they produce next to no climate benefit for the planet.

Trump does not quite have the power to cut GM’s current electric vehicles subsidies full stop. But he could play an important role in the future of the targeted tax subsidy.

Both federal and state governments have generous handouts for electric vehicles. The federal tax credit extends up to $7,500 and applies to the first 200,000 electric vehicles per manufacturer, and then a phaseout of the credit begins.

Tesla is in the phaseout period now, and General Motors Co. is close to hitting the 200,000 mark.

Congress is considering a larger package to revive and extend special tax breaks that use the tax code to pick winners and losers.

Some members want to include a permanent extension of the $7,500 tax credit and to lift the 200,000 cap. An unlimited subsidy would be a massively expensive bill for taxpayers and a win for cronyism that awards money based on preferential treatment, rather than the competitive process.

Furthermore, extending the subsidy would continue to take decision rights away from car buyers and leave them in the hands of the federal government.

The federal government uses a number of policy levers to nudge (or force) consumers to use the technology or fuel source of its choice. Whether it’s a mandate to blend corn into our fuel supply or a government-backed loan for an electric vehicle company, each time the government presses its thumbs on the scales to direct investment, it disempowers consumers and impedes innovation.

Rather than extend the tax credit for electric vehicles, Congress should eliminate preferential treatment for all energy sources and technologies. That way, innovative companies will be chasing after the preferences of consumers rather than the next handout from Washington.

Car buyers have a number of different reasons for purchasing a specific car or truck and may have different reason for purchasing alternative-fuel vehicles.

Families will be better served when Washington isn’t telling consumers what type of vehicle to buy and why, especially when politicians, bureaucrats, and other so-called “experts” get those justifications for switching to alternative vehicles flat-out wrong.

For instance, one alleged justification for switching from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric ones is the climate benefit. Earlier this year, The Guardian wrote, “Switching to electric cars is key to fixing America’s ‘critically insufficient’ climate policies.” The Obama administration included the adoption of electric vehicles as a way it was responsibly combating climate change.

But the numbers tell a different story. Jonathan Lesser, an economist and the president of Continental Resources, calculated the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from increased adoption of electric vehicles in a May 2018 study for the Manhattan Institute.

Lesser found that “electric vehicles will reduce them, compared to new internal-combustion vehicles. But based on the [Energy Information Administration’s] projection of the number of new electric vehicles, the net reduction in carbon dioxide emissions between 2018 and 2050 would be only about one-half of 1 percent of total forecast U.S. energy-related carbon emissions. Such a small change will have no impact whatsoever on climate … .”

Similarly, according to recent data compiled by analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “an electric vehicle in Germany would take more than 10 years to break even with an efficient combustion engine’s emissions.” Mining of materials for, and the manufacturing of, lithium-ion batteries is quite carbon dioxide intensive. Plugging into an electric grid powered by coal doesn’t help, either.

The fact that the emissions output is close to a toss-up goes to show how meaningless the climate abatement of switching to electric vehicles is.

January 2019 will bring a divided Congress and plenty of time for disagreement. But one issue that unites the far left and the far right is opposition to corporate cronyism. Electric vehicle subsidies are just that.

The subsidies accrue to carmakers and America’s wealthiest households, which can also afford an electric vehicle without any help from other taxpayers.

A good New Year’s resolution for the outgoing Congress and the new members should be a commitment to end corporate welfare. Not extending bad policies that pick winners and losers is a good place to start.

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation.


Another hitchiker on the climate change bandwagon

Advocating for “reproductive rights” is the key to stopping climate change, a hip-hop artist/environmental activist declared at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) climate town hall Monday.

Hip-hop artist and Earth Guardians Youth Director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez told Sanders’ town hall audience that gender equality, in the form of reproductive rights like abortion and contraception, is “one of the best ways to address our climate crisis”:

“This is the most important issue of our time because it connects every other issue.

“You know, if you care about gender equality, you know, some of the most recent studies, including [author] Paul Hawken in the “Drawdown,” was talking about how one of the best ways to address our climate crisis is to educate women and advocate for their reproductive rights.”

Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced “Shoe-Tez-Caht”) said that reproductive rights and climate change are directly connected because climate change is an “umbrella crisis”:

“That’s a direct line of intersection between these two movements, because climate change is that thing, is that umbrella crisis, that is more than we have ever successfully communicated it to be."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Thursday, December 06, 2018


Because of some minor but pesky health problems, I  will not be blogging for a while
I hope to be back on Sunday

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Thank God for President Trump!

By economic historian Martin Hutchinson

This column has on a number of occasions been critical of President Donald Trump; his views on interest rates are especially unenlightened. Yet in two crucial areas, where corporate interests and the intelligentsia had spread a deep fog of deliberate lies to smother intelligent global discourse, Trump has acted as a mighty wind of clarity and illumination. I refer of course to those twin scourges of our times: global warming hysteria and excessive legal and illegal immigration.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) was released last week; it followed three previous NCAs, in 2000, 2009 and 2013, and is issued on behalf of a consortium of 13 government agencies. The process of producing it is thus not subject to proper political review, but merely wastes government money, whatever administration happens to be in power at the time.

Being unconstrained by commercial, political or academic considerations, the authors of the study are free to indulge their wildest fantasies. Every sentence of the language in the Executive Summary is extreme; there is no such thing as a moderate problem, and the study projects a temperature rise by 2100 of 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit, higher than even the United Nations Convention on Climate Change, another body whose members all lose their job if the climate change problem is decided to be a modest one.

I am not a climate scientist. But I was in my time a pretty fair mathematician, taking a considerable interest in the early iterations of large mathematical models. I spoke publicly at a 1971 meeting demonstrating the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth” model, pointing out that its simulations, run 40 years forward, all included error terms that had exploded exponentially off the page – I had experienced the same phenomenon myself; with the primitive computer science of that time it was difficult to cure. But it meant that, whatever unrealistic improvements in technology they inputted, catastrophe of one kind or another followed within 40 years, according to the model, i.e. around 2012. Needless to say, since the disasters were not even a figment of computer programmers’ imagination but an artifact of sheer random mathematical error, they have failed to occur.

I very much suspect that something similar has gone wrong with NCA4’s model. This could have two possible causes. One would again be exploding error terms (but surely, 47 years later, such eminent people know how to solve that problem by now.) The other would because there is a hidden factor in the model causing the equations to “fall off a cliff,” undergoing a mathematical catastrophe, and the modelers are either hiding this or inserted it by accident.

You see, I don’t have too much problem with NCA4’s “Higher” scenario (RCP 8.5) in which carbon emissions spiral out of control and the planet warms like a meatball in a wok, by 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. Yes, that would be catastrophic, and if we see carbon emissions spiraling out of control, we must prevent them from doing so. 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit, NCA4’s “headline” number is probably too high, just because of the way these people operate, but I can’t prove them wrong.

No, the problem I have is with the much lower emission “Lower” scenario, in which emissions drop back somewhat from current levels, and overall average about the same level as they have over the last century. Almost all natural phenomena are approximately linear; indeed it is very difficult to make these models stray far from linearity, and if they do, you have probably done something wrong. So, if the input assumption is that carbon emissions are at the average level of the last century, then the “null hypothesis” output would be warming at the same rate as the last century. We are told that the planet has warmed by 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit between the 1900-60 average and the 1986-2016 average, a period of 70 years between the midpoint of those two intervals (there have been problems with climate scientists fudging temperature measurements in recent years but let that pass.) Hence in the 99 years between 1986-2016 and 2085-2115 (the period centered on 2100) the null hypothesis, given that carbon emissions have not changed, would be warming of 1.2 x 99/70 = 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0.95 degrees Celsius. Such a large system will have a high level of hysteresis, so you can be pretty sure that the warming by 2100 would be between say 1.3 and 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit (0.7 to 1.15 degrees Celsius.) A warming of this magnitude would have little effect on our lives; the oceans would rise by at most a foot or so (so put sandbags on the levees) and some Northerly regions would become more fertile (you might consider a flutter in southern Greenland real estate!)

But the NCA4 model says that under the “Lower” scenario assumption, the temperature in 2070-2100 will be 2.8-7.3 degrees Fahrenheit higher than today, or somewhere between double and quintuple the linear rate of increase. That is frankly not credible. There is some assumption in the model which makes its output wildly non-linear, or its error term is exploding.

After 30 years, you would think that climate scientists could have devised a model that would operate plausibly and produce output values that a simple mathematical analysis as above could not prove to be invalid. The fact that they haven’t proves that they don’t want to; they are paid very well, at taxpayer expense to produce alarmist results, and they will use the model as a “black box” to do so and alarm the more gullible laymen. 30 years of this nonsense is enough; it is time that the immense expenditure of taxpayer resources and forest of immeasurably expensive climate control regulations were cut right back, or preferably eliminated altogether. An ordinary Republican President, a feeble Bush, McCain or Romney, would not have dared buck the consensus of expensive “experts” and point out that the climate change Emperor has no clothes. President Trump has done so, repeatedly and loudly, and therefore in this area at least we can say: Thank God for President Trump!


Trump Stands Tall at G-20 Summit, Refuses To Give In to Paris Agreement Pressure

President Donald Trump refused to sign the United States onto a non-binding agreement in support of the Paris agreement on climate change at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, The Associated Press reported Saturday.

The AP also reported the Trump administration changed the language on trade due to its ongoing tariff battles with other nations.

“Applause rose up in the hall Saturday as the leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, signed off on a final statement at the end of a two-day summit,” the AP reported.

“The statement acknowledges flaws in the world trading system and calls for reforming the World Trade Organization. It doesn’t mention protectionism however, because negotiators said the U.S. had resisted that.

“The statement says 19 of the members reiterated their commitment to the Paris climate accord but the U.S. reiterates its decision to withdraw.”

In terms of tariffs, the G-20 meeting also produced some movement on the trade standoff between the United States and China.

According to a statement issued by the White House, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached an agreement under which there would be a ceasefire of sorts in terms of new levies.

“On Trade, President Trump has agreed that on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product at the 10% rate, and not raise it to 25% at this time,” the statement said.

“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries.”

In addition, the statement said that the two leaders “have agreed to immediately begin negotiations on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfer, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture.”

Xi also agreed to harsher criminal penalties on the production of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid of which China is a major producer.

On the Paris agreement, however, the Trump administration was going it alone — which should be fine when you consider that the United States reduced its CO2 emissions more than any other nation last year without being a part of the climate change agreement.

The rejection also came on the same week as an interview with The Washington Post in which the president disputed the findings of a government report on climate change.

“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers” in the impacts of man-made climate change, Trump said.

“You look at our air and our water, and it’s right now at a record clean. “As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it.”


How the Trump Administration Flubbed the New National Climate Assessment

Last Friday the Trump Administration published the latest in a series of reports mandated by Congress called the National Climate Assessment. Like most anything concerning climate change, the report was primarily political in intent. The report emphasized all the allegedly adverse effects that climate change would supposedly result in and did not examine whether the cost of reducing warming would exceed the benefits of doing so. It was prepared by 13 Federal agencies and was set in motion during the Obama Administration. The Trump Administration claims that it never reviewed the report before it was published and that it represented the views of its bureaucratic authors from 13 different departments and recruited from the outside world. The report has been unusually strongly criticized by climate skeptics as highly inaccurate with false conclusions. This is highly unusual since major reports are normally reviewed with great care before being published for political and other viewpoints. President Trump has since said that he did not believe the report.

There is some indication that the report was not exactly an honest description of what the bureaucracy thought since the staff that prepared it included some climate activists and featured some research that was funded by noted activists like Tom Steyer. This suggests that a significant part of the problem was inattention by the Trump Administration. For this the Trump Administration itself bears the responsibility.

The Administration now has a problem since some Democrats say they will use the report to oppose a number of the Trump Administration’s attempts to weaken a number of the Obama climate regulations that they have proposed, including using the report to persuade courts to reinstate the original Obama Administration regulations. All this was quite foreseeable. So why did the Administration publish the report without reviewing it? Was it because it was not paying attention to what the bureaucracy was doing? This is hard to believe, but appears now to be the case. One obvious possibility is that they wanted to avoid the charge that they had “corrupted” the report writing process. But the costs are likely to be high. Another possibility is that Acting Administrator Wheeler did not want to endure questions about possible intervention at his confirmation hearing. But the evidence appears to suggest inattention by the Trump Administration was the major problem.

The more normal process is for an administration to make sure that major reports exactly correspond to its policy and technical views before publishing it. This is a far better approach in my view. Then there is no confusion as to whether the report really represents the Administration’s views and cannot be used against it. And it does not later have to disown it, as they have already started to do. It clearly would have been worth the extra effort in this case. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Trump Administration blew it.


Former Scott Pruitt Aide Cleared of Wrongdoing, But the Democrat Who Accused Her Remains Silent

More Leftist lies

Delaware Sen. Tom Carper has been silent on news that federal investigators could not substantiate allegations he brought against former EPA political appointee Samantha Dravis.

Dravis, however, called the allegations against her “unfounded from the start.” EPA investigators found no support for accusations she skipped work for a three-month period.

“The inspector general process should be used to investigate credible ethical breaches, not smear and destroy political enemies,” Dravis told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“This was an allegation that was completely unfounded from the start, and entirely contradicted by the record,” said Dravis, who served as the EPA’s senior counsel and associate administrator of the policy office.

Carper did not respond to multiple requests for comment, despite being the reason EPA officials investigated Dravis’ attendance while she worked for former Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Carper is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

A source close to the matter told TheDCNF that one of Carper’s staffers openly bragged about sparking an investigation into Dravis. That same staffer also asked Dravis’ associates for help accessing her personal photos on social media, said the source, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

Carper asked the EPA’s Office of Inspector General in March to investigate whether Dravis missed three months of work while still collecting a paycheck. Carper’s letter does not reveal his source, but Democrats eventually disclosed it was one among many accusations leveled by whistleblower Kevin Chmielewski.

Chmielewski gave Democrats a laundry list of accusations against Pruitt and his close aides, including Dravis. The former EPA official told Democrats “for a period of weeks, he did not personally see Samantha Dravis” at EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Pruitt resigned in July as allegations of ethical misconduct and mismanagement piled up. However, a number of Chmielewski’s claims against Pruitt’s aides didn’t add up under closer scrutiny.

Dravis left the EPA in April while investigators were still investigating claims she was absent from work for three months. For months, Dravis and her family were distressed, and forced to spend thousands on legal fees to deal with the investigation.

However, the OIG could not substantiate Chmielewski’s claim that Dravis was absent for weeks at a time.

“Investigators interviewed witnesses, who stated that the employee was often in the EPA office and attended meetings during that time frame,” OIG wrote in a report submitted to Congress on Thursday.

“Investigators reviewed records, which showed that the employee worked during the time specified,” the OIG reported. “Witnesses also stated that the employee did not have subordinates conduct menial tasks. During an interview, the subject denied both allegations. The allegations were not supported.”

Dravis’ former co-workers took to Twitter to castigate Carper for sparking the investigation.


Climate Change carbon taxation leading to French Revolution II: Vive la France!

You may not have heard, but anti-government riots are breaking out in Paris, France as a consequence of climate change carbon taxes. That consequence, of course, is higher fuel prices, which have added additional financial burdens to one of Europe’s heavily taxed populations.

France’s socialist government has increased taxes on pensions, elevated estate taxes, and introduced employer income tax withholding.

In Paris, some 300,000 protesters, clad in yellow safety vests, responded by blocking traffic intersections at more than 2,000 locations. But the government in Paris has signaled it intends to continue enforcing its edicts to reduce the carbon footprints of its subjects.

France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, sounding a little like Marie Antoinette, tells a Parisian television station that… “… the course we set is good and we will keep it. It’s not when the wind blows that you change course.”

That’s socialist apparatchik for, “Let them eat cake.”

Hopping mad in Paris

A demonstration in France’s Le Puy-en-Velay turned violent when demonstrators set fire to government offices. Other protesters clashed with police on the fashionable Champs-Élysées. Vandals sprayed graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe, which honors those who fought and died in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. Their message reading,

“Yellow Vests Will Triumph.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Accident Leads to Incredible Discovery, Regrowing Coral Reefs Like Never Before

When you have a task to complete, many times it seems best to hunker down and focus solely on finishing that task until it's done. Whether that's writing a novel, making sales calls or writing lesson plans, putting everything else out of your mind and getting to work is a proven means to accomplish your goals.

When you have blinders or tunnel vision, though, you often forget to stop to smell the roses or see what's going on around you and what valuable lessons or insights you might be missing.

Plenty of scientists have made discoveries by accident, and have found useful inventions or information in their pursuit of something completely different. That's how we've gotten duct tape, super glue and even microwaves.

Now another scientist, Dr. David Vaughan, has made a discovery that could potentially regrow coral reefs in a fraction of the time it would normally take. According to BBC, it started with brokenness.

"Little did I know that one elkhorn coral attached itself to the bottom of the aquarium," Vaughan said. "So when I went to move it, it stuck, and I heard a breaking sound."

"And it had broken into many tiny pieces. They grew back to the same size in just a few weeks that it had taken three years to grow."

Upon realizing what this could mean, he tested it out on more and more species of coral until he confirmed that this fragmentation method worked brilliantly with all of the Florida Keys varieties.

The painstaking process of growing coral has been obliterated by this discovery. Under normal conditions, it can take corals up to seven decades to reach maturity; now, it could take as few as three.

Being able to regrow corals nearly 40 times faster than before means a lot of reefs could be restored.

"Corals the size of a small car could be 200-500 years old, so it might take centuries for it to come back. We now take a coral the size of a golf ball and cut it into 20 to 100 microfragments," Vaughan said.

"Each fragment grows back to that size in as little as a few months, and when they touch each other as they're growing, they recognize each other as themselves and fuse back together."

Vaughan has some big plans for the future and has even stayed on longer so he can see the coral reefs regrown.

"This is now a new discovery that can give real hope for our coral reefs that has never been there before," he told BBC. "So I postponed my retirement until I see a million corals replanted back on the reef."


Trump's Energy Nominee Is One Step Closer to Confirmation Despite Democratic Opposition

President Donald Trump's pick to serve on the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee passed a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, advancing him to the Senate chamber for a final confirmation vote.

Bernard McNamee's confirmation in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee went quickly. Only Republican Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski and ranking Democrat Maria Cantwell issued statements before members took to a vote. McNamee ultimately passed 13-10, with the vote falling mostly along party lines.

"Based on the conversation I've had with Mr. McNamee, I think that he understands FERC must be an independent agency, it must continue to function as such, and I'm going to take his commitment to maintain FERC's autonomy and take an independent role as a commissioner at face value," Murkowski said.

However, Cantwell channeled almost every Democratic member when she slammed McNamee's nomination. The ranking Democrat on the committee said his past criticism of renewable energy and praise of fossil fuels rendered him unable to serve as an unbiased commissioner.

"I find it hard to believe he will be an impartial reviewer of these issues," Cantwell said.

Democratic members stood opposed to McNamee's nomination - and sought to delay the Tuesday vote - after a controversial video of McNamee in February recently surfaced. McNamee is seen railing against renewable energy in the video.

"Renewables, when they come on and off, it screws up the whole the physics of the grid," McNamee stated at the time. The footage was taken while he led the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank. "So when people want to talk about science, they ought to talk about the physics of the grid and know what real science is, and that is how do you keep the lights on?" he added.

In that same speech, McNamee also hit environmental organizations.

"The green movement is always talking about more government control because it's the constant battle between liberty and tyranny," he said. "It's about people who want to say I know what's better for you."

While the video irked Democrats on the committee, Murkowski pointed out that the members offended by McNamee's comments were already opposed to his nomination to begin with. In a previous committee hearing, Democratic members were already hostile because of McNamee's past work with the Energy Department, where he led an attempt to bail out failing coal and nuclear plants.

McNamee has continued to maintain that he would be an independent arbiter while serving on FERC. The nominee told committee members on Nov. 15 that "it's important to look at the law and the facts and make those decision based on that."

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin - who has been very supportive of the White House's energy agenda - was the sole Democrat on the committee to vote in favor of McNamee.

In what would be an odd circumstance for a party that is increasingly hostile toward fossil fuels, Manchin could very well be the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee next year.

McNamee is likely to win his vote in the Senate chamber, where his confirmation will return a GOP majority to FERC, a 5-member federal agency.


Iowa Farmers Claim Brilliant Victory: Judge Orders Immediate Destruction of Illegal Wind Turbines

Developers who invested $11 million to install three wind turbines in eastern Iowa are tearing them down, after losing a legal battle waged by nearby residents.

It’s only the second time nationally a judge has ordered wind turbines to be torn down and a first in Iowa.

“It’s great. We love it,” said Cheyney Hershey, whose young family lives near the turbines. “You can’t sit outside on the deck and have a conversation without the constant thumping of the blades going round.”

The noise can even be heard inside his home, Hershey said: “There was nowhere to get away from them.”

His family and others watch daily to see what work has been done: Crews have torn down two turbines and are dismantling the third. They have until Dec. 9 to complete the work.

Opponents to the 450-foot turbines believe the legal battle will empower other rural landowners and small towns to take on wind.

Residents in Palo Alto, Black Hawk and other counties are challenging wind projects as well.

“It was a shock that the neighbors and Fairbank could say we didn’t want them” and win, said Ted Vorwald, a Fairbank city council member.

In 2015, the Fayette County Zoning Board provided permits that allowed the wind developers to build the turbines.

Nearby landowners challenged the permits in district court, where a judge agreed with them, saying the permits were “illegal and void.”

Developers appealed the decision, and decided to move ahead with construction.

But the Iowa Court of Appeals this year ruled in the city and residents’ favor. And the Iowa Supreme Court declined to consider the case, forcing the developers to tear down the turbines.

“The system worked,” Vorwald said. “They were put up without the zoning … and the courts upheld the ruling.”

Opponents to the 450-foot turbines believe the legal battle will empower other rural landowners and small towns to take on wind.

Residents in Palo Alto, Black Hawk and other counties are challenging wind projects as well.

“It was a shock that the neighbors and Fairbank could say we didn’t want them” and win, said Ted Vorwald, a Fairbank city council member.

In 2015, the Fayette County Zoning Board provided permits that allowed the wind developers to build the turbines.

Nearby landowners challenged the permits in district court, where a judge agreed with them, saying the permits were “illegal and void.”

Developers appealed the decision, and decided to move ahead with construction.

But the Iowa Court of Appeals this year ruled in the city and residents’ favor. And the Iowa Supreme Court declined to consider the case, forcing the developers to tear down the turbines.

“The system worked,” Vorwald said. “They were put up without the zoning … and the courts upheld the ruling.”


Democrats' Socialist Energy Policies Would Bring Destruction and They Must Be Stopped

Many Democrats are becoming more open about their socialist inclinations, although they still lie about socialism's ability to make the world a better place.

Socialism kills. From the former Soviet Union to Cuba, from North Korea to Venezuela, everywhere socialism was implemented, it robbed people of their freedom and property, produced economic stagnation and misallocation of resources and resulted in millions of deaths, caused either directly or indirectly.

Despite this fact, in an interview in New York Magazine, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio pined for government control over everyone's property -their homes, their businesses, everything, saying, "I think there's a socialistic impulse . if I had my druthers, the city government would determine every single plot of land, how development would proceed." Because that's brought such happiness, prosperity, and better living conditions to the people of Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela.

Then we come to the energy socialism being pushed by self-described socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a newly elected Democratic Representative from New York, among others. Despite an annual salary topping $174,000, Ocasio-Cortez complained with a straight face after being elected that it will be hard for her to find a place she can afford to rent in Washington, D.C. - a city, by the way, that almost perfectly satisfies de Blasio's desire for all of the property in the city being owned by, its uses directed by, or sharply delimited by various levels of government. I've got a news flash for Ocasio-Cortez: most people, even those in D.C., live on much less.

Despite her struggle to find affordable housing on her taxpayer-funded lavish salary, Ocasio-Cortez has the hubris to believe Congress and federal bureaucracies in D.C. have the wisdom to control and direct peoples energy choices across the nation.

Ocasio-Cortez led protests outside long-time Democratic congressional leader Nancy Pelosi's office last week, demanding the front-runner for speaker of the House push for greater government control over the nation's energy system in the next Congress.

In fact, Ocasio-Cortez has proposed what she calls a "Green New Deal," requiring "the investment of trillions of dollars," to transition the United States to a 100 percent renewable energy system by 2035.

Unfortunately, Ocasio-Cortez is not alone in her distorted economics and history philosophies. Many Democrats now favor energy socialism. Hundreds of Democratic candidates for local, state and federal offices in the 2018 midterm elections signed a pledge to push for the 100 percent renewable energy makeover. Undoubtedly, many of those candidates now sit in positions of power to restrict peoples' use of affordable, reliable fossil fuels and enforce expensive renewable energy mandates on them.

Indeed, after the gains so-called progressive Democrats made in the election, the number of Democratic lawmakers who support the radical, Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act will undoubtedly have grown. Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii introduced the OFF Act with relatively little public notice in September 2017. The OFF Act requires "100 percent renewable energy by 2035 (and 80 percent by 2027), places a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects, bans the export of oil and gas, and also moves our automobile and rail systems to 100 percent renewable energy."

Unattainable energy policies, supported fully by numerous environmental extremists, would destroy millions of jobs and put the United States at a huge disadvantage when competing against other countries, especially China, India, Russia and other nations whose environmental laws are much less stringent.

Energy is the lifeblood of the economy, powering everything we do. Giving government even more control over energy development and use than it already has, including directing or limiting people's fundamental choices over how to move about the country, what kind of electronics they use and how and when they can be charged, how to light, heat, cook in, and exercise climate control in their homes, what types of energy investments they want in their retirement portfolios, and what types of energy sources companies can develop, supply, and use would be catastrophic. Only chaos and misery will result.

Wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy are more expensive and less reliable than traditional energy sources like natural gas and coal, which explains why states that require or subsidize renewable energy sources or tax fossil fuels at high rates have higher electric power and gasoline costs than states with lower gas tax burdens and which don't demand, or subsidize the use of renewables.

The U.S. economy is the envy of the world, built on a power system reliant primarily on relatively inexpensive, reliable fossil fuels. Adopting the kind of energy socialism being pushed by Democrats threatens to impoverish families, cause greater unemployment and bring the power grid and the economy crashing down.

In Europe, which is much further down the road to energy socialism than most of the United States, thousands of people die in winter due to a lack of reliable heat, and during the summer from not having access to reliable air conditioning. These are third-world energy problems brought on by increasing government control over the energy system.

Energy socialism can't fix our problems, but it sure can make things much worse.


OPINION: It’s Time To Kill Electric Lemons

It’s an old joke but a true one: Whatever liberals don’t like, they ban. Everything else they want to make mandatory.

Nowhere is that truer than in the “green energy” sector. In the lame-duck session of Congress, Republicans have a chance to push back against this when it comes to one of the Democrats’ favorite boondoggles: subsidizing the electric car.

Remember Solyndra? The solar panel company touted as a success by the Obama administration that went out of business soon after a visit from President Obama in which he held them up as an example of success? That politically connected company cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars because while the “green” business model sounds great, it’s simply not ready for prime time.

Now, imagine that on a larger scale. That’s the story of the electric car.

Electric cars are touted as an important part of combating climate change — the idea that human activity is destroying the planet so it must be managed by bureaucrats. But aside from a few devotees, the public wasn’t interested in electric cars. Not because people hate the planet, but because they are expensive and inconvenient.

You can’t just stop at a gas station and charge your batteries like you can fill up with fuel and be on your way; it takes a while to charge batteries. Plus, electric cars are expensive. Batteries large enough to run a car for even a hundred miles cost a lot of money.

That last part — the cost — is something activists have been dealing with for decades. How do you get people to buy something inconvenient and less useful than something much cheaper and more reliable? All things being equal, electric cars would never have sold. But when liberal politicians want people to live a certain way, nothing is equal.

The government does what it always does when they want to “nudge” or control people into living a certain way; they subsidize it. And the subsidies to electric car makers make the Solyndra debacle look like the change found in your couch.

In the current tax code, taxpayers (all of us) are on the hook for billions of dollars in subsidies in the form of tax credits annually for people who buy electric cars. But the people who buy electric cars likely aren’t your neighbors — they’re wealthy liberals who can afford to spend twice as much on a car than the average American. Fully 78 percent of the subsidies go to people with incomes above $100,000.

For all the talk of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, it’s odd to have leftists advocating for a massive wealth transfer from the middle class to the wealthy. Yet that’s what the current system does.

But maybe not for much longer.

The lame-duck Congress has a chance to end this ridiculous tax credit and save all of us billions of dollars going forward.

As Congress scrambles to pass the remaining budget items, one of the pet projects that could be ended is this credit, which subsidizes up to $7,500 of the cost of a new electric car with our money. And they should.

Working Americans shouldn’t be picking up a chunk of the tab of a car for people who make enough money to buy a car themselves. If someone wants an electric car, they’ll buy one.

Even some manufacturers of electric cars want them gone. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, said, according to the New York Times, the company would be better off without them. “Tesla’s competitive advantage improves as the incentives go away,” Musk said.

The market would pick winners and losers without the subsidy, not the government manipulating it. The cars people want would sell, the ones they don’t would go away. Frankly, if a company can’t sell its product without taxpayers helping foot the bill, it should go away. Tesla believes it can survive without it, and some of its competitors can’t. The government should allow that to happen across the entire market like it just did with the Chevy Volt.

General Motors announced this week they were discontinuing the Volt because people weren’t buying it, even with the subsidy. Imagine how the market would look, which other companies and products wouldn’t exist, were it not for the taxpayers cover a large part of the bill.

Part of power, a big part, is control; the ability to manipulate how others act. The tax code is riddled with mechanisms to control the public – do this and you get rewarded, do that and you have to pay. Every opportunity to eliminate that perverse power in the tax code should be taken.

Next week, Congress will have the opportunity to eliminate another piece of that control, to free the American people to make their own decisions and save us billions.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a drop in the bucket, but every bucket is full of drops and you have to start somewhere. Getting us off the hook for subsidizing wealthy people’s “feel good” car purchases is as good of a place to start as any.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


Monday, December 03, 2018

Fossil algae reveals past CO2 levels at 1,000 ppm: Proof that the planet is not in jeopardy from present day CO2 emissions.

Earth scientists are able to travel far back in time to reconstruct the geological past and paleoclimate to make better predictions about future climate conditions. Scientists at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) and Utrecht University succeeded in developing a new indicator (proxy) of ancient CO2-levels, using the organic molecule phytane, a debris product of chlorophyll. This new organic proxy not only provides the most continuous record of CO2-concentrations ever, it also breaks a record in its time span, covering half a billion years. The data show the present idea that rises in CO2-levels that used to take millions of years, are now happening in a century. These findings are published in Science Advances on November 28th.

As CO2 increases today, it's vital to understand what impact these changes will have. To better predict the future, we must understand long-term changes in CO2 over geologic history. Direct measurements of past CO2 are available, e.g. bubbles in ice cores containing ancient gases. However, ice cores have a limited time span of one million years. To go farther back in time, earth scientists have developed various indirect measurements of CO2 from proxies e.g. from algae, leaves, ancient soils and chemicals stored in ancient sediments to reconstruct past environmental conditions.

Phytane, a new way to travel in time

A new proxy, using a degradation product of chlorophyll, allows geochemists to infer a continuous record of historic CO2-levels in deep time. Scientists at NIOZ have recently developed phytane as a promising new organic proxy that uncovers half a billion years of CO2-levels in the oceans, from the Cambrian until recent times.

Using the new proxy, they were able to make the most continuous record of ancient carbon dioxide levels ever. "We developed and validated a new way to time travel - going farther back in time and to more places", says NIOZ-scientist Caitlyn Witkowski. "With phytane, we now have the longest CO2-record with one single marine proxy. This new data is invaluable to modelers who can now more accurately make predictions of the future."

Witkowski and colleagues selected more than 300 samples of marine sediments from deep sea cores and oils from all over the globe, reflecting the majority of geological periods in the last 500 million years.

Fossil molecules

Past chemical reactions can be `stored' in fossil molecules, and so they may reflect various ancient environmental conditions. Geochemists are able to `read' these conditions, such as seawater temperature, pH, salinity and CO2-levels. Organic matter, such as phytane, reflects the pressure of CO2 in ocean water or the atmosphere (pCO2).

Little green miracles

Although all organic matter has the potential to reflect CO2, phytane is special. Phytane is the pigment responsible for our green world. Anything that uses photosynthesis to absorb sunlight, including plants, algae, and some species of bacteria, has chlorophyll from which phytane comes. Plants and algae take in CO2 and produce oxygen. Without these little green miracles, our world just wouldn't be the same.

Because chlorophyll is found all around the world, phytane is also everywhere and is a major constituent of decayed and fossilized biomass. "Phytane doesn't chemically change over the course of time, even if it is millions of years old," Witkowski says.

Carbon isotope fractionation

CO2 of the past is estimated from organic matter, such as phytane, through the phenomenon of carbon isotope fractionation during photosynthesis. When taking up CO2, plants and algae prefer the light carbon isotope (12C) over the heavy carbon isotope (13C). They only use the heavy carbon isotope when CO2-levels in the surrounding water or atmosphere are low. The proportion between these two isotopes therefore reflects the level of carbon dioxide in the environment at the moment of growth.

This also explains why Witkowski didn't use terrestrial plants as a source for her research, exclusively using phytane from (fossilized) marine sources. The plant world is divided into so-called C3- and C4-plants, each with their own unique ratio of light-to-heavy carbon. Phytoplankton all have very similar ratios compared to their plant counterparts. Witkowski: "By choosing only marine sources, we could limit uncertainty of the phytane source in the dataset."

"In our data, we see high levels of carbon dioxide, reaching 1000 ppm as opposed to today's 410 ppm. In this respect, present day levels are not unique, but the speed of these changes have never been seen before. Changes that typically take millions of years are now happening in a century. This additional CO2-data may help us understand the future of our planet." In future research, phytane can be used to go even further back in time than the Phanerozoic, the earliest found in two billion-year-old samples.


Dr. Willie Soon versus the Climate Apocalypse

More honesty and less hubris, more evidence and less dogmatism, would do a world of good

Dr. Jeffrey Foss

"What can I do to correct these crazy, super wrong errors?" Willie Soon asked plaintively in a recent e-chat. "What errors, Willie?" I asked.

"Errors in Total Solar Irradiance," he replied. "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change keeps using the wrong numbers! It's making me feel sick to keep seeing this error. I keep telling them - but they keep ignoring their mistake."

Astrophysicist Dr. Willie Soon really does get sick when he sees scientists veering off their mission: to discover the truth. I've seen his face flush with shock and shame for science when scientists cherry-pick data. It ruins his appetite - a real downer for someone who loves his food as much as Willie does.

You have got to love a guy like that, if you love science - and I do. I'm a philosopher of science, not a scientist, but my love for science runs deep - as does my faith. So I cannot help but admire Willie and his good old-fashioned passion for science.

Willie Soon may one day be a household name. More and more he appears at the pointy end of scientific criticism of Climate Apocalypse. In two recent lawsuits against Big Oil, one by New York City and the other by San Francisco and Oakland, Dr. Soon is named as the "paid agent" of "climate change denialism." As the man who - Gasp! - singlehandedly convinced Big Oil to continue business as usual.

Can you even imagine that? I can't: Big Oil couldn't turn off its taps in big cities even if it wanted to.

Putting such silly lawsuits aside, it is a big honor, historically speaking, for Dr. Soon to be the face of scientific rebuttal of Climate Apocalypse, since feeding the developed world's apocalypse addiction is the main tool of a powerful global political agenda.

The IPCC - along with the United Nations and many environmentalist organizations, politicians, bureaucrats and their followers - desperately want to halt and even roll back development in the industrialized world, and keep Africa and other poor countries permanently undeveloped, while China races ahead. They want Willie silenced. We the people need to make sure he is heard.

Dr. Soon never sought the job of defending us against the slick, computer model-driven, anti-fossil fuel  certainties of Climate Apocalypse. Willie just happened to choose solar science as a career and, like many solar scientists, after nearly three decades of scientific research in his case, came to believe that changes in the sun's brightness, sunspots and energy output, changes in the orbital position of the Earth relative to the sun, and other powerful natural forces drive climate change. In brief, our sun controls our climate.

Even the IPCC initially indicated agreement with him, citing his work approvingly in its second (1996) and third (2001) Assessment Reports. That later changed, significantly. Sure, everyone agrees that the sun caused the waxing and waning of the ice ages, just as solar scientists say. However, the sun had to be played down if carbon dioxide (CO2) was to be played up - an abuse of science that makes Willie sick.

Unfortunately for the IPCC, solar scientists think solar changes also explain Earth's most recent warming period which, they point out, began way back in the 1830s - long before we burned enough fossil fuels to make any difference. They also observed the shrinking of the Martian ice-caps in the 1990s, and their return in the last few years - in perfect time with the waning and waxing of Arctic ice caps here on Earth.

Only the sun - not the CO2 from our fires - could cause that Earth-Mars synchronicity. And surely it is no mere coincidence that a grand maximum in solar brightness (Total Solar Irradiance or TSI) took place in the 1990s as both planets' ice caps shrank, or that the sun cooled (TSI decreased) as both planets' ice caps grew once again. All that brings us back to Dr. Soon's disagreements with the IPCC.

The IPCC now insists that solar variability is so tiny that they can just ignore it, and proclaim CO2 emissions as the driving force behind climate change. But solar researchers long ago discovered unexpected variability in the sun's brightness - variability that is confirmed in other stars of the sun's type. Why does the IPCC ignore these facts? Why does it insist on spoiling Willie's appetite?

It sure looks like the IPCC is hiding the best findings of solar science so that it can trumpet the decreases in planetary warming (the so-called "greenhouse effect") that they embed in the "scenarios" (as they call them) emanating from their computer models. Ignoring the increase in solar brightness over the 80s and 90s, they instead enthusiastically blame the warmth of the 1990s on human production of CO2.

In just such ways they sell us their Climate Apocalypse - along with the roll-back of human energy use, comfort, living standards and progress: sacrifices that the great green gods of Gaia demand of us if we are to avoid existential cataclysms. Thankfully, virgins are still safe - for now.       

Surely Willie and solar scientists are right about the primacy of the sun. Why? Because the observable real world is the final test of science. And the data - actual evidence - shows that global temperatures follow changes in solar brightness on all time-scales, from decades to millions of years. On the other hand, CO2 and temperature have generally gone their own separate ways on these time scales.

Global temperatures stopped going up in the first two decades of this century, even though CO2 has steadily risen. The IPCC blames this global warming "hiatus" on "natural climate variability," meaning something random, something not included in their models, something the IPCC didn't see coming.

This confirms the fact that their models do not add up to a real theory of climate. Otherwise the theory would be falsified by their incorrect predictions. They predicted a continuous increase in temperature, locked to a continuous increase in CO2. But instead, temperature has remained steady over the last two decades, while CO2 climbed even faster than before.

IPCC modelers still insist that the models are nevertheless correct, somehow - that the world would be even colder now if it weren't for this pesky hiatus in CO2-driven warming. Of course, they have to say that - even though they previously insisted the Earth would not be as cool as it is right now.

Still, their politically correct commands stridently persist: stay colder in winter, stay hotter in summer, take cold showers, drive less, make fewer trips, fly less, don't eat foods that aren't "local," bury your loved ones in cardboard boxes, turn off the lights. Their list of diktats is big and continuously growing.

Unlike the IPCC, Willie and I cannot simply ignore the fact that there were multiple ice ages millions of years ago, when CO2 levels were four times higher than now. And even when CO2 and temperature do trend in tandem, as in the famous gigantic graph in Al Gore's movie, the CO2 rises followed temperature increases by a few centuries. That means rising CO2 could not possibly have caused the temperature increases - an inconvenient truth that Gore doesn't care about and studiously ignores.

Unfortunately, through their powerful political and media cadres, the IPCC has created a highly effective propaganda and war-on-fossil-fuels vehicle, to herd public opinion - and marginalize or silence any scientist who dares to disagree with it. For better or worse, richer or poorer, my dear, passionate Dr. Soon is one scientist who is always ready to stand in the path of that tank and face it down: anytime, anywhere.

I'm frightened by the dangers to Willie, his family and his career, due to his daily battles with the Climate Apocalypse industry. I can't get it out of my mind that the university office building of climatologist John Christy - who shares Willie's skepticism of Climate Apocalypse - was shot full of bullet holes last year. But let's not let a spattering of gunfire spoil a friendly scientific debate. Right?

Willie's courage makes me proud to know him, and to be an aficionado of science like he is. When it comes to the long game, my money is on Dr. Willie Soon. We the people hunger for truth, as does science itself. And that hunger will inevitably eclipse our romantic dalliance with the Climate Apocalypse.

Via email

Former Shell President Fires Back After Obama Claims Responsibility for Oil Boom

Former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, said former President Barack Obama had nothing to do with America's increased oil production and actually frustrated many areas of the energy sector.

Obama claimed he was responsible for America's recent oil boom during an event hosted by Rice University's Baker Institute on Tuesday night.

Hofmeister challenged his assessment.

"American energy production - You wouldn't always know it but it went up every year I was president," Obama said. "That whole, suddenly America's like the biggest oil producer and the biggest gas - that was me, people."

"The facts are the facts. And, yes, the production did increase throughout his term," Hofmeister said on "Fox & Friends" Thursday.

"But, frankly, he had nothing to do with it."

"This was production in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado - North Dakota in particular. And these were all state decisions made with industry applications for permits. The federal government had no role."

Hofmeister said Obama opposed the energy industry at every turn with his actions against offshore drilling and his handling of the Keystone Pipeline.

"If anything, he was trying to frustrate the efforts by taking federal lands off of the availability list - Putting them just, no more drilling (sic). He shut down the Gulf of Mexico for a period of six months," he said.

"(He) changed the regulations from an average of 60 to 80 pages per permit to 600 to 800 pages per permit. He also never approved the Keystone XL peep line after dangling all the potential customers for 8 years. And it was in the 8th year when he said no Keystone Pipeline."

"I would say that he was not a leader when it comes to energy," Hofmeister declared.


EPA Chief Suggests Obama Administration Pushed `Worst-Case Scenario' in US Climate Report

Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler suggested the Obama administration told the authors of the latest National Climate Assessment to emphasize "worst-case" global warming predictions.

"And I don't know this for a fact - I wouldn't be surprised if the Obama administration told the report's authors to take a look at the worst-case scenario for this report," Wheeler told The Washington Post in an interview Wednesday.

Wheeler isn't the first to criticize the NCA's focus on "worst-case" global warming predictions, but his comments sparked a backlash from former President Barack Obama's chief science adviser.

John Holdren, Obama's former science czar, told Politico that's "absolutely false." Holdren said the report considered a wide range of scenarios, and that he had no role in selecting the fourth NCA's authors.

The NCA is produced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which includes officials from 13 federal agencies.

"My only instruction was that the USGCRP should continue the distinguished tradition of the first three by drawing on the most current peer-reviewed science to illuminate what climate change is doing and is projected to do across the geographic regions and economic and ecological underpinnings of well-being in the United States," Holdren said.

However, Wheeler does have a point. Holdren did not mention a May 2015 memo from the Subcommittee on Global Change Research's environment committee, which is part of the White House National Science and Technology Council.

The SGCR memo instructs NCA authors to "focus on RCP 8.5 as a high-end scenario and RCP 4.5 as a low-end scenario." The memo says using RCP 8.5 and RCP 4.5 "as core scenarios is generally consistent with the range of emission scenarios used in" the third NCA.

"In addition, using a low-end and a high-end scenario will facilitate communications of assessment findings," reads the memo.

SGCR is made up of executive branch officials and is overseen by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Holdren headed OSTP at the time the memo was issued.

RCP 8.5 is considered a "business as usual" scenario where nothing is done to cut emissions. The latest NCA's dire predictions of future global warming lean heavily on RCP 8.5 - indeed many parts of the report only reference the alarming results of RCP 8.5 modeling.

However, experts have increasingly challenged RCP 8.5 as highly unlikely and unrealistic.

The United Nations climate panel is moving away from focusing on RCP 8.5, and two University of British Columbia researchers published a study last year calling RCP 8.5 "exceptionally unlikely."

The 2017 study found that RCP 8.5 suffered from "systematic errors in fossil production outlooks" and should not be a priority for future scientific research."

University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke, Jr. criticized the NCA's use of RCP 8.5 as a "business as usual" scenario in order to justify policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.


In defence of coal

Australia’s green zealots are making life harder for the world’s poor

Thermal coal will become an illegal substance in Australia if Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt gets his way. ‘Coal is the next asbestos’, Bandt declared earlier this month. ‘It is toxic and dangerous. We need to stop exporting coal.’

An economic recession induced by the closure of a $20 billion export industry would be barely felt in the inner-city quinoa zone from where the Greens harvest most of their support.

Doctors, teachers, public servants and other professional suppliers of public services do not lose their jobs in a recession. Indeed, they tend to thrive, thanks to politicians who respond to economic downturns with new government programmes of which they are the potential providers.

It will be a different story in the coal-mining regions of the Hunter Valley in New South Wales and parts of Queensland where honest Australians get their hands dirty delivering a third of the world’s coal exports efficiently and cheaply.

The solar-panel-sheltered classes will not notice the dramatic rise in electricity prices. By day they would make a profit selling excess electricity into the grid, and survive mild nights with batteries which the Greens will subsidise.

Residents of working-class western Sydney, on the other hand, where the winter nights are chilly, summer days sweltering and incomes tighter, will feel the brunt of rising electricity prices which, bizarrely in a country with abundant coal and uranium, are already among the highest in the world.

A ban on coal exports would be tough on the world’s poor in general, particularly those in Asia, where the bulk of Australian coal lands.

The billions emerging from poverty thanks to free markets, free trade and stable electricity supplies are not yet prosperous enough to survive an increase in power prices from the short supply of coal. Hope will evaporate for the 750million electricity-starved Asians burning kerosene and cow dung.

Every symbolic crusade needs a totem. For the Prohibition movement a century ago it was the saloon bars. In the early days of the Green movement it was dams, an emblem of humankind’s reckless invasion of the wilderness, and the sub-species that would undoubtedly be driven to extinction by the rising waters.

The epitome of daminisation, the demonisation of reservoir construction, occurred 12 years ago towards the end of a prolonged drought, as the water supply in the Brisbane basin was rapidly running out.

The campaign against the Traveston Crossing Dam pitched the Mary River turtle, giant barred frog, Queensland lungfish and Richmond birdwing butterfly in an equal contest against the people. The result was a triumph for non-sentience.

The spread of global-warming anxiety since the turn of the century prompted a search for a new emblem. Doe-eyed polar bears adrift on ice occupied the slot for a while, until the activists discovered the emotive charm of Queensland’s Barrier Reef and the dark underbelly of coal.

The Barrier Reef is the most protected, pampered coral formation in the world. Billions have been spent to preserve it. The theory that it is being damaged by climate change is far from proven. It has been damaged by farm-water runoff, now controlled and filtered, and the crown-of-thorns starfish, an insidious aquatic vandal that has become the target of a multimillion-dollar cull.

The chance opportunity to put coal and coral together came in 2010 when the Queensland government opened the way for a rail line from the North Galilee Basin to the coast, as a precursor for mining some of the richest untapped coal reserves in the world.

In 2011, an anti-coal axis of environmental activists, including Greenpeace and others, held a secret counsel of war in the New South Wales Blue Mountains to formulate a strategy.

The strategy document that emerged, Stopping the Australian Coal Export Boom, proposed a ‘hearts and minds’ campaign to change the image of coal from ‘the backbone of the economy’ to ‘a destructive industry’ that ‘corrupts our democracy and threatens the global climate’.

The movement had rich friends, including the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Australian internet entrepreneur Graeme Wood, the founder of the online travel service Wotif and a prominent backer of the Australian digital edition of the Guardian.

Law-fare and corporate activism became their chosen methods. With a campaign strategy that would make Coca-Cola envious and the help of international single-issue campaigners like Avaaz, they turned the fight to stop the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland into a global crusade.

‘They’re trying to put a toxic coal complex in the heart of the magical Great Barrier Reef — it’s a crazy plan, but we’ve got a chance to stop it’, read an email that spread across the world.

‘This is a do-or-die moment for the reef-wrecking coal mine… Let’s stop the reef-killing deal.’

For the record, the Adani mine is 260 miles inland and the reef, at its closest, is 10 miles offshore. To claim it is ‘in the heart of the magical Great Barrier Reef’ is like saying Oxford is at the heart of Lake Windermere.

Yet the campaign has been ruthlessly successful. Adani’s plans to use the blessed reserves of central Queensland to fuel prosperity in India have been delayed, and might never go ahead.

History is unlikely to be kind to the decarbonisation movement. Coercive attempts to stop the use of fossil fuels are delivering the same perverse economic consequences as the attempts to close down American saloon bars in the 1920s.

The consumers pay more for a substance they choose not to live without, while the producers count the profits.

The American fondness for alcohol hardly abated during Prohibition. With demand and supply unequally matched, the price of beer rose by 700 per cent in the US between 1920 and 1933. The price of a bottle of brandy rose by 433 per cent and spirits by 270 per cent. A fourfold increase in deaths from alcohol poisoning and a rise in organised crime were just two unintended consequences. The enrichment of the alcohol companies was another.

A report released this month by international financial analysts Redburn predicts a similar result from the crusade against fossil fuels.

The attempt to starve coal producers of capital has impeded their attempts to build new coal mines, but it hasn’t got in the way of profits. The price of coal has risen to a six-year high, which is good news for the coal business, but bad news if you’re living in, say, India’s Bihar state, where three out of four households don’t have electricity.

If the price of coal rises, says Redburn, ‘the one to two billion people on the planet with zero or unreliable access to modern energy would remain priced out of the market’.

Redburn’s analysts turn the tables on so-called ethical investors by forcing them to confront the consequences of fossil-fuel divestment, a phenomenon that has swept university campuses, shareholder meetings and boardrooms, much as anti-alcohol mania did a century ago.

‘Given the pernicious consequences of energy undersupply, we would go so far as to argue that the socially responsible investor has a duty to ensure capital is available to the fossil fuel industry, for as long as it is needed’, they write.

Unless the supply of coal is increased, the world’s poor will be trapped for even longer in poverty, burning whatever they can get to keep life and limb together. Industrial development will be constrained. Fewer goods and services will be purchased. The smug inner glow of virtue-seeking First World activists will hardly compensate for the global decline in material prosperity.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here