Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A Declaration Of Energy Independence Will Secure America’s Economic Future

Recently, we joined many other officials and candidates across the country in signing The Empowerment Alliance’s Declaration of Energy Independence. The Declaration is a common-sense commitment to four energy principles that can help power America’s economy for everyone over the next century and beyond — affordable energy for our families, clean energy for our environment, abundant energy for our future and domestic energy for our security.

Just as our Founding Fathers were, we too are clear in what we want:

From the jobs created to lower utility bills and cleaner air, affordable energy is fundamental to economic prosperity for all. It is a moral imperative to provide for families who are most vulnerable to increases in their energy budgets.

America leads the world, by a wide margin, in cutting CO2 emissions. America’s plentiful natural gas is the fiscally-sound, reliable and environmentally responsible bridge to our energy future.

Technology and exploration have guaranteed that America has a continuous 100-year supply of natural gas and the potential for even more.

The use of domestic natural gas discovered, produced and refined in the U.S. makes certain America is no longer dependent on rapidly changing global markets and unstable or hostile countries.

Unfortunately, we see a growing movement to simply walk away from the tremendous promise and potential of our country’s natural gas resources, which constitute precious economic and national security assets. Outrageous and expensive schemes like the so-called Green New Deal would place huge burdens on American households, cost our economy trillions and squander the security and independence we have worked so hard to build. Our signatures on the Declaration show the policymakers in this country what’s at stake if those who want to surrender America’s potential for energy independence and leadership in the world actually win.

The national introduction of The Empowerment Alliance’s Declaration of Energy Independence is our bold John Hancock signature letting the world know what we stand for — that affordable, clean and abundant energy is the birthright of every American! The Declaration is a simple statement of purpose; one that can unite millions of Americans on the idea that energy independence is possible and a moral imperative.

These principles are key to powering a 21st century American economy that will benefit all. Consider that America has recently surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s top producer of natural gas and oil and is poised to be a net energy exporter. As a result of the abundance of clean natural gas, natural gas powers over 30% of America’s energy needs and we have reduced our energy trade deficit by 87%. Because of natural gas, America is on its way to energy independence, a boon for our national and economic security.

And, low-cost natural gas is even more critical for American families trying to maximize their budgets, especially in these tough times. Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and other utilities pay an average of $879 less per year compared to homes using electricity.

But it is not simply that natural gas is a low-cost energy alternative that brings America closer to energy independence — it is also a clean energy alternative that is far more efficient than renewables like wind and solar. The United States is now enjoying its best air quality in the last half century, in part because of the rise of natural gas.

That is why we have signed the Declaration of Energy Independence to reinforce the essential and positive role natural gas plays in the lives of everyday Americans today and will help build a foundation for increased use of natural gas in the future, especially as we rebuild our economy.

We are proud to have signed The Declaration of Energy Independence and commit to advocating for clean, low-cost, domestic energy. I encourage you to visit The Empowerment Alliance’s website and do the same.


Ban Neonics – Hurt Farmers and Bees

The honeybees, bumblebees and other little pollinators swarming over my flowers remind me what important roles they play – and how some misguided folks could inadvertently hurt them.

Montgomery County, Maryland now prohibits “weed-and-feed” lawn fertilizer and most “synthetic pesticides.” But it allows homeowners, farmers and orchardists to use “organic” products that are often more dangerous to bees, other wildlife and even humans.New York is considering a five-year statewide ban on neonicotinoid insecticides; this action too would likely result in the use of chemicals that may actually be much more toxic to the birds and bees it seeks to protect.

US Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) is still promoting a bill to reinstate an Obama era ban on using neonics in the nation’s wildlife refuges. She mistakenly believes these pesticides threaten biodiversity, bees and other wildlife in these important habitats – whereas alternatives would be safe and harmless.

Other jurisdictions are pondering comparable actions that could pose similar problems.

Neonicotinoids were introduced in the 1990s to replace less targeted, more toxic pest control chemicals. Primarily used to coat seeds, “neonics” significantly reduce the need for aerial and ground-level spraying with other chemicals that actually do harm bees and other pollinators.

This advance has helped boost crop yields while protecting the environment. Losing neonics would put many states’ farming economies at risk. Support for neonic use comes from all over the world.

Up inCanada, the same misinformation that’s motivating US legislative and regulatory actions persuaded Ontario lawmakers to pass a neonic ban in 2015. Farmers have since reported paying four times more for an alternative pesticide that is less effective, cannot be used on some crops and can harm bees.

Activists persuadedEurope to ban neonics in 2013. But subsequent studies found the ban disastrously counterproductive.

For instance, after the ban, British farmers had to spray four times more often than before, using older pesticides like pyrethroids and organophosphates that are less effective, must be sprayed several times during the growing season, and often harm bees, other non-target insects and even birds.Insect pests increased dramatically, and across Europe the canola (oilseed rape) industry suffered revenue losses of over$430 million in just a few years.

As was the case in Europe, proposed prohibitions are often the result of environmentalist pressure campaigns and false claims that bees are threatened by neonics. Actual data show the opposite is true.

Despite warnings of a “bee-pocalypse,” except during the latest “colony collapse disorder” (CCD), honeybee colonies have been rising worldwide since the 1990s, when neonics first came on the market.US Department of Agriculture (USDA)  surveys show thatU.S.honeybee hive numbers have increased seven out of the last ten years, and there are now over 150,000 more beehives than in 1995.

A closer look atNew York’s crop yields also confirms that honeybee colonies are healthy. Apple yields are almost exactly the same as they were ten years ago, indicating that pollinators are thriving and busy doing their job. Similar lessons apply elsewhere.

There’s no doubt that honeybees have recurring problems. Overwinter losses are still high some years and, while bees reproduce rapidly and beekeepers can quickly replenish their hives, these losses can significantly strain this small but important industry.

Most experts agree, however, that the worldwide spread of the deadly Varroa destructor mite as a primary factor in the recent mass die-offs, and a recurrent problem over the centuries. They arrived in the United States in the late 1980s and spread widely over the next decade. The parasites attach to bees, suppressing their immune systems, carrying deadly diseases and creating pathways for other diseases to enter bee bodies. The triple whammy can have disastrous impacts on bee colonies.

Thankfully, the USDA has made progress in efforts to breed more Varroa-resistant or Varroa-tolerant honey bees, which somehow have better hygienic habits: they remove mites from one other. That’s important, because many available Varroa treatments no longer work as well, due to the mite’s uncanny ability to develop resistance to treatments.

Other USDA research has identified a promising new approach of using RNA interference to disrupt the reproduction of Nosema ceranae– another bee parasite that is the honeybee’s second-worst scourge.

Unfortunately, crusading activists, journalists, legislators and regulators spent years ignoring these microscopic predators and parasites. Instead, they blamed pesticides, especially neonics.

How wrongheaded and counterproductive that was is further illustrated by the vast canola fields in western Canada. The canola is 100% grown with neonic-coated seeds, and successful professional beekeepers actually cart their hives into the middle of the canola fields because they produce such delicious honey.     

Not surprisingly, as domesticated bees recovered, anti-pesticide activists began talking about wild bees, which can also be important for pollination. The activists get their facts wrong here, too.

There are thousands of wild bee species. According to a 2015 study published inNature– probably the most extensive survey of wild bees ever done – 98% of wild bees don’t even pollinate agricultural crops. Moreover, the few species that do, and thus would come into greatest contact with neonics, are thriving.

Ironically, bees may be more at risk from insecticides that people have been falsely led to believe are safe. Organicfarmers don’t use neonics or other modern chemicals, but they do employ a number of crop protecting pesticides. These “organic” products may be “natural,” but some are highly toxic to bees – rotenone, copper sulfate, spinosad, hydrogen peroxide, azadirachtin, citronella oil, and even garlic extract and acetic acid, for instance – chemical risk analyst Dr. David Zaruk points out.

Montgomery County’s guidelines specify that products bearing EPA registration numbers are prohibited and say gardeners should rely on a 113-page, tiny-type list of chemicals certified by theOrganic Materials Review Institute, an organic industry support and advocacy group. However, OMRI doesn’t mention that some of its “approved” products harm bees or pose other serious risks – to wildlife and humans.

For example, OMRI (and thus Montgomery County, among others) approves rotenone, but neglects to mention that this nasty chemical kills bees, is highly toxic, especially when combined with pyrethrins, and can enhance the onset of Parkinson’s disease, Zaruk and other experts note. Pyrethrin pesticides themselves are powerful neurotoxins that can cause leukemia and other health problems.

Copper sulfate can damage human brains, livers, kidneys and stomach linings. Prolonged exposure to boron fertilizer can affect people’s brains, livers and hearts. Lime sulfur mildew and insect killer causes irreversible eye damage, and can be fatal if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. Nicotine sulfate is a neurotoxin that interferes with nerve-muscle transmissions, causes abnormalities in lab animal offspring, and can lead to irregular heart-rates and even death. All are approved “organic” chemicals.

Journalists, legislators, regulators, homeowners and gardeners need to do their homework more carefully. They should read reputable scientific studies, rely less on anti-pesticide press releases and apocalyptic news stories, read product labels carefully, wash up afterward, and view with extreme skepticism any claims that the word “organic” means pesticide-free or a chemical is safe (or not even a chemical).

Above all, everyone should use all chemicals carefully and appropriately, under the assumption that any chemical (synthetic or organic) we are handling or applying may be toxic and dangerous – to bees, other insects and wildlife, or even ourselves.


How the EPA’s 'Endangerment Finding' Endangers You

Most people are unaware of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Carbon Dioxide Endangerment Finding” or what it means to them.

The “Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act”, as it is formally known, was issued in 2009.  It specifically requires the EPA to apply the Clean Air Act to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” from vehicles, power plants, and other industries.

The Clean Air Act, enacted in 1963, was designed to limit air pollution within the United States and it has worked well.  Since then, air pollution has been reduced dramatically.  However, the Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases, and specifically carbon dioxide, are air pollutants and, thus, the EPA is obligated to limit their emissions to protect the public health and welfare.

While reducing pollution is a laudable goal, is carbon dioxide really a pollutant?  In elementary school, students are taught that plants use carbon dioxide as it is essential for photosynthesis.  Indeed, commercial greenhouses often enrich carbon dioxide up to four times the natural concentration.  This is because plants will grow faster, become more water efficient, and improve their overall quality under increased carbon dioxide concentrations.

Even Ms. Janine Benyus, a Rachel Carson Environmental Ethics Award Winner, explains, “After all, only humans see carbon dioxide as the poison of our era.  The rest of nature sees it as a building block.  Plants use carbon to make sugars, starches, and cellulose. Corals use carbon to build reefs, and mollusks use carbon to manufacture their shells.”  Indeed, the net effect of elevated carbon dioxide – either in a greenhouse or on Earth – produces both more food and causes a greener planet.

Former President Jimmy Carter once noted, “…an obvious but often overlooked path to peace [is to] raise the standard of living of the millions of rural people who live in poverty by increasing agricultural productivity” and “Thriving agriculture is the engine that fuels broader economic growth and development, thus paving the way for prosperity and peace” [emphasis added].  From 2012 to 2050, the projected benefit of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide will include an added $9.8 trillion (an average of $251 billion per year) of crop production – and that does not include the benefit of added growth to things other than agricultural crops, such as forests and grasslands.

Indeed, by accentuating plant and agriculture growth, carbon dioxide can help feed a growing world in dire need of food resources.  So, why should carbon dioxide be labeled as a “pollutant” and its production aggressively reduced?

The science that underpins the “Endangerment Finding” relies primarily on the United States Global Change Research Program’s 2009 National Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on the United States.  These results are based largely on climate model simulations of the Earth’s climate as projected from rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide.  But these models are tuned to yield specific outcomes which have been shown to systematically overestimate the observed warming of the globe and, specifically, the upper tropical troposphere. Future warming is likely to be at the lowest bound of these model results.

Calculating the social cost of carbon – the dollar value of the economic harm resulting from carbon dioxide emissions – is extremely problematic.  Estimates depend heavily on the assumptions used to calculate it, and thus politicians usually select scenarios that justify their desire to increase energy prices and enact governmental restrictions. What is usually never included in this calculation are the benefits, both direct (e.g., on plants) and indirect (e.g., through inexpensive energy) that carbon dioxide emissions have on society in general.

But despite that carbon dioxide is plant food and is not a pollutant, why are you endangered by this finding?

If carbon dioxide is treated as a pollutant, everything that emits carbon dioxide can be restricted or taxed.  The long-term impact of forgoing fossil fuels – the largest source of human-induced carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – will cause energy and all that depends on it to become more expensive.  Costs of growing food, developing clothing, building housing, providing fuel for heating, cooling, and cooking, and transporting the goods (and even people) needed to provide these necessities of life will skyrocket.  Do we want the poor to choose between food and heating their homes?

Raising the price of energy will make living more difficult for all but the country’s richest citizens.  The so-called “solution” to global warming will have no influence on the Earth’s climate but instead, will adversely impact most Americans.

The irony of the “Endangerment Finding” is that while the EPA’s Clean Air Act was designed to protect the environment, the ruling that carbon dioxide is a pollutant will, in fact, lead to environmental degradation.  Hybrid cars and wind turbines require large quantities of neodymium and dysprosium for their magnets, and indium and tellurium are required to build solar panels.  To mine these minerals, environmentally degrading strip-mining exposes workers to toxic and dangerous conditions.  Soil and groundwater become contaminated by wastewater from such mines.  “Clean energy” is anything but clean.

Moreover, when the poor lack food, clothing, shelter, or security, how can they be good stewards of their environment?  Inexpensive energy can lift the poor from conditions of poverty.  Energy allowed our economy to develop, our citizens to have more free time for innovation and recreation, our public health to increase, and our environment to become cleaner.  Abundant, affordable, and reliable energy – the kind provided by fossil fuels – is necessary for all to be better stewards of our environment.

As Dr. Sylvan H. Wittwer, former director of the Agricultural Experiment Station at Michigan State University concluded, “The rising level of atmospheric carbon dioxide could be the one global natural resource that is progressively increasing food production and total biological output in a world of otherwise diminishing natural resources of land, water, energy, minerals, and fertilizer…The effects know no boundaries and both developing and developed countries are, and will be, sharing equally.”

Isn’t guaranteeing inexpensive energy a better solution to protect our environment and the poorest among us?


It’s the end of civilization. Again

Eco-extremists in the liberal media can’t even give themselves a 10-year gap for their end-of-the-world predictions.

The latest Time magazine cover declared that 2020 is our last, best chance to save the planet. Run for your lives!

Time announced the new cover on Twitter. The cover article was written by Justin Worland, the same author who co-wrote the “TIME 2019 Person of the Year: Greta Thunberg.” That piece claimed climate activist Thunberg was a “a pool of resolve at the center of swirling chaos.” [Emphasis added.]

In Time's latest drivel, Worland exploited the coronavirus to push a climate change armageddon scenario:

2020 looks like the year when an unknown virus spun out of control, killed hundreds of thousands and altered the way we live day to day. In the future, we may look back at 2020 as the year we decided to keep driving off the climate cliff–or to take the last exit, [emphasis added.]

Worland also quipped how for the past three years, “the world outside the U.S. has largely tried to ignore Trump’s retrograde position on climate, hoping 2020 would usher in a new President with a new position, re-enabling the cooperation between nations needed to prevent the worst ravages of climate change."  But, "there’s no more time to wait,” Worland fretted. [Emphasis added.]

Still, Worland was sure to advocate on behalf of a Joe Biden presidency: “[T]he future of U.S. emissions will likely fall to the winner in the fall. Joe Biden, the former Vice President and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is well aware of the role the pandemic recovery will play in shaping emissions.”

Worland even blamed the U.S. for the alleged “climate catastrophe” he says we’re facing. He wrote that “We find ourselves on the brink of climate catastrophe in large part because of the decisions made during a past crisis. As the world came out of the Great Depression and World War II, the U.S. launched a rapid bid to remake the global economy–running on fossil fuels.” [Emphasis added.]

Sounds remarkably close to when Time magazine whined in 1992: “Nature has a cure for everything, except the spread of Western civilization.”

Stoking fears about the world rising past 2℃, "where the effects of climate change go from advancing gradually to changing dramatically overnight, reshaping the planet,” Worland said “we need to cut emissions in half by 2030.” [Emphasis added.]

Worland wrote that "[t]o achieve a 1.5°C goal without creating mass disruption has always meant thoughtfully restructuring the global economy, moving it away from fossil-fuel extraction slowly but surely. Scientists and economists agree this is the last opportunity we have to do so." [Emphasis added.]

That’s interesting, considering Microsoft co-founder and liberal billionaire Bill Gates had said in September, 2019 that fossil-fuel “divestment, to date, probably has reduced about zero tonnes of emissions.”

Worland’s latest edition to Time’s eco-extremism is just as loopy as when Time contributor Eugene Linden suggested in 2000 that the threat of climate change was greater than USSR nuclear missiles. Or how about when Time magazine’s editors warned in its 1989 “Planet of the Year” issue that “[u]nless the growth in the world population is slowed, it will be impossible to make serious progression on any environmental issue.”

Time’s ongoing eco-freakish saga continues.



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

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


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