Thursday, December 12, 2013

Environmentalism's Endless Lies

By Alan Caruba

I am on the Friends of the Earth (FOE) email list and receive a steady stream of theirs and the Sierra Club’s lies about the environment. A recent FOE mailing stating that “Devastation from climate change has become all too frequent.”

This is simply an outright lie. Inherent in natural events such as hurricanes and typhoons, blizzards, tornadoes, floods, droughts, and forest fires is the damage they cause, but FOE asserted that “People in vulnerable communities are already struggling with dirty air, unsafe housing and increased cancer rates. So when extreme weather hits, its impacts are even more devastating.”

All communities, from small towns to major cities are by definition “vulnerable”, but the air has undergone significant clean-up over the years so this is not a common problem anywhere. As for cancer rates, they too have been in decline thanks to advances in medical care. It is doubtful that most Americans live in allegedly unsafe housing these days. Houses on both coastlines are vulnerable to ocean storms. Houses inland are vulnerable to floods and fires. There is nothing inherently "environmental" about this. It's about location.

All this is little more than blatant scare mongering and FOE was calling on its members and others who received its email to “Call on President Obama to ensure that all Americans are protected from climate disasters.”

No President has any control over weather events. To FOE, however, this is a call for “critical environmental justice.”

There is no such thing as “environmental justice.” It is an invention of environmental groups that are intent on convincing people that whatever they do or fail to do somehow has an impact on the weather.

Indeed, the entire global warming hoax, now called climate change, was based on the lie that humans were responsible for producing huge amounts of carbon dioxide via industry, driving, or making some toast for breakfast. The environmental enemy was and is the use of energy, but it is energy that has so vastly improved and protected everyone’s life.

In a recent article, Dr. Craig Idso, the founder and former president of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, a coeditor of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, and James M. Taylor, a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and the managing editor of Environmental & Climate News, a monthly publication, examined how “Global Warming Alarmism Denies Sound Science.”

They took note of the way the Fifth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change moved away from its earlier predictions and assertions. “The IPCC report contradicts claims that global warming is causing more extreme weather” and “admits the lack of global warming this century defies nearly all computer models that predict rapid future warming.” The organization devoted to the global warming hoax has been forced to retreat from decades of lies about it.

While FOE tries to scare people with references to “extreme weather disasters”, Idso and Taylor pointed to the fact that “Global hurricane frequency is undergoing a long-term decline, with global hurricane and tropical storm activity at record lows during the past several years…The United States is benefitting from the longest period in recorded history without a major hurricane strike. Tornado activity is in long-term decline, with major tornado strikes (F3 or higher) showing a remarkable decline in recent decades.”

This is not to say that hurricanes like super storm Sandy or tornadoes have not occurred, but it is to say that there have been far less. These weather events affecting the United States have been in decline and that is the reality.

The FOE claim that any President can possibly “protect communities” is absurd. It is a lie.

The most worrisome aspect of environmental lies is that they are used to justify governmental policies.

The new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Gina McCarthy, ahead of a trip to China, told a liberal advocacy group in Washington that she has devoted her life to protecting the environment: “And I really see no greater issue and no more urgent threat to public health than climate change.”

There is NOTHING the EPA can do about CLIMATE CHANGE.

The present global climate is, in fact, in a lengthy cooling cycle, not caused by anything to do with human activity, but by a reduction in solar radiation due to its own diminished cycle of magnetic storms (sunspots).

Cleaning the nation’s air and water is a public health activity, but denying Americans access to the nation’s vast reservoirs of coal, oil, and natural gas is an attack on the nation’s economic growth and a denial of the energy it requires to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, providing jobs and keeping energy costs under control.

Environmentalism is based on lies and the lies reflect an agenda that regards humanity as the enemy of the Earth.


BOOK REVIEW of The Age of Global Warming: A History by Rupert Darwall.  Review by Australian scientist DAVID ARCHIBALD

As the pumped-up spectre of climatic catastrophe continues to deflate, Ruper Darwall's new book makes a handy guide to the conceits, careerism, delusions and blatant misrepresentations that debased the good name of science and set the stage for economic ruin

Rupert Darwall’s The Age of Global Warming: A History is a wonderful book, the best account of the politics of global warming to date — and the best likely to be written.  It is engaging and doesn’t over-reach to become over-worked and tedious.  As someone who has served as a foot soldier in the solar-science trench of the global warming battle for less than a decade, this book filled in a lot of the missing details.

It also offers some new insights.  Environmentalism had a big run up from the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in 1962 to the first environmental conference in Stockholm ten years later. During that time, Ronald Reagan, as Governor of California, blocked the building of some dams and highways for environmental reasons, and Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.  Then the Yom Kippur began on October 6, 1973.  Interest in environmental matters as a popular issue was sidelined for some time by wars and oil-supply shocks.  Nevertheless, notions of wealth redistribution from OECD countries to the Third World continued to be generated, their rationale based on the novel concept of “environmental justice”.  The movement thrashed around until it lit upon the issue that would take it mainstream.  Initially, the health of the oceans was promoted as the big concern, but then global warming emerged as the issue able to get the best traction.

One of the missing details that this book fills in is the lack of economic modelling on global warming policies.darwall cover  The first governmental review of the costs and benefits of mitigation measures was that of the George Bush administration in 1990.  No other government bothered, being quite happy to sign up to commitments to deep cuts in emissions without knowing or caring about the economic consequences.  That is what I found strange when I got involved in this issue.  Do you remember when Kevin Rudd said that fighting global warming would cost a family just $1 per day, as if they were signing up to a World Vision child sponsorship plan or the like?  Of course the economic consequences have been much more burdensome than that, underwritten by the indisputble fact that environmentalism needs prosperity to flourish.

The first people to lose their jobs in Australia due to the global warming scare were cement workers in Rockhampton.  One of the more recent victims was a restaurant in inner Sydney, where the owners could not afford to re-gas their fridges – collateral damage in the war on Western civilisation.  A warehouse burnt down in New Zealand because the owners tried to save money by switching to a hydrocarbon refrigerant.  The economic consequences are now coming faster and harder.  The Europeans have suddenly become much more aware of what will happen to their power prices under the global-warming legislation they have enacted.  Seemingly none of them did any economic modelling of what would happen.  They were so very happy to sign up to the cause and equally eager to coerce others into committing economic suicide as well. Now the consequences are becoming grimly apparent.

[Australian politician] Malcolm Turnbull, a climate change true believer, once said that for global warming not to be true, it would have to be the largest conspiracy the world has ever seen.  Darwall details the first stirrings of that conspiracy in the 1920s, and he tracks its progress over the near-hundred years since.  Did the scientists actually believe the theory they were advocating? It seems they did and simply cooked the books to show that it was happening, fervently believing reality would eventually catch up with their projections.  Gaia had other ideas, however. The planet has refused to warm for very nearly two decades, and there is a growing body of evidence and observations that suggest we may actually on the brink of global cooling.

For those thoroughly bored with global warming, Darwell’s book still represents a very good read because it shows how public opinion is shaped and prepared for concerted and calculated multi-year campaigns at the international level.  I have heard speculation that “global warming” is to be replaced as a poster issue for the environmentalist cause by the notion of “sustainability”.  One of the first indications that such a switch in emphasis is in progress  was a recent campaign by the NSW EPA against food wastage.  Seemingly, the state agency is reading the cues and reacting to them.

The vast majority of our polity here in Australia are still afflicted by global warming, either as believers or in paying lip service to it.  The country at this juncture is still destined for one pointless burden or the other – be it the carbon tax or “direct action”.  Tellingly, while the new Liberal Government was elected on a pledge to abolish the carbon tax, it has kept the National Greenhouse & Energy Reporting Act (NGER) — the last dark deed of the Howard Government in 2007.  Howard pronounced himself as agnostic on global warming, but for some reason was very efficient at bringing in legislation that paved the way for the carbon tax.  He later rewrote his autobiography to explain that he was panicked by a tidal wave of environmentalism.  It seems Howard thought he would use global warming as an issue to push Australia towards nuclear power.  Instead, he cast himself as another of  Lenin’s “useful fools”.

Belief in global warming has been a litmus test for our politicians.  If they have ever believed in it, or uttered the inane “we have decided to give the planet the benefit of the doubt”, they are fools for being so easily deluded.  Repeal of the NGER is now the litmus test.  If that act is not repealed, then it will be self-evident our current crop of leaders is not serious about Australia’s economic health, national security, liquid fuel supplies and similar grave matters of state.  Our country will continue to suffer until the issue of global warming is entirely behind us.  Reading Darwall’s book will bring forward that frabjous day.



Climate Change Task Force Meets at White House as Snowstorm Shutters Federal Offices in DC

A winter storm warning from the National Weather Service was enough to close down the federal government’s offices in Washington Tuesday.

But neither snow nor sleet  could keep members of the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience from their appointed round at the White House.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee tweeted a photo of Tuesday’s first meeting of the task force, which was created by an executive order of President Obama on November 1st as part of his Climate Action Plan. (See Climate Action Plan.pdf)

The meeting was also attended by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn – right after Chicago posted its lowest subzero overnight temperature since 1995 and one day after the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported the coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth in East Antarctica.

The task force’s mission is to “advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with extreme weather, sea level rise, and other impacts of climate change.”

“I am pleased at the opportunity to serve, with my fellow governors and other leaders from across the country,” Inslee said on November 4th after he was one of eight governors, seven of them Democrats, appointed to the task force by President Obama.

“While we undertake actions to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving these dangerous climate shifts, we must as a state and nation better prepare our communities and our infrastructure to face these accelerating impacts.”


Big Green’s big price tag

Washington, D.C. has been consumed with an on-going battle over whether the bureaucracy can significantly expand the scope of legislation without getting legislative approval.  It is the dry, boring stuff that defines why President Reagan once remarked that, “personnel is policy.”

While the attention has been on the increased costs of health care because of Obamacare’s implementation, it should not come as a surprise that over the past five years, Obama’s environmental regulators have been particularly mischievous in writing costly rules to further their agenda.

However, these new Executive Branch majordomos are in for a major comeuppance as the public becomes aware of the cause and effect of their actions on the cost of basic utilities.

One new rule by the Environmental Protection Agency will force the elimination of dozens of coal fired electric generating plants resulting in the loss of more than 3 percent of our nation’s electricity generation, due to a controversial regulation known as Utility MACT.  Designed to shut down older technology coal and oil burning utilities, this EPA action is expected to result in significantly higher utility bills to customers serviced by these plants, while virtually assuring that consumers will suffer from increasing brownouts and blackouts due to the stress put on the system.

Consumers in regions dependent upon coal fired electric utilities will be particularly hard hit with increased utility bills, and environmentalists are hoping they don’t realize the cost increases are solely due to EPA regulations, and instead blame the power company which is forced to deliver the bad news.

In Chicago, Illinois alone, the regulations are expected to cost the City $5.4 million and the Chicago Public Schools $2.7 million in 2014.  By 2017, the Illinois Power Agency estimates that rates could increase by 65 percent in the state.

Other “green” regulations will be teaching the people of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland the hard way that environmental laws come with real costs.

The town of just under 6,000 residents which lies about twenty five miles south of Annapolis on the Chesapeake Bay has heretofore been best known for charter fishing, having slot machines when they were illegal elsewhere, and being one of the few locales in that rural area with a water and sewer system.

Now, those residents are finding that this proximity to the Bay and their sewage treatment plant combine to create a massive headache and an even greater cost for water and sewer to residents.

The irony is that the town’s water system had been viewed as being environmentally sensitive for years, but new environmental regulatory interpretations governing the Bay require an approximate $16 million upgrade to the existing facility.  The resulting increase of water fees will amount to hundreds of dollars of added monthly costs for many residents.  Water users have few options, but Town leaders are hoping that Chesapeake Beach doesn’t become known as the place where flushing is optional.

As consumers become more and more aware that their basic costs for turning a light switch on, or flushing a toilet have been dramatically increased due to environmental regulations promulgated by the Obama Administration, or Governors like Maryland’s Martin O’Malley, the term going green will take on a whole new meaning.

All those voters who have to sacrifice to pay their increased water and electricity bills may finally connect that a green vote is really a vote to take more and more green out of your own wallet.  And when that occurs the green teams political winning streak will end, and regulatory sanity will be restored.


JPL scientist: Industrialization likely caused end of Little Ice Age

A team of researchers led by a Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist may have cracked a cold case — quite literally — involving the rapid loss of glaciers in the 1860s.

Thomas Painter, a snow and ice scientist at JPL, joined scientists from UC Davis, University of Colorado and the University of Michigan in conducting the study. The team theorizes the soot and black carbon emissions from a booming, industrialized Europe in the 1860s attached to the glaciers in the European Alps, absorbing heat from the sun and causing them to rapidly retreat, or lose mass. The Industrial Revolution began in England in 1760 and lasted until around 1850.

“Scientists have thought the glacial retreat came from natural climatic anomalies along the way,” Painter said, “and yet this shows it’s very likely not a climate anomaly, but human particulate emission.”

Painter and his colleagues studied historical data of carbon particles trapped in the ice cores at the European mountain glaciers, determining how much black carbon was in the atmosphere and snow when the glaciers began to retreat at the end of the Little Ice Age, a cooler period between the 14th and 19th centuries when mountain glaciers expanded amid dropping temperatures.

The team studied computer models of glacier behavior that combined recorded weather conditions and the impact of pollution. The model’s glacier mass loss and timing were consistent with the historical records of glacial retreat during industrialization, despite cooling temperatures at the time, according to the study.

“It’s the same thing as if you were walking barefoot on the blacktop on a hot summer day,” said Waleed Abdalati, study co-author and director of the Cooperative Institute for Research and Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado. “The blacker a surface, the more energy it’s absorbing, and that’s what this effect is.”

The team’s research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Sept. 3. Georg Kaser, a glaciologist at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and lead author of the Working Group I Cryosphere chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, co-authored the study.

“The paper is not designed to prove anything but provides a robust observation and model quantification based on hypothesis on the causes of the glacier retreat in the Alps from approximately 1850 onward, despite slightly falling air temperatures and constant precipitation amounts,” Kaser said via email. “We see a hypothesis as an essential tool in science and along this hypothesis we and others may now perform more detailed studies with the aim to either verify or falsify the hypothesis.”

Black carbon is the strongest sunlight-absorbing particle in the atmosphere, according to a news release. Whereas light-colored objects like snow refract light, the dark-colored soot that blew in from Italy and Germany and attached to the glaciers caused the glaciers to heat up and melt faster.

Painter’s studies in glacial melting started as unfunded research in 2004. After acquiring funding, Painter traveled to the Rocky Mountains and found the dark dust mixed in the snow absorbed sunlight faster, melting the snow. He combined his understanding of the Industrial Revolution with his research before coming to the conclusion that industrialization was most likely the cause of the glaciers’ retreat, he said.

“I’m baffled that no one has looked into it before,” Painter said. “And yet, a strong understanding of the impacts of black carbon really began in the last 15 years.”

Though the study examines the effects of soot and black carbon on centuries past, the phenomenon, which Abdalati called “the human fingerprint,” is still seen today, despite efforts to be more eco-friendly.

“It stands to reason that the same type of phenomenon we saw in the Alps, but on a different scale, is probably at play in the Artic,” Abdalati said. “It stands to reason that some of the stuff we put in the atmosphere falls on the snow.”

Soot and black carbon emissions today specifically impact countries like India, an industrially growing area that is “passing carbon back and forth,” Painter said.


Prof. Will Happer comments on the above (via email):

Sounds like another “just so story.”  There have been several similar retreats of mountain glaciers in the past few millennia.  For example mountain glaciers had retreated before the death of the poor Neolithic hunter “Oetzi,”  who was covered by advancing glaciers 5300 years ago in the southern alps.  I am sure Oetzi relased as much black carbon as he could from his Neolithic campfires, trying to keep warm in the field or in  his home, which was probably similar to the smoky Scottish “blackhouses” that are still remembered.

But  I doubt Oetzi and his contemporaries released black carbon on the scale of the industrial revolution.  There was a massive retreat of  glaciers in Alaska that started about 1800, before the Industrial Revolution really got started and a long way from the furnaces of Western Europe.  I think  many southern hemisphere glaciers also began to retreat about the same time. Finally, glacier advance and retreat  is controlled at least as much by snowfall as by temperature and melting by the sun.

China’s Renewables Industry Is Headed For Collapse

China’s aggressive push to “green” its economy and become the world leader in renewable energy is admired by many commentators in the West. Those admirers need to look again.

The country’s solar panel industry, which went from zero to become the world’s largest in five years, has crashed, with most producers now suffering from negative profit margins, soaring debt levels and idle factories.

Solar panel manufacturer Suntech, a national champion which became the world’s largest thanks to lavish state subsidies, filed for bankruptcy in March after it defaulted on payment of $541-million of bonds. The government is scrambling to tidy up the mess by offering tax breaks to all solar companies that acquire or merge with their competitors. One state-owned company recently tabled a $150-million lifeline to Suntech as it works its way through bankruptcy proceedings.

Likewise LDK Solar, another leading Chinese producer, was forced this year to turn to both provincial and local governments for protection from its creditors. The brainchild of the local Communist Party Secretary, LDK, received millions of dollars in state subsidies and cheap financing, land and electricity in 2005. The local government is now funnelling funds into the company to keep it from sinking, without complete success it seems – the company has shed 20,000 of its 30,000 employees and its shares are 98% below their peak in September 2007.

Yet China’s solar panel sector remains massively overbuilt. According to Bloomberg, if all of China’s solar producers were to run their factories at full speed, they could produce 49 gigawatts of panels annually – a ten-fold increase from 2008 and 61% more than global installed capacity last year. But demand for those panels has been shrinking as governments in the West cut many of the subsidies that made solar power attractive.

China’s experience with wind power is little different. Sinovel – one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturers – went from earning hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in 2010 when the renewable energy industry was booming to millions in losses that grow by the day. Revenues are now just a fifth of what they were in 2010. The company has closed its overseas offices and recently laid off thousands of employees.

All told, in 2012 17% of all windmills lay idle, their power too expensive to connect to the grid. In some regions, 50% of all windmills remain unconnected to the grid.

China’s green crash is a textbook example of what happens when central planners substitute their economic decrees for the complex supply and demand decisions of a market.

Compounding the missteps of China’s green planners was a belief that the West’s love affair with green power was here to stay, despite its higher cost and unreliability. Believing that it could meet the world’s surging demand for solar and wind power, the Chinese state – from the supreme planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission down to city governments and state-owned banks – gave Chinese manufacturers near-monopoly powers and all-but-free money.

The torrid expansion of manufacturing capacity saw wind turbine capacity doubling every year until 2010.  According to the China Renewable Energy Society in Beijing, half of China’s 600 cities have at least one factory producing photovoltaic products. The ensuing flood of solar panels and wind systems on the global market caused prices for those panels to plummet and, in turn, negative profit margins for many of the world’s largest producers. Those in the West almost all failed; those still standing, if tottering, are now mostly based in China. The worldwide renewables collapse left China’s renewables industry looking supreme only because it is the last corpse to fall. It is only by default that China makes seven out of 10 solar panels across the world and is home to eight of the 10 largest panel producers, many of which are on government life support. The combination of too much supply from years of over-expansion and too little demand produced low prices that have left most producers in China on the ropes.

Their prospects are likely to get even worse. The Bank of China, one of the country’s largest state-owned commercial banks, says that 21% of its solar loans are in or near default. By Bloomberg’s calculation, the country’s 10 largest solar manufacturers hold $28.8-billion worth of liabilities, most of which is owed to government-backed institutions. The average debt ratio of those companies – the amount of debt as a percentage of total assets – is 75.8%.



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


No comments: