Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Jeb Bush is a RINO

Has drunk the climate Kool-aid

Jeb Bush on Friday in New Hampshire called for the U.S. "to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions.”

The remarks at a "Politics & Eggs" event brought praise from billionaire Tom Steyer's group NextGen Climate, which has spent millions in recent elections blasting Republicans on climate change.

"Jeb Bush demonstrated leadership today on the issue of climate change—distancing himself from the other Republican presidential hopefuls and demonstrating why climate change doesn’t have to be a partisan issue," the group said in an email to reporters. "Today in New Hampshire, Bush expressed his concern about the fact that the climate is changing and pledged to “to work with the rest of the world to negotiate a way to reduce carbon emissions.

This is a critical step forward for the Republican candidate, but it can only be the beginning if America hopes to truly lead the world in combating climate change once and for all. In the coming weeks, we urge Jeb Bush to outline his specific plan to reduce carbon emissions and tackle the greatest challenge of our generation.

Providing strong solutions to reduce carbon emissions will not only mitigate the impacts of climate change but also strengthen our economy and create good-paying jobs across the country."


The Environmentalists’ Civil War

It’s a manifesto , a fight among the members of the green Left for the intellectual and moral high ground. It’s also a fight that reflects the growing schism within American environmentalism.

On one side are the pro-energy, pro-density humanists. They call themselves ecomodernists and are led by the Breakthrough Institute, a centrist, Oakland-based environmental group. On Wednesday, it released what it describes as an “ecomodernist manifesto,” a document that, at root, states the obvious: Economic development is essential for environmental protection.

On the opposite side are the anti-energy, pro-sprawl absolutists. Their views are evident in the ongoing protests this week in Harvard Yard. A group called Divest Harvard is pushing the Harvard Corporation, the school’s governing body, to divest the school’s $36 billion endowment of any investments in companies that provide coal, oil, and natural gas to consumers. This group’s manifesto, issued in February, demonizes energy use.

The absolutists like to use the squishy term “climate justice.” They believe that the threat of climate change trumps all other concerns, including the welfare of people living in energy poverty. For the absolutists, the only path to salvation is through the exclusive use of renewable energy. And in that regard, Divest Harvard falls smack in the middle of mainstream liberal-left environmentalism in America.

The anti-energy, pro-sprawl absolutists — a designation that, in my view, fits the Sierra Club, 350.org, Greenpeace, and Natural Resources Defense Council — are anti-nuclear, anti-hydrocarbon, and anti–hydraulic fracturing. They routinely peddle slogans such as “fossil-free” and continually claim that we can rely solely on increased efficiency and renewable energy. They push these claims despite overwhelming evidence from Germany and Japan that shuttering nuclear power plants and relying too much on renewables results in higher electricity prices and decreased reliability. (For more on that, see this April 13 Reuters piece about the potential shuttering of dozens of conventional power plants in Germany.)

The absolutists are anti-energy. In a Divest Harvard video posted on YouTube, the group stated that its goal is to “stigmatize the fossil fuel industry.” The absolutists try to do that all the time. Just last week, the Sierra Club announced the expansion of its “beyond coal” campaign. The group’s backers — who include former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg — have pledged some $60 million in funding for the effort, which aims to shutter half of U.S. coal plants by 2017. Celebrating the fundraising effort, the group’s executive director, Michael Brune, declared, “Dirty, outdated, deadly coal is a thing of the past.”

Never mind that coal remains the world’s fastest-growing source of energy and that it has been the fastest-growing source of energy since 1973. Never mind that countries from Germany to Bangladesh are building hundreds of gigawatts of coal-fired power plants. Never mind that the United States has more coal reserves than any other country does. Coal must be stigmatized.

Based on the logic that the Sierra Club and Divest Harvard put forward, companies such as Coal India Limited must be stigmatized. Coal India is deemed untouchable because it provides coal to generation stations in a poverty-stricken country that gets about 70 percent of its power from coal. Coal India provides fuel to 82 of India’s 86 coal-fired generators. Therefore, it must be stigmatized. Never mind that more than 300 million Indians — a group approximately equal to the entire population of the United States — lack access to electricity.

To be clear, the absolutists at Divest Harvard don’t mention Coal India in their manifesto. But the open letter published in mid-February and signed by about three dozen Harvard graduates — including 350.org founder Bill McKibben, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., author Susan Faludi, former U.S. senator Tim Wirth, and actress Natalie Portman — condemns investment in what it calls the “dirtiest energy companies on the planet.”

The manifesto lays bare Divest Harvard’s anti-human outlook. They write: “Global warming is the greatest threat the planet faces. . . . This issue demands we all make changes to business as usual — especially those of us who have prospered from the systems driving climate change.”

Who might be included in “those of us who have prospered” from the use of coal, oil, and natural gas — fuels that, when burned, emit carbon dioxide and therefore contribute to climate change? My back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that it would include nearly every person in America, (approximately 319 million), as well as anyone who has ever made money by taking a car, bus, plane, or ship to work, baked a loaf of bread, or delivered a piano. In all, the number of who’ve prospered thanks to the availability of hydrocarbons probably totals 3 billion to 4 billion people.

Despite energy poverty that afflicts hundreds of millions of people in countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia (all of which, by the way, are in the process of adding huge amounts of new coal-fired generation capacity), the absolutists equate energy use with evil. In their February manifesto, the absolutists claim that selling the Harvard’s investments in hydrocarbon producers will make the school “accountable for the future” and that the school should divest because “Harvard eventually divested from apartheid, from tobacco, and from the genocide in Darfur.”

By comparing energy producers (and therefore, energy consumers) with the people involved in racist repression and mass murder, the absolutists are, in effect, saying that consumers who use gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, or coal-fired electricity are as morally bankrupt as those who aided racial repression and mass murder. This is nonsense on stilts.

Even if the divestment push at Harvard were to succeed — and dozens of other institutions were to follow suit — it wouldn’t halt the consumption of any hydrocarbons. It won’t give us a “safe climate.” The investments that Harvard sells will simply be purchased by another entity. To argue that divestment of companies that produce coal, oil, and natural gas will make a difference on climate change is akin to arguing that if investors sell their equity in a McDonalds or Burger King franchise, hungry people will quit buying cheeseburgers.

The divestment movement is predicated on the fantastical assumption that we humans can, as the organizers of 350.org have repeatedly claimed, live “fossil free.” And they continue to claim, wrongly, that the world can be run on nothing more than solar panels and wind turbines. The absolutists claim that we only need to “do the math” to understand their position.

Okay. Let’s do some math. And by doing so, we will show how the absolutists favor sprawl and therefore the destruction of the very environment they say they want to protect. To make it easy on the Harvard grads, let’s focus solely on Massachusetts, which consumes about 56 terawatt-hours (1 terawatt-hour is equal to 1 trillion watt-hours) of electricity per year. To create that much electricity solely with wind energy would require, in rough terms, about 31 gigawatts of wind-energy capacity. (The annual productivity of wind energy, based on the BP Statistical Review 2014, is 1.8 terawatt-hours per gigawatt of capacity. That’s the average over nine years, from 2005 to 2013.) The power density of wind energy — as I have repeatedly proven — is 1 watt per square meter. Therefore, the land area needed to produce that much renewable electricity would total about 31 billion square meters or 31,000 square kilometers, which is about 12,000 square miles.

Put another way, just to meet electricity demand in Massachusetts with wind energy would require an area larger than the state itself, which, including water area, covers about 27,000 square kilometers, or 10,500 square miles. And remember, these calculations ignore the essentiality of oil for transportation and home heating. The latter is important because about 30 percent of all Bay State residents rely on heating oil to stay warm in the winter. Staying warm can be a challenge in the Boston area, which got about 100 inches of snow this past winter.

The absolutist, pro-sprawl outlook touted by McKibben and his allies provides a stark contrast to the pro-human outlook the ecomodernists support. Perhaps the key line of their manifesto is in the concluding sentence, which says they want to “achieve universal human dignity on a biodiverse and thriving planet.”

Toward that end, the 18 signers of the manifesto — a group that includes Breakthrough Institute founders Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, as well as Whole Earth Catalog founder Stewart Brand, and the University of Tasmania’s Barry Brook — support increased energy use. They note, rightly: “Climate change and other global ecological challenges are not the most important immediate concerns for the majority of the world’s people. Nor should they be. A new coal-fired power station in Bangladesh may bring air pollution and rising carbon dioxide emissions but will also save lives.”

That’s it exactly. While the absolutists want one of America’s most prestigious universities to sell some of its investments — with the only goal being to stigmatize the world’s biggest and single most important business — the ecomodernists are arguing not only that greater global energy consumption is inevitable, but that it’s good, that more energy use will allow more people in the developing world to live fuller, freer lives. As part of that, they are adding, rightly, that nuclear energy must be a central element of climate policy if we are going to reduce the rate of growth in global carbon dioxide emissions.

The ecomodernists oppose sprawl. Their manifesto talks of the need to intensify “many human activities — particularly farming, energy extraction, forestry, and settlement — so that they use less land and interfere less with the natural world.” Increasing density, they continue, “is the key to decoupling human development from environmental impacts.”

The absolutists don’t have any credible plans for producing the vast quantities of energy the world demands. They not only ignore energy poverty in the developing world, they also have worked to block the American government from providing any financing for coal-fired power plants in developing counties. (See my 2013 piece on that issue here.) At the same time, they promote landscape- and wildlife-destroying schemes such as wind energy that will result in unprecedented sprawl. That’s the very same energy sprawl that property owners all over the world are objecting to. (Among the property owners who don’t want wind turbines near their property, of course, is Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The Divest Harvard proponent vociferously objected to the Cape Wind project, the now-dead proposal to install more than a hundred 440-foot-high turbines in Nantucket Sound, near the Kennedy family’s vacation compound at Hyannisport.)

The manifesto smackdown exposes our need to rethink what it means to be an environmentalist. The ecomodernists have laid out a thoughtful position paper that dares the absolutists to go beyond sloganeering and stigmatizing. I will be pleasantly surprised if Divest Harvard, 350.org, Sierra Club, and their allies respond to that dare. But I’m not holding my breath.


Pareto Speaks to Us About Environmentalism

Vilfredo Pareto, who died in 1923, was an Italian economist and sociologist. In the spirit of Machiavelli, he developed theories concerning human belief and the rise and fall of elites. His insights can be applied to explain much about contemporary America.

Pareto believed that men form their beliefs from emotion or sentiment and that rational justifications for beliefs are constructed after the belief has been subscribed to. In other words, the rational justification is window dressing. Pareto also thought that men deceive themselves about the origin of their beliefs, not recognizing that their beliefs are the consequence of sentiment. Men claim, and believe, that their beliefs are the result of rational thought.

Because belief is emotional at its root, it is extremely difficult to make ideological conversions by logical argument. Logical arguments won’t work because the believer will mount a logical defense to every argument and will be impervious to rebuttals. Successful ideological conversions are made by using emotional tactics, such as applying psychological pressure.

The religious group, the Moonies, has been successful in recruiting new members by the technique of “Love Bombing,” a term they invented. The technique is to lavish flattery, affection, and attention on the prospective recruit. This emotional technique is highly successful. Love Bombing is far more promising than explaining Moonie theology to the typically youthful recruit.

Charles Manson recruited middle class youths into his criminal "Family" through the use of powerful emotional stimuli involving psychotropic drugs, promiscuous sex, and shared illegal acts.

Patty Hearst, the kidnapped heir of a wealthy family, was converted to the revolutionary beliefs of the Symbionese Liberation Army after being locked in a closet for weeks at a time under threat of death.

If we examine belief in global warming, the believers claim scientific justification for their belief. This is window dressing. The real motivation is emotional. The scientific basis for global warming is incredibly weak and has been powerfully attacked by various skeptics. The scientific attacks from skeptics may have swayed weak believers, but strong believers, including the Obama administration, have responded with attacks on the integrity of the skeptics. For example the skeptics are accused of being in the pay of fossil fuel companies, even though there is little evidence of that.

Oddly, many of the fossil fuel companies profess to be concerned about global warming and declare that they, too, are working to reduce CO2 emissions. The executives of the fossil fuel companies fit into Pareto’s theory of declining elites who become effete and too timid to defend their privileges. Incredibly, fossil fuel companies give money to organizations, such as the American Geophysical Union, or even the Sierra Club, that attack the very right to exist of the fossil fuel companies. Groups skeptical of global warming get little or nothing from fossil fuel companies that are apparently too busy trying to appease their deadly enemies.

What is the emotional core of belief in global warming and why is the scientific justification mainly window dressing? It’s actually fairly obvious. The emotional core of the belief is fear of modern technology.

Global warming is only the latest of a string of doomsday scenarios, justified by dubious scientific claims, dating back as far as the 1940’s. In 1948 two influential books were independently published. Our Plundered Planet by Fairfield Osbourne and The Road to Survival by William Vogt. These books are considered to mark the start of the many periodic environmental scares. The scares generally have a theme that modern technology is damaging the ability of the Earth to support mankind and that it is polluting the environment, trends aggravated by reckless population growth.

Stanford professor, Paul Ehrlich’s book, The Population Bomb, was published in 1968 and has sold 2 million copies. The book Limits to Growth published in 1972 predicted, based on computer models, disasters due to exhaustion of resources, increasing pollution and population growth. During the last 60 years there have been dozens of major environmental scares. Examples include projected shortages of food, oil and even water. Pollution scares include arsenic, mercury, radon, chlorine, pesticides, acid rain, etc.

These scares have in common the theme that modern technology is backfiring. The scares play to and promote this emotional belief. To many people, technology is an object of suspicion and fear. There is romantic nostalgia for an idealized simpler time in the past. For example, the organic food movement basically advocates growing food by restricting technology to that used prior to about 1930. This is based on the idea that pesticides and synthetic fertilizer is harmful, a belief that is scientifically not supportable. Plants don’t care whether they get nitrogen from synthetic fertilizer or chicken manure. Pesticides used to kill insects are not passed into the food product except in microscopic, harmless quantities. The advocates of organic farming don’t mention that half the world population would starve if their less productive farming schemes were universally adopted.

If you are highly fearful and confused by modern technology, then the succession of environmental scares supports and fortifies your worldview. However you will not, of course, say, or even think, that you are puzzled and scared by the modern world. No, you will say that scientific research has shown that much of modern technology is dangerous and must be stopped. Ironically, the environmental movement turns science and technology against science and technology.

The scientific weakness of global warming science, and other environmental science, is demonstrated more than anything else by the reaction of the scientist and lay advocates to those who dare to raise objections to the doomsday theories. Rather than meeting the objections with scientific arguments, the critics are attacked and marginalized. This behavior is not scientific, it an attempt to defend a dogma by lashing out at those who dare to question the dogma.

When Lennart Bengtsson, a Swedish climate scientist and meteorologist, joined the advisory council of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, an organization skeptical concerning global warming, he was forced to resign a week later due to abuse he received from the climate science community. He said: “I had not expected such an enormous world-wide pressure put on me from a community that I have been close to all my active life.”

When the Danish researcher Bjorn Lomborg published The Skeptical Environmentalist a book that questioned much of the environmentalist canon, he was vilified in 11 pages of the Scientific American by such people as John Holdren, now Obama’s science advisor. Lomborg’s opponents in Denmark accused him of scientific dishonesty. Lomborg effectively defended himself and the attacks backfired, making Lomborg famous.

Numerous other examples of attacks against persons skeptical of the environmental cannon could be cited. Characteristically the attacks are attempts to discredit and smear, not to engage in an honest debate. Honest public debate on environmental issues is rare. The claim, often repeated, that the doomsday claims of global warming are settled science, is a claim intended to shut down debate. People with honest scientific questions or objections are depicted as idiots who probably think the Earth is flat.

It may seem odd that scientists are emotionally fearful of modern technology. However, attacking modern science and technology is the stock in trade of environmental scientists. That is how they get attention and funding. The global warming scare has been a bonanza for climate scientists. Indisputably there are brilliant climate scientists, but scientists from harder sciences are likely to view climate scientists as second-rate scientists who give an excessive amount of credibility to computer models that don’t work very well.

As population bomb man Paul Ehrlich said, “to err is human but to really foul things up you need a computer.” He does not take his own advice, since he is a supporter of computerized global warming doomsday predictions. Climate scientists are seen to be opportunists, profiting from poorly supported doomsday predictions.

How should he global warming scare be combatted? The scientific theories promoted by the global warming advocates are soft targets. Their science is lousy. But critical scientific arguments are highly technical and only of use in getting authoritative scientists to join the skeptical side. To influence the vast majority of citizens, including non-specialist scientists, emotional arguments are necessary. My suggestion would be to paint a picture of a future when global warming promoters get what they want and everyone else loses money, mobility, jobs, etc. Combine this with authoritative scientists saying that global warming dogma is scientifically flawed and you have a winning formula.


Sen. Mcconnell, States Challenge EPA Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) appears to have few fans. Elected officials from 32 states have made public their objections.

Two states, Pennsylvania in October 2014 and West Virginia in early March 2015, have adopted laws requiring their respective states’ environmental protection agencies to submit for legislative approval any state implementation plan developed to comply with EPA’s CPP regulations. If legislators don’t approve the plans, the agencies must start again from scratch.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has developed model legislation based on the Pennsylvania bill. Several states, including Alaska, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington, are considering the ALEC measure.

In September 2014, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming together filed a motion to expedite a court review of their lawsuit challenging EPA’s rules when they are finalized. The effort, led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, argues the regulation of retail electricity sales and local distribution has been a sovereign state function and the EPA rule would necessarily intrude into that sovereign authority without any clear congressional authorization for doing so. The states’ attorneys general note the EPA plan will result in “irreparable harm to the states and to the public.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has joined the fray, encouraging states to step up and/or continue their fight against the rule. To this I say, quoting Bruce Willis as the immortal John McClane in Die Hard, “Welcome to the party pal!

According to Real Clear Politics:

"In a letter to the National Governors Association, McConnell writes of his ‘serious legal and policy concerns’ with ‘this deeply misguided plan."

McConnell charges the EPA with ‘attempting to compel states to do more themselves than what the agency would be authorized to do on its own.’ McConnell argues that the EPA [is overreaching, stating] the CPP would now require states to ‘switch electricity generating sources,’ build ‘new generation and transmission,’ and ‘reduce demand.’ None of this is authorized by the Clean Air Act.

McConnell cited a National Economic Research Associates report estimating the CPP will cause a doubling of electricity rates in 43 states, with a total national cost of “nearly $479 billion over 15 years.” Yet McConnell notes, “the EPA admits that the ‘climate’ benefits of the CPP cannot be quantified,” in terms of temperature or sea level rise prevented.

McConnell said, “The EPA’s deadlines were very likely designed to force states to develop and submit implementation plans before the courts can decide on the legality of the CPP.” If a large number of states have state implementation plans in place prior to any legal challenges, this may seem to grant legitimacy to the CPP to the court. Therefore, McConnell recommends states “just say no” to EPA’s call for state action.


John Kerry in another useless gab-fest and photo opportunity

Two of every politician's favorite things.  But it's better than them actually doing something

Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Arctic Circle next week for key ministerial talks on climate change amid global concerns about rising seas and accelerating ice melt.

Global warming is happening twice as fast in the Arctic than elsewhere on the planet and many fear not only devastating impacts of warming but also from an influx of people and industry on the pristine environment, wildlife and Inuit culture.

Kerry will attend a meeting of the Arctic Council in the north western Canadian town of Iqaluit, on Baffin Island.

The United States on 24 April formally takes over the two-year rotating membership of the intergovernmental forum, comprising countries with territory within the Arctic Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

The body aims to promote cooperation on environmental protection, as well as to help govern oil and mineral exploitation, shipping, tourism and fishing.

America's priorities as the incoming chairman of the body "include addressing the impacts of climate change, Arctic Ocean safety, security and stewardship and improving economic and living conditions for people in the Arctic," said acting state department spokesperson Marie Harf.


Canadian Wind Leaseholders May Be On The Hook For Billions

A recent visit by members of the Ontario Landowners Association to the Land Registry Office in Goderich (Service Ontario) has revealed the registration of a one billion dollar mortgage by K2 Wind Ontario Inc. on 100 wind leaseholder properties in Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh (ACW), home of the 140 turbine K2 Wind Project. They were looking for the original deed for a property and stumbled on K2 Wind’s charge. Certified public records indicate that some properties may be encumbered at twenty times their farm land value, or more.

“We don’t know the full ramifications of what we have discovered this week”, stated Dave Hemingway, President of the Huron Perth Landowners Association. “We know that K2 Wind is not the only wind company following this practice but we don’t know at this point just how many others are involved.” Mr. Hemingway went on to say, “This raises some serious questions. Have the wind developers been smooth talkers and have rural leaseholders been too na├»ve and trusting? This might very well impact leaseholders’ ability to borrow money for their farming operations.”

Mr. Hemingway states that this discovery could have a profound effect on a leaseholders’ ability to borrow money, sell the farm or otherwise do what he/she sees fit with their own land.

The Ontario Landowners Association has been promoting the concept of property rights for landowners and has been encouraging them to make application for their Crown Land Patent. As part of this program the association encourages property owners to get a copy of the original deed for when the property was transferred from the Crown to private ownership. In the Huron Perth area, this happened from around 1830. The Crown sold the land to the Canada Company which then sold parcels to the local landowners of the time. The Huron Perth Landowners Association has published a Crown Letters Patent booklet to explain what a Crown Letters Patent is and how to get one for your own property. The association also recommends getting the original deed for one’s property which sets out the terms under which the first individual landowner received the property rights which have subsequently becomes the current owner’s property rights.



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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