Sunday, December 25, 2016

The good ol' Green/Left double standard again

Dr. Susan Crockford (email: has written a well-informed and approachable book about polar bears.  She has no time for the usual Warmist scare about the bears being "endangered".

The book has only just been released but the Warmists are already on the case.  A review by someone called "Eli" on Amazon reads:

"Caveat emptor: the author's vague self-description as "a professional zoologist who has studied polar bear ecology and evolution for more than 20 years" appears intended to mask the facts that her PhD and professional work are in the field of canine archaeology, and that she has no formal training or expertise in polar bear science. Up to you to decide whether she's the best source of information for you and your kids on polar bear facts and myths."

I would love to know who Eli is.  I want to ask him whether tobacco-grower Al Gore's speeches about global warming should be disregarded because Al's qualifications are in divinity and social science

The Hockey Stick Collapses: 50 New (2016) Scientific Papers Affirm Today's Warming Isn't Global, Unprecedented, Or Remarkable

Two fundamental tenets of the anthropogenic global warming narrative are (1) the globe is warming (i.e., it's not just regional warming), and (2) the warming that has occurred since 1950 can be characterized as remarkable, unnatural, and largely unprecedented.  In other words, today's climate is substantially and alarmingly different than what has occurred in the past..because the human impact has been profound.

Well, maybe.  Scientists are increasingly finding that the two fundamental points cited above may not be supported by the evidence.

In 2016, an examination of the peer-reviewed scientific literature has uncovered dozens of paleoclimate reconstructions that reveal modern "global" warming has not actually been global in scale after all, as there are a large number of regions on the globe where it has been cooling for decades.   Even if it was warming on a global scale, the paleoclimate evidence strongly suggests that the modern warm climate is neither unusual or profoundly different than it has been in the past.  In fact, today's regional warmth isn't even close to approaching the Earth's maximum temperatures achieved earlier in the Holocene, or as recently as 1,000 years ago (the Medieval Warm Period), when anthropogenic CO2 emissions could not have exerted a climate impact.

In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that the warming in recent decades is not even unprecedented within the context of the last 80 years.   That's because the amplitude of the 1930s and 1940s warm period matched or exceeded that of the warmth in the late 20th and early 21st centuries in many regions of the world.  Furthermore, between the warmth of the 1930s and '40s and the warmth of the 1990s to present, there was a very widely publicized cooling period (late 1950s to early 1970s) that was heavily discussed in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Today's instrumental datasets curiously do not reflect this 20th century warming-cooling-warming oscillatory shape, however, as doing so would not lend support to the modeled understanding that climate is shaped by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which have increased linearly, not cyclically.  In fact, not only has the high amplitude of the 1930s and 1940s warmth been "adjusted" down or depressed in global-scale representations of instrumental temperatures by NASA or the MetOffice, the substantial cooling (-0.5øC in the Northern Hemisphere, including -1.5øC cooling in the Arctic region) that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s has all but disappeared from today's temperature graphs.

Scientists, meanwhile, keep on publishing their results.  And their results don't lend support to the narrative that the globe has been synchronously warming, or warming in linear fashion and in concert with the rise in anthropogenic CO2 emissions.  Indeed, in many regions of the world, decadal-scale cooling has occurred since the mid-20th century.

Listed below are a collection of 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers published within the last year (2016) undermining the "consensus" position that modern warming patterns are global in extent and synchronization, and that today's warmth is both unusual and unprecedented.  The first section (1) identifies the regions of the world where there has been no net warming in recent decades.  The second section (2) puts modern climate into its much larger Holocene context, revealing just how insignificant and unremarkable this current (regional) warming trend has been relative to history.

More HERE  (See the original for links)

News from 1912: plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

Time to Get Rid of the EPA? Scott Pruitt May Be Just the Guy to Do It

Trump's nominee for the EPA Administrator could - and should - abolish the agency

Several commentators have characterized the selection of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to become the next EPA Administrator as a sharp stick in the eye to the agency and its employees. They're right - and seldom has any herd of federal bureaucrats been more deserving of it. For decades, in administrations Democratic and Republican alike, the EPA has been relentlessly ideological, politicized, corrupt, and incompetent.

When I joined the Food and Drug Administration in 1979, I was essentially apolitical and knew next to nothing about federal regulation. I was a science nerd who had spent the previous 16 years in college, graduate school, medical school, and postdoctoral training. It didn't take long until I learned about the jungle of government bureaucracies, and one of the harshest lessons concerned the perfidy and incompetence of one of the FDA's siblings, the EPA.

I found the EPA to be relentlessly anti-science, anti-technology, and anti-industry. The only thing it seemed to be for was the Europeans' innovation-busting "precautionary principle," the view that until a product or activity has been definitively proven safe, it should be banned or at least smothered with regulation. In fact, during international discussions and negotiations over the harmonization of biotechnology regulations in which I participated, the EPA often seemed allied with the European Union and committed to working against U.S. interests.

To my astonishment, I found that there were entire groups within the EPA whose function it was to lie to the Office of Management and Budget and to Congress about the rationale for and impacts of their proposed regulations. And over the years, I discovered that there is a kind of underground railway by which the most incompetent, disaffected, and anti-industry employees from other regulatory agencies find their way to the EPA, creating a miasma of dysfunctional governance.

During the two decades since I left government service, I've continued to watch the EPA's shenanigans with a mixture of awe and vexation. Policy by policy and decision by decision, the EPA has decimated the nation's competitiveness, ability to innovate, and capacity to create wealth. Its policies and decisions have single-handedly killed off entire once-promising sectors of biotechnology, including bioremediation (the use of microorganisms to clean up toxic wastes, including oil spills) and microorganisms that when sprayed on plants could prevent frost damage.

The EPA's expansive and ever-expanding regulations impose huge costs on American businesses and, ultimately, on consumers. An analysis by the Competitive Enterprise Institute estimated that the annual cost of compliance with EPA regulations alone is more than a third of a trillion dollars. Ideology is one thing, but corruption and abuse are quite another. A scheme was exposed some years ago that would have diverted EPA "research" funds to pay outside public-relations consultants. This payola scheme is similar to the agency's longstanding practice of buying influence by doling out hundreds of millions of dollars each year to certain favored nonprofit organizations - money that, according to the inspector general and Government Accountability Office, is dispersed with no public notice, competition, or accountability. The GAO investigators documented systematic malfeasance by regulators, including: 1) making grants to grantees who were unable to fulfill the terms of the grants; 2) favoring an exclusive clique of grantees without opening the grants to competition; 3) funding "environmental" grants for activities that lack any apparent environmental benefit; and 4) failing to ensure that grantees performed the objectives identified in the grants.

I saw firsthand evidence of this while I was an official at the FDA. For some reason I was favored with periodic reports of the research funded by the EPA. The overwhelming majority of it was shoddy, irrelevant, and unpublishable - but the grants bought the goodwill of researchers who would rubber-stamp unscientific EPA policies while serving on advisory committees.

The EPA is the prototype of agencies that spend more and more money to address smaller and smaller risks. In one analysis by the Office of Management and Budget, of the 30 least cost-effective regulations throughout the government, the EPA had imposed no fewer than 17 of them. For example, the agency's restrictions on the disposal of land that contains certain types of wastes prevent 0.59 cancer cases per year and avoid $20 million in property damage, at an annual cost of $194 million to $219 million.

The EPA is the prototype of agencies that spend more and more money to address smaller and smaller risks.

Superfund (officially, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) is one of the EPA's greatest travesties. An ongoing program intended to clean up and reduce the risk of toxic-waste sites, it was originally conceived as a short-term project - $1.6 billion over five years, to clean up some 400 sites (by law, at least one per state and, not coincidentally, about one per congressional district). But it has grown into one of the nation's largest public-works projects: more than $30 billion spent on about 1,300 sites.

How could cleaning up toxic-waste sites not be a good thing? Well, various studies have attempted to evaluate the impacts of Superfund's massive and costly cleanups, but the results are equivocal. Putting that another way, after the expenditure of tens of billions of dollars, no beneficial results have been demonstrable. On the other hand, some Superfund projects have definitely caused harm. University of California-Davis economics professor J. Paul Leigh has analyzed the occupational hazards of environmental cleanup projects and concluded that the risk of fatality to the average cleanup worker - a dump-truck driver involved in a collision, or a laborer run over by a bulldozer, for example - is considerably larger than the cancer risks to individual residents that might result from exposure to untreated sites. EPA official Carl Mazza admitted that the agency is aware that Superfund policies often conflict with risk analysis, but "political considerations" prevent rational, data-driven decision-making.

Another example of flawed decision-making at the EPA is the imposition of overly stringent ambient-air standards under the Clean Air Act. Clean air is desirable, of course, but an EPA rule finalized in February 2012 that created new emissions standards for coal-fired and oil-fired electric utilities was ill-conceived. According to an analysis by Diane Katz and James Gattuso of the Heritage Foundation:

The benefits are highly questionable, with the vast majority being unrelated to the emissions targeted by the regulation. The costs, however, are certain: an estimated $9.6 billion annually. The regulations will produce a significant loss of electricity generating capacity, which [will] undermine energy reliability and raise energy costs across the entire economy.

Stung repeatedly by the responses to such benefit-cost calculations, the EPA has begun more often to manipulate the benefit side by invoking so-called non-use benefits of regulations, such as "the value one places on knowing that an aquatic ecosystem is healthy" or "secondary and tertiary ecosystem impacts." The problem with such supposed benefits is that estimating them is highly prone to wishful thinking (read: plucking numbers from the air). For example, regulators might "calculate" that a significant improvement in water quality in the Mississippi River could be a source of benefit to people throughout the nation, not just to those who use the river or who live near it, because it is nationally symbolic.

An EPA subterfuge that has received attention from Senator David Vitter (R., La.) and other Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee is the "sue and settle" maneuver that the EPA uses to advance its radical environmental agenda by substituting a judicial mechanism for the customary interface of legislation and agency rulemaking. The way this works is that extremist environmental groups (some of which receive government grants) sue the federal government on the grounds that agencies are failing to meet their regulatory obligations, and then, behind closed doors, the activists and Obama-administration officials work together to concoct a settlement agreement that furthers activists' (and regulators') radical goals.

Since it was created in 1970, the EPA has been a rogue agency - ideological, poorly managed, and out of touch with sound science and common sense. It is emblematic of what Wall Street Journal columnist Bill McGurn condemned as the "soft despotism" of the "unelected and increasingly assertive class that populates our federal bureaucracies and substitutes rule by regulation for the rule of law."

The nation's experiment with a free-standing environmental agency has failed. The EPA's few essential functions should be relegated to less scientifically and ethically challenged agencies and departments. (It was, after all, created during the Nixon administration by cobbling together elements of various departments, including HHS, Interior, and Agriculture.)

Scott Pruitt may be the guy who could make that happen.


How the Clean Power Plan Hurts States Represented by Democratic Senators

One of President Barack Obama's most controversial regulations is getting a lot of attention after President-elect Donald Trump nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Clean Power Plan (CPP), under the purported authority of the Clean Air Act, requires states to develop plans to reduce emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels. If a state fails to adopt a plan, the EPA creates one for it. The rule will supposedly avert 0.015øF by 2100 of future temperature increases.

In February, the Supreme Court stayed the rule until the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which sat en banc in September for oral arguments, rules in the case, West Virginia v. EPA. Twenty-seven states are part of the lawsuit against the EPA, which argues that CPP is unconstitutional because states are not given the opportunity not to participate in the implementation of the rule.

States and supporters of the lawsuit note that CPP will have an extraordinarily negative impact on the coal industry, on which their economies rely for jobs and energy. According to an analysis by NERA Economic Consulting, the energy sector will spend between $41 billion and $73 billion annually to comply with CPP, making it the most expensive rule ever promulgated. Under the authority of the Congressional Review Act, Congress passed S.J. Res. 24, though without veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate, to reject CPP. President Obama vetoed the resolution.

Pruitt's strong opposition to CPP has been frequently mentioned in coverage of his nomination to serve as head of the EPA. In July 2015, he filed his own lawsuit against the EPA over the rule, though it was later consolidated into West Virginia. "The EPA does not possess the authority under the Clean Air Act to accomplish what it proposes in the unlawful Clean Power Plan. The EPA is ignoring the authority granted by Congress to states to regulate power plant emissions at their source," Pruitt said when he filed the lawsuit. "The Clean Power Plan is an unlawful attempt to expand federal bureaucrats' authority over states' energy economies in order to shutter coal-fired power plants and eventually other sources of fossil-fuel generated electricity. This would substantially threaten energy affordability and reliability for consumers, industry and energy producers in Oklahoma."

"Oklahomans care about issues of air quality and our state policy makers are best-suited and specifically granted the authority by federal law to regulate these issues. We are filing this lawsuit in order to ensure decisions on power generation and how to achieve emissions reductions are made at the local level rather than at the federal level," he added.

Pruitt believes that the EPA has claimed too much authority from Congress, running roughshod over the constitutional separation of powers and the states' ability to decide what is best for their citizens and economies. What is good for New York, for example, may not be good for Oklahoma. Indeed, Oklahoma would not be the only state negative impacted by CPP.

A November 2015 analysis from NERA Economic Consulting warns that consumers and businesses in the lower 48 states will see energy price increases, potentially as large as $39 billion annually. A Democratic senator in a state expected to see a double-digit energy price increase may have a tough time explaining to voters why he either voted against the resolution of disapproval that would have put a stake in the heart of CPP or why he did not vote support Pruitt, who will seek to roll back the rule, in a confirmation vote.

Take Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). His state is expected to see an average energy price increase of 15 percent because of CPP. Yet, he voted to keep the regulations in place in November 2015 when S.J. Res. 24 came to the floor. As did Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), whose constituents will see a 24 percent increase in energy prices. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) also voted to keep CPP in place, and his constituents will see a 17 percent average increase.

While Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) voted to disapprove of the regulations, which will cause their states to see price increases of 33 percent and 43 percent, are sitting on the fence, at least thus far, on whether they will vote to confirm Pruitt. Manchin recently stopped short of saying he would vote to confirm the Oklahoma attorney general. Heitkamp expressed "serious concerns" about Pruitt's opposition to ethanol.

Tester, who voted to keep CPP in place, was hyperbolic in his reaction to Pruitt's nomination, saying that he "is very concerned about Mr. Pruitt's history of not protecting clean air and clean water." McCaskill, another CPP supporter, said she was "reserving judgment" on Pruitt. Trump won Montana and Missouri by 20 points and 9 points. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), whose state Trump won by 20 points, has been quiet about Pruitt.

Democrats from states Trump won and who support CPP, and either voted to uphold the rule in November 2015 or oppose Pruitt's confirmation, face another awkward reality because their position puts them at odds with some influential labor unions. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which represents 750,000 members, joined the lawsuit against the EPA over CPP. "The EPA is creating energy policy and they have neither the expertise nor the legal authority to do it. We worked with the EPA for years to address greenhouse gas emissions with a plan that is both effective and legal," IBEW President Lonnie Stephenson said when the union joined the lawsuit. "Unfortunately, we don't believe this regulation is either."

The United Mine Workers of America, which represents 80,000 members, also joined the lawsuit against CPP. "Our initial analysis indicates there will be a loss of 75,000 direct coal generation jobs in the United States by 2020. Those are jobs primarily in coal mines, power plants and railroads. By 2035, those job losses will more than -double to 152,000," UMWA President Cecil Roberts said about the damage the rule will do to the economy. "When a U.S. government economic multiplier used to calculate the impact of job losses is applied to the entire economy, we estimate the total impact will be about 485,000 permanent jobs lost."

Raymond Ventrone -- who represents more than 2,000 members of International Brotherhood of Boilermakers in Ohio, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania -- has blast the Obama administration's anti-coal agenda, writing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "My members learned the hard way that the EPA's goal isn't clean air; it's eliminating coal and our way of life."

"We can have clean air and keep coal as a vital part of our economy, but we can't do it if the EPA and its allies are allowed to continue waging a devastating war against our jobs," he added.

While these labor unions may not have taken a position on Pruitt's nomination, they know that the EPA's Clean Power Plan will hurt their members. Democratic senators who are considering voting against or are on the fence about Pruitt's nomination are sending the wrong message to their constituents at home. This rule will lead to higher compliance costs, energy price increases, and lost jobs. There is not a need for a debate over this. The Senate should confirm Pruitt when he comes to the floor for a vote.


Australia: Rebel Greens faction to fight police, capitalism

This is not exactly new.  Rhiannon was a Trot long before she was a Green.  And she's not the only Trot who went Green when they saw  a chance of more influence there.  Why they have come out openly now is a bit of a mystery, though.  Frustrated at achieving so little, I guess.

A newly formed hard-left faction within the Greens has publicly stated it does not believe in the rule of law or the legitimacy of the Australian state and says it will work to “bring about the end of capitalism”.

Formed around federal NSW senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW upper house MP David Shoebridge, the “Left Renewal” faction has published a statement of principles that is at odds with its own party and contradicts the Greens’ national policies in several key areas.

In forming the faction, Left Renewal said the Greens were failing those with liberal ­beliefs.

“Positions of power and influence within the party are falling to those with liberal politics, who manipulate party processes and abuse their resources to take and solidify their control,” the new faction’s Facebook page says.

The group opposes market-based mechanisms, such as a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme, as methods to address climate change, and will have a binding caucus in which members will be forced to follow the ­majority view expressed within the faction.

Candidates supported by the hard Left have lost in recent state preselections in NSW, prompting the unified group looking to wrest power from what it sees as a right-wing body.

In a statement of principles, the group describes itself as ­“advocates for peace” and rejects the authority of the police.

“A rejection of class antagonism, and capitalism, also depends on a rejection of the state’s legitimacy and the right of it, and its apparatuses, to impose oppression upon the working class,” it says.

“We further rejected state- mediated oppression in all of its forms, and recognise that violent apparatuses like the police do not share an interest with the working class.”

Former Greens leader Bob Brown previously has called for Senator Rhiannon to bow out of politics to make room for ­“renewal”.



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.  

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