Tuesday, April 24, 2018

More childish reasoning from the NYT

They have up an article headed:  "We Are Conservatives and We Believe Climate Change Is Real".  And everything they say in that connection is perfectly correct -- but irrelevant.

Their modus operandi is to find one conservative in a number of countries who does believe in climate change and put up a whole series of short videos in which these selected people rom different countries affirm their belief in climate change.

But it is an unutterably childish exercise.  If they had asked me whether I believed in climate change I too would have said "Yes". So it is not the answer that is wrong but the question. If they had asked me "Do you believe that climate change is caused by humans?", I would have said "No".

So they only looked like they had addressed what is at issue in the climate debate.  They have in fact completely slip-slided away from it.

They also say that climate change is controversial in America only.  I could introduce them to a lot of Australian Federal politicians who think climate change panic is all hokum.  Australia once had a carbon tax -- introduced by a Leftist government.  The next government was a conservative one  -- who made it their first order of business to abolish the carbon tax.  So pretending that climate skepticism is unique to the USA is quite simply a lie.

In any case the whole exercise falls foul of Logic 101.  It is an argument by example.  And you can prove anything by example.  If, for instance, there were only one conservative in a country who  believed in climate change, you could could interview him and him only and create the impression that many or most conservatives in the country believed in climate change -- a conclusion which would be grossly erroneous.  Isolated examples cannot be used to prove a generality.

But Leftists have to use such invalid arguments.  Science, logic and the facts are not kind to them -- JR.

In an hilarious example of Green/Left logic, New England built a lot of natural-gas fired electricity generators but then blocked contruction of the pipelines needed to supply them all with gas!

Pipelines are evil!

Mass.: COMING SOON to your electric bill: a pipeline tax.

When members of the Legislature, egged on by Attorney General Maura Healey, blocked financing for a new natural gas pipeline into New England in 2016, they claimed to be saving money for ratepayers and helping the environment.

But nearly the opposite has happened instead. And now the damage — environmental and financial — is starting to pile up.

The environmental toll this year has been eye-popping: Greenhouse gas pollution exploded during this winter’s cold snap, leading generators to burn 2 million barrels of oil, forcing the region to rely on imported Russian gas, and sparking a mini-revival for the region’s moribund coal industry. In January New Hampshire burned more coal than New York, according to federal statistics.

All that extra pollution was also expensive. Energy cost totaled more than $700 million compared with the same period last year; if past cold winters are any guide, that premium will trickle down to consumers’ electric bills next winter.

Now, in a potential additional cost, a power plant and liquefied natural gas importer in Everett is demanding extra financial support to stay in business — a foretaste of what’s likely to come as long as Massachusetts continues to block regional efforts to relieve pipeline shortages.

The costs to the region’s consumers, and the needless environmental damage, are the direct result of Massachusetts elected officials’ decisions. And those costs should lead the Legislature to rethink its stance and join efforts by other New England states to expand the region’s pipelines — before federal regulators and the region’s grid operator start taking decisions into their own hands.

THE PROBLEM STEMS from a success story: Massachusetts, and the rest of New England, built a fleet of cleaner gas-burning plants over the last two decades, which have lowered electricity prices, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and made renewables like solar and wind more viable by providing an on-demand, dispatchable fallback on days when it’s not sunny or windy. Emissions from the power sector have plummeted, outpacing reductions from cars and houses.

But when there’s not enough natural gas available, those newer plants don’t operate — and suddenly 1999’s energy grid wheezes back to life. On cold days, including the extended frigid period this winter, the region snaps back to dirtier coal- and oil-burning power plants.

Many of those coal and oil plants are financially marginal and overdue for retirement. Yet by keeping pipeline constraints in place, Massachusetts has ensured that New England still needs those dinosaurs. That has forced the region’s electricity grid operator, ISO New England, to look for ways to cajole them into staying in business.

That’s what just happened in Everett. In late March, the owner of the money-losing Mystic Generating Station announced that in 2022 it would mothball the 2,000 megawatt plant, which runs off oil and liquefied natural gas imported by ship, both of which are unaffected by pipeline constraints — unless it got a rescue commitment. “We’re not in a position to continue to suffer losses while we wait for a long-term fix,” Joe Dominguez, an executive vice president of the owner, Chicago-based Exelon, told the Globe.

ISO quickly stepped in and said it would rescue the plant — with ratepayers footing any costs. Mystic is the Commonwealth’s single biggest generating facility. Losing it in 2022, said Vamsi Chadalavada, the grid’s chief operating officer, would pose “an unacceptable fuel security risk to the region during the winter months.”

The costs of that intervention are unclear, and will depend partially on the weather. The difference between what the company bid in the last capacity auction — the annual process whereby power plants name the minimum price they would need to stay in business — and the actual market-based price would amount to about $15 million annually.

But there’s a wildcard: Exelon also just announced it would buy the liquefied natural gas import terminal in Everett from the French energy giant Engie, and Dominguez said Exelon would also seek to recover the costs of operating the terminal, since they’re part of the cost of fueling the plant. (Exelon, he said, had nothing to gain, since any revenues would also be passed back to ratepayers. “We’ll have no incremental profit opportunity. We’re in a pure treading water standpoint,” Dominguez said.)

By itself, any additional costs to keep the Mystic plant operating might be a drop in the bucket. But a cost-recovery arrangement there could give other generators in New England ideas. And the long-term fix in the works may leave lawmakers wishing they’d okayed the pipeline.

THE LONG-TERM fix is a market reform ISO New England is expected to consider this year that would provide new incentives for generators that offer “fuel security” to the electric grid. That’s a hazily defined term that generally means generators either keep their fuel on site or have firm arrangements to get it on demand. By definition, intermittent renewables like solar and wind don’t qualify, since there’s no way they can promise the wind will be blowing or sun will be shining at the moment they’re needed. Instead, under most definitions of “fuel security,” coal, nuclear, and oil generators would cash in.

Potentially, such reforms could also provide an incentive for those new gas-fired power plants to contract for pipeline capacity, so that they’d be considered secure. Right now, almost all those generators just buy whatever is left over from the interstate pipelines that already serve New England. That’s why their supplies get so precarious during cold snaps: Gas utilities have first dibs on pipeline gas, and use almost all of it when homeowners crank up their thermostats. Algonquin, one of the major pipelines serving New England, said last year that less than 4 percent of the natural gas supplied to gas-fired electric generators in New England came under firm contracts.

But many gas-fired generating plants also have the ability to burn oil, and the ISO’s rules are fuel neutral; generators might also just take any incentives for greater fuel security as a cue to stock up on oil.

The better strategy would be for Beacon Hill to do what it failed to do in 2016: Join with Connecticut and Rhode Island, which have already authorized pipeline financing, to ensure that the region’s fuel security problem is solved in ways that mitigate the environmental damage as much as possible. Until battery storage capacity becomes viable on a much bigger scale, that means natural gas. A ratepayer-financed pipeline would cost money, but would also result in lower energy costs; even opponents like Healey concluded that ratepayers would come out ahead.

Opponents of the ratepayer-financed pipeline plan have argued that it would both lock the region’s electric grid into fossil fuels deep into the future and become stranded assets. Both criticisms can’t be valid, and neither need be. The state’s electric utilities are legally required to obtain an increasing share of electricity from renewables, new pipeline or not; state-sponsored projects like the ongoing hydro and offshore wind procurements would be unaffected.

And if demand for natural gas for electricity generation declines in the future, any capacity that’s freed up could still be put to good use: About a third of homes in New England, and about a quarter in Massachusetts, still heat with oil, and states across the region want to switch homeowners from oil to gas as part of their climate mitigation plans. Unlike emissions from electricity, which are way below 1990 levels, emissions from buildings have barely budged.

Blocking pipelines was pure symbolism. But the resulting emissions — and the resulting costs that Massachusetts legislators imposed on their constituents and the rest of New England — are all too real.


Correcting Falsely “Recovered” and Wrongly Listed Species and Increasing Accountability and Transparency in the Endangered Species Program

 SUMMARY Numerous administrative actions should be taken to correct the record of species that are falsely claimed to have “recovered” and that have been declared endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) using erroneous data. It is crucial to improve implementation, accountability, and transparency in the administration of the ESA. The recommendations and information here will help correct the record, provide guidance as to some of the species that may be suitable for delisting on the grounds of data error or extinction, improve the likelihood that future delistings are appropriately categorized, eliminate unnecessary regulations and further waste, and ensure scarce conservation dollars are better spent.

KEY TAKEAWAYSIn 45 years, only 40 U.S. species have graduated from the Endangered Species Act as “recovered.” However, 18 of them were really never endangered. If somehow species recovered at 10 times that inflated rate, it would take nearly two centuries to work through the current list, which is still growing. The ESA is so ineffective that taxpayer dollars are used to fabricate successes—and many species now listed should be removed from the list as mistakes or extinct


In five years the Endangered Species Act (ESA) will reach the half-century milestone—and yet only 40 U.S. species have graduated from the program as “recovered,” slightly less than one species per year. If not one more bird, beetle, or bear were added to the list of federally endangered animals and plants and somehow species recovered at 10 times that rate, it would take well over a century-and-a-half to work through the current list.1
For brevity, “endangered” as opposed to “threatened and endangered” is used in some instances. In many respects, the Service has eliminated much of the distinction between endangered and threatened species through regulation. See Robert Gordon, “Take It Back: Extending the Endangered Species Act’s ‘Take’ Prohibition to All Threatened Animals Is Bad for Conservation,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 3267, December 7, 2017, https://www.heritage.org/government-regulation/report/take-it-back-extending-the-endangered-species-acts-take-prohibition.

 There is, however, no indication that the list of regulated species will stop growing.

Even worse, almost half of the “recovered” species—18 of 40—are federally funded fiction. They were never really endangered; like many species that remain on the endangered list, they were mistakes. With all the ESA’s costs and burdens, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereafter “Service”) is fabricating success stories to cover up this unsustainable mess and substituting fluff for statutorily required reporting regarding the recovery program.

The ESA was ostensibly designed to conserve species threatened or endangered with extinction.2+

The term “species” is used here and in some other instances in a legal, not a biological, sense. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 incorporates “sub-species” and the non-taxonomic unit “distinct population segment” within the term “species.” See Endangered Species Act, “Definitions,” Section 3(16), https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/ESAall.pdf (accessed January 24, 2018).

Additionally, the Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) also uses the term evolutionarily significant unit (ESU), which is not found within the ESA. See National Marine Fisheries Service, “Policy on Applying the Definition of Species Under the Endangered Species Act to Pacific Salmon,” Federal Register, Vol. 56, No. 224 (November 20, 1991), pp. 58612–58618, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/fr/fr56-58612.pdf (accessed September 20, 2017).

Authority for implementation of the ESA resides with the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce, who have, respectively, delegated the FWS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Marine Fisheries Service the tasks of administering the ESA. (NMFS is now more commonly referred to as NOAA Fisheries.) The agencies divvy up authority for different species based on taxonomic and geographical characteristics established in a memorandum of understanding.

 When a species has been recovered that species is supposed to be removed from the list of federally threatened and endangered species (“list”) by a regulation citing “recovery” as the grounds for removal of the species (delisting). Species may also be delisted if it is determined that they are extinct or that the original data used to justify listing the species were in error.

The Service routinely falsely declares that a species that should have been delisted because of original data error has “recovered.” This deceitful practice portrays mistakes as successes, distorting the most important measure of the program. It also triggers other mandatory actions further wasting taxpayer dollars, serves as a justification for the adoption of more restrictive land management practices by other agencies, obscures significant problems with the data used to justify listing species, and erodes the overall credibility of both the Service and the program.

The Secretary of the Interior should administratively correct these false successes, appropriately identify the primary grounds for delisting these species as original data error, prioritize the delisting of wrongly listed and extinct species, and ensure that future delistings are attributed to the appropriate grounds. Any post-delisting monitoring efforts implemented for falsely recovered species should be terminated, and post-delisting special management regimes implemented by agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for such species should be terminated as well.

Ultimately, measures need to be taken to raise the standards for data used in the designation of “threatened” and “endangered” species. Some actions that can be accomplished administratively are identified here. Additionally, the Secretary should return to incorporating meaningful data on the “status” of listed species into the biannual report to Congress that prior administrations stopped providing. Little meaningful data are now available for congressional oversight of recovery under the ESA. These and several other administrative reporting requirements could significantly improve accountability and transparency.

Much More HERE

Ore. Paper Credits ‘Clean-Energy Skeptic Donald Trump’ with Saving 350 Solar Jobs

“Credit clean-energy skeptic Donald Trump with rescuing a Hillsboro solar energy factory,” the first line of an article in The Oregonian declares.

“SolarWorld's sale saves hundreds of Hillsboro jobs,” the Wednesday headline read. On Wednesday, SunPower, which currently manufacturers its solar panels in the Philippines and Malaysia, announced the purchase of the financially-failing SolarWorld facility in Hillsboro, Oregon.

SunPower purchased SolarWorld and its manufacturing plant in order to escape President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported solar panels, thus saving about 350 jobs at the Oregon facility, which had already laid off half its staff:

"The catalyst for this was the solar tariffs and the direction the current administration was going in terms of domestic solar manufacturing," SunPower chief executive Tom Werner said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.”

While Trump is a “clean-energy skeptic,” his solar panel tariffs have been applauded by staunch climate alarmists like former Vice President Al Gore, The Oregonian says:

“Trump has derided the widely accepted science underpinning climate change. He imposed the tariffs in January at the behest of SolarWorld and another bankrupt American solar manufacturer, both of which argued that Chinese manufacturers were undercutting U.S. producers by dumping solar panels on the domestic market.

“While Trump's solar tariffs alarmed some in the environmental community, others, including former Vice President Al Gore, defended the decision. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, had long advocated for tariffs to protect domestic solar manufacturers.”


New air pollution report: "Green" California is the worst. So, don’t come here

The American Lung Association has released its annual report on ozone pollution. And would you believe, eight of the worst places in the country for ozone pollution are in California?

So, you definitely wouldn’t want to move here from outside the state. No, sir.

In fact, if you’re already among the 39.5 million folks who try to exist here, you probably want to load up both cars, get on I-15 or I-10 and head out for cleaner air. Get out of here while the getting is good.

Word is, according to the new report, you can find the cleanest air in Casper, Wyoming if you can find it. Or Wilmington, N.C., Bellingham, Wash. or Melbourne, Florida. Burlington, Vermont is a possibility too, though they talk funny there. Grand places all. Less traffic, cheaper housing, cleaner air.

Oh, sure, you won’t have as much time to read in traffic. Fewer freeway police chases monitored from dueling news choppers. And you will have to do without California’s one party state rule and 10 percent sales tax. But the sacrifices are worth it.

Also on the plus side, the snow is free up north. And the air, oh, the air is not to die for.

Of course, the association warns that the city you will most want to flee or avoid is Los Angeles, where I happen to drive. I agree. LA traffic is so bad that half the drivers are trying to get somewhere, while the other half have given up and are trying to get home.

Not one additional person should want to come here. Also Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento and San Diego. Terrible places for ozone. So, stay the hell out, people.

California is known for its strict environmental laws and regulations. It’s killing off coal power plants, clamping down on exhaust emissions and supporting the smog-check industry by requiring one every year. Wait, so if California is so strict about the environment, how come it’s the worst place for air pollution?

The association says, well, yes, that’s kinda true. But, see, it would be so much worse without all the government rules.

So, there’s really only one answer to air pollution: More government.




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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