Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Half a trillion dollars!  Does that seem enough? That's what "Green" donors have spent since 2010 on pushing their invariably destructive causes.  You wouldn't think there would be so much money sloshing around among American charitable sources but there is.  It has been used to fund advertising and to "buy" activists, journalists and politicians. Substantial contributions to a politician's election campaign tend to be very warmly received by the politician.

So there is a vast mechanism trying to influence American public policy towards self-destruction. Freud's warning about "Thanatos", the death instinct that is in us all to varying degrees, does spring to mind. Global Warming is a lot of hokum so they need to be spending all that money to drown out those of us who simply mention the climate facts.

So how do we know about all that spending?  It's in a vast new academic journal article by Nisbet that goes through all the "philanthropic" spending line by line.  It's a very thorough and authoritative article.

It is way too long for most people to read so I have just reproduced below the beginning and the end of it.  Those excerpts tell you plenty, however. I have just done a rough download into text from a PDF so the formatting and word-separation is pretty scrappy but that's all I had time for. If you are a masochist you can go back to the original and read the whole thing.

A small personal note:  Being Green is to be in the gravy so have we skeptics missed out?  Not really.  Most of us are scientists or professionals and most of us are retired.  So I don't think we have missed many good dinners.  Actually, in my experience, the dinners you get at conferences are of the rubber chicken variety and even dinners at expensive restaurants are often less than hearty.  Ethnic cuisine beats both by a mile.  Try a genuine Parsee Dhansak, some Korean egg-rolled pork or Vietnamese lemon chicken (Totally different from Chinese lemon chicken), for both novelty and taste.  If you can't get such things in your neighborhood, I have recipes ...

Strategic philanthropy in the post-Cap -and-Trade years:Reviewing U.S. climate and energy foundation funding

Matthew C.Nisbet


 For several decades, philanthropists in the United States have played a behind-the-scenes role in framing climate change as a social problem. These foundations havedefined climate change primarily as a pollution problem solvable by enacting aprice on carbon and by shifting markets in the direction of renewable energy tech-nologies and energy efficiency practices. Funding has favored "insider" groups thatpush for policy action by way of negotiation, coalition building, and compromise,rather than "outsider" groups that specialize in grassroots organizing. Philanthro-pists have also placed less priority on funding for other low-carbon energy sourcessuch as nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, or natural gas, nor have theyinvested in actions intended to boost societal resilience, protect public health, or toaddress questions of equity and justice.

 But in the years following the failure of the2010 Federal cap and trade bill, a review of available grants from 19 major founda-tions indicates that philanthropists responded to calls for new directions. Funding shifted to focus on state- or municipal-level mitigation and adaptation actions and to the needs of low-income/minority communities. Significant funding was alsodevoted to mobilizing public opinion and to opposing the fossil fuel industry.Nearly a quarter of all funding, however, remained dedicated to promoting renew-able energy and efficiency-related actions with comparatively little funding devotedto other low-carbon energy technolog ies.


The defeat in 2010 of U.S. cap and trade legislation prompted widespread discussion among climate advoc ates and philanthro-pists about what had gone wrong, and the need for new directions in funding and stra tegy. The demise of the bill, whichwould have put an economy wide cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions came just months after the wo rld's political leadersat a United Nations summit in Copenhagen, Denmark had failed to reach a binding agreement to curb emissions. Followingthese political setbacks, several analysts called for investing more significantly in building a grassroots political movement that would directly pressure U.S. political leaders and the fossil fuel industry to take aggressive steps to reduce emissions.Some urged a stronger focus on state and municipal policies, including prioritizing climate adaptation and resilience effortsand the needs of low-income populations. Others raised questions about a philanthropic strategy th at pooled vast resources onbehalf of a few strategies, energy technologies, and organizations, rather than spreading grants across a diversity ofapproaches, technologies, and groups.

Far from being passive supporters of actions to address climate change, major U.S. foundations for several decades haveplayed an active role in defining a common roadmap for their grantees and partners. By framing the challenges, defining thepriorities, and promoting specific ideas, philanthropists have actively shaped common ways of thinking that have boundtogether otherwise disconnected organizations and leaders into shared approaches and strategies (Bartley, 2007; Horvath &Powell, 2016; Morena, 2016; Nisbet, 2014). During an era of political dysfunction and polarization across levels ofU.S. government, philanthropists are able to mobilize vast financial resources to alter the public conversation relative to com-plex problems like climate change. In doing so, they serve as an "outsize megaphone, both actively shaping how people viewsocial problems and championing specific methods through which these problems can be addressed" (Horvath & Powell,2016, p. 90). For some critics, however, such influence has also led to forms of group think that overlook important alternativestrategies needed to substantially reduce GHG emissions and/or to overcome political opposition (Bartosiewicz & Miley,2013; Dowie, 2002; Nordhaus & Shellenberger, 2007).................

Finally, the findings provide valuable insights on the role of climate philanthropy in shaping public opinion, mobilizing activists, and influencing national elections in an effort to shape climate and energy policy decisions. In th e post cap-and-tradeyears, the $151 million devoted by funders to climate change-, fossil fuel industry- and renewable energy-related communica-tion activities were complemented by a combined $150 million spent by the billionaire Tom Steyer in successive elections tomobilize climate voters on behalf of Democratic candidates (Hamburger, 2014; McCormick & Allison, 2017). Yet in 2016,despite the stark differences on climate change between Trump and his rival Hillary Clinton, Trump won a majority of theMidwest battleground states. Nationally, Republicans retained control of Congress and strengthened their hold on state gov-ernments, controlling 69 of 99 state legislative chambers and 33 out of 50 governorships (Philips, 2016).

Promote actions to limit/oppose fossil fuel industry

$69,448,046  Fossil fuel industry-relatedcommunication, media and mobilization

$3,508,000   Natural gas "fracking"-relatedcommunication, media and mobilization

$8,981,000 Renewable energy-relatedcommunication, media & mobilization

$46,582,289 Climate change-relatedcommunication,media & mobilization

$92,405,423  Promote sustainabletransportation/clean vehicles

$20,965,823  Promote sustainableagriculture, land use, protect ecosystems

$72,611,452   Promote climate mitigation &adaptation actions

$91,360,804  Promote/evaluate otherlow carbon energy technologies

*$10,513,713  Promote renewableenergy & efficiency-related policy actions &practices

$140,301,919  Other

Total funding $556,678,469.00

It remains unclear how much impact philanthropists and environmenta lists can have on the outcome ofupcoming national elections, given that climate change still ranks as a relatively low public priority in comparison to otherissues (Pew Research Center, 2018). Where climate advocates and their funders have had a clear influence is in shaping thedirection of the Democratic Party on climate change, intensifying commitment to a variety of policy actions among partyleaders, donors, and activists. In states like California, Washington, and New York where Democratic-leaning donors, activ-ists, and voters dominate, environmentalists have been able to pass major climate policies, restrict fossil fuel development,and win other commitments from governors and mayors (Tabuchi & Fountaion, 2017).

 In rallying activists against the Trump administration, to broaden their traditional environmental appeals, the Sierra Club, 350.org, and other organizations have also actively embraced an "intersectional" strategy, connecting climate change to identity-based causes rel ated to racial justice,gender equality, and GLBTQ rights (Hestres & Nisbet, 2018).

Yet related to these strategies, campaigns opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline and natural gas fracking along with newcauses related to racial, gender, and identity-based justice have also likely contributed to deepening political polarization, serving as potent symbols for Republican donors and activists to rally voters around. These issues also divide liberal and centristDemocrats, and were a major point of contention during the Democratic primaries (Hestres & Nisbet, 2018; Nisbet, 2015). A carbon tax and dividend proposal coauthored in 2017 by two former Republican U.S. Secretaries of State and supported bythe Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, Michael Bloomberg, leading economists, and major oil companies is notable for its assignment of blame for past divisions.

"Some advocates of renewable energy oppose nuclear power, even though both may be needed to combat climate change. Many environmentalists tend to be anti-corporate, even though any via-ble mitigation plan must rest in part on business leadership" declares the proposal. "The message of fear and austerity espoused by some on the green-left tends to alienate those at the opposite end of the political spectrum, who see climate poli-cies as a Trojan horse for a bigger and more intrusive government. Many GOP leaders, meanwhile, deny basic science and failto offer concrete solutions. We need fresh approaches able to bridge these divides"


Californians May Have to Choose Between Showers and Laundry with New 55-Gallon Water Limit

Late last week California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law two bills aimed at conserving water in the drought-stricken state. Unfortunately for California residents, the draconian measures will severely curtail their ability to complete acts of daily living that people in the rest of the U.S. take for granted—things like laundry, showers, and bathing.

On the Senate side, Bill 606 requires the State Water Resources Control Board to adopt "long-term standards for the efficient use of water and would establish specified standards for per capita daily indoor residential water use" in order to comply with another state law that requires California to reduce its per capita water usage by 20 percent by the year 2020.

The board would have authority over all water suppliers, imposing onerous reporting requirements on them to ensure they're complying with the 20 percent reduction mandate, and imposing fines if they don't.

Bill 1668, which passed in the Assembly and was signed into law by Brown, goes even further, severely limiting the amount of water Californians can use:

The bill, until January 1, 2025, would establish 55 gallons per capita daily as the standard for indoor residential water use, beginning January 1, 2025, would establish the greater of 52.5 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use, and beginning January 1, 2030, would establish the greater of 50 gallons per capita daily or a standard recommended by the department and the board as the standard for indoor residential water use. The bill would impose civil liability for a violation of an order or regulation issued pursuant to these provisions, as specified.

Note that this language gives the State Water Resources Control Board—appointed by the governnor—to increase the limits on residential water usage at their discretion over the next 12 years.

Urban water suppliers will monitor water usage by California residents, with the law stipulating that they "shall use satellite imagery, site visits, or other best available technology to develop an accurate estimate of landscaped areas." Note the use of the word "shall," which means they must do it.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the average American uses 80-100 gallons of water per day. According to the USGS website:

A bath uses around 36 gallons of water

A 10-minute shower uses 50 gallons

Washing clothes takes 25-40 gallons of water, depending on the machine's efficiency

Toilets normally use 1.6 gallons per flush (if you're using a low-flow model)

Shaving, brushing your teeth, and washing your face take a gallon each

As you can see, it's not difficult to use 55 gallons of water in the course of a normal day. California residents who opt for a shower will only be left with enough water to brush their teeth and perhaps flush the toilet a couple of times before they run afoul of the new state law.

Water providers face hefty fines if they're found to be in violation of the law:

1) If the violation occurs in a critically dry year immediately preceded by two or more consecutive below normal, dry, or critically dry years or during a period for which the Governor has issued a proclamation of a state of emergency under the California Emergency Services Act (Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 8550) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code) based on drought conditions,  ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.

(2) For all violations other than those described in paragraph (1), one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day in which the violation occurs.

Wealthy California residents, however, got a special dispensation from the legislature. There are to be special provisions for swimming pools, spas, "and other water features" that use a lot of water.

Victor Davis Hanson, writing for City-Journal in 2016, explained the genesis of the California water crisis, writing that Governor Jerry Brown and other Democratic leaders opposed state and federal water projects in the 1970s, leaving "no margin for error in a state now home to 40 million people."

"Those who did the most to cancel water projects and divert reservoir water to pursue their reactionary nineteenth-century dreams of a scenic, depopulated, and fish-friendly environment enjoy lifestyles predicated entirely on the fragile early twentieth-century water projects of the sort they now condemn," he said.

Hanson noted at National Review last year that "Over some 50 consecutive months of drought, California did not start work on a single major reservoir — though many had long ago been planned and designed." Instead, he said, "tens of millions of acre-feet of precious runoff water last year were simply let out to the ocean" due to environmental diversions.

Hanson warned lawmakers to "fix premodern problems before dreaming about postmodern solutions."

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Glendale, author of AB 1668, dismissed warnings about the new water rules as "pure fiction." She told the Sacramento Bee, "I wish people would stop scaring people with this sort of thing."

But unfortunately, instead of making adequate preparations for an eventual water crisis, lawmakers dropped the ball, focusing instead on pet projects like a high-speed rail and virtue-signaling sanctuary city policies. Now California residents are paying the price for their incompetence.


Renewable Energy Use In Europe Didn’t Stop CO2 Levels From Rising

The proliferation of renewable energy in the European Union in 2017 did not stop the majority of member states from increasing their carbon footprint.

The European Union had a 25 percent growth in wind power and a six percent increase in solar, however, carbon emissions rose by 1.8 percent in 2017, according to a report from Greentech Media. Malta experienced the highest increase, with a 12.8 percent rise. Estonia and Bulgaria came next, with an 11.3 and 8.3 percent increase, respectively.

Altogether, 20 EU member countries saw their carbon dioxide rates go up, while seven were able to cut their rates.

The numbers indicate that, despite massive investments in the renewable energy sector, reducing emissions is a tough task while undergoing job and population growth. Wind and solar have not been able to keep pace with the higher number of electricity consumers. Market expansion is making it all the more difficult for EU leaders who plan to slash carbon to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

“This worrying rise in emissions shows that while renewables continue to grow, the most polluting energy sources are not being eliminated quickly enough,” said Molly Walsh, a renewables campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe. The numbers reveal the EU Emissions Trading System — the largest greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme around the world — is not doing a satisfactory job, Walsh stated, according to Greentech Media.

The emissions increase is also surprising considering the amount of money European leaders have spent in recent years to prop up the renewable energy sector and fight climate change.

Germany has paid a fortune to become an international leader in wind energy, but that hasn’t stopped the country from remaining Europe’s largest polluter. Germany has burned an estimated 189 billion euros — around $222 billion — on subsidies for renewable energy since 2000. Emissions have mostly remained at 2009 levels, despite the big financial commitment. The country managed a negligible 0.2 percent improvement from their 2016 carbon dioxide levels.

France established strong renewable energy targets. However, the country witnessed a 3.2 percent carbon emissions rise in 2017. Italy experienced the same rate increase. Spain enjoys robust wind, solar and hydro reserves, yet the country still saw its emissions rise by 7.4 percent, accounting for a 7.7 percent share of Europe’s total output in 2017.

The situation in Europe will likely get worse as the population continues to climb and a slate of nuclear plants begin to phase out.


The U.S. Clean Air Success Story

REAL air pollution -- particles in the air -- has dropped, regardless of what CO2 has done

Have you heard the good news about the excellent state of U.S. air quality? Chances are, you haven’t. In fact, it is much more likely that you’ve heard the opposite—glum stories of smoggy skies and unhealthy air constantly under threat from industrial pollution and SUVs.

Reality begs to differ. As we celebrate Earth Day, it’s worth acknowledging that by many key metrics, the U.S. has some of the cleanest air in the world, and steady improvements are continuing over the long-term. 

Last year, we highlighted a report by a coalition of state regulators detailing the troubling disconnect between Americans’ pessimistic views on air quality and reality on the ground—or rather, up in the air. We wrote:

The report noted trends in Gallup’s annual polling on environmental issues, which in 1997 found that 42 percent of Americans worried “a great deal” about air pollution while another 34 percent worried “a fair amount.” Incredibly, 20 years later, Gallup’s 2017 survey found Americans more concerned about air pollution, with 47 percent worried “a great deal” and 31 percent worried “a fair amount.”

As the chart below shows, during this period of continual public angst on the subject of air quality, pollutant emissions fell significantly even as population, energy use, and the economy steadily grew.   

So what explains this disconnect? As the report noted, “With media more likely to report bad news combined with often apocalyptic framing by advocates and limited understanding of technical air quality information, it is no wonder that the public is often confused about air quality in their city, county, state, and nation.”

That’s a gentle way of saying that Americans have been misled by the media and agenda-driven groups. This has led to a remarkable situation in which Americans are more concerned about the air they breathe than people in countries with off-the-charts air pollution.

For example, the report notes that “The U.S. ranks behind countries like Bangladesh and Nepal in air quality satisfaction despite average fine particulate matter levels roughly 90 percent lower than these countries.”

This year, we decided to dig a little deeper, and examine some of these same trends on the local level. Using information from EPA’s air quality statistics database, we compiled data on ambient concentrations of several key pollutants (referred to as “criteria pollutants” by EPA) in a handful of major cities since 2001, and compared them to population and economic indicators (obtained from the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis, respectively).

The results are equally impressive:[1] In each case, these cities were able to build upon the dramatic air quality improvements of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s with continued gains, all while experiencing steady economic growth. Such progress is always a challenge, but doing it while a growing population adds housing, vehicles, and industrial activity is a remarkable feat that deserves far more recognition and appreciation.

This good news story isn’t an accident, and it isn’t just the result of a few fortunate policies or innovations. These achievements are the product of a truly cooperative system involving EPA, states, industry, and environmental advocates working together on countless issues to advance technology and policy in a manner that fosters economic growth.

Of course, there is still more work to be done, but don’t be fooled the next time you see a gloomy headline painting U.S. air quality with a broad and disparaging brush

The WHO data shows that most major global cities—including iconic European cities such as London, Berlin, Rome, and Paris—can’t hold a candle to the U.S., and in fact are at levels well above what EPA considers safe and protective of public health (PM 2.5 in major Chinese cities is quite literally off the chart)


Australian activists push for COFFEE CUPS to be plastered with grotesque cigarette-packaging warnings to highlight environmental damage

There's a lot of nonsense in this.  It is mainly takeaway cups that are disposable-- usually for people who want good coffee in their workplace.  So it's an important convenience that would be pesky to replace. And it's hard to imagine any cups in Western countries not going to the tip.  Waste in the oceans comes from backward people using their rivers as a dump.  It's not our fault

Activists are calling for cigarette packet-style labels on disposable coffee cups to remind people they are harming the environment when they buy them.

Anna Warren, a communications officer for North Sydney Council, has started a petition to make coffee cups 'uncool.' She wants drinkers to keep a plastic cup on them at all times and re-use it to save the environment.

The paper cups are not recyclable due to their waterproof plastic lining and are the second biggest filler of landfill space after plastic bags with 2.6billion thrown away every year.

Ms Warren is encouraging the big coffee brands to introduce labels reminding drinkers that the cups go to landfill, similar to the 'smoking kills' reminders on cigarettes. She also wants more cafes to have a bin where the cups can be sent to a specialist recycling centre. Convenience store 7/11 already does this.

Ms Warren's petition to the environment minister, which has more than 23,000 signatures, reads: 'Coffee cups are the second largest source of landfill in Australia and most of the cups that don’t make it into landfill, end up in our environment.

'Landfill’s greenhouse gases are one of the major factors for climate change and global warming.

'Coffee cups which don’t make it to landfill end up in our oceans, killing fragile marine life like turtles, dolphins and even whales - washing up on shore dead with stomachs full of plastic waste.

'Our waste situation is in crisis and if we don’t do anything about it, it’s only going to get worse.

'The trouble is that most coffee cups are not recyclable due to a plastic waterproof lining and no one knows what to do with them.

'The first option is to avoid this altogether by bringing our own keep cups. Many cafes have signed up to responsiblecafes.org offering a discount if you bring your own cup but takeaway coffee cups still persist everywhere.

'We need clear warnings on these disposable cups. Warning of the danger to the environment, like you see on cigarette packets about cigarettes endangering our health.

'Warnings on cigarette packaging have worked very well in reducing the rate of smoking which is not considered cool any more. We need the same for takeaway coffee cups.

'Please, let's have appropriate labelling on takeaway coffee cups now, to inform our behaviour before it’s too late!'




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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