Tuesday, November 13, 2018

After 50 Years Of Failed Predictions, Science Is In Crisis

Whom or what to believe? After 50 years of failed predictions, people are reasoning that something other than science is behind this alarmism.

Last September the usual media suspects got wind of yet another Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. To those familiar, it was obvious from the “fire and brimstone” headlines. No matter how inconsequential, no heatwave, drought, hurricane or flood was missed. This is the customary softening-up period, intended to ensure that when a scary IPCC report lands, politicians will be pushed into taking even more drastic action on “climate change”.

And so it came to pass. Last month, the world’s “leading climate scientists” confirmed we had only 12 years left to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Debra Roberts, a co-chairwoman of the working group on impacts, says: “It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now.” Even half a degree more would significantly worsen the risk of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Crikey! It’s only three years since Paris, when we were assured 2C could save the planet. What’s next?

At least it’s 10 years longer than Prince Charles gave us. He warned in 2008 that “the world faces a series of natural disasters within 18 months, unless urgent action is taken to save the rainforests”. A decade later, in testimony before the US congress, Roger Pielke Jr, professor of environmental studies in the Centre for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado, contradicted Charles, saying it was “misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales”.

But then in 2011 the International Energy Agency, after “the most thorough analysis yet”, warned that five more years of conventional development would make it impossible to hold global warming to safe levels. The prospects of combating dangerous climate change would be “lost forever”. Well now, in the tradition of ever-receding horizons, the IPCC gives us another 12 years to act.

Catastrophic scenarios aren’t new. In the 1960s and 70s, man-made global cooling was the fashion. In 1971, Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich predicted: “By the year 2000, the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people.” Ehrlich is now a warmist.

Whom or what to believe? After 50 years of failed predictions, people are reasoning that something other than science is behind this alarmism. And that something is the UN. What else? Its global reach, back corridors and duplicity have allowed it to build an unchallenged, mutually ­reinforcing $1.5 trillion industry of captive politicians, scientists, journalists, crony capitalists and non-governmental organisation activists bent on globalism through anti-Western sentiment and wealth transfer.


To fight climate change, environmentalists say yes to nuclear power

Analogies to Richard Nixon going to China tend to be overused.

But here’s one that’s the real deal: On Thursday, the venerable Cambridge-based Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report on nuclear power endorsing measures to keep financially struggling nuclear power plants alive to combat climate change.

They aren’t the first environmentalists to reach the same conclusion, but it’s a convincing report — and, symbolically, a really big deal. The group’s name is practically synonymous with skepticism toward nuclear energy, and it played a leading role in the fights against nuclear reactors in New England in the 1980s.

In the report, the group outlined a hard truth about the future. With climate change accelerating, as a new UN report underscored, the time to be fussy about how to reduce emissions has passed.

“These sobering realities dictate that we keep an open mind about all of the tools in the emissions reduction toolbox — even ones that are not our personal favorites,” wrote Ken Kimmell, the group’s president. “And that includes existing nuclear power plants in the United States, which currently supply about 20 percent of our total electricity needs and more than half of our low-carbon electricity supply.”

There is no doubt that nuclear power carries risks, as the Union of Concerned Scientists has documented over the years. Policy makers need to start putting those risks in perspective, though. Yes, regulate plants closely. But don’t let such a massive source of zero-carbon electricity disappear, since it will inevitably be replaced with fossil fuels.

Steve Clemmer, the director of energy research at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in an interview that the group wasn’t suggesting that all US nuclear power plants should be saved.

For instance, it doesn’t call for preserving the problem-plagued Pilgrim nuclear plant in Plymouth, which is scheduled to shut down next year.

And, Clemmer recommended, any help should be conditioned on plants meeting the highest safety standards, opening their books to prove they really need assistance, ensuring that help is temporary, and providing assistance only as part of a broader clean energy program.

Massachusetts gets a big chunk of its electricity from Seabrook Station in New Hampshire — the plant that the Union of Concerned Scientists, among many others, criticized in the 1980s. That plant is thought to be profitable for now, but the state and the region should have a contingency plan to make sure that it doesn’t fall victim to the same trends claiming nuclear plants throughout the United States.

The ongoing woes of the nuclear industry have put a tremendous amount of non-emitting electricity at risk, and the potential to lose those resources could undo the nation’s recent progress in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s hard to imagine a group with stronger historic anti-nuclear bona fides than the Union of Concerned Scientists — in the same way that Nixon was an anti-communist beyond reproach. Hopefully the group’s climate pragmatism now will carry more weight with nuclear power skeptics and help ensure that states will have the full toolbox they need in the years ahead.


Living In The Forest And Risking Their Lives: The Extreme Measures Enviros Will Take To Stop A Crude Oil Pipeline

The Bayou Bridge Pipeline, a 163-mile crude oil pipeline being built in southern Louisiana, is expected to be operational by the end of 2018

Deep in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin, the largest swamp in the United States, a group of protesters have seemingly stopped at nothing to scuttle completion of a legal pipeline.

The construction project in question, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, is a 163-mile crude oil pipeline that extends across southern Louisiana. The pipeline will carry up to 480,000 barrels of crude oil a day when completed — taking a lot of oil off more hazardous means of transportation, such as road and train lines.

Despite the pipeline being overwhelmingly welcomed by locals and Louisiana politicians across the partisan spectrum, construction efforts have attracted an inordinate amount of pushback from national environmental groups. Organizations such as Sierra Club, EarthJustice, Waterkeeper Alliance and others have continually tried to torpedo the pipeline with lawsuits.

However, it’s the opposition happening outside the courtroom that is attracting some of the most extreme elements against Bayou Bridge. Groups such as Louisiana Bucket Brigade and 350 New Orleans have assembled protests at construction sites, temporarily preventing employees from working. The most active group on the ground is L’eau Est La Vie [French for “water is life”], a traveling camp within the Atchafalaya Basin that has repeatedly placed its members in the way of construction efforts, stalling work and placing themselves in danger.

The Daily Caller News Foundation traveled to St. Martinville, Louisiana, to find these protesters. A small camp that relocates every few days or weeks within the country’s biggest swamp — it was not easy to find. After several hours of traveling on air, boat and foot, and passing though what appeared to be a deserted campsite, TheDCNF was able to locate the anti-Bayou Bridge base.

“I don’t really want to speak on behalf of any organization. I am just out here as an individual trying to keep this area safe and make sure nobody cuts that line,” said a man donning a red dress and referring to himself simply as “Babyface.” The protester appeared to be alone, standing next to several tents and signs that railed against the Bayou Bridge pipeline. Clothes were strewn about, along with Twilight novels and a big bottle labeled “pee.”

Speaking softly, Babyface refused to reveal what organization he was with, but he did explain his opposition to construction of the crude oil pipeline.

“I’ve seen some of these valve stations and along the way while I’m traveling on the boat, and those aren’t well kept up at all,” he said to TheDCNF. “I worry about what this pipeline is going to look like 10, 15 years from now – whether they’re really going to do the upkeep to keep this safe. I have my personal doubts.”

After speaking to Babyface for some time, it was discovered that he was not alone. Up above were what appeared to be two separate tree houses, something he referred to as a “lifeline.” Within the lifeline contained his fellow protesters. The concept was simple, but dangerous. As long as the protesters remained suspended in tree houses, construction workers would be prevented from cutting the trees down. This tree-sitting strategy is widely implemented by pipeline protesters across the country.

While they believe their cause to be just, many residents of southern Louisiana are upset at the protesters’ actions. Many in the community welcome the jobs and income that come with Bayou Bridge.

“The people that work on these pipelines, they have a right to make a living too,” said Brett Stassi, sheriff of Iberville Parish, in a conversation with TheDCNF. “They are putting the livelihood of some of these workers in jeopardy, and they’re putting their own selves in harm’s way.”

Stassi also repeated what’s been long criticized about the Bayou Bridge protesters: many of them are from out of state.

“Most of these protesters are not even from Louisiana. They come from all over the United States – as far as California. We even arrested one from France,” he said.

A procurement agent who works between Energy Transfer Partners — the company behind the pipeline — and local landowners told TheDCNF he hasn’t met a single customer who appreciates what the protesters are doing. They welcome the development and extra income the project is bringing.

“I’ve been working with landowners and Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) this entire time. Every single local landowner I’ve worked with supports this project. None of them have any sympathy for the protesters,” he explained, speaking anonymously as he was not allowed to talk with media.

A spokeswoman for ETP told TheDCNF that over 98 percent of the easement agreements along the route were signed voluntarily by landowners.

However, protesters have vowed to stay as long as construction continues in the Atchafalaya Basin. A group of unemployed protesters camping in the middle of a swamp would seemingly be a short-term affair, but the organizations that support their efforts have been adept at online fundraising.

L’eau Est La Vie is very active online with a repetitive fundraising strategy. Members continually perform extreme acts of protest — such as chaining themselves to a 50-foot crane — and announce it on social media. The group then asks supporters for donations via GoFundMe. It also does this when alleging violence or misconduct by Energy Transfer Partners or arrest of their comrades.

For example, L’eau Est La Vie leaders recently accused ETP of driving past one of their boats in the water so quickly that the splash from the wake eventually sunk their boat. However, their claims about what exactly happened have changed over time, with one spokeswoman originally saying she wasn’t sure who drove the boat that caused the wake but others later claiming for certain that ETP was the offender. They have also given different numbers of how many protesters were affected.

Their tactics have proven lucrative. L’eau Est La Vie has raised over $72,000 in the past three months, according to their latest GoFundMe page. Members have launched several fundraising efforts since beginning their protest against Bayou Bridge, raising tens of thousands of dollars that allow them to keep camping.

“The bulk of their claims are either false or greatly exaggerated. They are using this narrative as a fundraising campaign,” said Alexis Daniel, a spokeswoman for ETP, in a statement to the The DCNF. “We have stated from the beginning of the project, as with any of our projects, that we understand and respect differing opinions about these types of infrastructure projects. But what we do not support are the illegal actions and false claims that are continually made about the project, our vendors and workers, and the industry in general. Our first priority always remains to the safe construction and operation for all of our assets.

Construction on the Bayou Bridge Pipeline is nearing completion and expected to be operational by the end of 2018.


CAFE Standards: The Most Obnoxious Regs of the Obama Era

With American voters having pretty decisively voted for divided control of Congress, it seems as if the next two years will be fraught with legislative gridlock. This presents the Trump administration with a great opportunity to keep satisfying its promise of repealing two regulations for every one implemented. A lack of legislative activity will give the Administration the time to focus on unraveling the central planning that’s taken place away from Congress for the past eight years and beyond.

One of the most absurd examples of this was the Obama administration’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards for cars and lightweight trucks. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) recently closed a comment period on a proposal that would roll back some of the CAFE standards imposed during the Obama era. The agencies should now move forward to execute this rollback before these regulations warp the market even more than they already have.

The Obama administration aimed to raise CAFE standards from a combined average of 24.1 miles per gallon in 2011, to a whopping 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025. The goal was to reduce emissions and to save consumers money at the gas pump. As with all government interventions, however, these intervention were not all that they seemed to be. Indeed, a slew of unintended consequences that come along with them.

First, they will raise the cost of new cars significantly. In order to achieve the astronomical efficiency demanded by Obama's planners, automakers will have to use different, more expensive technology to manufacture their vehicles. They won’t, out of the goodness of their hearts, take those losses themselves, nor should they. They will offset the extra costs by raising the price of new cars. This is the market at work, and a pretty predictable consequence of expensive rulemaking.

The Obama administration's rationale for the higher prices was that consumers would absorb them simply because drivers would save about a dollar per gallon on gas prices in the long term. The thinking was akin to justifying a drastic increase in housing prices by saying that homeowners would be able to save a few bucks on their electric bill. The costs are not even close to comparable for consumers.

The regulations also work against the Obama administration’s expressed emissions goals. Given the rising cost of new cars, this will shift demand towards older, serviceable cars that remain less expensive. Older cars, with lower fuel-efficiency standards, will stay on the road longer and will maintain the old emission status quo. For those who do pay the extra money to get new, fuel efficient cars, studies show the added efficiency will result in them driving more than they previously did. Academic studies show this will offset at least 15 percent of the expected emission declines. Central planners tried to direct the market for vehicles and, as it always does, it backfired.

The CAFE standards also work against vehicle safety. One of the ways automakers will try to make their new cars more efficient, as the fuel efficiency bar moves closer towards 54.5 miles per gallon over time, will be to make their cars lighter. Lighter vehicles provide less protection for their occupants, and are more susceptible to high-cost damage on impact. These are other factors consumers take into account when they have to make a decision on a new car choice. The Obama-era standards actually make it more attractive to go for older cars, once again keeping them on the road longer.

The most obvious issue with the CAFE standards, though, is that they just aren’t doable for car companies. In its final days, the Obama EPA even admitted in its technical assessment of the regulations that it would be near impossible for the industry to get to that kind efficiency by 2025. Central planners can cook up whatever idealistic dreams they want in agency backrooms, but that doesn’t mean businesses can actually make them a reality or that the market will cooperate with this meddling. It’s a lesson that the previous Administration had to learn time and time again.

If nothing meaningful can be accomplished the next two years in Congress, all the Trump administration’s attention should be directed to issues like this. Making our economy work to its maximum efficiency means letting it be driven by market forces, rather than faceless, unelected bureaucrats. The Obama-era CAFE standards are an egregious example of central planning that is still on the books. Adopting the current proposal to roll them back would be an excellent first step.


Australian politician mocks climate change 'exaggeration' in presentation to Liberal party members

Coral bleaching has been happening for centuries, threats of rising sea levels to countries such as the Maldives and Tuvalu are greatly exaggerated and temperature gains have been grossly exaggerated by scientists.

These are the assessments of the member for Hughes, Craig Kelly, who is part of a Tony Abbott-led speaking campaign to pull the Liberal party back from the centre.

The Guardian has obtained a tape of a presentation by Kelly at the right-aligned Mosman branch of the Liberal party in September that outlines in detail his climate scepticism.

Abbott himself was meant to be the star billing but was unable to attend, leaving Kelly and New South Wales senator Jim Molan to occupy centre stage, after running a gauntlet of about 100 demonstrators who turned up to protest against the Liberal party’s lack of policy on climate change.

Kelly’s PowerPoint presentation veered between mocking “the lefties” and arguing that there was no need to tackle climate change because its impact had been grossly overblown.

“Here we are in Paris, France,” he said of his first slide. “A whole lot of lefties here celebrating the Paris agreement, the achievement of the day.”

Kelly then said the debate about global warming was about trying to get “better weather, and that people wanted to dial down the CO2 knob.

“It’s CO2 we are talking about: it’s what turns water into soda water, its what makes chardonnay into champagne,” he said derisively, before claiming that the consensus view among the world’s scientists that the planet was warming was wrong.

Kelly said that “30 years ago, the temperature was the same globally about where it was today” – even though the Bureau of Meteorology and other international agencies estimate the planet has already warmed more than 1 degree in the past century.

“The reality is we live in a time where our generation has never ever been as safe from the climate because of fossil fuels, concrete and steel,” Kelly said. “The climate was always dangerous. We didn’t make it dangerous.”

He also claimed “coral bleaching was a centuries-old problem, science tells us” and that warnings about the polar icecaps were not borne out. While he acknowledged there had been some shrinking in the Arctic, he said this year the north-west passage had been closed owing to ice.

Kelly, who was a furniture salesman before he entered parliament, also cited a study that said Tuvalu was growing not sinking. The peer-reviewed study shows the island’s land mass has grown owing to sedimention and reef growth, but Kelly ignored part of the same study that said climate change remained the single biggest threat to the low-lying Pacific islands and their future.

As for Australia’s Paris target, Kelly said it was “the most onerous of any nation in the world because of our high rates of population growth”, and the Labor party planned to wreck the economy with its proposal to set a target of 45% reduction by 2030.

The chief scientist, Alan Finkel, had said Australia on its own could not change the world’s climate, Kelly said.

Now that “the US was out” of the Paris agreement, and “China and India weren’t doing anything”, Australia had “an escape clause” and it should use it.




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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