Sunday, March 24, 2019

Should there be wind farms in Adirondack park

John Droz has been putting up a big defense against a proposal to put wind turbines up in Adirondack park. A paleoclimatologist has criticized Droz's arguments.  The criticisms are however puerile --- pathetically unscientific.  They reveal how desperate warmists are that they have to resort to such non-sequiturs.  John Droz provides a link to his rebuttal at the foot of his comments below

Here’s a brief chronological history:

1) The Adirondack Park (in upstate NY) is the largest park on the continental US (6 million acres). It is an extraordinary place that has unparalleled natural beauty. I’ve been a lifetime resident of the Park, so I have plenty of first-hand experiences with most of it. As an environmentalist, I’m a Park protector.

2) The Park is overseen by a powerful NYS agency, called the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). They establish a wide assortment of zoning rules, etc. that cover the entire Park. In general these are beneficial. For example, to date, industrial wind energy and solar are both prohibited. Excellent!

3) Political activists are pushing the APA to change their renewable energy restrictions. Their ultimate goal is to get industrial wind energy into the Park. As a feeler, in November the APA proposed this Renewable Energy Policy.

4) I then immediately sent the APA a 12-point objection to their proposal. (I have yet to hear any response back from them.)

5) In addition, to make citizens aware of this profoundly anti-environmental plan, I wrote a layman overview of the situation, which was published in some Adirondack newspapers.

6) After that was seen, I was asked by the editor of the well-respected bi-monthly Adirondack Explorer magazine to submit commentary for a feature they have, where major issues are debated. I submitted the con-piece about the APA’s proposed renewable energy policy. It came out a few weeks ago.

7) A NYS paleoclimatologist, Dr. Curt Stager, took issue with my Adirondack Explorer commentary, and last week got a lengthy op-ed published (attacking my competence, etc.).

8) I just finished a response to Curt’s polemic— and submitted it for publication, today. I’m sharing a slightly longer version with you, as I thought you might like to see a rather impassioned exchange between scientists about some of the key Global Warming issues.

There are multiple things to learn from this exchange. Although this is a moderate amount of reading, it’s an interesting, informative discussion of the Global Warming matter — making some points rarely seen.

Global Warming is THE issue of our times. After reading this you’ll have a much better understanding of this whole matter, and what’s really going on.

The rebuttal

Oil leases broke the law by not assessing climate impact, judge rules

The ruling temporarily blocks drilling on about 300,000 acres of land in Wyoming until the Trump administration does its climate homework. All oil and gas drilling on federal lands — of which the Wyoming land is but a tiny part — accounts for something in the neighborhood of 10% of total U.S. carbon output. That is to say Contreras, an Obama judge, blocked drilling on account of emissions roughly equivalent to a few cow farts. This isn't about, as Contreras opined, "the national, cumulative nature of climate change." It's about judicial overreach, trampling the law, and obstructing Trump

A federal judge ruled that the Interior Department violated federal law by failing to take into account the climate impact of its oil and gas leasing in the West.

The decision late Tuesday by US District Judge Rudolph Contreras of Washington could have sweeping implications for President Trump’s plan to boost fossil fuel production across the country. Contreras concluded that the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management "did not sufficiently consider climate change" when making decisions to auction off federal land in Wyoming to oil and gas drilling in 2015 and 2016, under the Obama administration. The judge temporarily blocked drilling on roughly 300,000 acres of land in the state.

The initial ruling in the case brought by two advocacy groups, WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility, has implications for oil and gas drilling on federal land throughout the West. In the decision, Contreras — a Barack Obama appointee — faulted the agency’s environmental assessment as inadequate because it did not detail how individual drilling projects contributed to the nation’s overall carbon output. Since greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change, the judge wrote, these analyses did not provide policy makers and the public with a sufficient understanding of drilling’s impact, as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

"Given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land before irretrievably committing to that drilling," he wrote.

Contreras did not void the leases outright, but instead ordered BLM to redo its analysis of hundreds of projects in Wyoming.

Western Energy Alliance president Kathleen Sgamma, whose group is one of the defendants in the case, said in a phone interview that she was confident the ruling could be overturned on appeal. She noted that the Obama and Trump administrations had conducted similar climate analyses in their leasing documents and that it was impossible to predict the cumulative impact of these auctions because just under half of all federal land leased for drilling is eventually developed.

"This judge has ignored decades of legal precedent in this ruling," she said. "The judge is basically asking BLM to take a wild guess on how many wells will be developed on leases, prematurely."

Jeremy Nichols, who directs WildEarth Guardians’ climate and energy program, said in a phone interview that the decision would force the administration to reveal how its policies are helping to fuel climate change. He said his group would now take steps to try to block federal oil and gas lease auctions scheduled for next week, which encompass 560,000 acres of western land.

"It calls into question the legality of the Trump administration’s entire oil and gas program," Nichols said. "This forces them to pull their head out of the sand and look at the bigger picture."

Federal oil, gas, and coal leasing — both on land and offshore — accounts for a quarter of America’s total carbon output, according to a report issued last year by Interior’s US Geological Survey. Oil and gas drilling accounts for about 40 percent, or 500 million metric tons, of that total.

Even if Contreras’s decision stands, however, it may not block the administration’s energy agenda altogether. While BLM would be required to disclose the overall climate impact of its leasing decisions, it could potentially still go ahead and open those lands up for development.

While the Interior Department began to take into account the climate impacts of federal oil, gas, and coal leasing toward the end of Obama’s second term, Trump administration officials jettisoned those plans right after Donald Trump took office. Interior lifted a moratorium on federal coal leasing in 2017 and is working to overhaul a 2016 guidance that requires federal agencies to assess the global climate impact of their policies.

Trump and several of his top deputies have dismissed recent federal findings that the United States and other countries must curb their carbon output in the next decade or face potentially disastrous consequences from climate change.


Media FOIA Requests to EPA Spiked After Trump Election, Data Reveal

The number of Freedom of Information Act requests the Environmental Protection Agency received from mainstream outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post spiked immediately after Republican President Donald Trump took office, according to a Free Beacon analysis of FOIA requests by the media from 2013 to the present.

The figures, obtained through the government's FOIA online database, reveal a clear increase in requests for information from the agency once Trump was elected president.

The New York Times, for example, made just 13 FOIA requests during the four years of Obama's second term, sending 3 in 2013, 1 in 2014, 7 in 2015, and 2 in 2016. The number of FOIA requests the Times sent for Obama's entire second term was nearly quadrupled in the first year of Trump's presidency alone, when the Times sent 59 FOIA requests to the EPA.

Reporters at the Times have made 100 FOIA requests since Trump took office just over two years ago, a 669 percent increase of the number of FOIA requests it made during the four years of Obama's second term.

Reporters at the Washington Post sent just a single FOIA request to the EPA during Obama's entire second term, and have sent 43 FOIA requests to the agency since Trump took office.

The sharp increase in FOIA requests to the EPA was also apparent at Politico (15 requests in Obama's second term, 198 since Trump took office), The Hill (20 requests in Obama's second term, 67 since Trump took office), CNN (25 requests in Obama's second term, 47 since Trump took office), Buzzfeed (18 requests in Obama's second term, 38 since Trump took office), and ABC News (4 requests in Obama's second term, 32 since Trump took office).

The other outlets included in the analysis of mainstream media were the Associated Press, Bloomberg, CBS News, the Los Angeles Times, NBC News, MSNBC, Reuters, Daily Beast, The Guardian, and the Wall Street Journal.

Among them, only Bloomberg sent a consistent amount of FOIA requests in the final years of the Obama administration, when the EPA released major proposals such as the Clean Power Plan and its new Waters of the United States rule.

EPA administrators have attracted attention during both administrations. Toward the end of the tenure of Obama's first EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, it was revealed that she had been conducting official business using the alias "Richard Windsor." She denied that it was part of an effort to evade federal record keeping laws.

Under the watch of Jackson's replacement Gina McCarthy, it was revealed that an agency employee was habitually watching porn on his government computer. The porn-watcher remained on the payroll for months.

Trump's first appointed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigned last summer after a series of revelations regarding his misuse of agency funds.


Is Recycling Really Saving The Planet Or Is It Just A Scam?

It looks like your crazy retired hippie neighbor who rummages through your waste bin every day will soon be out of business. No longer will he be able to sell several bags of Coca-Cola cans for top penny because the aluminum recyclables market is shrinking in size and profitability. Well, at least you won’t have to watch somebody go through your trash anymore as you stand on your front porch drinking coffee.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the price of used aluminum has cratered 30% over the last 12 months because the demand has dissipated. Despite social pressures, metal producers, aluminum rollers, automobile and airplane manufacturers, and others are scrapping used cans from their business models. As a result, used soda pop cans are piling up in scrap yards.

Liberty Nation Reports:

This is part of a much broader downturn in the recycling industry, including paper and plastic, driven by Chinese tariffs and heightened standards in recyclables’ purity. For years, Beijing had been the epicenter of this market, thanks to an immense infrastructure and greater capacity to process recycled goods. There is now a crusade among developed markets to find new buyers of aluminum, paper, and plastic.

But this is evidence of one inconvenient truth for the green puritans: Recycling is a waste.

Recycling Is Garbage

The argument for recycling is not grounded in fact, science, or economics. If we had an honest discussion, it would conclude with abandoning the blue bins and tossing out our garbage instead. The true cost of this initiative exceeds its benefit since it does not return a financial profit – aluminum used to, but now we’ve learned otherwise.

The environmental practice uses three times more resources than disposing of waste in a landfill. The cost to recycle is around $150 per ton, compared to $28 to throw trash in a landfill. Curbside recycling costs 55% more than other methods, and the environmental impact is greater because there are more trucks on the road. Recycling two popular products – newspapers and glass bottles – is more harmful to the environment; newspapers need to be deinked with chemicals and states ship their glass bottles to other jurisdictions.

Ultimately, we’re using more energy to recycle than it would take to start from scratch, and all these efforts are in vain since most of the stuff in blue bins still ends up in a landfill anyway.

The predictable counterargument to this is that we’re running out of landfill space, alluding to media footage of trucks filled with garbage with nowhere to go. It is true that the number of landfills is decreasing, mainly due to NIMBYism and political pressure from supposed tree huggers, but the size of existing and proposed landfills is increasing.

Today, there are approximately 2,000 landfills in 48 states that manage more than half of all solid waste in the nation, and about a third are privately owned. Landfills are marketed as hazardous wastelands that pose threats to the environment and dangers to public health. This isn’t remotely true because developers have transformed your grandfather’s landfills into state-of-the-art facilities, comprising plastic liners, redundant clay, and collection systems. Moreover, modern-day landfills are turning into energy hubs as they produce pipeline-quality natural gas and methane gas.

Overall, it is estimated that holding all the country’s garbage for the next 100-plus years would require a landfill of 10 miles in length and 255 feet in height.

Power Of Prices

One of the recycling elite’s chief arguments is the scarcity of natural resources. However, a lot of conventional wisdom on what is scarce is arbitrary. The best way to determine if a natural resource is threatened is by using the pricing system.

If the price of a resource is gradually increasing (without inflation), then the natural source is becoming scarcer. On the other hand, if the price is plunging, there is an abundance of this good. What have we learned over the last century? The average price of raw materials has tumbled 75%.

The same economic reasoning can be applied to landfills. If what they say is true, and we are running short of landfill space, then the cost of dumping our trash would skyrocket. But it hasn’t. Do you know what has? Recycling, which is why more municipalities are dumping their programs or raising fees.

Going Through The Motions

In Aldous Huxley’s seminal Brave New World, children are brainwashed by the government from the time they can understand speech. Using a form of hypnopaedia – learning while asleep – the powerful bureaucrats incorporate a whisper box into their plans, repeating slogans and messages pertaining to conformity and sex. This information is eventually ingrained into their minds and memories.

Similarly, millennials were indoctrinated in elementary school with bad information relating to waste and recycling, as well as the annoying jingle from public service announcements. As these millennials enter adulthood, recycling has become a religion for their households, and anyone in the neighborhood who refuses to conform is a planet-hater and worse than Adolf Hitler.

Remember, kids: Recycle. Reduce. Reuse. And close the loop! Recycle. Reduce. Reuse. And close the loop!

At this point, we’re going through the motions. It is something we have always done. Recycling allows folks to act like they’re in an episode of Care Bears: It gives us the impression we’re saving the planet, and it makes us feel superior to those who don’t recycle. It’s like Starbucks customers who think they’re better than Dunkin’ Donuts patrons.

Recycling doesn’t save resources, doesn’t help the environment, and doesn’t help us save money. It is based on a trash heap of lies.


What Americans can learn from Venezuela

Venezuela is teetering on the brink of collapse. The nation’s political system is shattered, as tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets, urging President Nicolás Maduro to resign. And it makes sense why: their economy is in utter shambles.

In 2018, inflation exceeded 177,000 percent, decimating the country’s currency, the bolivar. A cup of coffee, valued at $0.50, now sells for over 800 bolivars. Over 10 percent of Venezuelan children are suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition. The situation is so dire that Venezuelans have taken to eating rats, dogs, and zoo animals to stop from starving.

This tragedy is occurring even though Venezuela is one of the most resource-rich nations in the world. The country has an estimated $14.3 trillion worth of natural resources. It has enormous oil and natural gas reserves and is the world’s third largest producer of coal. How, then, has Venezuela managed to turn such an abundance of riches into extensive crippling poverty? To any student of history, the answer is clear: socialism.

Indeed, Venezuela’s energy crisis is a textbook example of what happens when the government attempts to run sectors of the economy. Following his election in 1998, former President Hugo Chavez socialized the country’s various industries, transforming its multi-faceted economy into a glorified, state-led gas station. By 2014, Venezuela had become an economic one trick pony, with the sale of oil accounting for 95 percent of the country’s export profit. But those profits were not being given back to the people. True to form, Venezuela’s socialist government squandered $1.3 trillion in oil revenue through mismanagement, waste, excess, and outright corruption.

Venezuela’s ongoing crisis is a scathing indictment of socialism’s tendency toward misuse and disarray, especially when it comes to the economy’s energy sector. Properly managed, natural resources can be an incredible asset for any country, but in the government’s hands, they fuel economic destruction. And while recent events have highlighted the tragic failure of socialistic authoritarianism in Venezuela, we mustn’t be so naïve to assume that America is immune to such mismanagement.

American leftists are already dismissing the Venezuela experiment as “not real socialism” and pushing the narrative that “true socialism” would work in the United States. But these individuals fail to recognize that socialism’s problems aren’t quarantined to South American countries. They are endemic of a system that prioritizes government control over free markets.

Perhaps, then, we just need an example that hits a little closer to home.

In the 1970s, the United States faced an energy crisis of its own. Through most of the decade, the oil cartel OAPEC instituted an embargo against the U.S., leading to massive oil shortages and price increases of up to 350 percent. Panicked, the Carter Administration turned to big government as the solution to the country’s energy sector vulnerability. In 1978, the legislature passed the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), a law whose unintended consequences are being felt now more than ever.

The original intent of PURPA was to encourage the increased production of renewable energy. It did so by establishing the government as an effective monopoly over the production and sale of renewable energy projects. These government-mandated projects set price controls for public consumption at “reasonable rates for the public interest,” and forced electric companies to purchase renewable energy at specified costs from the PURPA facilities.

Much like the results of Venezuela’s effort to nationalize its energy sector, the effects of PURPA on the United States have been quite devastating. What the government once deemed a “reasonable rate” for the cost of energy production currently exceeds the market rate by 300 to 400 percent. Not only does that lead to higher prices for consumers, but it also disincentivizes renewable energy production completely. According to the testimony of a utility representative, “utilities with large amounts of [PURPA-required] power on their system often must curtail or even shut down less expensive, more economic generation or be in violation of PURPA.”

The United States is not immune to government inefficiency and failure. Whether it be in Venezuela or the U.S., people suffer when top-down, government mandates are imposed on entire sectors of an economy. Big government is inherently unstable and only functions as long as the economy has wealth to burn. Once the coffers run empty, the system falls apart.

Thankfully, America has not reached the point of no return. But as the left’s slow march toward socialism begins to pick up steam, the risks of economic catastrophe only intensify. America, much like Venezuela, simply can’t afford socialism. And as a growing tide of young liberals seeks to embrace big government as the solution to societal ills, we must take this lesson to heart.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

"Trump's first appointed EPA administrator Scott Pruitt resigned last summer after a series of revelations regarding his misuse of agency funds."

He resigned after a series of hysterical assertions that routine expenditures were somehow 'missed' when a Republican appointee was doing them. The travel expenses were based on threats made against him by the very people who then publicly had a cow over the travel expenses. An expensive piece of technology was installed because of a routine request and existing (Obama era) policy. And so on, and so forth.

He was hounded out of office by Leftist swine.