Thursday, May 02, 2019

Climate change denier tells fox & friends carbon dioxide 'not a pollution'

A Newsweak report below

A former Republican aide who rejects the scientific community's consensus on climate change said carbon dioxide is not pollution, dredging up a decades-old defense of CO2 emissions in order to write off Beto O'Rourke's newly announced climate plan.

Speaking Tuesday morning with Fox & Friends, the longtime Fox News climate change denier Marc Morano joined host Jedediah Bila in ridiculing the former Texas congressman's $5 trillion climate change proposal, which seeks to provide a less ambitious alternative to the Democrats' Green New Deal. Morano, who has previously agreed that CO2 is nothing more than "plant food," immediately unearthed the longtime carbon claim among conservatives and labeled O'Rourke's climate plan a "boondoggle."

"First of all, pollution and carbon dioxide, humans, we inhale oxygen and we exhale carbon dioxide, so he's calling CO2 pollution, which it's not," Morano proclaimed Tuesday. "No, this plan is as pie-in-the-sky as the Green New Deal except it's a little bit more tepid."

In a December 2018 interview with Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney, Morano agreed with the host that excess CO2 in the atmosphere was not a negative result of human emissions, but rather a positive because it is just "plant food." In that interview, Morano bragged that several Nobel Prize-winning scientists have informed him "the earth is in a CO2 famine" and he attacked the United Nations position on climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency classifies carbon dioxide emissions as a hazard to human health, although the EPA doesn't state that CO2 by itself is a pollutant given that humans and plants exhale it, but instead, they note increasing concentrations of the heat-trapping gas are deeply concerning. Carbon dioxide is widely considered to be a pollutant when it's put in context with the burning of fossil fuels such as gasoline, coal and natural gas.

The EPA previously ruled that modern concentrations of carbon dioxide are the "unambiguous result of human emissions," although CO2 levels have dramatically fluctuated in Earth's atmosphere for billions of years. Carbon dioxide levels are currently higher than they have been for more than 800,000 years, according to

O'Rourke's four-part climate framework announced this week seeks to start cutting pollution, mobilizing $5 trillion over ten years, guaranteeing net-zero emissions by 2050 and defending communities who are preparing for and fighting extreme weather.

Morano, who is author of the book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change," dismissed O'Rourke's plan as a watered down version of the Democratic proposal first put forward by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey.

"The US is one the world’s largest carbon pollution emitters. But a #GreenNewDeal holds the potential for us to be global clean energy leaders, w planet-saving technology being stamped 'Made in America'. Climate change is the economic and natl security issue of our time," Markey tweeted Tuesday.

Morano continued, "What's happened here is Beto O'Rourke is not satisfying the Democratic base, within minutes of him releasing this plan the Sunrise Movement, which was instrumental in the Green New Deal, is going after Beto O'Rourke for going back on his pledge for 2030 zero emissions to now 2050. They're saying Beto's plan could result in 100 million refugees and tens of million dead. So that's the thanks Beto O'Rourke gets for coming up with a lighter version of the Green New Deal."

Fox & Friends co-host Bila labeled O'Rourke's plan "very vague and very nice and very idealistic." But as she listed bullet points of the plan, she derisively dismissed the idea of starting to cut pollution, saying, "whatever that means."

She concluded Americans "won't be so excited" about fighting climate change once they see its effect on their pocketbooks.


Natural Gas Is Gaining on Renewables; The Gap Has Never Been Wider

The supposed inevitability of renewables is a matter of faith with gullible fractivists but the facts show we’re using more natural gas energy than ever.

Never surrender to the hype. Facts always serve us better in the long run, although the temptation to accede to the will of crowd is ever strong. Such is the case with the supposed inevitability of renewables, which are anything but. Indeed, natural gas is gaining on renewables according to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration.

U.S. energy consumption is higher than ever

Natural gas consumption in the United States reached a record high 83.1 billion cubic feet/day (Bcf/d), the equivalent of 31 quadrillion Btu, in 2018. Natural gas use rose across all sectors in 2018, primarily driven by weather-related factors that increased demand for space heating during the winter and for air conditioning during the summer.

As more natural gas-fired power plants came online and existing natural gas-fired power plants were used more often, natural gas consumption in the electric power sector increased 15% from 2017 levels to 29.1 Bcf/d. Natural gas consumption also grew in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors in 2018, increasing 13%, 10%, and 4% compared with 2017 levels, respectively.

Think what that means for CO2 emissions given the fact electricity use is relatively flat by comparison. It means gas substituted for coal and oil and emissions are far less than they would have otherwise been. But, that’s not all, because this is what EIA says about renewables:

Renewable energy consumption in the United States reached a record high 11.5 quadrillion Btu in 2018, rising 3% from 2017, largely driven by the addition of new wind and solar power plants. Wind electricity consumption increased by 8% while solar consumption rose 22%.

Biomass consumption, primarily in the form of transportation fuels such as fuel ethanol and biodiesel, accounted for 45% of all renewable consumption in 2018, up 1% from 2017 levels. Increases in wind, solar, and biomass consumption were partially offset by a 3% decrease in hydroelectricity consumption.

The dirty little secret about renewables is that the largest of the energy used in this category is biomass, which does nothing for reducing CO2 emissions unless you assume the corn, wood and so on would have been grown anyway and left to rot. Hydroelectric is also a huge part but has no future unless we want to flood more of America. Wind is the only other thing that matters and it simply doesn’t happen without massive subsidies by taxpayers and other ratepayers. No one would do wind without them.

This is why natural gas keeps gaining on renewables, thanks to the shale revolution!


Environmental Hypocrites of the Left: Why progressives refuse to live by their own Earth Day bluster

George Monbiot recently expressed a carefully calibrated environmental message that allows people on the environmental left to feel self-righteous without making any real sacrifice. In a video that was shared widely, including by celebrities such as James Corden, the British writer argues that the only way to help the environment is to change the “big, structural, political economic stuff.” Monbiot concludes that we need to “go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it.” At the same time, he dismisses “pathetic, micro-consumerist bollocks which just isn’t going to get us anywhere.”

This is absolution for those who want to feel green but can’t be bothered with going to the effort and expense of actually living their own values. Publicly advocating the “do as I say, not as I do” approach reinforces the reality that conservatives tend to live out the environmental ethic that the Left only preaches.

As a conservative who has worked in environmental policy for two decades, I have been frustrated watching as ideological fellow travelers avoid environmental topics, even as they privately express their commitment to environmental stewardship. As the Left becomes more detached from responsible and effective environmental solutions, conservatives should confidently fill the void.

One reason conservatives do not engage is that environmentalism has become synonymous with horrible government policy. Every Earth Day, we are treated to theatrical images of marches featuring unhinged activists demanding action on a range of environmental issues. Clever hashtags are generated. Alarmist slogans are flaunted. Naked people glue themselves to park benches. And all who disagree with the demands for more government power are denigrated as “deniers.”

The other 364 days of the year, however, people on the left do little in their daily lives to justify all that environmental browbeating. A study by researchers at the University of Michigan and Cornell University found that those who are “highly concerned” about climate change are “least likely to report individual-level actions” to reduce their environmental impact. Those who considered themselves “skeptical” of climate change “were most likely to report engaging in individual-level pro-environmental behaviors.” To be sure, not all conservatives are skeptical of climate change, but generally, we aren’t nearly as alarmist about climate change or other environmental issues, even when we recognize the risk.

That gap between the Left’s loud talk and their unwillingness to make personal sacrifices is not an accident. It is now part of their dogma. Individual actions are mere “bollocks,” useless gestures. Only the sacrifices made by others will make a difference.

This dichotomy is evident in my home state of Washington, where politicians pride themselves on showing “leadership” in the effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This year, our legislature enacted a law requiring the state to meet a 100 percent renewable-energy target by 2045. Environmental activists tweeted their support, saying they “demand action now” and worrying about the climate crisis.

Ironically, though, many who demand action do little of it themselves. For only a few dollars a month, anyone who supports renewable energy can already buy renewable-energy credits (RECs), ensuring that there is enough renewable energy on the grid to cover their personal use. I asked one politician pushing for the 100 percent–renewable requirement if she buys RECs to cover her environmental impact. She admitted that she does not and has no plans to do so.

This is consistent with the message of Monbiot and political leaders pushing the Green New Deal. Personal sacrifice is of little consequence, so why even try? Even as they call for an end to air travel, politicians who demand we impose lifestyle change have not curtailed their own carbon-producing travel, despite living in the era of HD video conferencing.

The most effective environmental efforts are often small, personal actions in which people have skin in the game. Farmers find ways to conserve water because waste costs money. Aluminum cans are lighter today because it saves resources and they cost less to ship. Homeowners and businesses conserve energy because they pay the price for every kilowatt-hour. When they don’t save, they change course, unlike politicians who fear public embarrassment and throw good money after bad.

This isn’t just a theory. The amount of energy per unit of GDP in the United States has fallen steadily for several decades. There are no sharp drops. Instead, the improvement is gradual and constant, as individuals and businesses find ways to squeeze a bit more out of their energy use. Politicians can lecture all they want, but these are truly the front lines of environmental stewardship.

As Earth Day 2019 came and went, the pattern of environmentalists demanding action that they themselves won’t take predictably repeated itself.

The pattern of conservatives’ avoiding talk of environmental stewardship even as they live it every day, however, is a pattern we should break. Effective environmental policy doesn’t start with politicians and publicity stunts. Conservatives understand this. We should make it clear that personal environmental stewardship is not only more effective, it is a more moral way to live.


The Carbon Tax Fantasy

Stephen Moore

Every time a reporter asks me if I would support a carbon tax, I always say that I might if it led to a dollar-for-dollar reduction in income or payroll tax rates. And the new energy tax would have to replace onerous greenhouse gas regulations. And every time I say this, the next day a headline reads, "Steve Moore Is for a Carbon Tax."

E&E News did it again two weeks ago, writing Stephen Moore says, "yes to carbon tax."

This is Fake News 101. What the story left out was my prediction that the chances of the left agreeing to the carbon tax deal I have in mind range from zero to microscopic.

I live in the real world, not in the dreamy ivory towers of academia. We will wind up with costly taxes and regulations.

There is, of course, another practical and insurmountable problem with a U.S. carbon tax to stop climate change. Any American levy against our coal, oil, gas and transportation industries would do virtually nothing to reduce global carbon emissions. Some of these schemes would institute a tax on imported energy, but this would necessitate a new international tariff regime, bigger government and lower living standards, particularly for the poor. I thought economists were for freer trade: They sure have been critical of Trump trade policies.

But even a tariff wouldn't prevent China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Vietnam and Africa from emitting mass amounts of carbon into the atmosphere for their own consumption, which would swamp the effect of any realistic American greenhouse gas reductions. Virtually none of the nations that are major polluters have come anywhere near their carbon emission promises under the Paris Agreement. China is massively increasing its emissions. How does it save the planet if we shut down a coal plant but China, India, et al. builds four or five new ones? No one benefits, and the coal workers in Ohio and West Virginia get clobbered. No deal.

Nor will an energy tax be coupled with a reduction in income tax rates. The left is adamant that it will spend any new dollars on its own corporate welfare green energy programs. Just ask the author of the Green New Deal — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The carbon tax funds "Medicare for All," electric vehicles, mass transit and guaranteed national income.

This is a lose-lose for American prosperity. The energy experts at The Heritage Foundation have crunched the numbers and found that "by 2030, with a $37 per ton carbon tax, the country would experience an aggregate gross domestic product loss of more than $2.5 trillion — or more than $21,000 in income loss per family." Oh, and about 1 million jobs would vanish, half from manufacturing. The shale energy revolution that has rebuilt the economies in states like Alaska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia would come to a screeching halt.

All of this is unnecessary. If the climate change warnings of the alarmists turn out to be true, we will use technology and innovation to combat weather changes — not steel-booted world-government mandates and edicts. This requires more economic growth so the private sector has the funds to finance these initiatives. Any climate change "solution" that makes America poorer — such as a massive tax increase — is no solution at all.


You can count the climate cost of Australian Leftist policies and it is terrifying

Labor’s climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, is just wrong when he says it’s impossible to cost Labor’s climate change policies.

Sure, it’s hard and assumptions have to be made, and it’s probably best to present a range of estimates rather than a single point.

However, to bring the Parliamentary Budget Office into the argument is disingenuous. The role of the PBO is to model budgetary implications of particular policies. It doesn’t assess the economy-wide costs of policies.

So what do we know?

Labor is running with a 45 per cent emissions target by 2030 and does not intend to use the Kyoto carry-over. This means Labor’s carbon abatement budget is 1.3 billion tonnes by 2030. This is not disputed by Butler.

The Coalition’s target is much lower — 26 to 28 per cent — and uses the Kyoto carry-over. This means the Coalition’s carbon abatement budget is just over 300 million tonnes. It’s plain that Labor’s ­policy will impose much bigger costs on the economy than the ­Coalition’s. There may be benefits in terms of avoided climate change-induced economic damage, but this works only if every other country in the world meets or exceeds its Paris targets.

Only a handful of countries are on track to meet commitments. And China and India are not required to cut emissions before 2030.

One of the dopier things Bill Shorten said in the early stages of the campaign was that the cost of Labor’s climate change policies, all 1.3 billion tonnes of abatement, were the same as the Coalition’s just over 300 million tonnes because Labor would allow companies to purchase international carbon credits.

But here’s the thing: if every country is seeking to meet its Paris targets — and Labor must assume this is the case — then the price of these international carbon credits will rise and probably steeply.

We have already seen the price soar as the EU rejigs regulations that apply to these credits. They are currently trading above $40.

Former executive director of the Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics Brian Fisher has undertaken a comprehensive modelling exercise on the costs to the Australian economy of different emission reduction targets.

What his work shows is the ­Coalition’s policies do impose some economic costs but they are manageable. This is hardly surprising given the relatively modest target as well as the use of the Kyoto carry-over. When it comes to Labor’s proposal, the costs blow out. Real wages fall by 8.5 per cent over the period, there are 340,000 fewer jobs and the cumulative loss of GDP is close to $1.2 trillion.

The key is what is called the marginal abatement cost curve, which plots costs associated with emissions reduction targets. Initially there are some low-hanging fruit and the costs are not too high but there comes a point when costs start to escalate. The point of inflexion is around the 30 per cent emissions cut mark.

Labor might want to dispute Fisher’s figures but to do so credibly it has to offer alternative estimates and not prattle on about the use of international carbon credits. Voters deserve to know what they are in for.



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

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