Thursday, July 18, 2019

Leftists look to use climate emergency executive order to foist socialism on U.S.

Earlier this year, when President Donald Trump was in a face-off with Democrats over a partial government shutdown due to providing funding for a border wall, he warned that he would issue an executive order declaring a national “emergency” in order to collect the resources necessary to build the wall. Media pundits on both Right and Left warned that, should Trump go through with this emergency declaration, it would set a precedent for a future Democrat president to declare a national emergency over, for example, climate change. Trump subsequently issued that executive order, which is currently tied up in the courts.

Well, that warning is arguably a reality as Democrat presidential candidate and Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) has teamed up with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to introduce a joint resolution essentially saying that climate change is a national emergency requiring “a national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization of the resources and labor of the United States at a massive-scale.” At the same time, the resolution attempts to avoid claiming that it is a declaration of a national emergency: “Nothing in the concurrent resolution constitutes a declaration of a national emergency for purposes of … any special or extraordinary power.” What exactly constitutes an emergency to these two socialists is still unclear.

What is clear is that leftists are determined to use climate change as a convenient cudgel to force socialism onto the backs of Americans. The Wall Street Journal warns, “Conservatives who applaud Mr. Trump’s run around Congress should think again. Progressives will exploit the precedent for their own purposes.” True, but then again, “progressives” have a way of doing whatever they want without such niceties as precedent or legitimate authority. And most importantly, Trump’s EOs are almost all about removing statist extraconstitutional limitations and restrictions on the rights of the people, whereas, again, the Demo climate agenda is a massive charade to force adoption of their socialist agenda.


How Greenie Bureaucrats Ruin Everything From Dishwashers To Gas Cans To Cars

Have you ever wondered why dishwashers today take twice as long to do a worse job of cleaning dishes? Or why it’s so much harder to get gasoline out of a new gas can? Or why cars made decades ago always turn heads, while today’s are drab in the same way?

There’s a simple answer to these modern-day mysteries: Government regulators.

Take the dishwasher. Earlier this month, the Department of Energy announced that it would revise its rules regarding dishwasher efficiency. Why? Because the existing rules — which set limits on how much electricity and water a dishwasher may use — are forcing manufacturers to build machines that are worse than ever.

The DOE was responding to a petition from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which found that average dishwasher cycle times climbed from just over an hour back in the mid 1980s to two-and-a-half hours today — with each increase in between the result of increasingly strict federal efficiency mandates.

“It is not technologically feasible to create dishwashers that both meet the current standards and have cycle times of one hour or less,” the petition stated.

Shouldn’t dishwasher efficiency be something that the market dictates? Consumers trade off convenience for savings every day. Why should dishwashers be any different? Particularly when the regulations result in a savings of something like $2 a month.

Government Gas Cans

If CEI wins this battle for consumers, it might want to petition the government to let people buy gas cans that work properly. Most homeowners of a certain age will remember those good old gas cans that had a spout at one end, and a small resealable vent at the other. The vent let air in while the gasoline was pouring out.

But regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency didn’t like that simple solution to the physics of pouring liquids. They decided old-style gas cans were too polluting and let too much gas spill on the ground.

So the EPA decreed in 2009 that gas cans must henceforth have: 1) A single, self-venting opening for filling and pouring with no separate vents or openings and 2) a nozzle that automatically closes when it’s not being used.

The result was a gas can with complicated nozzles that can be difficult to handle, are prone to breaking, cost more, and make it harder to pour gasoline. In frustration, people started drilling vent holes in their EPA-approved gas cans and entrepreneurial companies started selling nozzle replacement kits.

Socialist Car Designs

Next, CEI could go after federal regulators who’ve managed over the course of several decades to completely ruin car designs.

Think about it. Why is it that cars made 40 years ago or more are captivating, and varied, with real personalities, while new cars today are, for the most part, indistinguishable?

The reason is that there’s basically only one way to design a car today that meets all the government-imposed safety and environmental regulations.

Jeffrey Tucker, writing for the American Institute for Economic Research, notes that “the designs of new cars are boring because regulations forced this result.”

Today, the government dictates nearly every single aspect of a car’s design. Big fronts for safety, low tops for fuel economy, tiny windows, high belt lines, etc. That’s just the exterior. Almost every feature of a car’s interior is also regulated by government.

One car designer noted that “I know of at least one vehicle … that was discontinued entirely because changing curtain airbag regulations would have meant the entire shape of the vehicle had to be redesigned.”

There are plenty of other examples like this of regulators making products worse. Toilets that don’t flush, showerheads that don’t allow sufficient water flow, and other modern product failures, are courtesy of the nanny state.

And all of this, mind you, is just the tip of the regulatory pyramid, with decades upon decades of rules, mandates, and regulations now affecting nearly every aspect of our economy. Has this monstrous regulatory state improved the quality of our lives?  If the above is any indication, the answer is most likely no.


AOC's Green New Deal would boost gas tax $10-$13, 'destroy economy'

The socialistic Green New Deal, pushed by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and winning broad support from Democratic presidential candidates could lead to a $10 increase on a single gallon of gas, according to a new study of the so-called “carbon tax” and the liberal bid to rid vehicles that burn fossil fuels.

The CO2 Coalition's study, mostly focused on the government's effort to assign an environmental price on the future “Social Cost of Carbon,” also looked at the ultimate goal of liberals to rid gas-powered autos, key to the Green New Deal.

Executive Director Caleb S. Rossiter said the study calculated what it would cost to get people to trade their gas-powered cars for electric vehicles.

“Obviously we are not going to martial law, so how do you get people to switch?” he said. “They’re not going to grab your car by force, so you have to discourage the use."

The result: A $10 per gallon gas tax and final price of some $13, or about the cost of shifting to EVs, about $2,700. “That is the economic breaking point of driving gas-powered cars," he said.

The author of the study, Bruce Everett, formerly an economist at the Department of Energy and currently a professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, said that the carbon tax “would have to rise to $13 per gallon in order to make electric cars desirable to consumers.”

He plans to explain his findings from the report, titled The Social Cost of Carbon and Carbon Taxes ‘Pick a number, any number' Monday at a noon to 1:30 p.m. event in Room 385 of the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

Rossiter said that such a high tax “would destroy the economy” and ignore the benefits of carbon in the atmosphere, a key argument of the CO2 Coalition.

Their report also said that the Social Cost of Carbon calculation is so broad that it can be easily manipulated. It also looks out over 280 years to judge the impact of continued carbon use, which the authors said is silly and impossible to predict.


Wind power sources remain more fantasy than reality

At first glance, wind power seems to be the path to a carbon-free energy future. Once harnessed, it’s clean and abundant. Larger turbines have enhanced wind’s power-generating capacity.

But contrary to its supporters, wind energy has grown thanks largely to production tax credits (2.3 cents per kilowatt hour) totaling billions of dollars. However, those credits are being phased out, and without such generous subsidies, wind energy will not make much of a dent in power production or carbon mitigation for at least a decade.

The amount of wind energy has tripled in the past 10 years, growing to 97,223 megawatts in 41 states. Half of that generating capacity is located in five of them: Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, California and Kansas. Because seasonal wind patterns vary considerably across the country, wind’s contribution to the grid represents just 8 percent of power production nationwide.

Despite all the hoopla over wind energy, the nation’s only offshore wind turbines are located in coastal waters near Rhode Island. The Block Island Wind Farm, which went into operation in late 2016, cost $2 billion, plus $16.7 million to compensate companies that lost access to fishing grounds. Operating and maintenance expenses for wind farms currently add about $48,000 per megawatt generated.

Massachusetts likewise is preparing to obtain power from more than a score of huge wind turbines off its coast, carried to the mainland by underwater cables, with the cost passed through to households and businesses.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, offshore wind energy is “very, very expensive,” costing 2.6 times more than onshore wind power and 3.4 times more than power produced by a natural gas combined-cycle plant. Of course, the cost of wind farms surely will fall as more are built, and perhaps ways will be found to reduce the dangers wind turbines pose to birds, bats, and other wildlife.

In the meantime, if we are serious about reducing energy costs and carbon emissions, we need to be realistic about the limitations of power generated by the wind and other renewables.

A more practical environmental approach is to expand the use of the combined-cycle natural gas plants, which have smaller carbon footprints than coal plants and have reduced such emissions to levels not seen since the early 1990s. The shale revolution has made that possible, greatly strengthening economic incentives to substitute natural gas for coal in power production. Nowadays, data analytics and complex algorithms make it easier to find natural gas and boost the productivity of shale fields.

The surge in America’s natural-gas production also helps to reduce carbon emissions in other countries. Exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are projected to double by the end of this year. Asian countries that still rely heavily on coal are the largest purchasers of American LNG, using the clean-burning fuel to improve their air quality.

Shale has been the single biggest addition to the nation’s energy supply in many decades. Renewables at the moment offer more promise than reality. Even with lavish subsidies, wind and solar power together account for slightly more than 10 percent of the nation’s electricity. In contrast, gas provides nearly 35 percent; it is indispensable for generating backup power on days when the wind doesn’t blow, or the sun doesn’t shine.

Because of rising electricity demands and the retirement of coal and nuclear plants, many states are planning for more wind-powered electricity production. Under present regulatory regimes, most of the capital and operating costs of new wind farms will end up being added to consumers’ utility bills. So, too, in some states are “the stranded costs” of mothballed power plants.

Unsubsidized wind energy simply is too expensive to become a major source of electricity in most states. (In 2016, wind represented just seven-tenths of 1 percent of Massachusetts’s power production.) The inability of grid operators to manage the variations in power from wind and solar energy is creating new headaches. 

Americans need a reliable supply of affordable electricity. But if too much weight is placed on wind and solar systems and not enough on conventional power plants, the result will be far too little electricity, with potentially grievous economic consequences.


Australia: Climate change protesters have been arrested after another peak-hour demonstration caused traffic chaos in Brisbane’s CBD

Environmental activists have wreaked havoc in Brisbane’s CBD for the second time this week as climate change protesters took to busy inner-city streets this morning.

The demonstration was organised by the Extinction Rebellion group, a global organisation aiming to raise awareness of the world’s “sixth mass extinction” brought on by climate change.
The group staged similar action on Monday and last Thursday, with scores of activists blocking traffic in the Queensland capital.

The Courier Mail reports nine participants have already been arrested today, including two who allegedly glued themselves to the street.

The publication revealed some motorists had been “unleashing their frustration”, with some yelling “get a f***ing job”.

Seven protesters arrested on Monday were charged with various offences such as public nuisance, disobeying police move-on directions and impeding the flow of traffic.

They have been specifically targeting busy intersections, although police have warned they will be arrested if they refuse to move on when requested.

The protesters hope to raise awareness of environmental issues and are strongly against the controversial Adani coal mine.

But they have been widely criticised by many Australians who have slammed the commuter chaos caused by the action. “Ratbag alert! These left wing extremists are reportedly gluing themselves to major Brisbane streets. Enough is enough, Police should enforce the law and they should be punished in court,” LNP MP Deb Frecklington said in a tweet.

It proved controversial, with commentators attacking the “lazy opportunistic tweet” and arguing you “don’t have to be left wing to be against Adani”.

The protests have also angered ordinary Australians who hit out at the disruption caused during their busy early-morning commute.

Earlier this week, Queensland’s Labor premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned the protest could lead to injury. “Everyone has a right to protest. But not to hinder people trying to earn a living. And some day someone will get hurt, and won’t get to a hospital in time and that’s simply unacceptable,” she posted on Twitter.

Posting below the call to action, one commenter branded protesters “morons” who will “never make a difference”.
However, despite the controversy, the worldwide Extinction Rebellion group is drawing increasing support for its cause.
According to Extinction Rebellion’s website, Rebellion Day “will see hundreds of nonviolent rebels orchestrate a shut down of the business as usual of central Brisbane.”

Adani declared earlier this month it was full steam ahead for its controversial mega coal mine in central Queensland after the State Government issued the final approval needed to begin construction.



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