Sunday, July 28, 2019

Record heat envelops Europe

You thought that referred to this month?  Note the date below

As Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun

Automakers Adopt CA's Rigged Fuel Standards

California seeks to pressure Trump's EPA with its own efficiency standards for the entire country.   

Four auto companies — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW of North America — recently joined together to sign a deal with California to meet its higher fuel-efficiency standards rather than the new and lower efficiency standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Under President Donald Trump, the EPA plans to roll back the Obama administration’s mandated fuel-efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon for new vehicles by 2025 down to 37 miles per gallon. Under the California deal, the auto manufactures would need to meet an efficiency standard of 51 miles per gallon by 2026.

It’s clear that the four auto companies’ objective here is to pressure the Trump administration into adopting California’s standard so as to eliminate having to manufacture vehicles with differing standards for two markets. In other words, they are seeking to force a single, higher fuel-efficiency standard upon all automakers.

The Trump administration, on the other hand, is seeking to revoke California’s long-running authority to set not just its own clean-air standards, something the federal government has long allowed, but effectively set the standard for the whole nation. White House spokesman Judd Deere emphasized, “The federal government, not a single state, should set this standard.”

EPA spokesman Michael Abboud criticized the automakers’ deal with California, stating, “This voluntary framework is a PR stunt that does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers.”

This is an interesting fight that upon first glance looks like a federalism battle. But, again, the real issue is that of California seeking to set fuel-efficiency standards for the entire country. Any standard with which all states must comply should be set by the federal government — if there’s any federal authority for such a standard, which is another matter. California, ironically, wants it both ways — the freedom to set its own standards and at the same time reject the federal government’s authority over national interstate regulations.

Meanwhile, these automakers are free to exceed the EPA fuel-efficiency standards should they choose and if the market demands. However, seeking to force all auto companies into meeting higher standards via government diktat simply because they believe it prevents the competition from taking advantage is not an embrace of free-market principles.


NEW BOOK: The Rise and Fall of the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change

by Rex J. Fleming (Author)

This book provides a complete review of the role of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and reveals detailed information about the subject of climate change.  Many different science disciplines are visited and discussed and each area is introduced with a brief summary written to appeal to a broader audience.  The logic of CO2 involvement in changing the climate is investigated from every perspective: reviewing the historical data record of Ice Ages with vast ice sheets, noting the interglacial periods of little or no ice, examining in further detail the 20th century data record and evaluating the radiation role of CO2 in the atmosphere.  The radiation calculations, using the appropriate equations and data are reviewed in great detail. The results of this review and examination reveal no role of CO2 in any change of the Earth’s climate.


AUTHOR BACKGROUND:  Dr. Rex J. Fleming is a mathematician with a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the U. of Michigan. He has over 50 years of experience as a scientist and manager in weather and climate research. He has published peer reviewed scientific papers from 1971 to 2018. He has represented the Unites States of America at several international science meetings, including as the Chief Delegate at the First United States Ocean Climate Delegation to the People’s Republic of China in 1982. He was awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award (1980) for outstanding achievement in directing the U.S. role in the Global Weather Experiment (FGGE). He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (1982) for contributions to atmospheric science. From his retired position as a consultant in the aerospace business he has used his own funds to carry out research on climate issues.

A crackdown on working from home is pushing the EPA's workforce in Boston to the brink

The poor petals!

The Trump administration's disregard for the Environmental Protection Agency's mission has riled many agency veterans, particularly when it comes to sustainability and climate change. But a new crackdown on working from home is pushing the already beleaguered workforce in Boston to the brink.

"There's a lot of things this administration has done that makes it difficult to work here, but this is the first thing that's really hit staff on a personal level," said a public liaison for superfund site cleanups who moved to Exeter, N.H. - a nearly two-hour train ride from Boston - in part because of her ability to work from home two days a week, which allows her to pick up her 2-year-old from day care.

Like other EPA employees who talked to the Globe, she asked that her name not be used.

The directive has left some staff members scrambling to find last-minute help with child care, the employee said. Others are looking for new jobs.

"This could be the last straw," she said.

The new policy on remote work requires that, as of Aug. 4, the 10,000 EPA employees around the country who are members of the American Federation of Government Employees must be in the office at least four days a week, including those with compressed work schedules. The directive is part of a widespread attempt to reduce the federal workforce by eroding workers' rights and driving out career employees who may disagree with President Trump's beliefs, labor analysts say.

The limits on remote work, which was previously allowed two days a week, are part of a new contract that management refers to as a collective bargaining agreement and the union, which was not involved in any bargaining, calls an illegal "unilateral edict." The contract also puts new restrictions on union activity, curtailing the amount of time union representatives can spend helping employees during the workday; prohibits union officials from using EPA office space and e-mail addresses for official union work; limits the grievance process; and makes it easier for the agency to fire and discipline workers.

These restrictions align with three executive orders issued by Trump in 2018 to curb the power of federal unions. With these orders being challenged in court, labor analysts say, the administration appears to be trying to instead implement them agency by agency.

Similar contract fights are roiling other government agencies, along with directives that labor analysts say are intended to weaken and reduce the government workforce, such as moving two Department of Agriculture scientific offices from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City and relocating the majority of the staff at Bureau of Land Management headquarters from D.C. to west of the Rockies.

Two-thirds of the roughly 400 employees affected by the USDA move to the Kansas City area have said they would not move, according to the department.

EPA employees are well aware of Trump's disdain for their agency. During his presidential campaign, Trump said he wanted to eliminate the EPA; after he was elected, officials talked of reducing the workforce by half.

Boston EPA employees held a rally July 16 to protest the policy changes, and railed at managers during a meeting the same day. The fact that the agency did not provide any explanation about their decision to reduce telework, simply saying it was going to improve efficiency, infuriated the staff. "To not provide any evidence in a science organization is not acceptable," one person said, according to employees in the meeting.

In the Boston office, union president Steve Calder estimates that around 90 percent of the 450 employees in his bargaining unit work from home one or two days a week. Those who work four days a week will no longer be allowed to work from home at all.

"Morale is in the toilet," said Calder, noting that some workers are blaming the union for the loss of remote work days because it refused to negotiate. "The Trump administration loves chaos. . . . That's part of their MO: chaos, infighting, fear."

Talks between the EPA and the union ground to a halt in mid-June, when AFGE filed a grievance over the agency's effort to renegotiate the entire contract and walked away from the bargaining table. On July 8, the EPA implemented a new contract, a spokesperson said, "as is the agency's right following the union's refusal to bargain."

"The contract provides more accountability and efficiency in dealings between the union, employees, and management, consistent with the direction set by the Administration," the spokesperson said.

Already, so many longtime employees have left the EPA nationwide that there is a significant experience gap among the ranks, according to a scientist in the Boston office. And the recent changes will only add to the brain drain. "There will be more longer term damage in the loss of institutional knowledge," she said.

And that is exactly the point, said David Madland, senior fellow at the left-leaning Center for American Progress. Anyone who has scientific evidence showing that climate change is caused by humans and is capable of causing significant harm, for instance, is a threat to Trump's beliefs, Madland said. Earlier this month, a State Department intelligence analyst resigned after the White House blocked parts of his written testimony to Congress citing evidence that climate change is a threat to national security.

"By weakening unions and undermining expertise, it gives Trump greater power to do what he wants without anyone having the ability to challenge him on it," Madland said.

But according to John York, a policy analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, federal unions are in need of reform. Public sector employees already have more statutory protections than workers in the private sector, he said.

Federal unions are pushing back particularly hard since the Supreme Court's Janus decision, he said, which reduced unions' ability to collect fees from workers and put them on the defensive.

"Many of the forgotten men in Trump's base see federal employees as more protected, higher paid, less hard-working than they are," said York, who nonetheless insisted that the union changes were not politically motivated. "I think Trump's efforts are trying to get federal personnel practices more in line with the rest of the labor market."

An attorney at the Boston EPA office noted that, like other employees, she could have made more money in the private sector. But, in addition to believing in the mission, the attorney valued the benefits and flexibility of working for the government. Now all of that is under fire.

The administration's attitude seems to be: "We're going to make it difficult for you to carry out your mission of using science and the law to protect the environment," said the attorney, who lives an hour south of Boston and had been planning to increase her remote-work schedule so she could do more day care drop-offs and pickups. "And now we're also going to make it difficult for you to spend time with your families."

The clampdown at the EPA is part of an "unmistakable pattern" of hostility toward public servants, said Sharon Block, a former labor adviser to former president Barack Obama who runs the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

And the repercussions could go far beyond the current workforce.

"There's just a point at which you can't help but impact the level of service," she said, "when you've so degraded those who provide the service."


Australia's carbon sacrifice is pointless

Imagine a librarian sitting in the corner of her library, wishing that her noisy library was quiet. But the only thing she does to make this happen is to be quiet herself.

There might be dozens of people scattered around the library, but she wouldn't try to work out where the noise was coming from. Nor would she ask the noisy patrons to keep it down, perhaps by persuading them of the benefits of a quiet library.

She would simply sit in her corner, quietly telling herself she was doing the right thing and setting a good example.

This recipe for frustration and failure is akin to Australia's approach to greenhouse gas emissions. While we sit in our corner of the world, promising ourselves to reduce our emissions over the decade ahead, the rest of the world increases theirs.

Even using the rosiest projections, just the increase in global emissions will be double Australia's total emissions in the decade ahead. So even if Australia disappeared – twice – global emissions would still rise.

It's as if the librarian sewed her lips together, yet still the noise in the library became deafening.

If we were genuinely concerned about global emissions, a good start would surely be to establish which countries are set to increase their emissions, particularly if those countries are already big emitters.

In Senate Estimates, I have been asking the bureaucrats in Canberra about the projected emissions of big emitters over the coming decade. Anyone who thinks climate change is our greatest moral challenge would have found the replies disappointing.

The bureaucrats didn't know. Many of the world's biggest emitters haven't bothered to advise the rest of the world how much their emissions are expected to rise over the coming decade. And it seems Australia has not only failed to seek an answer to this basic question but has also not made its own projections.

Others estimate that China, whose annual emissions in recent years were nearly 12 gigatonnes, might come close to doubling its emissions over the next decade. India, whose annual emissions have recently exceeded three gigatonnes, might double its emissions too. And countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, each with much bigger annual emissions than Australia's half a gigatonne, also fail to report their likely emission increases.

And it seems, at least from outward appearances, that our governments and bureaucrats don't care.

Pointless going it alone

It's as if our librarian won't even wander the aisles to see who the noisiest patrons are. Or perhaps she secretly thinks the patrons have a right to make as much noise as they want. Yet, if this is the case, the library is destined to be noisy and it is pointless for the librarian to take a vow of silence.

The greenhouse effect is a global phenomenon. We don't have big screens at our borders keeping Australia's emissions in and China or India's emissions out. Emissions from any one country swirl around the globe. If anything is to be done about the greenhouse effect, it has to involve the major emitters. It is quite pointless for Australia to reduce its emissions unless they do too.

It is farcical that Australia is engaged in an acrimonious debate about which side of politics is doing enough to combat climate change. Australia's commitments, no matter what anyone thinks of them, are quite pointless unless they are conditional on action by the world's big emitters. And of course, the big emitters are barely even aware of Australia's efforts, let alone influenced by them.

Nonetheless, the cost of implementing Australia's commitments is far from trivial. We have world-record electricity prices and a precarious supply situation as a result of policies discouraging new fossil-fuels-based generation. Thousands of jobs in energy-intensive industries are heading overseas and even more depend on whether we develop or expand coal mines.

And despite being opposed to a carbon tax, on Monday the Coalition government committed $2 billion of taxpayers' funds to paying emitters to emit less than some hypothetical benchmark. The money, naturally enough, will come from tax revenue.

Debating Australia's emissions policy while ignoring what is happening in the rest of the world is nonsensical. And it is made worse by the fact that our experts in Canberra, who recommend policy to the government, are barely even aware of what else is happening in the world.



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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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RE - " Record heat envelops Europe"

See Joe Bastardi's comments here.

(3:01 - 3:36), (6:46 - 7:30)

The cold was equal in magnitude to the heat, and 2x the area, but the hyper partisan ideologues only focused on the heat, which has happened before and will happen again.

Warmists are nothing, if not dishonest.