Friday, November 13, 2020

Sorry, Google, People Flocking to Florida Debunks Florida Climate Emergency

Among Google News’ top search results today under “climate change,” the search engine monopoly is promoting an article claiming stupid Americans are inexplicably flocking to areas being battered by a climate crisis – areas that the “climate emergency” will soon render uninhabitable. In reality, Google, Americans are not overwhelmingly stupid and masochistic. The fact that the American population continues to shift south – and especially to Florida and the Deep South – rather than north debunks claims that a climate crisis is battering southern states and will soon make southern states uninhabitable.

An activist group called Pro Publica published an article yesterday, titled “Climate Change Will Make Parts of the U.S. Uninhabitable. Americans Are Still Moving There.” The subtitle for the article reads, “Instead of moving away from areas in climate crisis, Americans are flocking to them. As land in places like Phoenix, Houston and Miami becomes less habitable, the country’s migration patterns will be forced to change.”

The article then talks about how stupid it is for Americans to move to Florida and other southern states, claiming they will all have to flee back north in the near future.

Most people have never heard of the obscure Pro Publica organization. Pro Publica’s article would probably be read by only about six people if not for Google deciding to place the article at the top of its “climate change” search results. It is quite remarkable that Google would choose to prominently elevate such an obscure article making so clearly dubious climate claims.

Ironically, yesterday’s Pro Publica article is essentially a shortened replica of the same article the group published – and Google similarly promoted – two months ago. Pro Publica claimed in its September article that climate change is about spawn millions of climate refugees from the American South to the American North. However, ss Climate Realism reported in response to Pro Publica’s September article:

“A map published, ironically, by the liberal, climate alarmist website Daily Kos illustrates how Americans are reacting to climate by seeking warmer, not colder, temperatures. As shown in the Daily Kos map below, U.S. Census Bureau data show Texas will gain the most congressional seats in the 2020 Census update. Florida will gain the second-most seats. Texas and Florida are the two southernmost states in the contiguous 48 states. Other states expected to gain seats are hot-weather Arizona, warm-weather North Carolina, climate-neutral Colorado, climate-neutral Oregon, and cold-weather Montana (largely due to people fleeing liberal California).

“By contrast, eight of the 10 states expected to lose seats are cold, northern states. One of the others is California, where people are fleeing liberal state government. Alabama is the only warm-weather state expected to lose a congressional seat. Contrary to the Pro Publica article, Louisiana and Georgia will not lose any seats.”

Indeed, yesterday’s ProPublica article appears to be an attempt to salvage some credibility after Climate Realism pointed out American migration trends contradicting Pro Publica’s September article. Whereas Pro Publica’s first article claimed climate change will imminently force mass migration from the U.S. South to the U.S. North, Pro Publica’s new article tries to explain the flow of people south by claiming Americans are inherently stupid people.

Here is an alternate theory. Maybe Americans are not inherently stupid. Maybe people can see through over-the-top climate claims and will choose to act in their own self-interest rather than climate activists’ political interest.

Unanimous Supremes limit Endangered Species Act in Dusky Gopher Frog decision

The Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that the Endangered Species Act cannot be used to control land in Louisiana to protect the Dusty Gopher Frog, which currently only lives in Mississippi.

Chief Justice Roberts, writing for the court held that, “according to the ordinary understanding of how adjectives work, ‘critical habitat’ must also be ‘habitat… Only the ‘habitat’ of the endangered species is eligible for designation as critical habitat.”

This is a significant reform. The ESA has become the favorite vehicle of activists seeking to control people’s use of their private land. That the endangered species should actually be present on the land in question might seem a no-brainer, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t get it. Today’s Supreme Court Decision reverses the Fifth Circuit.

Is the ESA no longer a blank check for eco-gadflies?

Will there be a ‘Green Wave’ for America?

If the Biden-Harris ticket prevails, would their Green climate policies take hold? It would come if the President exhausted his options in the courts and falls short. This is how the 2000 presidential election concluded, causing Al Gore to concede to George W. Bush 37 days after election day.

Upon declaring himself President-elect, Joe Biden reaffirmed his commitment to fight “the battle to save the climate” and to re-enter the Paris Climate Accords.

A Biden administration will have a huge impact on climate policies by controlling the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Interior Department as the leading rule-making agencies for Green policies. More than likely, gas pipeline construction will be denied permits, fossil fuel drilling on federal lands refused, carbon emission standards tightened on industry, and wetlands and logging restrictions re-imposed.

Literally dozens of environmental orders are likely forthcoming from a Biden presidency that would reverse Trump administration actions, and impose costlier, anti-competitive energy burdens on American industry, jobs and households.

The question, however, arises: why is Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sounding sullen these days? She supported Joe Biden for president (after his nomination at the Democratic convention last August), and drafted his climate policies in the Unity Task Force recommendations.

The answer is that congressional elections did not go well for Democrats. As Joe Biden leads in the presidential count, the Democratic Party unexpectedly took losses in Congress. Several Democratic lawmakers, including 3rd ranking House member, James Clyburn, are publicly blaming the Party’s progressive agenda championed by AOC, Sen. Bernie Sanders and others.

AOC rejects the criticism and is on the defensive. “It’s irresponsible to pour gasoline on what [are] already very delicate tensions in the Party,” she said. She went on, “I don’t even know if I want to be in politics.”

These are not the sentiments of a jubilant, victorious politician.

While Democrats and most pollsters expected Mr. Biden to win the presidency, they also expected to take full control of Congress: first, by expanding their majority in the House of Representatives; second, by taking majority control of the U.S. Senate where Republicans had twice the number of seats at stake and where the Democrats heavily outspent them. Neither occurred.

Instead, Democrats will dwindle to a very narrow House majority to perhaps a handful of seats above the minimum 218, as Republicans are likely to capture a dozen or more seats held by Democratic incumbents. In the Senate, Republicans have at least 50 of the 100 seats, with two Senate run-off races in Georgia to be decided in January.

Even if Biden becomes president, a bare majority in the House and likely continued minority position in the Senate will make progressive climate policies far more difficult to pass into law, if not impossible. In particular, Congress has the power of the purse. Even a modest Green New Deal labeled something else would cost trillions of new taxpayer dollars to impose carbon mandates and “create” green energy jobs. They have no mandate from the voters.

Another reason for climate policy proponents like AOC to be concerned is hydro-fracturing for natural gas, which they oppose. Joe Biden insisted during the fall campaign that he did not oppose fracking, despite taking the opposite position for more than year prior. Kamala Harris said, “Joe Biden will not ban fracking. That is a fact,” though she claimed no reversal for herself. Biden also claimed he was not for the Green New Deal, and Harris refused to mention it, even though both were on record in support. Evidently, both understood the political risk of going big and ostentatious on climate policies.

Lastly, should Mr. Biden end up as president and re-enter the Paris Accords, the Republicans should insist it come before the Senate as a treaty, which requires two-thirds approval, pursuant to the U.S. Constitution. International deals of this magnitude on any subject are manifestly illegal for any president alone to commit the nation. A Biden refusal to do so could trigger Senate Republicans to deny funding its implementation, if they dare.

President Trump and his administration took a balanced approach between economic and environmental issues. A Biden administration would reverse many such executive actions. However, since a predicted “Blue” Democratic wave failed to materialize, a “Green” wave, at least from Congress, is unlikely.

Tax on electric cars produces anger

South Australia’s controversial new electric vehicle charge has been labelled “a big tax on not polluting” by policy analysts and the EV industry.

It comes as MG launches the lowest price electric vehicle on the market in Australia yet – a $40,000 SUV crossover – that is about $10,000 cheaper than its nearest rival, the Nissan Leaf.

Noah Schultz-Byard, South Australian director at the Australia Institute, said the decision in South Australia – the first in the nation to introduce such a charge – would only made it harder for people to go electric just as it was getting easier.

“Putting a tax on a car because it doesn’t produce any pollution is ridiculous. It’s like saying someone who gives up smoking no longer pays the tobacco excise, so they need to pay a penalty for having given up,” Schultz-Byard said.

“People can make arguments for or against, but now is not the time when the upfront cost of an EV is still higher than a petrol car. Right now the cost of batteries that go into electric vehicles has been dropping steadily and is expected to drop in the years to come.

“Slapping a tax on that will only raise the barrier back up. This might scare a lot of people away from buying an electric vehicle, which is the opposite of what we want.”

The move was announced in the state budget where treasurer Rob Lucas explained the decision by saying it would make road use more equal.

Lucas wouldn’t be drawn on the size of the charge but did say it was expected to raise $1m a year starting in July 2021 and that it would include both an upfront cost and an additional charge on distance travelled.

“Someone needs to pay for the road maintenance and upgrade, and it should be the people who are using the road,” Lucas said.

Dr Jake Whitehead, a research fellow with the University of Queensland, said this didn’t stack up as money generated from road taxes is split between state and federal governments.

Less than half this money is then spent on road transport projects, while the rest goes to general revenue.

“Basically, what they’re saying [to EV owners] is you should continue to pay stamp duty, registration and we’re going to throw in an extra tax. Basic economics is that you make the price higher, you decrease demand,” Whitehead said.

“What we’re seeing is that EVs are being a scapegoat for falling fuel excise taxes, when the excise declines are actually because of more hybrid and fuel-efficient cars being introduced.

“The expected outcome from my perspective, is that you’ll put a tax on EVs, that will be a disincentive [to buy] EVs, those buyers will then buy hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicles and that will exacerbate the issue with fuel excise. That’ll only make the issue larger.”

Behyad Jafari, chair of the Electric Vehicle Council, said his worry is that South Australia will set a precedent that will lock in bad policy across the country.

“Automotive companies simply won’t bring EVs to our market,” Jafari said. “South Australia has one of the lowest uptakes of EVs in the world and to now become the world’s first countries to provide a net tax or net disincentive is the wrong move.”




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