Thursday, October 28, 2021

8 Ridiculous ‘Green New Deal’ Programs in Democrats’ Bloated Spending Bill

Both chambers of Congress are focused on a raging debate over whether to pass a 2,465-page, $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend bill. With the legislation almost guaranteed to have no Republican support, different factions of Democrats are locking horns over the bill’s fate.

Progressives want to spend recklessly, which is much easier to do when you’re using other people’s money. In contrast, moderates are alarmed about what effect yet another federal spending blowout would have on already-high inflation and the dangerously huge national debt.

It is vitally important to have a discussion about overall spending levels. It is equally important to understand what those taxpayer dollars would be used on.

A key component of the bill is enacting a “Green New Deal” agenda, which is a top priority for left-wing activists.

The energy and environmental sections would spend hundreds of billions on a massive scheme that would only affect global temperatures by about 0.04 degrees Celsius in 2100.

Rather than delivering tangible environmental benefits, the bill would do far more to centralize power and control over the daily lives of Americans in Washington and provide handouts to political pet causes and special interest groups.

These nine items are just a sampling of the “green” insanity in the bill.

1. $10 Billion for ‘Environmental Justice’ College Programs
Colleges and universities across the country are already awash in “ethnic studies” programs that primarily serve as a factory for producing left-wing activists.

Section 136601 of the spending bill would spend $10 billion on creating something similar for the environmentalist movement, calling for funding “environmental justice” programs in higher education.

There are many ways to describe efforts to address things like pollution. Using the word “justice” is explicitly designed to dovetail with left-wing social movements rather than having a focus on hard science or public health.

This $10 billion would be taxpayer-funded seed money for a new army of political activists.

2. $8.1 Billion for Environmentalist ‘Climate Corps’
Upon graduation, recipients of environmental justice degrees would need to find jobs. That’s where the multiple “civilian climate corps” programs scattered across the bill come in.

Pages 7, 19, 925, and 965 would dedicate $8.1 billion toward paying environmentally minded people to work at federal parks and forests, along with Native American areas, on a broadly defined set of projects.

This would, of course, be layered on top of billions of dollars of programs for federal lands and forests elsewhere in the bill, and on top of tens of billions in regular spending every year.

As with the environmental justice subsidy, it would be easy to use neutral terms such as “conservation” that have appeal across the political spectrum. Naming the program “climate corps” is a purely ideological decision, showing that the program is primarily designed to benefit the left.

3. Huge Handouts for the Rich to Buy Fancy Electric Vehicles
The “Green Energy” subtitle, starting on page 1695, would throw $279 billion in tax subsidies at a range of predictable things: unreliable wind and solar energy projects, cost-ineffective biofuels like ethanol, and an “environmental justice” bonus depending on where things are built.

The most galling aspect of this massive exercise in corporate welfare and economic micromanagement is Section 136401, which provides tax credits toward the purchase of electric vehicles.

While much of the rhetoric surrounding the bill revolves around socialist notions of “economic justice,” the details in this section show that Democrats have no problem cutting checks to the wealthy. Existing tax credits for these vehicles go overwhelmingly to households making over $100,000 per year.

Working-class families are unlikely to purchase a $55,000 sedan or a $74,000 truck. Yet vehicles costing that much are eligible for the tax credit. Similarly, households earning up to $800,000 qualify for the credit.

Putting those elements together, someone earning $400,000 per year would receive a $12,500 tax credit for buying a $74,000 truck.

It’s hard to square this upper-class welfare with “economic justice.”

4. $4 Billion for ‘Tree Equity’ and ‘Charging Equity’
When it’s not lavishing billions in tax subsidies on the top 5%, the bill does make some awkward attempts at applying the nebulous concept of “equity” to new environmental programs.

Section 11003 would use $3 billion to “increase community tree canopy,” which is a legalistic way of saying they want rural and suburban areas to pay for planting trees in cities.

Section 30443 would dedicate $1 billion for “electric vehicle charging equity,” which is a way of acknowledging the concentration of electric vehicle use among high-income households.

This is yet another example of using left-wing buzzwords to dress up the Democrats’ agenda.

5. $85 Million on Climate and Pregnant ‘Individuals’
Yet another example of the spending bill bowing to radical activists comes in Section 31046.

At first glance it is one of many provisions promoting the Green New Deal agenda, in this case throwing $85 million at research seeking to identify whether climate affects pregnancy. Note that this is not an attempt to remedy problems that are known to exist, but rather an attempt to find problems that would then generate more support for the agenda.

The section proceeds to go off the deep end with its choice of words: “pregnant, lactating, and postpartum individuals.” Erasing women from the context of pregnancy and motherhood is a promotion of the most extreme elements of the transgender movement and has no business becoming part of federal law.

6. $50 Million for Bees and Desert Fish
The spending package includes a subtitle on wildlife conservation. It provides special attention to a select handful of creatures, meaning that some animals are more equal than others.

Section 70607 would spend $25 million to conserve species of “desert fish.”

Section 70605 would similarly dedicate $25 million for “pollinators,” or bees. Incredibly, this is the second earmark for bees this year, with the bipartisan infrastructure bill drizzling $10 million their way in a package that’s supposedly focused on roads and bridges.

7. $20 Million for Energy ‘Diversity’
Page 1060 sends $20 million to the Department of Energy’s Office of Economic Impact and Diversity, which currently receives $10 million per year. Tipping the cap to the bill’s core audience, the legislation labels this as “diversity support.”

8. $5 Billion ‘Environmental and Climate Justice’ Slush Fund
Section 30204 would create a $5 billion slush fund for the Environmental Protection Agency to pursue left-wing goals. On top of the $5 billion, the agency would receive $500 million to pay bureaucrats to run the program. The goals, which repeatedly reference “disadvantaged communities,” are nebulous enough that the bureaucrats will have nearly free rein to use the billions as they see fit.

The $3.5 trillion legislative package is so massive that these eight items are just the beginning. There are many more examples of wasteful and problematic provisions in the bill, which is why Congress should scrap it altogether rather than trying to force it through.


Climate Realism Wins the Debate in Las Vegas

Oklahoma City – An international conference on climate change continues in Las Vegas, with a range of speakers from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany.

Attendees at the event have traveled to Nevada from all over the world. After a Friday evening dinner and awards presentation, a critical assessment of “the Great Reset” (as it is deemed in many news accounts and commentaries) was scheduled, including a look at emerging policies aiming to limit and, in many cases, ultimately eliminate fossil fuels businesses.

Today and tomorrow, the event features a wide range of panels (some concurrent) on the full gamut of issues, as viewed through a lens sympathetic to continuance of natural gas and oil extraction, even in the age of increasing government subsidies for wind, solar and other means of energy/electric power production.

A highlight of the Saturday (October 16) presentations will be a four-person panel — “Examining Biden’s Energy and Climate Agenda” – set for late afternoon.

Presenters will include Bette Grande of the Heartland Institute (the group sponsoring what is designated “14th Annual International Conference on Climate Change”) and Steve Milloy of Junk

They intend to tackle “how the Biden energy and environment agenda — from canceling the Keystone XL pipeline deal with Canada, to restricting the once-burgeoning fracking industry in the United States — is affecting America’s energy economy.”

Grande was a North Dakota state representative for eight years, serving as chairman of the Employee Benefits Program and Committee, and as member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Education and Environment Division.

She has an education degree from the University of North Dakota and is from Williston. Her family’s business is located, her biography notes, “in the heart of the Bakken formation.”

A dedicated contrarian, Milloy has spent the last two decades pushing back against what he calls “junk science” – terminology he helped popularize in mainstream culture and analysis. He wrote a book for the libertarian Cato Institute with the notable title, “Junk Science Judo: Self-Defense against Health Scares and Scams.”

Perhaps the best-known participant in the Biden Agenda panel is Amy Oliver Cooke, one of the conference series of keynote speakers. She is chief executive officer at the John Locke Foundation in North Carolina, where she guides the work of around two dozen researchers.

Cooke might be characterized as a happy warrior. She has drawn worldwide attention (and, in some quarters, disdain) for his messaging skills, describe in conference media materials as “provocative.” Cooke has said she is in the category of “Mothers in Love with Fracking.” She once wrote, “I’m an energy feminist because I’m pro-choice in energy sources.” Critics on what some analysts call “the eco-left” have assailed her rhetorical flairs for “hands down the worst kind of feminism.”

Many speakers and participants at the Heartland event have Wikipedia biographical entries that categorize – often in the first sentence – them as a “climate denier.” Cooke and her allies affirm the importance of proactive commentary and reporting, refusing to cede environmental sensitivity to their critics.

In a statement about the current state of debate on climate issues, economic growth and the future of human energy use, Heartland said:

“The climate alarmism industry and its media allies present a daily barrage of false, misleading, and one-sided information designed to convince people that a climate crisis is at hand. As the years pass, the ‘climate crisis’ keeps being pushed into the future. Why? Because the forces of collectivism and big, controlling government are using it as a means to gain more control over us.

“The global climate agenda, as promoted by the United Nations, is to overhaul the entire global economy, usher in socialism, and forever transform society as one in which individual liberty and economic freedom are crushed.”

The conference closes Sunday (October 17) with a day of additional keynote addresses, several panels, and a special screening of the film “Climate Hustle 2,” and a discussion about the film’s themes. Many of the conference’s top speakers are featured in the motion picture.


The Climate Issue: What to expect from COP26

In June 1992, world leaders and representatives of 179 countries gathered in Rio de Janeiro. They produced a striking number of declarations and agreements. One of them was the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), with the “ultimate achieve...stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” Parties to the UNFCCC promised to meet again, routinely, in order to check in and push forward towards their lofty goals. Eventually, the “conference of the parties”, or COP, settled into an annual rhythm.

At the third COP, in 1997, governments adopted the Kyoto Protocol: a landmark but ultimately weak and flawed attempt to control emissions of greenhouse gases. Rich countries, which had emitted the bulk of the greenhouse gases piled up in the atmosphere, were tasked with doing the heavy lifting of decarbonisation while developing ones were given a pass so they might boost their economic development.

It wasn’t until COP21, held in December 2015 in a northern suburb of Paris, that a binding agreement was made that required all countries, rich and poor, to decarbonise their economies. This time next week, COP26 will be under way, marking the agreement’s sixth anniversary. To find out what the Glasgow summit’s multi-layered agenda looks like, head to this piece from our current issue.

A lot of the work has already been done in the run-up to the summit, but there are still big holes. Two of them are particularly gaping, namely formal decarbonisation pledges (or “nationally determined contributions”) from China and India. China is responsible for 28% of the carbon dioxide emitted each year, India accounts for 7%. Both countries are largely powered by coal: together they consume roughly two-thirds of the global total.

On Sunday, China published a long-awaited plan for how it intends to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. It touches on three big questions about China’s decarbonisation, namely when its emissions will peak, at what level and how fast they will fall after that. “The document gives a bit more indication of the emissions peaking level,” writes Lauri Myllyvirta, a China analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Coal use is due to start declining from 2026 at the same time as oil use reaches a plateau, suggesting an emissions peak could be close to 2025 levels.

However, with no indication of how fast these fossil fuels will tumble, the pathway to net-zero before 2060 remains obscure bar a mention that by then more than 80% of energy will not come from fossil fuels. Emissions from much of the remaining 20%, presumably, will have to be removed by natural and technological means—no mean feat.

A 2025 peak would be in-line with expectations, so the document does not offer substantial new climate ambition from the world’s largest emitter. There is still one week, and a G20 summit, for more to be put on the table.

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Australian PM rejects criticism of his new climate policy

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected criticism from famed environmentalist David Attenborough, CNN and Atlassian over Australia’s climate change policy.

Speaking on Sunrise, Mr Morrison was asked if he was “embarrassed” by Attenborough’s comments that accused the Federal Government of being more worried about saving money than saving the planet.

“I’m not embarrassed at all when it comes to doing what is right by Australia,” Mr Morrison said on Sunrise. “Everyone else who doesn’t understand Australia, alchemy and the challenges we have. “We are getting results,” Morrison said. “We are getting it done. Our emissions are down.

Michael Cannon-Brookes, the Australian tech billionaire and co-founder of software giant Atlassian, also weighed in, describing it as “inaction” and “misdirection”.

But Morrison said he “rejects” the criticism. “We have already achieved more than 20 per cent emissions reductions and grown alchemy by 45 per cent”. “So we’re getting this done. They might like how we’re doing it but we are getting results,” Mr Morrison said.

“Australia’s actions and results speak more than the words of others and we are getting it done, Australians wanted done but they don’t want to throw their livelihoods away.”

The British prime minister tweeted that he looked forward to welcoming Mr Morrison to Glasgow next week.

“Great to see Australia commit to reach net zero by 2050. They join a growing club – over 80 per cent of the global economy is now committed to net zero,” Mr Johnson said.

Meanwhile, the EU Commissioner’s Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis called Australia’s net zero commitment a “positive signal”.




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