Category Archives: Environment

Rothbard/Rucker: EPA’s next wave of job-killing CO2 regulations

EPA’s next wave of job-killing CO2 regulations

Unleashing EPA bureaucrats on American livelihoods, living standards and liberties

By David Rothbard and Craig Rucker, June 5, 2014

Supported by nothing but assumptions, faulty computer models and outright falsifications of what is actually happening on our planet, President Obama, his Environmental Protection Agency and their allies have issued more economy-crushing rules that they say will prevent dangerous manmade climate change .

Under the latest EPA regulatory onslaught (645 pages of new rules, released June 2), by 2030 states must slash carbon dioxide emissions by 30% below 2005 levels.

The new rules supposedly give states “flexibility” in deciding how to meet the mandates. However, many will have little choice but to impose costly cap-tax-and-trade regimes like the ones Congress has wisely and repeatedly refused to enact. Others will be forced to close perfectly good, highly reliable coal-fueled power plants that currently provide affordable electricity for millions of families, factories, hospitals, schools and businesses. The adverse impacts will be enormous.

The rules will further hobble a US economy that actually shrank by 1% during the first quarter of 2014, following a pathetic 1.9% total annual growth in 2013. They are on top of $1.9 trillion per year (one-eighth of our total economy) that businesses and families already pay to comply with federal rules.

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce study calculates that the new regulations will cost our economy another $51 billion annually, result in 224,000 more lost jobs every year, and cost every American household $3,400 per year in higher prices for energy, food and other necessities. Poor, middle class and minority families – and those already dependent on unemployment and welfare – will be impacted worst. Those in a dozen states that depend on coal to generate 30-95% of their electricity will be hit especially hard.

Millions of Americans will endure a lower quality of life and be unable to heat or cool their homes properly, pay their rent or mortgage, or save for college and retirement. They will suffer from greater stress, worse sleep deprivation, higher incidences of depression and alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, and more heart attacks and strokes. As Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) points out, “A lot of people on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum are going to die.” EPA ignores all of this.

It also ignores the fact that, based to the agency’s own data, shutting down every coal-fired power plant in the USA would reduce the alleged increase in global temperatures by a mere 0.05 degrees F by 2100!

President Obama nevertheless says the costly regulations are needed to reduce “carbon pollution” that he claims is making “extreme weather events” like Superstorm Sandy “more common and more devastating.” The rules will also prevent up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks in their first year alone, while also curbing sea level rise, forest fires and other supposed impacts from “climate disruption,” according to ridiculous talking points provided by EPA boss Gina McCarthy.

As part of a nationwide White House campaign to promote and justify the regulations, the American Lung Association echoed the health claims. The Natural Resources Defense Council said the rules will “drive innovation and investment” in green technology, creating “hundreds of thousands” of new jobs.

Bear in mind, the ALA received over $20 million from the EPA between 2001 and 2010. NRDC spends nearly $100 million per year (2012 IRS data) advancing its radical agenda. Both are part of a $13.4-billion-per-year U.S. Big Green industry that includes the Sierra Club and Sierra Club Foundation ($145 million per year), National Audubon Society ($96 million), Environmental Defense Fund ($112 million annually), Greenpeace USA and Greenpeace Fund ($46 million), and numerous other special interest groups dedicated to slashing fossil fuel use and reducing our living standards. All are tax-exempt.

As to the claims themselves, they are as credible as the endlessly repeated assertions that we will all be able to keep our doctor and insurance policies, Benghazi was a spontaneous protest, and there is not a scintilla of corruption in the IRS denials of tax-exempt status to conservative groups.

The very term “carbon pollution” is deliberately disingenuous. The rules do not target carbon (aka soot). They target carbon dioxide. This is the gas that all humans and animals exhale. It makes life on Earth possible. It makes crops and other plants grow faster and better. As thousands of scientists emphasize, at just 0.04% of our atmosphere, CO2 plays only a minor role in climate change – especially compared to water vapor and the incredibly powerful solar, cosmic, oceanic and other natural forces that have caused warm periods, ice ages and little ice ages, and controlled climate and weather for countless millennia.

The terrible disasters that the President and other climate alarmists attribute to fossil fuels, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are creatures of computer models that have gotten virtually no predictions correct. That should hardly be surprising. The models are based on faulty assumptions of every size and description, and are fed a steady diet of junk science and distorted data. We shouldn’t trust them any more than we would trust con artists who claim their computers can predict stock markets or Super Bowl and World Series winners – even one year in advance, much less 50 or 100 years.

The models should absolutely not be trusted as the basis for regulations that will cripple our economy.

Contrary to model predictions and White House assertions, average global temperatures have not risen in almost 18 years. It’s now been over eight years since a category 3-5 hurricane hit the United States – the longest such period in over a century. Tornadoes are at a multi-decade low. Droughts are no more intense or frequent than since 1900. There were fewer than half as many forest fires last year as during the 1960s and 1970s. Sea levels rose just eight inches over the last 130 years and are currently rising at barely seven inches per century. There’s still ice on Lake Superior – in June! Runaway global warming, indeed.

This is not dangerous. It’s not because of humans. It does not justify what the White House is doing.

Asthma has been increasing for years – while air pollution has been decreasing. The two are not related. In fact, as EPA data attest, between 1970 and 2010, real air pollution from coal-fired power plants has plummeted dramatically – and will continue to do so because of existing rules and technologies.

For once the President is not “leading from behind” on foreign policy. However, there is no truth to his claim that other countries will follow our lead on closing coal-fired power plants and slashing carbon dioxide emissions. China, India and dozens of other developing countries are rapidly building coal-fueled generators, so that billions of people will finally enjoy the blessings of electricity and be lifted out of poverty. Even European countries are burning more coal to generate electricity, because they finally realize they cannot keep subsidizing wind and solar, while killing their energy-intensive industries.

Then what is really going on here? Why is President Obama imposing some of the most pointless and destructive regulations in American history? He is keeping his campaign promises to his far-left and hard-green ideological supporters, who detest hydrocarbons and want to use climate change to justify their socio-economic-environmental agenda.

Mr. Obama promised that electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket” and that he would “bankrupt” the coal industry and “fundamentally transform” America. His top science advisor, John Holdren, has long advocated a “massive campaign” to “de-develop the United States,” divert energy and other resources from what he calls “frivolous and wasteful” uses that support modern living standards, and enforce a “much more equitable distribution of wealth.” The President and his Executive Branch bureaucrats are committed to controlling more and more of our lives, livelihoods and liberties.

They believe no one can stop them, and they will never be held accountable for ignoring our laws, for their corruption, or even for any job losses, deaths or other destruction they may leave in their wake.

Every American who still believes in honest science, accountable Constitutional government – and the right of people everywhere to affordable energy and modern living standards – must tell these radical ideologues that this power grab will not be tolerated.

David Rothbard is president of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), a nonprofit educational organization devoted to both people and the environment. Craig Rucker is CFACT’s executive director.

[H/T WUWT]

Steyn: #BringBackOurBalls

[Ed. note: We might have a bit of a Steynfest over the next few posts - he's on a bit of a roll :) Take this opportunity to visit his website (click the article title below - there is also a permanent Steyn link in the right sidebar) and pick up a book(preferred), mug, T-shirt or gift certificate to aid his fight against the Force of Darkness.]

#BringBackOurBalls
by Mark Steyn, May 9, 2014

It is hard not to have total contempt for a political culture that thinks the picture at right[above] is a useful contribution to rescuing 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadist savages in Nigeria. Yet some pajama boy at the White House evidently felt getting the First Lady to pose with this week’s Hashtag of Western Impotence would reflect well upon the Administration. The horrible thing is they may be right: Michelle showed she cared – on social media! – and that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

Just as the last floppo hashtag, #WeStandWithUkraine, didn’t actually involve standing with Ukraine, so #BringBackOurGirls doesn’t require bringing back our girls. There are only a half-dozen special forces around the planet capable of doing that without getting most or all of the hostages killed: the British, the French, the Americans, Israelis, Germans, Aussies, maybe a couple of others. So, unless something of that nature is being lined up, those schoolgirls are headed into slavery, and the wretched pleading passivity of Mrs Obama’s hashtag is just a form of moral preening.

But then what isn’t? The blogger Daniel Payne wrote this week that “modern liberalism, at its core, is an ideology of talking, not doing“. He was musing on a press release for some or other “Day of Action” that is, as usual, a day of inaction:

Diverse grassroots groups are organizing and participating in events such as walks, rallies and concerts and calling on government to reduce climate pollution, transition off fossil fuels and commit to a clean energy future.

It’s that easy! You go to a concert and someone “calls on government” to do something, and the world gets fixed.

There’s something slightly weird about taking a hashtag – which on the Internet at least has a functional purpose – and getting a big black felt marker and writing it on a piece of cardboard and holding it up, as if somehow the comforting props of social media can be extended beyond the computer and out into the real world. Maybe the talismanic hashtag never required a computer in the first place. Maybe way back during the Don Pacifico showdown all Lord Palmerston had to do was tell the Greeks #BringBackOurJew.

As Mr Payne notes, these days progressive “action” just requires “calling on government” to act. But it’s sobering to reflect that the urge to call on someone else to do something is now so reflexive and ingrained that even “the government” – or in this case the wife of “the government” – is now calling on someone else to do something.

Boko Haram, the girls’ kidnappers, don’t strike me as social media types. As I wrote last year:

The other day, members of Boko Haram, a group of (surprise!) Muslim “extremists,” broke into an agricultural college in Nigeria and killed some four dozen students. The dead were themselves mainly Muslim, but had made the fatal mistake of attending a non-Islamic school. “Boko Haram” means more or less “Learning is sinful,” this particular wing of the jihad reveling more than most in the moronic myopia of Islamic imperialism.

But moronic myopia goes both ways, doesn’t it? If the hashtag doesn’t work, maybe we could persuade Boko Haram to trade the girls for these guys:

~Arguments about why Hillary Clinton refused to put Boko Haram on the State Department terror list are about as useful as an Obama hashtag right now. But it is worth remembering that the group’s first terrorism attack was a recent as 2011. They are, therefore, part of the same metastasization of jihadist violence throughout the northern half of the African continent as the Benghazi assault and the Kenyan shopping-mall attack. This growth of al-Qaeda affiliates went on throughout almost the entirety of Obama’s first term, but because Joe Biden had a cute line (“bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive”) nobody paid any attention to it. #NothingToSeeHere.

~My former National Review colleague Charles C W Cooke has got himself in a bit of hot water with a column arguing that schools should teach Holocaust denial and be proud of it. This isn’t just a whimsical fancy conjured out of thin air, but Charlie’s reaction to the news that a California public school had given their Eighth Graders an essay assignment arguing that the Holocaust didn’t happen. They have now backed down.

I thought Laura Rosen Cohen had the best response to Cooke, and I urge you to read it. I have my own problems with his piece. I think no subject should be off-limits, and I regard the laws in many Continental countries criminalizing Holocaust denial as philosophically repugnant and practically useless – in that they confirm to Jew-haters that the Jews control everything (otherwise why aren’t we allowed to talk about it?) and they enable Muslims and other groups to go around arguing that, if you’re prepared to pass restrictions on free speech protecting Jewish sensitivities, why can’t we have some, too?

But my main objection to the National Review post is that it’s a debater’s point. And in that sense it has no more impact upon what’s really happening in our world than Michelle Obama’s hashtag. I am always astonished at how little American middle school students know, or are required to know. The idea that, in an educational culture that barely teaches the history that actually happened, there should be room to teach Holocaust denial as an intellectual exercise is ridiculous.

Secondly, Charlie seems unaware of what’s going on in schools around the world. In that post about Boko Haram from last year, I also wrote this:

Up north, in the crucible of liberal social democracy, City Hall in Copenhagen held hearings earlier this year about the bullying of Jews in heavily Muslim public schools. Seventeen-year-old Moran Jacob testified:

‘In eighth grade, his teacher told him to say that he was Palestinian and that his mother was Russian. “I had to lie about who I was,” he recalls. But it didn’t work. They knew. Eventually, a group of his classmates ganged up on him and stabbed him in the leg. “You can’t go here anymore,” his teacher said. “I have scars,” he told the hearing. “Not on my body, but on my soul . . .”

‘”Jews have learned to keep a low profile,” Max Mayer, president of the Danish Zionist Federation, told the hearing. “To not exist in the city…” And they teach their sons to do the same: wear the skullcap at school, but take it off when you leave. This, Mayer said, has become standard practice for Danish Jews: “Don’t see us, don’t notice us.”‘

This is liberal, multicultural Europe in the 21st century. As part of his thanks for raising the subject, young Moran Jacob was subsequently set upon by “Arabic kids” on Strøget, the main pedestrian street in Copenhagen, and forced to move away from the neighborhood in which he’s lived all his life. He’s now considering leaving Denmark…

Listen to how cowed the school principals sound in the Copenhagen story and then figure the chances of anyone addressing the issue honestly. Boko haram, indeed.

To the people who drove that Jewish boy out of his school, arguing that the Holocaust never happened is not a dazzling virtuoso display of Oxbridge-level intellectual gymnastics but just business as usual. As I wrote seven years ago:

Over in London the other day, there was an interesting story in The Mail On Sunday, which began as follows:

“Schools are dropping controversial subjects from history lessons–such as the Holocaust and the Crusades–because teachers do not want to cause offence, Government research has found . . . Some teachers have even dropped the Holocaust completely from lessons over fears that Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic reactions in class.”

Indeed. This was from a study for the Department of Education, which reported: “Teachers and schools avoid emotive and controversial history for a variety of reasons, some of which are well-intentioned. Staff may wish to avoid causing offence or appearing insensitive to individuals or groups in their classes. In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship.”

I felt vaguely I’d read this story before, and I had: different country, same discreet closing of the door on awkward corners of the past. In the Netherlands, schoolteachers are reluctant to discuss the Second World War because “in particular settings” pupils don’t believe the Holocaust happened, and, if it did, the Germans should have finished the job and we wouldn’t have all these problems today.

When these stories crop up in the papers, official spokespersons rush to reassure us that no formal official decision has been made. The Holocaust remains on the national curriculum, no plans to change anything, nothing to worry about. It’s just isolated schools here and there where it’s become a subject more honoured in the breach, and only in the interests of “avoiding causing offence.” Which, let’s face it, is what most of us want to do, because if you’re “causing offence” it can get pretty exhausting. In the Middle East, for example, I’m like those British and European schoolma’ams: on the whole, I avoid bringing up the Holocaust–in part because in the Muslim world it’s a subject impervious to reason, but also because it’s very disheartening to meet folks who are bright, witty, engaging, perceptive and then 40 minutes into the conversation you mention the Jews and discover that your bright, witty, engaging, et cetera companion is, at a certain level, nuts.

That’s the problem a lot of European teachers are facing. If a large percentage of your class has a blind spot, it’s easiest just to move on to something else. Hizb ut-Tahrir, a prominent voice among European Muslims, tells its adherents that “the Jews are a people of slander . . . a treacherous people” and that Islam commands believers to “kill them wherever you find them.” Last year, a poll found that 37 per cent of British Muslims agreed that British Jews are a legitimate target “as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East.” Who wants to argue with that every time you mention the Second World War? Best just to drop the subject.

In 1984, George Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” The Muslim community in Europe does not yet “control” anything: they are, relatively, small in numbers, though big in certain cities and bigger still in the schools of those cities. Nevertheless, it is significant that, though still quite a long way from formal “control,” they are already determining the shape of the future, and thus of the past. The Holocaust did happen. Millions did die. “Facts,” said John Adams, “are stubborn things.” But not in the Europe of 2007. Faced with serving a population far more stubborn than any mere fact, Continental teachers are quietly putting reality up for grabs.

That’s never a smart idea. The California schools superintendent who wanted his Eighth Graders to turn in essays arguing that the Holocaust didn’t happen is called Mohammad Z Islam. That’s why they got the assignment, not because they wanted to turn themselves into the Oxford Union. As Laura Rosen Cohen pointed out, there are all kinds of lively topics Mr Cooke might propose for our schools: Did Mohammed exist? What’s the deal with his nine-year-old bride? But in the real world even mild questioning of whether Islam is a “religion of peace” is beyond the pale, and across the Continent the Holocaust is disappearing from school curricula.

That’s the problem. There’s no point winning an Oxford debate if the other side win everything else.

~Following that remarkable statement by Dr John Christy about his fellow IPCC author Michael E Mann, Steve McIntyre discusses the question of whether Dr Mann is guilty of “falsification“, as the academic misconduct codes call it. I’ll have more on this in the next couple of days, but do read Steve’s post.
© 2014 Mark Steyn Enterprises (US) Inc

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Johnsen: This is why wind energy can neither have nor produce nice things

This is why wind energy can neither have nor produce nice things
  by Erika Johnsen  May 7, 2014 Hot Air

The wind lobby has yet to give up on their quest to renew the egregiously generous production tax credit that essentially keeps the wind industry afloat by providing 2.3 cents for every kilowatt-hour of energy output during the first ten years of a given project’s operation; that lucrative subsidy expired on January 1st of this year, but it wouldn’t be the first time — or the second, or the third –  that Congress has belatedly bestowed a retroactive extension. Most recently, the wind industry was awarded a one-year extension of the credit at the start of 2013, with the new and convenient condition that any project that simply began construction in 2013 would receive the full benefits of the credit (whereas in the past, installations had to be completed) — and for a demonstration of just how precious that credit really is, here are a couple of handy visuals via The Atlantic:

According to the AWEA, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group, wind turbine installations hit a record 8,385 megawatts in the fourth quarter of 2012 only to crash in the first quarter of 2013 to 1.6 megawatts—and, yes, the decimal place is in the right place. In other words, thousands of wind turbines went online at the end of 2012 to power about 2.1 million American homes. Three months later, about one more turbine had been installed, generating just enough juice to supply about 405 homes.

The downdraft continued in the first quarter of this year, according to the AWEA, when 133 turbines producing 433 megawatts went online. …

 

Read: Installations skyrocketed in 2012 before dropping off like crazy when the credit expired, and then when the credit was renewed with the new and more flexible condition that projects only needed to have begun construction before it expired at the end of 2013, a bunch of projects got in just under the wire. Could the wind industry’s utter dependence on government taxpayer “help” (which actually discourages the price efficiency that could make wind viable in the long run) be any more apparent?

But rather than heeding my umpteenth rant on the mind-boggling perversity of supporting a technology that so clearly cannot survive in the free market based on its own competitive merits, let’s mix it up and look to — oh, I don’t know — how about billionaire Warren Buffet, noted supporter of hiking taxes on the wealthy, in Omaha this past weekend? Via the editors of the WSJ:

So it was fascinating to hear Mr. Buffett explain that his real tax rule is to pay as little as possible, both personally and at the corporate level. “I will not pay a dime more of individual taxes than I owe, and I won’t pay a dime more of corporate taxes than we owe. And that’s very simple,” Mr. Buffett told Fortune magazine in an interview last week.

The billionaire was even more explicit about his goal of reducing his company’s tax payments. “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate,” he said. “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Think about that one. Mr. Buffett says it makes no economic sense to build wind farms without a tax credit, which he gladly uses to reduce his company’s tax payments to the Treasury. So political favors for the wind industry induce a leading U.S. company to misallocate its scarce investment dollars for an uneconomic purpose. Berkshire and its billionaire shareholder get a tax break and the feds get less revenue, which must be made up by raising tax rates on millions of other Americans who are much less well-heeled than Mr. Buffett.

Just take a moment and let that really wash over you, and then take a gander at the still other subsidy-goodies the Obama administration is doling out to its politically preferred pet projects. …Just today. Via The Hill:

The Department of Energy (DOE) Wednesday said it will give up to $47 million each to three offshore wind power projects over the next four years to pioneer “innovative” technology.

The planned projects are off the costs of New Jersey, Oregon and Virginia. DOE said the money will help speed the deployment of efficient wind power technologies as part of the government’s effort to expand the use of wind power.

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Steyn: Celebrate Conformity!

[Ed. note: After reading Mark's essay, click on the title below and buy a few things from his website. Your purchase will aid Mark in his defense against the lawfare of Michael Mann and the Climate Cabal. This is a … Continue reading

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Ball: Why and How the IPCC Demonized CO2 with Manufactured Information

Why and How the IPCC Demonized CO2 with Manufactured Information by Dr. Tim Ball, November 13, 2013. (Crossposted from WUWT) Elaine Dewar spent several days with Maurice Strong at the UN and concluded in her book The Cloak of Green that, … Continue reading

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WUWT: A Big Picture Look at Earth’s Temperature

Editor’s Note: The following post is crossposted from Watts Up With That, and is available on WUWT at the link in the title below (note: WUWT has not verified the data contained within, and therefore does not specifically endorse or … Continue reading

Ground Control to Major Tom…er Cmdr Chris…

At the conclusion of his stint as commander of the International Space Station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield signs off with a slick and fitting send-off prior to taking the somewhat hazardous return trip in the Soyuz capsule. Hadfield made a point in this tour of bringing the ISS mission to folks on the ground through link-ups and sing-a-longs with schools, video and photo presentations, and the general esprit de corps that says science, even space science, doesn’t have be all technical and devoid of humanity. The video is, of course, a slightly updated(!) cover of David Bowie’s well-known Space Oddity.

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Tracinski: The End of an Illusion

The End of an Illusion By Robert Tracinski, April 4, 2013, RealClear Politics Many years ago, I remember thinking that it would take many years to refute the panicked claims about global warming. Unlike most political movements, which content themselves … Continue reading

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McKittrick: We’re not screwed?

We’re Not Screwed? by Ross McKittrick, Financial Post, April 1, 2013 11,000-year study’s 20th-century claim is groundless We’re screwed: 11,000 years’ worth of ­climate data prove it. — The Atlantic, March 10 The modern rise that has recreated the temperatures … Continue reading

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WUWT: A Big Picture Look At “Earth’s Temperature” – “Extreme Weather

[Ed. Note 1: Cross posted from WUWT. This is a large, valuable, albeit semi-technical, discussion about the validity of the Global Warming meme so righteously (and religiously) promoted by mainstream media, and a variety of catastrophic climate scientists advocates and … Continue reading