Monday, September 22, 2014


Tree-huggers note: Trees are bad for the planet!

The NYT says so (below)

AS international leaders gather in New York next week for a United Nations climate summit, they will be preoccupied with how to tackle the rising rate of carbon emissions. To mitigate the crisis, one measure they are likely to promote is reducing deforestation and planting trees.

A landmark deal to support sustainable forestry was a heralded success story of the last international climate talks, in Warsaw last year. Western nations, including the United States, Britain and Norway, handed over millions of dollars to developing countries to kick-start programs to reduce tropical deforestation. More funds are promised.

Deforestation accounts for about 20 percent of global emissions of carbon dioxide. The assumption is that planting trees and avoiding further deforestation provides a convenient carbon capture and storage facility on the land.

That is the conventional wisdom. But the conventional wisdom is wrong.

In reality, the cycling of carbon, energy and water between the land and the atmosphere is much more complex. Considering all the interactions, large-scale increases in forest cover can actually make global warming worse.

Of course, this is counterintuitive. We all learn in school how trees effortlessly perform the marvel of photosynthesis: They take up carbon dioxide from the air and make oxygen. This process provides us with life, food, water, shelter, fiber and soil. The earth’s forests generously mop up about a quarter of the world’s fossil-fuel carbon emissions every year.

So it’s understandable that we’d expect trees to save us from rising temperatures, but climate science tells a different story. Besides the amount of greenhouse gases in the air, another important switch on the planetary thermostat is how much of the sun’s energy is taken up by the earth’s surface, compared to how much is reflected back to space. The dark color of trees means that they absorb more of the sun’s energy and raise the planet’s surface temperature.

Climate scientists have calculated the effect of increasing forest cover on surface temperature. Their conclusion is that planting trees in the tropics would lead to cooling, but in colder regions, it would cause warming.

In order to grow food, humans have changed about 50 percent of the earth’s surface area from native forests and grasslands to crops, pasture and wood harvest. Unfortunately, there is no scientific consensus on whether this land use has caused overall global warming or cooling. Since we don’t know that, we can’t reliably predict whether large-scale forestation would help to control the earth’s rising temperatures.

Worse, trees emit reactive volatile gases that contribute to air pollution and are hazardous to human health. These emissions are crucial to trees — to protect themselves from environmental stresses like sweltering heat and bug infestations. In summer, the eastern United States is the world’s major hot spot for volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.s) from trees.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
As these compounds mix with fossil-fuel pollution from cars and industry, an even more harmful cocktail of airborne toxic chemicals is created. President Ronald Reagan was widely ridiculed in 1981 when he said, “Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do.” He was wrong on the science — but less wrong than many assumed.

Chemical reactions involving tree V.O.C.s produce methane and ozone, two powerful greenhouse gases, and form particles that can affect the condensation of clouds. Research by my group at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and by other laboratories, suggests that changes in tree V.O.C.s affect the climate on a scale similar to changes in the earth’s surface color and carbon storage capacity.

While trees provide carbon storage, forestry is not a permanent solution because trees and soil also “breathe” — that is, burn oxygen and release carbon dioxide back into the air. Eventually, all of the carbon finds its way back into the atmosphere when trees die or burn.

Moreover, it is a myth that photosynthesis controls the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere. Even if all photosynthesis on the planet were shut down, the atmosphere’s oxygen content would change by less than 1 percent.

The Amazon rain forest is often perceived as the lungs of the planet. In fact, almost all the oxygen the Amazon produces during the day remains there and is reabsorbed by the forest at night. In other words, the Amazon rain forest is a closed system that uses all its own oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Planting trees and avoiding deforestation do offer unambiguous benefits to biodiversity and many forms of life. But relying on forestry to slow or reverse global warming is another matter entirely.

The science says that spending precious dollars for climate change mitigation on forestry is high-risk: We don’t know that it would cool the planet, and we have good reason to fear it might have precisely the opposite effect. More funding for forestry might seem like a tempting easy win for the world leaders at the United Nations, but it’s a bad bet.

SOURCE





Royal Society crooks hoist by their own petard



It was presented as shocking evidence of the damage being done by climate change: a species driven to extinction because of a decline in rainfall in its only habitat. Now the “rediscovery” of a species of snail is prompting questions about the role played by the Royal Society, Britain’s most prestigious scientific institution, in raising false alarm over an impact of climate change.

Rhachistia aldabrae was found alive last month on Aldabra, a coral island in the Seychelles, seven years after a scientific paper in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters had declared it extinct and said climate change was to blame. The claim was cited in 2013 in a paper in another Royal Society journal, which suggested that this was the clearest example of man-made climate change causing an extinction.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN science advisory body, used the second paper as evidence in its major report this year on the impacts of rising emissions. It stated: “Future species extinctions are a high risk because the consequences of climate change are potentially severe, widespread and irreversible.”

However, the claim that the snail was extinct had been rebutted in 2007 by four senior scientists, including Clive Hambler, a lecturer in biology at the University of Oxford and a leading authority on Aldabra. They wrote to the editor of Biology Letters in 2007, saying the paper’s author, Justin Gerlach, had wrongly claimed that “exhaustive” searches had been made for the snail. They also said he had used the wrong method to assess its decline and had made an error that resulted in the reduction in rainfall being exaggerated.

In a rebuttal paper, they wrote: “The vast majority of the habitat is virtually inaccessible and has never been visited. It is unwise to declare this species extinct after a gap in known records of ten years. We predict ‘rediscovery’ when resources permit.”

The journal refused to publish the rebuttal, saying it had been “rejected following full peer review”. The journal sent Mr Hambler the reviews of the rebuttal by two anonymous academic referees, who had rejected the criticisms made of Mr Gerlach’s paper.

However, the Royal Society admitted this week, after questions from The Times, that the referees who had rejected the rebuttal were the same referees who had approved Mr Gerlach’s paper for publication. The society said it had since changed its policy on reviewing rebuttals.

After hearing that the snail had been found, Mr Hambler wrote to the journal this month asking it to retract Mr Gerlach’s paper and publish his rebuttal. “Your original (Gerlach) paper on a climate-induced extinction had errors… Yet it has come to be cited as one of the clearest examples of possible climate-induced global extinction,” he wrote.

Speaking to The Times, he said: “Crying wolf over climate change in this way diverts attention from more pressing causes of extinction, such as the destruction of habitat and invasive species.”

The society has refused to publish the rebuttal because it is seven years old. It has asked Mr Hambler to revise his comments “to include new or additional information”. However, Mr Hambler said that he did not want to revise the rebuttal because it was accurate.

Mr Gerlach said that his error in declaring the snail extinct “does not detract from the fact that the population collapsed catastrophically”.

SOURCE




Obama’s Former Science Official: ‘Climate Science Is Not Settled’

We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin, Under Secretary for science in the US Energy Department during President Barack Obama’s first term

The idea that “Climate science is settled” runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don’t know, about climate. I have come to appreciate the daunting scientific challenge of answering the questions that policy makers and the public are asking.

The crucial scientific question for policy isn’t whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will. Geological and historical records show the occurrence of major climate shifts, sometimes over only a few decades. We know, for instance, that during the 20th century the Earth’s global average surface temperature rose 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nor is the crucial question whether humans are influencing the climate. That is no hoax: There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate. There is also little doubt that the carbon dioxide will persist in the atmosphere for several centuries. The impact today of human activity appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself.

Rather, the crucial, unsettled scientific question for policy is, “How will the climate change over the next century under both natural and human influences?” Answers to that question at the global and regional levels, as well as to equally complex questions of how ecosystems and human activities will be affected, should inform our choices about energy and infrastructure.

But—here’s the catch—those questions are the hardest ones to answer. They challenge, in a fundamental way, what science can tell us about future climates.
Even though human influences could have serious consequences for the climate, they are physically small in relation to the climate system as a whole. For example, human additions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere’s natural greenhouse effect by only 1% to 2%. Since the climate system is highly variable on its own, that smallness sets a very high bar for confidently projecting the consequences of human influences.

A second challenge to “knowing” future climate is today’s poor understanding of the oceans. The oceans, which change over decades and centuries, hold most of the climate’s heat and strongly influence the atmosphere. Unfortunately, precise, comprehensive observations of the oceans are available only for the past few decades; the reliable record is still far too short to adequately understand how the oceans will change and how that will affect climate.

A third fundamental challenge arises from feedbacks that can dramatically amplify or mute the climate’s response to human and natural influences. One important feedback, which is thought to approximately double the direct heating effect of carbon dioxide, involves water vapor, clouds and temperature.

But feedbacks are uncertain. They depend on the details of processes such as evaporation and the flow of radiation through clouds. They cannot be determined confidently from the basic laws of physics and chemistry, so they must be verified by precise, detailed observations that are, in many cases, not yet available.

Beyond these observational challenges are those posed by the complex computer models used to project future climate. These massive programs attempt to describe the dynamics and interactions of the various components of the Earth system—the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, the ice and the biosphere of living things. While some parts of the models rely on well-tested physical laws, other parts involve technically informed estimation. Computer modeling of complex systems is as much an art as a science.

For instance, global climate models describe the Earth on a grid that is currently limited by computer capabilities to a resolution of no finer than 60 miles. (The distance from New York City to Washington, D.C., is thus covered by only four grid cells.) But processes such as cloud formation, turbulence and rain all happen on much smaller scales. These critical processes then appear in the model only through adjustable assumptions that specify, for example, how the average cloud cover depends on a grid box’s average temperature and humidity. In a given model, dozens of such assumptions must be adjusted (“tuned,” in the jargon of modelers) to reproduce both current observations and imperfectly known historical records.

We often hear that there is a “scientific consensus” about climate change. But as far as the computer models go, there isn’t a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influences. Since 1990, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has periodically surveyed the state of climate science. Each successive report from that endeavor, with contributions from thousands of scientists around the world, has come to be seen as the definitive assessment of climate science at the time of its issue.

For the latest IPCC report (September 2013), its Working Group I, which focuses on physical science, uses an ensemble of some 55 different models. Although most of these models are tuned to reproduce the gross features of the Earth’s climate, the marked differences in their details and projections reflect all of the limitations that I have described. For example:

* The models differ in their descriptions of the past century’s global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere’s energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate’s inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right.

* Although the Earth’s average surface temperature rose sharply by 0.9 degree Fahrenheit during the last quarter of the 20th century, it has increased much more slowly for the past 16 years, even as the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen by some 25%. This surprising fact demonstrates directly that natural influences and variability are powerful enough to counteract the present warming influence exerted by human activity.

Yet the models famously fail to capture this slowing in the temperature rise. Several dozen different explanations for this failure have been offered, with ocean variability most likely playing a major role. But the whole episode continues to highlight the limits of our modeling.

* The models roughly describe the shrinking extent of Arctic sea ice observed over the past two decades, but they fail to describe the comparable growth of Antarctic sea ice, which is now at a record high.

* The models predict that the lower atmosphere in the tropics will absorb much of the heat of the warming atmosphere. But that “hot spot” has not been confidently observed, casting doubt on our understanding of the crucial feedback of water vapor on temperature.

* Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today—about one foot per century.

* A crucial measure of our knowledge of feedbacks is climate sensitivity—that is, the warming induced by a hypothetical doubling of carbon-dioxide concentration. Today’s best estimate of the sensitivity (between 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) is no different, and no more certain, than it was 30 years ago. And this is despite an heroic research effort costing billions of dollars.

These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not “minor” issues to be “cleaned up” by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections. Work to resolve these shortcomings in climate models should be among the top priorities for climate research.

Yet a public official reading only the IPCC’s “Summary for Policy Makers” would gain little sense of the extent or implications of these deficiencies. These are fundamental challenges to our understanding of human impacts on the climate, and they should not be dismissed with the mantra that “climate science is settled.”

While the past two decades have seen progress in climate science, the field is not yet mature enough to usefully answer the difficult and important questions being asked of it. This decidedly unsettled state highlights what should be obvious: Understanding climate, at the level of detail relevant to human influences, is a very, very difficult problem.

SOURCE





Bobby Jindal: How the ‘Radical Left’ Uses Energy Costs to Control Americans

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal yesterday accused the Obama administration of making energy more expensive with the goal of making Americans more dependent on government.

“The Left, they like to tell us they are the ones [who] are following science and we’re the science deniers,” Jindal said to a small group of reporters after delivering a speech at The Heritage Foundation to debut his energy jobs plan. “But I think overall, their approach to energy is telling.”

The Republican governor said the “radical” Left wants energy to be scarce and expensive because it empowers the federal government to be more involved in Americans’ lives.

Doing so, the potential 2016 presidential candidate said, essentially allows the Obama administration to decide what kind of car you drive, what kind of home you live in, what kind of education your children receive, what kind of health care insurance is adequate for you, and what size soda you can drink.

Right now, Jindal said,  America “is on the road to failure.” He said:

    "It’s war on coal today; it’s going to be a war on natural gas tomorrow—it’s a war on any natural energy source. [The Left] wants it to be scarce; they want it to be expensive. You can see it in their actions, you can see it in their policies."

He cited what he called the Left’s “startling” views on natural gas.  “When [natural gas] was 13 dollars, boy they loved it. As soon as it became affordable, all of the sudden they decided they didn’t like it so much,”  Jindal said.

Nicolas Loris, a Heritage economist who specializes in energy policy, agreed that some liberals initially supported natural gas “as a bridge fuel to take us to renewables.” But because the revolution in shale gas provided an abundance of cheap natural gas, he said, “that bridge became a lot longer than they anticipated.”

“While it may be bad news for other sources of energy,” Loris added, “the low-cost energy is great news for American families and businesses.”

Jindal also cited regulations on carbon dioxide as proof of an “ideologically extreme” agenda by President Obama and other liberals. He said:

“For much of the Left, the whole debate about [carbon dioxide]  is really a Trojan horse because these are folks that never did want a free market. This was a group that was always looking for an excuse to impose more government regulation, more government oversight. … This is just their latest vehicle to do it.”

Jindal’s energy plan, co-authored by Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, is called “Organizing Around Abundance: Making America an Energy Superpower” and promises to usher in an “unprecedented” era of energy development and job growth.  Here are the main points:

1. Promote responsible development of domestic energy resources and construct infrastructure to transport it.

2. Encourage technological innovation of renewables and emerging energy without picking winners and losers. In other words:Stop giving taxpayer-funded handouts to politically preferred energy sources and technologies. Let the market work.

3. Unlock the economic potential of the manufacturing renaissance by putting America’s energy resources to work.

4. Eliminate burdensome regulations such as the Obama administration’s increased carbon dioxide restrictions on power plants.

5. Bolster national security by ending policies that ban the exporting of natural resources.

6. Pursue “no regrets” policies that reduce carbon dioxide emissions without punishing the U.S. economy by putting it at a disadvantage to those of other nations.

Loris gave points to the Jindal-Flores plan for building on “what we see and know to be successful” when it comes to American energy production.

“Free market policies that open access, remove handouts and peel back burdensome regulations will reward risk-taking, stimulate economic growth and provide Americans with affordable energy,” he said.

What the nation shouldn’t pursue, Loris added, is a policy of reducing carbon dioxide.

“That assumes carbon emissions are a problem,” he said.  Instead, “we can recognize that free markets that reward technological innovation can fuel the economy and reduce emissions.”

SOURCE





Comment by conservative Australian cartoonist  ZEG on Australia's recent abolition of the previous government's carbon tax







Power grid groans, blackouts roll through L.A. area as heat wave nears peak

And the billions spent on windmills and solar cells didn't help?

Power outages have been reported during an all-time high demand for electricity during the Southern California heat wave.

Heat wave peaks Tuesday, @LADWP predicts highest power demand ever
Power outages linked to L.A.'s intense heat wave rolled across the city Tuesday. As temperatures approached dangerous highs, harried crews restored service to one area only to be sent to another blackout.

The scorching heat wave has pushed demand for electricity to an all-time high, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power dispatched extra crews to respond to damaged equipment that had left thousands of customers without service.

As of 10 a.m., there were 3,300 customers without power, most of them in Los Feliz and Hollywood.

On Monday, LADWP reported that customers broke a record set in 2010, when they used 6,177 megawatts. On Monday, that figure hit 6,196 megawatts.

The utility said it expected even greater demand from its 1.4 million customers as the stifling heat wave was set to peak on Tuesday.

“Under these extreme conditions, our system is holding up quite well, but we urge our customers to continue to conserve to reduce strain on the grid,” LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said in a statement.

Blackouts were reported in some of the area’s hardest hit by the five-day heat wave, including Sun Valley, Burbank and Sherman Oaks, where temperatures have hit as high as 105 degrees. Other areas that were affected Tuesday included Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, the Valley and West L.A.

Despite the unprecedented demand for power, LADWP said it had enough equipment to handle the various transformer burnouts and power line failures.

"We’re prepared for emergencies," said spokeswoman Jane Galbraith.

Officials recommended customers set thermostats to 78 degrees or warmer between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m., when it requires the most energy to cool a room, and not to use major appliances until evenings or early morning. Closing blinds and curtains to limit direct sunlight also helps.

Temperatures across Southern California have remained in the triple digits as a weak off-shore flow holds cooler sea breezes at bay.

Several more temperature records could fall, including one set in 1909 when downtown L.A. hit 103 degrees. Woodland Hills, meanwhile, is expected to match its 14-year-old record of 109 degrees, and Burbank could top out at 105 degrees, a record set in 1984.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

*****************************************


Sunday, September 21, 2014



Brainless braying bimbo changes nothing with her latest book



BOOK REVIEW of "This Changes Everything" by Naomi Klein.

The laws of nature do not mandate a progressive paradise

Naomi Klein keeps coming up with fresh new ideas about how to spark an elusive mass social movement against capitalism and corporations. In her 2000 bestseller No Logo, the progressive journalist attempted to harness the nascent anti-globalization movement to unleash "a vast wave of opposition squarely targeting transnational corporations." In 2007, her book The Shock Doctrine bogusly asserted that free market institutions spread only by taking advantage of coups, wars, and natural calamities. The book debuted at the beginning of a massive recession and featured economist Milton Friedman as its chief villain. But still no dice.

Now comes Klein's newest screed, This Changes Everything. "Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war," she asserts. Climate science, Klein claims, has given progressives "the most powerful argument against unfettered capitalism" ever. If the stresses of globalization and a massive financial crisis cannot mobilize the masses, then the prospect of catastrophic climate change must.

Canonical Marxism predicted that capitalism would collapse under the weight of its class "contradictions," in which the bourgeoisie profit from the proletariat's labor until we reach a social breaking point. In Klein's progressive update, capitalism will collapse because the pollution produced by its heedless overconsumption will build to an ecological breaking point. "Only mass social movements can save us now," she declares.

Is she onto something? Man-made climate change, if unaddressed, may well become a significant problem for humanity as the 21st century advances. But is Klein right that progressive values and policies are "currently being vindicated, rather than refuted, by the laws of nature"?

First, a quick review of the state of the climate. The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is indeed increasing because humanity is cutting down forests and burning coal, oil, and natural gas. As a result, the world has warmed, glaciers are melting, and the seas are rising. Since 1951, average global temperature has been increasing at a rate of 0.12°C (0.22°F) per decade. "It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th Century," states the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2013 Physical Sciences report. The vast majority of climate researchers agree that man-made global warming is now underway. It bears mentioning, however, that the global average atmospheric temperature has not significantly increased for the past 17 years, a "pause" not predicted by the computer climate models.

Klein acknowledges that not all weather disasters can be attributed to climate change. But she doesn't let that stop her from trotting out tragic stories of hurricanes, typhoons, and droughts to shore up her thesis. She quotes the Pennsylvania State University climatologist Michael Mann: "There's no question that climate change has increased the frequency of certain types of extreme weather events, including drought, intense hurricanes, and super typhoons, the frequency and intensity and duration of heat waves, and potentially other types of extreme weather though the details are still being debated within the scientific community."

Yes, those details are still being debated among climate scientists. The United Nations' Special Report for Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (2012) projects that global warming will generate more heat waves, coastal floods, and droughts as the century unfolds. The researchers, however, could not draw firm conclusions about its effects on current trends in hurricanes, typhoons, hailstorms, or tornadoes. Given projected carbon dioxide emissions, the report notes that weather extremes will likely remain within the normal range of nature's own inherent variation during the next several decades.

What's more, while the world has experienced greater economic losses as a result of extreme weather, that's due primarily to the fact that the world has gotten richer and more populous: There are more people with more stuff of more value to destroy. A 2011 review of 22 weather damage studies in The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society reported, "The studies show no trends in the losses, corrected for change (increases) in population and capital at risk that could be attributed to anthropogenic climate change. Therefore, it can be concluded that anthropogenic climate change so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters."

Even more happily, a 2011 Reason Foundation report found that deaths from all "extreme weather events globally has declined by more than 90 percent since the 1920s, in spite of a four-fold rise in population and much more complete reporting of such events." This is mostly good news, despite This Changes Everything's scaremongering.

Klein's list of remedies is more alarming than her exaggerations of climate change's present-day effects. She wants to ban fracking, nuclear power, genetically modified crops, geoengineering, carbon sequestration, and carbon markets, thus turning her back on some of the climate-friendliest solutions currently on offer. She wants to block the Keystone pipeline, which would transport petroleum from Canadian oil sands to U.S. refineries; she would pressure pension funds and endowments to divest from fossil fuel companies; and she thinks we should transfer trillions of dollars to poor countries to pay off the rich countries' debt for dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

"We need a Marshall Plan for the Earth," Klein declares, updating one of the most tired historical metaphors for her purposes. "It is entirely possible to rapidly switch our energy systems to 100 percent renewables," she asserts. As an example of "one of several credible studies" showing how such a vast energy transformation could be achieved, she breezily cites a 2009 Energy Policy paper by two researchers, Mark Jacobson of Stanford and Mark Delucchi of the University of California, Davis. Jacobson and Delucchi think we can replace all coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power by 2030 with wind, solar, and hydropower while fueling a fleet of electric cars. How? By deploying 3.8 million 5-megawatt wind turbines, 5,350 100-megawatt geothermal plants, 500,000 1-megawatt tidal turbines, 720,000 0.75-megawatt wave power generators, 1.7 billion 3-kilowatt rooftop solar panels, 40,000 300-megawatt solar panel farms, and 49,000 300-megawatt concentrated solar power plants.

Sound easy? Well, if the world were to begin deploying these renewable energy technologies next year that would mean erecting approximately 250,000 wind turbines each year for the next 15 years. As of the end of 2012, there were a total of 225,000 wind turbines operating around the world.

Similarly, the world would have to install 113 million rooftop solar panel systems per year in order to meet the 2030 goal of 1.7 billion. In 2013, the U.S. installed a record 4,751 megawatts of solar panels, which would be roughly equivalent to 1.6 million 3-kilowatt rooftop solar panels. As of 2013, the entire world had installed 100 gigawatts (100 million kilowatts) of solar photovoltaic panels. Combining the rooftop and solar panel proposals, this hyper-solarization would mean deploying more than 10 times the current installed capacity of photovoltaic panels, not just once but every year for the next 15 years. And never mind that there are virtually no commercial wave or tidal energy production systems currently operating.

Klein never ever discusses how much her solutions to the climate crisis will cost. But Delucchi and Jacobson estimate a price tag of about $100 trillion for their program. That entails spending about $6.6 trillion per year from now until 2030, more than 11 percent of the entire world's 2013 output of $75 trillion. Such a crash plan for global energy transformation might be possible, but it would be a massive shift from our current course. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projected in July 2014 that $7.7 trillion total will be invested in building new power plants between now and 2030, of which renewables will get around two-thirds. And Klein accuses the proponents of free markets of "magical thinking"?

Klein is giddy over the renewable energy schemes in Germany and Denmark, which she lionizes as "two of the countries with the largest commitment to decentralized, community-controlled renewable power." Specifically, she adores Germany's national program of feed-in-tariffs (FITs), which have subsidized huge numbers of solar panels and wind turbines. Klein rhapsodizes that "roughly half of Germany's renewable energy facilities are in the hands of farmers, citizens groups, and almost nine hundred energy cooperatives." She adds that they are "offered a guaranteed price so the risk of losing money is low."

In fact, owners of new renewable energy plants are paid a guaranteed fixed rate for every kilowatt-hour they generate, at administratively set prices far higher than conventional generation. Utilities must take the energy generated and consumers must pay the fixed fee for the energy. Somehow, Klein concludes that these government-set prices "make renewable energy affordable."

But a July 2014 report by the Swiss economics consultancy Finadvice, commissioned by the U.S.–based Electric Power Research Institute, found that the cost of Germany's FIT program has been more than $412 billion so far and will rise to a total of $884 billion by 2022. As a result, German household electricity rates have more than doubled, increasing from $0.18 per kilowatt-hour in 2000 to $0.38 per kilowatt-hour today. Households in Denmark pay even more: $0.39 per kilowatt-hour. Meanwhile U.S. electricity prices have remained stable, at an average of around $0.13 per kilowatt-hour.

The installation of solar and wind energy systems has contributed to reducing Germany's carbon dioxide emissions, but at an estimated cost of more than $1,000 per ton avoided by solar power and $80 per ton avoided by wind power. The average price for carbon dioxide emissions permits in Europe hover at about $20 per ton. Electricity rates this high might well be the price for protecting the climate, but Klein is keeping her readers in the dark about what her proposals would cost them.

Even as Klein claims that it's a delusion to think we can rely on market forces and technological progress to solve our climate problems, a consensus to the contrary is emerging. Groups such as Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Breakthrough Institute, and the Brookings Institution favor a policy platform that rejects energy puritanism and embraces technology.

This new coalition spurns schemes to restrict energy use, such as the International Energy Agency's anemic recommendation that annual access to 100 kilowatt hours of electricity per person will be enough. (That's the amount of electricity that the average American burns in three days.) Instead, proponents of the new consensus tend to support more government spending on research and development aiming to make clean energy sources cheaper than fossil fuels.

Given pervasive and massive government meddling in energy markets, subsidizing low-carbon energy R&D is arguably the least bad feasible policy option for addressing climate change. The new consensus also embraces fracking. In fact, the U.N.'s Physical Sciences report identifies power generation using natural gas as a "bridge technology" that can be deployed now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; burning natural gas releases about half the carbon dioxide that burning coal does. Coal-fired electric power plants are largely being shut down in the United States because they are being outcompeted by natural gas–powered plants that emit far less carbon dioxide.

And nuclear power is back on the table, after a long decline. In 2013, climate researchers James Hansen, Kerry Emanuel, Ken Caldeira, and Tom Wigley—people not known for soft-pedaling the threat of global warming—issued an open letter challenging the broad environmental movement to stop fighting nuclear power and embrace it as a crucial technology for averting the possibility of a climate catastrophe through its supply of zero-carbon energy. The letter states that "continued opposition to nuclear power threatens humanity's ability to avoid dangerous climate change." They add, "While it may be theoretically possible to stabilize the climate without nuclear power, in the real world there is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear power."

Klein acidly dismisses reliance on science, technology, and markets to address the problems of climate change as embodying the attitude that "We will triumph in the end because triumphing is what we do." Well, yes. And that's a much better bet than imagining the laws of nature mandate a post-capitalist utopia.

SOURCE







"Fossil Free UK": divesting from reality

Fossil Free UK, a campaign group that encourages organisations to divest of financial products tied to the fossil-fuel industry, announced victory this week following the promise of Oxford City Council to follow an ‘ethical investment’ policy.

The council decided that it will ‘not knowingly invest directly in businesses whose activities and practices pose a risk of serious harm to individuals or groups’. These restrictions apply to companies which engage in ‘human-rights abuse’, ‘socially harmful activities’ and ‘environmentally harmful activities’.

Campaigning for a divestment in fossil fuels is ridiculous, considering how interrelated the modern industrial economy is with energy production. There is no economic activity or money in existence that doesn’t bare the supposed stain of fossil fuels. Not only is every social and economic activity in modern society powered by burning fossil fuels - these things rely on one another for their existence.

The great gains in productivity and the goods and services surpluses society has enjoyed since the Industrial Revolution have been generated by burning fossil fuels to power economic life. Food is much cheaper today due to technologies that are powered by fossil fuels; the electricity that powers the Fossil Free UK website exists because burning fossil-fuel-generated energy is so abundant that it can be used for non-essential social and economic activities. Theatres, art galleries and even ‘ethical businesses’ live off the energy surplus and profit made from an economy powered by the highly effective burning of fossil fuels. Renewable energy, on the other hand, is not yet feasible on a mass scale, and may never be.

Fossil fuels are central to our economies not because they hold shadowy sway in the corridors of power, but because we, the people (pejoratively known as the market), want and need the energy they produce. Shifting millions from an oil company into an ‘ethical’ business does not remove that money’s use or reliance on fossil-fuel energy. In the end, the only thing Oxford City Council is divesting from is reality.

SOURCE





Weather Channel Founder Explains the History of the Global Warming Hoax

John Coleman, an award-winning meteorologist and weatherman with sixty years of experience and founder of the Weather Channel, produced a video explaining the history of the man-made global warming hoax.

Coleman, a former broadcast meteorologist of the year of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), explains that after being a member for several years, he quit the AMS after it became very clear to him that “the politics had gotten in the way of the science.” Coleman explains that there is no man-made global warming, and he’s sure of it.

Coleman says that if there were evidence of man-made global warming, he would have been dedicated his life to stopping it: “I love our wonderful planet Earth. If I thought it was threatened by global warming, I would devote my life to stopping the warming!”

Now they call it “climate change” instead of global warming, because the warming has stopped, says Coleman, and that $4.7 billion in taxpayer money is funding “bogus reports” and “bogus research.”

Coleman explains that any warming or “climate change” is extremely negligible from a long-term perspective and certainly nothing unusual or alarming, and points out that Antarctic sea ice is close to an all-time high, and the polar bear population is as high as it’s been in recorded history.

In regards to rising sea levels, Coleman says that:
“It’s rising at about the rate of about six inches per hundred years, as part of this inter-glacial period. When North America was covered in a 400 foot thick ice core at the end of the last ice age, the oceans were low, and then as that ice melted, of course the oceans have risen. That rise has been gentle and is not important.”

More HERE  (See the original for video)




Is the Shale Revolution a 'Ponzi Scheme' or the End of Peak Oil?

A lot of folks are fervently forecasting that shale gas and oil production is a bubble about to pop, possibly producing an economic collapse similar to the one in 2008. Earlier this week, the left-leaning Center for Research on Globalization in Montreal dismissed the shale revolution as a "Ponzi scheme" and "this decade's version of the Dotcom bubble." In a column last year for The Guardian, Nafeez Ahmed of the Institute for Policy Research and Development cited studies predicting that U.S. shale gas production will likely peak in 2015 and oil production in 2017. In a July 2013 report for the Club of Rome—the same folks who brought us 1972's doom-mongering classic, The Limits to Growth—the University of Florence chemist Ugo Bardi declared that the "idea that a 'gas revolution' that will bring for us an age of abundance is rapidly fading" because "the data show that the gas bubble may be already bursting." A month later, Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute said, "It turns out there are only a few 'plays' or geological formations in the US from which shale gas is being produced; in virtually all of them, except the Marcellus (in Pennsylvania and West Virginia), production rates are already either in plateau or decline."

So was President Barack Obama wrong in 2012, when he claimed, "We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years"? Perhaps not.

The renaissance of oil and gas production in the United States has largely been the result of applying the technique of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), which releases vast quantities of hydrocarbons trapped in tight shale formations. The bubble theorists make much of the fact that production tends to drop more rapidly in fracked wells than in conventional ones, forcing the frackers to drill more holes just to keep up. They overlook the fact that drillers are working ever faster and cheaper and that newer wells tend to be more productive than earlier wells. How do we know this? Because the number of drill rigs has not increased in most shale fields, yet production continues to go up.

So what about Heinberg's claim that "production rates are already either in plateau or decline"? He's just wrong. The September drilling productivity report from the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) notes that since 2013, that gas production is up in every one of the "plays" cited by Heinberg. Production in the Bakken region of North Dakota grew 8 percent; the Eagle Ford, Permian, and Haynesville regions in Texas increased 15, 7, and 97 percent, respectively; the Niobrara region in Wyoming and Colorado rose by 29 percent; and the Utica and Marcellus regions in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia surged 142 and 47 percent. "We've been tracking this for 10 years, and recovery rates have gone up dramatically," says EIA forecaster Philip Budzik.

Meanwhile, the EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2014 shows the potential U.S. oil and gas resource bases are increasing, not decreasing. Bubble forecasters insist those estimates are way off-base. They point to the EIA's recent big flub when it came to estimating how much petroleum might be pumped from the Monterey shale formations in California. The agency initially prognosticated that as much as 13.7 billion barrels of oil might be produced, but it cut its estimate by 96 percent, to 600 million barrels, once it recognized the extraction challenges posed by the complicated geology of southern California. Whoops!

That's bad, but in the scope of estimates it's a blip, not a fatal error.

Back in 2000, the EIA Outlook report estimated that the U.S.'s technically recoverable petroleum resources were 124 billion barrels; it put natural gas resources at 1,111 trillion cubic feet (tcf). ("Technically recoverable" basically means that the resource can be extracted using current technology if the price is right.) Proved oil and natural gas reserves amounted to 22 billion barrels and 176 tcf, respectively. ("Proved" generally means the amount of resources that can be recovered from the deposit with a reasonable level of certainty.) When it came to shale and other tight rock formations, the 2000 report estimated that only 2 billion barrels of oil and 50 tcf of natural gas were technically recoverable. "Basically, in 2000 no one was even thinking that you could produce this stuff," says Budzik.

How time and technological progress make fools of all prognosticators! The 2014 EIA Outlook estimates that the U.S.'s technically recoverable oil resources are 238 billion barrels and natural gas resources are 2,266 tcf. Proved U.S. petroleum reserves have increased from their 2009 nadir of 19 billion barrels to over 30 billion barrels, and proved natural gas reserves are at 334 tcf now. In other words, estimates of technically recoverable U.S. resources of both oil and gas have nearly doubled in the past 15 years. Proved oil reserves have increased 50 percent, while proved gas reserves have also nearly doubled. Technically recoverable resources from shale and other tight rocks is now estimated to be 59 billion barrels of crude and 903 tcf of gas—a 30-fold and 18-fold increase, respectively, over the 2000 assessments.

Take the figure of 2,266 tcf of natural gas. Last year, Americans burned through 26 tcf of natural gas. At that rate, the estimated resource would last 87 years. Not the 100 years claimed by the president, but close enough for government work.

While EIA reserve and resource estimates have been trending steeply upward over the past decade and half, the agency tries to take into account uncertainties by sketching out scenarios to 2040 in which domestic oil and gas supplies are either 50 percent higher or lower than its reference case. Production of shale gas and oil is the key difference in the scenarios. In the high supply case, technically recoverable crude and gas plus proved reserves amount to 431 billion barrels and 3,683 tcf. Consequently, domestic oil production rises to 13 million barrels per day before 2035 and imports decline to near zero. Tight oil production peaks at 8.5 million barrels per day in 2035 compared to the reference case peak of 4.8 million barrels in 2021. Cumulative tight oil production reaches 75 billion barrels, up from 44 billion in the reference case.

In the low supply scenario, crude oil totals 210 barrels and gas totals 1,814 tcf; oil production reaches 9.1 million barrels per day in 2017 and then slowly falls to 6.6 million barrels per day in 2040. Tight oil production peaks in 2016 at 4.3 million barrels per day with a cumulative production of 34 billion barrels. Interestingly, the difference in price in the high and low supply scenarios is only $20 per barrel—$125 versus $145 (using 2012 dollars) in 2040.

The shale bubble proponents essentially are betting on the EIA low production scenario. They will be proven right if shale oil production does peak in the next year or two. We shall soon see. "The history of the industry is that we are always running out," says Budzik. "So long as we have a well functioning economic system that allows the price mechanism to adjust and encourages innovation we will see the resource base grow rather than diminish." Rising prices at the beginning of the 21st century did, in fact, promote more exploration and faster technological progress, resulting in the shale revolution the U.S. is currently enjoying. If this dynamic is not unduly hampered, it's a good bet that the prophets of bubble-bursting doom are wrong yet again.

SOURCE






Onshore gas find tipped as Western Australia's biggest in decades

"Peak gas" not in sight

Local oil and gas player AWE has claimed what may be Western Australia's largest onshore gas discovery since the 1960s, sending its shares up as much as 16 per cent.

Gas from the field, 50:50 owned by AWE and Origin Energy, is targeted for users in WA.

The news comes after the Senecio-3 well drilled by AWE and partner Origin Energy found gas deeper down in its Senecio gas field in the Perth Basin.

Together, the Senecio and deeper Waitsia fields could hold 360 billion cubic feet of gas, and potentially as much as 1.17 trillion cubic feet of gas, AWE said on Thursday.

AWE said that could make it the biggest onshore find in the state since the Dongara field.

The resources, which were foreshadowed by AWE when initial results from the Senecio-3 well came in early this month, lie close to existing gas processing plants and pipelines.

That meant the resources could be brought into production relatively quickly, AWE managing director Bruce Clement said.

The gas is classified as "tight", meaning it would require artificial stimulation to flow to the surface.

Even so, BBY analyst Scott Ashton noted the "big" size of the field and Mr Clement's positive comments about potential commercial prospects.

Mr Clement also said there was "substantial upside" to potential resources in the reservoir from unconventional gas in some levels of shale and coal at the site.

"We are now focusing on flow testing of Senecio-3 to establish commercial viability and the potential early, low-cost development of the Senecio and Waitsia fields," he said.

SOURCE




Obama Executive Actions: Fight Climate Change With Vets, Regulate Building and Energy Sector

In executive actions issued on Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that millions of federal dollars are being distributed by multiple government agencies to fund “renewable energy and energy efficiency” projects, including solar energy jobs for military veterans and solar energy installation in government buildings.

The lengthy announcement detailed the Department of Energy’s proposed new standard on building codes, limiting the use of  “electric or fossil fuel to humidify or dehumidify,” and roofing insulation requirements.

“The Obama Administration is committed to taking action to combat climate change,” the announcement states. “As part of that effort, today, the White House is announcing a series of public and private sector commitments and executive actions to advance solar deployment and promote energy efficiency.

“The executive announcements today altogether will cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030 – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year – and will save homes and businesses more than $10 billion on their energy bills,” the announcement states.

The announcement included a list of those executive actions as follows:

*    Partnering with up to three military bases to create a veterans solar job training pilot;

*    Investing $68 million (in grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture) in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in rural areas across the country, including 240 solar projects;

*   Proposing an energy conservation standard for commercial unit air conditioners that has the potential to save more energy than any previously issued standard;

*   Supporting funding for clean energy and energy efficiency for affordable housing;

*   Strengthening commercial and residential buildings codes; and

*   Harmonizing the power of national service and volunteerism to tackle climate change and its effects.

The announcement also states: “50 companies, states, communities and multifamily housing leaders from across the country are announcing commitments to deploy onsite solar energy and improve energy efficiency.”

It also says that to “build a skilled solar workforce, DOE’s Solar Instructor Training Network is launching a veterans’ job training pilot project” that will “assist at least 50,000 highly-qualified new solar installers to enter the industry by 2020.”

The “commercial sector leaders, low-income housing authorities and communities” taking part in the “president’s call to action” to increase the use of renewable sources and solar power include Cisco Systems, Becton, Dickinson and Company, Public Housing Authorities in Massachusetts, the District of Columbia Housing Authority, the City of Beaverton, Ore., Montgomery County, Md., the city of Charlottesville, Va., and the Jackson Family Wines in California.

Another contingency of states, cities, multifamily housing developments, retailers, commercial properties and manufacturers are pledging to increase energy efficiency, according to the announcement.

Obama’s executive actions “will create jobs, reduce carbon pollution, and improve energy efficiency,” the announcement states.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

*****************************************


Friday, September 19, 2014


Temp. rise 1910-1940 same as 1970-2000, IPCC does not claim former is from CO2

Tweet from Patrick Moore







A Closer Look At Record August Fraud From NASA

August was cool in the US, western Europe, southern Asia, parts of Siberia, Australia, Africa, South America, Antarctica and the Arctic. It was the first or second coldest summer on record north of 80N.

And NASA says it was the hottest August ever.



Compare vs. August 1998, when almost the whole world was hot.



We have passed a tipping point of full out fraud at government agencies.

SOURCE




What Can Conservatives Do About Climate Change?

Climate change is clearly a prime issue for Democrats who want to increase government power and reach. “The science is settled,” they insist, even as it’s apparent to those willing to look that the science is not settled at all. Undeterred, Democrats slander “deniers” and demand we all submit to the latest whims of the Environmental Protection Agency. But assuming for the sake of argument the climate is changing, is there a conservative response that would account for it without giving in to leftist demands?

To ask the question is almost to answer it. Yes, conservatives can address the environment without selling out to the other side of the political aisle.

Few deny that climate change is a real feature of the planet we inhabit. What we do deny is that man-made greenhouse gases are the sole cause, or that top-down government control is the only way to address it. Control is the true creed of ecofascists, and it’s why they bang on their highchairs so vociferously about the science as justification.

Climate alarmists make some assumptions that belie the anti-capitalist roots of their environmentalism. Writing in The Atlantic, historian Jeremy Caradonna elucidates: “The stock narrative of the Industrial Revolution is one of moral and economic progress. Indeed, economic progress is cast as moral progress.” He continues scornfully, “This narrative remains today an ingrained operating principle that propels us in a seemingly unstoppable way toward more growth and more technology, because the assumption is that these things are ultimately beneficial for humanity.”

Well, let’s see. Among other things, the Industrial Revolution and accompanying advances eased poverty by making goods and services more affordable (just think of all the comforts and conveniences the poor in the U.S. have today) and dramatically increased life expectancy (which leftists see as a problem). Those things are by no means utopian, nor did they come without cost, but they seem to us “ultimately beneficial.” Certainly beneficial enough to oppose self-interested bureaucrats and politicos who would degrade these advances in the name of questionable science.

So, what is a conservative approach? More specifically, how do we continue supporting an ever-burgeoning human population with growing energy needs while stewarding the planet?

James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute asserts, “[H]umans have a poor record of understanding risk in complex systems, full of interdependencies, feedback loops, and nonlinear responses. Perhaps humility and caution and consideration are warranted. Doing nothing about climate change, I would argue, is a one-way, all-or-nothing bet with huge potential downside.”

In a later post, Pethokoukis added, “[T]he choice doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing bet between (a) doing nothing about carbon emissions and (b) embracing a low-energy future of scarcity and stagnation. Rather, the challenge is creating a high-growth, high-abundance, high-energy future for mankind that minimizes the risk of a dangerous climatic shock.”

We would put it this way: The free market should put forth the best ideas for energy production with the goal of getting the most out of both conservation and wealth generation. Government policy should foster innovation rather than picking winners and losers through political favoritism and cronyism. The current system of heavily regulating some industries while lavishly subsidizing others is antithetical to a market-driven economy, and it’s no way to move forward.

Columnist David Harsanyi writes, “I suppose it makes me a technoutopian to trust that we can adapt and create ways to deal with whatever consequences – and obviously there are consequences – a thriving modern world drops on us. Historically speaking, though, would it have been better for humanity to avoid an ‘Age of Pollution’ and wallow in a miserable pre-Industrial Age, where poverty, death, disease and violence, were far more prevalent in our short miserable lives? Or would we have chosen global warming? I think the latter. And I think we’d do it again.” Think about that the next time Al Gore touches down in his private jet to tell you to quit driving your SUV.

Many people making many little decisions leads to much better and far faster results than one or a few making big decisions. And the risk of many “bad” little decisions is far less severe and far more recoverable than one or a few big bad decisions.

SOURCE





Scientists turn to Pope Francis to "save the planet"

It has been one of the most fraught relationships of recent centuries, at least in the popular imagination.

But a group of scientists are pinning their hopes for the salvation of the planet, in the face of climate change and habitat destruction - on religion.

Their case, set out in an essay in the journal Science, is being described a “watershed moment” for scientists and faith leaders alike.

It argues that engaging religious leaders, rather than relying on politicians, could hold the key to mobilising billions of people around the world to change aspects of their lifestyles to help prevent catastrophic climate change.

The article singles out Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church, with its 1.2 billion-strong network of followers, as the key but calls for religious leaders of every stripe to be recruited.

It argues that religion can provide a unique combination of “moral leadership” and global organisational structures required to bring about practical changes which could have an immediate effect, such as providing millions of the world’s poorest people with cleaner forms of fuel.

It comes as Pope Francis finalises a widely anticipated papal encyclical on the environment, throwing the full weight of the Catholic Church behind efforts to limit climate change.

The article is co-authored by Prof Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at the University of California, San Diego, and Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta, an economist based at St John’s College, Cambridge.

“Natural and social scientists have done their part in documenting the irreversible environmental damages (albeit with large uncertainties) that we have inflicted and in spelling out specific mitigation actions,” they write.

“The transformational step may very well be a massive mobilisation of public opinion by the Vatican and other religions for collective action to safeguard the well-being of both humanity and the environment.”

They argue that the “invisible hand” of the market, the term coined by the philosopher and economist Adam Smith to describe how economies can regulate themselves, can never achieve the kind of change needed to protect the planet.

“The rise of market fundamentalism and the drive for growth in profits and gross domestic product (GDP) have encouraged behaviour that is at odds with pursuit of the common good,” they write.

“Finding ways to develop a sustainable relationship with nature requires not only engagement of scientists and political leaders, but also moral leadership that religious institutions are in a position to offer.”

Professor Naomi Oreskes, a leading Harvard historian of science, said: “This is a watershed moment.

“For 20 years, scientists have been reluctant to speak out on the need to change business as usual for fear of being labelled ‘political,’ and reluctant to address the moral dimensions of climate change for fear of being labelled ‘unscientific.’

"Professors Dasgupta and Ramanathan remind us that we are all responsible for the common good.”

SOURCE



The EPA is more concerned with what sounds good than what actually works

In this hyper-partisan environment, it is good to know that a majority of Senators can still agree on an issue. When such a rare moment happens, the rest of us should pay attention, as it is probably something very important.

On September 11, 53 Senators (43 Republicans and 10 Democrats) signed a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), begging for a 60-day extension of the comment period for the “Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units” — also known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The original 120-day comment period — which is already longer than the traditional 60-day comment period — is coming to a close within the next 30 days (October 16).

Regarding the EPA’s new plan, the letter calls the coordination needed between multiple state agencies, public utility commissions, regional transmission organizations, and transmission and reliability experts: “Unprecedented, extraordinary, and extremely time consuming.” The Senators ask for more time so that states and stakeholders can “fully analyze and assess the sweeping impacts that the proposal will have on our nation’s energy system.” It also points out: “The EPA proposal provides no mechanism for adjusting the state emission rate targets once they are adopted”—which makes it imperative that the states can fully “digest” the rule, review the 600 supporting documents, and collect the data and justification for the states’ responses.

It is not just the majority of Senators who have concerns about the EPA’s proposed rule, a diverse and growing coalition, including the Exotic Wildlife Association, the Foundry Association of Michigan, California Cotton Growers Association, Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, The Fertilizer Institute, Georgia Railroad Association, Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation, electric utilities and co-ops, and city and state Chambers of Commerce from coast-to-coast, has sprung up in opposition to the plan. Yet most people are unaware of the potential impacts or of the pending deadline for public comment.

I have written on the CPP twice in the past few months — originally when it was first announced on June 2 and then after I gave testimony in Atlanta at one of the EPA’s four scheduled “listening sessions.” Upon release, we didn’t really know much — after all, it is, as the Senators’ letter explains, complex and sweeping. But as more and more information is coming out, we see that the impact to the economy and U.S. energy security will be devastating.

Despite my efforts to spread the word — with my second column on the topic being one of my most popular ever, I find that the CPP isn’t even on the radar of the politically engaged (let alone the average person). Because this is an issue of utmost importance, I am, once again, bringing it to the attention of my readers with the hope that you will share it with everyone you know. At this point, we don’t know if the EPA will extend the comment period, so please take time now to get your comments in. The Hill reports: “Adding 60 days to the comment period could make it harder for the EPA to finalize the rule by June 2015, as President Obama has ordered.”

I’ve written this week’s column with the specific intent of giving you verbiage that you can simply cut and paste into the comment form.

The CPP will radically alter the way electricity is generated, transmitted, distributed and used in America—all with dramatic cost impacts to the consumer. It is based on the discredited theory that climate change is a crisis caused by the use of fossil fuels emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It aims to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The combination of the CPP and previous regulation will shut down more than 40 percent of coal-fueled generation — representing 10 percent of all electricity-generation capacity — within the next 6 years.

What will this forced, premature elimination of America’s electric capacity do?

The proposed EPA plan will seriously threaten America’s electric reliability

Unless the EPA backs down on its harsh regulations and coal-fueled power plants get a reprieve, blackouts are almost guaranteed — especially in light of the projected cold winter. About the 2014 “polar vortex” that crippled the U.S., Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, at an April Senate hearing on grid reliability, stated: “Eighty-nine percent of the coal electricity capacity that is due to go offline was utilized as that backup to meet the demand this winter.” Murkowski’s comments were referencing coal-fueled power plants that are already due to be shut down based on regulations from five years ago, before the proposed CPP additionally reduces supply.

Affirming Murkowski’s comments, Nicholas Akins, president and CEO of Ohio-based American Electric Power Company Inc., sees the 2014 near crisis as a warning sign. At that same hearing he said: “The weather events experienced this winter provided an early warning about serious issues with electric supply and reliability. This country did not just dodge a bullet — we dodged a cannonball.” And, Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Philip Moeller said: “the country is undergoing an unprecedented energy shift in a very short time frame.” And added: “grid operators in the Midwest are struggling to gauge whether they will have sufficient capacity to handle peak weather during the next five years.”

While these comments are about the 2014 severe cold, Texas experienced a similar scare in 2011, when a protracted heat wave resulted in razor-thin reserve electric capacity margins. A Reuters report titled: “Heat waves pushes Texas power grid into red zone,” stated: “Texas has the most wind power in the country, but the wind does not blow during the summer.” Just a few months earlier, Texas ice storms forced rolling blackouts for hours because electric supplies dropped below demand.” All of these reports are before the projected closure of an additional 75 megawatts of coal-fueled electricity generation due to the new regulations. If McCarthy was serious when, prior to the release of the proposed regulations, she stated: “Nothing we do can threaten reliability,” she’d withdraw this plan, as it will do just that.

The proposed EPA plan will chase away more American industry

While the CPP appears to be about forcing the power sector into reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, there are spillover impacts of higher electricity rates on overall economic activity — especially energy-intensive industries such as steel, manufacturing, and chemicals. America’s abundance of affordable, reliable energy provides businesses with a critical operating advantage in today’s intensely competitive global economy. The EPA’s proposal will reduce America’s advantage, as it’s acknowledged that the proposed regulations will raise electricity rates in the contiguous U.S. by 5.9 percent to 6.5 percent in 2020. Europe, and especially Germany, is threatened by an industry exodus due to its higher energy costs that have been created by its move to increase green energy. Germany’s pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer is already making significant investment in its Chinese manufacturing operations, with expansion also taking place in Brazil and India. If industry continues to leave the U.S., the CPP will have the opposite effect. Emissions will increase as companies move to countries with lower labor costs, cheaper energy, and lax environmental policies. An additional unintended consequence will be more jobs lost in manufacturing.

The proposed EPA plan will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs

In late July, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Edwin D. Hill said: “If these rules are implemented as written, dozens of coal plants will shut down and with no plans to replace them, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost and global carbon emissions will rise anyway.”

Investor’s Business Daily reports: “The IBEW has now joined the United Mine Workers of America, the Boilermakers and several other unions opposed to the new anti-carbon rules.” The United Mine Workers of America has estimated that the rule will result in 187,000 direct and indirect job losses in the utility, rail, and coal industries in 2020 and cumulative wage and benefit losses from these sectors of $208 billion between 2015 and 2035.

The EPA rules hitting industry in rapid succession create uncertainty — and, as we’ve seen with Obamacare — uncertainty thwarts investment and hiring. The same industries that will be taking the regulatory hit from the CPP, are expecting additional impacts from the follow-on rules that are yet to be promulgated. No wonder the economy is sluggish and the jobs picture is bleak.

The proposed EPA plan will cause harsh economic consequences while having virtually no impact on the reported goal of stopping global climate change

From increased energy costs to job losses, the CPP will damage the economy. A statement from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on the EPA proposal, points out: “estimates regarding the damage to jobs and the economy created by poorly planned climate regulations have consistently been shown to be true in comparison to the overly optimistic predictions made by the EPA.”

Perhaps these economic consequences would be worth it, if they actually did anything to really reduce carbon-dioxide emissions — assuming what humans breathe out and plants breathe in is actually the cause of global warming. But even the EPA acknowledges that the CPP is less about reductions and more about being a global leader to “prompt and leverage international decisions and action.” In Hillary Clinton’s September 4 speech at Senator Harry Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit, she stated that the U.S. needs to lead other countries in green energy and that we need to show the world we are committed.

Yet, the U.S., which did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, is the first country to actually reduce carbon dioxide emissions and meet the Kyoto requirements. We are already a leader, but the other countries aren’t following — instead they are abandoning the sinking green ship and Germany, which claims to still be committed to the green ideology, is actually increasing its number of coal-fueled power plants and CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions from non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries — such as China and India—are projected to grow by nine billion tons per year. The Partnership for a Better Energy Future reports: “for every ton of CO2 reduced in 2030 as a result of EPA’s rule, the rest of the world will have increased emissions by more than 16 tons.” Our reduction in 2030 would offset the equivalent of just 13.5 days of carbon-dioxide emissions from China. The CPP will become the definition of “all pain and no gain.” Or, as economist Thomas Sowell calls it: “replacing what worked with what sounded good.”

The EPA’s October 16 deadline will be upon us before you know it. Take a few minutes now to send them your comments. Pick any of the above suggestions, customize them as you please, and send them on to the EPA. For America to grow, we need energy that is effective, efficient, and economical, rather than that which is threatened by the EPA’s flood of excessive and burdensome regulations.

SOURCE




Australia: NSW faces gas shortages due to onerous environmental requirements

The New South Wales government says "nothing is off the table" in its desperate bid to stave off potential shortages in gas supplies that could drive manufacturers from the state and push up household energy bills if coal seam gas projects by AGL Energy and Santos don't start up on time.

NSW deputy secretary for resources and energy Kylie Hargreaves said on Thursday that gas savings schemes were under study, as well as ways to help gas users switch to electricity, so additional gas could be made available instead to heavy users that rely on it.

But she said that the government was assuming that potential gas shortages would not arrive as early as some observers were warning, and that by the time it was assuming - 2018-19 - both AGL's Gloucester CSG project in the northern Hunter region and Santos's Pilliga CSG project should have come into production as long as they meet regulatory requirements for approval.

"We're looking at everything, nothing is off the table in all honesty because we just want to make sure we try and do whatever is reasonable to try and address the pressures in the industry," Ms Hargreaves told a conference in Sydney.

"The last thing we want is manufacturing going out the door."

NSW, which produces only 5 per cent of its own gas, has been slow to develop its plentiful CSG resources and projects such as Gloucester and Pilliga are running behind schedule.

Santos had been targeting mid-2014 to lodge an environmental impact statement for its controversial $2 billion Pilliga project but has yet to submit the document, putting its tentative schedule for production in 2017 in doubt. AGL has flagged a final investment decision for its Gloucester project in the December quarter this year. Those two projects could together supply 70 per cent of NSW's gas requirements by 2020, although production initiallly would be lower.

But industrial gas users at the conference, including petrochemicals producer Qenos, queried the NSW government's appreciation of the problems the lack of certainty on future gas supplies are having on their businesses, and signalled they were having difficulty sourcing gas from 2017 onwards.

Ms Hargreaves said the government was dealing with individual projects to try to facilitate gas supplies to customers that rely on them.

Western Power non-executive director Paul Underwood questioned whether the NSW government had considered the possibility of building an LNG import terminal to tackle the problem.

"We're open to be looking at any and all options," Ms Hargreaves said. "Our fundamental driver is security of supply, affordability of supply, and I'm happy to look at almost anything in that space."

The idea of a gas pipeline from the Northern Territory that could bring gas to NSW via South AUstralia or Queensland is also being supported by the NSW government, she added.

Ms Hargreaves said that the government also had a working group into how to help gas users to switch to electricity if necessary and possible, and making that gas available to heavy users that depend on it for their business. It is also studying the potential for a scheme that would create financial incentives for organisations to invest in projects to save gas, similar to the Energy Savings Scheme in electricity.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

*****************************************

Thursday, September 18, 2014



Are spiders getting bigger? Warm summer has caused arachnids to grow larger, say experts

Amusing.  On several occasions Warmists have claimed that warming will make people and animals SHRINK in size

Enjoyed the summer? You’re not alone: Experts have warned that homes may be set for an invasion of larger than normal spiders who have feasted on an abundance of prey in the last few months.

That’s because this year the warm summer has allowed certain spiders to eat more than usual and grow to their upper limits.

And it could mean we’ll see more and more large spiders in our homes in the coming months.

The mild summer has meant the eight-legged creatures have had plenty to eat and very few have perished.

With temperatures set to fall, experts from Sydney University have said the larger-than-usual house spiders will be heading indoors in the coming weeks to find a mate.

Professor Adam Hart of the University of Gloucestershire agreed with their predication and said: ‘This year has been seemingly a good one for the invertebrates which spiders feed on, and it’s quite mild out there.’

Spiders are growing far larger in the city than in rural environments, researchers have said.

They found that rather than thriving in areas with lots of vegetation, golden orb weaver spiders living in urban areas of Sydney, Australia, were larger and had more babies.

The say cities have an abundance of food and city lights could be to blame.

'City-dwelling orb-weaving spiders grow larger and could produce more offspring than their country cousins our research shows,' said Elizabeth Lowe of the University of Sydney, who led the research.

This study shows invertebrates are sensitive to urbanisation but that not all species are negatively affected by living in cities.

Both sexes stay in their webs until the autumn when the males become nomadic and search for females.

Mr Lawrence Bee of the British Arachnological Society tells MailOnline that people often notice larger spiders this year as the cold weather drives them inside, with males hunting for females.

But he agrees that the particularly mild summer we’ve had, not too hot and not too cold, will have given spiders access to more prey.

But Professor Hart said people have nothing to fear from big creepy crawlies because spiders are the a free pest control service.

SOURCE





Report: Green Lobbyists Kept ‘Revolving Door’ Spinning at EPA

Green lobbyists kept the “revolving door” at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spinning despite President Obama’s assurances to the nation that he slammed it shut on his first day in office, according to an interim report released Monday by the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute (E&E Legal).

“On my first day in office, we closed the revolving door between lobbying firms and the government so that no one in my administration would make decisions based on the interests of former or future employers,” Obama said in his weekly address on Jan. 23, 2010.

But based on EPA emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by E&E Legal and the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), “the truth, as this report documents, is quite different,” author Christopher Horner wrote.

“EPA’s connection with green pressure groups is a classic case of a ‘revolving door’,” Horner stated.  “It is noteworthy that every member of the EPA’s senior leadership who has not made his or her career in the EPA or state level environmental agencies has a history of employment with green pressure groups,” the report noted. Likewise, “outgoing officials frequently find themselves working for these same green pressure groups when they leave the EPA.”

Calling EPA “among the most closed, ideological and politicized organizations in government,” the report found that instead of keeping environmental lobbyists at arms’ length, as Obama had promised, EPA officials fostered a climate of “improper influence and collusion in pursuit of a shared and admittedly ideological agenda.”

“The EPA and various green groups do research for one another, coordinate messages with one another, support one another’s efforts and coordinate their efforts toward a shared goal, as if the EPA and outside green groups were one and the same,” Horner noted in the report.

Such “unprecedented” collaboration between green lobbyists and EPA officials runs “contrary to Executive Order 12674,” which states that “employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.”

“Contrary to candidate Obama’s promise to run the ‘most transparent administration in history,’ free of conflicts of interest, documents reveal that various environmentalist pressure groups with extreme agendas have unprecedented access to and influence upon their former colleagues and other ideological allies who are now EPA officials. EPA serves as an extension of these groups and neither EPA nor the groups recognize any distinction between them,” the report added.

The alleged collusion ranged from “working together to orchestrate public hearings” to “jointly target[ing] individual power plants to block under any new EPA standards to the Obama administration's internally declared "war on coal.”

EPA officials also “repeatedly gave green groups a leg up in submitting comments for the administrative record… before the record was open for comments to the general public,” the report stated.

And while green lobbyists were welcomed at the EPA to help write new regulations, private parties who would be most affected by the rules were told to wait until they were finished.

E&E Legal found that political appointees at EPA are “almost exclusively…environmental activists from anti-energy ‘green’ pressure groups” such as the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who “want coal eliminated entirely, and like-minded career bureaucrats."

Emails between Sierra Club lobbyist John Coequyt and Michael Goo, former head of EPA’s Office of Policy and former staff member at NRDC, showed they arranged to meet at a Marriott Hotel near EPA headquarters in Washington, presumably to avoid Coequyt having to sign the agency’s visitor log, the report noted.

Georgetown Law Professor Lisa Heinzerling -  the lead counsel in Massachusetts v. EPA, a 2007 landmark case in which the U.S. Supreme Court allowed, but did not require, EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant – was “brought to the Obama EPA immediately, clearly for the purpose of orchestrating mandatory regulation of CO2, which she just as quickly set about to do,” Horner pointed out.

Heinzerling served as the EPA’s senior climate policy counsel and associate administrator of the Office of Policy from January 2009 to December 2010. She “was given the lead role in formally obtaining the outcome that defined her career – reversing EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act and Massachusetts v. EPA, and otherwise crafting the ‘global warming’ agenda.”

“A more obvious appearance of conflict is hardly imaginable,” Horner pointed out.

The emails also showed that “EPA officials, and particularly senior Obama appointees driving the regulatory agenda, have minds that are unalterably made up on important regulatory issues… they had worked on as activists much of their lives…with a predetermined goal that would not be shaken by facts, economics, the effect on the American public, or any other concern,” he added.

“Under the law, this makes them unfit to participate in regulations on these topics.”

SOURCE





DA's abuse of discretion should be condemned, not cheered

PROSECUTORS ROUTINELY reduce criminal charges or waive them altogether. They agree to plea bargains. They settle misdemeanor cases in exchange for compensation to the victim. Under our legal system, the government's prosecuting attorneys have extraordinary leeway in deciding whom to prosecute, and for which offenses, and what punishment to seek.


Before a crowd outside the courthouse, District Attorney Sam Sutter waves a manifesto published in Rolling Stone by a well-known climate alarmist, Bill McKibben. "You know where my heart is," the DA declared.

So when Sam Sutter, the district attorney for Bristol County, announced last week that he would drop the criminal charges pending against two global-warming activists for illegally blocking a shipment of coal to a power plant in Somerset, Mass., he was exercising prosecutorial discretion — something DAs do every day.

Clearly, that's not why it made news. Nor is it why Sutter is being hailed — wrongly — as a hero on the environmental left.

Sutter made his announcement moments before Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward were to go on trial for their stunt in Somerset, for which they faced charges that included conspiracy to commit a crime, disorderly conduct, and negligent operation of a motor vessel. Conviction could have meant up to nine months' imprisonment. The defendants didn't deny their actions; they said they were willing to go to jail in order to protest the burning of coal and what they regard as the government's "terrible" climate policies.

"If I was convicted by a jury of my peers," O'Hara said in a radio interview, "I was ready and prepared to face the consequences of my action, knowing that that … is the sort of commitment that changes hearts when people see other people put their lives on the line for something that really matters." The defendants had planned to invoke a so-called "necessity" defense, arguing that though they broke the law when they blocked the shipping channel, they did so to prevent a greater harm — i.e., climate change.

But instead of proceeding to a jury trial, Sutter dropped the charges at the last minute. O'Hara and Ward were merely required to pay $4,000 as civil restitution to the town of Somerset for its costs.

Reasonable people can debate whether the protesters' blockade was a noble gesture of civil disobedience or merely obnoxious grandstanding, and whether their "coal is stupid" campaign reflects scientific thinking or crackpot hysteria. Did it make more sense to let them off with a monetary payment, rather than indulging them in what they hoped to turn into a high-profile trial of government policy and the morality of using fossil fuels? On that too there could be room for debate.

But Sutter went way beyond the ethical bounds of prosecutorial discretion. He announced, in a manner calculated to attract maximum publicity, that he was letting O'Hara and Ward off the hook because he agrees with their political views.

"Climate change is one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced," Sutter declaimed to a cheering crowd outside Fall River District Court. "In my humble opinion, the political leadership on this issue has been sorely lacking…. This symbolizes our commitment, at the Bristol County district attorney's office, to take a leadership role on this issue."

And to be sure no one missed the nakedly ideological character of his action, Sutter said he would "certainly" take part in a global-warming protest march planned for Sept. 21 in New York City. He held aloft a manifesto published in Rolling Stone by a well-known climate alarmist, Bill McKibben. "How do you like that?" Sutter called to the crowd. "So you know where my heart is."

The DA's behavior was worse than disgraceful, it was dangerous. It was an egregious abuse of his authority as a prosecutor: not that he dropped the charges against two lawbreaking protesters, but that he did so because he wants to promote their controversial cause — and to promote his own "leadership" on the issue.

Climate activists Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward aboard the vessel they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset, Mass.

Sutter isn't the first DA to misuse his prosecutorial discretion because he sympathizes with a criminal's outlook. "During the civil rights era," notes the Southern Poverty Law Center, "white prosecutors in Southern towns notoriously refused to bring charges against whites for racially based hate crimes against African Americans — even when the evidence in favor of prosecution was overwhelming."

It may be tempting for those who see climate change as a crisis to applaud Sutter's overtly political decision. Would they feel the same way about an anti-abortion DA who refused to prosecute demonstrators for blockading a Planned Parenthood clinic? Would they cheer a prosecutor whose antipathy to Islam led him to drop the charges against trespassers preventing construction of a mosque, and then to trumpet his "leadership" in doing so?

Prosecutors aren't elected to make public policy — not on fossil fuels, or civil rights, or abortion, or anything else. Their job is to enforce the law, not to enact it. What Sutter did was contemptible, not commendable, and no one should have been cheering.

SOURCE





Attack of the NGOs

Who are these None governmental Organizations (NGOs) shock troops and how do they operate? It's a vast matrix composed of both the private NGO groups and representatives of the UN and representatives of a large number of US federal agencies - all working together behind the scenes, quietly making policy for the rest of us. And when I attempt to expose them, they vehemently deny there is any collusion - "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." Sorry, the truth is - this is how it works. No vote. No public input. Just the enforcement of an agenda through the willing participation of private groups and government officials who forgot their purpose was to represent, not dictate to us. The NGOs are the storm troopers necessary to make it all happen.

One rarely hears of it. Few elected officials raise an eyebrow. The media makes no mention of it. But power is slowly slipping away from our elected representatives. In much the same way Mao Tse tung had his Red Guards, so the UN has its NGOs. They may well be your masters of tomorrow, and you don't even know who or what they are.

There are, in fact, two parallel, complimentary forces at work in the world, working together to advance the global Sustainable Development agenda, ultimately leading toward UN global governance. Those two forces are the UN itself and non-governmental organizations (NGOs.)

Beginning with the United Nations, the infrastructure pushing the Sustainable Development agenda is a vast, international matrix. At the top of the heap is the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).

Created in 1973 by the UN General Assembly, the UNEP is the catalyst through which the global environmental agenda is implemented. Virtually all of the international environmental programs and policy changes that have occurred globally in the past three decades are the result of UNEP efforts.
But the UNEP doesn't operate on its own. Influencing it and helping to write policy are thousands of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). These are private groups which seek to implement a specific political agenda. Through the UN infrastructure, particularly through the UNEP, they have great power.

The phrase "non-governmental organization" came into use with the establishment of the United Nations Organization in 1945 with provisions in Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter. The term describes a consultative role for organizations that are neither government nor member states of the UN.

NGOs are not just any private group hoping to influence policy. True NGOs are officially sanctioned by the United Nations. Such status was created by UN Resolution 1296 in 1948, giving NGOs official "Consultative" status to the UN. That means they can not only sit in on international meetings, but can actively participate in creating policy, right along side government representatives.

There are numerous classifications of NGO's. The two most common are "Operational" and "Advocacy." Operational NGOs are involved with designing and implementing specific projects such as feeding the hungry or organizing relief projects. These groups can be religious or secular. They can be community-based, national or international. The International Red Cross falls under the category of an operational NGO.

Advocacy NGOs are promoting a specific political agenda. They lobby government bodies, use the news media and organize activist-oriented events, all designed to raise awareness and apply pressure to promote their causes which include environmental issues, human rights, poverty, education, children, drinking water, and population control - to name a few. Amnesty International is the largest human rights advocacy NGO in the world. Organized globally, it has more than 1.8 million members, supporters and subscribers in over 150 countries.

Today these NGOs have power nearly equal to member nations when it comes to writing U.N. policy. Just as civil service bureaucrats provide the infrastructure for government operation, so to do NGOs provide such infrastructure for the U.N. In fact, most U.N. policy is first debated and then written by the NGOs and presented to national government officials at international meetings for approval and ratification. It is through this process that the individual political agendas of the NGO groups enter the international political arena.

The policies sometimes come in the form of international treaties or simply as policy guidelines. Once the documents are presented to and accepted by representatives of member states and world leaders, obscure political agendas of private organizations suddenly become international policy, and are then adopted as national and local laws by U.N. member states. Through this very system, Sustainable Development has grown from a collection of ideas and wish lists of a wide variety of private organizations to become the most widely implemented tool in the U.N.'s quest for global governance.

The three most powerful organizations influencing UNEP policy are three international NGOs. They are the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN). These three groups provide the philosophy, objectives and methodology for the international environmental agenda through a series of official reports and studies such as: World Conservation Strategy, published in 1980 by all three groups; Global Biodiversity Strategy, published in 1992; and Global Biodiversity Assessment, published in 1996.

These groups not only influence UNEP's agenda, they also influence a staggering array of international and national NGOs around the world. Jay Hair, former head of the National Wildlife Federation, one of the U.S.'s largest environmental organizations, was also the president of the IUCN. Hair later turned up as co-chairman of the Presidents Council on Sustainable Development.


The WWF maintains a network of national chapters around the world, which influence, if not dominate, NGO activities at the national level. It is at the national level where NGOs agitate and lobby national governments to implement the policies that the IUCN, WWF and WRI get written into the documents that are advanced by the UNEP. In this manner, the world grows ever closer to global governance.

Other than treaties, how does UNEP policy become U.S. policy? Specifically, the IUCN has an incredible mix of U.S. government agencies along with major U.S. NGOs as members. Federal agencies include the Department of State, Department of Interior, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Park Service (NPS) the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Fish and Wildlife service. These agencies send representatives to all meetings of the UNEP.

Also attending those meetings as active members are NGO representatives. These include activist groups such as the Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife Federation, Zero Population growth, Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club, the National Education Association, and hundreds more. These groups all have specific political agendas they desire to become law. Through their official contact with government agencies working side-by-side with the UNEP, their political wish lists become official government policy.

How can this be, you ask? How can private organizations control policy and share equal power to elected officials? Here's how it works.

When the dust settled over the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, five major documents were forced into international policy that will change forever how national policy is made. More importantly, the Rio Summit produced the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). UNCED outlined a new procedure for shaping policy. The procedure has no name, nor is it dictatorial. It is perhaps best described as "controlled consensus" or "affirmative acquiescence."

Put in simple street language, the procedure really amounts to a collection of NGOs, bureaucrats and government officials, all working together toward a predetermined outcome. They have met together in meetings, written policy statements based on international agreements, which they helped to create and now they are about to impose laws and regulations that will have dire effects on people's lives and national economies. Yet, with barely a twinge of conscience they move forward with the policy, saying nothing. No one objects. It's understood. Everyone goes along. For this is a barbaric procedure that insures their desired outcome without the ugliness of bloodshed, or even debate. It is the procedure used to advance the radical, global environmental agenda.

The UNCED procedure utilizes four elements of power: international government (UN); national governments; non-governmental organizations, and philanthropic institutions.

The NGOs are the key to the process. They create policy ideas from their own private agendas. The policy idea is then adopted by one or more U.N. organizations for consideration at a regional conference. Each conference is preceded by an NGO forum designed specifically to bring NGO activists into the debate. There they are fully briefed on the policy and then trained to prepare papers and lobby and influence the official delegates of the conference. In this way, the NGOs control the debate and assure the policy is adopted.

The ultimate goal of the conference is to produce a "Convention," which is a legally- drawn policy statement on specific issues. Once the "Convention" is adopted by the delegates, it is sent to the national governments for official ratification. Once that is done, the new policy becomes international law.

Then the real work begins. Compliance must be assured. Again, the NGOs come into the picture. They are responsible for pressuring Congress to write national laws in order to comply with the treaty. One trick used to assure compliance is to write into the laws the concept of third-party lawsuits.

NGOs now regularly sue the government and private citizens to force policy. They have their legal fees and even damage awards paid to them out of the government treasury. Through a coordinated process, hundreds of NGOs are at work in Congress, in every state government and in every local community, advancing some component of the global environmental agenda.

However, the United States Constitution's Tenth Amendment bars the Federal Government from writing laws that dictate local policy. To by pass this roadblock, NGOs encourage Congress to include special grants to help states and communities to fund the new policy, should they want to "voluntarily" comply.

Should a community or state refuse to participate "voluntarily," local chapters of the NGOs are trained to go into action. They begin to pressure city councils or county commissioners to accept the grants and implement the policy. Should they meet resistance, they begin to issue news releases telling the community their elected officials are losing millions of dollars for the community. The pressure continues until the grant is finally taken and the policy becomes local law. This practice has resulted in the NGOs gaining incredible power on the local level. Today, a great number of communities are actually run by NGO members as city and county governments are staffed by NGO members. They serve on local unelected boards and regional councils that the NGOs helped to create. Local representative government is slowly relinquishing its power to the NGOs.

Americans must begin to understand that the debate over environmental issues have very little to do with clean water and air and much more to do with the establishment of power. NGOs are gaining it, locally elected officials are losing it as the structure of American government changes to accommodate the private agendas of NGOs.

SOURCE




New EPA killer coolant regs a crony boon to DuPont

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to speed up the process of phasing out and banning the cooling agent used in most cars and refrigerators (HFC-134a).

This isn’t the first of such moves from the EPA. In 1978, the federal environmental agency began banning the use of Freon in the U.S. because the coolant allegedly caused damage to the ozone layer of the atmosphere, in favor of the HFC-134a coolant now facing universal bans from the EPA because of its “greenhouse” impact on the atmosphere.

The new chemical which is already replacing HFC-134a in Cadillacs and other vehicles is a compound known as HFO-1234yf.

There is, however, a peculiar connection between this series of federal bans, the timing of the bans, and the company holding the patents to the substances.

The EPA began banning Freon in 1978 — and DuPont’s patent for Freon expired in 1979. When DuPont invented Freon’s EPA-approved replacement (HFC-134a), they applauded the move to ban Freon. The catch was that, in addition to banning Freon from new development, refrigeration units would need to replace Freon with DuPont’s new HFC-134a.

A generation later, the same environmental alarmists have adopted new environmental scare tactics to create regulations that will profit the same corporate giants. The ozone layer has dropped out of national headlines in favor of global warming-causing “greenhouse gasses” (such as what you’re presently exhaling as you read this). Conveniently, HFC-134a has now been characterized as a very potent “greenhouse gas,” and therefore finds itself in the crosshairs of the EPA and environmental fear mongers everywhere.

But not to the detriment of HFC-creator DuPont. HFC’s proposed replacement (HFO-1234yf) was created by DuPont who now, along with Honeywell, holds a patent on the cooling chemical.

Therefore, EPA and DuPont again find themselves with mutually beneficial goals that are not necessarily better for the American people. Just as the replacement for Freon had detrimental effects on cooling technology, HFO-1234yf faces serious public safety questions, as noted by the Daily Mail in 2013.

Among the concerns, research has pointed out that the new product is toxic, combustible, and extremely dangerous when exposed to a heated engine (say, after a crash).

Auto manufacturers such as BMW and Mercedes Benz, who have been dealing with this issue in Europe, flatly refuse to use the new chemicals in their vehicles.

But none of that is stopping the EPA from moving forward to rewarding DuPont another major payday and putting people at risk for the sake of “environmental protection.”

SOURCE





At least 150 companies prep for carbon prices

At least 150 major companies worldwide — including ExxonMobil, Google, Microsoft and 26 others in the United States — are already making business plans that assume they will be taxed on their carbon pollution, a report out today says.

The U.S. has yet to impose a price on heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, but other nations are starting to do so as a way to address global warming, so U.S.-based companies are factoring an eventual one into their plans, says the international non-profit CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. The report is the group's first one to look at corporate carbon pricing on a global scale.

"We're seeing companies taking steps they're not required to, and they're doing this to be competitive in a carbon-constrained world," says Zoe Antitch, spokeswoman of CDP North America, noting many do business in multiple countries. "They're looking ahead. ... They're climate ready."

The report comes one week before leaders of 100-plus countries convene Sept. 23 in New York City for the United Nations' Climate Summit, at which leaders of many nations and corporations are expected to announce their plans to reduce carbon emissions.The World Bank is calling for carbon pricing as a key strategy.

"A price on carbon creates incentives," Rachel Kyte, the World Bank Group's special envoy for climate change, told reporters last week. By hiking the price of fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which emit the most carbon dioxide when burned, she said it spurs investments in energy efficiency and non-polluting renewable power such as solar and wind. She said Canada's British Columbia has had a "revenue-neutral" carbon tax since 2008, and its CO2 emissions have fallen while its economy has grown.

Yet in the U.S., some business leaders and GOP members of Congress remain opposed to taxing carbon emissions, saying it could raise consumer prices for energy. They helped defeat President Obama's legislative push for a national cap-and-trade system in which overall emissions are capped but companies that exceed the limits can buy emission credits from those that emitted less.

So Obama's Environmental Protection Agency, acting without Congress, proposed in June to cut carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants 30% by 2030. The EPA rule would allow states to meet varying reduction targets by closing coal-fired power plants, saving energy, using more renewable power or forming regional cap-and-trade programs.

California has its own such program, as do nine Northeastern U.S. states, which have created the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI.

Other countries have adopted them as well. China, which has several regional programs, has announced it will implement a national cap-and-trade by 2020. The European Union began its Emissions Trading Scheme in 2005. It covers power plants and factories. The United Kingdom has its own program to include additional emitters.

London-based CDP, which surveys thousands of companies every year on their climate policies on behalf of institutional investors, found that 496 companies worldwide say they already participate in a carbon-pricing scheme, including 96 U.S.-based corporations. Of these U.S. companies, 69 say they're regulated by the EU's program.

The CDP's first report on corporate carbon pricing, released in December, looked only at U.S. companies. Like this year, 29 companies said they had placed an internal price on carbon, 18 of which appear in today's report. Those 18: Delphi Automotive, Walt Disney, Apache, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Devon Energy, ExxonMobil, Hess, Cummins, Delta Air, Google, Ameren, American Electric Power, CMS Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, Integrys Energy and Xcel Energy.

Eleven fell off last year's list, including Wal-Mart, General Electric and BP, but others joined this year's disclosure, including Microsoft, Bank of America, Dow Chemical and Goldman Sachs.

"We expect the number will be a lot higher next year," says Nigel Topping, CDP's executive director, noting his group will specifically ask companies whether they've placed an internal price on carbon. He says the 2013 and 2014 surveys did not do that, so companies had to volunteer the information. He says some that fell off this year's list may not have stopped pricing carbon but simply did not report it.

New Orleans-based Entergy, which runs power plants and provides electricity to customers in four southern states, uses a carbon price to help determine the "best mix" of future energy sources, says Chuck Barlow, its vice president of environmental strategy and policy.

U.S. companies report setting a range of carbon prices, from Microsoft's low of $6 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted to ExxonMobil's $80 per ton — up from $60 per ton last year.

"The risk of climate change is clear, and the risk warrants action," William Colton, ExxonMobil's vice president of corporate strategic planning, said in March in disclosing how the world's largest oil and gas producer assesses the risks of its fossil fuel assets. He said the company, which has shifted some of its production from oil to less-polluting natural gas, is trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and is supporting research that could lead to technology breakthroughs in energy.

SOURCE

***************************************

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.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here

*****************************************