Thursday, March 09, 2017
Five Reasons Why Ridicule Is The Proper Response To Global Warming Alarmists
If it seems that the climate radicals are acting desperately because they sense that their "movement" is dying, then that's probably an accurate assessment. From EPA employees threatening resistance to Donald Trump's presidency to junk-science guy Bill Nye appearing on Fox News to tell the world that humans are fully responsible for "the speed that climate change is happening," the irrational behavior is overflowing.
Of course the alarmists can't give up their shrillness. They're still bullies who try to marginalize, shame and silence those who don't agree with their narrative that man is dangerously overheating the planet through his greenhouse gas emissions.
But they're the ones who should be mocked. Here's why:
* They're wrong. The devastating heat they predicted simply hasn't happened. Climate scientists Roy Spencer, John Christy and others have showed this numerous times.
* They've hidden their true agenda. The zealots want to destroy capitalism and take over the world's economy.
Two years ago, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change, said "this is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years."
A year later, Ottmar Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from 2008 to 2015, admitted that "we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy."
* They're hypocrites. Every year, delegates, many of them on private jets, fly to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, from where they hector the rest of us about our carbon footprints. The busybodies also regularly jet to the U.N.'s global warming conferences, held in such global hot spots as Paris, Cancun, Copenhagen and Milan. Wherever they go, their accommodations are always lavish, their travels well attended to, and their dining sumptuous. Of course their goal is to strip 21st-century comforts from everyone else in the name of "fighting" climate change.
The hypocrite-in-chief is of course Al Gore. While constantly haranguing the world about man's carbon emissions, he's lived the very lifestyle he condemns. From a 20-room home that requires yacht-loads of energy, to banking as much as $100 million from the oil barons who bought his old cable network, to his habit of using private jets to whisk him away to preach his sermons about the evils of fossil-fuel use, his life is a lie.
* They're authoritarians. Merely disagreeing with them is much like disagreeing with the Castros. The clearly deranged Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has said that some climate skeptics should be prosecuted as war criminals. Last March, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the Senate Judiciary Committee that there had been official discussions about prosecuting "deniers."
This came at the prompting of Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who has suggested the government use organized-crime laws to go after the same people. Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva has targeted, through the use of government police power, climate researchers whose work he doesn't like, while academic activist David Suzuki has encouraged Canadian politicians to find "a legal way of throwing our so-called leaders into jail because what they're doing is a criminal act."
* Leonardo DiCaprio. Here's a high school dropout who's become fabulously rich doing what kindergartners do every day — pretending to be someone else and imagining that they are doing something they aren't doing, and probably never will or would do. It's called acting and it pays some of its practitioners well.
But it doesn't give them gravitas, something DiCaprio knows he's lacking and is struggling mightily to obtain. The fact that DiCaprio fancies himself to be a climate expert and a model of environmental morality, and the fact that elitists have enthusiastically gone along with his adult playacting, are strong indictments against the alarmist community.
Rich environmentalists oppress poor people
Environmentalism remains enduringly popular among the world’s rich elite. Activists would like us to believe they are motivated only by the purest of intentions, but is that really true? They routinely oppose development and discount the needs of ordinary people, but their campaigns are often motivated by factors that have no redeeming merits at all.
In the remote, mountainous jungles of Aceh province, on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, lies the Mount Leuser National Park, a World Heritage Site. It is home to the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran elephant and Sumatran rhinoceros, all of which are listed as critically endangered. It forms part of the Leuser ecosystem, one of the largest and richest rainforests in the world, covering an estimated 2.6-million hectares from the Indian Ocean to the Malacca Strait.
Like most rainforest regions, Leuser is under threat from development. According to one source, about 21,000 hectares of the ecosystem are razed each year, mostly to make way for palm oil plantations. Other sources put the damage at about 4,000 hectares every six or so months, mostly on land zoned for non-forest uses. These numbers represent only a fraction of a percent of the ecosystem’s surface area, but forest coverage in Indonesia has fallen from 65% to 50% in the 25 years since 1990.
The fight against deforestation is a long and ongoing battle, in which environmentalists protecting an important ecological sanctuary are pitched against impoverished locals who want the benefit of jobs, roads, hospitals, farms and schools.
Unsurprisingly, rich celebrities with carbon footprints the size of small countries have poked their noses into that fight. Leonardo DiCaprio, the actor and climate change hypocrite who reportedly flew a beautician from Sydney to Los Angeles to do his eyebrows for the Oscars, recently made deforestation in the Leuser ecosystem a piller of his alarmist film, entitled Before the Flood. The film was broadcast worldwide, to mostly positive reviews.
Recently, however, a new front opened in this fight. Geothermal energy, which depends on steam generated by the subterranean heat of geologically active regions, is an important potential power source for Indonesia. With an installed capacity of 1,335 megawatts at the end of 2012, it is the third-largest producer of geothermal energy in the world, and set to overtake the United States and the Phillipines. Estimates of the exploitable potential of its geothermal energy vary widely, from 9 gigawatts to 27 gigawatts. The higher of these estimates would give Indonesia the world’s largest known geothermal resources.
Indonesia has long had ambitions to develop its geothermal reserves, in a bid to shore up its limited power supply and bolster it with renewable energy. However, progress has been slow, for lack of capital financing among other difficulties. Still, where geothermal energy is available, it is an unusually effective and clean resource, and Indonesia has been cited prominently as an example of the potential of geothermal energy. It is a reliable source of both base load and peak load electricity, combusts no fossil fuels, and produces no emissions other than steam. On the surface, it has a small footprint, needing no more space than a gas turbine or coal-fired power station. As effective, environmentally-friendly energy goes, geothermal is probably the best option known to man.
One would think, therefore, that green activists would welcome the possible development of a new geothermal plant in Indonesia. But a proposed development by Turkish company Hitay Holdings would require rezoning of 800 hectares of the Mount Leuser National Park. The governor of Aceh province, Zaini Abdullah, is in favour of the project. The Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry shot him down.
Although the site identified for the plant is very far from the low-lying deforestation hotspots, would represent only 0.1% of the Mount Leuser National Park’s area, and would amount to only a small fraction of the damage that other development is allegedly doing every year, environmental groups are dead against it. The media followed suit, with emotive appeals claiming that a geothermal plant would pose a threat to endangered species and rainforests alike.
In a separate development, veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, whose beautiful nature films have been accused of lulling us into a false sense of security about the state of the environment, attacked plans for a bridge to be built across the Kinabatangan river on the Malaysian side of Borneo. He argues that a bridge will harm endangered wildlife and threaten the vast patchwork of wildlife sanctuaries along the river. He has little sympathy for the locals who want the bridge to cut travel times between villages and to local hospitals.
These stories raise the question of how limited the environmental impact of a project would have to be, or conversely, how great the need of the locals has to be to earn the support of global eco-activists and environmental officials.
Environmentalists often try to appeal to our common-sense instincts to preserve our world from harm. Nobody would dispute that a healthy, productive environment is desirable, and indeed essential for continued human welfare and prosperity.
However, in their zeal to oppose environmental degradation, environmentalists routinely overstate their case. When infrastructure or other development projects are proposed, their knee-jerk reaction is to object, and never give ground. Instead of seeking to minimise harm, they insist that no environmental price is worth the benefit of development.
There are strong incentives for environmentalists to become fundamentalist extremists, who brook no human development that might disturb a supposedly pristine environment. To understand why, allow me to propose four possible motivations: environmentalism as a religion, environmentalism as a political tool, environmentalism as sensationalism, and environmentalism as an industry.
The first was eloquently expressed by the late author and screenwriter, Michael Crichton, in a speech given to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco in 2003. It was scrubbed from his personal website after his death in 2008, but remains archived here and there on the internet. Crichton posited the idea that “environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths”, which appeals to urban atheists.
“There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all,” he said. “We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.”
Faith can be justified by any evidence, or none at all. The faithful live in certainty that they know the one and only truth, and they invariably denounce those who point to evidence that justifies scepticism as immoral or heretical. Crichton’s point was not to denounce environmentalism per se. He argued that we need an environmental movement, but not one that is as dogmatic and inflexible as a religion.
Politically, environmentalism is also useful. The socialist project may have failed, but that has not stopped governments from seeking to expand their power, nor has it stopped left-wingers from finding ever more excuses to advocate for higher taxes and more regulation.
In environmentalism they have found an over-arching justification that affects almost every aspect of our lives. It rails against private profit and prosperity, seeking to redistribute the fruits of private enterprise to the general public instead.
Because the call for ever-expanding government intervention to curb private development is based on unproven – and unprovable – predictions about the future, it becomes very hard to argue against. What is more important: personal liberty, private profit and rising prosperity, or government protection from the threat of future calamity? It is not intuitively obvious that the answer is often liberty, profit or prosperity, because the calamity might not occur. It is anathema to many that the answer can ever be prosperity despite a real risk of future calamity.
For an entertaining take on the notion that environmentalists are green on the outside, and red on the inside, pick up a copy of British journalist James Delingpole’s book, Watermelons.
Prophecies of environmental doom not only appeal to the obvious audience, which contrary to all the evidence believes that the world is headed to hell in a handbasket. Whenever there’s a story about the threat of environmental destruction, I’m likely to click on the link, too – if only to denounce or deride the apocalyptic alarmism.
If it bleeds, it leads, is an age-old media trope. And what better headline than a prediction that a fluffy animal, or worse, all of humanity, is facing disaster?
The media consists largely of wealthy, urban elites, many of whom instinctively buy into the environmentalist religion or have socialist sympathies. But they’re also driven by pure profit. Readers and viewers mean revenue, and sensationalist stories of doom are guaranteed clickbait, which can be packaged for sale to advertisers.
Finally, the profit motive is not limited to the media. The environmental industry itself is vast. I’d tell you how vast, but they charge $3,995 for that information. This is the highest price I’ve seen for any research report on any industry ever, which underlines just how rich the industry is.
Billions of dollars of government funding is available for environmental research and projects. “Green technology” companies can earn large subsidies to help them compete against more economically efficient incumbents. Millions of jobs rely on supporting the environmental mantra, and that includes thousands of career scientists.
When you hear someone say “planet before profits”, the correct translation is “our profit before yours”. The idea that environmentalists are altruists who have no motive other than to save the planet from the rest of us is poppycock. There are certainly good people in the environmental movement, but many are no less self-serving than any capitalist. Conversely, there are greedy people in private companies, but most are full of good people who sincerely want to earn their living by making the world a better place for the rest of us.
Environmentalists do not have a monopoly on the truth, or on being good. They are often wrong, especially when they prophesy doom. And they are seldom more wrong than when they deny poor people a chance at building bridges or developing renewable energy.
It’s time we acknowledge that when environmentalists put planet before profits and prosperity, they might not be doing it out of a genuine fear for the environmental consequences. They can be motivated by faith, politics, sensationalism or profit, just like the rest of us, and these motives are powerful enough to trump their regard for humanity.
To repeat an old dictum of mine: distrust environmentalists just as much as you would distrust corporate spin. DM
Five Key Reasons to Pull Plug on Wind Subsidies
A tax reform plan drafted in part by incoming Trump administration Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin bodes poorly for wind industry lobbies hoping once again to extend current federal production tax credits (PTCs) which are set to expire by 2021.
Now set at 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, the original subsidy intent was to "level the energy market playing field" by stimulating technology development to achieve competitive costs, reduce fossil fuel "climate pollution," and advance American energy independence.
None of these goals are really any closer to realization now than when these subsidies were first enacted in 1992. Here are some key reasons:
* Remote Possibilities with Fickle Trickles:
First, consider that even gargantuan wind installations covering thousands of acres generate only small amounts of unreliable power. The most ideal wind locations are remote from large urban and industrial regions where power demands are highest. This results in large transmission infrastructure costs and power loss inefficiencies.
The quality of that power isn’t any bargain either. Unlike coal and natural gas-fired plants which provide reliable power when needed — including peak demand times — wind installation output varies substantially with local daily, monthly and seasonal weather conditions independent of demands. This intermittence trend favors colder night-time periods rather than hot summer late afternoons when power is needed most.
Texas, one of the most promising wind energy states, averages only about 16.8 percent of the installed capacity,
* Shadowy Backup Juggling and Grid Balancing Acts:
Those intermittent outputs require access to a "shadow capacity" which enables utilities to balance power grids when wind conditions aren’t optimum . . . which is most of the time.
Anti-fossil energy promoters aren’t eager to mention that those "spinning reserves" (which must equal the total wind capacity) are fueled by the same sort of coal or natural gas turbines that those friendly breezes were touted to replace.
Second-by-second grid management to insure uninterrupted power transfer becomes increasingly complex and inefficient as more and more intermittent sources are added to the power supply mix. Fossil-fueled turbines must be constantly throttled up and down to balance the grid, and wind energy overloads produced on blustery days must be dumped when regional power systems don’t have room for it. This introduces big inefficiencies… much like driving a car in stop-and-go traffic.
* Short on Longevity, Long on Maintenance:
A major study of nearly 3,000 on-shore British wind farms found that the turbines have a very short 12 to 15 year operating life, not the 20 to 25 year lifespans applied in politicized government and industry projections. The report also concluded that a typical turbine generated more than twice as much electricity during its first year than upon reaching 15 years of use. Performance deterioration for off-shore installations is even far worse.
The author, an Edinburgh University economist and former World Bank energy advisor, estimated that routine wear and tear will more than double the cost of electricity produced by Britain’s wind farms in the next decade in order for the government to meet present renewable energy targets.
* Environmental and Neighbor Opposition:
Along with high lifecycle investment and operations costs, let’s also add environmental costs to the mix. As with all other energy sources, many self-proclaimed environmentalists aren’t all keen on wind turbines either. A Sierra Club official described them as giant "Cuisinarts in the sky" for bird and bat slaughters. Nearby landowners are fighting them in the courts for un-neighborly human offenses.
"Not in My Backyard" (NIMBY) opposition typically arises from an aesthetic perspective where turbines and associated transmission lines dominate scenic vistas. Other local wind critics have legitimate health concerns about land-based installations. Common symptoms include headaches, nausea, sleeplessness, and ringing in ears resulting from prolonged exposure to inaudibly low "infrasound" frequencies that even penetrate walls.
* Competitive Free Market Fictions:
The existence of the entire wind power industry depends upon federal subsidies. As Warren Buffett, a big wind power investor has admitted, "[O]n wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit."
Production tax credits were first enacted to provide a "temporary boost" for fledgling wind and solar industries two and one-half decades ago. That federal charity cost taxpayers $12 billion in 2014, amounting to around $23 per megawatt of power produced . . . about half the wholesale price of electricity.
This was about 50 times more subsidy support than received by coal and natural gas combined, yet wind and solar together produced less than five percent of total U.S. electricity. Wind farm hand-outs are even more generous when state and local tax credits are factored in.
No, wind is certainly not a "free," reliable or economically competitive energy source. Nor is it a sustainable charity we can continue to afford blow money into.
Michael Mann's Climate Stimulus
A case study in one job 'saved.'
As for stimulus jobs—whether "saved" or "created"—we thought readers might be interested to know whose employment they are sustaining. More than $2.4 million is stimulating the career of none other than Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann.
Mr. Mann is the creator of the famous hockey stick graph, which purported to show some 900 years of minor temperature fluctuations, followed by a spike in temperatures over the past century. His work, which became a short-term sensation when seized upon by Al Gore, was later discredited. Mr. Mann made the climate spotlight again last year as a central player in the emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, which showed climatologists massaging data, squelching opposing views, and hiding their work from the public.
Mr. Mann came by his grants via the National Science Foundation, which received $3 billion in stimulus money. Last June, the foundation approved a $541,184 grant to fund work "Toward Improved Projections of the Climate Response to Anthropogenic Forcing," which will contribute "to the understanding of abrupt climate change." Principal investigator? Michael Mann.
He received another grant worth nearly $1.9 million to investigate the role of "environmental temperature on the transmission of vector-borne diseases." Mr. Mann is listed as a "co-principal investigator" on that project. Both grants say they were "funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."
The NSF made these awards prior to last year's climate email scandal, but a member of its Office of Legislative and Public Affairs told us she was "unaware of any discussion regarding suspending or changing the awards made to Michael Mann." So your tax dollars will continue to fund a climate scientist whose main contribution to the field has been to discredit climate science.
China’s Electric Cars Sales Plunge After Subsidy Cuts
Electric vehicle sales in China plunged 75% in January after the government cut subsidies by more than a fifth starting this year, raising the question of whether the country can sustain demand for green cars without generous grants.
China is considering dialing back or delaying proposed measures aimed at pushing automakers to produce more electric vehicles, after industry feedback that the targets are overly ambitious.
Under draft rules released in September for public consultation, automakers will be required to obtain a new-energy vehicle credit score of 8 percent next year, derived from different weightings assigned to various types of zero- and low-emission vehicles. Companies that fail to meet the requirement face fines or have to buy credits from those that exceeded the minimum.
Average production of new-energy vehicles last year may have contributed only about 3 percent of the score required, 5 percentage points short of the proposed 2018 target, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel told German media in November that he expressed the view to his Chinese counterpart that the 2018 targets were not attainable.
Miao Wei, China’s minister of industry and information technology, told Bloomberg News in an interview in Beijing on Sunday that his ministry is considering either lowering the credit requirement in percentage terms or delaying the implementation date.
“We are still working on the regulation,” Miao said on the sidelines of the opening of the annual session of the National People’s Congress. “It may be finalized around May or June.”
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
Posted by JR at 1:26 AM