Sunday, August 30, 2015



UK: End of the solar panel boom as subsidies slashed by Tories

Ministers moved to slash massive subsidies for solar panels yesterday, amid signs the Government’s enthusiasm for green energy is waning.  In a surprise move, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced a consultation aimed at cutting the subsidies by almost 90 per cent.

If implemented, such a step would remove virtually all incentive for home owners to install the panels and could mean the end of Britain’s solar power boom.

In recent weeks, ministers have tightened planning restrictions and reduced subsidies for wind farms. They also closed the £540million Green Deal, which gave out loans for domestic energy efficiency improvements.

Ministers claim they are taking ‘urgent action’ to tackle overspend within the Department of Energy and Climate Change and to protect ‘hard-working bill payers’.

Its latest consultation says government spending on feed-in tariffs – schemes that pay producers a subsidy for the electricity they generate – should be limited to between £75million and £100million by 2018/19.

Feed-in-tariff payments on domestic solar panels will also be cut by £192 a year for the typical household, according to calculations.

The Tories have already announced that taxpayer subsidies for wind farms are to be axed a year early, part of a ‘big reset’ of support given to renewable energy.

The Government is expected to go further and review all support given to green energy which is funded by levies on bills worth £4.3billion-a-year. The latest announcement will come as an embarrassment for energy minister Amber Rudd, who promised in May to ‘unleash a new solar revolution’.

Green energy campaigners have criticised the ‘absurd’ Government plans as ‘politically motivated’.

Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Alasdair Cameron said: ‘From California to China, the world is reaping the benefits of a solar revolution, yet incredibly in the UK David Cameron is actually trying to shut down rooftop solar.

‘These absurd solar cuts will send UK energy policy massively in the wrong direction and prevent almost a million homes, schools and hospitals from plugging in to clean, renewable energy. This is politically-motivated, and will take away power from people and hand it back to big energy firms.’

The DECC said it was taking urgent action to ‘get a grip of this overspend’, adding: ‘Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly.’

SOURCE





Europe's Carbon Credit Program Only Made Money -- for some

Well this is awkward. A study from the Stockholm Environment Institute investigating the effectiveness of the carbon credit program run by the United Nations found that it backfired. Well, unless the real intent was to enrich some at the expense of others.

Instead of trimming greenhouse gas emissions, the program increased them by 600 tons. How? For some countries, there was money to be made or a con to be played. The BBC reports that 73% of the programs the institute studies would have happened naturally, without any extra effort to cut back on emissions or save the trees.

“Imagine that,” Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw writes. “The Russians in particular did quite well by citing any number of programs, including one where they agreed to stop burning coal waste at mining facilities which was dumping massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

The catch was that the Russians had not previously been burning the coal waste. They only started doing it so they could stop and claim the credits for it. Of course, when the Russian representative was reached for comment, he said, ‘It’s simply not true.’”

It just goes to show that Hillary Clinton was right — at least about some of her fellow statists: You can’t change hearts and minds, only the law. And those unchanged hearts will make a mockery of intrusive government programs.

SOURCE






A mockery of "renewables" -- from the Left

See below

A recent Greenpeace tweet celebrated the fact that renewable energy is now the world's second largest source of electricity: "Woohoo! #Renewables world’s 2nd largest source of electricity.”

Is it useful to mislead people about our progress in fighting climate change? I think not. People rarely re-assess their prejudices without some incentive and if they believe the renewable band wagon is travelling well, then why bother thinking about anything else?

Here's a few charts from the reports (1 and 2) which prompted the story and the tweet:



First, look at the top chart. There are three nominally renewable wedges in the chart and the only one of any significance is hydroelectricity. Wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and all the other subsidy sucking technologies aren't even worth their own slice in the pie.

Is hydroelectricity green? Typically, hydroelectric dams flood vast areas, totally trashing both human and animal habitats in the process; preceded of course by displacement and death respectively.

The resulting turgid watery habitat generates significant quantities of methane that weren't generated before; not just from rotting vegetation, but as the methane dissolved in the water is released on the spillways of the hydroplant.

The dam builders have been getting a free lunch for decades now by generating significant greenhouse gases but not having to list them in their Greenhouse gas inventories. Even if the reservoir created is small, hydro dams typically change river flows with a wide range of ecological consequences... generally negative unless your particular ecological interest extends to jet or water skis.

Is this the kind of ecological devastation Greenpeace should be woohooing about?

And the deeper you dig the worse it gets.

Looking at the IEA data on the global change in electricity production between the 2010 report and the most recent 2014 report, we can see that renewable growth between 2008 and 2012, even including hydro, hasn't even matched fossil fuel growth, let alone displacing anything.

Put simply, while renewables now have a slightly bigger percentage of the pie, the area of the pie they need to replace is larger than ever. It's like climbing a hill where you go up 300 meters only to find that the hill is growing and is now 600 meters higher than when you started.

Pulling the plug on nuclear in Japan and Germany, due respectively to mass hysteria and viral ignorance at the highest levels, has only made matters worse.
We don't need anybody misleading people into thinking that we can beat climate change with sloppy thinking and toy energy systems.

The situation looks even worse when we consider not just electricity, but the full gamut of fossil fuel use.

Again, as the two graphs show, renewable energy, as distinct from just electricity, is mostly hydro or biofuels and biofuels are even more of an environmental disaster than hydro electricity. Nor do they displace enough CO2 to be useful in any solution to our emissions problems.

What is blindingly obvious to all but the closed-minded is that the poster children of renewable energies, wind and solar, are doing exactly what they did back in the 70s and 80s when they were rolled out as a solution to the oil crisis; sweet bugger all.

In contrast, the energy system which broke the oil crisis has experienced considerable development and is now better than ever; nuclear power.

It's tough to admit to being wrong, but many in the environment movement have done it and are now backing nuclear power.

SOURCE





Climate scientists claim to predict storms in 100-10,000 years, but can't predict tropical storm Erica 1 day in advance

Thumbing its nose at some of the world’s most skilled computer models and forecasters, Tropical Storm Erika cruised relentlessly almost due west through the northern Caribbean on Friday, failing to make a long-predicted northwestward turn toward the Bahamas. The National Hurricane Center placed Erika's ill-defined center at 11:00 pm EDT Friday at 18.5°N, 72.9°W, or about 40 miles west of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. Erika’s top sustained winds were set at 45 mph. Hurricane-hunter flights on Friday had found flight-level winds of as high as 55 knots (more than 60 mph) on the north side of Erika.

Erika has been a troubled-looking system, with thunderstorms mostly straggling behind and south of the center due to upper-level northwesterlies producing vertical wind shear (the difference between upper- and lower-level winds) of about 30 mph. Despite the shear, Erika’s large circulation maintained a broad north-to-south oriented region of intense convection through most of Friday before thunderstorms consolidated toward its north end on Friday evening.

Most of the core convection passed just south of Puerto Rico, so by and large, the island missed out on the rain that it so desperately needs. San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport reported just 0.25” on Thursday and 0.22” on Friday. Heavy rains swept through the Dominican Republic late Friday: a personal weather station in Barahona reported 23.76" of rain between 1 pm Friday and 2 am Saturday, including 8.80" in one hour from 8 pm to 9 pm Friday. Late Friday night, a very intense cluster of thunderstorms was moving slowly across southwestern Haiti, including Port-au-Prince.

SOURCE




EPA Checked in Its Takeover of America's Waterways

The EPA was hours away from implementing an expansive interpretation of the Clean Water Act when a judge in North Dakota issued an injunction blocking the power grab. In response to a suit brought by 13 states, Judge Ralph Erickson halted Thursday the EPA’s rule that would have, according to Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), placed the agency in control of every ditch, man-made pond and flood plain in the nation.

Erickson wrote, “Once the rule takes effect, the states will lose their sovereignty over intrastate waters that will then be subject to the scope of the Clean Water Act.”

The EPA isn’t accepting the judge’s orders. It said in a statement that it will only comply with the injunction in the 13 states that were part of the suit. However, there are nine other suits brought against the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in regards to the water rule. In total, 29 states are questioning the EPA’s authority in the matter.

In addition to having a river in Colorado to clean up, the courts have been checking the EPA’s abuse of power — such as the Supreme Court’s June ruling about the EPA’s emission guidelines for coal plants. This hasn’t been a good stretch for the EPA.

SOURCE





‘There is a moral case for fossil fuels’

The moral case against fossil fuels is rooted in the standard that we should be minimising our impact. And the moral case for fossil fuels questions that at its root. It doesn’t just say these windmills are chopping off birds’ heads. It says that the whole standard, the whole metric by which we’re going to evaluate fossil fuels, is maximising human wellbeing. And when you adopt that standard, you see that there absolutely is a moral case for fossil fuels.’

Alex Epstein, founder of the Center for Industrial Progress and the author of a brilliant, bracing new book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, makes for a passionate interviewee. He’s also got the facts to back up what, in today’s green-hued zeitgeist, appears to be an achingly unfashionable argument. But it’s true: if the moral standard by which you evaluate fossil-fuel usage is the betterment of human life, then fossil fuels are indisputably a moral good.

As Epstein points out in The Moral Case, ‘Today the world uses 39 per cent more oil, 107 per cent more coal, and 131 per cent more natural gas than it did in 1980’. And during that period, the basic measures of human wellbeing have shown marked improvements:

‘World life expectancy at birth has gone up from 63 in 1980 to 70 in 2012. The child mortality rate on the planet went down from 115 to 47 per 1,000 live births. Infant mortality declined from 80 to 35 per 1,000 live births in the same time period… Malnutrition, defined by the percentage of children under five with significantly below average weight or height for their age, has been constantly decreasing at a significant rate since 1990. Access to electricity and improved water sources, which are basic indicators for human wellbeing, hygiene, and health in general, went up as well. Developing countries in the sub-Saharan and East Asian region have been particularly impressive; East Asian developing countries now have an average life expectancy at birth of 73 years.There is much credit to be given to industrial-scale energy, primarily from fossil fuels.’

But what’s so surprising about the correlation between our colllective ability to produce more and more energy – nearly 90 per cent of which is produced from fossil fuels – and the vast improvements in life expectancy, infant mortality, food provision and so on, is that energy production using fossil fuels has so few champions. A fog of defensiveness even hangs over the fossil-fuel sector itself. It’s as if no one can see what to Epstein is blindlngly clear: there is a positive, indeed moral, case to be made for these most unfairly maligned of human resources. They have, in Epstein’s words, allowed humanity to flourish, that is, to enlarge our capacity to pursue our desires.

As Epstein explains, both sides of the climate-change debate, be they alarmist or sceptical, share the same assumption – that the so-called human footprint is a problem. ‘The issue has been framed as “how much are we impacting climate?”. If you look on a conservative website, for instance, you’ll see a section on climate. And, for me, this makes as little sense as if you had a medical website with section called “vaccine side effects”...  The green movement has completely framed the issue with the goal being to minimise our impact on climate, hence a lot of conservatives have countered with a defensive “well, we’re not actually doing that much”.’ So, rather than point out, as Epstein puts it, that ‘the burning of ancient dead plants is an unbelievably positive process’, too many are content to say that fossil-fuel use isn’t that negative.

It’s not always been that way, of course. The Moral Case usefully recalls the perspective of those enthused by the transformative potential, the capacity to create and flourish, unleashed by the Industrial Revolution. In 1865, the economist William Stanley Jevons wrote: ‘With coal almost any feat is possible or easy; without it we are thrown back into the laborious poverty of earlier times.’ And if the coal ran out, he wondered? ‘We [should] miss our grand dependence, as a man misses his companion, his fortune, or a limb, every hour and at every turn [is] reminded of the irreparable loss.’ It wasn’t as if the environmental harms, as today’s green argot has it, were yet to be recognised. ‘Pollution was visible as the smoke dampened the sunlight in the cities, darkened the laundry hanging to dry, and even blackened the trees with soot’, writes Epstein. ‘Still, the energy from coal was so valuable that these side effects were more than tolerated. In many cases, they were embraced. Take Manchester, England, a major industrial city full of coal waste. There was no movement against air pollution in Manchester – even though its pollution makes China’s air today seem pristine. Why not? Because, as one commentator put it, the smoke was an “inevitable and innocuous accompaniment of the meritorious act of manufacturing”.’

Today, however, things are different. What was once grasped as an ‘innocuous’ by-product of fossil-fuel useage, to be ameliorated with better technology, has become the all-consuming focus of any discussion of how best to produce energy. It’s all about the side effects. We’re not encouraged to look at what ever-improving energy production can do for us, how it can liberate and empower us. No, we’re urged to look at what it can do to the planet, how it can enslave and damage nature. This worldview, this nature- rather than human-centred morality, dominates political and cultural life today. It allows the likes of environmentalist Bill McKibben to declare in Rolling Stone magazine that the fossil-fuel industry is ‘Public Enemy Number One’ and call for a mass-movement to demonise it and deprive it of political standing, ‘much as South Africa’s Apartheid regime had been demonised and dismantled due to the moral outrage of private citizens around the world’.

On this nature-centric ideology, Epstein is particularly cutting. He says ‘we’re taught to think that Planet Earth, nature, is something superior to human beings and that we’re to serve it by refraining from impacting it, or transforming it, or altering it in any way’. He calls this ‘the fragile-mother view of nature’: ‘It’s as if this Garden of Eden is giving us what we need, but it exists in this delicate balance, so we need to tread lightly, and make no impact.’ But, says Epstein, ‘this Disney-esque view of the planet is false. The planet has unbelievable potential, but, in its unaltered state, it is resource-poor, and very threat-rich. So man’s primary activity on the planet is to transform it to meet his needs.’

This is key to countering the humans-are-bad-for-nature sentiment, the conviction that we need to minimise our impact on the planet. Not only, Epstein tells me, are we part of nature, we’re ‘the best part’. Impacting on the natural world, transforming and altering it, is a ‘moral enterprise’. It is part of the perpetual struggle to forge a world capable of meeting our ever-developing needs. Humanity is ‘unnatural’, if by that it is meant we are constantly freeing ourselves from natural necessity – and that’s a good thing. As Epstein notes, this means that a newborn child, who may once have died of ‘natural causes’, will survive thanks to an incubator – a human invention that requires a reliable source of energy. And it’s not just incubators, of course. All around us are machines and technologies that allow us to do remarkable and literally death-defying things, machines and technologies that free us from nature’s thrall. And energy, or ‘machine calories’, is crucial to this development and flourishing.

Certain environmentalist fetishes need exposing here. Nature is not benevolent; it’s indifferent. It’s only through human activity, through maximising our impact, that we turn it from something for itself, into something for us – that is, we humanise it. And this goes for the climate itself. ‘We don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous’, writes Epstein. ‘We take a dangerous climate and make it safe. High-energy civilisation, not climate, is the driver of climate livability. No matter what, climate will always be naturally hazardous – and the key question will always be whether we have the adaptability to handle it or, better yet, master it.’ Such mastery won’t be achieved through minimising our impact on nature, through genuflecting towards some fantastical Mother Earth. Rather, it requires a desire to increase humanity’s impact, to develop its footprint. Epstein writes, ‘Development is the transformation of a nonhuman environment into a human-friendly environment using high-energy machines. Development means water-purification systems, irrigation, synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, genetically improved crops, dams, seawalls, heating, air-conditioning, sturdy homes, drained swamps, central power stations, vaccination, pharmaceuticals, and so on.’

All of which sounds wonderful. ‘But what of the science?’, Epstein’s critics would say. What of the experts telling us that humanity, through its increasing use of fossil fuels, is impacting on nature, and the climate in particular, to a catastrophic extent? Epstein’s retort is simple – déjà-vu. In the 1970s and 1980s for instance, there was no shortage of similar doomsaying. ‘If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000’, wagered prominent ecologist Paul R Ehrlich. In 1986, NASA’s James Hansen said that because of the ‘greenhouse effect’, global temperatures would rise early in the next century to ‘well above any level experienced in the past 100,000 years’. And so on and so on.

‘It’s important that people know the track record [of climate-change alarmism]’, Epstein tells me. ‘It’s not even that it’s not mentioned. It’s that it gets mythologised as accurate. So James Hansen recently published a so-called study, and it was about these dramatic rises in sea levels. And the journal described Hansen as the guy who has been most correct on climate change. But here’s the thing: any normal person who did not predict a climate catastrophe would have a far better track record on this issue than James Hansen. He predicted this incredibly dramatic, runaway global warming and there was none.’

Indeed, as The Moral Case explains: ‘Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve increased CO2 in the atmosphere from 0.03 per cent to 0.04 per cent, and temperatures have gone up less than a degree Celsius, a rate of increase that has occurred at many points in history. Few deny that during the past 15-plus years, the time of record and accelerating emissions, there has been little-to-no warming – and the models failed to predict that.’

Pointedly, Epstein is worried not only about the rectitude of the so-called science, but the elevation of The Science as a source of implacable authority. It’s as if it’s enough for those adhering to the minimise-human-impact, nature-centric worldview merely to invoke The Science to win the debate. The Science tells us that we must reduce CO2 emissions; The Science tells us we must reduce energy consumption; The Science tells us we have to fly less; The Science tells us to jump off a bridge… Epstein is unmoved. ‘Any given science cannot tell you how to act’, he says, mentioning the fact he himself trained to be a scientist when younger. ‘Science can only really give you information, not instruction. We have a very religous-dogmatic approach to science, which has a long history, exploiting science’s deserved prestige for its legitimate accomplishments. Hence dictators and charlatans always want to call what they do “science”. So as soon as you hear someone say “you should do X because The Science with a capital S says so”, you’ve got to start questioning it – or start running.’

Epstein continues: ‘To say “I want a scientist to tell me what to do” is absurd. It’s not as though Isaac Newton could tell you what house to get. Yeah, some of his knowledge could be relevant to that – certain physical laws. But he was not an oracle. No, it’s legitimate to want to be informed by science [but not to be told what to do by science]. The place of the scientist in our culture needs to be re-evaluated.’

Which, in a sense, is part of the purpose of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. Epstein is reframing the entire debate about climate change and energy. He is taking it out of the hands of The Science, and countering the nature-centric presuppositions of the debate, in which the objective is to reduce humanity’s impact on nature. It’s a deeply humanist move, and one for which he deserves the last word: ‘The moral case for fossil fuels is not about fossil fuels; it’s the moral case for using cheap, plentiful, reliable energy to amplify our abilities to make the world a better place – a better place for human beings.’

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, August 28, 2015



Amusing:  Warmists try to strike back at skeptical scientists -- but bomb out

If you read the guff below by climate robot Nuccitelli and his merry men, it seems like they have got something.  But they haven't.

I very rarely refer here to anything on Anthony Watts' site on the grounds that anybody reading this site has probably  already read Watts.  This time, however, what Watts points out is too funny to ignore.

The best bit is that Nuccitelli & Co submitted their paper to five different climate journals before they got it accepted for publication.  One of the rejecting journal referees commented pointedly:  “The manuscript is not a scientific study. It is just a summary of purported errors in collection of papers, arbitrarily selected by the authors.”

More at the Watts site.  Nuccitelli & Co do have some idea of what science is but they are no good at doing it


The scientific consensus behind man-made global warming is overwhelming: multiple studies have noted a 97 percent consensus among climate scientists that the Earth is warming and human activities are primarily responsible. Scientists are as sure that global warming is real — and driven by human activity — as they are that smoking cigarettes leads to lung cancer.

But what if all of those scientists are wrong? What if the tiny sliver of scientists that don’t believe global warming is happening, or that human activities are causing it — that two to three percent of climate contrarians — are right?

That’s the hypothetical question that a new study, authored by Rasmus Benestad, Dana Nuccitelli, Stephan Lewandowsky, Katharine Hayhoe, Hans Olav Hygen, Rob van Dorland, and John Cook, sought to answer. Published last week in the journal Theoretical and Applied Climatology, the study examined 38 recent examples of contrarian climate research — published research that takes a position on anthropogenic climate change but doesn’t attribute it to human activity — and tried to replicate the results of those studies.

The studies weren’t selected randomly — according to lead author Rasmus Benestad, the studies selected were highly visible contrarian studies that had all arrived at a different conclusion than consensus climate studies. The question the researchers wanted to know was — why?

“Our selection suited this purpose as it would be harder to spot flaws in papers following the mainstream ideas. The chance of finding errors among the outliers is higher than from more mainstream papers,” Benestad wrote at RealClimate. “Our hypothesis was that the chosen contrarian paper was valid, and our approach was to try to falsify this hypothesis by repeating the work with a critical eye.”

It didn’t go well for the contrarian studies.

The most common mistake shared by the contrarian studies was cherry picking, in which studies ignored data or contextual information that did not support the study’s ultimate conclusions. In a piece for the Guardian, study co-author Dana Nuccitelli cited one particular contrarian study that supported the idea that moon and solar cycles affect the Earth’s climate. When the group tried to replicate that study’s findings for the paper, they found that the study’s model only worked for the particular 4,000-year cycle that the study looked at.

“However, for the 6,000 years’ worth of earlier data they threw out, their model couldn’t reproduce the temperature changes,” Nuccitelli wrote. “The authors argued that their model could be used to forecast future climate changes, but there’s no reason to trust a model forecast if it can’t accurately reproduce the past.”
The researchers also found that a number of the contrarian studies simply ignored the laws of physics. For example, in 2007 and 2010 papers, Ferenc Miskolczi argued that the greenhouse effect had become saturated, a theory that had been disproved in the early 1900s.

“As we note in the supplementary material to our paper, Miskolczi left out some important known physics in order to revive this century-old myth,” Nuccitelli wrote.

In other cases, the authors found, researchers would include extra parameters not based in the laws of physics to make a model fit their conclusion.

“Good modeling will constrain the possible values of the parameters being used so that they reflect known physics, but bad ‘curve fitting’ doesn’t limit itself to physical realities,” Nuccitelli said.

The authors note that these errors aren’t necessarily only found in contrarian papers, and they aren’t necessarily malicious. In their discussion, they offer a suite of possible explanations for the mistakes. Many authors of the contrarian studies were relatively new to climate science, and therefore may have been unaware of important context or data. Many of the papers were also published in journals with audiences that don’t necessarily seek out climate science, and therefore peer review might have been lacking. And some of the researchers had published similar studies, all omitting important information.

SOURCE





Lamebrain Obama Called Conservatives Hypocrites on Solar Energy and Free Markets. Here’s What He Got Wrong

President Obama is having a hard time with the definition of free market.  The most recent example came from his remarks at the National Clean Energy Summit, an event hosted by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to promote solar power.

Obama told a crowd in Las Vegas that solar and renewables now make economic sense and blasted conservative think-tanks for being insincere when it comes to the free market. He said, “Now, it’s one thing if you’re consistent in being free market. It’s another thing when you’re free market until it’s solar that’s working and people want to buy and suddenly you’re not for it any more.”

The way America does solar is not free-market.

If solar made as much economic sense as Obama purports, it wouldn’t need help from Washington or continually push to extend the handouts it receives.

If solar operated in a free market, taxpayers wouldn’t have lost more than half a billion dollars on Solyndra.

Private investors would have taken that risk and lost their own money—or even better—made money. But instead we have policies where well-connected special interests and campaign donors direct how taxpayer money is spent and where private capital flows. The well-connected investors stand to reap all the profits, and the taxpayers bear all of the risk.

The market-distorting handouts for solar come in a variety of forms. The solar industry benefits from a generous 30-percent targeted investment tax credit, state grant and incentive programs, a taxpayer-funded initiative at the Department of Energy to lower the cost of solar, net metering policies that shift the costs of solar users to non-solar residents, taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantees, and Department of Defense mandates.

How are any of these viewed as free-market? Only through the lens of the Obama administration.

In fact, in the same speech, Obama announced a handful of new subsidies to prop up the solar industry on the backs of taxpayers and defended one of the biggest state-led anti-free-market policies: renewable electricity standards.

Obama stated:

    "When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards, or to prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s s problem."

Renewable electricity standards mandate that a state must produce a certain amount of its electricity from renewables by a certain date.

Mandates that guarantee a share of the market and do not require innovation or competitive practices to lower costs and compete with other energy sources are not free-market.

It’s what Obama correctly defined as “rent seeking.”

Rent seeking occurs when politicians dictate how private-sector resources are spent. The industries that stand to benefit from or be harmed by those policy decisions will increase their lobbying for government handouts and to prevent their competitors from receiving the handout.

Obama also boasted that the “solar industry now employs twice as many Americans as mining coal.” First of all, when your administration empowers overzealous regulators to implement job-crushing regulations on the coal industry with no meaningful direct environmental benefit, the number of coal miners working an honest day’s work is going to shrink.

Secondly, solar employing twice as many as the coal industry is not the right metric for success or progress.

The reality is, we’re getting dramatically less energy bang for our subsidized solar buck.

Coal provided nearly 40 percent of America’s electricity in 2014, and solar provided 0.4 percent.

If the goal were simply to create jobs, we could rid the world of mechanical equipment and hire workers to dig our ditches. But the result would be a less prosperous United States and a lot of lost value creation, which would ultimately destroy more jobs than it created.

Subsidizing energy technologies directs labor and capital away from its most efficient use.

At Heritage, we’ve consistently pushed to end subsidies for all energy sources and technologies, including fossil fuel and nuclear subsidies.

We’ve identified barriers to break down to make renewables more competitive. We want to end cronyism and the political process that picks winners and losers and allow the market to determine what provides America with reliable energy at competitive prices.

Obama criticized opponents of his plan for standing in the way of progress.

But it’s his very policies that obstruct long-term progress of the industries they want to succeed and try to promote.

Instead of relying on a process that rewards competition, taxpayer subsidies prevent a company from truly understanding the price point at which the technology will be economically viable.

There’s a stark difference between opposing solar power and opposing solar power subsidies.

If the industry can compete without crony government programs, then that will be actual progress, and families and businesses will be better off as a result.

But let’s not pretend that solar is operating in a free-market environment. Instead, let’s open access to resources, remove all government favoritism, and unshackle energy sources and technologies bogged down by regulatory obstacles.

SOURCE





Oil’s down, gasoline isn’t. What’s up?

By Marita Noon

A little more than a year ago, oil prices were above $100 a barrel. The national average for gasoline was in the $3.50 range. In late spring, oil was $60ish, and the national average for gas was around $2.70. The price of a barrel of oil has plunged to $40 and below — yet, prices at the pump are just slightly less than they were when oil was almost double what it is today.

Oil and gasoline prices usually travel up or down in sync. But a few weeks ago, the trend lines crossed and oil continued the sharp decline while gasoline has stayed steady — even increasing.

Oil’s down, gasoline isn’t. Consumers are wondering, “What’s up?”

Even Congress is grilling refiners over the disparity.

While, like most markets, the answer is complicated, there are some simple responses that even Congress should be able to understand. The short explanation is “refineries” — but there’s more to that and some other components, too.

The U.S. has approximately 20 percent of the world’s refining capacity. Fuel News explains that “on a perfect day,” these domestic facilities could process more than 18 million barrels of crude oil. But due, in large part, to an anti-fossil fuel attitude, it is virtually impossible to get a new refinery permitted in America. Most refineries today are old — the newest major one was completed in 1977. Most are at least 40 years old and some are more than 100. Despite signs of aging, refining capacity has continued to grow. Instead of producing at 70 percent capacity, as they were as little as a decade ago, most now run at 90 percent. They’ve become Rube Goldberg contraptions that have been modified, added on to, and upgraded. The system is strained.

To keep operating, these mature refineries need regular maintenance — usually done on the shoulders of the busy driving seasons and when systems need to be reconfigured for the different winter and summer blends. Even then, things break. Sometimes a quick repair can keep it up and running until the scheduled maintenance — known as “turnaround.” Sometimes, not. Fixing the equipment failures on the aging facilities can take weeks.

This year, several unexpected maintenance issues happened in the spring. Other refineries worked overtime to make up the shortage. That, plus low crude prices, means that many refiners didn’t shutdown for the usual spring turnaround. Fuel News notes, potential profit encouraged refiners to “get while the getting’s good.”

This pedal-to-the-metal approach is catching up with the sagging systems. On August 8, BP’s Whiting, Ind. refinery, the largest supplier of gasoline in the Midwest, faced an unplanned shutdown due to a leak and possible fire hazard in its Pipestill 12 distillation unit — which processes about 40 percent of its 413,000 barrel per day capacity.

The closure of the largest of Whiting’s three units caused an immediate jump in gasoline prices in the Midwest. Stockpiles were drawn down to fill demand during summer’s peak driving season. Gasoline has been moved — via pipeline, truck, and train — from other parts of the country to balance out supply. So, while the biggest price increase was in states like Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois, prices rose nationwide beginning on August 11.

Meanwhile, because the Whiting plant wasn’t sucking up crude oil, its supplies grew and drove crude prices down further — hitting a six-year low. The Financial Times reports, “An outage at Whiting’s main crude distillation unit could add almost 1m [million] barrels to Cushing [The Oklahoma oil trading and storage center] every four days as long as it is out.”

Making matters worse, another Midwest refinery, Marathon’s Robinson, Ill. facility, which has a capacity of 212,000 barrels per day, is down for repairs that are expected to take two months.

Others smaller outages include Philadelphia Energy Solutions and the Coffeyville Resources’ refinery in Kansas. BloombergBusiness states, “As many as seven other Midwest refineries could shut units for extended time this fall.” Though, other reports indicate that some of the planned maintenance may be put off due to profit margins that are at a seven-year high.

While there are some other contributing factors, the current mix of supply and demand explains “what’s up?” The lack of new refineries punishes the whole system. Gasoline prices are up — hurting consumers. Crude prices are down—hurting producers.

SOURCE





What Is Obama's Top Population-Control Freak Hiding?

The most transparent administration in American history is at it again — dodging sunlight and evading public disclosure.

Joining former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her secret servers, former IRS witch hunt queen Lois Lerner and her secret email accounts, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and her Internet alter egos, and former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his non-public email account is White House science czar John Holdren.

President Obama’s top climate change adviser is defending his hide-and-seek game in federal court. Earlier this month, the Washington, D.C.-based Competitive Enterprise Institute appealed a D.C. district court ruling protecting Holdren’s personal email communications from Freedom of Information Act requests.

CEI argues that federal transparency law “applies to the work-related records of agency employees regardless of where they are stored. Many agencies routinely instruct their staff to preserve any such documents that they might have on their personal email accounts.” Yet, as head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Holdren has placed himself above the law and spirit of transparency that Obama fraudulently vowed to uphold.

“It makes little sense to claim that an agency is not ‘withholding’ documents when it refuses to produce documents held by its own chief executive that relate to ‘agency business,’” CEI’s legal brief rightly argues. “Even if OSTP had demonstrated that these emails were not within its actual control — which it did not — its failure to search its director’s personal account would still violate FOIA because any agency records in that account fall within the agency’s ‘constructive control.’”

The White House science czar’s private email account resides with his former employer, the Woods Hole Research Center. It’s a far-left eco-alarmist group that pushes radical anti-capitalist interventions (Remember “cap and trade”?) to eliminate the decades-long hyped “global climatic catastrophe.” Their ultimate goal? Establishing government rule by eco-technocrats who detest humanity.

To this day, Holdren has escaped questions about his freaky-deaky population-control agenda. Remember, this is the unrepentant sky-is-falling guru who joined fellow whack jobs Paul and Anne Ehrlich in co-authoring “Ecoscience,” a creepy tome that called for saving the planet by proposing that:

    Women could be forced to abort their pregnancies, whether they wanted to or not.

    The population at large could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into the nation’s drinking water or food.

    Single mothers and teen mothers should have their babies seized from them against their will and given away to other couples to raise.

    People who “contribute to social deterioration” (i.e. undesirables) “can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility” — in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.

    A transnational “Planetary Regime” should assume control of the global economy and also dictate the most intimate details of Americans' lives — using an armed international police force.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy obstinately refused to answer my questions for Holdren on his views about forced abortions and mass sterilizations or on his continued embrace of forced-abortion advocate and eugenics guru Harrison Brown, whom he credits with inspiring him to become a scientist. Holdren’s mentor likened the global population to a “pulsating mass of maggots.”

These are not harmless dalliances of the past. Holdren’s insidious ideology — and his hidden policy communications — now have an untold impact on American taxpayers. He is the top strategist in Obama’s war on carbon, war on coal, war on the West and war on the economy. Holdren is the zealot “right at the heart” (as The New York Times put it) of devising White House climate change initiatives that reward environmental cronies, send electricity rates skyrocketing and kill jobs.

Who is Holdren conducting government business with, and what is he hiding from the public? What data is being doctored, what scientific evidence is being stonewalled in the name of rescuing the planet and consolidating power in the hands of the green elite? It’s time to turn up the heat.

SOURCE





Jim Inhofe on What the Left Gets Wrong About Climate Change

Sen. Jim Inhofe is no stranger to the climate change debate. The Oklahoma Republican, who leads the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, believes that government and regulation are a big problem.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Inhofe explained why people should care about the climate debate and what prompted him to bring a snowball to the floor of the Senate earlier this year.

In a separate exchange, Inhofe talked about the government’s regulation of U.S. waterways. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced the Waters of the United States rule, known as WOTUS.



SOURCE





The Percival Effect

Correlations, Causes and Disproofs

Viv "Farmer" Forbes

Every morning just before dawn our rooster crows and soon afterwards the sun comes up. We have observed no exceptions over three months - clear evidence of perfect correlation. Therefore we have concluded that the crowing rooster causes the sun to rise.

My wife Flora (who believes that the Cooee birds bring the rain) said: “I knew that ages ago - Professor Percival told me.”

So I consulted Professor Percival, our neighbour. He is Professor Emeritus in the “Science in Society” Department at Top-Line University. He specialises in the effect of sound waves on atmospheric transmissivity. He says that some roosters produce sound waves of just the right frequency to affect the dawn visibility through the thick morning atmosphere. He has written pal-reviewed papers on the subject which has been named “The Percival Effect”. In all the hallowed halls, it is regarded as “settled science”.

However, we decided that our rooster was not doing his day job, so he ended up as roast dinner last night.

Flora was very concerned – “what if the sun does not appear at all tomorrow?” she wailed.

But the sun rose as normal.

Flora was relieved but a concerned Professor Percival went off to check his calculations “for feedback loops”. He is still checking.

One thing was proved conclusively in just one day – the rooster’s crowing does not make the sun appear. Something else causes the sun to rise. Our ninety-two correlations did not prove causation. But just one disproof was needed to kill the Percival Effect.

So it is with the Greenhouse Effect. For about 20 years now, carbon dioxide levels have risen steadily but global temperatures are trending level. Therefore CO2 does not control global temperature.

One disproof is all that is needed.

“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” -- Albert Einstein

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, August 27, 2015



How strong is the link between global warming and California drought?

Easy answer:  No link at all. For a start, drought is a normal occurrence in California.  Second, since there has been no global warming for 18 years, it cannot  be influencing anything.  Things that don't exist don't have effects.  None of that is confronted by the lamebrain below.  He just regurgitates the usual data-free Leftist propaganda.  And thirdly, there is no significant drought.  Releasing dam water to flow straight out to sea for various crazy Greenie reasons is why there is a shortage of water for homes and crops

Further studies are being conducted at this moment to explore the contributions of particulars to the climate variability which brought about the drought and temperature components related with anthropogenic warming. Thus, when rainfall declined in 2012, the air sucked already scant moisture from soil, trees and crops harder than ever.

The climatic change and its effects may be experienced globally and warmer air and weather are not the only ones to blame since other factors such as evaporation rates and precipitation form part of the main contributors.

If human-caused greenhouse gas emissions were not trapping heat, leading to climate change, the state’s drought could be up to 27 percent less severe than it is, the study researchers say.

Yes, global warming is more than three times higher than natural climate changes and this is bad for California.

The study, authored by five researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and one from the University of Idaho’s geography department, said if this trend continues then the state will experience more “persistent aridity” within a few decades, according to an August 20 press release from Columbia.

It’s very clear the warming of California has increased the probability of conditions that create drought.

Unlike the natural variation in climate which produces extreme conditions only occasionally, the demand of additional moisture on account of global warming is on the rise every year with concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rising higher consistently.

The study, said that average California temperatures have increased 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 113 years. Because of global warming Californian mountain snows have started melting in an accelerated way as well, whereas 10 years ago the melting was dispersed more gradually in time and has helped freshening up the lowlands during the hot season. The monthly changes were simulated in the quantity of water in each bucket between 1901 and 2014. It was found that global warming has contributed between 8 and 27% to the severity of 2012-2014 California drought. Due to the growing global temperature, this fact is turning out to be true for most places worldwide. This means that by around the 2060s, more or less permanent drought will set in, interrupted only by the rainiest years. If California finds itself struggling with this drought, serious planning needs to take place in order to be resilient to a future where it’s increasingly likely that the current drought will look like child’s play.

SOURCE





Sen. Lee: WH Hasn’t Responded to Congressional Inquiries Regarding EPA’s Toxic Spill

 Neither the White House nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – the federal agency tasked with protecting public health and the country’s natural resources – have responded to inquiries sent by members of Congress from states impacted by the EPA’s toxic chemical spill in Colorado two weeks ago, a spokesperson with Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) office told CNSNews.com.

Senate and House members from Utah, New Mexico and Colorado have sent letters to President Barack Obama and EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins, Jr. seeking accountability for the estimated three million gallons of toxic mine waste EPA employees released into Western waterways.

But Sen. Lee sent out a press release on Thursday explaining that he and other members of Congress from the states affected have still not received replies from the Obama administration.

The mine waste, which contained high concentrations of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals, was accidentally released into the Animas River by EPA workers as they inspected the long-abandoned Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado on Aug. 5, the Associated Press reported.

In an Aug. 17 letter to the president signed by all members of the congressional delegation from Utah, where the polluted water reached Lake Powell after travelling 300 miles downstream, the administration was chided for its slow response to the “disaster”.

“Unfortunately, EPA failed to contact the state of Utah within twenty-four hours of the spill. This reckless behavior is intolerable,” the letter states.

“The federal government must implement a more transparent and efficient cleanup effort if it is to aid Utah’s scientists and make our communities whole again,” adds the letter, which was signed by Lee, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and GOP House members Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz, Chris Stewart and Mia Love.

“In the long-term, the federal government must ensure that the state and local governments forced to spend money protecting their citizens are adequately and quickly compensated,” the letter added.

In an Aug. 19 letter to Elkins, all the senators from the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, including Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), pointed out that “the release of contaminated water from this legacy mine has polluted the Animas River in Colorado and spread through New Mexico, Utah, the Southern Ute Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation.”

“The EPA’s execution of this project fell far short of the standards to which any cleanup operation should adhere,” the members of Congress complained.

They also provided 13 questions they want to see answered by the inspector general’s “preliminary inquiry” into the spill.

The 13 questions seek specific facts, including the expertise of the EPA workers at the Gold King Mine; the criteria EPA would apply for such work if it was done by a private sector company; whether the delay of information to interested parties about the spill created any health risks; and details about the procedures, or lack thereof, that led to the spill.

As reported earlier by CNSNews.com, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said at a news conference on Aug. 11 that her agency is “taking responsibility” for the toxic release.

But according to the AP, the problem is not going away anytime soon.

“It will take many years and many millions of dollars simply to manage and not even remove the toxic wastewater from an abandoned mine that unleashed a 100-mile-long torrent of heavy metals into Western rivers and has likely reached Lake Powell,” AP reported Aug. 13.

“Plugging Colorado's Gold King Mine could simply lead to an eventual explosion of poisonous water elsewhere, so the safest solution… would be to install a treatment plant that would indefinitely clean the water from Gold King and three other nearby mines.”

SOURCE





Obama: 'Tea Party Agrees With Me on Solar Energy'

In a Monday speech before the National Clean Energy Summit, Barack Obama told the crowd that clean energy “is not and should not be a Republican versus Democrat issue.” He’s right about that, but he instead tried to drive a wedge between the Tea Party and the organizations backed by the Koch brothers.

First, Obama gave an example of the Florida Tea Party’s push to deregulate the state’s solar industry, advocating for a freer market, trying to change the laws so that private citizens can sell energy generated by their solar panels to energy companies. To that end, they are joined by progressives such as the Green Party.

But Obama mistakes the Tea Party trying to affect local change as an endorsement for his energy policies. With that assumption in mind, he fired upon national lobbying groups suspicious of renewable fuels. “When you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding, that’s a problem,” Obama said. “That’s rent-seeking, and trying to protect old ways of doing business and standing in the way of the future. … They’re trying to undermine competition in the marketplace.”

But Obama’s new way of doing business involves heavy subsidies that keep industries like ethanol and solar kicking around for another year. It’s a way of business that requires the cost of electricity to “necessarily skyrocket” in order to make green energy viable. It’s an industry that’s only green because it’s under a government spigot — not exactly a Tea Party-endorsed practice, and nothing to do with the competitive free market.

SOURCE





Renewables Offer No Bang for Your Megawatt

Advocates of renewable energy are touting a new statistic that 70 percent of new electricity generation capacity in the first half of 2015 was renewable. While this figure is technically true, it merits an asterisk. That 70 percent refers to how much energy power plants could produce if they were running at full power all the time, a metric called installed capacity. It does not mean that 70 percent of new energy generated in the first half of 2015 came from renewables.

To find out how much energy the new power infrastructure will actually produce, we must look at the capacity factor for various types of energy. The capacity factor measures the ratio of the energy a power plant actually produces to how much it could produce if it were running at maximum power all the time. A higher factor indicates that a source of electricity is more likely to reach its full potential. Capacity factor may be thought of as how much bang you get for your installed megawatt.

Of course, capacity factors vary across energy sources. Coal-fired power plants reach a capacity factor of 61 percent, and natural gas combined-cycle plants hover around 48 percent. Nuclear power fares the best by this metric, with a factor of 92 percent. The most inefficient sources of electricity are renewables: hydroelectric (38 percent), wind (34 percent) and solar photovoltaic (28 percent). The one exception is geothermal, at 69 percent.

Large amounts of new renewable capacity, therefore, do not always translate into large amounts of new power generation. For instance, wind power comprises six percent of total installed capacity in the United States, but produces only three percent of the electricity. Nuclear power, by contrast, punches above its weight—it makes up only 10 percent of installed capacity but produces 19 percent of America’s electricity.

The following chart shows the capacity factors of various types of energy since 1980. While fossil fuels have maintained roughly the same capacity factor over the last few decades and nuclear power plants have got far more efficient, non-hydroelectric renewables have slipped.

Non-hydroelectric renewables have disappointed over the past three decades. Federal policies such as the Wind Production Tax Credit have encouraged the addition of new renewable capacity, but this has not given us a comparable amount of new renewable electricity. Since less-efficient wind turbines and solar panels have been added to more reliable geothermal wells, the overall renewable capacity factor declined from over 60 percent to an abysmal 34 percent in 2012.

Renewables have a low capacity factor because their power sources are dependent on the elements—the sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow. Solar panels will see their energy output spike in the middle of a clear day, but then drop down to zero at night. Additionally, wind turbines in the breezy Midwest will often achieve higher output than those in other parts of the country. Renewable energy generation depends on more factors than other energy sources, making it more unreliable.

The one trend that stands out from this graph is nuclear energy. Since 1980, capacity factor has increased from 55 percent to over 90 percent in recent years. Improvements such as reduced maintenance periods and fewer unplanned outages have contributed to this remarkable change. Advantages such as low variability in input costs have also given nuclear a leg up in reliability.

The United States added nearly 2000 megawatts of new wind capacity in the first half of 2015. It would take just over a third of that capacity to generate a comparable amount of electricity using nuclear power. But government policy tips energy investment in favor of renewables: in 2013, nuclear power got just $1.7 billion in subsidies, compared to twice that for fossil fuels and eight times as much for renewables. The federal government is quite literally subsidizing unreliability.

Incredibly, the Obama administration is doubling down on its aversion to reliable energy with its new EPA rule regarding carbon emissions. Nuclear power emits zero carbon, yet the EPA will not allow states to count existing or under-construction nuclear plants towards their emissions-reduction goals. There is little rationale for this provision other than supporting renewables, but such a rationale is self-defeating given that renewables require other sources of power to back them up.

Subsidies and regulations are generally more trouble for an economy that they are worth. But if the government is not going to get rid of energy subsidies and EPA commandments, it should at the very least update them to reflect which power sources show the most promise. The high reliability of nuclear power, as measured by its capacity factor, is a good indicator of the way forward.

SOURCE





Energy switch shames Scotland

Power giant soaks up subsidy but cuts and runs at first sight of costs, with ScotNat connivance, writes Brian Wilson

I am not easily shocked these days and outrage should be saved for special occasions. However, the sound of Fergus Ewing, energy minister at Holyrood, on radio was enough to awaken…well, shock and outrage.

Consider the scenario. A multinational company which bought into a great Scottish industry has betrayed its promises, is about to prematurely close one plant with the loss of 270 quality jobs and renege on construction of another, thereby turning Scotland into a large-scale importer of a commodity of which it has long been a substantial exporter.

I can think of no previous occasion on which, in such circumstances, a Scottish minister of any political colour would not be fighting to reverse these decisions; using the levers of government to achieve that outcome; and would be taking to the airwaves only in order to challenge the morality and legitimacy of what was being done.

The multinational company is Iberdrola. The industry is power generation. The broken promises are in respect of Longannet and Cockenzie. The implications for the Scottish economy extend far beyond these places. The minister is Ewing and his preferred role is as apologist-in-chief for Iberdrola. It is an utter disgrace.

According to both Iberdrola and their well-drilled mouthpieces, this is all about £40 million – the difference in transmission charges because Longannet is in the middle of Scotland rather than on the fringes of London, a geographic detail that presumably did not escape them when they acquired Scottish Power after the trading regime was introduced.

Even that £40m figure is misleading, as we shall see. But the wider point is that the same trading arrangements which are being blamed for these decisions have poured huge profits into the coffers of Iberdrola and will continue to do so for many years to come while we are left to bemoan Longannet, no more, Cockenzie, no more.

When Iberdrola bought Scottish Power, the package contained responsibilities as well as a lucrative set of assets. Privatisation in Scotland left our two companies with the massive advantage of vertical integration, unlike their English counterparts. For Iberdrola, one of the prizes this offered was easy access to the UK renewables market – and subsidies.

It is absurd to moan about transmission charges without considering the wider context of the British Electricity Transmission and Trading Arrangements which came into effect in 2005. They gave Scottish generators the right to sell renewable energy into the British market with subsidy paid for by consumers throughout Britain. Iberdrola has been the biggest single beneficiary of that reform.

Not only that, but to facilitate this major benefit, billions of pounds worth of new infrastructure was approved by Ofgem. Iberdrola’s grid company, Scottish Power Transmission, was in the forefront of that work while the renewables branch profited mightily from the market it facilitated.

We heard little about transmission charges because they were dwarfed by the subsidies Iberdrola were (and are) receiving via the Renewables Obligation.

To compartmentalise the “cost” of transmission charges in respect of Longannet in order to justify killing it off four years early, or perhaps even more outrageously to brand Cockenzie too uneconomic to proceed with, and thereby break the promise of a new gas plant, is a denial of all the responsibilities which came with the acquisition of Scottish Power. Why is the Scottish Government not saying so?

For Iberdrola, it is a case of take, take, take. Fair enough – their obligation is to their investors, the largest of whom is the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Qatar. The scandal is that Ewing, scion of the patriotic dynasty, should rush to the defence of this behaviour solely because he sees political advantage in turning it – quite falsely – into a Scotland v England conflict; a misrepresentation that Iberdrola are understandably anxious to facilitate.

A large part of Iberdrola’s UK customer base is in the north-west of England and north Wales, as a result of Scottish Power having bought Manweb in 1995. They also have extensive generation interests in these areas – and therein lies another aspect of this sorry tale. Iberdrola are investing in the Western Link sub-sea cable between Hunterston and Holyhead. For Scottish consumption, this was presented as a means of exporting Scottish renewables.

For other audiences, the story is reversed. The Western Link will be capable of importing 3.9 gigawatts of power into Scotland, equating to 70 per cent of maximum winter demand. With Longannet and Cockenzie closed, not to mention Hunterston and Torness thereafter, Scotland will become massively dependent on electricity produced in England from coal, gas and nuclear power. What a triumph for Scottish Nationalism.

The bond of mutual cynicism between the SNP and Iberdrola was sealed on 13 September 2010 when Alex Salmond and Ignacio Galan, chairman of the multinational, made a ludicrous announcement – treated entirely uncritically by most of the Scottish media – that the Spanish company would be investing £2.7 billion in Scotland by the end of 2012, no less. Of course, it never happened and nobody bothered to check.

At the time, it was a great coup for Salmond because he could present it as endorsement for his “Saudi Arabia of renewables” nonsense. On the same day, Salmond announced plans for Gamesa, the turbine manufacturer, to invest in Scotland. That never happened either and not a single one of Iberdrola’s lucrative wind turbines has been the product of Scottish manufacturing. We have been conned, right, left and centre. In evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee earlier this year, Iberdrola said Longannet would be viable on £10m a year transmission charges, the same as the English Midlands. The same committee was told by National Grid that Longannet transmission charges would fall in 2016-17 by £10m. So even within this compartmentalised accounting, the gap is down to £20m and falling.

Any minister worth his salt would fight to find a solution within these parameters, using the massive leverage the Scottish Government has with Iberdrola if it chose to exercise it. Instead, workers in Fife and East Lothian, along with the wider Scottish economic interest, are being sacrificed in return for yet another bogus point of grievance, while Iberdrola laugh all the way to the bank.

What’s Spanish for: “What a bunch of patsies”?

SOURCE





The Energy Liberation Plan

Alex Epstein

Thanks to American ingenuity, this country has the potential to become the energy engine of the world—jumpstarting our economy, guaranteeing our energy security, helping billions to pull themselves out of poverty, and creating millions of highly productive jobs—all while improving the quality of our environment.

The energy industry is the industry that powers every other to improve human life. The more affordable, plentiful, and reliable energy we can produce, the more (and better) food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical care, sanitation, clean water, technology, and everything else we can have.

Unfortunately, because of backwards energy and environmental policies that are anti-development, not anti-pollution, we are squandering the opportunity of a generation, through blind opposition to our three most potent sources of power: hydrocarbon energy (coal, oil, and gas), nuclear energy, and hydroelectric energy.

It’s time to replace today’s energy deprivation policies with energy liberation policies.

On October 5 I will be releasing the Energy Liberation Plan for consideration by 2016 political candidates.

The Energy Liberation plan is not like other energy plans, which are based on special treatment for some industries over others, and designed by people who think they know the energy business better than the energy business does and what consumers need more than consumers do.

The Energy Liberation Plan is based on the timeless wisdom of our Founding Fathers, who believed that everyone has the right to produce and consume as they judge best so long as they do not violate the rights of others. This principle leads to prosperity and justice in every area and in every era. It certainly applies to today’s energy policy.

Here is a preview of the five steps to Energy Liberation.

Step 1: Liberate energy consumers and communities from the meddlers who prevent us from choosing the most affordable, reliable energy.

    Abolish all energy mandates, subsidies, and special taxes, including all Renewable Fuel Mandates, Renewable Fuel Standards—anything and everything designed to make us consume uncompetitive, expensive forms of energy.

    Abolish all subsidies for government-preferred vehicles, stopping injustices such as forcing taxpayers to pay wealthy Tesla buyers upwards of $10,000.

    Liberate states to protect their air and water, removing these local issues from the jurisdiction of an unaccountable EPA that imposes massive costs on faraway places, leading to communities deciding on the best energy sources for their overall well-being.

If we restore consumer choice, abolishing all subsidies and mandates whatsoever, all consumers and businesses will have the opportunity to pay the lowest electricity rates and transportation costs.

Step 2: Liberate energy producers and builders from anti-development policies that prevent them from finding and developing the most affordable, reliable forms of energy.

    Restore true ownership to property owners, preventing laws like the Endangered Species Act from interfering with an owner’s right to create value, prioritizing a snail darter or sage grouse over human rights and well-being.

    Allow people to benefit from offshore and federal lands by allowing development in non-national park areas, putting an end to the practice of anti-development policies on 1/3 of American land.

Today’s governments treat development as guilty until proven innocent. They need to recognize that development, done safely and responsibly, is essential to prosperity and to high environmental quality.

Step 3: Liberate energy transporters from anti-development and xenophobic policies that prevent us from selling abundant, world-class energy to allies around the globe.

    Liberate exports of coal, the world’s fastest-growing fuel, to create prosperity in America and help billions around the globe bring themselves out of poverty, creating greater wealth for all humans on the planet.

    Liberate exports of crude oil, allowing our productive companies to sell their product to allies at a fair price instead of wasting resources at distorted domestic prices, which decreases productivity and efficiency.

    Liberate the export of natural gas, creating a global market for our prolific gas producers.

Restricting our energy producers’ ability to sell energy around the world makes no more sense than restricting Apple AAPL -6.80%’s ability to sell iPhones around the world. The world is ours to win—as long as we are free to participate in it.

Step 4: Liberate energy innovators from technophobic policies that prevent technologies like nuclear power and shale energy (including fracking) to reach their potential.

    Allow nuclear progress by replacing superstition-based laws with science-based laws, so that the US can be a leader in nuclear power like it once was.

    Acknowledge that nuclear power is one of the most innovative and safest technologies available and that its future potential is even greater, which makes spreading the false narrative about the dangers of nuclear power and arbitrary red-tape-regulations a major sin, preventing a safe, clean, and inexpensive resource from growing to its full potential.

    Stop the demonization of hydraulic fracturing and shale energy, which are safe, proven technologies.

Anyone who truly cares about the freedom to introduce alternative forms of energy should commit to stopping the technophobic opposition to nuclear power and to hydraulic fracturing.

Step 5: Protect individual rights and maximize environmental quality through laws requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Recognize that our Constitution provides that laws are passed by Congress and the states and dutifully enforced by the executive branch—and repeal the many executive orders that violate this principle.

    Recognize that our legal system requires that to hold someone guilty of a crime one needs proof of harm beyond a reasonable doubt—and apply this to our treatment of energy producers. Recognize that while there may be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that human behavior has some influence on the global climate system, there is no such proof that we are causing a climate catastrophe. Such claims are all based on invalid models that have not and cannot accurately predict the climate. What we absolutely can predict is that restricting energy use, including fossil FOSL -3.51% fuel use, will make Americans both poorer and more vulnerable to climate danger.

    Refuse to sign any global treaty that would increase energy prices, above all restrictions on our most affordable, abundant, reliable energy sources, which will enable us to continue the last 30 years of progress instead of reversing it.

Fundamentally, governments need to be clear with each and every law regarding the protection of environmental quality that the overall goal is to protect human well-being and flourishing, and objectively analyze all the facts with that in mind. As I wrote in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels: We are not trying to save the planet from human beings, we are trying to improve it for human beings.

Tell your favorite political candidates that you don’t want them to put forward another “energy plan” to dictate when and whether we are free to choose, use, find, develop, generate, transport, and sell it. Tell them to support the Energy Liberation Plan—and empower 300 million Americans with the greatest value a politician can give: freedom.

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

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


Wednesday, August 26, 2015


Humans Allegedly Set To Wipe An India-Sized Chunk Of Forest Off The Earth By 2050  -- or not

More prophecy based on a straight-line extrapolation. Loss of forest cover can be regrettable but we all live on land that was once forest so we can't just assume that any given loss is bad.

The article itself notes that anti-logging laws have largely mitigated any problem in the Amazon so it is mainly S.E. Asia that is losing its native forests.  The forests there are being replaced by oil-palm plantations. So we are seeing a change in forest cover, not a loss of it.

If Greenies think that the change is deplorable they need to recognize that they and the food alarmists are responsible for it.  Palm-oil is a profitable crop because of the various bans on dietary fats that have been put in place by food alarmists. First saturated fats were banned in food manufacturing and now trans-fats have just about been phased out.  Palm oil is all that is reasonably left for manufacturers to use.

That the human race has been using saturated fats (such as dripping or tallow) in its cookery as far back as we can go does not faze the food alarmists.  The flimsiest evidence that something is bad for you sends them into hysteria, eventually pushing weary legislators into giving them the bans that they want.

No doubt palm oil will also be found to be bad for you in due course so at that point the palm oil plantations will probably be replaced by pine planations.  But Greenies don't like pines, either.  There's no such thing as a happy Greenie


By 2050, an area of forests the size of India is set to be wiped off the planet if humans continue on their current path of deforestation, according to a new report. That’s bad news for the creatures that depend on these forest ecosystems for survival, but it’s also bad news for the climate, as the loss of these forests will release more than 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The report, published Monday by the Center for Global Development (CGD), found that, without new policies aimed at cutting back on deforestation, 289 million hectares (about 1,115,840 square miles) of tropical forests will be cleared away. That’s a chunk, the report states, that’s equal to one-seventh of what the Earth’s total tropical forest area was in 2000.

And, according to the report, the 169 gigatons of carbon dioxide that this deforestation will unleash is equal to one-sixth of the carbon budget that humans can emit if they want to keep warming below 2°C — the level that’s generally viewed as the maximum warming Earth can endure while still avoiding the most dangerous climate impacts (and even 2°C is seen by many experts as too high).

The study, unlike other recent studies on deforestation, projects that in a business-as-usual scenario, in which the world doesn’t make any effort to reduce deforestation, tropical deforestation will increase, rather than decrease. According to the study, tropical deforestation rates in such a scenario will likely climb steadily in the 2020s and 2030s and then speed up around 2040, “as areas of high forest cover in Latin America that are currently experiencing little deforestation come under greater threat.”

The study does point to one change in policy that would cut deforestation rates and help alleviate climate change: a price on carbon. According to the report, a price of $20 per ton of carbon would keep 41 gigatons of carbon dioxide from being emitted between 2016 and 2050, and a price of $50 per ton would keep 77 gigatons from being emitted.

“Our analysis corroborates the conclusions of previous studies that reducing tropical deforestation is a sizable and low-cost option for mitigating climate change,” the study’s authors write. “In contrast to previous studies, we project that the amount of emissions that can be avoided at low-cost by reducing tropical deforestation will increase rather than decrease in future decades.”

The study also noted that, if all tropical countries put in place anti-deforestation laws that were “as effective as those in the Brazilian Amazon post-2004,” then 60 gigatons of carbon dioxide would be kept out of the atmosphere. Brazil took action against deforestation in 2004 and 2008, and deforestation rates in the country have fallen from 27,000 square kilometers (about 10,424 square miles) in 2004 to 7,000 square kilometers (about 2,700 square miles) in 2010

More twaddle HERE





July's 'Record Warmth' Is Much Ado About Nothing



The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published its July temperature recordings this week. According to the report, “The July average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.46°F (0.81°C) above the 20th century average. As July is climatologically the warmest month for the year, this was also the all-time highest monthly temperature in the 1880–2015 record, at 61.86°F (16.61°C), surpassing the previous record set in 1998 by 0.14°F (0.08°C).”

While last month allegedly now stands as the globe’s warmest in the modern era, digging a little deeper, NOAA says land surface temperatures ranked sixth warmest for any July dating back to 1880, while sea surface temperatures beat all records for any month.

Let’s assume this is true. The report rightly notes, “The global value was driven by record warmth across large expanses of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.” Indeed, an impressive El Niño is underway in the Pacific, which has the potential to become the strongest on record — beating out the Super El Niño of 1997-1998. As noted above, July 2015 beat the previous record set … in 1998. In other words, natural temperature oscillations in the ocean, like El Niño, have profound effects on the global thermometer.

But it’s important to note that all of this data is derived from NOAA’s flawed methodology, and the reality is that, taking satellite measurements into account — which the alarmists simply won’t do — July 2015 was the hottest since, well, July 2014.

Climate blogger Jo Nova writes, “We only have 30 years of good climate data: the satellites tell us the pause is real, and last month’s summer temperatures is not a record anything. According to the UAH and RSS global satellites, lower troposphere averages for July 2014 were 0.30C and 0.34C, compared to July 2015 of 0.28C. Even June 2015 was hotter (UAH, 0.35C; RSS, 0.39C).”

Mull on that: NOAA says July 2015 was the hottest ever; satellites show it didn’t even match June’s numbers. What are you going to believe — comprehensive satellite recordings or fake data?

SOURCE





NOAA: Hurricane Drought Hits Record 118 Months

 As of today, it has been a record 118 months since the last major hurricane struck the continental United States, according to records kept by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Hurricane Research Division, which list all hurricanes to strike the U.S. mainland going back to 1851

A major hurricane is Category 3 or higher hurrucine. The last one to strike the continental U.S. was Hurricane Wilma, which made landfall in Florida on Oct. 24, 2005.

President Obama is the first president in 122 years, since Benjamin Harrison was in office, who has not seen a major hurricane strike the U.S. during his time in office. In a statement on its website, NOAA expressed concern that Americans might suffer from “hurricane amnesia.”

The second longest stretch between major hurricanes hitting the continenatla U.S. was the eight years between 1860 and 1869, NOAA records show.

“It has been 10 years since Hurricanes Katrina (Aug. 29), Rita (Sept. 23/24) and Wilma (Oct. 24) made landfall along the Gulf Coast during one of the most active hurricane seasons in recorded history,” NOAA said in a statement marking the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 hurricane season.

“Wilma is also the last major hurricane to strike the U.S.--an unprecedented stretch that could unfortunately lead to ‘hurricane amnesia’ for the destruction such a hurricane can cause.”

Such a “drought” in major hurricane activity is “a rare event,” occurring every 177 years, according to a study published in May by researchers at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies entitled The Frequency and duration of U.S. hurricane droughts, who concluded that “the admittedly unusual 9-year U.S. Cat3+ landfall drought is a matter of luck.”

Dr. Gerry Bell, NOAA's lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, told CNSNews.com that the agency's seasonal outlooks are "not a hurricane landfall predictor. Where hurricanes strike and how strong they are depends on weather patterns, and there's no way to predict those patterns months in advance," he told CNSNews.com.

"What we do know is that we have a cycle in which there are more hurricanes and fewer hurricanes. In 2003, '04 and '05, we had one storm after another," he continued. "Beginning with 2006, we started getting a break, as weather patterns in the Eastern United States steered a lot more storms out to sea. Right now, that is expected to be the overall pattern this year" during hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

But Bell warned that storms that are not classified as major hurricanes can still do a tremendous amount of damage.

"We tell coastal residents to prepare every hurricane season, because it only takes one storm to make it a bad year," he said. Hurricane strength is "only one factor," he added. The size of the storm surge, whether it spins off tornadoes, and the amount of rainfall created by a slow-moving storm can create as much damage as a major hurricane, he said.

NOAA classifies hurricanes from 1 to 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale according to the speed of their sustained winds and the type of damage they inflict.

 A Category 3 storm is defined as one with winds between 111 and 129 miles per hour, which can cause “devastating damage” to trees, buildings and infrastructure.

Category 4 hurricanes, with sustained wind speeds between 130 to 156 mph, and Category 5 hurricanes, with winds 157 miles per hour or more, are capable of “catastrophic damage,” according to NOAA.

Only three known Category 5 storms made landfall in the U.S. in modern history: the unnamed Labor Day hurricane that hit the Florida Keys in September,1935; Hurricane Camille, which made landfall in Mississippi in August, 1969; and Hurricane Andrew, which ravaged Florida in August, 1992.

The five deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history were all Category 3 or 4 when they struck the U.S., including the Category 4 storm that hit Galveston, Texas in 1900 that killed as many as 12,000 people.

SOURCE





EPA Knew of 'Blowout' Danger Ahead of River Accident

Earlier this month, the EPA accidentally dumped three million gallons of toxic sludge into the Animas River in Colorado. EPA Chief Gina McCarthy apologized, saying, “[W]e’ve committed to a full review of exactly what happened to ensure it can never happen again.”

Well, documents released Friday indicate the EPA not only knows exactly what happened but it knew in advance what could happen. Prior to the accident, according to an EPA report from June 2014, “This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse. In addition, other collapses within the workings may have occurred creating additional water impounding conditions. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine, which contain concentrated heavy metals.”

Some of the reports, however, were redacted by EPA officials, which itself leads to other questions. First among them is why it took the EPA 24 hours to notify anyone of the accident, especially given they knew the danger ahead of time.

Finally, McCarthy gave the good news Friday that the “river is restoring itself.” But when was the last time the EPA said that about an accident caused by a private company?

SOURCE






The Greens Demolition Of Tasmania

If the Greens had their way, Tasmania would not have any industry or any economy. The Greens would prefer Tasmanians to revert back to the stone age and hunt for their food

The state election in March last year saved Tasmania from becoming an Aussie version of the Amish. They came within a whisker of existing without any meaningful business and were just about forced to re-invent the horse and cart. A 12.2 per cent swing to the Liberals meant they had the first pro-business state government in years.

With the Greens sharing power, it’s Earth Hour all year round if you want to run a business. Tasmania suffered years of neglect under a Labor/Green state goverment, and the result was loss of jobs, loss of industry, loss of standards and loss of wealth.

The Greens would like to see them scavenging for seeds and berries to eat, and trading possum pelts for a living, as long as the possums had died of natural causes first. The Federal Government should have come down hard and ruled that if the state doesn’t produce anything or earn any money, there will be no welfare available. As it stands, Tasmania has the highest number of illiterates in the country and the highest per capita of people living off a government hand out.

Tasmania is rich in minerals, it has great natural resources including fisheries and farming and tourism. It is nearly the size of England with a population of 500,000. There are 23 local councils who all fight with each other and are dominated by the Greens. It’s almost impossible to run a business. The Greens simply bring in overseas “experts” or apply to some international body to stifle any development.

The trashing of the Triabunna pulp mill and its associated port on Tassie’s east coast offers an insight into the looney Green’s tactics. The mill was purchased from Gunns in 2011 by the Wilderness Society. A Tasmanian parliamentary inquiry found the mill to be a viable business and said the purchasers had a contractual obligation to keep it running. Wilderness Society boss Alec Marr and his cronies went in and wrecked the joint.

A group of businessmen wanted to develop a tourism venture by running a cable car from the top of Mt Wellington down to Hobart and then join up with an overhead tramway that would travel around the Hobart waterfront. The tramway was to be purchased secondhand from Sydney. It would have created building jobs and permanent employment. NO! said the Greens.

It’s not only in Tasmania. The Greens are out to stop all 21st century development. Christine Milne’s solution for second airport in NSW, take a train. In Victoria, scrap the East/West Link and take a train. The same people who have prospered due to human progress now want to prohibit that from the next generation. The loopy Greens are the ‘Taliban’ of the Australian economy.

The Green voter doesn’t have the intellectual capability to understand the gravity of their policies, but is more worried about gaining favour among their urban social peers because it’s cool to vote Green. The Universities are the problem, not the solution. Almost all Leftist policies emanate from radical university lecturers. Christopher Pyne should be spending his time trying to eradicate this cancer from the teaching/lecturing mob.

The demographics are that a lot of them will have a university degree, where the ability to think and reason should be highly developed. However, there are very few of them who understand the basics of maths and economics.

Tasmanians have learnt a very painful lesson and it is doubtful they will ever hold the Greens party in the esteem they once did. Unfortunately, the inner city elite on the mainland have yet to learn that painful lesson, but eventually they will be forced to acknowledge that the socialist nirvana promised by the Greens is nothing more than a mad dreamscape.

Tasmania would like to develop a new and unique export industry – shipping off the loopy Greens to their spiritual home in North Korea.

SOURCE





Dishonest environmental campaigns will harm lions

IVO VEGTER  -- writing from South Africa

In the emotion-laden debate about hunting, environmental campaigners do their cause no favours by accusing others of errors and word play, while doing exactly that themselves.
In the wake of my column about lion hunting, prompted by the global outrage over the illegal killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, a major anti-hunting campaign tackled me. I was “just plain wrong” and “just didn’t get it”, they told their social media audience.

Unsurprisingly, the Global March for Lions (GML), a protest group launched last year by Christine Jordaan in support of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH), wanted to discredit the column I’d written. After all, they oppose trophy hunting, while I do not.

Their general view, that a ban on trophy hunting and private or public restrictions on trade will “save lions”, is a subject I dealt with in that column, and won’t repeat myself in detail here.

My case is made much more eloquently in a short film on the Bubye Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe. This was once a huge cattle ranching farm, but has been converted into a thriving game conservation area where big game thrives as part of a sustainable ecosystem, supported by hunting alone. Anyone who is inclined to jump to emotional conclusions about hunting should watch this first.

In expressing its disagreement, the GML made public claims about my article that were, quite simply, false. Speaking to thousands of followers around the world, it asked where I got my statistics from, as if I had cited no support for them. It accused me of failing to distinguish between captive-bred and wild lions. It said I gave Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa cover for “abusing definitions” by not bothering to mention the applicable laws. It challenged my observation that lions are classified as vulnerable – a status less than endangered – by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, claiming that lions are endangered. It said I was “going as far as trying to highlight what hunting brings to (an) economy”.

All these claims are untrue. I responded to them, because my opinion on hunting is controversial enough without having an activist organisation trying to falsely discredit it.

Implying that I’d just made it up on the spot, the GML questioned the basis of my claim that on a typical hunting farm, between 2% and 5% of male lions are actually shot by trophy hunters, and that academics consider this rate to be “sustainable and low-risk if well-managed”. They did so despite the fact that I supplied a link to my source, a study by Lindsey et al, published in the journal Conservation Biology. I consider that dishonest on the part of a global campaign that publicly attacked my command of the subject. My columns do not contain links to sources for nothing.

The GML activist wrote: “Saying that SA's wild lions are captive bred is plainly wrong,” pointing out that there are 3,000 wild lions and 8,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa. But I never said that, I did made the distinction, and I also quoted similar numbers.

The Biodiversity Management Plan for Lions, published in April 2015, and to which I linked, estimates the total number of captive-bred lions in 200 facilities across South Africa to be 6,000, while the wild and “managed wild” population amounts to 3,155. Captive lions are those that exist on commercial game farms, where they generate revenue. Lions are considered to be wild if they exist in formal national parks, where their populations “are largely unmanaged, stable and viable”. Lions are classified as “managed wild” in smaller reserves, where population growth is actively limited and genetic diversity is maintained. Threats to these populations in South Africa “are generally low”, and they have “increased by 30% in the last three decades.”

Saying that I confused these groups is plainly wrong. By contrast, anti-hunting campaigns do conflate poaching with hunting, trophy hunting with “canned hunting”, and South Africa’s lion conservation issues with those of other countries.

I was accused of not quoting the Threatened or Protected Species (Tops) regulations in my column, thereby helping Molewa “abuse definitions”. Of course, a campaign that seeks to ban trophy hunting altogether is likely to disagree with Molewa about what exactly constitutes prohibited “canned hunting”. However, I do not have to parrot their opinions. More importantly, I did quote the relevant legislation. I cited the regulations specific to lions, which were published in April 2015, and therefore supercede the more general Tops regulations of 2013. I provided the requisite link so I did not have to quote legislation verbatim. Suffice to say that these rules prohibit a range of practices that constitute “canned hunting” in section 72. The GML believes these rules to be “incorrect” and that they constitute “a play on words”, but it is not a failure on my part not to say so, and not to rail against a minister whose department actually supports both the GML and the CACH.

The GML’s assertion that lions are “endangered” because their numbers are akin to those of rhino is patently false and reveals a grave lack of understanding of conservation issues. Absolute numbers are not the sole indicator of the health or conservation status of a population. The IUCN classification is clear. Lions are not endangered, no matter what the GML says. As I wrote, South Africa may not even have the carrying capacity for more wild lions. In fact, the management plan co-developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and Panthera, a respected conservation group, argues that a stable population of mature lions greater than 1,500 – as South Africa has – should not even qualify as vulnerable, and the IUCN should downgrade the status of this sub-population. The only reason the GML wants to convince people that lions are endangered is to get its IUCN status upgraded, and to get it listed under the US Endangered Wildlife Act. This is patently dishonest.

Certainly, I did “go as far as trying to highlight what hunting brings to an economy”. In my previous column about hunting, I also noted that the industry was worth a not inconsiderable R6.2-billion. It is a part of the debate, and one that I believe is important.

They may choose to ignore what hunting brings to an economy, because they believe that a lion’s life cannot be worth that much, but merely raising the issue in debate does not make me biased, as the GML claims. It recognises that the needs and wants of communities living closest to wildlife should be taken into account by policy makers.

I’ll admit, I do not have a very high opinion of well-off white people who simply dismiss what hunting brings to an economy. I think such people are elitists who implicitly value animal life more highly than human life, which is only underscored by the scale of the internet outrage over animals compared to the outrage over humans who are killed, abused, or mired in poverty.

When I said that dishonesty in fundraising should be illegal – on the grounds that selling anything under false pretences constitutes fraud – the person behind the GML’s Twitter account replied “luckily we’re a campaign and don’t fundraiser (sic) then”. It added that it was not part of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting, as it appears. But it supports the CACH, which does call for donations to pursue its cause, it clearly aims to support the CACH in raising funds. Instead of its own web address, the CACH’s address appears on the logo banners of the Global March, and the CACH in turn promotes the GML. They explicitly admit to being closely associated – in fact, the CACH is first on the GML’s list of participating organisations, as its founder’s inspiration. To suggest that the group’s claims are not made in support of fundraising is disingenuous in the extreme.

The danger is that the uninformed public will gladly believe anything such a group says. The pressure on governments to act is fuelled by exaggerated claims, false accusations and rash presumptions. Worse, private organisations may find the public pressure to restrict the sale and transport of legal trophies too much to resist, whether the cause is justified or not.

Respectable media pick up these claims, and repeat them with a dash of sensationalism. Who is going to dispute National Geographic, when it says: “Up to 7,000 lions are living behind bars in South Africa“? That is simply not true.

Who will explain that only a small percentage of captive-bred lions are in fact hunted for sport, and that of those, only a fraction can be described as “canned hunts”? Who will tell them it is not at all clear that banning hunting, whether for sport or game management, will “save our lions”? Who will tell them of places like the Bubye Valley Conservancy, where lion conservation is exclusively dependent on the success of the hunting industry, and will end if trophy hunting is banned?

Who will tell people that restricting imports of trophies, or pressurising American Airlines, eBay or FedEx to refuse to facilitate trophy sales will backfire, because it will lead to a decline, not an increase, in the lion populations of many African countries, as it did in Kenya?

Who will explain that the biggest threat to lion populations is habitat destruction in countries where the animals have little economic value, so anti-poaching efforts are not worth it, and to convert game farms to cash-generating crops or livestock has more value to both farm owners and the local population?

Who will correct Time magazine when it conflates hunting with poaching, as if they are the same thing? They are not. Much revenue generated by lion hunting is used to fight the threat of poaching. Even if you believe that hunting farm owners do not care about conservation, they do care about protecting their assets from thieves.

Who will warn those readers that Time magazine, like the GML, conflates rhinos and lions, as if the two animals face the same conservation issues? Does anyone notice when activists and journalists write about Africa as if it is all just one big country, and lion populations everywhere face the same pressures?

By all means, campaign against canned hunting. There is a good case to be made that inexperienced hunters do sometimes hunt animals from the back of vehicles, while the animals are in enclosures or under sedation, and that this is unnecessarily cruel. There is a good reason to campaign against this practice. Even the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa has called upon its members to step up their game in this respect, if you’ll excuse the pun.

But if you’re making that case by exaggeration and falsehoods, in support of a larger goal like banning all sport hunting, then you do not deserve the support – or the money – of the public. That, simply speaking, is fraud, and it discredits the conservation cause which you claim to support.

Besides, nobody has the right to whip up internet lynch mobs to destroy the careers of individuals, as GML explicitly does. If what those hunters did was wrong, they are entitled to a fair hearing. Mob justice has no place in a civilised society. For someone who is willing to sit in judgment upon others to call me “arrogant”, as GML did (in a message that appears to have been deleted), is rich.

Besides ruining lives and livelihoods far beyond just the hunter in question, such campaigns bring about over-compensation in public policy. This throws out the baby with the bathwater. While activists celebrate moves to prohibit trophy hunting, they do not actually help lions.

These groups only satisfy the knee-jerk emotions of internet mobs and their own campaign funds, while ironically, they accuse others of barbaric greed. Whether well-intended or not, they are no better than the caricature they draw of trophy hunters. Except that hunters are more honest and cause less harm to lions

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

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