Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The Climate Change Speech Donald Trump Should Give (?)
U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis is a Republican who has drunk the global warming Kool-Aid. Below he offers a rather clever imitation of a Trump speech in which he proposes that old chestnut, a carbon tax. The only new wrinkle in it seems to be that he proposes to levy the tax on imports only. A small detail he omits to mention is that only 15% of the U.S. GNP is imports so the "bite" of the tax would be small. But governments love taxes so that's OK. Any tax is better than none.
There is however in the speech not one word about evidence of global warming. Inglis is arrogant enough to think that he doesn't need to prove his case. Since there IS no evidence of anthropogenic global warming his omission is unsurprising. It is as totally political as anything coming from Democrats. We are supposed to take the word of our "higher-ups" on important matters
Many Trump voters have rejected climate action because they’ve figured that it would grow a government that can’t be trusted. Donald Trump could show them a small government way to beat climate change. Here’s how he could say it at one of his rallies:
You know that I was joking when I tweeted that climate change is a hoax and a Chinese conspiracy. But it has some truth in it, right? I mean, look at it. American factories gone. China polluting like nobody’s business. They took our jobs, and they’re gushing pollution. Meanwhile, Obama wanted to regulate our industries more. Think of it! More! More regulation! Hillary would have done the same thing--even worse. They don’t get it. They just don’t get it.
Beating climate change means beating the people who are ruining the air. And that’s not us. It’s China. It’s India. Have you heard about their air. They can’t breathe. They’re dying. Literally. Dying.
We want clean air. Crystal clean air. The best air.
The losers said they were going to fix it—with regulations. How stupid is that? Regulate more? Industries—the few that we have left—pick up and move from here to there. They go there, and they’re allowed to pollute. Are you kidding me? We lose jobs, and it does nothing to clean up the air?
If we’re going to do this, we’ve got to make it work for America. AMERICA! Rex Tillerson has told me that he had the best people study this at ExxonMobil. They said the answer is a simple thing. Just calculate the damages that pollution causes, and then price that cost in to the products that pollute. But don’t stop there. If you do that through a carbon tax—and that’s what Rex Tillerson’s folks told him was the best way—you’ve got to give that money back to the people. To the people! Not to the government! If we’re going to add the cost of pollution to products through a carbon tax, you’ve got to give all of that tax money back to the people. All of it. Every bit of it.
And here’s the best part. China is going to pay. No more of them getting away with taking our jobs and polluting our air. They’re gonna pay. They’re gonna pay at the border—the AMERICAN border. They’re gonna pay our carbon tax. China will take us to the World Trade Organization. They’ll say it violates the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade. GATT. Wrong. Wrong. My trade people tell me—and I’ve got the best trade people, believe me—my trade people tell me we’d beat them in the WTO. Imagine that: America winning again. Winning. After we beat them in the WTO, China would have a choice to make. They could keep on paying our carbon tax on entry of their goods into the United States, or they could do their own carbon tax. Either way is fine with us. Either way. If they want to keep on paying our tax on entry, tell them to go right ahead. We’ve got a deficit, and we could use their money. But they’re not suckers like the losers who’ve been running our government. No, they’d impose our tax—our tax—internal to China and remit to Beijing. Fine. That would mean that our companies wouldn’t pick up and move to China. There’d be no reason to move to China, because they’d be paying an American-set price on pollution here or there. And we’d have cleaner air. Beautiful air. The best air. And we’d have jobs. Companies wouldn’t be leaving us anymore. We wouldn’t have the disastrous Clean Power Plan driving them overseas. We’d be un-regulating, not regulating.
This would be the American solution. The AMERICAN solution. There would be no international agreements. No sucking up to the UN. No hopelessly complicated agreements. Just a bold move by the United States. We’ve got the market power to pull this off. We’re the only country—the only country—strong enough to beat climate change. All the rest are waiting for us to act. They had hoped that we would be played for the patsies again. No way. No way. This time it’s on our terms. We’re going to beat climate change our way—the AMERICAN way. We’re getting rid of the Clean Power Plan. It’s gone. It’s gone. It was a bad deal for America. We’re getting rid of cap and trade. It’s gone. Gone. We’re going to simply price-in the cost of pollution to products. China is going to pay. And we’re going to win. America is going to beat climate change.
More diplomatically, it’s a revenue-neutral, border-adjustable carbon tax that’s GAAT–compliant. With negative externalities internalized worldwide, 7 billion customers would drive innovation. America would win. The whole world would win.
Trump Takes on the Obama "Climate Change" Agenda
The leftist mainstream media are outraged that President Donald Trump appears to be sticking to his campaign promise to "cancel" U.S. participation in the Paris climate accord. The headline in The Washington Post is "Trump's energy review blocks Group of Seven from consensus." Politico's headline is "Trump's climate demands roil U.S. allies." This follows Trump's recent actions to rescind the foundation of Barack Obama's climate change obsession.
Once again President Trump is being called a radical, when he is, in fact, restoring common sense to government policy. As Forbes reports, Trump's recent seven-page executive order "lays the groundwork for rescinding" Obama's Clean Power Plan, which is currently "suspended by the Supreme Court while a Washington appeals court considers its fate." While Obama was known for his executive overreach (he lost in the Supreme Court more than any other president, including a record number of unanimous defeats), Trump is scaling back government interference in the marketplace that had been justified in the name of battling climate change.
"And so what President Trump did was he instructed the EPA to begin the process, through the regulatory process, of undoing something that should have been done through the legislature but wasn't," argues Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Chris Horner in a recent radio appearance. "This is the meta issue for the left," he added. "It gives them what they have been demanding in the name of so many things, in the name of saving the planet."
As Horner remarked in a 2010 Accuracy in Media Take AIM interview discussing his book, Power Grab: How Obama's Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America, climate change is "the latest vehicle to organize society."
"The left's objective never changes, that is to ‘organize society' in that creepy Orwellian rhetoric they've mastered," he said. The threat of climate change, thus, is used to rationalize central planning.
Far-left activist Michael Moore tweeted in response to Trump's executive order that "Historians in the near future will mark today...as the day the extinction of human life on earth began, thanks 2 Donald Trump." The reception from The New York Times carries similar vitriol; an editorial describes Trump as "anti-science" and "strip[ping] America of its hard-won role as a global leader on climate issues." This position as global leader was, of course, earned by former President Obama. The editorial is titled, "President Trump Risks the Planet."
The media are overwhelmingly convinced of climate change's veracity-or at least they claim to be-often abandoning objectivity in their reporting in order to defend climate science. The Washington Post defended the Democrats' choice to testify before the House Science Committee last month, climatologist Michael Mann, as "clear and articulate but outnumbered by foes." In contrast, the Post reports that at the hearing "political theater upstaged almost all productive discussion of science."
The media have been complicit with radical climatologists such as Mann, calling anyone who opposes the climate change agenda a "skeptic," a "denier,"-or worse. And it has become popular to compare energy companies to big tobacco, or hype that each year was warmer than the last. This is shaky science, at best.
"The warming trend is over," said Horner in 2010. "It could resume, but it's turned to cooling and is predicted to be cooling for several decades now."
Horner's comments hold true today. As Marc Morano points out on his Climate Depot website, satellite data indicates that we are in a temperature pause. "The fact that there has been no warming for the last 18 years is a massive blow to the credibility of climate science," he writes. Other scientists point out that there is little statistical difference between the allegedly warmest years and other years: Morano quotes Dr. David Whitehouse as calling 2016 temperatures "statistically indistinguishable from 2015." Claims that we are experiencing the hottest years on record are blatantly bogus, and rely on statistically insignificant temperature changes.
Obama's own appointed undersecretary for science in the Department of Energy for the first two years of his administration, Steven E. Koonin, said that "The Obama administration relentlessly politicized science and it aggressively pushed a campaign about that politicized science."
ClimateDepot.com is an indispensable website that keeps track of all relevant global warming news, and provides both sides of the debate. One very useful service it provides is the names and quotes from environmentalists, including former "warmists"-global warming believers-such as physicist Freeman Dyson: "An Obama supporter who describes himself as ‘100 per cent Democrat,' Dyson says he is disappointed that the President ‘chose the wrong side.' Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does more good than harm, he argues, and humanity doesn't face an existential crisis. Climate change, he tells us, ‘is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?'"
Then there is Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Dr. Ivar Giaever: "Global warming is a non-problem," he argues. "I say this to Obama: Excuse me, Mr. President, but you're wrong. Dead wrong." He says that "Global warming really has become a new religion," and that "We have to stop wasting huge, I mean huge amounts of money on global warming."
Even if the Trump administration kept Obama's commitments to climate change policy, such measures would have been unlikely to affect global temperatures. Yet the media lauded Obama as keeping the world safe from climate change.
"Addressing climate change has been a core goal for the president and netting the Paris climate deal is considered a critical part of his environmental policy legacy," reported NBC News and Reuters in 2016, in a piece titled, "Obama: Paris Climate Accord Best Possible Shot to ‘Save' Planet." This is nonsense. It was just another phony Obama legacy item to check off his list that in reality is far more about the U.S. and other developed nations transferring $100 billion per year to developing countries that make no binding commitments. In addition, it would transfer significant regulatory powers to the UN and other international bodies, none of which would amount to anything measurable or provable in terms of tweaking the global temperature to reach some desired environmental utopian goal.
According to Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), "The Paris agreement also created a United Nations climate slush fund, largely underwritten by American taxpayers. In his final year in office, President Obama contributed $500 million from the State Department to this fund on two separate occasions. He did it without authorization from Congress."
Also, adds Barrasso, "According to National Economic Research Associates Economic Consulting, if the United States met all of its commitments as part of the Paris climate accord, it would cost the American economy $3 trillion and 6.5 million industrial sector jobs by 2040."
Obama designed his climate agenda in a way that touched each facet of the bureaucracy. "There is no single list of those programs or their cost, because President Barack Obama sought to integrate climate programs into everything the federal government did," writes Christopher Flavelle for Bloomberg. "The goal was to get all agencies to take climate into account, and also make those programs hard to disentangle, according to former members of the administration." Obama, Flavelle writes, tried to make "climate programs hard for Republicans in Congress to even find." To that end, an estimated $77 billion was spent from 2008 through 2013, spread over 18 federal agencies.
With this recent executive order, Trump is dismantling another of Obama's key legacy items, a policy that the media desire to protect from the new Republican president. As with Obamacare and the unsigned Iran deal, the test will be to see whether Trump continues Obama's disastrous policies or undercuts them. But you can expect that the media will fight every effort to roll back Obama's legacy.
The greed of green: PACE’s predatory lending on solar
By Peter Hong
Remember the raging predatory lending scandals that led to the mortgage crisis of the late 2000s? You couldn’t avoid reports of unscrupulous lenders and brokers exploiting the subprime market and offering adjustable rate mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them. As the housing bubble burst, the financial industry and the economy nearly went with it.
Facing an economic meltdown, Washington responded as it always does — in a frenzy. The first decade of the new millennium ended with a taxpayer bailout (the ill-conceived Troubled Asset Recovery Program) and regulatory overreach (Dodd-Frank Act) — the consequences of which we are still paying today.
Well, predatory lending is back. But this time, lenders aren’t just prowling for green; they’re wrapped in it under the façade of environmental “do-goodism.”
This latest scam is the so-called Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) lending industry, which provides financing for energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades, like solar panels and window insulation. PACE loans are placed on a homeowner’s property tax bill as an assessment. Rather than make a monthly loan payment, borrowers typically pay the assessment on an annual or semi-annual basis; local governments then pass these payments on to the lenders.
Because the loans are based on the value of the assessed property, the borrower’s creditworthiness is of little interest to PACE lenders. Also, the industry uses as its brokers plumbers and repairmen who pitch financing schemes to customers as a means of soliciting contracts and earning referral fees on the side.
Like their predatory lending brethren of the past, these lenders and their contractor-brokers appear to prey on vulnerable and unsophisticated homeowners — particularly the elderly.
A report by Elder Law & Advocacy, which offers legal services to senior citizens in the San Diego area, cited numerous accounts of misleading tactics being used by PACE lending brokers and sales personnel. One case cited a 79-year old widower who was offered new energy-efficient, noise reduction windows at a 1.5 percent financing rate with no payoff penalty, only to receive poorly insulating, noise amplifying windows — at a 26.99 percent interest rate! Another account documented an 82-year old man who was never told that he would lose his ability to refinance his home if he took on a PACE loan. And the horror stories don’t end there.
Complicating matters is the entanglement of government at all levels to promote the PACE lending industry. Local governments in PACE communities effectively serve as the industry’s collections agency for the payment of assessments, which the government distributes to the lenders. Also, because PACE loans are technically property tax assessments, they generally get creditor priority status in case of non-payment or default.
Yes, you read that correctly: in case of default, a loan for residential solar panels gets paid first — even before a homeowner’s mortgage. Non-payment of a PACE loan can result in a home or property being seized as collateral and sold to repay the PACE lender.
In other words, you could lose your home, not because you defaulted on the mortgage you assumed to buy the house, but to pay off a loan for solar panels or attic insulation or LED lighting.
In 2016 — the final year of the Obama Administration — the federal government fully bought into the PACE industry’s lending “green scheme.” In coordination with the Obama strategy to promote green industries, the Federal Housing Administration announced that it would begin using tax dollars to insure mortgages with PACE financing liens attached (so long as those liens did not have super priority creditor status).
And the Obama-Clinton influence games did not end there. A Washington Free Beacon article detailed an undercover lobbying campaign launched by PACE lender Renew Financial — and aided by a deep-pocketed Democratic donor and liberal environmentalist groups — to allow mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to guarantee mortgages with PACE-financed loans. This would have reversed the policy of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which regulates the government-sponsored enterprises.
While the FHFA did not appear to change its policy, the PACE lending industry did get a Presidential plug promoting this high-interest, private lending industry.
The meetings with President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and top campaign and government officials came to light through the hacked emails of former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta that were exposed by Wikileaks.
Finally, we are talking about big money. While the PACE lending industry paints itself as warm, fuzzy, and green, it is projected to make off with nearly four billion dollars in 2017 alone — making it the fastest growing source of financing in the country. That business is booming should come as no surprise, given the industry’s political influence and the scant level of oversight it is paid by any level of government.
This will change on the federal level if Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas has his way. Cotton just introduced legislation (S. 838) requiring that PACE lenders be treated under federal law like traditional mortgage lenders — including oversight by a federal regulator, such as the much-feared Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. According to Cotton, “[R]equiring disclosure will reduce the advantage that PACE loan sharks have over hard-working Americans. It’s just the accountability we need.”
Measures like the Cotton bill are a sign that the Obama era of political favoritism toward “green” industries may finally be coming to a halt. And with good reason: it shouldn’t be easy being green — and greedy.
Victory in Vermont: Community Defenders Crush Wind Power Outfit’s Plan to Destroy Pristine Mountain Range
Thanks to the hard work of local people, everyday Vermonters who love the land and, in particular, Annette Smith and Justin Lindholm, two people who worked like hell, we have a huge parcel of prime property in which to “ramble,” a large chunk of land that, if those people “hypnotized” by profits had their way, the mountain tops of that wild land would forever be marked by the languid swoosh-swoosh-swoosh of 60 giant windmills.
Instead, the forested tract of land that totals about 2,870 acres has been designated by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources as a rare and irreplaceable natural area. Fortunately, it is connected to the Bird Mountain Wildlife Management Area, about 770 acres, to bring the new, yet unnamed WMA to more than 3,640 acres.
In all, the land that makes up the new WMA encompasses three Rutland County towns — Ira, Poultney and Castleton.
Smith, the executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, said that, in order to preserve the values and purposes of the wildlife management area, no residential, commercial, industrial or mining activities will ever be permitted. “This is a valuable gem of a property to be held for the public in perpetuity,” Smith said.
Smith said that after the VCE worked with community members to save the land from development, it was conserved through the efforts of the Conservation Fund (Nancy Bell) and Vermont Fish & Wildlife (commissioners Patrick Berry and Louis Porter), along with donations from individuals and the federal Pittman-Roberson Act fund. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Vermont Land Trust are also participants in the purchase of the land.
So, what is the moral to this tale, this story about how people stood up to preserve what Lindholm, a Mendon resident who serves on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board, has described as a precious tract of land that is both “fragile and wild?”
Paraphrasing a quote from Margaret Mead, Smith said in an interview, “Never underestimate the impact one person can have. One person can make a difference.” She went on to say, “The one thing that Vermonters have in common is they love their mountains.”
She was so instrumental in preventing a series of ridgelines in Rutland Country from becoming littered with windmills that the Burlington Free Press, in January of this year, named Smith its “2016 Vermonter of the Year.”
The newspaper’s editorial board wrote: “As executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, the Danby resident has organized communities, testified before government boards and advised residents who felt powerless in the face of state bureaucracies and big business … A common thread among those who have sought out Smith is that she helps better the odds against a wealthier, more knowledgeable and better funded adversary.”
Lindholm and Smith teamed up early on because both of them had been involved in the proposed large-scale wind turbine project in Lowell. Today, 21 wind turbines, each 459-feet tall, have sprouted from the ridgeline of the Lowell Mountains.
“We learned from Lowell,” Smith said According to Lindholm, Smith does her homework and then goes after a cause with a fierce determination.
“When they wanted to put up those wind turbines, she gave them a voice,” Lindholm said of the landowners and property owners in Ira, Middletown Springs, Poultney, Castleton, Tinmouth, Clarendon and West Rutland who were affected by the wind turbine proposals. “She gives them a voice in the process, the whole process of figuring out whether they ought to be there. She finds weaknesses in the opposition. She becomes informative. Information is power, and that’s what she specializes in. She organizes. She organizes the town, informing the people. She puts everything on the table so that informed decisions can be made.”
Australia: Leftist leader's stance on new coalmine doesn’t stack up
Just because you’re spending other people’s money doesn’t excuse you from making choices.
Should the government lend $900 million to help lay 189km of heavy rail track in central Queensland capable of transporting 60 million tonnes of premium thermal coal a year?
Or would it be better to splash out on a 12km tram line to convey beret-clad Canberrans between coffee shops on Northbourne Avenue?
The carbon fearmongerers are implacably opposed to the first option but are crazy about the Gungahlin tram, a green vanity project adopted by the ACT Labor government that will fleece an estimated $937m from taxpayers during its lifetime.
It is the type of project that ticks all the boxes for the modern Labor Party, satisfying the romantic yearnings of its progressive base and the anti-competitive tendencies of its union sponsors. Construction work on Capital Metro is effectively a Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union closed shop — inflated pay packets, fanciful allowances and abundant rostered days off.
Fixed point-to-point transport projects are unlikely to “stack up”, as Bill Shorten would put it, in a city with a population 12 times smaller than Melbourne and one of the highest car ownership rates in the country.
Even on the most optimistic assumptions the line is expected to generate less than $340,000 a month in revenue across its first 20 years, meaning that for every dollar a passenger pays, the taxpayer will be throwing in a tenner.
If there were a prize for egregious public investment, the Gungahlin tram, cruising at a stately 29km/h across broad acres of Canberra’s median strips, would be hard to beat.
Enter Shorten, the leader of what was once called the workers’ party, who raves about public transport but is unsure if the business case for the Adani Carmichael line “stacks up”. “I am not convinced the taxpayer of Australia should underwrite the risk of the project through a billion-dollar loan,” he told reporters in Brisbane last week.
Shorten’s decision to align himself with the fanciful claims of the fruitcake fringe and against the interests of private industry is a seminal moment for the ALP.
Labor’s ideological journey from a socialist party that merely wanted to take over the means of production to a deep green party that wants to close down the whole lot is complete.
Construction of the Carmichael mine would boost sluggish regional economies from Gladstone to Townsville, lifting wages and employment. A concessional government loan for the rail link would mean that up to five more mines might follow.
Yet Shorten is content to let the green reactionaries triumph and leave the Galilee Basin coal reserves untouched. The interests of the workers are sacrificed for environmental populism.
Labor’s flirtation with the green movement began in the early 1980s when Bob Hawke decided to stand with Bob Brown in opposing the Franklin Dam. It was a popular move on the mainland, where Hawke won the 1983 election with a 4 per cent swing. There was a 4 per cent swing against Labor in Tasmania, however, where the dam meant progress and jobs.
Hawke’s finance minister, Peter Walsh, warned that no good would come from trying to satisfy the insatiable demands of ecological activists. Labor, he wrote in his memoir, had knowingly put Tasmanian blue-collar workers out of work “to appease the bourgeois left and middle-class trendoids in the gentrified suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne”.
What Walsh and others did not predict was that the workers would eventually be squeezed out by the middle-class trendoids, just as they were squeezed out from the workers’ cottages in inner-Sydney Chippendale.
Nor could anyone have foreseen in 1983 that the kayak-paddling nature lovers blockading the Franklin would spawn a protest industry with a nine-figure turnover, or that demonisation of dams would be eclipsed by the demonisation of coal, a combustible sedimentary rock that gave us modernity.
By the mid-1980s, the green movement, radicalised by its own success, was congratulating itself on locking away every hectare of untamed wilderness and was looking for new targets for its righteous anger.
The marginal, drought-prone pastures of the Galilee Basin became a cause worth fighting for once the Greens had succeeded in portraying coal as public enemy No 1.
The anti-coal campaigners met their match in Gautam Adani, a university dropout from India’s Gujarat state who set up his own diamond brokerage at 20 and traded his way to become a multi-billionaire.
The Adani Group’s stubborn refusal to let green spoiling tactics stop its plan to open Australia’s largest coalmine makes its tenacious chairman a true Aussie hero.
There is far more at stake in this fight than the fate of one coalmine, just as more rested on the Franklin campaign than the future of one dam. It is a test of strength between ideology and pragmatism, a choice between deep-green dogma and progress.
If the environmentalists were to win this fight it would put an effective moratorium on the expansion of coal for the next 30 years, just as Franklin put a stop to large-scale water storage.
By refusing to offer material support to the project, Shorten, on behalf of Labor, has effectively thrown in the towel. He presumes to know better than private sector investors prepared to risk billions of dollars of their own capital in the project by declaring that the project doesn’t stack up.
He is prepared to fight Malcolm Turnbull over the allocation of money from the Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility, controlled by an independent board charged with offering concessional loans to projects that pass a public interest test on which they can reasonably expect a return.
In his 2016 book, For the Common Good, Shorten dismissed the future of thermal coal and instead declared his ambition to make Australia a “clean energy superpower”. The growth in mining exports is fading, he declared. Renewable energy is “the biggest business opportunity in the history of business”, and Labor, in time, will be shown to be “on the right the side of history”.
Now that Shorten has revealed his intention to put the kybosh on Adani, the portent of his extravagant rhetoric is a little less opaque.
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Posted by JR at 12:36 AM