Sunday, March 26, 2017


Media Touts A New Study Blaming Diabetes Epidemic On Global Warming

The findings below may be totally correct -- though I wouldn't believe them until they are replicated -- but they are an attempt to make a general case from one observation.  You can "prove" anything that way.  There is no doubt that global warming would have some bad effects -- and increased diabetes may be one of them. But it would have good effects too.  So where is the balance?  I think the higher incidence of illness and death in winter tells us all we need to know about that


The media is touting a new study claiming global warming could be, at least in part, to blame for the "diabetes epidemic" sweeping the globe.

"When it gets warmer, there is higher incidence of diabetes," Lisanne Blauw, a Ph.D. candidate at the Netherlands-based Einthoven Laboratory and the study's lead author, told The Huffington Post Tuesday.

"It's important to realize global warming has further effects on our health, not only on the climate," Blauw said.

Blauw and her colleagues wrote "the diabetes incidence rate in the USA and prevalence of glucose intolerance worldwide increase with higher outdoor temperature" based on a meta-analysis of 14 years of data on diabetes and temperature in U.S. states.

Researchers hypothesize "the global increase in temperature contributes to the current type 2 diabetes epidemic" since warmer weather could inhibit brown adipose tissue (BAT) that turns food into energy for the body.

That could reduce the body's ability to metabolize glucose, making Type 2 diabetes more likely.

"Hot weather can be more difficult for people with diabetes," Mona Sarfaty, director of the Consortium on Climate Change and Health, told Popular Science.

"The heat keeps people from being active, which means they expend less calories, which can lead to more weight gain," Sarfaty said. "Also, people with diabetes often have kidney problems. Dehydration?-?which comes with heat?-?can worsen kidney problems when people are dehydrated."

HuffPo, of course, mentioned climate scientists declared 2016 the hottest year on record.

"On the basis of our results, a 1øC rise in environmental temperature would account for over 100?000 new diabetes cases per year in the USA alone, given a population of nearly 322 million people in 2015," Blauw and her colleagues wrote.

Sounds terrifying, until you get into the data. Blauw and her colleagues even state that causality between temperature and diabetes can't be drawn from their meta-analysis.

"The associative design of our study does not allow us to draw conclusions on causality," the researchers wrote.

Also, the way the study measured diabetes prevalence is based on "self-reported" surveys collected by the U.S. government. That survey asks people if a doctor told them they had diabetes in the last year - it does not get actual diagnosis data from medical professionals.

Blauw's study examines self-reported diabetes in the U.S.from 1996 to 2009, but right at the beginning of the study period medical professionals relaxed the definition of what constitutes diabetes.

The National Institutes of Health noted in 1998 that "these changes are likely to lead to an increase in the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes as it would become practically much easier to detect the large number of people whose disease is currently undiagnosed."

On a more basic level, though, Blauw's meta-analysis masks a confounding phenomenon. Many states actually showed a decrease in diabetes incidence rate as temperatures rose.

How can warm weather cause more incidents diabetes in South Carolina, but fewer in Louisiana? Not all researchers agreed with the study's findings.

"I think calorie consumption and weight are probably the biggest by a country mile," Adrian Vella, an endocrinologist who was not involved in the new study, told CNN.

"I think the general message always should be that association studies do not actually imply causation," Vella said.

SOURCE





Trump approves Keystone pipeline

The Trump administration gave the Keystone XL pipeline its key federal permit Friday, clearing a major hurdle for the project that former President Obama rejected in 2015.

The State Department announced Friday morning that its undersecretary for political affairs, Tom Shannon, issued the permit, two months after President Trump signed a memorandum to revive the project after Obama’s rejection.

“In making his determination that issuance of this permit would serve the national interest, the under secretary considered a range of factors, including but not limited to foreign policy; energy security; environmental, cultural, and economic impacts; and compliance with applicable law and policy,” State said.

The decision closes a significant chapter in the long-running saga over the controversial oil sands pipeline, which has been a flashpoint in the debate surrounding climate change and dependence on foreign oil.

Obama rejected the application in November 2015, arguing, in part, that it would harm the United States' standing in the world as a leader in fighting climate change.

The approval fulfills a major campaign promise of Trump's and a top priority that congressional Republicans and the oil industry have had for years.

“This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project,” Russ Girling, president of Keystone’s developer, Canada-based TransCanada Corp., said in a statement. “We greatly appreciate President Trump's Administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America's energy infrastructure.”

The 875-mile line would carry up to 830,000 barrels a day of heavy oil sands petroleum from Alberta, Canada, to Nebraska. From there, the oil would continue through existing lines to the Gulf Coast to be refined.

Despite the president's promises, the $8 billion project is not subject to Trump’s promise that oil pipelines built in the United States would have to use American steel. The White House announced earlier this month that that would only apply to pipelines with new applications.

TransCanada has already bought the pipe for the project. About half came from an Arkansas plant owned by an Indian company, a quarter from a plant in Canada owned by a Russian company and the remainder from Italy and India.

TransCanada needed a presidential permit to build the line because it is planned to cross an international border.

The company first started applying to build Keystone XL in 2008. But in the ensuing years, it became a central point in the debate between weaning the United States off fossil fuels and increasing the use of energy from friendly allies.

Trump’s permit is not the final hurdle for the project. State officials in Nebraska still have to approve the line’s route through that state, something that could take another six months.

Environmentalists might also sue to stop the construction.

“The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was a terrible idea when it was first proposed nearly ten years ago, and it’s an even worse idea today. This dirty and dangerous export pipeline would run right through America’s heartland, threatening our water, our land, and our climate — all to pad the profits of a foreign oil company,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters.

“This pipeline is all risk and no reward, and we will continue to fight it every step of the way,” she said.

The business community welcomed the approval.  “After many years of unfortunate delays and partisan posturing, Keystone XL pipeline finally got the green light it has long deserved,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said in a statement. “This pipeline, and countless other projects around the nation, will improve America’s energy security, create jobs, and help get the economy back on track.”

The State Department previous estimated that the project would create 42,100 jobs. The vast majority of them would be temporary jobs related to Keystone’s construction, and about 35 would be permanent jobs operating it.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would usually have been in charge of considering the permit. But he recused himself from the process, due to his previous position as the CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp., the country’s largest oil company.

SOURCE





Earth's worst-ever mass extinction of life holds 'apocalyptic' warning about climate change, say scientists

Typical Warmist grab at anything that might support their dotty theory.  The extinction event actually happened during an ICE AGE, not a warm period

Some 250 million years ago, life on Earth nearly died out completely.  Researchers studying the largest-ever mass extinction in Earth’s history claim to have found evidence that it was caused by runaway global warming – and that the “apocalyptic” events of 250 million years ago could happen again.

About 90 per cent of all the living things on the planet were wiped out in the Permian mass extinction – described in a 2005 book called When Life Nearly Died – for reasons that have been long debated by scientists.

Competing theories have been put forward, including meteor strikes, huge volcanic eruptions and climate change.

Now a team of researchers from Canada, Italy, Germany and the US say they have discovered what happened and that their findings have “an important lesson for humanity” in how we deal with current global warming.

According to a paper published in the journal Palaeoworld, volcanic eruptions pumped large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, causing average temperatures to rise by eight to 11°C.

This melted vast amounts of methane that had been trapped in the permafrost and sea floor, causing temperatures to soar even further to levels “lethal to most life on land and in the oceans”.

“Based on measurements of gases trapped in [the mineral] calcite, the release of methane … is deemed the ultimate source and cause for the dramatic life-changing global warming … observed at the end Permian.

“Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate [its frozen state] may be apocalyptic.

“The end Permian holds an important lesson for humanity regarding the issue it faces today with greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and climate change.”

SOURCE




The World's First State Of The Climate Survey Based on Observations Only

A report on the State of the Climate in 2016 which is based exclusively on observations rather than climate models is published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Compiled by Dr Ole Humlum, Professor of Physical Geography at the University Centre in Svalbard (Norway), the new climate survey is in sharp contrast to the habitual alarmism of other reports that are mainly based on computer modelling and climate predictions.

Among the key findings of the survey are:

    While 2016 was one of the warmest years on record, global temperatures dropped back at the end of the year to levels prior to the strong 2015/16 El Ni¤o. This fact suggests that much of the global 2015-16 temperature peak was caused by a one of the strongest El Ni¤os on record.

    Since 2003, the global temperature estimate based on surface station measurements has consistently drifted away from the satellite-based estimate in a warm direction, and is now about 0.1?C higher.

    Much of the heat given off during the 2015-16 El Ni¤o appears to have been transported to the polar regions, especially to the Arctic, causing severe weather phenomena and unseasonably high air temperatures.

    Data from tide gauges all over the world suggest an average global sea-level rise of 1-1.5 mm/year, while the satellite-derived record suggests a rise of more than 3 mm/yr. This noticeable difference between the two data sets still has no broadly accepted explanation.

    Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice extents since 1979 have developed in opposite directions, decreasing and increasing, respectively. In the Arctic, a 5.3-year periodic variation is important, while for the Antarctic a cycle of about 4.5 years duration is important. Both these variations reached their minima simultaneously in 2016, which explains the recent minimum in global sea-ice extent.

Prof Humlum said: "There is little doubt that we are living in a warm period. However, there is also little doubt that current climate change is not abnormal and not outside the range of natural variations that might be expected."

SOURCE

SOURCE




GREENIE ROUNDUP FROM AUSTRALIA

Three current reports below

Another sawmill becomes a victim of Greenie policies

Victoria's Heyfield timber mill, Australia's largest hardwood mill, will close in 2018 -- which will close down the whole town around it. Heyfield is totally dependent on the mill. It will become a ghost town, greatly disrupting the lives of most people in the town

Victoria's Heyfield timber mill is to close, putting 250 people out of work, after the owners rejected a government lifeline.

Australian Sustainable Hardwood chief executive Vince Hurley says the Gippsland-based mill will close in September 2018 after the state government cut its timber supply.

The mill, Australia's largest hardwood mill, is now looking to relocate to northwestern Tasmania to process plantation hardwood, he told AAP.

The company rejected Victoria's offer of a three-year contract of one year's timber supply at 80,000 cubic metres and two years at 60,000 cubic metres as well as a $4.75 million, three-year operational subsidy.

ASH maintains it needs at least 130,000 cubic metres of saw logs a year to continue operations - a number the government says is not environmentally sustainable.

Premier Daniel Andrews offered to buy the mill if ASH didn't want to run it any longer because he said the business had a strong future.

Mr Andrews said the government would offer a reasonable price if another buyer could not be found. "This is a fair offer and a reasonable offer as we have had a look at the books of the company and we believe it is viable even at those lower volumes," he told ABC radio.

But Mr Hurley says ASH hadn't heard of the offer until the premier's statement was released on Friday morning and is "disgusted" staff had to find out through the media. "We were expecting the premier to honour a commitment that things should have been heard from us first," he said.

If the government did buy the mill, it would have to substantially change operations to be viable on just 60,000 cubic metres of logs, Mr Hurley said. "Not only would you have to buy it, you would have to refit it. It would be a huge risk," he said.

The company is backing a CFMEU and Committee for Gippsland campaign to get the government to change its mind about timber supply. The CFMEU says it does not accept VicForest's decision on the availability of wood.

Nationals leader Peter Walsh said there was enough supply to give ASH the timber it wants and he doubted the government's ability to buy the mill.

"As I understand it the mill's not necessarily for sale and it doesn't matter who owns the mill, it still needs timber," he told reporters.

ASH says it will now restart negotiations with the Tasmanian government about moving the mill to the island state.

SOURCE

Two quit Australian climate authority blaming government 'extremists'

Quiggin is a big-mouth Leftist from way back

Two members of the Climate Change Authority have resigned, with one accusing the government of being beholden to rightwing, anti-science “extremists” in its own party and in the media.

John Quiggin told Guardian Australia he informed the federal minister for environment and energy, Josh Frydenberg, of his resignation on Thursday. It follows the resignation of fellow climate change authority member, Danny Price, who quit on Tuesday.

“The government’s refusal to accept the advice of its own authority, despite wide support for that advice from business, environmental groups and the community as a whole, reflects the comprehensive failure of its policies on energy and the environment,” Quiggin said.

“These failures can be traced, in large measure, to the fact that the government is beholden to rightwing anti-science activists in its own ranks and in the media. Rather than resist these extremists, the Turnbull government has chosen to treat the vital issues of climate change and energy security as an opportunity for political point-scoring and culture war rhetoric.”

Quiggin said his immediate reason for resigning was the government’s failure to respond to the authority’s third report of the special review into potential climate policies, which the government had requested and which it was legally required to respond to.

“The government has already indicated that it will reject the key recommendations of the review, particularly the introduction of an emissions intensity scheme for the electricity industry.”

Quiggin said he didn’t believe there was anything to be gained “by giving objective advice based on science and economic analysis to a government dominated by elements hostile to both science and economics”.

Price told Guardian Australia he had resigned because he “didn’t think it was appropriate for a member of a government agency to be openly critical of government policy”.

“I think the authority does really good work, but I didn’t think I could stay if I was going to continue to criticise the government’s policy making and I didn’t see any chance that it would get any better,” he said.

“I really hate the complete ad hocery of it all … the idea that anything at all can be thrown out by a government in a political panic.”

Quiggin was appointed to the authority in 2012, and Price in 2015. Both were appointed for five-year terms.

The Climate Change Authority’s special review was undertaken last year, and recommended the government institute two emissions trading schemes and strengthen regulations if it was to meet Australia’s 2030 emission reduction targets.

The report was criticised by the Climate Institute, the Greens, and other climate groups and experts criticised elements of the report, and in August Guardian Australia revealed a split in the ranks of the authority, with three members writing a dissenting report.

However many groups – including the Business Council of Australia, Energy Networks Australia, retailer Energy Australia, electricity provider AGL, the Climate Change Authority, the National Farmers Federation and the CSIRO – have also called for the introduction of an emissions intensity trading scheme.

Frydenberg had canvassed a trading scheme following the release of the Finkel review into energy security in December, but the policy was dumped after three days following objections by senior government ministers.

The government’s openness to a scheme has also been cited as a reason for Cory Bernardi’s resignation from the party in February.

The Climate Change Authority was set up in 2011 as an independent statutory agency, and the Coalition has maintained that it should be abolished after failing to get its legislation to do just that through the Senate.

Frydenberg told Guardian Australia: “the government thanks both Danny Price and John Quiggin for their service and the government will continue to engage constructively with the authority”.

The Greens climate and energy spokesman, Adam Bandt, said the government’s “dangerous pandering to climate change deniers” had left it friendless. “When added to previous resignations, this exodus is the equivalent of half the reserve bank board resigning over the government’s economic policies.”

SOURCE

Tony Abbott: Hazelwood Power Station should stay open

IF WE are serious about tackling Australia’s looming energy crisis, the last thing we should be doing is closing 20 per cent plus of Victoria’s (and 5 per cent of Australia’s) base load power supply.

Yet that’s what’s scheduled to happen next week unless there is an eleventh hour intervention by government or a last-minute change of heart by the station’s operator.

Sure, brown coal is more emissions-intensive than gas.

Yes, coal lacks the “big new thing” allure of pumped hydro.

Still it’s given Victoria and South Australia cheap, reliable base load power, making those states our country’s manufacturing hubs.

And until equally cost effective and reliable alternative supplies can be established, having Hazelwood close is sheer, avoidable folly.

Keeping Hazelwood open would make a lot more difference than pumped hydro which is trying to solve today’s problem in some years’ time.

Still the Prime Minister’s Snowy Scheme 2.0, plus the South Australian commitment to a new gas-fired base load power station, shows that our leaders are finally thinking about what might be done to keep the lights on.

So far, though, no one in authority is talking about the one thing that could boost base load power by almost 2000 megawatts immediately: not closing Hazelwood next week.

If we want secure and affordable power supplies, we can’t lose the ones we currently have, even if they involve burning coal.

The past few months, with the statewide blackout in South Australia and the blackout which badly damaged the Portland aluminium smelter in Victoria, have shown the damage that intermittent and unreliable wind and solar energy is doing to our power supply.

There’s no doubt that climate change obsessions have played havoc with Australia’s energy policy.

Fifteen years ago, thanks to a largely privatised and deregulated energy market, our power prices were among the world’s lowest.

With the world’s largest readily available reserves of coal, gas and uranium, we were an affordable energy superpower.

Since then, climate-induced political fiddling has put prices through the roof and removed Australian manufacturing’s one big comparative advantage.

It’s damaged our standard of living and it’s destroyed thousands of jobs.

My government scrapped the carbon tax and reduced the renewable energy target but the preference given to wind and solar power continues to drive coal and gas fired power stations out of business and to put security of supply at risk.

Depending on conditions, wind varies between providing nothing and everything that South Australia needs.

Because of wind’s preferential status and minimal marginal cost, more reliable and cheaper-overall forms of power generation simply can’t compete.

SA’s private Pelican Point gas-fired power station is currently mothballed because policy-driven market distortion and Greens-driven restrictions on gas supply have made it uneconomic. Meanwhile, renewable energy-obsessed Labor governments, dramatically increased coal royalties, and political risk have made coal-fired power unbankable here even though it’s still the most affordable and reliable source of energy.

If price rises are to moderate and if jobs are to be preserved, energy policy needs a complete rethink.

The renewable energy target, in particular, needs to be reconsidered so that unreliable power is no longer shutting down the reliable power everyone needs.

As always, it’s the unintended, unanticipated consequences of well-intentioned policy that turn out to be the most significant.

The dream of “clean, green” wind and solar power over “dirty, dangerous” coal — and the subsidies to bring it about — has led us to the verge of catastrophe.

Once Hazelwood is gone, the plant mothballed and the workforce dispersed, it will be almost impossible to reopen.

Meanwhile, all the other schemes to produce large amounts of coal-free base load power are years and years from fruition.

At least until Snowy 2.0 can produce 2000 megawatts of cost-effective and droughtproof hydro power, Hazelwood should stay open.

That wouldn’t be bailing out a failing business. It would be securing the services that Australians need until market forces are once more driving the system.

Keeping Hazelwood open would be a good way for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to show that energy policy in Australia won’t be hijacked by ideological fixations in France.

One of the factors in its looming closure — not the only one but an important one — is the French socialist government (which part owns Engie, which part owns Hazelwood) wanting to boast that it has closed down one of the world’s “dirtiest” power stations.

Keeping Hazelwood open would cap off a good week for the Prime Minister.

He’s fought for free speech, announced a new crack down on union corruption, and released an “Australia First” citizenship statement.

Stopping next summer’s looming blackouts with bold action now is a chance to keep the momentum.

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   main.html 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, March 24, 2017



The New York Times goes full Duranty on CO2 Scaremongering

Duranty was the lying Soviet-era reporter for the NYT.

What makes a newspaper take it upon itself to foist propaganda on to children? This recent article in the New York Times contains lesson-plan instructions on how to indoctrinate youngsters in Climate Alarm Orthodoxy. It hardly needs Fisking, the bias is so blatant, the intention so obvious. When will it ever end?

Comment from Lubos Motl:

"In the 1980s, we thought that some of our Communist-era education was biased and manipulative. But it has never reached more than 1% of what these two individuals propose - which is a full Orwell 1984. It's just incredible if Trump is paying teachers who are actually willing to do things like that. They should hear "You're Fired" within minutes"

Excerpt from the article:


The New York Times recently published an eight-part series exploring how climate change is displacing people around the world. This series travels from a lake that disappeared in Bolivia, to a Pacific island nation slowly being swallowed by the ocean, to an Alaska town threatened by increased flooding and erosion. Other articles detail climate change’s effects in China, Africa and the mainland United States.

Working in pairs or small groups, students can examine different articles and report back to the class, either through a jigsaw activity or class presentations. To prepare, they can take notes on and discuss the following questions:

 *  How has global climate change affected the local climate and geography of the region discussed in your article?
 *  How have these changes affected the people living there?
 *  How have the people tried to adapt to climate change’s effects?
 *  All of these articles include images which were selected to have an impact on the reader. What do these images show? Which image is the most powerful? Describe it and discuss what makes it an effective image.
 *  Why is this story important for the world to know?

Here’s the home page for the Carbon’s Casualties series, and you can see links to the individual articles below.
Carbon’s Casualties

Articles in this series explore how climate change is displacing people around the world.

You might consider including one additional article, not in the series, as part of the activity. In “Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun,” Justin Gillis reports on the pressure that increased flooding is placing on communities in the United States, from Virginia to Florida.

After students have presented what they learned from their article, you can encourage them to make connections between the various articles by posing the following prompts, either in writing or verbally:

 *  What are some links or connections that you heard between the various articles in terms of the impact of climate change?
 *  What do you know now about climate change that you didn’t know before?

SOURCE





The social cost of carbon regulations

Anti-fossil fuel SCC relies on garbage models, ignores carbon benefits and hurts the poor

Paul Driessen and Roger Bezdek

“If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy,” Bill Gates has said. “Access to energy is absolutely fundamental in the struggle against poverty,” World Bank VP Rachel Kyte and Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Amartya Sen agree.

The UN Development Program also calls energy “central to poverty reduction.” And International Energy Agency Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol notes that “coal is raising living standards and lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” In fact, all fossil fuels are doing so.

Indeed, fossil fuels created the modern world and the housing, transportation, other technologies and living standards so many of us take for granted. They are essential for electricity and life, and over the past 250 years they more than doubled average life expectancy in countries that took advantage of them.

But the Obama Administration and radical environmentalists despise fossil fuels and used every tactic they could devise to eliminate them. One of their most important schemes was the “social cost of carbon.”

Federal agencies used the SCC to calculate the “hidden costs” of carbon dioxide emissions associated with fossil fuel use, by assigning a dollar value to every ton of CO2 emitted by power plants, factories, homes, vehicles and other sources. However, the entire process was little more than junk science and Garbage In-Garbage Out forecasting.

First, each ton of U.S. emissions averted would initially have prevented a hypothetical $25/ton in global societal costs allegedly resulting from dangerous manmade climate change: less coastal flooding and tropical disease, fewer droughts and extreme weather events, for example. But within three years regulators arbitrarily increased the SCC to around $40/ton.

That made it easier to justify the Clean Power Plan, Paris climate agreement, and countless Obama Era actions on electricity generation, fracking, methane, pipelines, vehicle mileage and appliance efficiency standards, livestock operations, carbon taxes, and wind, solar and biofuel mandates and subsidies.

Second, the supposed bedrock for the concept is the now rapidly shifting sands of climate chaos theory. New questions are arising almost daily about data quality and manipulation, the degree to which carbon dioxide affects global temperatures, the complex interplay of solar, cosmic ray, oceanic and other natural forces, and the inability of computer models to predict temperatures, sea level rise or hurricanes.

Meanwhile, as the 2015-16 El Nino dissipated, average global temperatures rapidly fell back almost to their 1998-2014 level, according to Britain’s Met Office and other experts. That means there has been no measurable planetary warming for 18 years. Nor are other predicted disasters happening in the real world.

That means the very notion that U.S. emissions impose major climate costs is increasingly indefensible. Moreover, developing nations are burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide at many times the U.S. rate; that means even eliminating their use in America would have no effect on atmospheric CO2 levels.

Third, the SCC scheme blames American emissions for supposed costs worldwide (even though U.S. CO2 emissions are actually declining). It incorporates almost every conceivable cost of oil, gas and coal use on crops, forests, coastal cities, property damage, “forced migration,” and human health, nutrition and disease. However, it utterly fails to mention, much less analyze, tremendous and obvious carbon benefits.

That violates a 1993 Bill Clinton executive order requiring that federal agencies assess both benefits and costs of proposed regulations. It is also irrational, and completely contrary to human experience.

Fossil fuels created the modern world and lifted billions out of destitution and disease. They supply over 80% of the energy that powers United States and other modern civilizations; they will continue doing so for decades to come. They generate up to $70 trillion in annual global GDP.

Using readily available data on global living standards, economies, disease, nutrition, life spans and other benefits – and the government’s own SCC cost figures and methodologies – we estimate that carbon benefits exceed costs by orders of magnitude: at least 50 to 1 and as much as 500 to 1!

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that fossil fuels will provide 75-80% of worldwide energy through 2040 – when the total amount of energy consumed will be at least 25% greater than today. That means these notable benefit-cost ratios will continue. The Obama Era SCC ignores all of this, too.

Fourth, SCC schemes likewise impute only costs to carbon dioxide emissions. However, as thousands of scientific studies verify, rising levels of this miracle molecule are “greening” the Earth – reducing deserts, and improving forests, grasslands, drought resistance, crop yields and human nutrition. No matter which government report or discount rate is used, asserted social costs of more CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere are infinitesimal compared to its estimated benefits.

Fifth, government officials claim they can accurately forecast damages to the world’s climate, economies, civilizations, populations and ecosystems from U.S. carbon dioxide emissions over the next three centuries. They say we must base today’s energy policies, laws and regulations on those forecasts.

The notion is delusional and dangerous. The rate of change in energy generation and other technologies has become exponential over the past several decades, with forecasting ability declining at an equal rate. Uncertainties over man and nature-driven climate changes during the next 300 years are equally colossal. Combining all the SCC assumptions, methodologies, fabrications and omissions, and injecting its absurd predictions into high-speed computer models, just means bogus forecasts are generated more quickly.

Finally, the most fundamental issue isn’t even the social cost of carbon. It is the costs inflicted on society by anti-carbon regulations. Those rules replace fossil fuel revenues with renewable energy subsidies; reliable, affordable electricity with unreliable power that costs two to three times as much; and mines, drill holes, cropland and wildlife habitats with tens of millions of acres of wind, solar and biofuel “farms.”

Anti-carbon rules are designed to drive energy de-carbonization and modern nation de-industrialization. Perhaps worst, their impacts fall hardest on poor, minority and blue-collar families. Those families spend proportionately three to ten times more of their incomes on energy than families earning $50,000 to $250,000 a year. They have little discretionary income and face the greatest risk of having their electricity cut off – as happened to 330,000 families during 2015 in ultra-green Germany. Worldwide, billions of people still do not have electricity – and the SCC would keep them deprived of its benefits.

Bureaucrats, activists, scientists and corporate rent-seekers certainly welcome the SCC mumbo-jumbo. They have profited the most from the countless billions that Obama regulatory agencies lavished on them every year, and from the tens of billions that Mr. Obama stashed in dozens of agencies, programs and crannies throughout the government, so they couldn’t easily be found or cut.

Above all, they would profit massively from the $93 trillion that the Financial Stability Board’s climate task force says the world must spend in low-carbon infrastructure programs over the next 15 years, as part of the Obama-UN-FSB-Climate Crisis, Inc. plan to de-carbonize and de-industrialize the planet.

Taxpayers, consumers and families would be hammered if the Climate Cabal got even more power over energy policies, economic growth, livelihoods and living standards. Thankfully, eliminating the social cost of carbon and programs implemented under it requires little more than applying the same rules and standards that government regulators have imposed on Volkswagen, Fiat and Wall Street dishonesty.

That is why the Trump Administration is challenging the SCC, climate cataclysm deception, and the bloated EPA budget behind so much of it. It’s why the House Science Committee’s Environment and Oversight Subcommittees held a hearing on the SCC, and why we and other experts will eviscerate it during the upcoming Heartland Institute 12th International Climate Conference in Washington, DC.

It’s time to rescind and defund the SCC – and replace it with honest, objective cost-benefit analyses.

Via email





How Leonardo DiCaprio Can Persuade Me on Climate Change

You probably know that actor Leonardo DiCaprio is a climate activist, and he is trying to persuade the world that climate change is both real and serious. Someone asked me on Twitter what it would take for DiCaprio (for example) to persuade a person like me.

I’ll take a swing at that.

For starters, you must separate the questions of real and serious. The real part refers to the climate models. The serious part refers to economic models. Those are different topics.

If you want to convince me that climate change is real, the best approach is to abandon the current method that packages climate models in a fashion that is identical to well-known scams. (Or hoaxes, if you prefer.)

Let me say this doubly-clear. When I say climate models are packaged in a fashion that is identical to known scams, I am not saying they are scams. I’m saying they are packaged to look exactly like scams. There is no hope for credibility with that communication plan.

To make my point visual, imagine walking into your kitchen and finding an intruder wearing a ski mask and holding a gun. You assume this person is not your friendly neighbor because he is packaged exactly like an armed burglar. If you shoot that intruder, and it turns out to be your neighbor playing a prank, you probably won’t go to jail because it isn’t your fault. The problem was that your neighbor packaged himself to look exactly like an armed burglar.

Climate scientists tell us that there are hundreds of climate models, all somewhat different. I assume that most of them do a good job predicting the past (hindcasting) because otherwise they would not be models at all. Hindcasting is one minimum requirement for being a model in this field, I would assume.

Then science ignores the models that are too far off from observed temperatures as we proceed into the future and check the predictions against reality. Sometimes scientists also “tune” the models to hindcast better, meaning tweaking assumptions. As a non-scientists, I can’t judge whether or not the tuning and tweaking are valid from a scientific perspective. But I can judge that this pattern is identical to known scams. I described the known scams in this post.

And to my skeptical mind, it sounds fishy that there are dozens or more different climate models that are getting tuned to match observations. That doesn’t sound credible, even if it is logically and scientifically sound. I am not qualified to judge the logic or science. But I am left wondering why it has to sound exactly like a hoax if it isn’t one. Was there not a credible-sounding way to make the case?

Personally, I would find it compelling if science settled on one climate model (not dozens) and reported that it was accurate (enough), based on temperature observations, for the next five years. If they pull that off, they have my attention. But they will never convince me with multiple models. That just isn’t possible.

If climate scientists want their climate predictions to be believed, they need to vote on the best model, and stick with it for a few years. If they can’t do that, all I will see is lots of blind squirrels in a field of nuts. Some squirrels will accidentally find some nuts. But it won’t look like science to me because of the way it is packaged.

I do realize that picking one model as the “best” is not something science can do with comfort. It would feel dishonest, I assume, since they don’t know which one will perform best. But if science wants to be persuasive, they need to pick one model. And it needs to be accurate(ish) for the next five years. Nothing else would be persuasive to me.

On the second point, about how serious the alleged problem of climate change is, we have to rely not on scientists but on economists. And economists have zero credibility for long-term forecasts of that type. So the serious part is beyond the reach of persuasion. You can’t get there from here because economic models are no more credible than astrology.

By the way, my educational background is in economics and business. And for years, my corporate jobs involved making complex financial projections about budgets. In other words, I was perpetuating financial fraud within the company, by order of my boss. He told me to pretend my financial projections were real, and I did. But they were not real. My predictions were in line with whatever my boss told me they would be. I “tuned” my assumptions until I got my boss’s answer.

When I tell you it would be hard to convince me that a stranger’s economic model is credible, keep my experience in mind. I’ve seen lots of economic models. I’ve built economic models. In my experience, they are nothing but guesses, bias, and outright fraud.

The only way to convince me that climate change is bad for the economy is to wait until it starts breaking things. If I see it, and scientists agree I am seeing it, I might believe it. But long-term economic predictions can’t get me there.

I remind you that my topic is about persuasion, not the underlying truth of climate change. I don’t have access to the underlying truth because I am not a scientist working in the field. My information comes from strangers that tell me their interpretation of what the scientists are saying. I am as far from science as you can get.

The people who are hallucinating the hardest on this topic are the non-scientists who believe they have done a deep dive into the scientific papers and the climate models and arrived at a rational conclusion. The illusion here is that getting information from other humans is the same as “science.”

Another group of hallucinators believe that they can determine the scientific truth of climate change by counting the number of scientists on each side. But that ignores the fact that science often has the majority on the wrong side. That happens every time a new idea is starting to replace an old one. Darwin did not agree with the consensus when he introduced evolution. Einstein’s ideas were slow to catch on, etc.

When the majority of scientists are on one side, what matters most is the flow rate from one side to the other, not the raw numbers. I need to know which direction the scientists are moving. Are more climate scientists moving toward climate skepticism or away from it? Give me that data and I’ll have something useful. But counting the number on each side during one slice of time is meaningless for persuasion.

My point is that Leonardo DiCaprio would have a tough time persuading me that climate science is both real and serious. But it isn’t his fault, because science has packaged climate science to look like a hoax, and sent him out to sell it. I respect and admire DiCaprio for his heart on this matter, and his effort on behalf of the planet. But science has failed him by giving him hoax-looking sales collateral.

SOURCE





Trump Lays Plans to Reverse Obama’s Climate Change Legacy

President Trump is poised in the coming days to announce his plans to dismantle the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy, while also gutting several smaller but significant policies aimed at curbing global warming.

The moves are intended to send an unmistakable signal to the nation and the world that Mr. Trump intends to follow through on his campaign vows to rip apart every element of what the president has called Mr. Obama’s “stupid” policies to address climate change. The timing and exact form of the announcement remain unsettled, however.

The executive actions will follow the White House’s release last week of a proposed budget that would eliminate climate change research and prevention programs across the federal government and slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent, more than any other agency. Mr. Trump also announced last week that he had ordered Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, to revise the agency’s stringent standards on planet-warming tailpipe pollution from vehicles, another of Mr. Obama’s key climate change policies.

While the White House is not expected to explicitly say the United States is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and people familiar with the White House deliberations say Mr. Trump has not decided whether to do so, the policy reversals would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions reduction goals set by the Obama administration under the international agreement.

In an announcement that could come as soon as Thursday or as late as next month, according to people familiar with the White House’s planning, Mr. Trump will order Mr. Pruitt to withdraw and rewrite a set of Obama-era regulations known as the Clean Power Plan, according to a draft document obtained by The New York Times. The Obama rule was devised to shut down hundreds of heavily polluting coal-fired power plants and freeze construction of new coal plants, while replacing them with vast wind and solar farms.

The draft also lays out options for legally blocking or weakening about a half-dozen additional Obama-era executive orders and policies on climate change.

At a campaign-style rally on Monday in the coal-mining state of Kentucky, Mr. Trump told a cheering audience that he is preparing an executive action that would “save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work.”

Experts in environmental law say it will not be possible for Mr. Trump to quickly or simply roll back the most substantive elements of Mr. Obama’s climate change regulations, noting that the process presents a steep legal challenge that could take many years and is likely to end up before the Supreme Court.

Economists are skeptical that a rollback of the rules would restore lost coal jobs because the demand for coal has been steadily shrinking for years.

The policy reversals also signal that Mr. Trump has no intention of following through on Mr. Obama’s formal pledges under the Paris accord, under which nearly every country in the world submitted plans detailing actions to limit global warming over the coming decade.

Under the accord as it stands, the United States has pledged to reduce its greenhouse pollution about 26 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. That can be achieved only if the United States not only implements the Clean Power Plan and tailpipe-pollution rules, but also tightens them or adds more policies in future years.

“The message clearly is, ‘We won’t do what the United States has promised to do,’” Mr. Molina said.

In addition to directing Mr. Pruitt to withdraw the Clean Power Plan, the draft order instructs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request that a federal court halt consideration of a 28-state lawsuit against the regulation. The case was argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in September, and the court is expected to release a decision in the coming months on whether to uphold or strike down the rule.

According to the draft, Mr. Trump is also expected to announce that he will lift a moratorium on new coal mining leases on public lands that had been announced last year by the Obama administration.

He is also expected to order White House economists to revisit an Obama-era budgeting metric known as the social cost of carbon. Economists and policy makers used the metric to place a dollar cost on the economic impact of planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution: about $36 per ton. That measure formed the Obama administration’s economic justification for issuing climate change regulations that would harm some industries, such as coal mining, noting that those costs would be outweighed by the economic benefits of preventing billions of tons of planet-warming pollution.

Eliminating or lowering the social cost of carbon could provide the Trump administration the economic justification for putting forth less-stringent regulations.

The draft order would also rescind an executive order by Mr. Obama that all federal agencies take climate change into account when considering any form of environmental permitting.

Unlike the rollback of the power plant and vehicle regulations, which could take years and will be subject to legal challenges, Mr. Trump can make the changes to the coal mining ban and undo Mr. Obama’s executive orders with the stroke of a pen.

White House staff members and energy lobbyists who work closely with them say they have been expecting Mr. Trump to make the climate change announcements for weeks, ever since Mr. Pruitt was confirmed to head the E.P.A. on Feb. 17, but the announcement has been repeatedly rescheduled. The delays of the one-page announcement have largely been a result of disorganization and a chaotic policy and planning process, said people familiar with that process who asked to speak anonymously to avoid angering Mr. Trump.

“To undo the rule, the E.P.A. will now have to follow the same procedure that was followed to put the regulations in place,” said Mr. Lazarus, pointing to a multiyear process of proposing draft rules, gathering public comment and forming a legal defense against an expected barrage of lawsuits almost certain to end up before the Supreme Court.

But he can suspend application of the rule while the lawsuits go on -- JR

SOURCE




Look out when science and politics tell us the future

Comment from Australia

A growing mood of catastrophism is enveloping our more serious newspapers as the cost of anthropogenic change to the business climate bites.

A decade of ill-judged environmental and energy policy has exacted a terrible toll on the national economy. There is little chance of the investment needed to rid South Australia of its basket-case status while the government is unable to guarantee a stable power supply. Across the country, household electricity prices have more than doubled in less than a decade, and gas is running out on the eastern seaboard.

A decade ago, Australia enjoyed an efficient and reliable energy market and some of the cheapest power in the world. Hubristic government intervention has changed that and the damage could take decades to repair.

The politicisation of the global warming debate began almost 30 years ago with the 1988 climate change conference in Toronto. It was the start of a series of international gatherings, each larger than the last, with escalating apocalypticism and ever more strident demands for action.

The hyper-dramatisation of the millennial drought and the release of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth set the stage for Kevin Rudd to declare climate change our greatest moral challenge.

“There are two stark choices,” Rudd said in an extraordinary speech in late 2009, “action or inaction.” A pedant might describe it as a single choice constructed around a false dilemma, but his rhetorical point was made.

His government, naturally, would choose action since in modern progressive politics the urge to do something is stronger than the imperative to assess the likely consequences of the thing they are intending to do.

Time has helped illuminate the dewy-eyed naivety of the climate change policy Rudd took to the 2007 election. Ineffectiveness is one thing; the damage caused by the unintended consequences is quite another.

By setting a 20 per cent renewable energy target for 2020, the government privileged the suppliers of intermittent energy — wind and solar — over sources of energy capable of producing a reliable supply.

The costs of the scheme were seriously underestimated. The myth was allowed to percolate that renewable energy was free.

If we thought we’d been let off the hook when the Abbott government scrapped the carbon tax, we were wrong. The collective weight of government interventions, large and small, driven by compassion for the planet, has made us poorer than we would otherwise be. The Garnaut report in 2008 spoke of the massive economic transformation required to adapt to a carbon-constrained future but greatly underestimated the cost.

Its logic was obscure and its economic modelling so ambitious that it was frankly unbelievable. Treasury had forecast Australia’s gross national product for the next 92 years, yet one has only to read old budget papers to realise that their modelling breaks down over four.

Today the Garnaut report, with its lofty, theoretical arguments, reads like a brilliant postgraduate thesis. As a blueprint for government policy, however, it is dangerously flawed.

Yet by 2008 science and politics had become indistinguishable. Science provided the justification for political action; politics provided the grants that sent science heading along a single track.

Some say the politicisation of climate change picked up where the Cold War left off. There are certainly parallels: Marxism, according to Friedrich Engels, was scientific socialism; its theories supposedly held to an empirical standard, based on the methodical observation of history.

Once you understood — or thought you understood — the rules according to which human beings operated, you could build a perfect society and create economic order from chaos. There was no room for dispute because the science was settled; authoritarianism was its natural consequence.

The science of global warming offered the intellectuals another chance to organise the world as they wanted it to be, to take charge of human affairs and to bypass the irksome process of democracy. It was a global problem that called for global action.

It was an opportunity to settle old scores by re-fighting the lost battle of the Cold War: the fight against free markets. It justified a new technocratic world order, constructed in the spirit of Thomas Paine: “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” And they weren’t shy to admit it. As Christine Figuerres, executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, put it in 2015: “This is first time in the history of mankind that we set ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

From the perspective of free-market liberals, this is bound to end in tears. The massive collective interventions that have distorted the energy market are choking the economy in the 21st century, as surely as socialist interventions did in the 1990s.

An ideological commitment to address market failure has resulted in something worse: non-market failure. Australia is running short of baseload electrical power, but the disincentives for investing are large.

So the South Australian government now talks of taking electricity generation back into public ownership. Others talk about subsidising baseload power plants from the public purse, falling back on the industrial welfare habit.

It all makes perfect sense to the technocrats and central planners.

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   main.html 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, March 23, 2017



The oceans are COOLING

We have seen lots of claims about the temperature records for 2016 and 2015 proving dangerous man made warming.  At least one senator stated that in a confirmation hearing.  Now that HadSST3 data is complete through February 2017, let’s see how obvious is the ocean’s governing of global average temperatures.

The best context for understanding these last two years comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons:

* The ocean covers 71% of the globe and drives average temperatures;

* SSTs have a constant water content, (unlike air temperatures), so give a better reading of heat content variations;

* A major El Nino was the dominant climate feature the last two years.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.

The chart below shows the last two years of SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3, along with the first two months of 2017.



Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 are first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in February 2016, and steadily declining back to its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added two bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year. Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one.

Finally, the oceans are starting 2017 only slightly lower than a year ago, but this year with much cooler Tropics.  Notice that both the Tropics and also the Northern Hemisphere continue to cool.  The Global average warmed slightly, pulled upward by the Southern Hemisphere which reaches its summer peak at this time.

March may repeat 2016 when NH bottomed and SH peaked, or maybe both will rise or both will drop.  In the latter case, perhaps we will see the long-awaited La Nina.

SOURCE





The silver-tongued liars’ playbook  

Coal ash scare stories are the latest tactic in their long war on coal-fueled electricity generation

Paul Driessen

Coal-fired power plant scrubbers now remove 80-90 % of airborne particulate, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants. But that means “fly ash” and noncombustible residues (what we used to call clinkers) must be sent to landfills. That’s opened a new front for anti-energy activists, who use accidents, “detectable” pollutants in water, and scary stories about health threats to advance their agenda.

In 2008, a Tennessee Valley Authority earthen retainer dam near Knoxville ruptured, sending 5.4 million cubic yards of rain-soaked fly ash into a nearby river, lake and neighborhood. Twelve homes were damaged by the muck, which contained low levels of arsenic, cadmium and other metals. The TVA’s cleanup efforts were less than exemplary, as were its measures to prevent the accident in the first place.

Companies and regulators clearly must do more to prevent accidents and pollution – and more to educate people about the actual risks involved. With a new fly ash playbook being tested in North Carolina, Virginia and other states, as part of the war on coal and the keep-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground campaign, those informational efforts are vital.

Duke Energy operates 14 coal-fired electricity generating plants in North Carolina – and several large fly ash facilities. Like coal itself, the ash contains trace amounts of hexavalent chromium (chromium-6 or Cr-6) and other metals that can be toxic to humans in high doses. Blazing temperatures bond the vast majority tightly in glassy vitrified ash, and well maintained impoundments ensure that few seep out.

However, tiny amounts can still escape into nearby surface waters and groundwater. Highly sensitive scientific instruments can now detect parts per trillion – the equivalent of a few seconds in 3,300 years. In 2016, an NC state toxicologist ruled that metallic levels detected in surface and ground water around the state were dangerously high. He blamed ash from coal-fired power plants and persuaded Tar Heel health officials to send “do not drink” letters to several hundred families living near coal ash disposal sites.

In his view, there is “no safe level” for exposure to Cr-6, and the state should slash its allowable level from 100 parts per billion down to 0.07 ppb (1,428 times lower). Other health officials reviewed the scientific literature, determined that amounts detected pose no health risk, noted that Cr-6 often seeps from natural rock formations into surface and ground water, and rescinded the warning letters. But the resulting controversy continues, and the company, regulators and politicians are trying to resolve it.

Duke Energy and many health experts maintain that Cr-6 levels found near the ash facilities (and miles away, from natural sources) are far below what cause health risks. But it wants to assuage concerns among families closest to the ash facilities. So the company offered to provide alternatives to their well water, by giving them access to public water sources or installing state-of-the-art home filtration systems.

In January 2017, the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) granted preliminary approval to these company plans for homes within one-half-mile of a coal ash impoundment. Final approval is contingent on state health and environmental departments certifying that water provided via these systems meets “applicable” or “appropriate” standards for each location.

Now activists say Duke and other companies should move millions of tons of ash from multiple depositories. Not only would that involve hundreds of thousands of dump truck loads, millions of gallons of fuel, and huge trucks lumbering through towns and along back roads and highways. A far more basic question is: Take it where, exactly? Who would want it? Activists certainly offer no viable alternatives.

Companies previously proposed turning fly ash into cement blocks or gravel, for construction projects. Activists quickly nixed that option, even though it would involve virtually no contamination risks. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the real reason for all the vocal consternation is that these agitators simply want to drive coal out of business. Indeed, the same unaccountable, silver-tongued agitators also detest natural gas-generated electricity … and drilling and fracking to produce the gas. They oppose nuclear energy, and even want hydroelectric dams and power plants removed. They claim to support wind and solar, by conveniently ignoring the huge downsides pointed out here, here, here, here and elsewhere.

Forcing utility companies to spend billions relocating huge ash deposits to “lined, watertight landfills” (in someone else’s backyard) will bring no health or environmental benefits. But it will bankrupt companies, send electricity prices soaring, and hurt poor, minority and working class families the most.

If rates double from current costs in coal-reliant states like North Carolina and Virginia (9 cents per kilowatt-hour or less) to those in anti-coal New York or Connecticut (17 cents), families will have to pay $500-1,000 more annually for electricity. Hospitals, school districts, factories and businesses will have to spend additional thousands, tens of thousands or millions. Where will that money come from?

Virginia’s 665,000-square-foot Inova Fairfax Women’s and Children’s Hospital pays about $1,850,000 per year for electricity at 9 cents/kWh, but would pay $3,500,000 at 17 cents: a $1.6-million difference.

Will businesses have to lay off dozens or hundreds of employees, or close their doors? If they pass costs on to patients or customers, where will families find the extra cash? What will the poorest families do?

The war on coal, petroleum, nuclear and hydroelectric power is a callous, eco-imperialist war on reliable, affordable electricity, on jobs, and on poor and minority families. Policies that drive energy prices up drive people out of jobs, drive companies out of business, drive families into green-energy poverty.

Preventing ruptures and spills means selecting, building and maintaining the best possible ash landfill facilities. Safeguarding public water and health means properly addressing actual, proven toxicity risks.

The US Environmental Protection Agency and North Carolina set allowable Cr-6 limits at 100 ppb for drinking water (equivalent to 100 seconds in 33 years or 4 cups in 660,000 gallons of water). The state also applies a 10 ppb standard for well water. No one applies a 0.07 ppb standard (70 parts per trillion).

In 2015, the NCDEQ tested 24 wells two to five miles from the nearest coal plant or coal ash deposit; 20 had Cr-6 levels above 0.07 ppb but far below 100 ppb, underscoring its diverse origins. May 2016 tests could not even detect the chemical in Greensboro water, the News & Record reported.

A 2016 Duke University study found that hexavalent chromium is prevalent in many North Carolina surface and ground waters. Some comes from coal ash deposits, but much is leached from igneous and other rocks found throughout the Piedmont region of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Other health experts note that Cr-6 is found in 70% to 90% of all water supplies in the United States. Applying a 0.07 ppb would mean telling hundreds of millions of Americans not to drink their water!

Moreover, studies have found that Cr-6 in water is safe even at 100 ppb or higher. A 2012 paper in the Journal of Applied Toxicology concluded that regularly drinking water with 210 ppb of Cr-6 poses no health risks. (The real health problems involve airborne Cr-6.) Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, US EPA and other studies buttress those findings.

Equally important, an ability to detect a substance does not mean it poses a risk. Cancer is certainly scary, but the risk of getting cancer is not the same as dying from it. And people routinely accept risks of dying from activities they happily engage in daily. For example, the National Safety Council puts the lifetime risk of dying in a motor vehicle crash at 1 in 113; that’s 8,850 times greater than the alleged lifetime risk of contracting cancer from 0.07 ppb Cr-6 in water. Drinking and smoking fall into the same category.

However, all too many people seem easily terrified by “detectable” levels of strange-sounding chemicals. 100% clean is not necessary, not possible, not found in nature and not a sound basis for public policy.

Coal and chemical controversies like these offer our nation, states and communities excellent opportunities to find novel solutions that recognize sound science, hidden agendas, often limited options, and undesirable repercussions of poorly informed policy decisions. Let’s hope they are up to the task.

Via email





Reassessing Obama's CAFE Mandates

Last week, President Donald Trump announced his administration will reassess the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) mandates the Obama administration’s EPA tried to lock in before the Jan. 20 transition of power. “We’re going to work on the CAFE standards so you can make cars in America again,” Trump told a cheering crowd of auto workers in Ypsilanti, Michigan. “We’re going to help companies so they are going to help you. We’re going to be the car capital of the world again.”

New EPA chief Scott Pruitt promised his agency will coordinate with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to decide whether the Obama administration mandates will remain in place. The deadline for making the decision is April 2018.

Why the reassessment? “In 2012 the EPA set ambitious mileage standards that required auto makers to achieve an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, nearly twice the 2011 mandate,” the Wall Street Journal explains. “The increases were backloaded such that manufacturers had to hit 36.6 miles a gallon by 2017 and 46.8 miles a gallon by 2022. In the last three years, car makers would need to squeeze an additional eight miles out of each gallon.”

In a letter sent to Pruitt in February, the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers (AAM) insisted no government agency “had ever set emissions standards so far into the future,” and that the final determination engendered by Obama’s EPA was “riddled with indefensible assumptions, inadequate analysis, and failure to engage with contrary evidence.”

The AAM further explained meeting those standards would cost far more than the $200 billion originally estimated by Obama’s EPA because the “electrified technologies” needed to meet them would raise the price of vehicles and depress auto sales. As the Journal notes, the onerous standards might have been feasible when gas cost $3.60 per gallon and passenger cars comprised more than half of all vehicle sales. But when the price of gas dropped, sales of trucks and SUVs skyrocketed, with trucks gaining a 61% market share in 2016. Moreover, the decline in gas prices mitigated the benefits of customer fuel savings the EPA used to justify the increased CAFE standards.

Those standards also increased vehicle production costs, driving vehicle manufacturers to Mexico in search of cheaper labor.

The Obama administration knew all of this and originally promised the incoming administration would get a “midterm review” of the CAFE standards to be completed by April 2018.

Make that an incoming Clinton administration. When Trump was elected, Obama’s EPA set the 2012 standards in stone, even though their own projections revealed fewer than 1% of gas-burning cars would comply with the 2022 mandate, and none would meet the standards set for 2025.

Trump’s having none of it. “We are going to restore the originally scheduled midterm review and we are going to ensure that any regulations we have protect and defend your jobs, your factories. We’re going to be fair,” Trump said. “That is why I’m proud to say I followed through on my promise.”

Predictably, Democrats and their eco-zealot allies are furious. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) characterized the review as “all-out assault” to “dismantle important environmental protections.” Kristin Igusky, Climate Program Associate at the World Resources, declared “the administration is creating more uncertainty and blocking progress toward cleaner, more efficient vehicles for America.”

Christian Science Monitor columnist Zack Coleman joins the chorus. “Transportation is now the leading sector for greenhouse gas emissions in the United States,” he writes. “The lower the so-called Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard, the smaller will be the reductions carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles.”

Not quite. The expansion of the aforementioned “electrified technologies” necessary to meet the Obama EPA standards have environmental problems of their own as onerous, if not more so, than vehicles themselves. “So we’re chasing the car that is fueled solely by the electricity that comes out of our walls,” writes columnist Rich Cromwell. “That electricity is apparently generated by magic, never coal, so battery-powered options would reduce cars' carbon footprint and create a more sustainable future.”

Cromwell also eviscerates the catalytic converter, an ostensible pollutant-eliminating device that’s been around since the 70s and became government required for vehicles in 2010. “Catalytic converters, you see, are made in variety of ways, but all those ways include precious metals,” he reveals. “You know how you get precious metals? By mining them from deep under the surface of the earth.” Cromwell cites an article from MIT that “examines all the ways this kind of mining is abjectly horrible, including its carbon footprint.”

In other words, while environmentalists and their Democrat allies in Congress are quick to tout the transparent benefits of electric cars or CAFE standards, they are rather myopic regarding the unforeseen — or is that conspicuously ignored — deleterious tradeoffs that accompany them.

And not just environmental tradeoffs. As Robert Tracinski explains, one would have to drive a $90,000 electric-powered Tesla for 30 years to equalize the costs between it and a $45,000 gas-powered Lexus, based on the average number of miles most Americans drive, coupled with slightly higher gas costs than they’re currently paying. Thus, many “green energy products” are a long way from being economically viable. On the other hand, Tracinski adds, they remain “very much a plaything or status symbol for the wealthy and upper middle class, the sort of people who uniformly believe in man-made global warming and who can afford to spend tens of thousands of extra dollars just to feel good about themselves.”

One suspects ordinary Americans who can’t afford a Tesla or a Lexus and struggle to make ends meet are less “high-minded.”

And what if CAFE standards are solely about holier-than-thou self-aggrandizement? “Under the Obama Administration, CAFE standards have become a tool for combatting global warming, at which they are utterly ineffective,” Heritage Foundation writers Salim Furth and David Kreutzer declare. “Americans are paying excessively for regulations that fail any reasonable cost-benefit test.”

The benefit touted by the Obama administration — a “decrease global temperatures by 0.007 degrees to 0.018 degrees Celsius in 2100” — would be more than offset by “massive losses” imposed on consumers who would increase the number of miles they drive with more fuel-efficient cars offsetting carbon reductions. Many would also eschew higher-priced new car purchases and “delay upgrades, leaving older vehicles on the road longer.”

Pruitt has assured the nation his review of CAFE standards will engender a program that is “good for consumers and good for the environment.” Such balance is a refreshing change from the Obama administration’s “kill the economy to save the planet” mindset.

Nonetheless, he will face resistance. As columnist Ned Barnett reveals, the EPA is still infested with careerists who “believe their own views on global warming and a host of other environmental issues are the only ‘true’ positions. The president, for his part, is clearly preparing to take the challenge directly to the EPA’s permanent staff.”

Hopefully under a swamp-draining Trump administration, there’s no such thing as administrative permanence.

SOURCE




Spying Out EPA Waste, Fraud and Abuse

President Trump wants to cut the budget of the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent, from $8.2 billion to about $5.7 billion, a reduction of $2.6 billion and more than 3,000 positions. The proposed cuts have drawn attacks from politicians, the old-line establishment media, and regulatory zealots. For their part, taxpayers might keep a few realities in mind.

As an inspector general testified in 2013, the powerful EPA displays “an absence of even basic internal controls,” as confirmed by the case of EPA “policy advisor” John Beale. Beale claimed he also worked for the CIA, but nobody at the EPA bothered to check. That enabled Beale to take more than two years off, with full pay, claiming to be in London, India and Pakistan when he was actually kicking back at his vacation home. Beale pulled off his CIA ruse for nearly 20 years and also falsely claimed to have worked for Sen. John Tunney of California and served in Vietnam. Investigators found little evidence that the fraudster’s management produced anything of value, but the EPA eagerly ponied up retention bonuses. The EPA also continued to pay Beale for 19 months after his retirement dinner cruise. All told, the faker bilked taxpayers of nearly $1 million.

As we previously noted, the EPA has not exactly been forthcoming about what it does with the $6.3 billion it has collected from lawsuits and settlements since 1990. Taxpayers may also recall that in 2015 EPA contractors released three million gallons of contaminated wastewater into the Animas River. This unleashed 880,000 pounds of lead, arsenic and other toxic materials for dozens of miles through southwest Colorado and northern New Mexico. The EPA’s alleged vigilance also did nothing to prevent the Flint water crisis, but despite both disasters EPA boss Gina McCarthy kept her job.

Meanwhile, John Beale served 32 months in federal custody and last year gained release. He still collects his generous federal retirement, so in one sense the fake secret agent man got away it. Patrick Sullivan of the EPA inspector general’s office told reporters, “I’m quite confident that it would be almost impossible for someone like Beale to replicate his fraud.” Taxpayers have good reason to doubt it. On the other hand, taxpayers have plenty of evidence that the EPA deserves a cut of more than 31 percent.

SOURCE



There is a consensus but it is not a scientific one

A few days ago I had a conversation with a very smart university professor of history and somehow the climate change subject came up. Almost instantly he responded to my thoughts by saying: “You must be one of those deniers who rejects the science consensus.”

This is the new form of intellectual bullying and it’s intentionally designed is to stop the conversation not advance it. In the academies it is a technique to close off scientific inquiry.

When the liberals talk of ‎consensus, what consensus are they talking about?  Of whom? About what? Here is John Kay of the‎ Financial Times on the so-called consensus:

"Science is a matter of evidence, not what a majority of scientists think…. The notion of a monolithic “science,” meaning what scientists say, is pernicious and the notion of “scientific consensus” actively so. The route to knowledge is transparency in disagreement and openness in debate. The route to truth is the pluralist expression of conflicting views in which, often not as quickly as we might like, good ideas drive out bad. There is no room in this process for any notion of “scientific consensus.”

Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT, has noted that too many environmentalists “ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse.”

Then he adds: “… there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition.… The consensus was reached before the research was even begun…”

Kay and Lindzen are not alone. In an open letter to the Canadian Prime Minister, 60 scientists urged caution when it comes to any policy with regard to climate:

While the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups may provide for sensational headlines, they are no basis for mature policy formation.… There is no “consensus” among climate scientists about the relative importance of the various causes of global climate change.… “Climate change is real” is a meaningless phrase used repeatedly by activists to convince the public that a climate catastrophe is looming and humanity is the cause. Neither of these fears is justified. Global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural noise.

Patrick Moore, a Ph.D. in ecology, is a fallen-away founder of Greenpeace. The following is from his 2015 lecture, “Should We Celebrate Carbon Dioxide?”

"There is no definite scientific proof, through real-world observation that carbon dioxide is responsible for any of the slight warming in the global climate that has occurred during the past 300 years, since the peak of the Little Ice Age.… The contention that human emissions are now the dominant influence on climate is simply a hypothesis, rather than a universally accepted scientific theory. It is therefore correct, indeed verging on compulsory in a scientific tradition, to be skeptical of those who express certainty that “the science is settled” and “the debate is over.”

The world’s top climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is hopelessly conflicted by its makeup and its mandate from the United Nations. It is required only to focus on “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the atmosphere, and which is in addition to natural climate variability.” So if the IPCC found that climate change was not being affected by human alteration of the atmosphere or that it is not “dangerous,” there would be no need for it to exist. It is virtually mandated to find on the side of apocalypse.

The IPCC states that it is “extremely likely” that human emissions have been the dominant cause of global warming “since the mid-20th century,” that is since 1950. It claims that “extremely” means 95% certain, even though the number 95 was simply plucked from the air like an act of magic. And “likely” is not a scientific word but rather indicative of a judgment, another word for opinion.

“Perpetual repetition.” “Unqualified environmental groups.” “Sensational headlines.” This is what mass movements are all about. From his book, The True Believer, here is Eric Hoffer on mass movements:

"Hatred is the most assessable and comprehensive of all the unifying agents.… Mass movements can rise and spread without the belief in God but never without the belief in evil."

By the way, isn’t this what the left accuses the Trump movement to be all about?

Hoffer then goes on to cite the historian F.A. Voigt’s account of a Japanese mission to Berlin in 1932 to study the National Socialist Movement. Voigt asked a member of the mission what he thought. He replied, “It is magnificent. I wish we could have something like it in Japan, only we can’t, because we haven’t got any Jews.” This brought a bit of clarity as to why the mass movement, rather brilliantly, wants to label those of us who have questions as “deniers.”

There are two things necessary for a mass movement to succeed: true believers and a well-defined enemy. The enemy of the climate change mass movement is fossil fuels and the Industrial Age, with the “deniers” being the enablers of planetary destruction.

In the past, the term “denier” has been associated with that extreme group who denies the existence of the horrible, tragic historical fact, the Holocaust. Many climate change true believers want the public to put anyone who questions or disagrees with climate change projections in the same category as the Holocaust deniers. But one is a fact, the other a contested projection. Nevertheless, they have been quite successful.

Here is one of the definitions of “denier” found on the Internet: “a person who denies something, especially someone who refuses to admit the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of the scientific or historical evidence: a prominent denier of global warming.”

Here is Hoffer’s warning on the role of the true believer: “where mass movements can either persuade or coerce, it usually chooses the latter.”

Something we are seeing in spades.

The last paragraph of Friedrich Hayek’s 1974 Nobel Prize address, The Pretense of Knowledge, puts the climate change mass movement and its true believers into frightening perspective:

"There is danger in the exuberant feeling of ever growing power which the advance of the physical sciences has engendered and which tempts man to try, “dizzy with success,” to use a characteristic phrase of early communism, to subject not only our natural but also our human environment to the control of a human will."

It has always been worrisome to me that every so-called solution to global warming subverts rather than enhances human freedom and advances the power of the state to regulate energy, industrial activity, and individual behavior That seems to me, a denier, or whatever term you want to use, a potentially greater threat to the future of human welfare than even climate change. Václav Klaus, the former president of the Czech Republic, made this same point when he declared: “What is at risk is not the climate but 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, March 22, 2017



Where are the tree huggers?  Why are we doing nothing to help  our forests?

Even though healthy forests are a CO2 sponge, Greenies never mention them.  Clearly they are not concerned about trees at all.  All they care about is how best to f**k up other people's lives

Greg Walcher

For years, politicians have waged war on coal, stifled oil and gas production, and advocated carbon taxes and other extreme measures to reduce carbon dioxide, while ignoring one of the most important things they could do to help.

It reminds me of my own lifelong battle with weight and the associated health issues. I get so frustrated that I sometimes swear I would do anything – anything! – to lose weight. Well, anything except eat less and exercise. But anything else.

That same kind of hypocrisy surrounds rants about our carbon dioxide emissions. Even people who are “deeply concerned” about dangerous manmade climate change drive cars, heat their homes, and sometimes even turn on lights. They embrace modern living standards, while also embracing faddish environmental claims and policies that contribute mightily to problems they insist disturb them greatly.

A popular bumper sticker screams, “TREES ARE THE ANSWER.” Yet when it comes to managing our national forests, many of those same advocates look away, while millions of acres of once healthy trees die, fall down, rot or burn up.

It’s ironic, because those forests provide the world’s greatest resource for cleaning carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere; because the rotting and fires themselves emit greenhouse gases; and because atmospheric carbon dioxide makes all plants grow faster and better and with improved tolerance to drought.

As Colorado State Forester Mike Lester testified recently before a state legislative committee, “When so many trees die and large wildfires follow, our forests quickly turn from a carbon sink into a carbon source.” Trees absorb carbon dioxide as people absorb oxygen, and that balance is critical to sustaining life, as we all learned in grade school.

Yet instead of doing everything in our power to make sure we have abundant thriving forests of healthy trees, we allow them to die and burn and thus belch millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air.

Lester’s excellent testimony accompanied the release of the Colorado State Forest Service’s annual Report on the Health of Colorado Forests. This year’s assessment is the worst ever, and hardly anybody noticed. There was no outcry from global warming alarmists around the world, as there should have been. In fact, their silence on this issue is deafening. And it’s not just Colorado. It’s every state, and beyond.

The more concerned people are about climate change, the more they should be interested in active management to restore forest health. Yet many of the groups pushing urgent climate policies are the same groups that continue to fight logging, tree thinning and other management necessary for healthy forests. The result is more of the same disasters we have seen unfolding for over 20 years: dead and dying forests, catastrophic wildfires, habitat devastation, loss of human property and lives, and destruction of wildlife.

The new forest health report shows that over the last seven years, the number of dead standing trees in Colorado forests increased almost 30 percent, to an estimated 834 million dead trees. There are billions across the other Rocky Mountain States.

The report makes clear that this continuing trend of tree mortality can lead to large, intense wildfires that totally incinerate and obliterate forests, soils and wildlife. In fact, it is only a matter of time before this happens, if the U.S. Forest Service does not act.

Ironically, the most productive forest health restoration projects in Colorado have been partnerships of the State Forester with water providers like Denver Water, Northern Water Conservancy District and Colorado Springs Utilities. That’s because 80 percent of Colorado’s population depends on water that comes from the national forests.

However, the U.S. Forest Service, which owns almost all of the forestland in the State, continues to work with its hands tied behind its back, its timber programs woefully underfunded and vast sums syphoned off every year for fire suppression. Fire control ought to be funded separately, so that active management of healthy forests is not the perpetually lowest priority.

The Forest Service spends a fortune on planning, writing reports, and defending itself against environmental lawsuits, leaving few funds for what it is really supposed to be doing.

What a golden opportunity for the new Congress and Trump Administration. Reversing this demoralizing trend would restore forests, protect and increase wildlife, bring back thousands of forest products jobs, revitalize rural economies, and do more to reduce carbon dioxide than any previous policy.

The previous Administration created the Office of Sustainability and Climate Change, and Regional Climate Change Hubs, maintained a Climate Change Adaptation Library, mapped drought frequency and intensity, and created massive reports blaming humans for climate change. One study was a vulnerability assessment for the Southwest and California, titled “Southwest Regional Climate Hub and Climate Subsidiary Hub Assessment of Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation and Mitigation Strategies.”

All this activity is impressive, and scientific study will always play a role. But none of it actually affects climate change. Growing healthy trees would. Can we get back to that?

Or like me and my weight problem, are we willing to do anything to address climate change and improve our forests and wildlife habitats, except the one thing that might help the most?

Via email





The War on Affordable Electricity

Safe, reliable, and affordable power is a crucial partof a strong and growing economy. The dependability and general affordability of electricity here in U.S. is a significant component of our historically robust economy. But recently, a vocal and active few here in New Mexico are part of a coordinated, nationwide effort to severely restrict our ability produce economical and reliable power.

Earlier this summer, the state of California’s GDP passed that of France to become the sixth largest in the world. Just for comparison, the country just ahead of California is the United Kingdom, where last year’s GDP totaled about $2.85 trillion according to the International Monetary Fund.

Due to its sheer size, California is the battleground for most public policy debates, and the current debate on energy is no exception. Both here and in California, environmentalists have made it their mission to increase the use of renewable sources (solar and wind) while shutting down our most affordable, reliable, and carbon-free source of electricity: nuclear power. California policymakers’ anti-nuclear stance is partially blamed for the use of fossil fuels to increase from 47 percent of in-state electric generation in 2011 to 61 percent in 2013.

Since renewables constantly fluctuate due to changes in weather and we expect electricity to be available 24/7, some source of power must fill that gap in generation. Currently, the only sources of electricity capable of covering that gap are fast-ramping natural gas plants. A new study of over 26 separate countries spanning over two decades reports that “all other things equal, a 1% percent increase in the share of fast reacting fossil technologies is associated with a 0.88% percent increase in renewable generation capacity in the long term”. In other words, gas plants can be seen as “an enabling factor” which allow for the integration of additional renewable sources of power. There is no economical method to store power on an industrial scale, so you cannot add renewable energy sources without a corresponding increase in gas generation to make up the difference and balance the grid.

California policymakers’ anti-nuclear stance is partially blamed for the use of fossil fuels to increase from 47 percent of in-state electric generation in 2011 to 61 percent in 2013.
In New Mexico, the Public Regulation Commission regulates all public utilities including PNM, which provides electricity to most of the state (full disclosure: I am currently employed by PNM as a wholesale power marketer). In August 2015, PNM filed a rate case with the PRC, requesting an increase in rates to help offset some of the costs associated with the environmental gains agreed to last fall (including cutting carbon emissions in half). In its latest recommendation, the case hearing examiner issued a recommendation for a rate increase of $41.3 million, roughly one third of the $123.5 million PNM had asked for in its original request.

As part of her recommendation, the hearing examiner did not allow for any cost recovery for the purchase of a percentage of the generating capacity of Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. Make no mistake about it: this decision was due in large part to an effective PR campaign waged by local and out-of-state environmentalists demonizing nuclear energy. Unfortunately, they do not see the contradiction in advocating for cheap and carbon-free energy while simultaneously demanding PNM get rid of “expensive, toxic nuclear power”.

In the end, the real tragedy is that if the environmentalists had their way, the cost of electricity would substantially increase, and those hurt the most would be those very same people they claim to advocate for: the poor, the elderly, and others on a fixed income. I urge the PRC commissioners to do the right thing for the people of New Mexico by allowing PNM to recover all or a majority of the costs associated with Palo Verde, the most safe, reliable, and cost-effective power source in PNM’s generating fleet.

SOURCE





Are investigations by the ‘Green 20’ an effort to intimidate scientific dissenters?

By Lamar Smith

Transparency for thee, but not for me—that seems to be the motto of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Last year they led a group of their colleagues—dubbed the “Green 20”—in a sweeping initiative to target dissenting views on climate change. Exxon Mobil, for instance, was asked to turn over decades of documents.

The Green 20 investigations have been criticized as blatantly political. Last year a federal judge overseeing Ms. Healey’s suit against Exxon expressed concern that she may be conducting it in “bad faith.”

For nearly a year, the congressional committee I lead has been trying to understand the effects of these investigations on scientific research. Unfortunately, the attorneys general have obstructed our inquiry at every turn. Last July, after two months of unanswered requests for information, the committee issued subpoenas to Mr. Schneiderman and Ms. Healey.

The subpoenas asked for communications between Green 20 offices and environmental activists. This would show the level of coordination in this campaign to harass and silence scientists who challenge prevailing climate-change orthodoxies. The attorneys general have refused to comply, hiding behind vague excuses.

The committee has not sought information about the investigations of Exxon. Instead, our interest is in discovering how this attempt at intimidation affects federally funded scientific research. Then we may consider changing the law to allow this research to continue.

The hypocrisy of the attorneys general here is evident—though perhaps understandable. Mr. Schneiderman has accepted nearly $300,000 in campaign donations from environmentalist donors, including members of the Soros family. He has also used the investigation as a way to curry favor with anti-Exxon billionaire Tom Steyer for a potential gubernatorial run, according to the New York Post.

Perhaps Mr. Schneiderman is afraid of what the House committee might confirm in the course of its investigation. Is he using his public office to advance the priorities of interest groups that support his personal political ambitions?

The American people deserve to know how Mr. Schneiderman’s and Ms. Healey’s actions affect the nation’s scientific community. By refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas, they have shown they have something to hide.

To borrow their premise, this obstruction is a coverup—and they must be held accountable for their hypocrisy. On Feb. 16, the House committee reissued the subpoenas, as is customary at the beginning of a new Congress. Although the attorneys general have not yet made any effort to cooperate, I remain hopeful that they will act in accordance with their public statements about transparency and accountability and will comply with the committee’s investigation.

SOURCE




Japan, India and China still turning to more coal throughout the 2020s which means more CO2 and air pollution

Coal is undergoing a renaissance in emerging and developed countries in Asia, buoyed by technical breakthroughs and looming questions about squaring development with energy security. Japan, India and China will try to blunt the air pollution effects from the use of coal which cause millions of premature deaths in India and China and tens of thousands in Japan. However the "low emissions" coal technology is still 30% worse than natural gas for CO2 emissions even though "low emissions" is improved over several decades old coal plants.

BTW- the economic and technological forces in the USA are causing an increase in natural gas power generation in the USA. Any political rhetoric or shutting down of the EPA may slow the decline of the US coal industry but coal power in the US will still decline. US coal mines will then ship more coal to Asia. For the full year of 2016 in the USA, coal made up 30.4% of total US power generation, which is the lowest annual total since EIA records started for the calculation in 1950. For comparison, coal made up 33.2% of US generation in 2015 and 49% of US generation in 2006. Gas plants produced 33.9% of US power in 2016, which was the highest total yet for the fuel, after contributing 32.7% of US power generation in 2015 and 20.1% in 2006.

US electricity generation was 4300 TWh in 2016. This is 40% less than China 5920TWh. India is at about 1400 TWh and Japan at 1000 TWh.

For Japan, coal has emerged as the best alternative to replacing its 54 nuclear reactors, which are deeply unpopular with the population and seen as symbols of devastation after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster six years ago. Mindful of the public mood, the government of Shinzo Abe has completely given up on the country’s dream of nuclear self-sufficiency, and pulled the plug in December on the $8.5 billion experimental reactor project at Monju. On February 1, the government pledged to decommission all reactors and replace them with 45 new coal-fired power plants equipped with the latest clean coal technology.

Japan is turning to coal power due to attempts to transition the country away from nuclear power. Officials promised to replace nuclear power with wind or solar, but this caused the price of electricity to rise by 20 percent. Japan’s government currently aims to restart at least 32 of the 54 reactors it shut down following the Fukushima disaster, and wants nuclear power to account for 20 percent of the nation’s total electricity generated by 2030.

Japan will use high energy, low emissions (HELE) technology that use high-quality black coal.

Japan plans to build ultra-super-critical plants in the 650 MW range. 45 new coal-fired power-generation units with total capacity of as much as 20,884 MW, would come online in the next decade or so. Japan had a total 90 coal-fired units at the end of March 2015, with total capacity of 40,695 MW. Coal power already made up 31 percent of Japan’s energy mix in 2015 but under the current plan, the fossil fuel will become the country’s primary power source by 2019.

Japan is the largest overseas market for Australian coal producers, taking more than a third of all exports.

In the wake of the Tsunami which caused the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, Japan started importing more liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Australia. The move to more coal fired power was because coal was cheaper than LNG, and the energy security was priority for the government.

India’s current energy plan calls for reducing India’s carbon emissions by replacing aging thermal power plants with energy-efficient “supercritical” ones that will (much like their Japanese counterparts) maximize the energy produced from coal burned, while also curtailing CO2 emissions. This supercritical technology has already had tangible effects on the nation’s plan to cut pollution levels as the 51 units currently installed have saved 6 million tons of CO2 — the equivalent of taking 1,267,000 cars off the road for one year. A few Indian companies and entrepreneurs have been even more ambitious, pioneering local carbon-capture solutions that could keep even more emissions out of the air.

India needs to grow power but is has paused in building new coal plants because of a massively inefficient economic and planning system.

India has power plants with capacity to generate 300 GW. These are operating at 64% capacity because of inability of state distribution utilities to purchase electricity and sluggish economic growth. About a tenth of the total capacity is stranded due to lack of power purchase agreements while another 50 GW is under various stages of construction.

One third of the Indian population has no power.

If India grows at 7 to 9% GDP each year then they will need 3.5-5% more energy each year. If solar power can scale 10 to 30 times beyond what we see today and at costs of about half what we see today then maybe India will not build so much coal power to meet their development needs. If it comes to choice between development or using coal, clearly India will choose to use coal.

China power

China recently announced the cancellation of over 100 coal plant projects. However, China still added 48GW of coal power plants in 2016 and will likely add a total of 150GW by 2020.

The cancellations were partially due to concerns about air pollution, but also mainly about China's planners finally admitting that they would not be able to increase GDP growth to justify the new coal power.

China's annual construction level is higher than Japan's 15 year energy plan. China used just short of 6000 TWh of power in 2016. China had 5920 TWh of power generation in 2016.

SOURCE





Australia:  Closure of big brown-coal generator raises threats of East coast blackouts and manufacturers moving overseas

The head of the Food and Grocery Council says manufacturers will quit Australia if affordable, reliable energy cannot be guaranteed, as concern grows about the cost of power and the stability of the electricity grid with Victoria's Hazelwood power station due to close in a fortnight.

The ageing brown-coal-fired generator in the Latrobe Valley will begin the staged shutdown of its eight units from March 27. The final boiler will go cool on April 2.

With it will go 22 per cent of Victoria's power supply and just over 5 per cent of the energy on a grid that runs from Port Douglas in far north Queensland to Port Lincoln on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula.

The wholesale price of power spiked across the National Electricity Market in November on news that Hazelwood would shut.

Retail prices will follow the rise.

Food and Grocery Council chair Terry O'Brien said his industry had been caught in a pincer movement, unable to pass on power price hikes because of discounting by the two major supermarkets chains.

As many local manufacturers were arms of international companies, pressure was mounting for some to quit the country.

"The decision to stay or go gets more and more marginal as the days go on," Mr O'Brien said.  "And there's not a heck of a lot of sentiment in these internationally managed companies. They go where it makes sense. And if it's not going to make sense here, they leave."

The closure of Hazelwood raises an even larger threat: blackouts.  "To stop production through a lack of energy is just a disaster," Mr O'Brien said.

The threat of east coast blackouts is now real because of the disorganised disconnection of coal-fired generation without any new investment in base-load power.

Hazelwood will be the ninth power plant to close in five years, removing a combined 5,400 megawatt of generation from the grid. The Australian Energy Market Operator is now predicting electricity reserve shortfalls in Victoria and South Australia from December.

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

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