Tuesday, April 24, 2018

More childish reasoning from the NYT

They have up an article headed:  "We Are Conservatives and We Believe Climate Change Is Real".  And everything they say in that connection is perfectly correct -- but irrelevant.

Their modus operandi is to find one conservative in a number of countries who does believe in climate change and put up a whole series of short videos in which these selected people rom different countries affirm their belief in climate change.

But it is an unutterably childish exercise.  If they had asked me whether I believed in climate change I too would have said "Yes". So it is not the answer that is wrong but the question. If they had asked me "Do you believe that climate change is caused by humans?", I would have said "No".

So they only looked like they had addressed what is at issue in the climate debate.  They have in fact completely slip-slided away from it.

They also say that climate change is controversial in America only.  I could introduce them to a lot of Australian Federal politicians who think climate change panic is all hokum.  Australia once had a carbon tax -- introduced by a Leftist government.  The next government was a conservative one  -- who made it their first order of business to abolish the carbon tax.  So pretending that climate skepticism is unique to the USA is quite simply a lie.

In any case the whole exercise falls foul of Logic 101.  It is an argument by example.  And you can prove anything by example.  If, for instance, there were only one conservative in a country who  believed in climate change, you could could interview him and him only and create the impression that many or most conservatives in the country believed in climate change -- a conclusion which would be grossly erroneous.  Isolated examples cannot be used to prove a generality.

But Leftists have to use such invalid arguments.  Science, logic and the facts are not kind to them -- JR.

In an hilarious example of Green/Left logic, New England built a lot of natural-gas fired electricity generators but then blocked contruction of the pipelines needed to supply them all with gas!

Pipelines are evil!

Mass.: COMING SOON to your electric bill: a pipeline tax.

When members of the Legislature, egged on by Attorney General Maura Healey, blocked financing for a new natural gas pipeline into New England in 2016, they claimed to be saving money for ratepayers and helping the environment.

But nearly the opposite has happened instead. And now the damage — environmental and financial — is starting to pile up.

The environmental toll this year has been eye-popping: Greenhouse gas pollution exploded during this winter’s cold snap, leading generators to burn 2 million barrels of oil, forcing the region to rely on imported Russian gas, and sparking a mini-revival for the region’s moribund coal industry. In January New Hampshire burned more coal than New York, according to federal statistics.

All that extra pollution was also expensive. Energy cost totaled more than $700 million compared with the same period last year; if past cold winters are any guide, that premium will trickle down to consumers’ electric bills next winter.

Now, in a potential additional cost, a power plant and liquefied natural gas importer in Everett is demanding extra financial support to stay in business — a foretaste of what’s likely to come as long as Massachusetts continues to block regional efforts to relieve pipeline shortages.

The costs to the region’s consumers, and the needless environmental damage, are the direct result of Massachusetts elected officials’ decisions. And those costs should lead the Legislature to rethink its stance and join efforts by other New England states to expand the region’s pipelines — before federal regulators and the region’s grid operator start taking decisions into their own hands.

THE PROBLEM STEMS from a success story: Massachusetts, and the rest of New England, built a fleet of cleaner gas-burning plants over the last two decades, which have lowered electricity prices, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and made renewables like solar and wind more viable by providing an on-demand, dispatchable fallback on days when it’s not sunny or windy. Emissions from the power sector have plummeted, outpacing reductions from cars and houses.

But when there’s not enough natural gas available, those newer plants don’t operate — and suddenly 1999’s energy grid wheezes back to life. On cold days, including the extended frigid period this winter, the region snaps back to dirtier coal- and oil-burning power plants.

Many of those coal and oil plants are financially marginal and overdue for retirement. Yet by keeping pipeline constraints in place, Massachusetts has ensured that New England still needs those dinosaurs. That has forced the region’s electricity grid operator, ISO New England, to look for ways to cajole them into staying in business.

That’s what just happened in Everett. In late March, the owner of the money-losing Mystic Generating Station announced that in 2022 it would mothball the 2,000 megawatt plant, which runs off oil and liquefied natural gas imported by ship, both of which are unaffected by pipeline constraints — unless it got a rescue commitment. “We’re not in a position to continue to suffer losses while we wait for a long-term fix,” Joe Dominguez, an executive vice president of the owner, Chicago-based Exelon, told the Globe.

ISO quickly stepped in and said it would rescue the plant — with ratepayers footing any costs. Mystic is the Commonwealth’s single biggest generating facility. Losing it in 2022, said Vamsi Chadalavada, the grid’s chief operating officer, would pose “an unacceptable fuel security risk to the region during the winter months.”

The costs of that intervention are unclear, and will depend partially on the weather. The difference between what the company bid in the last capacity auction — the annual process whereby power plants name the minimum price they would need to stay in business — and the actual market-based price would amount to about $15 million annually.

But there’s a wildcard: Exelon also just announced it would buy the liquefied natural gas import terminal in Everett from the French energy giant Engie, and Dominguez said Exelon would also seek to recover the costs of operating the terminal, since they’re part of the cost of fueling the plant. (Exelon, he said, had nothing to gain, since any revenues would also be passed back to ratepayers. “We’ll have no incremental profit opportunity. We’re in a pure treading water standpoint,” Dominguez said.)

By itself, any additional costs to keep the Mystic plant operating might be a drop in the bucket. But a cost-recovery arrangement there could give other generators in New England ideas. And the long-term fix in the works may leave lawmakers wishing they’d okayed the pipeline.

THE LONG-TERM fix is a market reform ISO New England is expected to consider this year that would provide new incentives for generators that offer “fuel security” to the electric grid. That’s a hazily defined term that generally means generators either keep their fuel on site or have firm arrangements to get it on demand. By definition, intermittent renewables like solar and wind don’t qualify, since there’s no way they can promise the wind will be blowing or sun will be shining at the moment they’re needed. Instead, under most definitions of “fuel security,” coal, nuclear, and oil generators would cash in.

Potentially, such reforms could also provide an incentive for those new gas-fired power plants to contract for pipeline capacity, so that they’d be considered secure. Right now, almost all those generators just buy whatever is left over from the interstate pipelines that already serve New England. That’s why their supplies get so precarious during cold snaps: Gas utilities have first dibs on pipeline gas, and use almost all of it when homeowners crank up their thermostats. Algonquin, one of the major pipelines serving New England, said last year that less than 4 percent of the natural gas supplied to gas-fired electric generators in New England came under firm contracts.

But many gas-fired generating plants also have the ability to burn oil, and the ISO’s rules are fuel neutral; generators might also just take any incentives for greater fuel security as a cue to stock up on oil.

The better strategy would be for Beacon Hill to do what it failed to do in 2016: Join with Connecticut and Rhode Island, which have already authorized pipeline financing, to ensure that the region’s fuel security problem is solved in ways that mitigate the environmental damage as much as possible. Until battery storage capacity becomes viable on a much bigger scale, that means natural gas. A ratepayer-financed pipeline would cost money, but would also result in lower energy costs; even opponents like Healey concluded that ratepayers would come out ahead.

Opponents of the ratepayer-financed pipeline plan have argued that it would both lock the region’s electric grid into fossil fuels deep into the future and become stranded assets. Both criticisms can’t be valid, and neither need be. The state’s electric utilities are legally required to obtain an increasing share of electricity from renewables, new pipeline or not; state-sponsored projects like the ongoing hydro and offshore wind procurements would be unaffected.

And if demand for natural gas for electricity generation declines in the future, any capacity that’s freed up could still be put to good use: About a third of homes in New England, and about a quarter in Massachusetts, still heat with oil, and states across the region want to switch homeowners from oil to gas as part of their climate mitigation plans. Unlike emissions from electricity, which are way below 1990 levels, emissions from buildings have barely budged.

Blocking pipelines was pure symbolism. But the resulting emissions — and the resulting costs that Massachusetts legislators imposed on their constituents and the rest of New England — are all too real.


Correcting Falsely “Recovered” and Wrongly Listed Species and Increasing Accountability and Transparency in the Endangered Species Program

 SUMMARY Numerous administrative actions should be taken to correct the record of species that are falsely claimed to have “recovered” and that have been declared endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) using erroneous data. It is crucial to improve implementation, accountability, and transparency in the administration of the ESA. The recommendations and information here will help correct the record, provide guidance as to some of the species that may be suitable for delisting on the grounds of data error or extinction, improve the likelihood that future delistings are appropriately categorized, eliminate unnecessary regulations and further waste, and ensure scarce conservation dollars are better spent.

KEY TAKEAWAYSIn 45 years, only 40 U.S. species have graduated from the Endangered Species Act as “recovered.” However, 18 of them were really never endangered. If somehow species recovered at 10 times that inflated rate, it would take nearly two centuries to work through the current list, which is still growing. The ESA is so ineffective that taxpayer dollars are used to fabricate successes—and many species now listed should be removed from the list as mistakes or extinct


In five years the Endangered Species Act (ESA) will reach the half-century milestone—and yet only 40 U.S. species have graduated from the program as “recovered,” slightly less than one species per year. If not one more bird, beetle, or bear were added to the list of federally endangered animals and plants and somehow species recovered at 10 times that rate, it would take well over a century-and-a-half to work through the current list.1
For brevity, “endangered” as opposed to “threatened and endangered” is used in some instances. In many respects, the Service has eliminated much of the distinction between endangered and threatened species through regulation. See Robert Gordon, “Take It Back: Extending the Endangered Species Act’s ‘Take’ Prohibition to All Threatened Animals Is Bad for Conservation,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 3267, December 7, 2017, https://www.heritage.org/government-regulation/report/take-it-back-extending-the-endangered-species-acts-take-prohibition.

 There is, however, no indication that the list of regulated species will stop growing.

Even worse, almost half of the “recovered” species—18 of 40—are federally funded fiction. They were never really endangered; like many species that remain on the endangered list, they were mistakes. With all the ESA’s costs and burdens, it should perhaps come as no surprise that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereafter “Service”) is fabricating success stories to cover up this unsustainable mess and substituting fluff for statutorily required reporting regarding the recovery program.

The ESA was ostensibly designed to conserve species threatened or endangered with extinction.2+

The term “species” is used here and in some other instances in a legal, not a biological, sense. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 incorporates “sub-species” and the non-taxonomic unit “distinct population segment” within the term “species.” See Endangered Species Act, “Definitions,” Section 3(16), https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/ESAall.pdf (accessed January 24, 2018).

Additionally, the Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) also uses the term evolutionarily significant unit (ESU), which is not found within the ESA. See National Marine Fisheries Service, “Policy on Applying the Definition of Species Under the Endangered Species Act to Pacific Salmon,” Federal Register, Vol. 56, No. 224 (November 20, 1991), pp. 58612–58618, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/fr/fr56-58612.pdf (accessed September 20, 2017).

Authority for implementation of the ESA resides with the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce, who have, respectively, delegated the FWS and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Marine Fisheries Service the tasks of administering the ESA. (NMFS is now more commonly referred to as NOAA Fisheries.) The agencies divvy up authority for different species based on taxonomic and geographical characteristics established in a memorandum of understanding.

 When a species has been recovered that species is supposed to be removed from the list of federally threatened and endangered species (“list”) by a regulation citing “recovery” as the grounds for removal of the species (delisting). Species may also be delisted if it is determined that they are extinct or that the original data used to justify listing the species were in error.

The Service routinely falsely declares that a species that should have been delisted because of original data error has “recovered.” This deceitful practice portrays mistakes as successes, distorting the most important measure of the program. It also triggers other mandatory actions further wasting taxpayer dollars, serves as a justification for the adoption of more restrictive land management practices by other agencies, obscures significant problems with the data used to justify listing species, and erodes the overall credibility of both the Service and the program.

The Secretary of the Interior should administratively correct these false successes, appropriately identify the primary grounds for delisting these species as original data error, prioritize the delisting of wrongly listed and extinct species, and ensure that future delistings are attributed to the appropriate grounds. Any post-delisting monitoring efforts implemented for falsely recovered species should be terminated, and post-delisting special management regimes implemented by agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for such species should be terminated as well.

Ultimately, measures need to be taken to raise the standards for data used in the designation of “threatened” and “endangered” species. Some actions that can be accomplished administratively are identified here. Additionally, the Secretary should return to incorporating meaningful data on the “status” of listed species into the biannual report to Congress that prior administrations stopped providing. Little meaningful data are now available for congressional oversight of recovery under the ESA. These and several other administrative reporting requirements could significantly improve accountability and transparency.

Much More HERE

Ore. Paper Credits ‘Clean-Energy Skeptic Donald Trump’ with Saving 350 Solar Jobs

“Credit clean-energy skeptic Donald Trump with rescuing a Hillsboro solar energy factory,” the first line of an article in The Oregonian declares.

“SolarWorld's sale saves hundreds of Hillsboro jobs,” the Wednesday headline read. On Wednesday, SunPower, which currently manufacturers its solar panels in the Philippines and Malaysia, announced the purchase of the financially-failing SolarWorld facility in Hillsboro, Oregon.

SunPower purchased SolarWorld and its manufacturing plant in order to escape President Donald Trump’s tariffs on imported solar panels, thus saving about 350 jobs at the Oregon facility, which had already laid off half its staff:

"The catalyst for this was the solar tariffs and the direction the current administration was going in terms of domestic solar manufacturing," SunPower chief executive Tom Werner said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.”

While Trump is a “clean-energy skeptic,” his solar panel tariffs have been applauded by staunch climate alarmists like former Vice President Al Gore, The Oregonian says:

“Trump has derided the widely accepted science underpinning climate change. He imposed the tariffs in January at the behest of SolarWorld and another bankrupt American solar manufacturer, both of which argued that Chinese manufacturers were undercutting U.S. producers by dumping solar panels on the domestic market.

“While Trump's solar tariffs alarmed some in the environmental community, others, including former Vice President Al Gore, defended the decision. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, had long advocated for tariffs to protect domestic solar manufacturers.”


New air pollution report: "Green" California is the worst. So, don’t come here

The American Lung Association has released its annual report on ozone pollution. And would you believe, eight of the worst places in the country for ozone pollution are in California?

So, you definitely wouldn’t want to move here from outside the state. No, sir.

In fact, if you’re already among the 39.5 million folks who try to exist here, you probably want to load up both cars, get on I-15 or I-10 and head out for cleaner air. Get out of here while the getting is good.

Word is, according to the new report, you can find the cleanest air in Casper, Wyoming if you can find it. Or Wilmington, N.C., Bellingham, Wash. or Melbourne, Florida. Burlington, Vermont is a possibility too, though they talk funny there. Grand places all. Less traffic, cheaper housing, cleaner air.

Oh, sure, you won’t have as much time to read in traffic. Fewer freeway police chases monitored from dueling news choppers. And you will have to do without California’s one party state rule and 10 percent sales tax. But the sacrifices are worth it.

Also on the plus side, the snow is free up north. And the air, oh, the air is not to die for.

Of course, the association warns that the city you will most want to flee or avoid is Los Angeles, where I happen to drive. I agree. LA traffic is so bad that half the drivers are trying to get somewhere, while the other half have given up and are trying to get home.

Not one additional person should want to come here. Also Bakersfield, Fresno, Sacramento and San Diego. Terrible places for ozone. So, stay the hell out, people.

California is known for its strict environmental laws and regulations. It’s killing off coal power plants, clamping down on exhaust emissions and supporting the smog-check industry by requiring one every year. Wait, so if California is so strict about the environment, how come it’s the worst place for air pollution?

The association says, well, yes, that’s kinda true. But, see, it would be so much worse without all the government rules.

So, there’s really only one answer to air pollution: More government.




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


Monday, April 23, 2018

Ozone Depletion, Not Greenhouse Gases Cause for Global Warming, Says Researcher

I don't have access to the facts and dastasets behind this theory but it can't be a worse fit to reality than that of the Greenhouse theory

Chlorofluorocarbon gases (CFCs) became widely utilized in the mid-1960s—as refrigerants such as Freon, as fire retardants such as Halon, as spray-can propellants, as solvents, and as foam-blowing agents. CFCs were far more stable, far more chemically inert than alternatives and were, therefore, much safer to use. Unfortunately, they are so stable that they are likely to last in the atmosphere for more than 100 years.

Within three to five years, the time we now know it takes for CFCs to reach the stratosphere, annual average global temperatures began rising. By 1973, James Lovelock, using his new electron capture detector, found significant amounts of CFC-11 in all 50 air samples collected pole to pole. Stimulated by Lovelock’s work, Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland discovered in 1974 that when CFCs reach the stratosphere, they can be broken down by solar ultraviolet radiation ultimately freeing atoms of chlorine. One atom of chlorine can destroy 100,000 molecules of ozone by catalytic processes that are particularly effective in polar stratospheric clouds.

Ozone is created when solar ultraviolet-C radiation dissociates an oxygen molecule into two oxygen atoms, which then combine with oxygen molecules to form ozone (O3). Ultraviolet-B solar radiation then dissociates ozone back into an oxygen atom and an oxygen molecule. This ozone-oxygen cycle, known as the Chapman cycle, is continuous so that a molecule of ozone only lasts, on average, about 8.3 days. The ozone layer, 12 to 19 miles above Earth, is the region of the atmosphere where the physical-chemical conditions are most favorable for the ozone-oxygen cycle.

When a molecule such as oxygen or ozone is dissociated, the molecular pieces fly apart at high velocity, instantly converting all the bond energy into kinetic energy of translation. Average kinetic energy of translation of all atoms and molecules making up a gas is, according to the kinetic theory of gases, directly proportional to the temperature of a gas. Thus, high concentrations of ozone show regions of localized warming that were first observed to affect weather and climate by Gordon Dobson in the 1920s.

When ozone is depleted, less ultraviolet-B is absorbed within the ozone layer, cooling the ozone layer, as observed from 1970 to 1998. More ultraviolet-B is then observed to reach Earth, where it penetrates tens of yards into oceans and is thus absorbed very efficiently. Increased ultraviolet-B also dissociates ground-level ozone pollution, warming air in industrial regions. This explains why global warming from 1970 to 1998 was twice as great in the northern hemisphere, containing 90% of world population, than in the southern hemisphere. Ozone depletion is greatest in polar regions during the winter, explaining why the greatest warming observed from 1970 to 1998 was of minimum temperatures in polar regions, a phenomenon known as polar amplification.

In 1985, Joe Farman, Brian Gardiner, and Jon Shanklin discovered depletion of the ozone layer over Antarctica by as much as 70% in austral spring. Scientists suddenly realized that ozone depletion was a much bigger problem than had been thought. Within two years, scientists and political leaders developed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer mandating cutbacks in CFC production beginning January 1989.

By 1993, increases of CFCs in the atmosphere stopped. By 1995, increases in ozone depletion stopped. By 1998, increases in average global temperatures stopped. The ozone layer remains depleted, the ocean continues to warm, ice continues to melt, and sea-level continues to rise, but global temperatures did not change significantly from 1998 through 2013. They also had not changed much from 1945 to 1970. Thus, humans appear to have accidently caused the warming starting around 1970 by manufacturing large amounts of CFCs and to have accidently stopped the warming of air in 1998 while trying to limit ozone depletion.

Meanwhile, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide rose linearly, but at ever-increasing rates, showing no direct relationship to the details of observed global warming. Dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers by leading atmospheric scientists have tried to explain, based on greenhouse-warming theory, why global temperatures did not change much from 1998 through 2013, a phenomenon dubbed the global warming hiatus. While they suggest many interesting ideas, there has been little agreement.

In 2014, the volcano Bárðarbunga, in central Iceland, extruded basaltic lava covering 33 square miles of terrain in six months, the largest basaltic lava flow since 1783. These types of lava flows, covering tens to millions of square miles, have been contemporaneous with periods of greatest global warming, ocean acidification, and mass extinctions throughout all of geologic time. For example, 251 million years ago, the Siberian basalts covered an area of 2.7 million square miles, the size of the continental United States less Montana and Texas. Imagine basaltic lava extending from New York to San Francisco—from Seattle to Miami. Eruption of these basalts warmed the ocean to hot tub temperatures, killing 95% of all species living at the time. Basalts emit prodigious amounts of chlorine and bromine that seem to cause ozone depletion, although the precise chemical path has yet to be deciphered. The eruption of Bárðarbunga appears to have caused very rapid global warming from 2014 to 2016, which began to decrease in 2017 and should return to 2013 values within a decade.

In the 1980s, many leading scientists were convinced that greenhouse gases were the cause of global warming, that Earth was in danger of overheating during the 21st century as emissions of greenhouse gases increase, and that scientists must demonstrate consensus in order to convince political leaders to take the expensive steps necessary to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Through the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme, they helped form the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. The IPCC has involved thousands of climate scientists writing tens of thousands of pages of thoughtful science supporting greenhouse-warming theory. The IPCC never did question the widespread assumption, however, that greenhouse gases were the primary cause of global warming. In December 2015, this effort reached fruition with the Paris Agreement where leaders of nearly all countries agreed to work together to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Science, however, is not done by popular vote. Science is not done by consensus. Consensus is the stuff of politics; debate is the stuff of science. Science is never settled. As Michael Crichton put it at Caltech in 2003: “In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.”

IPCC scientists are so convinced by their consensus and so tired of arguing with climate skeptics, that they refuse to even think about ozone depletion. Their models calculate that greenhouse gases absorb a lot more terrestrial infrared radiation than the small amount of solar ultraviolet-B radiation reaching Earth when ozone is depleted. Yet what they fail to realize is that the energy in thermal radiation is not a function of amount; it is a function of frequency. Ultraviolet-B radiation has 48 times the frequency of infrared radiation absorbed most strongly by carbon dioxide, 48 times the energy—has the potential to make the temperature of the absorbing body 48 times hotter. Ultraviolet-B radiation has enough energy to cause sunburn, skin cancer, and cataracts, something no amount of infrared energy can do. After all, you get much warmer standing in sunlight than standing outside at night with terrestrial infrared radiation welling up around you. I can now show that greenhouse gases do not absorb enough heat to be the primary cause of observed global warming.

Climate models based on greenhouse-warming theory have not predicted temperatures correctly since 1998. The major warming they predict later this century is highly unlikely to occur. As political leaders try to find ways to reduce greenhouse-gas concentrations with anticipated costs running in the trillions of dollars, they need to understand that this may have zero effect on reducing global warming.

Meanwhile, as long as ozone remains depleted relative to 1970 levels, the ocean will continue to warm. Recovery of the ozone layer is being slowed by a considerable  black market in CFCs because people in poorer countries cannot afford to replace their refrigerators and air conditioners that depend on CFCs. Plus, shorter-lived substances such as dichloromethanes are having more of a negative effect on ozone levels than previously realized. If we really want to reduce our negative effect on climate, we need to focus on reducing ozone depletion. We also need to start thinking about our options when large flows of basaltic lavas start forming.


Climate adaptation, reparation and restoration

Boulder, CO wants oil companies to restore snowy winters of an idyllic past – and pay it billions

Paul Driessen

This Earth Day (April 22) we need to ask whether environmentalism has gone completely bonkers.

Back in the 1970s, I skied Colorado’s cross-country and downhill slopes pretty regularly. Some years were incredible: many feet of snow as glorious to behold as to ski on. Other years, like 1977, I’d come around a bend on my XC skis, see nothing but rock in front of me, and just ditch.

Who knew the industry I worked for in the later 70s was causing these climate and weather mood swings – even then, long before carbon dioxide levels hit the cataclysmic 400 ppm mark? Who knew profit-hungry oil companies were already preventing the Centennial State from having endless seasons of perfect ski conditions, followed by ample spring meltwater for cities, agriculture and trout streams?

I ask this because the People’s Republic of Boulder, CO has joined Oakland, San Francisco, New York and other liberal enclaves in suing for “climate relief.” Boulder doesn’t share the CA/NY worries about rising seas. Even Al Gore doesn’t claim the Pacific Ocean will reach the Mile High City anytime soon.

Boulderites want the courts to force ExxonMobil and Suncor to pay treble damages for causing too much snow and thus floods in some years, too little snow and thus droughts and poor ski conditions in other years; multiple heat waves in some years, bitter cold in others. They seek unspecified cash for climate adaptation, repair and reparation expenses – and restoration of idyllic conditions of selected past years.

Their 106-page, 478-paragraph complaint (with scores of sub-paragraphs) alleges that oil companies have committed public and private nuisance, trespass, continued sales of “huge amounts of fossil fuels,” and willful concealment of known harm from those sales – all to the great detriment of Boulder citizens.

These are the same fuels that saved whales from imminent extinction and gave Boulder and humanity prosperity, technology, health and longevity no one could even imagine when Colorado became a state in 1876. But now they’re suing the companies that have provided reliable, affordable fuels and raw materials that have brought them lights, heat, livelihoods, living standards, and countless products from paints, plastics, pharmaceuticals and fertilizers to skis, ski parkas, and vehicle fuel and asphalt roads to ski areas.

No wonder Para. 476 pointedly says “plaintiffs do not seek to enjoin any oil and gas operations or sales in Colorado.” To paraphrase Para. 453: plaintiffs received immense benefits from defendants’ products and actions, and it would be unconscionable and contrary to equity for plaintiffs to retain those benefits. Before collecting a dime, plaintiffs should reject future benefits and pay Exxon for past benefits received.

As to alleged fossil fuel damages in the form of wildfires and beetle kills, perhaps Boulder and its Sierra Club allies could employ better forest management – such as thinning trees, removing dead and diseased trees, and spraying to control pine bark beetles. It would be equally salubrious if they would stop abusing gullible children – by having little Sequoia berate Exxon for causing floods, fires and less snow.

As to the allegation that Exxon and Suncor have deprived Boulder of its once-snowy climate, the area’s annual snowfall records demonstrate how ludicrous the claim is.

Its heaviest calendar year snow was 159 inches in 1997; the worst was 36 inches in 1904. It had over 100 inches 20 times since 1897, including 11 times since 1970 and four times over 125 inches since 1985. It had under 50 inches 11 times since 1897: six times 1904 to1943, just three since 1970, and none under 61 inches since 1982. Anyone who sees a rising CO2/lower snowfall connection is smoking too much ganja.

So where does Boulder get the evidence to back up its allegations? As Alfonso Bedoya might have told Humphrey Bogart in a climate change version of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “We don’t have to show you any stinking evidence!” Instead of evidence, the city has assertions, a phony 97% consensus that fossil fuels are causing dangerous manmade climate change, a report saying Boulder will have more heat waves and less snow by 2050, and computer models that supposedly back up the report.

In the real world, the 20-year temperature “pause” is back, the sun’s “quiet phase” may be reaching a “grand solar minimum,” and actual temperature, hurricane and other data contradict climate model predictions and scenarios. In fact, the models are little more than high-tech circular reasoning.

Since they are based on the assertion that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels drive global warming, Garbage In-Garbage Out models will always generate the calamities that alarmist researchers and Boulder lawyers are blaming on Big Oil. Where reality contradicts models, reality must be wrong – and actual temperature measurements must be adjusted to reflect model outputs and dominant climate theory.

When did the sun and other natural forces cease being a factor? What caused the ice ages, interglacial periods, Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and Anasazi drought? Questions like these are off limits.

Indeed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and dominant, government-funded climate research have gone from seeking to identify human influences on Earth’s climate … to decreeing that only human influences matter, natural forces no longer play a meaningful role, and humans can control climate and weather by eliminating fossil fuels and regulating atmospheric greenhouse gas levels.

Those assertions now have the unwavering support of an entire industry – the $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Industrial Complex: politicians, regulators, researchers, industrialists and activists, who protect and advance alarmist claims, promote allegedly “renewable” energy, resist examination and reform, and denounce anyone who questions climate chaos orthodoxy as “planet-threatening climate change deniers.”

Arrayed against the contingency fee seeking Boulder legal team is an oil industry whose spokesmen offer timid tripe: “Lawsuits like this do not solve the global problem of climate change.” It should be up to “appropriate regulatory agencies,” instead of judges, to decide how much CO2 a company may emit. Oil companies “should not be subject to liability for engaging in acts of commerce while adhering to our already stringent state and federal laws.” Can’t we have a more robust defense on the merits?

Boulder and its allied cities and counties have little reason to worry that their absurd assertions will be challenged on the merits in court. But they don’t even care about winning their case. They just hope Exxon and Suncor will pay them a few hundred million bucks – and pave the way for more lawsuits.

In fact, a 2016 “Lawyers for Better Business” report said climate lawsuits will soon “dwarf all other litigation in terms of the number of plaintiffs and the timeframe in which it can happen.” It’s likely to become a global industry, “with much bigger damages than seen with tobacco and asbestos.”

How else will profligate progressive politicians pay for all the welfare programs that keep them in power?

Such is the sorry state of US and international politics, education, science and jurisprudence.

What alternatives do these litigants and activists offer for the fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric energy they want to ban? They seem to think the billions of tons of lithium, cobalt, iron, copper, manganese, rare earth metals, concrete and other raw materials needed for millions of wind turbines and solar panels are somehow “renewable” – and blanketing the planet with wind and solar installations is eco-friendly.

They seem convinced that it’s better for Planet Earth to ban drilling, and instead convert another billion acres of crop and habitat land into gigantic biofuel plantations. In fact, this year’s Earth Day organizers want future plastics to come from non-hydrocarbon sources – which would mean plowing under hundreds of millions more acres to grow crops for petrochemical feed stocks.

This is sheer lunacy. It’s the product of the fear, loathing, despair, intolerance and groupthink that pervade Big Green environmentalism today.

Will the Scott Pruitt EPA finally reverse the ridiculous Endangerment Finding that is yet another foundation for this climate nonsense? Will Neil Gorsuch be the deciding vote that brings a modicum of sanity back to our Supreme Court and legal system? Only time will tell.

Via email

Trial Lawyers Still Don't Have a Winning Case Against Monsanto

Trial lawyers hoping to take a big bite out of food producer Monsanto’s bottom line with a lawsuit over its most popular weed-killer have run into a problem – the judge who they need to convince their arguments are valid is not buying it.

In 2015, the International Agency for Research and Cancer, based in Lyon, France, declared glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, the world’s most popular weed-killer, a “probably human carcinogen.”

No other scientific body has reached that conclusion. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate is safe for humans when used in accordance with label directions, the National Institute of Health has concluded it is not a carcinogen and, as a Monsanto official pointed out, more than 800 scientific, medical, peer-reviewed articles have been published saying there is no association whatsoever between glyphosate and any form of cancer.

But armed with the finding of the body in France, trial lawyers have filed 2,400 lawsuits in American courts – about 2,000 at the state level – that allege their clients have contracted non-Hodgkins lymphoma from exposure to Roundup.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria began to assess the expert witnesses plaintiffs plan to call at trial in the more than 300 federal cases, involving more than 700 farmers, landscapers and gardeners, that have been combined in his court to determine if their findings were supported by sufficient science to be permitted to testify. He was not impressed.

A dozen expert witnesses for the plaintiffs – including toxicologists, statisticians, an oncologist and a couple of epidemiologists, who study how humans contract disease – labeled the evidence glyphosate causes cancer “shaky” and indicated he was unlikely to permit more than one of the witnesses to testify.

“I do have a difficult time understanding how an epidemiologist in the face of all the evidence that we saw and heard last week” can conclude that glyphosate “is in fact causing” non-Hodgkins lymphoma,” the judge said. “… The evidence that glyphosate is currently causing NHL in human beings” at current exposure levels is “pretty sparse.”

Judge Chhabra said his objective in the weeklong series of presentations by scientists for the plaintiffs was not to determine whether glyphosate causes cancer but rather whether the testimony they would offer is within the “range of reasonableness.”

It was not reasonable, he said, to conclude glyphosate causes cancer based only on the findings of the body in France. It relied on a study that showed cancer incidence increased in mice exposed to glyphosate, but the judge pointed out not everything that causes cancer in mice causes it in humans as well. Therefore, he indicated, all the witnesses that relied on their IARC findings for their testimony will be rejected.

Chhabra said he may allow one witness – Beate Ritz, a public health professor at UCLA – to testify because she conducted her own research, based on a study of the literature. But he said even her testimony is “dubious,” pronounced her entire field “loosey goosey” and “highly subjective,” and indicated he would permit her testimony only because he suspects Ritz is “operating within the mainstream of the field” and “maybe that means it’s up to the jury to decide if they buy her presentation.”

This is not good for the plaintiffs. “It’s game over … if they can’t get over this hurdle,” David Levine, an expert in federal court procedure at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, told the New York Daily News.

Their lawyers say the judge should not reject out of hand those who rely on the report from the group in France and should instead “dissect” and consider a “subset of opinions.” They say the science strongly supports their conclusions, their experts have used valid methodologies and “ultimately, we think courts will agree.”

But so far what they have are 12 witnesses, only one of whom, at most, seems likely to be declared qualified to testify. And the judge thinks that one person’s field is loosey goosey and her findings dubious and can’t help but have noticed that another federal judge, in Sacramento, has ruled California cannot force Monsanto to put cancer warnings on Roundup labels because the state can’t prove glyphosate causes cancer.

That’s always been the problem for those who sought to bring down Monsanto and Roundup. They simply have not been able to scientifically make the case in U.S. courts glyphosate causes cancer. The new strategy – relying on a study from a French group aligned with the World Health Organization – does not appear to be working either.

Maybe it’s time to give up.


President Trump Can Counter OPEC and Achieve Energy Dominance

President Trump, in a recent tweet, has drawn attention to a pernicious threat against American interests that has persisted for decades: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its alliance with other petrostates as they seek to control the price and supply of oil.

With its stated goal of reducing the world’s oil glut in sight, the cartel and its unofficial members should have spent their meeting in Jeddah discussing an exit plan for this pact. However, with oil at three-year highs and rising, the group has moved the goalpost yet again, with discussions on extending the cuts even further as well as indefinite coordination on oil production with Russia.

Let’s be clear: OPEC has wrapped its actions in rhetoric about stabilizing oil prices to help the global economy. Now that they’ve institutionalized their cooperation with Russia and other states—expanding the group’s market share to include countries that represent 55 percent of daily supply—and whittled down excess oil inventories, they can go about their real agenda: Juicing the books for Saudi Aramco’s pending IPO, and inflating government revenues to support everything from military spending to lavish lifestyles for their ruling elites. Is this how American motorists want to spend their money?

President Trump is right to say this market manipulation is unacceptable. Gasoline prices are also now at their highestin three years, and analysts see them wiping out the benefits of the president’s historic tax cuts as U.S. households will spend $400 moreon average at the pump in 2018 alone. Endemic instability in key oil-producing regions—particularly the Middle East and Venezuela—combined with the reduction of global crude oil inventories from 400 to 43 million barrels mean that there is little to insulate Americans from an oil price spike.

Oil dependence is a global problem, but Americans are disproportionately affected. Every year, the United States spends $67.5 billion to ensure the worldwide free flow of oil, as we assume the burden of patrolling oil supply lines and engaging in unstable oil producing regions. Even though this commodity is the lifeblood of the world economy, it is priced on an unfree global market subject to OPEC’s collusion. No matter how much oil we drill at home, we will always be vulnerable to the price spikes and slumps brought about through the actions of countries that don’t share our democratic or free-market principles. As we know, an oil supply disruption anywhere impacts prices everywhere.

In addition to these geopolitical challenges, OPEC’s actions have a very real impact on household budgets. The last time Americans received tax cuts, the benefits were wiped out by oil price spikes. The cumulative impact of the Bush-era tax cuts from 2001 to 2008 increased household income by $1,900, yet household spending on gasoline increased by $2,000 in the same period. Similarly, in 2011, record gasoline prices cost American households an additional $104 billion compared to 2010, offsetting the $108 billion in additional take-home pay from the Obama-era payroll tax cut.

Will we let this happen again?Policy solutions are available, and President Trump can take clear and concrete steps to achieve his goal of energy dominance and mitigate our exposure to OPEC’s behavior. First, we must continue to develop more of our oil resources here at home—the President has already taken steps to achieve this objective. Second, Trump’s EPA must maintain strong fuel economy standards, and use the current rulemaking period to strengthen and modernize fuel efficiency rules that have been effective in saving consumers money for decades. Third, we must encourage the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles running on diverse sources of domestic energy, including electricity, natural gas, and hydrogen. Finally, we must have an honest assessment of our ability to respond to OPEC’s actions to influence oil prices. President Trump can establish an OPEC commission that will investigate how the cartel’s actions undermine American interests and propose solutions to counter their influence.

Following these steps lays a clear path towards the energy dominance that Americans deserve.


The Lack of Integrity in Science and What to Do About It

Many scientific studies are not reproducible, which misleads the public and yields bad policy 

Anything that begins with the line, “Current research reveals that…” sounds authoritative, indisputable and true. But what if it’s not?

The newest report by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), “The Irreproducibility Crisis of Modern Science,” released Tuesday, reveals a systemic integrity problem within modern science. When scientists are unable to reproduce their results, it means that those results may have been a fluke, manipulated or even fabricated for a specific outcome.

Yet those results are often advertised as “clinical research proves…” or “the latest study confirms that…” — which not only misleads the public but also dilutes the place of scientific research in society at large. This use and abuse of statistics affects not just the sciences but the entire culture’s perception of reality.

Consider a 2012 study that sought to reproduce the results of 53 landmark studies in hematology and oncology but could only reproduce six (11%). Or the “groundbreaking” research in microplastics performed by postdoc Oona Lönnstadt and her supervisor Peter Eklöv of Uppsala University in Sweden. The research, published in the June 2016 issue of Science claimed that microplastic particles in the ocean were endangering fish. In reality, Lonnstadt fabricated her data and was later reprimanded by the university. But by this time, it didn’t matter. She was an environmental crusader, researcher and celebrity.

And scientific journalism isn’t helping. In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released information that 400,000 Americans die from obesity every year, which the media thoroughly publicized. Later, a 2005 study by the CDC revealed that the number may be closer to 112,000. But by that time no one cared to thoroughly publish the retraction.

The integrity issue in the sciences can be found both on the supply (researcher) side and the demand (media and research institutions) side. Positive, groundbreaking and glamorous research gains publication in scientific journals, magazines and other media. Publication means greater clout within your discipline, pay raises, tenure at a university, and the ability to secure grants for further projects. Replicating old research to see if the results still stand isn’t going to land you on the front page of Science magazine or get you an interview on NPR.

The lack of accountability and unbridled researcher freedom means that the researcher can change his or her hypothesis midcourse, leave out data or manipulate the outcome. When researchers do not face accountability, they are more apt to manipulate results to make their hypothesis correct. NAS notes that a “survey of more than 2,000 psychologists found that 38% admitted to ‘deciding whether to exclude data after looking at the impact of doing so on the results.’” Additionally, in this same survey, “36% of those surveyed ‘stopped data collection after achieving desired results,’” rather than completing the data sets.

Further, academic groupthink adheres to an ideology and ignores or ostracizes research that contradicts it. For example, climatologist Judith Curry’s 2017 testimony before Congress revealed the systemic of problem of groupthink in her field:

The politicization of climate science has contaminated academic climate research and the institutions that support climate research, so that individual scientists and institutions have become activists and advocates for emissions reductions policies. Scientists with a perspective that is not consistent with the consensus are at best marginalized (difficult to obtain funding and get papers published by “gatekeeping” journal editors) or at worst ostracized by labels of “denier” or “heretic.”

In history, scientific groupthink resulted in incorrect but “widely accepted” beliefs. Most notable among these was the acceptance of the world as flat and the ignoring of Ignaz Semmelweis’ advice that doctors and birth attendants should wash their hands before delivering a baby. Could the same ignorance be the fate of the modern scientific community as a result of their own groupthink? Science ought to be objective and data-based, not repurposed to conform to a particular ideology.

In spite of the crisis, several trends are shaping the future of science in a positive way. New journals emphasizing the publishing of negative results include The All Results Journal, the Journal of Negative Results in Biomedicine, the Journal of Pharmaceutical Negative Results, the International Journal for Re-Views in Empirical Economics, and others. That means contrary studies receive a hearing.

In addition, the World Health Organization has called for more data openness and the publishing of negative results, saying, “Researchers have a duty to make publicly available the results of their research. … Negative and inconclusive as well as positive results must be published or otherwise made publicly available.”

As society seeks to make the integrity of science a priority, we must reform the incentive structure within academia as well as scientific journalism that rewards “creative” and politicized science with media coverage. Ultimately, a commitment by the scientific community to truth, rather than manipulated statistical models, restores the integrity of the sciences and its beneficial place in society.




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


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Hurricanes slowing down in just about every ocean on Earth

Just a 10 percent slowdown doubles volume of local rainfall, a study shows

We have been told by Greenies for years now that global warming causes or magnifies hurricanes and other big wind events.  But the research below says that tropical cyclones are slowing down.  So that must indicate global cooling! Can you have your cake and eat it too? Greenies can!

A new study shows tropical cyclones are slowing down, a development that could carry huge implications for future flooding.

That research was presented for the first time Wednesday at the 33rd annual Conference on Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology held in Ponte Vedra.

Research shows slower storms in recent years have produced heavier rainfall, according to the presentation by James Kossin of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.

Hurricane Harvey, for instance, dumped record rain in Texas and underscores why speed matters when tropical systems see their pace slow to a crawl.

In fact, just a 10 percent slowdown results in double the local rain impacts. That could make flooding potentially catastrophic since storms typically slow by 20 percent over land.

Even though Harvey occurred after the study was completed, Dr. Kossin said the hurricane falls in line with the study's trend. Over 67 years of research, there was a clear slowing trend.

That trend coincides with the planet warming nearly 1 degree, and it supports growing evidence that a warming planet triggered the slowdown.

Climate change is weakening the planet's atmospheric circulation pattern, which is the mechanism that guides storm systems across oceans.

The pattern is also modifying hurricanes rain distribution. Observations indicate the heaviest rain no longer centers around the eyewall, but rather it is spread throughout the storm structure.

Slower storms have turned up in every ocean basin, except the North Indian Ocean. North of Australia has seen the greatest decrease in storm speed slowing 30%.

The implications this trend holds for future tropical rainfall are staggering. According to Dr. Kossin's calculations, rainfall becomes 20 percent heavier for nearly each degree Fahrenheit the planet warms.

As hurricanes get wetter and the overall tracks migrate poleward, hurricane flood exposure could expand to areas outside of traditionally hurricane-prone regions.


The Truth Behind Frack Off

I was at the Mall last weekend and came across this local anti-fracking group holding some sort of a workshop.

One wonders if they realize where the energy they use every day comes from?

I am pretty sure the residents of Eckington would not want a nuclear plant built next door, nor have their local forests chopped down for pellets.

And regardless of the hype and wishful thinking, there is simply no way that renewable energy will substantially change the picture in the foreseeable future.

Of course, they may be quite happy to rely on imported oil and gas from the Middle East and Russia, to keep them in their comfortable lifestyles. If so, they might get a shock to learn about the Frack Off Extreme Energy Action Network, of which they appear to be a part.

Frack Off is the UK wide group set up in 2011 to campaign against fracking, including demonstrations, blockades, and trespass. The Telegraph reported in 2013 how it was set up by Dr. Edward Lloyd-Davies, an astrophysicist who became a full-time protester after his academic funding ran out, and how the group tries to keep secret the identities of its leaders.

Frack Off’s website still refuses to publish any details about its leaders or funding. But they do not attempt to hide their worldview.

As would be expected, they believe that there is already a climate crisis, and their battle against fracking is merely a side issue as far as they are concerned.

But what are their proposals?

While they want to immediately cut back the use of fossil fuels worldwide, they are not keen on some of the alternatives:

According to their website, for instance, they are none too keen on bio-energy:

"Bio-Energy is a broad category which includes all energy generated from burning materials produced (recently) by the biosphere. While humans have obtained energy from such sources throughout their history, the amounts of energy that industrial society now demands cannot possibly be sourced in a sustainable way. Every year we burn a number of fossil fuels which it would take the biosphere 400 years to produce. Bio-Energy includes liquid biofuels (or agrofuels) such as palm oil as well as biomass such as wood pellets. The growth in Bio-Energy is devastating large areas of the globe and leading to hunger and poverty for many. Bio-Energy requires a colossal quantity of feedstock and huge areas of growing land. This land must either be land that was previously used to grow food or land that was previously forests etc. Either way, the results are not good."

They also regard nuclear power as part of the extreme energy sector, which they claim is destroying the world.

Even CCS does not meet their objectives:

"Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a technology aimed at reducing the climate-destabilizing impact of burning fossil fuels by capturing the carbon dioxide (a ‘greenhouse gas‘) and storing it somewhere, usually underground. Despite CCS being an unproven technology, it is used worldwide by energy companies and governments to justify new fossil fuel projects.

There’s no time to wait for a technology that may or may not work. The Department of Energy and Climate Change say that CSS will not be ready to deploy commercially until at least the early 2020’s. We need to stop using fossil fuels now. Cuts of 6% a year in emissions are needed to have a chance of not destabilising the climate, starting now and resulting in over a 90% cut over the next few decades."

Indeed, Frack Off’s revealed their true beliefs in this blog in 2012:

"Despite this, there is a massive push to make CCS the alternative to having to worry about the actual cutting of emissions. At both the EU and UK government levels, CCS trials are being encouraged with the offer of large grants to energy companies. A government funding competition initiated four years ago to fund a large-scale trial of CCS ended in a shambles in October after a consortium led by ScottishPower pulled out of plans to build facilities to capture a sixth of the carbon dioxide emitted by Longannet, the UK’s second-largest coal power station.

The reason given was that the £1 billion grant on offer was insufficient to ensure that the project would be economically viable. This has added to a string of recent cancellations of CCS projects worldwide, including the recent cancellation of a $1.4 billion pilot project in Canada because it was not economically viable. In the UK the government’s response has been to announce a new competition to try to resurrect CCS trials. Whether this one will have any more success than the last remains to be seen.

However to see CCS in these terms is to miss the whole point. Whether it ever gets off the ground or not is irrelevant. CCS is about psychology, not engineering. As long as there is the promise of CCS dangled before them it will allow those people who cannot face abandoning the current system an excuse for not facing up to the change that needs to happen. CCS could be considered as part of a category of “Extreme Greenwash” along with similar ideas like geoengineering.

Put simply, Frack Off are virulently anti-fossil fuels, for all sorts of reasons. Emissions of CO2 are only part of the problem, as far as they are concerned.

"Introducing CCS will not only allow fossil fuels to continue to be extracted but, as it is an energy-intensive process, will actually serve to increase demand for them."

For them, fossil fuels are not only destroying the climate, they are also destroying the environment, the economy, and global well-being.

So, given all of this, you would think that Frack Off would be determined to push renewable energy as hard as possible. Yet I cannot find one single mention of wind and solar power on their website.

So, what is their solution? Simple – we are all using far too much energy. Again, this is what their website says:

"The Massive Increase In Global Human Energy Consumption By Source Over The Last 200 Years

The most obvious insight that can be gained from viewing extreme energy as a process is that the dominant factor driving that process is energy consumption. Extreme energy has always existed but due to the huge amounts of energy used by the present system, it is proceeding at a much faster rate. The higher the rate of energy consumption, the faster that resources are depleted and the more rapidly the process of energy extraction becomes more extreme. The insistence that present levels of energy consumption must be maintained, and even increased, makes this process inevitable.

On the other hand, reducing energy consumption would slow this progression towards more extreme extraction techniques. The present system seems unlikely to adopt such a course, however. The intensity of extraction effort needed translate pretty directly into the fraction of the world economy that must be devoted to energy extraction and therefore dictates the fraction that is left over for the rest of society. If allowed to continue unchecked extreme energy will result in massive, though very poorly understood, changes in the world we live in.

To summarise the process definition is: Extreme Energy is the process whereby energy extraction methods grow more intense over time, as easier to extract resources are depleted. The process is driven by unsustainable energy consumption and is important because extraction effort is strongly correlated with damage to both society and the environment."

I doubt whether the mixture of NIMBYs and gullible do-gooders who are fighting fracking in Eckington will be happy cutting their energy consumption to the bone, along with their standard of living.

Indeed it might just occur to them that the massive increase in energy consumption in the last 200 years correlates pretty closely with a similar increase in living standards, quality of life, standards of health and so on.

Frack Off’s role is to encourage and assist the formation of local groups, and provide support with materials, advice, information and advertising.

As far as those local groups are concerned, it’s a bit like inviting the devil into your parlour for a game of cards!


Jerry Brown: 3 Billion Will Die from Global Warming

He's still governor moonbeam

California Gov. Jerry Brown predicted that if carbon emissions aren’t reduced, billions of people will die from “heat events,” and one billion will be subjected to vector diseases.

“When you pick up the paper or turn on cable news, you’d think it’s another planet. It’s all about the nonsense of Washington, and carbon emissions are growing, and we’ve got to radically turn that around, or the migrations you’re seeing now are going to be child’s play,” Brown told reporters Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

“We’re going to have widespread disruption, more conflicts, more terrorism, more insecurity because of climate disruption. The prospect is 3 billion people on this planet will be subject to fatal lethal heat events – 3 billion – and 1 billion will be subjected to vector diseases that they’re not now subject to now,” he said. “This is a horror.”

Brown was among a number of governors who established an alliance to reduce climate change in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

When asked what states can reasonably do about climate change, Brown said, “California has adopted an extension of this cap and trade program, which will give us 20 percent of our greenhouse gas reduction. That’s a very important measure that would have gone out of existence in 2020, and that measure was voted by Republicans. It wouldn’t have passed without Republican support.”

“So we’ve done that. We’re revising our building standards. We have a scoping plan for our entire greenhouse gas emission strategy that’s going forward. Other states, I think New Jersey is considering significant changes, so there’s a lot of possibilities going on in different states and different provinces around the world,” he said.

“We have an Under Two Coalition – keep the temperature under two degrees Centigrade from growing, and we have over 200 signatories that represent more than a third of the world’s wealth. Is it enough? No. Is the world on the right track? No. Does disaster loom? Yes, and I’m doing what I can to motivate people. People are asleep,” Brown said.

“This is a horror, and that’s why I spend so much time working on climate change even though it is not a big, hot political issue – not in California, certainly not in Washington, and unfortunately, not in a number of other countries, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a big problem. It’s a huge problem, and there’s just two big topics,” the governor said.

“I don’t see any evidence in the paper. One is the risk of nuclear destruction or incident. William Perry wrote a book, ‘My Journey at the Nuclear Brink,’ which I reviewed. He said we’re more in danger now than we were at the height of the Cold War. That’s been repeated by other people. That’s a serious matter, and yet we have very little discussion going on with Russia with climate change – a serious matter, what’s going on,” he said.


Scott Pruitt’s ‘Time 100’ Profile Written By Ex-EPA Chief Who Hates Him

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s TIME 100 profile is very different from most featured on the website. Not only is it negative, it was written by a vocal critic.

Pruitt’s profile was written by former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman. Whitman wrote that “under the administration of Scott Pruitt, the agency is experiencing a new wave of policymaking—or rather, policy dismantling.”

“If his actions continue in the same direction, during Pruitt’s term at the EPA the environment will be threatened instead of protected, and human health endangered instead of preserved, all with no long-term benefit to the economy,” Whitman wrote.

Whitman served as EPA administrator in the Bush administration and as New Jersey’s governor before that. She’s a vocal opponent of the Trump administration and even endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

Whitman opposed Pruitt’s nomination to head the EPA back in late 2016, chiding his “seeming disdain for the people at the agency, for science.”

“He is very definitely a denier of climate change, something that scientists, by and large, overwhelmingly, say is occurring and that humans have a role to play in that,” Whitman told NPR in December 2016.

“He also seems to be someone who doesn’t believe in regulation. And that’s a time where you want to say regulations are prevention. They’re trying to protect us,” she said.

Whitman made similar remarks in an interview with TIME given a few weeks later, saying she was “nervous” about Pruitt taking the reins at EPA.

What made Pruitt’s TIME 100 profile interesting is that other prominent Republicans, including President Donald Trump himself, had theirs written by friends or allies. Pruitt’s was written by a vocal critic.

For example, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wrote Trump’s TIME 100 profile, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ profile. Fox News host Sean Hannity’s profile was written by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a regular guest on his show.

On the other side of the aisle, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards wrote a glowing TIME 100 profile for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.

Richards wrote that Pelosi is “a voice for the people who are counting on government to be there for them.” Planned Parenthood has donated to Pelosi’s congressional campaigns.




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, April 20, 2018

Great Barrier grief: Coral 'cooked to death' in scorching summer heatwave

This is just an academic republication of some claims made in 2016, which were shown at the time to be greatly exaggerated.  And note below that global sea surface temperatures actually FELL during late 2016.

So if there was a big warming event in North Queensland waters at the time it was a LOCAL event, not a global one.  So any coral damage was not caused by global warming.

The BOM does record high temperatures in the reef area in 2016 but admits that there were several factors contributing to that.  I quote:

"The 2015–16 El Niño suppressed and delayed the monsoon, leading to reduced cloud cover and weakened winds this summer. Additionally, a relatively low number of summer storms occurred over the Reef. These factors led to increased surface heating and reduced mixing, resulting in substantially warmer ocean temperatures around northern Australia from December to March 2016."

And note that the BOM places the warming in early 2016, not late 2016.  Pesky!

Something else that happened in 2016 was a regional sea-level fall --which really is detrimental to coral and could alone explain any damage.

And note the announcement from late last year that bleached corals are already recovering nicely.  So no fear for them is warranted.

It's just propaganda below -- propaganda in a scholarly disguise.  I actually wonder whether they did all the surveys they claim to have done? A little bit of interpolation here and there, perhaps?  JCU has a record of dubious integrity.  Ask Peter Ridd about that

Millions of corals on the Great Barrier Reef were 'cooked' during a scorching summer in the northern region, according to scientists.

The underwater heatwave eliminated a huge number of different species of coral during a process which expelled algae after the polyps were stressed.

'When corals bleach from a heatwave, they can either survive and regain their colour slowly as the temperature drops, or they can die.

'Averaged across the whole Great Barrier Reef, we lost 30 per cent of the corals in the nine-month period between March and November 2016,' said Professor Terry Hughes from James Cook University said.

Prof Hughes who acts as the Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at JCU said his team was very surprised to see a quarter of the corals die in just two to three weeks during the March heatwave.

Scientists researched the entire reef by analysing water surveys at various locations along its 2,300-kilometre distance, and combined insight with aerial data and satellite monitoring.

Results showed 29 per cent of the 3,863 reefs which make up the world's largest reef system lost 'two-thirds or more of their corals', which dramatically impacts the ability of the reefs to maintain full ecological abilities.

'The Great Barrier Reef is certainly threatened by climate change, but it is not doomed if we deal very quickly with greenhouse gas emissions.

'Our study shows that coral reefs are already shifting radically in response to unprecedented heatwaves,' said Prof Hughes.

The team warn that if changes are not made to consider climate change it will have a huge effect on tropical reef ecosystems and, therefore, a detrimental impact on the benefits those environments provide to populations of poor nations.


"The Science"

Sixty years ago, the USS Skate surfaced at the ice-free North Pole

So nothing has changed over the last 60 years, except that the ice is a lot thicker now


Thirty Years Of The James Hansen Clown Show

It has been thirty years since CO2 hit 350 PPM and NASA’s James Hansen warned that the Midwest was going to burn up and dry up.

Since Hansen predicted heat and drought for the Midwest 30 years ago, they have had above normal precipitation almost every year.


Australia May Replicate US Shale Revolution

Australia’s Northern Territory has lifted a moratorium on fracking, the process of extracting gas from shale rock, to replicate the US shale revolution in a vast region with massive mineral resources.

The decision on Tuesday was welcomed by the oil and gas industry, which is promising to invest billions of dollars in exploration and create thousands of jobs in an underpopulated region roughly six times the size of the UK.

Australian energy companies Origin Energy and Santos have identified the Northern Territory as a potential source of gas to meet a shortage of the fossil fuel in Australia, which has led to surging energy prices and prompted Canberra to implement export controls on liquefied natural gas — one of the country’s most valuable exports.

“Member companies stand ready to invest billions of dollars in new projects in the territory,” said Malcolm Roberts, chief executive of the oil and gas industry lobby group Appea, after the territory’s government’s decision to lift the moratorium.




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, April 19, 2018

How can this be? What has happened to “Global Warming?”

Runners racing the Boston Marathon 2018 faced grueling conditions as heavy rain poured and wind gusts hit more than 25 miles per hour in the coldest temperatures for the race in three decades. With temperatures in the 30sF, runners faced a brutal race day.

Just as a comparison, look at these past conditions:

1905: The temperature was reported to have reached the 100-degree mark

1909: The temperature soared to 97 degrees

1915: Reports of “intense heat”

1927: With the temperature reaching 84 degrees, a newly surfaced but uncured road melted under the runners’ shoes

1931: Reports of “terrific heat” that “spelled ruin to the hopes of countless ambitious runners”

1952: The temperature rose to the upper 80s, with a high of 88 degrees

1958: The temperature climbed to 84 degrees

1976: For much of the first half of the race, the temperature along the course was reported to be 96 degrees

1987: The temperature was in the mid/upper 80s and the humidity was more than 95 percent

2004: The hottest Marathon since 1976 (86 degrees at the finish) caused a record number of heat-related illnesses

H/t Bill Shuster

Clearly, this is one of many local redords that are at variance with the stats released by NOAA -- confirming that the NOAA stats are fudged and that we are now probably into a cooling period

The double standards industry

Concerns over impacts from energy projects disappear where “green” energy is involved

Paul Driessen

It’s a good thing environmentalists have double standards – or they wouldn’t have any standards at all.

Empire State legislators worry that anything above the current 0.0001% methane in Earth’s atmosphere will cause catastrophic climate change, and that pipelines will disturb wildlife habitats. So they oppose fracking for natural gas in New York and pipelines that would import the clean fuel from Pennsylvania.

But then they bribe or force rural and vacation area communities to accept dozens of towering wind turbines that impact thousands of acres, destroy scenic views, kill thousands of birds and bats annually, and affect the sleep and health of local residents – to generate pricey intermittent electricity that is sent on high voltage transmission lines to Albany, Manhattan and other distant cities.

Meanwhile, developers are building a 600-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from West Virginia to North Carolina, to power generating plants that provide low-cost electricity almost 24/7/365. A portion of the 100-foot-wide pipeline right-of-way must go through forested areas, necessitating tree removal.

To protect migratory birds and endangered bats, state and federal officials generally require that tree cutting be prohibited between mid-March and mid-October. Because the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is behind schedule, the companies sought approval to continue felling trees until May 15, to avoid further delays that could increase costs by $150-350 million. The request was denied.

Not surprisingly, the pipeline, logging and request to cut during migratory and mating season continue to put the developers, regulators and environmentalists at loggerheads. A 16-mile long segment through Virginia’s George Washington National Forest has garnered particular attention.

Although the short segment would affect just 200 of the GWNF’s 1.1 million acres, the Virginia Wilderness Committee claimed any tree cutting in the area would create an “industrial zone” and “severely degrade some of the best remaining natural landscapes” in the Eastern USA. The Southern Environmental Law Center called the entire project “risky” and “unnecessary.” They and allied groups prefer to “keep fossil fuels in the ground” and force a rapid transition to solar and wind energy.

One has to wonder how they would react to the far greater environmental impacts their “green” energy future would bring. Will they be true to their convictions, or continue applying double standards?

For example, using sun power to replace just the electricity from Virginia’s nearly 24/7/365 Lake Anna Nuclear Generating Station would require nearly 20,000 acres of solar panels (twice the size of Washington, DC) that would provide power just 20-30% of the time. The rest of the time, the commonwealth would need fossil fuel or battery backup power – or homes, businesses, hospitals and schools would have to be happy with electricity when it’s available, instead of when they need it.

That’s 100 times more land than needed for the pipeline, which will be underground and mostly invisible, whereas the highly visible solar panels would blanket former crop and habitat land for decades.

Natural gas and coal generate about 55 million megawatt-hours of Virginia’s annual electricity. Replacing that with wind power would require thousands of gigantic turbines, sprawling across a half-million acres of forest, farm and other lands. Expensive backup battery arrays and transmission lines from wind farms to distant urban areas would require thousands of additional acres.

(This rough calculation recognizes that many turbines would have to be located in poor wind areas and would thus generate electricity only 15-20% of the time. It also assumes that two-thirds of windy day generation would charge batteries for seven straight windless days, and that each turbine requires 15 acres for blade sweep, operational airspace and access roads.)

The turbines, transmission lines and batteries would require millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, neodymium, lithium, cobalt, petroleum-based composites and other raw materials; removing billions of tons of earth and rock to mine the ores; and burning prodigious amounts of fossil fuels in enormous smelters and factories to turn ores into finished components.

Most of that work will take place in Africa, China and other distant locations – out of sight, and out of mind for most Virginians, Americans and environmentalists. But as we are often admonished, we should act locally, think globally, and consider the horrendous environmental and health and safety conditions under which all these activities take place in those faraway lands.

Many turbines will be located on mountain ridges, where the winds blow best and most often. Ridge tops will be deforested, scenic vistas will be ruined, and turbines will slice and dice migratory birds, raptors and bats by the tens of thousands every year. Those that aren’t yet threatened or endangered soon will be.

The wind industry and many regulators and environmentalists consider those death tolls “incidental takings,” “acceptable” losses of “expendable” wildlife, essential for achieving the “climate-protecting” elimination of fossil fuels. The deaths are certainly not deliberate – so the December 2018 Interior Department decision to end the possibility of criminal prosecutions for them, under the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, makes sense.

However, when regulators allow industrial wind facilities in and near migratory routes, nesting areas and other places – where large numbers of eagles, hawks, falcons, migratory birds and bats congregate – the number of deaths soars beyond “incidental” or “acceptable.” And as the number of US onshore wind turbines climbs from 40,000 a few years ago, to 52,000 today, to potentially millions under “keep oil, gas and coal in the ground” demands, the threat of decimation or extinction across wide areas skyrockets.

Some say we should install future turbines offshore, in our coastal areas. Truly monstrous 3.5-megawatt turbines would certainly reduce the total number needed to replace substantial quantities of fossil fuel electricity. However, they would destroy scenic ocean vistas, decimate sea and shore bird populations (with carcasses conveniently sinking from sight), impair porpoise and whale sonar, interfere with radar and air traffic control, and create significant hazards for submarines and surface ships.

Even worse, as wildlife biologist Jim Wiegand and other experts have noted, the wind industry has gone to great lengths to hide the actual death tolls. For example, they look only right under towers and blades (when carcasses and maimed birds can be catapulted hundreds of yards by blades that move at nearly 200 mph at their tips), canvass areas only once every few weeks (ensuring that scavengers eat the evidence), and make wind farms off limits to independent investigators.

The bird and bat killings may not be criminal, but the fraud and cover-ups certainly are.

The attitudes, regulations and penalties associated with wind turbines also stand in stark contrast to the inflexible, heavy-handed approach that environmentalists, regulators and courts typically apply to permit applications for drilling, pipelines, grazing and other activities where sage grouse and lesser prairie chickens are involved – or requests to cut trees until May 15, to finish a Virginia pipeline.

The Fish & Wildlife Service, Center for Biological Diversity and Audubon Society go apoplectic in those circumstances. (Audubon was outraged that Interior decriminalized accidental deaths of birds in oilfield waste pits.) But their silence over the growing bird and bat slaughter by wind turbines has been deafening.

These attitudes and policies scream “double standards!” Indeed, consistent bird and bat protection policies would fairly and logically mean banning turbines in and near habitats, refuges and flyways – or shutting them down during mating, nesting and migratory seasons.

It’s time to rethink all these policies. Abundant, reliable, affordable energy makes our jobs, health, living standards and civilization possible. The way we’re going, environmentalists, regulators and judges will block oil, gas and coal today … nuclear and hydroelectric tomorrow … and wind and solar facilities the following week – sending us backward a century or more. It’s time to say, Enough!

Via email

Arctic Freezamageddon…Sea Ice Volume Surges 3 TRILLION Cubic Meters Since Early March!

Using a comparison, Japanese skeptic blogger Kirye at KiryeNet drives home how “the real Arctic sea ice volume is much higher than in 2008.”

Source of images: DMI: http://ocean.dmi.dk

Using images and data from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), Kirye put together and posted a comparator showing the immense early April volume increase the Arctic has seen since 2008.

It totally defies the panicky claims of a “melting” Arctic, she tweeted.

You can see the animation comparator Kirye put together in action here on Twitter.

Arctic sea ice volume surges a whopping 3000 cubic kilometers since March 1st. Chart: DMI.

Kirye comments that although we have not once seen alarmists’ climate predictions come true, they continue to threaten us with sea ice doom.

Amid rapidly growing Arctic sea ice volume, they continue to cling to the claim it’s melting. That’s irrational.

Media hyperbole

Yesterday Anthony Watts posted here on the Arctic, remarking that the media claims of earlier this year of an unprecedented Arctic warmth had much more to do with hyperbole than with reality.

Lately, the Arctic has been a generous source of fake news from the global mainstream media giants, all claiming something that is not real or making something that’s happened many times before look “unprecedented”.

Warm 12°C temperature spikes more than 70 times!

Back in January 2016, I wrote here how “the Washington Post screamed bloody murder that the North Pole was in meltdown as temperatures at that singular location rose some “50 degrees above normal,” making it sound like this event had been an unprecedented phenomenon.

For that post, I had gone back and examined DMI data Arctic temperatures above 80°N latitude going back some 58 years. Here’s what I found: "And examining all the years since 1958 we see that a temperature spike of some 12°K or more in a matter of a few days (during the November to March deep winter period) occurred more than 70 times! And over 100 times for spikes of 10°K and more.”


Scott Pruitt, Warrior for Science

Democrats and liberal journalists attack the EPA head for insisting on transparency, shared research, and rigorous peer review

John Tierney

Imagine if the head of a federal agency announced a new policy for its scientific research: from now on, the agency would no longer allow its studies to be reviewed and challenged by independent scientists, and its researchers would not share the data on which their conclusions were based. The response from scientists and journalists would be outrage. By refusing peer review from outsiders, the agency would be rejecting a fundamental scientific tradition. By not sharing data with other researchers, it would be violating a standard transparency requirement at leading scientific journals. If a Republican official did such a thing, you’d expect to hear denunciations of this latest offensive in the “Republican war on science.”

That’s the accusation being hurled at Scott Pruitt, the Republican who heads the Environmental Protection Agency. But Pruitt hasn’t done anything to discourage peer review. In fact, he’s done the opposite: he has called for the use of more independent experts to review the EPA’s research and has just announced that the agency would rely only on studies for which data are available to be shared. Yet Democratic officials and liberal journalists have denounced these moves as an “attack on science,” and Democrats have cited them (along with accusations of ethical violations) in their campaign to force Pruitt out of his job.

How could “the party of science,” as Democrats like to call themselves, be opposed to transparency and peer review? Because better scientific oversight would make it tougher for the EPA to justify its costly regulations. To environmentalists, rigorous scientific protocols are fine in theory, but not in practice if they interfere with the green political agenda. As usual, the real war on science is the one waged from the left.

The EPA has been plagued by politicized science since its inception in 1970. One of its first tasks was to evaluate the claim, popularized in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, that the use of DDT pesticide was causing an epidemic of cancer. The agency held extensive hearings that led to the conclusion that DDT was not a carcinogen, a finding that subsequent research would confirm. Yet the EPA administrator, William Ruckelshaus, reportedly never even bothered to read the scientific testimony. Ignoring the thousands of pages of evidence, he declared DDT a potential carcinogen and banned most uses of it.

Since then, the agency has repeatedly been criticized for relying on weak or cherry-picked evidence to promote needless alarms justifying the expansion of its authority (and budget). Its warnings about BPA, a chemical used in plastics, were called unscientific by leading researchers in the field. Its conclusion that secondhand smoke was killing thousands of people annually was ruled by a judge to be in violation of “scientific procedure and norms”—and was firmly debunked by later research.

To justify the costs of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan restricting coal-burning power plants, the EPA relied on a controversial claim that a particular form of air pollution (from small particulates) was responsible for large numbers of premature deaths. To reach that conclusion, the agency ignored contradictory evidence and chose to rely on 1990s research whose methodology and conclusions were open to question. The EPA’s advisory committee on air pollution, a group of outside scientists, was sufficiently concerned at the time to ask to see the supporting data. But the researchers and the EPA refused to share the data, citing the confidentiality of the medical records involved, and they have continued refusing demands from Congress and other researchers to share it, as Steve Milloy recounts in his book, Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA.

Pruitt’s new policy will force the EPA to rely on studies for which data is available to other researchers, ensuring the transparency that enables findings to be tested and confirmed. So why is he being attacked? His critics argue that some worthwhile research will be ignored because it is based on confidential records that are impractical to share. They say that it would cost the EPA several hundred million dollars to redact personal medical information in the air-pollution studies used to justify the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. But even if that estimate is correct—it seems awfully high—it’s a pittance compared with the costs of the EPA’s regulations. The Obama EPA estimated the annual cost of its Clean Power Plan at $8 billion; others estimated it at more than $30 billion. Before saddling utility customers with those higher bills year after year, the EPA could at least pay for reliable research.

Pruitt’s critics have also excoriated him for insisting that the EPA’s advisory boards consist of independent scientists, ending the practice of including researchers who receive grants from the agency—exactly the sort of conflict of interest that progressives object to when researchers receive money from private industry. He has also proposed an analysis of climate change using a “red-team/blue-team” exercise, an innovative technique that has been used to draw up plans at the Defense Department and the CIA and by private industry for industrial operations and projects such as designing spacecraft. A group of outside experts, the red team, is brought in to critique the work of the in-house blue team, which then responds, and the teams keep going back and forth, under the supervision of a moderator. It’s an enhanced form of peer review, forcing researchers and bureaucrats to defend or reconsider their ideas, and ideally leading to sounder conclusions and better plans. A version of this exercise has already been used to bolster the case for man-made global warming, as noted by Joseph Majkut of the Niskanen Institute.

Given the high stakes and the many uncertainties related to climate change—the dozens of computer climate models, the widely varying estimates of costs and benefits of mitigation strategies—who could object to studying the problem carefully? Yet Pruitt’s proposal has been denounced by Democrats as well as liberal Republicans like Christine Whitman, the former New Jersey governor, who argued that the facts are so well-established that further examination is unnecessary. As a former head of the EPA, Whitman no doubt appreciates how much easier it is to make regulations without the nuisance of debate. But what’s good for bureaucrats is not good for science.


FINALLY! Pruitt’s EPA Kills Obama’s CAFE Standards And Resurrects Consumer Freedom

In early April, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced the agency will roll back the previous administration’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, which would have peaked at 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025. Part of the explanation Pruitt gave for why EPA is pulling back from the Obama-era determination is that it “made assumptions about the standard that didn’t comport with reality.”

Reality would have included a serious price increase for pickups and SUVs, about $3,000 for the price of a new vehicle, according to the National Auto Dealers Association. To the many coastal, urban, and suburban liberals who populated the previous administration, that would have been fine. The whole purpose of regulations like CAFE is to increase the price of goods they think are undesirable, like gas-guzzling pickups and SUVs, and to nudge consumers into purchasing the products and services they think are desirable, such as hybrid or electric sedans with great gas mileage. But fantastic gas mileage isn’t the end-all, be-all of utility in an automobile.

One of the problems with the progressive worldview is its insularity. If a liberal can’t see why a tool isn’t useful for him, he at the same time can’t understand how that tool could be useful to anybody else. “If there is no utility in this for me, then there is no utility in this.” Too many of these urban, coastal liberals see pickups, as Kevin D. Williamson cheekily put it, as nothing more than “pollution-belching penis-supplements for toothless red-state Bubbas.” As such, they feel these purposeless vehicles should be nudged out of existence.

Certainly, owning a pickup or an SUV is not conducive to the urban lifestyle these liberals lead. Not too many people living in Park Slope or Russian Hill or Georgetown or Wicker Park will ever find the need for one. Whenever they do, for moving furniture or something of that nature, they can simply contract out for one. But the unfortunate problem for these liberals is not everyone lives their lifestyle, nor lives in neighborhoods like theirs.

I live in South Florida, where pickups are everywhere, mostly because of their utilitarian value to their owners. Lots of people fish here (I live off the coast of the “Sailfish Capital of the World”  for God’s sake), and to do any serious fishing you need to own a boat. But if you don’t have the necessary scratch to rent or buy a slip, then you’re going to have to tow your boat back and forth to a ramp, and you aren’t going to be able to do that with a Nissan Leaf.

Cattle ranching, a billion-dollar industry in the Sunshine State, has been taking place in Florida since those heretical Brownist Puritans who landed at Plymouth Rock were still in their short pants. Nearly half the agricultural land here is used for ranching. You go 20 miles inland—anywhere in the state, from the northern tip of the Everglades to the Georgia border—and you’re bound to run into one of the 18,000 ranches in operation here. A rural, labor-intensive industry where you’re going to be off-road a good chunk of the time (and when you are on-road, that road is probably going to be a dirt one), it isn’t ideally suited for a Toyota Prius.

Friends of mine with necks of a more crimson hue like to hunt feral hogs, which are something of a pestilence down here. Some hunt boar using a pack of hunting dogs to track and bay up the animal. These dogs are transported in separate cages, which you can’t fit in the trunk or backseat of your Tesla Model S. Neither can the hog, for that matter.

Lots of Floridians and millions of people around the country, too, find these vehicles useful. It is no secret that the top three selling automobiles in the United States—the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado, and Dodge Ram—are all pickups. That should be instructive.

I won’t get into the other economic and environmental problems with CAFE standards (Mario Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and my Heartland colleague Arianna Wilkerson have done a fine job of that on their own), but the main one is they intentionally raise the price on vehicles some people find undesirable.

If someone wants to buy a small, “eco-friendly” sedan, then good for them. If someone else wants to buy a big, “gas-guzzling” truck, then good for them. To each his own. Bureaucrats in Washington, DC have no business nudging people toward one or against the other. That is what CAFE standards do, and that is why they need to go.




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