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EPA could have prevented toxic mine spill if it followed own plan

animas riverAfter weeks of prodding from various news agencies, the EPA finally released documents on Friday that showed it was aware of a ‘blowout’ risk of poisonous wastewater from the infamous Gold King mine. Even so, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) only had a perfunctory plan in place if the 3 million gallons of toxic water were to actually spill. One of the action items was to build a ‘settling’ pond outside the mine before any work began, but that was never completed. After the spill, three settling ponds were created outside the mine to capture the ongoing spillage.

As first reported here, the EPA sent a team to the abandoned mine near Silverton, Colorado, on Aug. 5 to build a drainage pipe for the toxic wastewater building up inside the long-abandoned gold mine. Instead, EPA-contracted workers inadvertently unleashed a “torrent of toxic water” that ended up in the Animas and San Juan rivers, a mustard-yellow plume that traveled 300 miles and across three states.

The Associated Press (AP) is also reporting that the documents shed new light on what the EPA knew before the spill and whether it could have done more to prevent the disaster. As early as June 2014, a work order for a planned cleanup showed the mine was no longer accessible due to the entrance being partially collapsed since 1995.

The report also said, “This condition has likely caused impounding of water behind the collapse. Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages and cause a release of large volumes of contaminated mine waters and sediment from inside the mine.” And in May 2015, an action plan created by the EPA contractor, Environmental Restoration LLC, “also noted the potential for a blowout.”

The May plan called for the construction of a spillover pond to trap any wastewater from escaping into waterways. The pond was never finished. Environmental Restoration has “confirmed its employees were present at the mine when the spill occurred,” but refused to elaborate further citing confidentiality concerns.

David Gray, an EPA spokesperson, said that “the document outlined steps that should have been followed but it would be up to pending investigations to decide if the pond should have been in place before the work started.” The document dump occurred late Friday night, where it would be less likely to get a lot of media attention ahead of the weekend. Worse, the documents were heavily redacted, including a line specifying whether “workers were required to have phones that could work at the mine’s elevation of 11,000 feet.”

The actual 71-page safety plan contained only a few lines on what to do if there was an actual spill: “Locate the source and stop the flow, begin containment and recovery of the spilled materials, and alert downstream drinking water systems as needed.” Cynthia Coffman, Colorado’s attorney general, said that after reviewing Friday night’s documents, she “remains frustrated with the EPA’s lack of answers.”

Coffman told the AP that the plan shows there was the possibility of a spill and how it would affect the delicate ecosystem, but no indication if EPA workers even followed their own plan. “I want to give the EPA the benefit of the doubt here. I really want to do that,” Coffman said. “It’s getting harder.”

This comes on the heels of another report released by the right-leaning American Action Forum, which estimates the total cost for cleaning up the man-made mess could run as high as $28 billion. So far, the EPA has spent over $3.7 million. The Daily Caller also reports that “not only will the EPA wastewater spill in Colorado cause environmental damages for decades to come, but it could also end up costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.”

That’s because the toxic plume from the abandoned mine contained “lead, arsenic, thallium and other heavy metals that can cause health problems and harm aquatic life.” After the spill, the EPA waited nearly a day before notifying downstream communities of the spill and who rely on the rivers for drinking water, fishing, and recreation. The agency has come under heavy fire for not being more forthcoming and for refusing to tell officials early on what was in the toxic soup that contaminated much of the surrounding waterways.

Poisonous water is still flowing out of the mine, albeit at a much slower pace, and a series of settling ponds have since been constructed to allow the contaminated sediments to settle out of the water before it enters a nearby creek. The EPA said that “more needs to be done” and that the potential for another blowout still remains.

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Carly Fiorina rejects California drought is the result of climate change

fiorinaCarly Fiorina rejects the premise of Chuck Todd’s question that the California drought is the result of climate change, and explains why he shouldn’t begin a question about California’s water policy with the assumption that everything done by the government to regulate water and water policy over the past 40 years has been perfect, safely blaming all problems on vague, semi-measurable “climate changes.”

Liberal politicians have made the effects of California’s drought worse by refusing to build more reservoirs to help during the lean years, GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said Sunday.

Asked by “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd if she agreed that climate change has exacerbated the drought, Fiorina shot back that liberal politicians for 40 years refused to allow new reservoirs and water conveyance systems as the state’s population doubled.

“So 70 percent of the rainfall has washed out to sea,” she said. “That’s pretty dumb if you know you have droughts every single year, or every three years, lets say.”

One of the liberal politicians Fiorina was referencing, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, called Fiorina’s position, “utter ignorance.”

“Building a dam won’t do a damn thing about fires or climate change or the absence of moisture in the ground and vegetation in California,” he told Todd. “I think these people if they want to run for president better do kind of eighth grade science before they make any more utterances.”

Fiorina said she heard a lot of insults in Brown’s words, but not much sense.

“It would be helpful if you were fighting fires to have more water,” she said. “Firefighters in California have difficulty getting enough water now, so they’re using other means. It would be helpful to agriculture and everything else to have water saved in the good years so that you could use it in the bad years.”

Fiorina said she doesn’t deny there is a drought, but that politicians have made the problem “immeasurably worse.”

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Hillary Clinton’s Latest Campaign Plan: Double Down on Green Lunacy

hillaryIn a brilliantly suicidal move which might well drive the last nail into the coffin of her dreams of becoming the next U.S. president, Democrat contender Hillary Clinton is angling to position herself to the left of President Obama on the fatal issues of the environment and climate change.

Clinton, who has hitherto trodden carefully in this contentious and divisive territory, last week went all in with the greenies by tweeting her opinion on the subject of Arctic drilling.

“The Arctic is a unique treasure. Given what we know it’s not worth the risk of drilling,” she said, in a tweet signed ‘H’.

This placed her immediately at odds with her own President – coming, as it did, only a day after the Obama administration had given the go ahead for Royal Dutch Shell to explore for oil beneath the Chukchi Sea off the northeastern coast of Alaska.

Some analysts have seen in this gesture an attempt to shore up the green vote while simultaneously outflanking her more left wing rivals:

Clinton’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, primarily

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

16%

(I-Vt.) and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, have each staked out more liberal positions than Clinton on environmental issues.

But activists say they hope Clinton will join them there soon — not just on Arctic drilling but other major topics like the Keystone XL pipeline and broader climate policy.

If so then Clinton is taking an almighty gamble.

On the one hand, it’s true, Clinton’s endorsement of Greenpeace’s longrunning campaign to Save The Arctic puts her in the company of some of the world’s top celebrities: Sir Paul McCartney; Sir Richard Branson; former Doctor Who David Tennant; and teen pop idol turned Occupy-style activist Charlotte Church.

On the other hand, most American voters aren’t top celebrities, ardent environmentalists or enemies of economic progress.

In a survey last year America emerged as the most skeptical nation on earth with regards to climate change and the environment.

Still more than half of those surveyed (57 per cent) agreed with the statement: “We are heading for environmental disaster unless we change our habits quickly.”

But this percentage is likely to shrink rather than grow, as more and more evidence emerges of the corruption, incompetence and cronyism of the green industry (Solyndra; Bright Source; etc); the untrustworthiness of the Establishment scientists’ doomsday predictions; and of the damage being done to the livelihoods and freedoms of ordinary Americans by increasingly oppressive green policies.

Take President Obama’s plan to reduce US carbon-dioxide emissions from electricity plants by 32 per cent (from 2005 levels) by 2030. According to an analysis of Energy Information Administration data by Heritage Foundation statistician Kevin Dayaratna, this will cost global emissions by a modest two per cent ‚Äì but cost the US economy up to $1 trillion in lost GDP.

And, as even the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator Gina McCarthy has admitted, the hardest hit by Obama’s Clean Power Plan will be America’s poorest.

“We know that low-income minority communities would be hardest hit,” McCarthy said.

Win Democrat America’s hearts and minds by doubling down on green lunacy? Good luck with that one, Hillary.

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Deceptive temperature record claims

earth stratosphereThe U.S. government is at it again, hyping meaningless records in a parameter that does not exist in order to frighten us about something that doesn’t matter.

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this week that according to their calculations, July 2015 was the hottest month since instrumental records began in 1880. NOAA says that the record was set by eight one-hundredths of a degree Celsius over that set in July 1998. NASA calculates that July 2015 beat what they assert was the previous warmest month (July 2011) by two one-hundredths of a degree.

But government spokespeople rarely mention the inconvenient fact that these records are being set by less than the uncertainty in the statistics. NOAA claims an uncertainty of 14 one-hundredths of a degree in its temperature averages, or near twice the amount by which they say the record was set. NASA says that their data is typically accurate to one tenth of a degree, five times the amount by which their new record was set.

So, the new temperature records are meaningless. Neither agency knows whether a record was set.

Such misrepresentations are now commonplace in NOAA and NASA announcements. They are regularly proclaiming monthly and yearly records set by less than the uncertainties in the measurements. Scientists within the agencies know that this is dishonest.

They also know that calculating so-called global average temperatures to hundredths of a degree is irrational. After all, there is very little data for the 70 percent of Earth’s surface that is ocean. There is also little data for mountainous and desert regions, not to mention the Antarctic. Much of the coverage is so sparse that NASA is forced to make the ridiculous claim that regions are adequately covered if there is a temperature-sensing station within nearly 750 miles. This is the distance between Ottawa, Canada, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. cities with very different climates. Yet, according to NASA, only one temperature sensing station is necessary for the two cities and the vast area between them to be adequately represented in their network.

In the final analysis, it is no more meaningful to calculate an average temperature for a whole planet than it is to calculate the average telephone number in the Washington D.C. phone book. Temperature, like viscosity and density, and of course phone numbers, is not something that can be meaningfully averaged. “Global temperature” does not exist.

In their award winning book, “Taken By Storm” (2007), Canadian researchers Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick explain: “Temperature is not an amount of something [like height or weight]. It is a number that represents the condition of a physical system. In thermodynamics it is known as an intensive quantity, in contrast to quantities like energy, which have an additive property, which we call extensive in thermodynamics.”

Even if enough accurate surface temperature measurements existed to ensure reasonable planetary coverage (it doesn’t) and to calculate some sort of global temperature statistic, interpreting its significance would be challenging. What averaging rule would you use to handle the data from thousands of temperature-sensing stations? Mean, mode, median, root mean square? Science does not tell us. For some groups of close temperature measures (and NASA and NOAA are dealing with thousands of very close temperatures), one method of calculating an average can lead to a determination of warming while another can lead to a conclusion of cooling.

Even if you could calculate some sort of meaningful global temperature statistic, the figure would be unimportant. No one and nothing would experience it directly since we all live in regions, not the globe. There is no super-sized being straddling the planet, feeling global averages in temperature. Global warming does not matter.

Future generations are bound to ask why America closed its coal-fueled generating stations, its cheapest, most plentiful source of electric power, and wasted billions of dollars trying to stop insignificant changes in imaginary phenomena.

The sad answer will be that it had nothing to do with the realities of science, technology or economics. The tragic blunder is based on satisfying political expedience for a privileged few, egged on by vested financial interests, and supported by largely uninformed activists granted the media platforms needed to sway public opinion. As Jay Lehr, science director of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute said, “It is a scam that dwarfs all others that have come before.”

• Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.

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Political Target: Natural Gas

natural gas plantAmerica’s natural gas boom has been a rare economic bright spot, and even President Obama likes to take credit for it. But as his term winds down, the Administration is waging a war of regulatory attrition to raise drilling costs and reduce its competitive advantage over wind and solar power.

The latest effort came last week when the Environmental Protection Agency issued its new rule to slash emissions of methane, a byproduct of oil and gas drilling. The industry will be required to cut methane emissions by 40% to 45% over the next decade from 2012 levels. The rule spares existing wells that make no changes, but all new or modified wells will have to install costly new methane mitigation systems.

The rule follows new ozone limits proposed by the EPA last November, new limits issued in March on hydraulic fracturing on public lands, new moratoriums on drilling in and around Alaska, and a potential rule cracking down on greenhouse gas emissions from drilling on federal lands. Keep in mind the states already regulate natural-gas drilling, and they’ve done it well enough to avoid major accidents.

Methane has long been a target of the green lobby because it is viewed as an especially potent contributor to global warming. Yet the EPA’s own research shows methane emissions from drilling have been declining rapidly.

The EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory acknowledged this year that methane emissions from natural gas production have fallen 35% since 2007. That’s despite a 22% increase in gas production over the same period. The EPA last year found that methane emissions from hydraulically fractured gas wells had fallen 73% from 2011 to 2013. Overall methane emissions are 17% lower than in 1990.

The industry has every incentive to capture methane emissions because it’s also a valuable energy source that can be used to produce electricity and heat. The more methane that drillers capture, the better the return on their investment. The industry has already unleashed an array of technologies to prevent leakage from drilling, transportation and processing, and innovation is improving those tools.

The new EPA rule will impose large new costs for little benefit. In 2013 methane emissions counted for about 9% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Of that 9% about 3% are subject to the new rule, which would cut them in half. A Cato Institute study notes that even if the U.S. ceased all carbon emissions “now and forever,” the effect would be to reduce the rise in temperatures by the end of the century by 0.10 degrees Celcius. The methane rule’s contribution would be a mere 0.002 degrees Celsius.

The rule will nonetheless do immediate harm to a drilling industry that is already under pressure from falling global energy prices. The shale gas revolution has created hundreds of thousands of jobs, reduced costs for U.S. manufacturers, raised millions in taxes and royalties for government, and increased U.S. energy security. The new costs will reduce the marginal return on drilling, which means fewer new wells.

Our guess is that this is the real political purpose behind the wave of new drilling rules. The Administration has made coal its main fossil-fuel target, but the green lobby also has natural gas in its sights. A frontal assault is too politically risky, which is why regulatory attrition is the preferred approach.

President Obama’s new climate-change rule requires that utilities move rapidly to increase production from solar and wind power, which can only be competitive if natural gas costs rise sharply. The methane rule continues the assault, which is one more reason that the 2016 presidential election is crucial for continuing U.S. energy production.

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BBC Pulls Plug On Met Office

cartoonThe BBC has ended a partnership with the Met Office dating back more than 90 years by deciding not to renew its contract to provide weather forecasts. The last bulletin presented by the Met Office will be broadcast in October 2016, 94 years after the first, in November 1922. Bill Giles, who led the Met Office’s team of BBC forecasters from 1983 to 2000, was among those in shock at the decision. “It’s a hell of a shame. It’s the end of an era,” he said. –Nicholas Hellen, The Sunday Times, 24 August 2015

In recent years the Met Office has often felt less like a dispassionate provider of weather information and more like a lobbyist for the climate change agenda. It frequently seems more interested in pronouncing on the long-term climatology of rain forests and polar ice-caps than providing the best possible bread-and-butter local forecasts for its clients? Yes, it’s sad that the Met Office has effectively been sacked by the BBC after 93 years but it only has itself to blame. –Editorial, Daily Mail, 24 August 2015

controversial BBC radio programme that questioned the scientific credentials of the Met Office is unlikely to have influenced the broadcaster’s decision to end its nearly 100-year relationship with Britain’s official weather service, it has been claimed. The BBC announcement came three weeks after a contentious Radio 4 programme, What’s the Point of…?, focused on the Met Office. The programme, presented by a Daily Mail columnist, questioned the accuracy of the long-term forecasts made by the Met Office in its scientific assessments of the risk posed by global warming and climate change. A BBC spokeswoman said: “There is absolutely no link between the programme and the situation we’re in now.”  –Steve Connor, The Independent on Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Met Office may only have itself and some of its more swivel-eyed defenders to blame. With its hunger for news headlines, it occasionally went further than it should have done in predicting ‘barbecue summers’ and so forth. Sometimes you got the impression its forecasts were being written by the same hand that authored the Book of Genesis and its chapters about Noah’s flood. Gosh, they did love to whip up a storm about a few isobars. But if that is a shame in itself, it’s as nothing to the Met Office’s political lobbying, pushing a green, climate-change agenda with such force it stopped being seen as a dispassionate observer and started to look too much like a political player. –Quentin Letts, Daily Mail, 24 August 2015

Energy and Climate Change secretary Amber Rudd is gearing up to slash solar power subsidies as part of the government’s latest effort to cut costs for consumers. Last year, Britain installed more solar panels than any other country in Europe, with demand bolstered by generous payments of 43p per kilowatt hour, nine times the wholesale rate. It is widely expected that Rudd will go even further, cutting the current rate by as much as half this autumn. The government has already removed subsidies for other renewable energy initiatives, including the guaranteed level of subsidy for biomass conversions. –Lauren Fedor, City A.M., 24 August 2015

Local councils were on a collision course with the government last night as a battle loomed over the awarding of almost 160 new fracking licences. Councillors across England expressed fury at government plans to fast-track approval for dozens of new fracking projects in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and at threats to overrule councils if they drag their heels on planning decisions. Gina Dowding, a councillor on Lancashire county council, which rejected plans by the shale gas firm Cuadrilla to drill wells on the Fylde coast in June, said it was “extremely shocking” that the government felt it could override local democracy. –Robin Pagnamenta, The Times, 22 August 2015

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Climate Crisis, Inc.

pile of moneyNo warming in 18 years, no category 3-5 hurricane hitting the USA in ten years, seas rising at barely six inches a century: computer models and hysteria are consistently contradicted by Real World experiences.

So how do White House, EPA, UN, EU, Big Green, Big Wind, liberal media, and even Google, GE and Defense Department officials justify their fixation on climate change as the greatest crisis facing humanity? How do they excuse saying government must control our energy system, our economy and nearly every aspect of our lives – deciding which jobs will be protected and which ones destroyed, even who will live and who will die – in the name of saving the planet? What drives their intense ideology?

The answer is simple. The Climate Crisis & Renewable Energy Industry has become a $1.5-trillion-a-year business! That’s equal to the annual economic activity generated by the entire US nonprofit sector, or all savings over the past ten years from consumers switching to generic drugs. By comparison, annual revenues for much-vilified Koch Industries are about $115 billion, for ExxonMobil around $365 billion.

According to a 200-page analysis by the Climate Change Business Journal, this Climate Industrial Complex can be divided into nine segments: low carbon and renewable power; carbon capture and storage; energy storage, like batteries; energy efficiency; green buildings; transportation; carbon trading; climate change adaptation; and consulting and research. Consulting is a $27-billion-per-year industry that handles “reputation management” for companies and tries to link weather events, food shortages and other problems to climate change. Research includes engineering R&D and climate studies.

The $1.5-trillion price tag appears to exclude most of the Big Green environmentalism industry, a $13.4-billion-per-year business in the USA alone. The MacArthur Foundation just gave another $50 million to global warming alarmist groups. Ex-NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chesapeake Energy gave the Sierra Club $105 million to wage war on coal (shortly before the Club began waging war on natural gas and Chesapeake Energy, in what some see as poetic justice). Warren Buffett, numerous “progressive” foundations, Vladimir Putin cronies and countless companies also give endless millions to Big Green.

Our hard-earned tax dollars are likewise only partially included in the CCBJ tally. As professor, author and columnist Larry Bell notes in his new book, Scared Witless: Prophets and profits of climate doom, the U.S. government spent over $185 billion between 2003 and 2010 on climate change items ‚Äì and this wild spending spree has gotten even worse in the ensuing Obama years. We are paying for questionable to fraudulent global warming studies, climate-related technology research, loans and tax breaks for Solyndra and other companies that go bankrupt, “climate adaptation” foreign aid to poor countries, and much more.

Also not included: the salaries and pensions of thousands of EPA, NOAA, Interior, Energy and other federal bureaucrats who devote endless hours to devising and imposing regulations for Clean Power Plans, drilling and coal mining bans, renewable energy installations, and countless Climate Crisis, Inc. handouts. A significant part of the $1.9 trillion per year that American businesses and families pay to comply with mountains of federal regulations is also based on climate chaos claims.

Add in the state and local equivalents of these federal programs, bureaucrats, regulations and restrictions, and we’re talking serious money. There are also consumer costs, including the far higher electricity prices families and businesses must pay, especially in states that want to prove their climate credentials.

The impacts on companies and jobs outside the Climate Crisis Industry are enormous, and growing. For every job created in the climate and renewable sectors, two to four jobs are eliminated in other parts of the economy, studies in Spain, Scotland and other countries have found. The effects on people’s health and welfare, and on overall environmental quality, are likewise huge and widespread.

But all these adverse effects are studiously ignored by Climate Crisis profiteers – and by the false prophets of planetary doom who manipulate data, exaggerate and fabricate looming catastrophes, and create the pseudo-scientific basis for regulating carbon-based energy and industries into oblivion. Meanwhile, the regulators blatantly ignore laws that might penalize their favored constituencies.

In one glaring example, a person who merely possesses a single bald eagle feather can be fined up to $100,000 and jailed for a year. But operators of the wind turbine that killed the eagle get off scot-free. Even worse, the US Fish & Wildlife Service actively helps Big Wind hide and minimize its slaughter of millions of raptors, other birds and bats every year. It has given industrial wind operators a five-year blanket exemption from the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, Migratory Birds Treaty Act and Endangered Species Act. The FWS even proposed giving Big Wind a 30-year exemption.

Thankfully, the US District Court in San Jose, CA recently ruled that the FWS and Interior Department violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws, when they issued regulations granting these companies a 30-year license to kill bald and golden eagles. But the death tolls continue to climb.

Professor Bell’s perceptive, provocative, extensively researched book reviews the attempted power grab by Big Green, Big Government and Climate Crisis, Inc. In 19 short chapters, he examines the phony scientific consensus on global warming, the secretive and speculative science and computer models used to “prove” we face a cataclysm, ongoing collusion and deceit by regulators and activists, carbon tax mania, and many of the most prominent but phony climate crises: melting glaciers, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, disappearing species and declining biodiversity. His articles and essays do likewise.

Scared Witless also lays bare the real reasons for climate fanaticism, aside from lining pockets. As one prominent politician and UN or EPA bureaucrat after another has proudly and openly said, their “true ambition” is to institute “a new global order” … ” global governance” … “redistribution of the world’s resources” … an end to “hegemonic” capitalism … and “a profound transformation” of “attitudes and lifestyles,” energy systems and “the global economic development model.”

In other words, these unelected, unaccountable US, EU and UN bureaucrats want complete control over our industries; over everything we make, grow, ship, eat and do; and over every aspect of our lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties. And they intend to “ride the global warming issue” all the way to this complete control, “even if the theory of global warming is wrong” … “even if there is no scientific evidence to back the greenhouse effect” … “even if the science of global warming is all phony.”

If millions of people lose their jobs in the process, if millions of retirees die from hypothermia because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly, if millions of Africans and Asians die because they are denied access to reliable, affordable carbon-based electricity ‚Äì so be it. Climate Crisis, Inc. doesn’t care.

Free market principles do not apply, and free marketers need not apply. The global warming industry survives and thrives only because of secretive, fraudulent climate science; constant collusion between regulators and pressure groups; and a steady stream of government policies, regulations, preferences, subsidies and mandates – plus taxes and penalties on its competitors. CCI gives lavishly to politicians who keep the gravy train on track, while its attack dogs respond quickly, aggressively and viciously to anyone who dares to challenge its orthodoxies, perks, power and funding.

Climate change has been “real” throughout Earth and human history ‚Äì periodically significant, sometimes sudden, sometimes destructive. It is driven by the sun and other powerful, complex, interacting natural forces that we still do not fully understand … and certainly cannot control. It has little or nothing to do with the carbon dioxide that makes plants grow faster and better, and is emitted as a result of using fossil fuels that have brought countless, wondrous improvements to our environment and human condition.

Climate Crisis, Inc. is a wealthy, nasty behemoth. But it is a house of cards. Become informed. Get involved. Fight back. And elect representatives – and a president – who also have the backbone to do so.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

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Poll: Minority of U.S. Catholics know pope’s climate views

francisA new survey has found fewer than half of U.S. Roman Catholics said they knew of Pope Francis’ bombshell encyclical on curbing climate change — and only a fraction of those heard about it from the pulpit — in the month after he released the document with an unprecedented call for the church to take up his message.

Forty percent of American Catholics and 31 percent of all adults said they were aware of the encyclical, according to the poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Yale University. Among Catholics who knew about the document, just 23 percent said they heard about it at Mass.

The survey, conducted July 17-19, provides an early measure of the impact of the encyclical in the United States, where Francis is expected to press his teaching on the environment in his first visit to the country next month.

The United States is home to some of the staunchest objectors to mainstream science on climate change and to government intervention aimed at easing global warming, along with a segment of Catholics who think the pope should be talking far more about marriage and abortion than the environment.

In the encyclical Francis called global warming a largely manmade problem driven by overconsumption, a “structurally perverse” world economic system and an unfettered pursuit of profit that exploited the poor and risked turning the Earth into an “immense pile of filth.” He urged people of all faiths and no faith to save God’s creation for future generations.

Environmental advocates hoped the encyclical would transform public discussion of climate change from a scientific to a moral issue. But Catholics in the survey were not significantly more likely than Americans in general to think of global warming in moral terms. Just 43 percent of Catholics and 39 percent of all adults said they considered global warming a moral issue. A very small percentage viewed climate change as having a connection to religion or poverty.

“That’s unfortunate,” said Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, which works closely with the U.S. bishops on environmental protection and has distributed model sermons and parish bulletin inserts on the encyclical. “There’s a clear human impact. That’s going to be our challenge — to explain that this environmental question is really a human thriving question.”

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No one showed up for California’s green jobs rush

solar arrayIn 2012, California voters were peppered with grandiose promises, such that they could not resist approving Proposition 39. The measure, created and backed by wealthy environmentalist Tom Steyer, sought to raise taxes on corporations and use the money to fund green energy projects in schools.

He promised it would create 11,000 new jobs each year. What could go wrong?

There are inherent problems with the idea of green public-works projects, and still more problems with tax hikes. But this plan had the benefit of at least being elegant and simple. All of the facilities slated for green-energy improvements would be government-owned and government-run. There would be no NIMBY-style community pushback, nor significant added costs to ratepayers. Districts could apply for funds and choose projects that met their needs. If any such program could work, this was it.

Naturally, it did not work at all. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that the program has “created” just 1,700 jobs in three years — just under 600 jobs per year or roughly five percent of what was promised, at the cost of $175,000 per job. Even that paltry figure fails to account for opportunity costs — i.e. jobs lost statewide because of the forced diversion of economic resources away from productive industries and toward green energy. The number of net jobs created is likely zero or less than zero, which is to say that probably a few hundred or a few thousand jobs have been destroyed so far at a cost of $300 million.

That’s not to say no one has benefited. More than half of the $297 million given to schools under the program so far, AP reports, has gone to “consultants and energy auditors.” The rest of California’s taxpayers have received no benefit, except the privilege of serving as their host organism.

Even the tax hike part of this plan isn’t working out so well. With companies limiting their exposure or even leaving California, the program has been bringing in just a little more than half of what was promised ($550 million each year) for the Clean Jobs Energy Fund.

Not that it matters much, because California schools have only managed to apply for half the money. The projected energy savings from their approved projects is far smaller than promised. For example, those pushing for the Clean Jobs fund claimed that the L.A. District would save $27 million annually from energy improvements. The projects that its schools have applied for so far would only save it $1.4 million annually. That’s assuming those projects are ever completed — not a single one has been so far.

Meanwhile, the commission charged with overseeing this program has not met once. There are no reliable numbers about how much energy it has created or saved.

In short, Steyer has handed California a fat lemon.

What can Californians do? We have a modest proposal for the short term: Purchase hundreds of electricity-producing treadmills and force Steyer and the green consultants and energy auditors who are currently making bank to run and generate electricity for schools.

For the long term, Californians should be more skeptical and vote “no” the next time political money-men come to them with big ideas of how government can create green jobs. Their state is now Exhibit A in the argument that it cannot.

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Environmentalists Use 21 Children To Sue Obama Over Global Warming

"<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NASA_Scientist_James_Hansen_Arrested.jpg#/media/File:NASA_Scientist_James_Hansen_Arrested.jpg">NASA Scientist James Hansen Arrested</a>" by <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="http://www.flickr.com/people/65753242@N04">tarsandsaction</a> - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarsandsaction/6093530895/">NASA Scientist James Hansen Arrested</a>Uploaded by <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:PDTillman" title="User:PDTillman" class="mw-redirect">PDTillman</a>. Licensed under <a title="Creative Commons Attribution 2.0" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0">CC BY 2.0</a> via <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/">Commons</a>.NASA Scientist James Hansen Arrested” by tarsandsactionNASA Scientist James Hansen Arrested Uploaded by PDTillman. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons.Environmentalists and a former NASA climate scientist are using 21 children to sue the federal government for allowing the burning of fossil fuels and “knowingly” harming future generations by causing global warming.

The intent of the lawsuit: to force the U.S. with a court order to phase out fossil fuel use and reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million by the end of the century.

“For over fifty years, the United States of America has known that carbon dioxide (‘CO2‚Ä≤) pollution from burning fossil fuels was causing global warming and dangerous climate change, and that continuing to burn fossil fuels would destabilize the climate system on which present and future generations of our nation depend for their wellbeing and survival,” reads a lawsuit filed by Earth Guardians on behalf of 21 children allegedly being harmed by global warming.

“As a result, Defendants have infringed on Plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property,” the eco-lawsuit reads. “Defendants’ acts also discriminate against these young citizens, who will disproportionately experience the destabilized climate system in our country.”

Environmentalists and regulators have been increasingly holding up children as reasons to fight global warming. President Barack Obama, for example, has used his own daughter’s asthma attacks to personalize the climate debate. Environmental groups have jumped on this bandwagon and routinely claim global warming will make asthma and other respiratory illnesses much worse.

Environmentalists filed their federal lawsuit in Oregon where the Obama administration recently approved a liquefied natural gas terminal. The LNG terminal, among other projects, is being used by activists to highlight the “deliberate indifference” of the government when it comes to global warming.

But will this lawsuit actually work? Eco-activists are looking to imitate similar lawsuits from around the world. In June, a Dutch court sided with environmentalists and forced the government of the Netherlands to commit to deeper CO2 emissions cuts.

In Washington state, a lawsuit brought on behalf of children forced the state’s Department of Ecology to consider a petition asking officials to commit to CO2 cuts based on the “best available science.”

Interestingly enough, one of the children is being represented by former NASA climatologist James Hansen — an outspoken opponent of fossil fuels who recently put out a report warning that sea levels could rise about 10 feet because of global warming.

Listed in the lawsuit as Sophie K., Hansen’s granddaughter, who’s suing the government because she “would like to have the ability to one day live in coastal cities like New York or Los Angeles” which the suit argues are threatened by rising sea levels.

Sophie also claims that global warming is already hurting her because she had to miss school days because of Hurricane Sandy and because “hailstorms have damaged her house; floodwaters often inundate roads by her house; and Sophie has even been forced to prepare for tornado warnings, which are very unusual for the area where she lives”

The legal filing also claims that this year “Sophie’s health was adversely impacted for the first time by pollen allergies, a condition exacerbated by global and regional warming.” Adding that Sophie will also be harmed by “[e]xtreme weather events, intense heat, and rising seas.”

Earth Guardians’ suit also tells the stories of how the other 20 plaintiffs are being harmed by global warming, including one story from a teenager who’s descended from Aztecs and “engages in sacred indigenous spiritual and cultural practices to honor and protect the Earth.”

Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh M., who’s only 15 but apparently has been an environmental activist in Colorado for the last nine years, claims that he’s “suffered harm to his spiritual and cultural practices from” fossil fuel use.

“Xiuhtezcatl’s home, including the forests that he relies upon for his spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, will continue to die and burn as climate change worsens,” the lawsuit reads. “Water will become increasingly scarce, adversely impacting every aspect of his life.”

Another plaintiff, 11-year-old Zealand B., wants to sue the government, in part, because “[r]afting trips with his family have been canceled or shortened due to the increased temperatures, drought, and reduced water levels.” Zealand also claims he and his family “twice experienced large forest fires while rafting on Oregon rivers.”

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BBC Breaks Impartiality Rules On Climate And… Ooh Look! A Performing Dog!

dog performsThe BBC has been caught red-handed breaking its own rules on impartiality by running a series of green propaganda documentaries funded by the United Nations on its BBC World News channel.

But you’d never guess this from the way the BBC has reported on the story about its censure in a report by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom. Instead, like a laser, it has focused on what it considers to be the only important bit of the report, viz:

Commercial rival ITV should have made it much, MUCH clearer to viewers that the amazing, performing dog which won Britain’s Got Talent earlier this year was in fact two amazing, performing dogs. That’s because there was one trick ‚Äì walking the tightrope ‚Äì that the main amazing, performing dog Matisse couldn’t do. So it had to be faked using a Matisse lookalike called Chase, who had trained for years and years after being inspired by watching an acclaimed arthouse documentary called Dog On Wire.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m as shocked as anyone by the appalling deception which Britain’s Got Talent practised on its viewers. Had I voted for the evil, lying, faking trickster devil dog Matisse and then subsequently discovered that I had been duped about his talents, I expect that I would almost certainly have wished to commit suicide in shame. TV documentaries involving animals, as we know, are widely recognised for their scrupulous accuracy and integrity and lack of artifice. The same is true of TV talent shows.  So I can well understand why viewers who’d voted for Matisse rang to ask for their premium phoneline money back. And if David Cameron doesn’t call a public inquiry into this vital issue then I think we all have a right to know why.

All that said, I still think there may be more pressing issues of public concern in this Ofcom report.

Take, for example, the revelation that BBC World News ran no fewer than three documentaries plugging the United Nations REDD scheme, kindly funded by and made on behalf of the United Nation’s REDD scheme. (These were among 14 half-hour programmes run on BBC World News and all “funded by not-for-profit organisations operating largely in areas of developing world issues and environmental concerns.”

It’s clear from the BBC’s defensive response towards Ofcom’s initial inquiries that it saw nothing wrong with this.

BBCWN, however, believed that not for profit bodies such as United Nations agencies could fund programmes without engaging the sponsorship rules.

It believed that if the content of the programme could not be considered promotional of the funder and its activities or interests, the funder should not be categorised as a sponsor.
BBCWN said it believed that subjects of general public interest such as health, education, social welfare etc. could not be considered to be proprietorial interests of a funder provided that the particular activities of the funder were not promoted.

But this tells us more about the ideological mindset of the people who work at the BBC than it does about the BBC’s actual charter obligations as a public service broadcaster with quasi-monopolistic privileges.

In the Beeboids’ eyes, NGOs and UN bodies like the ones that funded this propaganda, are so pure in motivation, so unimpeachably correct in their collectivist urges, that there is need to subject them to any kind of scrutiny.Had they done their due diligence ‚Äì a basic requirement, you might have hoped, for a news organisation of the BBC’s international stature and supposed respectability ‚Äì they might have discovered otherwise.

REDD, as Christopher Booker revealed at the time those programmes ran, was a scam of epic proportions, cooked up by the green movement in order to enrich its cronies at public expense.

If the world’s largest, richest environmental campaigning group, the WWF ‚Äì formerly the World Wildlife Fund ‚Äì announced that it was playing a leading role in a scheme to preserve an area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of Switzerland, many people might applaud, thinking this was just the kind of cause the WWF was set up to promote. Amazonia has long been near the top of the list of the world’s environmental cconcerns, not just because it includes easily the largest and most bio-diverse area of rainforest on the planet, but because its billions of trees contain the world’s largest land-based store of CO2 ‚Äì so any serious threat to the forest can be portrayed as a major contributor to global warming.

If it then emerged, however, that a hidden agenda of the scheme to preserve this chunk of the forest was to allow the WWF and its partners to share the selling of carbon credits worth $60 billion, to enable firms in the industrial world to carry on emitting CO2 just as before, more than a few eyebrows might be raised. The idea is that credits representing the CO2 locked into this particular area of jungle – so remote that it is not under any threat – should be sold on the international market, allowing thousands of companies in the developed world to buy their way out of having to restrict their carbon emissions. The net effect would simply be to make the WWF and its partners much richer while making no contribution to lowering overall CO2 emissions.

Fortunately, the scam was nipped in the bud by the collapse of the carbon-trading market.

But it’s quite a big deal, don’t you think, that the BBC willingly lent its services to help promulgate this outrageous scheme?

Bigger even, I’d suggest, than the Britain’s Got Talent scandal. I mean, however, much Matisse’s owner may have trousered as a result of that relatively innocuous sleight of paw involving his canine pal Chase, I suspect it didn’t come anyway near the $60 billion the WWF and its greenie co-conspirators stood to make at our expense if they’d pulled off that Amazonian eco-heist.

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Britain Sides With Eastern Europe On Non-Binding Renewables Target

wind tower-axBritain and Germany will line up on opposite sides of a European Union green energy debate starting next month on how to meet agreed renewable fuel targets for the next decade. The 28 member states agreed climate and energy goals last October, but to make it easier to get a deal, the decision went only as far as a framework. So far, the 2030 renewable goal is binding only at EU-wide level and the challenge is to ensure it is met as the bloc as a whole cannot be fined for infringement. Germany, which is pushing through its Energiewende, or shift from nuclear to green energy, wants binding laws. In the opposite camp, Britain aligned with the Czech Republic in a joint paper urging a “light-touch and non-legislative” approach. –Barbara Lewis, Reuters, 19 August 2015

It is to be hoped that with the Lib Dems gone, this decisive move on fracking will be followed by a more rational energy policy overall. As things stand, Britain remains committed to unilateral carbon reduction targets, which were arrived at without any thought for the cost to the economy. In the end, these cuts to carbon emissions achieve nothing but to shift emissions from British industries to ones based abroad. Faced with the prospect of losing much of our manufacturing industry to Asia, where energy taxes are lower, George Osborne has allowed some compensation to energy-intensive industry but the government has failed to tackle the underlying problem: the Climate Change Act. If Amber Rudd is minded to address this issue, as well as the fracking problem, she should go on to become one of this government’s high-achievers. It is right that the government should have a clean energy policy. But it will ultimately achieve nothing if it isn’t also an affordable energy policy. –Editorial, The Spectator 22 August 2015

It is becoming a trend in the journal Science ‚Äì that of publishing articles stating that there is no ‘hiatus’ in annual average global surface temperature. The latest such article is written by Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Behind the article is an obvious question unaddressed by it. The post-late 90s “hiatus” is due to natural climatic variability, it says. It seems that this hitherto “underappreciated” effect has kept global annual average surface temperatures below what they would have been if the planetary warming of the 90s had continued. But what if that warming was the natural climatic variability, which presumably can cause temperatures to increase as well as decrease. Didn’t somebody raise that very point in the Climategate emails? –David Whitehouse, Global Warming Policy Forum, 14 August 2015

West Virginia-based Patriot Coal Corp., which is in bankruptcy, plans to sell environmentalists their coal mines, according to an announcement by Patriot on Monday morning. Clarke, one of the region’s best-known environmentalists, plans to help save an overheating planet by selling electric utilities coal that’s been bundled with carbon credits, which would be an industry first, he said. He’s going to mine coal, the usual fuel for electricity generation, and bundle each shipment with an exclusive feature: a prepaid vehicle to sequester the carbon dioxide that burning coal for electricity emits. Trees, which he intends to plant by the thousands, are that vehicle. —The Roanoke News, 17 August 2015

Billionaire investor George Soros, who has demonized fossil fuels for years through his think tanks and political contributions, seems to have warmed up to Big Coal now that stocks are dirt cheap. The left-wing hedge fund legend has raised eyebrows with major purchases of stock in two large coal companies, firms his critics say he helped bring to their knees. While buying low is the hallmark of any shrewd investor, buying coal goes against the political and environmental ideology Soros has long espoused. Soros, whose Climate Policy Initiative think tank recently urged the world to stop using fossil fuels in general and coal in particular, snapped up 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and half a million shares of Arch Coal, giving him significant stakes in what’s left of the U.S. coal industry. The trades would have cost Soros a lot more six years ago, when Peabody, which trades under the symbol BTU, was at about $90 a share. Under the Obama administration, which has punished the coal industry with costly mandates and regulation, Peabody shares have fallen to around $1. –Malia Zimmerman, Fox News, 19 August 2015

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