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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America’s big ‘green’ wrecking machines

editorial cartoon“If you have no conscience, no morals, no aesthetic sensibility, no understanding of free markets; if you hate wildlife, people and the natural landscape; if you loathe private property… then the … wind industry is undoubtedly the place for you…. Only the Taliban at Bamiyan or ISIS at Palmyra can really come close to matching the wind industry’s scorched-earth zeal…” ~ James Delingpole

The destruction of rural America is ongoing, thanks to those who continue to push industrial wind energy as a fantasy-cure for the alleged problem of “Climate Change.” 

$Trillions have been spent on ‘renewables’ worldwide, yet carbon dioxide has not been significantly reduced, while rural America is paying the ultimate price. Our countrysides, wildlife and Constitutional private property rights are being sacrificed on the altar of “green” energy … for no net benefit

U.S. taxpayers and ratepayers need to awaken to the environmentally destructive wealth transfer and corporate land grab that is industrial wind energy, before more of our priceless American countrysides and wildlife are destroyed.

Ironically, many states are outlawing certain pesticides to “protect bees, birds, butterflies and other pollinators,” while continuing to use Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) to mandate industrial wind sprawl, which slaughters pollinators, eagles, and countless other birds and bats.

Elected officials ‚Äì Democrat and Republican alike ‚Äì who are onboard with President’s Obama’s ‘green’ assault in the name of halting “climate change” ‚Äì are complicit in destroying the rural fabric, environment and wildlife that is the grandeur of America, including the slaughter of our nation’s bald and golden eagles. This assault must be ended, and those who promote it removed from office. 

WHY should American taxpayers continue to fund dysfunctional wind energy, when even USEPA air chief Janet McCabe admits that the EPA’s analysis shows “wind power can expand throughout the Clean Power Plan compliance period, from 2022 to 2030, even if the tax credit is not renewed”? As long as taxpayer-funded wind welfare (the Wind Production Tax Credit, or PTC) exists, states without RPS policies are subsidizing the market-distorting, environmentally-destructive energy choices imposed by the politically powerful, while those with RPS policies are shielded from the true costs of wind energy. 

Having fought industrial wind development for years in my community, I have come to understand that only a grassroots rebellion, led by rural environmentalists against the wealthy, powerful, special-interest urban fake-environmentalists will be able to turn the tide.

A brochure recently distributed by APEX ‘Clean’ Energy in western New York State, along the shores of Lake Ontario, is typical of deceitful windy-disinformation campaigns seen across the United States. Much like APEX’s website ‚Äì which pictures APEX’s staff in an idyllic countryside setting with NO industrial wind turbines in sight ‚Äì the front cover of APEX’s brochure pictures a farm without a single industrial wind turbine in sight! It is absurdly titled: “Wind Energy: Good for Property Values.”

How stupid does APEX think people are? Any honest real estate agent will tell you the most important consideration when buying a property is: “Location, Location, Location!” 

Even worse is the shameless Wyoming County (New York) supervisors who are quoted in APEX’s brochure: Eagle’s Joe Kushner and Sheldon’s John Knab, both of whom will not seek re-election this year. At least one is reportedly leaving the area.

Both Kushner and Knab pimped their towns out to Big Wind for a few recycled taxpayer dollars, making themselves some of the wind industry’s favorite go-to-guys. Sheldon Supervisor John Knab has traveled as far as the state of Alabama (that we know of), speaking on behalf of the wind industry. The two seem despicably intent on turning more countrysides into bird-slaughtering, industrial wind factories, by aiding and abetting Big Wind hucksters like APEX and their blowhard-disinformation campaigns.

The civil discord and environmental destruction that Knab and Kushner orchestrated here in Wyoming County, NY is reminiscent of Native Americans who sold Manhattan for a bunch of beads, their naiveté taken advantage of by those who could not care less about them.

APEX’s brochure also disingenuously lists two Orangeville, NY properties as selling above assessed value, while failing to mention that both properties had significant acreage. That’s an important consideration, since Wyoming County farmland has been selling for $6,000 – $12,000 per acre since the Batavia yogurt factory was built. 

For obvious reasons, APEX did NOT mention the fact that at least ten Orangeville properties have sold below their assessed value since Invenergy’s wind factory went up, and many others haven’t sold at all. 

APEX’s brochure also neglected to mention the ongoing lawsuit in Orangeville, and our skyrocketing Wyoming County tax rate, which has risen yearly for the past 12 years (another 9.68% this year), in direct correlation with the installation of wind factories here. It is likewise no surprise that APEX didn’t include this report ‚Äì which shows a 56% decrease in property values near APEX’s Illinois project.

It’s the same story everywhere. Sprawling industrial wind factories negatively impact property values!

More wind also means “skyrocketing” electricity rates ‚Äì just as President Obama promised, and as is happening in New York and other “green” energy states.

According to NYSERDA, the average NYS residential electricity rate in 1999 was 13.3 cents per kilowatt hour. The first NYS wind factories went up in 2000 (Wethersfield & Madison). Twenty wind factories later, the average residential electricity rate in NYS as of February 2015 is 19.8 cents per kWh (according to the EIA, as cited by NYSERDA). That is one of the highest rates in the nation, and nearly a 50% increase since New York State began mindlessly plastering countrysides with industrial wind factories. Only 2% of NYS’s electricity comes from coal, and we have an endless supply of hydro.

The truth is, wind energy’s actual performance shows it is a LEMON by any measure. Indeed, New York State’s wind factories have been averaging a pathetic 24% of rated capacity. Any other piece of equipment ‚Äì be it a machine, person or animal ‚Äì that operated only 24% of the time would have been put out to pasture long ago! Who among you would buy a vehicle that only operated 24% of the time? You wouldn’t. You couldn’t afford to. It’s just that simple. 

But when the state and federal government are in charge of spending our money, economic reality doesn’t seem to matter. It’s not their money, and they are never held personally accountable.

Physicist and Malone, NY town board member Jack Sullivan recently explained the reality of wind power’s abysmal energy output in his article, “Some lessons from New York.” Both Vesta and GE turbines have a manufacturer’s life expectancy rating of only 20 years, he notes ‚Äì and yet “no New York wind project is on track to sell enough electricity in 20 years to pay for itself.” [emphasis added]

Even worse, Sullivan’s calculations are based on the wind industry’s self-serving claim that turbines have a 20-year life expectancy. The added inconvenient reality, however, is that “wind turbines last only half as long” as the industry claims ‚Äì making their cost-benefit claims even more fraudulent.

These facilities are not “wind farms.” They’re tax farms. They are in the business of harvesting our hard-earned taxpayer and ratepayer dollars ‚Äì and transferring them into the pockets of rich, multi-national corporations that then give big dollars to the politicians who keep this scam rolling merrily along.

All of this is enabled by obscene cronyism in high places and by the short-sightedness, willful ignorance and rampant greed of those who are willing to suck on the teat of wind welfare at the rest of our expense.

___________

Mary Kay Barton is a retired health educator and tireless, never retired advocate for reliable, affordable electricity for all Americans.

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EPA’s global warming rule will kill state jobs

Coal-fired power plant. That white stuff is water vapor.Coal-fired power plant. That white stuff is water vapor.The federal Environmental Protection Agency issued its final global warming rule for coal-fired power plants recently. If allowed to go into effect, the rule will kill Wisconsin factory jobs and force families to pay more for their electricity.

There are many reasons why the EPA’s rule is bad for Wisconsin and our country, but for the sake of brevity, I have boiled the list down to the top five reasons it will be a self-inflicted wound on our economy and global competitiveness.

1. The rule will be extremely costly. Previous estimates from state utility regulators predicted total costs ranging from $3.4 billion to $13.4 billion for Wisconsin power plants. The final rule actually requires stricter emission targets for Wisconsin, thus driving energy prices higher. These higher costs will be paid by every family and business in Wisconsin that uses electricity.

2. The rule will kill middle-class jobs. Manufacturers cannot compete in domestic or global markets unless they have access to affordable and reliable energy. The EPA rule will raise electricity prices, driving factory jobs overseas to countries such as China. Wisconsin will be hit especially hard because manufacturing is our No. 1 business sector. The unfortunate reality is that thousands of middle-class factory workers will pay the price for these regulations with their jobs.

3. The rule is ineffective. Regardless of what you think about the science of global warming, it’s clear the EPA rule will not have a meaningful impact on global temperature. An analysis of the prior version of the rule, using the EPA’s own data and assumptions, predicted it would reduce the average global temperature by a minuscule 0.016 degrees Fahrenheit. It also would reduce sea levels by 0.01 inches, or about the thickness of three sheets of paper. Despite its oppressive economic cost, the rule will produce negligible climate benefits – it’s all pain and no gain.

4. The rule sets poor energy policy. The United States is blessed with abundant energy, yet the EPA rule sets us on the path to energy scarcity – and the higher costs that accompany it. Our country has the largest coal reserves in the world – more than 250 years of supply – but the EPA rule seeks to cut ourselves off from this abundant, affordable and domestic source of energy. Instead of using coal to our strategic energy advantage against competitors such as China, President Barack Obama and his EPA are making coal economically untenable.

5. The rule is illegal. The EPA goes far beyond the authority granted by Congress to regulate power plants, and instead seeks to regulate activity “outside the fence” of these facilities.

For example, the rule seeks to impose economywide energy efficiency and renewable energy mandates that EPA has no authority to impose. The new rule also contemplates state and regional cap-and-trade emission schemes – an idea specifically rejected by Congress on a bipartisan basis. How could the EPA possibly have authority that Congress deliberately opted against giving it?

Of course we all want to breathe clean air, but we don’t need to destroy our economy with misguided global warming rules to get there. In reality, power plant emissions that cause smog and soot have been reduced by 75 percent and 82 percent respectively since 1980.

Quite simply, the EPA’s new global warming rule is an economic disaster waiting to happen. The unelected Washington D.C. bureaucrats are steering our economy on a collision course with unaffordable energy and lost jobs. Our only hope is for federal courts to steer us back on track by invalidating this costly rule. 


Scott Manley is the Vice President of Government Relations Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. Founded in 1911, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) is the state’s chamber of commerce and largest business trade association representing more than 3,800 employers of every size and from every sector of the economy.

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‘Old Farmer’s Almanac’ Predicts Brutal Winter ‚Äì Frigid, Snowy

old farmer's almanacAl Gore must be fuming that he has no control over the content of the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Guess how long it will be before the alarmists say it’s because of global warming? One…two…three…: From NewsMax:

A brutally cold winter with a lots of snow for much of the U.S., even in places that don’t usually see too much white stuff, is being predicted by the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” ‚Äì not to be confused with its younger rival “The Farmer’s Almanac.”

Look for above-normal snow and below-normal temperatures for much of the northeastern New England states; icy conditions in parts of the South; and frigid weather in the Midwest. Even the Pacific Northwest will get hit; the snowiest periods will be in mid-December, early to mid-January and mid- to late February, the oldest almanac predicts.

“Just about everybody who gets snow will have a White Christmas in one capacity or another,” editor Janice Stillman said from Dublin, New Hampshire, where “Old Farmer’s Almanac” is compiled. It’s due out in the coming week, reported The Associated Press.

The almanac says there will be above normal-rainfall in the first half of the winter in California, but then that will dry up and the drought is expected to continue. “We don’t expect a whole lot of relief,” Stillman said.

The weather predictions are based on a secret formula that founder Robert B. Thomas designed using solar cycles, climatology and meteorology. Forecasts emphasize how much temperature and precipitation will deviate from 30-year averages compiled by government agencies.

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The New King Coal: George Soros

coal terminalpredicted in this column last week that the left wasn’t going to kill off the coal industry so much as it was going to steal it. That prediction is already becoming true courtesy of billionaire George Soros.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Act filings indicate that Soros has purchased an initial 1 million shares of Peabody Energy and 553,200 shares of Arch Coal, the two largest publicly traded U.S. coal companies. As pointed out last week, both companies have been driven perilously close to bankruptcy by the combination of President Obama’s “war on coal” and inexpensive natural gas brought on by the hydrofracturing revolution.

Under the hypothesis that not even socialists would leave trillions of dollars worth of a perfectly safe and clean energy source in the ground for the sake of the imaginary “climate crisis,” I posited that once the existing coal industry ownership was wiped out by President Obama’s regulatory onslaught, a new politically correct ownership would rehabilitate the fuel by contributing to Democrats.

Enter George Soros, a hardball investor and philanthropist to myriad left-wing causes, including the activist and “clean energy” rent-seeking movements that have helped take down the coal industry. In 2009, for example, Soros announced he would spend $1 billion in “clean energy” technology and create a San Francisco-based advocacy organization called the Climate Policy Initiative.

Less than a year ago the Soros’ Climate Policy Initiative issued a major report concluding that the world could save $1.8 trillion over the next two decades by transitioning away from coal. The report referred to coal reserves as “stranded assets” that were losing value as they were no longer needed.

What a difference a few months makes, especially when those months have seen coal company stocks fall to fire sale prices. So far the size of Soros’ coal investment seems so far relatively small (Peabody has 248 million shares of stock outstanding), but the reports available only cover up to the quarter ending on June 30.

It’s possible that Soros is only looking for a “dead cat bounce” from his Peabody and Arch Coal investments, but the companies together have provable coal reserves of about 11 billion tons, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. I doubt the shrewd Soros is looking to make just a few million dollars on these investments.

Soros isn’t the only leftist shark in the water.

There’s billionaire hedge fund operator Tom Steyer who committed to spend $100 million in 2014 to elect anti-coal, climate alarmist-friendly politicians. Though he failed miserably, he has re-upped for the same program in 2016. Yet Steyer’s dirty secret is that, despite his protestations of concern about the climate, he’s made a fortune from coal production in Indonesia over the past 15 years. It’s easy to imagine some Steyer-steered investment vehicle rescuing sinking coal companies under the guise of turning coal into “clean energy” business. Though the current coal industry trial and failed miserably to do re-brand itself as “clean,” with the right politics and the right payoffs, Steyer no doubt could pull off that trick.

Another shrewd investor is Obama supporter Warren Buffet. Despite his long-standing leftist political inclinations, Buffet owns the trains that haul politically incorrect fracked oil and utilities that burn coal. He is famous for his counter-intuitive investing. Billions of tons of coal are becoming available almost for free. Anyone think he hasn’t noticed?

Finally, there are the likes of the left-leaning Goldman Sachs and the rest of the wolves of Wall Street. Goldman, in particular, has a long history of not only financing the coal industry but also of trading coal as a commodity on an international basis. Little known is the fact that while the U.S. coal industry seems to be circling the bowl in the U.S., coal is actually the fastest growing fuel on a global basis. And coal will continue to grow regardless of whatever climate treaty is signed in Paris later this year. Goldman’s favorite green has nothing to do with the environment.

Although Obama’s great coal train robbery will likely be completed in the next couple years or so, none of this should be taken as a recommendation to buy coal stocks. Existing shareholders are likely to be wiped out by bankruptcy or paid off with a pittance. But watching the crime play out will be an unforgettable exercise in the corruption of power and power of corruption.

Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com (@JunkScience) and is a former coal industry executive.

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