Free Markets, Free People

Environment


Irony today usually has it’s root in government actions

Because government is so completely involved in our lives.  A good example is the UK.

First, here’s a bit of a stunning statistic:

Winter weather has killed a million Brits since the 1980s and will kill a million more by 2050, experts have warned. Age support groups and doctors blame poor housing, high energy bills and pensioner poverty. Many killed by the cold are elderly but the ill, vulnerable and very young also die. A total of 973,000 people died due to winter weather from 1982/83 to 2011/12, Office of National Statistics data for England and Wales shows. ONS data shows another million Brits will be killed by winters by 2050, based on the average of 27,400 cold weather deaths per winter in the last five years.

The government, of course, is responsible for more of the problems listed than high energy bills but I wanted to highlight that and then turn to the irony part of this:

Migrating birds have halted Britain’s embryonic shale gas expansion in its tracks. The company backed by Lord Browne, the former BP boss, admitted yesterday that it must delay resuming fracking near Blackpool until next year because of rules protecting thousands of birds wintering in the surrounding picturesque Fylde peninsula.

Nice to know who or what has the priority over freezing Brits, no?

~McQ


“Global Warming” shadenfreude

When irony won’t do:

It’s not easy being green these days, especially if you’re a die-hard doomsayer of the global warming persuasion. In perhaps the cruelest blow of all, the believers learned just this week — in a study released by the National Opinion Research Center at Barack Obama’s University of Chicago no less — that the skeptics haven’t been marginalized as science-denying ignoramuses all these years. To the contrary, unbeknownst to the doomsayers, they themselves have been on the margins of society in their belief that the global warming threat to the planet is the most consequential issue of our times, if not all times.

Those that have attempted to foist this travesty are indeed on the margins. Mainstream thought discounts heavily any of the myriad of doomsday scenarios that the alarmists have been trying to ram down our throats for years:

As documented in painful detail in Public Attitudes towards Climate Change & Other Environmental Issues across Time and Countries, 1993-2010, a 17-year study of attitudes conducted by the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) in 33 countries, most people in all countries rank global warming way down their list of concerns. In Norway, just 4% considered global warming to be the country’s most important issue — and Norwegians were the most concerned of all of the citizens studied. In Canada, also high up the list, the figure was just 3%; in Great Britain less than 1% and in the U.S. the concern and was less than one half of 1%.

Not surprisingly, in most countries few people even consider global warming — whether or not caused by man — to rise to the level of being extremely dangerous: In Norway, a mere 11.8% of the population fear it, in Great Britain 16.3%, in the U.S. 19.6%. Even in relatively alarmist Canada the great majority take global warming in stride — only 27.8% see it as doom-worthy.

Ice cover in Antarctica is up since 1979 when we first began measuring it by satellite. Disasters are down, with the US “suffering” a drought of land strikes by Cat 3 hurricanes and above. And temperature? Well despite their dire predictions based only on modeling, even the most die-hard alarmists have had to admit we’ve haven’t warmed much at all:

The Holy Grail of proof to most doomsayers, of course, is the temperature, which global warming models insisted would rise in lock-step with increases in carbon dioxide. When the temperatures started to plateau in the late 1990s, doomsayers scoffed at the skeptics who noted that the models failed, taking comfort from the global warming leadership who explained every which way that the skeptics were torturing the statistics to falsely show warming had stopped. Now the leadership itself — the U.K.’s Met Office, NASA’s Jim Hansen, and the IPCC’s Rajendra Pachauri — all admit to temperatures having reached a standstill for the better part of two decades. The lowly global warming believer is left with little but the promises from their leaders that, sooner or later, those temperatures will rise again.

In fact, we found out, it wasn’t skeptics who were “torturing statistics” but the “hide the decline” alarmists.

What we were given, by Al Gore and his like wasn’t science, it was alarmism dressed up as science. It was unproven theory presented as fact. And when science finally had had enough of this claim that consensus proved the alarmist right, they simply dismantled the theory with actual, factual data.

One of the more wonderful bits of fallout? The demise of a once strident voice of the alarmists:

The New York Times is discontinuing the Green blog, which was created to track environmental and energy news and to foster lively discussion of developments in both areas. This change will allow us to direct production resources to other online projects.

Nice.

~McQ


Keystone XL pipeline: How long will Obama delay this time

In the wake of sequestration, an opportunity to do the right thing for this country arises.  Unfortunately, it arises within an administration ideologically, and therefore adamantly, opposed to the idea of more fossil fuel:

Today the State Department released yet another positive environmental review for the northern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline project. The State Department approved the original pipeline route through Nebraska, which was supposedly less environmentally friendly, without any problems.

It is no surprise, then, that the State Department also seems to look favorably on this second iteration of the project in this fourth report—a report that should have been unnecessary. For the record, the pipeline also received a stamp of approval from Nebraskans.

Yes, that’s right, the Obama State Department has given the Keystone XL pipeline favorable reviews before.  It has been the executive, in this case, arbitrarily overruling the reports, inserting himself in a process he really has no business in and delaying the project.

IER senior VP Daniel Kish sums it up pretty well:

"This is, as President Obama says, ‘a teachable moment.’  It teaches us why our government’s policies continue to stifle job creation, investment and new energy sources and instead spends valuable time and increasingly limited resources studying things to death.

"While we welcome this report, we also note this is the 4th such environmental report on the Keystone XL pipeline proposal and since it is only a “draft” there will be at least 5 federal environmental studies before a decision is made by our government on the pipeline. The Canadian government made a decision in 6 months; our government has taken 54 months so far.  This is an abject lesson in why – when it comes to energy – no one wants to deal with our government.  This is evident also by continuing falling production on federal lands at the same time U.S. oil and gas production on non-federal lands makes historic gains.  It is time for our Leaders to make a decision….Canada’s did a long time ago.  Too many are hurting and too much is at stake for any more time or money to be wasted on trivial matters and long addressed and re-addressed chimeras advanced by opponents of any and all affordable sources energy."
54 months, numerous positive reports and counting.  Canada, meanwhile, has moved on, planning, while we dither, to sell it’s product to China.  Pipelines don’t have to run through other countries which make life difficult, they can run only in Canada, to their coast for shipment to the Far East.
 
What is Obama delaying?
The project will accommodate up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day, create some 179,000 jobs on American soil, and continue good trade relations with a close ally. The benefits won’t stop with the oil sector, though—the Keystone project will have a positive ripple effect even in areas without the pipeline that will provide goods and services to support the pipeline.
And where do we stand in the wake of this latest favorable report?
Before any real decision is made, there will be a 45-day comment period and some time for the State Department to consider the comments. Then the notably anti-carbon Secretary of State, John Kerry, will give his recommendation and the final decision will lie with the President.
Any feeling of confidence that this administration, no matter how late in the game, will make the right decision isn’t exactly surging in me right now.
 
More than anything, it’s just sad that the lives and livelihoods of so many Americans rest in the incompetent hands of Barack Obama and John Kerry.
 
~McQ


The politics – and failure – of going “green”

“Going green” and “climate change” certainly are interlinked parts of a political agenda that have nothing to do with public opinion or will.  In fact:

Seventeen years of continuous surveys covering countries around the world show that people not only do not care about climate change today – understandably prioritising economic misery – they also did not care about climate change even back when times were good. The new information comes in a study released by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago – a large, long-standing and respected non-profit. The NORC spokespersons said that decades of climate alarmism have had basically no effect on people’s attitude around the world.

Part of that has to do with the fact that they’ve heard it all before.  Dire predictions about population growth that have come to naught.  Warnings about using up the earth’s resources which have proven to be false. Ozone holes. Melting icecaps. Yatta, yatta.

Climate change is just the latest among the apocalyptic prophesies and as the real science – not Al Gore “science” – comes out, fewer and fewer people are staying on the bandwagon.

Of course the promise was a “green economy” in which everyone would benefit.  How’s that worked out?  Well we know how it has worked out in Spain.  Germany is now finding out how mistaken they were to go in that direction.  In fact:

Energy, manufacturing and agriculture are playing a major role in the corridor states’ revival. The resurgence of fossil fuel–based energy, notably shale oil and natural gas, is especially important. Cheap U.S. natural gas has some envisioning the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge as an “American Ruhr.” Much of this growth, notes Eric Smith, associate director of the Tulane Energy Institute, will be financed by German and other European firms that are reeling from electricity costs now three times higher than in places like Louisiana.

Interesting.  It is another reason why they’re also putting manufacturing plants in the US, mostly in Red States.  Skilled labor, right to work and cheap energy.  Obviously neither the “right to work” nor cheap energy are part of any Obama administration design.

And how is it going for green jobs more locally?  Well, the usual state can be consulted for an update on what such a move has wrought and demonstrate for all to see why “going green” is a foolish road to travel – at least in the near future.

It was supposed to be the next big thing. California built decades of broad-based prosperity from the Gold Rush, then Hollywood, then aerospace, and later Silicon Valley. At the turn of the century, “green jobs” were supposed to be the wave of the future. How is that going for them? According to the best numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 2,500 green jobs have been created in California since 2010.

Wow … bask in the success!  Government again demonstrates how poorly it does picking winners and losers.  Not that such failures ever hinder the central planners from using your dollars to try again.  What’s Einstein’s definition of insanity?

Meanwhile, the “success” of green energy has brought California to a point where it will have to fish or cut bait very soon:

California is weighing how to avoid a looming electricity crisis that could be brought on by its growing reliance on wind and solar power. At Tuesday’s meeting, experts cautioned that the state could begin seeing problems with reliability as soon as 2015.

Of course, had we heeded the experience of others, we likely wouldn’t see California going through this nonsense:

The former chancellor Lord Lawson has urged the Government to keep Britain’s coal-fired power stations working for as long as was needed to avoid any short-term power shortages. In a House of Lords debate on energy policy and electricity generation Lord Lawson also called on ministers to give “every encouragement  it can” to the quickest possible development of shale gas supplies. Lord Lawson urged energy and climate change minister Baroness Verma to assure the House that “if the need arises our coal-fired power stations will be kept open as long as is necessary, regardless of the European combustion plants directive”.

But our dauntless leaders never learn from others.  Just as with healthcare, they seem bound and determined to recreate the failure of others.

We have abundant fossile fuel resources.  They would generate both jobs and revenue for government.  Wind and solar, while great in theory, have in practice been shown to be woefully inadequate to our needs.  We even have communities wanting wind turbines taken down due to health concerns.

Yet our government and this administration continue to pursue an “energy policy” which is detrimental to the welfare of this nation despite a state that has done everything they want to do nationally and is a dismal failure because of it.  They are bound and determined to make all 50 states Californias.

~McQ


Another country from which to “learn”

The question, as posed earlier concerning Britain and France, is will we?

Electricity prices are rising in Germany – and citizen with a low-income are suffering particularly. They are at risk of fuel poverty. 10 to 15 percent of Germans are now struggling to pay their energy bills. 600,000 households have the electricity turned off every year.

Remember, Germany ran scared after the Fukushima disaster and dumped nuclear power (because, you know, German has so many earthquakes and tsunamis).  They then went “green”.  Result?  See above?

Other result?

The CEOs of manufacturing industries are warning that production in Germany is at risk because of low energy prices in the United States. The energy prices there are now only a third of those in Germany. “Many industrial companies are planning to build new factories in the U.S. and not in Europe because of low energy prices there,” said Gisbert Rühl, chief of steel trader Kloeckner. “We are now reacting to this development and plan new business units in the United States.” To move production to the U.S. is especially attractive for companies in energy-intensive industries such as steel and aluminium or chemistry.

That would seem to be good news for us, no?

Well, it should be … except for the Democrats plan to raise taxes on the oil companies.  And Obama’s new wave of regulations.  Oh, and the Obama desire to see fuel prices “skyrocket”, ably aided by his Secretaries of Energy and the Interior.  And the EPA.

Etc.

~McQ


Welcome to the law of unintended consequences

Or here’s what happens when you play the green card and drive up the cost of energy to the point that it is unaffordable:

When the mercury falls, the theft of wood in the country’s woodlands goes up as people turn to cheaper ways to heat their homes. With energy costs escalating, more Germans are turning to wood burning stoves for heat. That, though, has also led to a rise in tree theft in the country’s forests. The problem has been compounded this winter by rising energy costs. The Germany’s Renters Association estimates the heating costs will go up 22 percent this winter alone.

Brilliant!

How much carbon is being emitted by wood burning stoves?  How about the deforestation?

Gee, nukes don’t sound so bad now, do they?

~McQ


Climate change is one of Obama’s “top three priorities” in second term

If you love ObamaCare,  you’re sure to be thrilled with whatever comes out of this attempt to cash in on taxing thin air.  Climate change is going to be a “priority” because it would be a new source of revenue, nothing more:

President Obama has identified climate change as one of his top three priorities in his second term after coming under fire from environmentalists for giving the issue short shrift during the campaign.

The president, in an interview for TIME’s Person of the Year award, said the economy, immigration, climate change and energy would be at the top of his agenda for the next four years.

The interview took place before the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, an incident that had pushed gun control to a top spot on Obama’s agenda.

Obama said his daughters have influenced his thinking about the need to tackle climate change.

“[O]n an issue like climate change, for example, I think for this country and the world to ask some very tough questions about what are we leaving behind, that weighs on you. And not to mention the fact I think that generation is much more environmentally aware than previous generations,” he told TIME.

The comments continued a trend of Obama vowing to focus on climate without laying out details of his agenda.

You have to be stunned by the irony of his statements.  The man has been “influenced” by indoctrinated children.  Just as stunning is his statement about asking “tough questions about what we are leaving behind”. One has to wonder if he’s looked at the record debt he’s piling on which will have to be paid by future generation in their standard of living, taxes and productivity.    Now he wants to add more cost to that future by involving government in regulating CO2.

That despite the fact, no inspite of the fact, that the science he’d base his “priority” upon has simply fallen apart.

The analysis of global combined land and ocean surface temperature in [the IPCC’s draft report] is inadequate for what it admits is seen as the prime statistic of global warming. It is highly selective in the references it quotes and in the use of time periods which obscures important, albeit inconvenient, aspects of the temperature data. It is poorly drafted, often making a strong assertion, and then somewhat later qualifying if not contradicting it by admitting its statistical insignificance.

Real science simply doesn’t agree with the alarmist creed established by Al Gore, the UN IPCC and the other prophets of doom:

We can now estimate, based on observations, how sensitive the temperature is to carbon dioxide. We do not need to rely heavily on unproven models. Comparing the trend in global temperature over the past 100-150 years with the change in “radiative forcing” (heating or cooling power) from carbon dioxide, aerosols and other sources, minus ocean heat uptake, can now give a good estimate of climate sensitivity. The conclusion – taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake – is this: a doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6-1.7C. This is much lower than the IPCC’s current best estimate, 3C.

But a politician has an inherent ability to sniff out potential revenue sources even when they’re just faintly carried by the wind.

The result of such policy and legislation will be even worse of an economic disaster than ObamaCare.  The “solution” will cost us much more than the “problem” was ever worth in terms of GDP, jobs and economic progress.

However, Obama will then be able to report to his two daughters who’ve been feed the alarmist creed for years that he “did something”, even if that something was, as usual, with your money and has forced you to reprioritize your own life downward.

It is the nature of the beast – and unfortunately we continue to allow the beast to feed at will and seem to find it natural that the beast is involved in all aspects of our life.  All we argue about is which group we’re going to sacrifice to the beast.  This time it’s the “rich”.

Oh, and gun control is also a 2nd term “priority” – more on that later.

~McQ


Doha – the zombie UN climate change charade staggers on

Peter Foster at the Financial Post sums up the Doha “climate change” conference best:

The UN climate conferences have descended into ritual farce, as naked money-grabbing on behalf of poor countries contrasts with finagling impossible solutions to what is likely a much-exaggerated problem. One leading question is how dubious science, shoddy economics and tried-and-failed socialist policies have come to dominate the democratic process in so many countries for so long. The answer appears to be the skill with which a radical minority — centred in and promoted by the UN, and funded by national governments and, even more bizarrely, corporations — has skilfully manipulated the political process at every level.

A fairly succinct and accurate summary of the ongoing effort.

Walter Russel Mead also has a take on it with which I agree:

Climate negotiators at the most recent conference on global warming were unable to reduce expectations fast enough to match the collapse of their agenda. The only real winners here were the bureaucrats in the diplomacy industry for whom endless rounds of carbon spewing conferences with no agreement year after year mean jobs, jobs, jobs. The inexorable decline of the climate movement from its Pickett’s Charge at the Copenhagen summit continues. The global green lobby is more flummoxed than ever. These people and these methods couldn’t make a ham sandwich, much less save Planet Earth.

And, while I agree that is so, the UN, these conferences, 3rd world nations and the so-called “green agenda” continue  attempts to exert control over advanced countries and extort a chunk of their GDP as “compensation” for what no one is sure.  There desires in this regard have never been more obvious than in their questionable opposition to the boom in natural gas (something, one could argue, that would be helpful to developing 3rd world countries while satisfying the “green agenda”).

It’s green, it’s cheap and it’s plentiful! So why are opponents of shale gas making such a fuss? If it were not so serious there would be something ludicrous about the reaction of the green lobby to the discovery of big shale gas reserves in this country. Here we are in the fifth year of a downturn. We have pensioners battling fuel poverty. We have energy firms jacking up their prices. We have real worries about security of energy supply – a new building like the Shard needs four times as much juice as the entire town of Colchester. In their mad denunciations of fracking, the Greens and the eco-warriors betray the mindset of people who cannot bear a piece of unadulterated good news.

Obviously, it would be even harder to sell their extortion attempts if advanced countries are able to develop a source of energy that is indeed “green, cheap and plentiful”.  And, apparently, even they realize they’re not going to get too far attempting to demonize natural gas per se.  So they’ve instead focused on the process used to extract it (hydraulic fracturing – “fracking”) and are in the usual mode of demonizing it instead.  That, despite the fact that the process has been used in the US, at least, since 1948 on over 1,000,000 wells without negative results to ground water (the supposed threat that fracking poses).  But as we’ve all learned, facts are not the currency  this group uses.

The point?  This circus will continue for the foreseeable future because the majority of the UN sees an extortion opportunity that is just too good to pass up. Their initial success in scaring the world with “shoddy science” continues to motivate their efforts.  They haven’t quite accepted that it is failing.

Of course, real science has never really been a part of this process.  All they needed was a veneer to successfully launch the project. Al Gore and “consensus” provided that.  The assembled then declared the “science” to be “settled” (Science never attains consensus and is never “settled”).  After that, the participants in this extortion attempt have simply stated that further review is essentially unneeded.  The argument is over, just STFU and accept it. Meanwhile that “science” continues to come apart at the seams as real data is collected and demonstrates the underlying climate “science’s” shortcomings and outright falsehoods.

Natural gas provides a new alarming problem for these folks.  When it was thought to be a fairly scarce resource, enviros embraced it (the Sierra Club touted it for years before turning against it when it became plentiful and cheap).  Now that it threatens to undermine their entire culture of extortion and control, they’re rabidly against it – or at least what it requires to extract it.

One can only hope that the failure in Doha signals the end game of this farce, but that’s doubtful.  No dissenting word is allowed.  As Lord Monckton learned when he tried to bring up the fact that there has been no warming for the past 16 years and was summarily ejected for doing so.  This is no longer about science.  This is no longer about an imminent threat.  It’s about extortion, plain and simple.  And anyone with the least bit of honesty will recognize that and should join in the call to end this farce for good.

~McQ


Doha: 3rd World extortion attempt in progress

Ignoring the fact that there’s been no rise in global temperatures for 16 years, 3rd world countries at the UN’s Doha climate conference are proceeding with their plan to make richer countries pay for their perceived (perhaps “mythical” is a better word?) damages wrought by “climate change”.

Basing their claim on the discredited “science” generated by nothing more than inaccurate climate models, they’ve decided what was promised previously just isn’t enough:

There has been a historic shift in the UN climate talks in Qatar, with the prospect of rich nations having to compensate poor nations for losses due to climate change.

The US has fiercely opposed the measure – it says the cost could be unlimited.

But after angry tussles throughout the night the principle of Loss and Damage is now in the final negotiating text.

Why is it that these countries think that what was previously promised ($100 billion by 2020 in Copenhagen) isn’t sufficient?  Because President Obama just asked Congress for $60 billion for hurricane Sandy relief.  Obviously, using that as a baseline, these countries want more.

And you have to love this attitude:

Saleem ul-Huq, from the think-tank IIED, told the BBC: “This is a watershed in the talks. There is no turning back from this. It will be better for the US to realise that the principle of compensation is inevitable – and negotiate a limit on Loss and Damage rather than leave the liability unlimited.

“The principle of compensation is inevitable?”  Really?  For what, given there’s been no evidence of damage?

It is a point of principle that is at stake here for developing countries. In the end it’s questionable how much extra money a Loss and Damage Mechanism might bring.

Already poor nations are bitter that rich nations, particularly the US are dragging their feet over a promise made at the failed Copenhagen climate summit to mobilise $100bn by 2020 to help poor nations get clean energy and adapt to climate change.

A “point of principle” my rear end.  It’s UN sponsored extortion.  It is based on faulty science and given hope by weak willed politicans, all supervised by the bandits in the UN.

We don’t own them anything.

Not. One. Red. Cent.

~McQ


Keystone XL: So now what will the excuse be to delay it?

You likely recall the controversy concerning the President’s denial of approval for the Keystone XL pipeline a few months back.  Citing the route through the state of Nebraska as a problem, Obama decided to defer a final decision until after the election.

Up for grabs – a lot of oil and 20,000 jobs.  Most saw approval as a no-brainer and the route through NE as easily “fixable”.   But Obama was having none of it, choosing to please his base vs. opting for jobs for Americans.  Since the disapproval, Canada, where the pipeline originates, has announced plans to sell that oil to China.

So, where are we now?

Well, there’s a new route through NE and local leaders have voiced strong support for the pipeline:

TransCanada has proposed a new route for the pipeline that avoids the Nebraska Sandhills, and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality is seeking comment before it drafts its report on the new route. Port-To-Plains Alliance, which is made up of more than 100 local elected officials and community leaders, has today offered its “strong support” for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Their reasoning seems pretty strong — if you’re interested in putting Americans back to work and helping the economy:

Keystone XL will provide significant economic benefits for our region. The pipeline is expected to create approximately 20,000 manufacturing and construction jobs in the United States. It could also generate more than $5.2 billion in tax revenue to the Keystone XL corridor states. At a time when state and local governments across the country are struggling to balance their budgets, these employment and revenue benefits are critical to our region. Specific benefits for Nebraska include:

  • More than $465 million in new spending for the Nebraska economy
  • More than 7,500 person years of employment
  • Increased personal income by $314 million
  • Additional state and local tax revenues of more than $11 million
  • $390 million in increased Gross State Product

And that’s just Nebraska.  Other states stand to gain significant revenue as well.

Then there’s the issue of the Bakken Formation oil in Montana and  North Dakota.  It too needs the pipeline to be finished so it can efficiently ship oil from there to the coastal refineries.

Again, the major problem has apparently been solved.  It’s a move that would lessen our dependence on Venezuelan and Middle East oil (instead opting for supplies from a loyal and stable ally), would make the shipment of Bakken oil less costly, benefit state and Federal revenue (at a time when both entities are hurting for it) and, most importantly, create multi-thousands of jobs.

So, what excuse do you believe Obama will use to further delay or disapprove it this time?

~McQ

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