Are “free thinking” Hollywood Liberals turning on the Obama Administration?

Recently Mel Brooks in an interview with Yahoo.com criticized political correctness in Hollywood. On the 40th anniversary of his movie “Blazing Saddles” Brooks said, “They can’t make that movie today because everybody’s so politically correct. You know, the NAACP would stop a great movie that would do such a great service to black people because of the N-word. You’ve got to really examine these things and see what’s right and what’s wrong. Politically correct is absolutely wrong. Because it inhibits the freedom of thought. I’m so lucky that they weren’t so strong then and that the people that let things happen on the screen weren’t so powerful then. I was very lucky.”

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Photo courtesy of Breitbart.com.

Breitbart’s John Nolte did a column on “Blazing Saddles”, a movie classic. Nolte wrote:

I caught all kinds of entertaining hell (Kos is especially perturbed) for my review of the new 40th Anniversary Bluray of “Blazing Saddles” and for a follow-up piece, both of which stated the obvious: That today’s Left has become a bunch of  insufferable, joy-killing, censorious, fascist Church Ladies who would never allow “Blazing Saddles” to be made today and that they will someday try to have the film banned.

It looks as though Mr. Brooks agrees with my first point. That’s because Mel Brooks is a free-thinking liberal, not a freedom-stifling, controlling, free speech-hating leftist.

The difference between a liberal and a leftist is not the how they vote. Liberals don’t use phrases like “the debate is over,” “the science is settled,” “ban bossy” or “ban anything that might offend anyone who isn’t a white Christian male.” Fascist leftists do.

But things may be changing in Hollywood. The free thinking liberals in Hollywood may be making a comeback.

Sonny Bunch in a Washington Times column writes, “If it’s summer movie season, that means it’s time for me to make some counter intuitive claims about the blockbusters in our midst. Last year, I made the case that Star Trek: Into Darkness was accidentally a pro-drone-strike parable and that Matt Damon’s Elysium was actually an anti-Obamacare warning. Let’s get things going this year by suggesting that Godzilla, which looks like it will open to a big box office debut, is actually a message to humanity to chill out about global warming, everything’s going to be okay.”

Bunch notes, “As the film progresses, the intellectual center of the picture is revealed to be Dr. Ichiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe), who takes an almost zen-like approach to the MUTOs [mutants]. He believes that Godzilla, who he has been searching for his entire adult life, is not a threat to humanity but a part of Earth’s natural biosphere. The giant lizard exists to ‘restore balance.’ Serizawa also laments the ‘arrogance of man’ for thinking he can control nature; the good doctor believes that the only way to stop the rampaging MUTOs is to let Godzilla fight them and kill them, to let nature run its course. The leaders of men disagree, opting to try and gather all three of the giant creatures into the same area off America’s west coast, where they will be destroyed by a thermonuclear warhead. This plan backfires, leading to a nuke threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans.”

Others are not so sure that Godzilla is anti-global warming.

In his column “The New ‘Godzilla’ Is Science Fiction — and Climate Fiction“, Scott Blakeman writes:

A genre of film is emerging in the movie industry: climate fiction, or, “cli-fi” for short. It plays on fears and anxieties (and myths, quite frankly) about drastic climate change caused primarily by humans. The “Godzilla” remake that opens in theaters today should give people a sense of what cli-fi is all about: climate change hyperbole designed to make a buck at the box office.

A.O. Scott wrote a review of “Godzilla” for The New York Times explaining that in the film, the “focus of global anxiety has shifted from nuclear annihilation to climate change and related problems.” Scott notes that there’s a certain overtone throughout the movie that “we’ve made a big mess of things with our missiles and our power plants, but Godzilla is nature’s way of restoring balance.”

Great. Cli-fi is a purveyor of climate change propaganda. However, the sweet irony in the cinematic genre of cli-fi is that the name reveals an underlying truth: The sensationalism surrounding climate change is simply fiction.

I recently watched Elysium and took away the impression that it was about the elites (e.g. Congress, unions and those with money) having access to first rate medical care while the masses suffered. There are two ways to view this, one as a populist film, the other as a film against the growing centralization of power over the lives of the masses via government programs like Obamacare.

I guess cinematic beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

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World Environment Day and the Three Fundamental Truths about the Climate

There are three fundamental truths about the climate: 1.) The climate changes, 2.) The changes are cyclical, and 3.) There is nothing mankind can do about it except prepare for the changes.

Sarasota County, Florida has been selected by the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) as the official North American host community for World Environment Day (WED) 2014.

According to the Sarasota County website:

More than just a single day of environmentally focused events, the WED celebration launches on Earth Day in April and bridges the globe—and the months—with programs and events that culminate on June 5. This year’s launch was held at Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, during its 25th annual Earth Day celebration on April 27. The events will culminate with a Community Forum and International Children’s Painting Competition Exhibit on June 5. Dozens of nature walks, classes, workshops and volunteer events are also planned between these two dates. Find more information about all these events on the WED Events page and listed in the WED Calendar.

This year’s WED theme focuses on the small island developing states, places particularly threatened by environmental changes. Sarasota County was chosen to host this year’s WED events because it is a coastal community facing similar challenges, and also because of its positive and proactive environmental track record, according to UNEP RONA.

Since its inception in 1972, WED has grown into a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in more than 100 countries. It also serves as grassroots inspiration for individuals and groups to do something positive for the environment, galvanizing creative individual actions into a collective power that has the potential to generate an exponential positive impact around the world.

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Dr. Michael P. Crosby

A forum will be held as part of WED. The forum will be moderated by Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President and CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory. Forum topics will include:

  • Identifying emerging environmental issues from the perspective of the Small Island Developing States — United Nations Environment Programme representative.
  • The Economic Value of Sarasota Bay — Sara Kane, Public Outreach Manager, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program
  • Sea Level Rise — Barbara Lausche, Director, Marine Policy Institute at Mote
  • Eco-Tourism — Jennifer Shafer, Executive Director, Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida
  • Green Building and the Green Economy — Tony Stefan, U.S. Green Building Council, Myakka River Branch

The forum will be from 10:30 a.m. to Noon, on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at the Mote Marine Laboratory’s New Pass Room, on the 3rd Floor of the Keating Marine Education Center, 1599 Ken Thompson Parkway, City Island, Sarasota.

Protests are planned.

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Climate Change Scientific Reality: Surviving the Next Cold Climate
Climate McCarthyism: No Dissent Allowed! 79-Year old Skeptical Climate Scientist Victim of Witch-Hunt
The Supreme Court Helps the EPA Shut Off Electricity in America
Climate Change: Unsettled Science or Just Lies?
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Global Warming, Climate Change its all about the Global Religion of Greed
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The Supreme Court Helps the EPA Shut Off Electricity in America

April 2014 seems to be the month in which the Supreme Court devotes itself to decisions that have no basis in real science and can do maximum damage to the economy. Invariably, the cases are brought against the Environmental Protection Agency and are decided in its favor.

In April 2007, the Court decided that carbon dioxide, the second most essential gas for all life on the planet was “a pollutant”, the definition the EPA had applied to it in order to regulate it. Now comes word that the Court had concluded that the EPA may regulate power-plant emissions that blow across state lines as per a 2011 regulation, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Not content having put nearly 150 or more coal-fired power plants out of commission, the Court’s rule now gives them the authority to do the same thing to about a thousand power plants in the eastern and western regions of the U.S. that will have to adopt new pollution controls or reduce operations.

In effect, the Court has just agreed to a regulation that represents a major increase in the cost of electricity in 28 states deemed to be polluting the air in those around them. The EPA’s claims that this will save lives they attribute to the alleged pollution is as bogus as all the rest of their claims, the purpose of which is to undermine the nation’s economy in every way it can.

Power Lines3James M. Taylor, the Heartland Institute’s Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy said of Tuesday’s decision that “It is a shame that the U.S. Supreme Court continues to empower EPA to issue nonsensical interpretations of statutes with the primary goal of amassing more money and power.”

Every day the press is filled with reports of environmental groups suing to ensure that no new providers of electricity can be built. The Environmental Protection Agency has instituted all manner of regulations intended to shut down coal-fired plants and they are based on the total lie that carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” are causing the Earth to warm. The science cited is entirely without merit and the Earth is cooling, not warming, and has been for the past seventeen years.

As winters grow colder, it is putting a tremendous demand on the nation’s electrical grid. In a recent commentary, Steve Gorham, the author of “The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania”, quoted Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “the experience of this past winter indicates that the power grid is now already at the limit.”

“EPA policies,” said Gorham, “such as the Mercury and Air Toxics rule and the Section 316 Cooling Water Rule, are forcing the closure of many coal-fired plants, which provided 39 percent of U.S. electricity last year. American Electric Power, a provider of about ten percent of the electricity to eastern states, will close almost one quarter of the firm’s coal-fired generating plants in the next fourteen months. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of the power scheduled for closure was needed to meet electricity demand in January. Not all of this capacity has replacement plans.”

Before Obama was elected, coal-fired plants provided fifty percent (50%) of the nation’s electricity.

What is the Obama administration’s response to this? It is pouring billions into the wind and solar energy sector that provides barely one percent of all the electricity used in the nation and can never begin to replace traditional plants.

In an April 25 letter from the American Energy Alliance, joined by thirty other organizations, to the House Ways and Means Committee, opposition to the Wind Production Tax Credit was expressed: “The PTC has been a failure for taxpayers and ratepayers. In exchange for tens of billions of dollars in handouts to wind producers, the states with the highest wind production have seen their electricity rates increase nearly five times faster than the national average. In fact, states with at least 7 percent wind power have seen their electricity rates increase at an average of 17.4 percent over the last 5 years compared to an increase of only 3.5 percent for the U.S. as a whole” Why, indeed, are taxpayers being required to sustain providers of wind power that would not be able to stay in business otherwise?
In addition to the fact that you cannot manufacture anything without the use of electricity, a deliberate effort is being made to ensure that vast sections of the nation will not be able to receive electricity to warm homes and businesses in the winter and cool them in the summer. Simply put, people will die for lack of the warmth and coolness needed, not from the phony pollution the EPA cites.

This is the heart of an environmental agenda that views the human population as “a cancer” that needs to be vastly reduced. This agenda is directed from the United Nations and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that falsely claims that humans have a vast impact on the climate. They do not. Human activity barely, if at all, affects the climate. What does? The Sun! Add in factors that include the Earth’s oceans and volcanic activity, and it should be obvious that everyone is being targeted for extinction.

In an article, “The EPA’s Science Problem”, Arnold Ahlert, noted in early April that “In a stunning admission, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy revealed to House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) that the agency neither possesses, nor can produce, all the scientific data used to justify the rules and regulations they have imposed on Americans via the Clean Air Act. In short, science has been trumped by the radical environmental agenda.”

The Obama administration has done everything in its power to restrict and slow down access and use of America’s huge energy reserves, enough to ensure all the electrical power we will need for hundreds of years to come. The same policy applies to transportation’s petroleum needs. Oil and gas production on federal lands is down 40% compared to ten years ago.

According to the Institute for Energy Research notes that “North America has enough oil to fuel every passenger car in the U.S. for 430 years, enough natural gas to provide the U.S. with electricity for 575 years, and enough coal to provide electricity for about 500 years.” And that’s based on known reserves. They are, however, of little use if the Obama administration continues its efforts to restrict access to them.

In an August 2013 Washington Times commentary, Ben Wolfgang warned that the EPA, the Energy Department, and other agencies’ “working group” quietly raised “their estimated social coast of carbon from $21 per ton of emissions to $35 per ton”, noting that “The dramatic increase greatly alters cost-benefit analyses offered by the EPA when floating rules, allowing the agency to claim that billions of dollars will be saved over a period of decades as a result of proposed limits on power plant emissions, tougher fuel economy standards and other steps.”

The “social cost” is a complete invention, a fiction without any basis in fact. It is a device to further restrict access and use of all fuel sources.

Americans had better wake up to the fact that their government—the Obama administration—is doing everything in its power to cut off the provision of electrical power and access to transportation fuel that it can. And the Democrats in Congress, particularly Harry Reid the Senate Majority Leader, is doing everything to advance this agenda by blocking any legislation generated in the House to counter this agenda.

In November, the midterm elections offer an opportunity to elect enough Republicans to secure control of the Senate and increase its strength in the House.

Let me end with the good news. Despite what the enemies of energy are doing, the energy sector—coal, oil, and natural gas—in the decade ahead is going to grow, going to generate many new jobs, and is going to help dig us out of the huge government debt that too much borrowing and spending has generated.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Climate Change Scientific Reality: Surviving the Next Cold Climate

The following is a series of seven short video clips of an event held in Sarasota, FL about climate change. The event was hosted by the Sarasota Patriots, an organization founded by Beth Colvin. The Sarasota Patriots brought two experts on climate policy: John Casey, President of the Orlando based Space and Science Research Corporation, and Craig Rucker, Co-founder of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). The presentation was about the science, policies and politics of climate change.

Tad MacKie recorded the entire presentation. You are encouraged to watch and carefully listen to what John Casey has discovered and proven, and what Craig Rucker and CFACT are doing about impacting public policy on climate change. The entire program is 1:35 long and is in seven 15-minute or less segments. This link will take you to the You Tube playlist for the entire series of videos. Each segment follows:

Climate Change Scientific Reality Part 1: John Casey and Craig Rucker

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnuEdGTkDoY[/youtube]

 

Climate Change Scientific Reality Part 2: John Casey and Craig Rucker

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwolbxthg9I[/youtube]

 

Climate Change Scientific Reality Part 3: John Casey and Craig Rucker

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLP_t-7DGkI[/youtube]

 

Climate Change Scientific Reality Part 4: John Casey and Craig Rucker

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9l6kaJJ3Nc[/youtube]

 

Climate Change Scientific Reality Part 5: John Casey and Craig Rucker

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if5UCvFj-kA[/youtube]

 

Climate Change Scientific Reality Part 6: John Casey and Craig Rucker

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14h7vdZkrUw[/youtube]

 

Climate Change Scientific Reality Part 7: John Casey and Craig Rucker

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZCEaT4_Jwo[/youtube]

 

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Climate McCarthyism: No Dissent Allowed! 79-Year old Skeptical Climate Scientist Victim of Witch-Hunt

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Dr. Lennart Bengtsson

Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry on Lennart Bengtsson: This ‘has the potential to do as much harm to climate science as did the Climategate emails’ – Curry: ‘We have also seen a disgraceful display of Climate McCarthyism by climate scientists, which has the potential to do as much harm to climate science as did the Climategate emails.’

‘Reminds me about the time of McCarthy’: Climate scientist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson — who converted from warmist to skeptic – resigns from skeptical group after ‘enormous group pressure’ from warmists – Now ‘worried about my health and safety’ – ‘Colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship’ – Lennart Bengtsson: ‘I have  been put under such an enormous group pressure…Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship.’ – ‘I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.’ – ‘Reminds me about the time of McCarthy.’

[Climate Depot note: The ‘McCarthyism’ was named after Sen. Joe McCarthy. A thorough reading of history may indicate it is an unfair depiction. See here.]

Climate McCarthyism: “Are you now or have you ever been a climate skeptic?” Bengtsson: Science is under pressure because everyone wants our advice. However, we cannot give the impression that a catastrophe is imminent. The greenhouse effect is a problem that is here to stay for hundreds of years. Climate experts should have the courage to state that we are not yet sure. What is wrong with making that statement clear and loudly?’ – ‘The IPCC prediction that with a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere the temperature on Earth would rise by two degrees should be taken with a grain of salt.’

79-year old skeptical scientist worried about his ‘safety’ – Climate scientist claims he has been forced from new job in ‘McCarthy’-style witch-hunt by academics across the world – Bengtsson believes one of the reasons for this is the US Government’s expanding role on climate change. ‘The public are concerned that recent weather phenomenon have been as a result of climate change. But it is a natural occurrence,’ he said.

UK Times: ‘Witch-hunt’ forces out skeptical climate scientist – ‘The pressure had mainly come from climate scientists in the US, including one employed by the US government who threatened to withdraw as co-author of a forthcoming paper’

‘The Cleansing of Lennart Bengtsson’: Climate Scientist Who Defected To Skeptics Forced to Resign: ‘Reminds me about the time of McCarthy’ – Worried about his ‘safety’

Climate Audit’s Steve McIntyre reacts: ‘Bengtsson’s planned participation in GWPF seemed to me to be the sort of outreach to rational skeptics that ought to be praiseworthy within the climate “community”. Instead, the “community” has extended the fatwa. This is precisely the sort of action and attitude that can only engender and reinforce contempt for the “community” in the broader society.’

Prof. Roger Pielke Jr.: ‘The elite in this community – including scientists, journalists, politicians — have endorsed the climate mccarthyism campaign, and are often its most vigorous participants’ – ‘For experts in the climate issue, there is enormous social and peer pressure on what is acceptable to say and who it is acceptable to associate with. My recent experiences are quite similar to Bengtsson’s’

Climate bullying echoes the expulsion of Mitch Taylor from Polar Bear Specialist Group

Dear Lennart: A Letter In Support Of Professor Bengtsson – David G. Gee – Professor Em. Orogen Dynamics – Department of Earth Sciences – Uppsala University, Sweden: ‘The pressure on you from the climate community simply confirms the worst aspects of politicized science. I have been reprimanded myself for opposing the climate bandwaggon, with its blind dedication to political ambitions; it needs to be exposed, globally.’

Warmist apostacy: the climate jihadists strike

The 97% In Climate Science: McCarthyism Is Alive & Well In 2014

Climate Science: No Dissent Allowed

Background:

Award-Winning Former UN IPCC Scientist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson Dissents: ‘We cannot yet separate well enough the greenhouse effect from other climate influences’ – Declares climate models ‘more a matter of faith than a fact’

Dr. Lennart Bengtsson

Dr. Lennart Bengtsson: ‘We cannot yet separate well enough the greenhouse effect from other climate influences.’ – ‘Although the radiative forcing by greenhouse gases (including methane, nitrogen oxides and fluorocarbons) has increased by 2.5 watts per square meter since the mid-19th century, observations show only a moderate warming of 0.8 degrees Celsius…high values of climate sensitivity, however, are not supported by observations…Thus, the warming is significantly smaller than predicted by most climate models…since there is no way to validate them (models), the forecasts are more a matter of faith than a fact.’

Full Interview here: http://www.thegwpf.org/lennart-bengtsson-the-science-and-politics-of-climate-change/

Related Links: 

Top Swedish Climate Scientist Says Warming Not Noticeable: ‘The warming we have had last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all Award-Winning  – Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of UN IPCC: ‘We Are Creating Great Anxiety Without It Being Justified…there are no indications that the warming is so severe that we need to panic…The warming we have had the last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have had meteorologists and climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all.’

Top Swedish Climate Scientist Lennart Bengtsson (former IPCC) Also Confirms No Sea Level Acceleration…Desperate UN IPCC’s Pachauri Insisting No Acceleration ‘Is An Acceleration’! – – Lennart Bengtsson: ‘We now have satellite measurements for 20 years which indicate a steady rise of about 3 mm per year, and during that time no acceleration, See: http://sealevel.colorado.edu/… 20 years is certainly enough. On Monday I was involved in a public panel discussion with Pachauri who insisted that this is an acceleration. I found that I think I know more about this than Mr. Pachauri. The reference above appears to me quite compelling.’

Skeptical Swedish climatology: Dr. Lennart Bengtsson: Global warming only visible under a microscope –  Dr. Bengtsson: ‘The Earth appears to have cooling properties that exceeds the previous thought ones, and that computer models are inadequate to try to foretell a chaotic object like the climate, where actual observations is the only way to go’

Top Swedish Climate Scientist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson: CO2”s ‘heating effect is logarithmic: the higher the concentration is, the smaller the effect of a further increase’ – Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formerly of UN IPCC: ‘The sea level has risen fairly evenly for a hundred years by 2-3 millimeters per year. The pitch is not accelerated’

‘Climate change has become extremely politicized. The issue is so complex that one can not ask the people to be convinced that the whole economic system must be changed just because you have done some computer simulations’

Global Warming/Climate Change: Its all about the Global Religion of Greed

Jon Huntsman wrote an oped article in the New York Times titled “The G.O.P Can’t Ignore Climate Change.” He is a very bright, successful individual but he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Climate Change is now the new expression. It used to be Global Warming, but Climate Change affords flexibility in blaming both heating and cooling on the energy industry. The “debate” if one can call it that, is driven by a kind of Eco-religion in which consensus replaces facts. Many “scientists” make a living on government grants so they dare not opposed the political views emanating from the granting agencies.

So here are some facts:

First the debate is not over whether the planet is warming or has ever warmed. There is considerable evidence that beginning roughly in the year 1000 CE the planet began to cool. The average temperature reached a minimum in 1640, a year that coincided with a minimum in sun spot activity. Hold that thought. Solar activity coincides with global warming. Then from 1640 to the present the average temperature of the earth rose. This is irrefutable, based on scientific data. Then about 30 years ago when it became possible to measure the average temperature from satellites, the average temperature appeared to enter a flat period, i.e. temperature has not risen much, if at all over the last 30 years. The present average temperature is about what it was in the year 1000. Now remember that coal was not used in large quantities until the 19th century and oil was not used until the 20th century, so how can fossil fuel be responsible for a temperature rise that began in 1640?

Let look back further in time. There was an ice core dug out of Antarctica in 1958 (I’m not absolutely sure of the year, but trust me it’s about right). This core provided data on temperature and CO2 going back 250,000 years. It showed that both temperature and CO2 cycled with roughly a 10,000 year periodicity. It did not indicate which was cause and which was effect, but in my view increasing temperature will cause CO2 to outgas from the oceans, causing a concomitant rise in CO2 in the atmosphere.

But wait. What about the Greenhouse effect and the heating by the CO2 in the air? The theory is that CO2 in the atmosphere causes heat to be trapped near the earth instead of being radiated to space. Unfortunately all the mathematical models based on this phenomenon were proven to be wrong. They did not predict the average world temperatures correctly over the last 30 years. Not even close.

So why is everyone talking about CO2 and global warming? It’s about the money. It’s always about the money. Those greedy, nasty energy companies make their money providing coal, oil and gas all of which end up as CO2 in the atmosphere. If they can be shown to be polluting the planet and causing distress, they can be taxed. Really taxed. Then the money raised, after the tax man takes a reasonable cut, can be used to provide economic aid to the third world, where the energy moguls are stealing their oil. It’s all about the money.

Well then, if the models don’t work, and the sun along with some continental drift and other things we won’t get into, are really causing changes in climate why would we burden our economy and the world economy with energy taxes, not to mention crazy schemes to use cockroach dung instead of oil? It’s because the Global Climate debate has degenerated into Global religion and Global greed.

Let’s go back to Huntsman. Basically he says it is prudent for the Republican party to have a position on Climate that addresses threats to our economy. Fine, but if it is being implied that fossil fuel is the culprit that needs to be taxed and generally avoided we will be damaging our economy in the interest of protecting our economy. If the average global temperature continues to rise people will make rational decisions based on this observation. If Florida gets too hot people will move to Canada. We can’t engineer the climate. We don’t know how and even if we did it would be far too expensive. Better to accept that climate is a natural phenomenon and we need to adjust to it, not try to change it.

Two more facts before I stop. First CO2 is not a pollutant as defined by the EPA. They only included it as a pollutant so they could regulate the energy industry, in particular the coal industry, on the theory debunked above. Without CO2, plants would not grow, food for humans and animals would not be available. Second, when the government gets into things it doesn’t understand and uses its power to regulate our lives based on some false scientific premise, we are all in serious trouble.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by H. Hemken. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Downsizing Australia’s Government and Repealing Green Laws

Try to imagine a commission of the U.S. government recommending that it get rid of the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, countless agencies, and, for good measure, restructure Medicare so it doesn’t go broke. There are few Americans who will argue that our federal government isn’t big enough and many who trace our present problems to Big Government.

That is why what has been occurring in Australia caught my attention because its voters rid themselves of a political party that imposed both a carbon tax and renewable energy tax on them. The purpose of the latter was to fund the building of wind turbines and solar farms to provide electricity.

Taxing carbon emissions—greenhouse gases—said to be heating the Earth has happily died in the U.S. Senate, but in Australia the taxes were a major reason that the Liberal Party (which is actually politically conservative despite its name) took power after a former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, pushed it and the renewable energy tax through its parliament.

Gillard became the first woman PM after she challenged then PM Kevin Rudd to lead the Labor Party (which is politically liberal.) Like John Kerry, Gillard was against the taxes before she was for them. How liberal is Rudd? In February he was named a senior fellow of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Like Obama, Rudd came out in favor of same-sex marriage when he was the PM.

Bjorn Lomborg, writing in The Australian in late April, noted that both of the taxes “have contributed to household electricity costs rising 110 percent in the past five years, hitting the poor the hardest.” I repeat—110 percent!

It didn’t take Australians long to discover what a disaster taxing carbon emissions was and how useless renewable energy is. In both cases the taxes were based on the notion that “fossil fuels”, coal, oil and natural gas, are a threat to the environment. Despite an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the Earth has been cooling for the last seventeen years. Mother Nature always has the last word.

As of this writing, the repeal of the two Green laws is in the Parliament’s Senate after having won assent in the lower House. A September 2013 election provided enough new Senate lawmakers  to ensure the repeal.

The Commonwealth of Australia is the sixth largest nation by total area. It was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and New South Wales was used as a penal colony initially. As the general population grew and the continent was explored, five more self-governing crown colonies were established. On January 1, 1901, the six colonies and several territories federated to form the Commonwealth. The population is approximately 23 million is highly urbanized and lives primarily in the eastern states.

Australia is the world’s 12th largest economy making it one of the wealthiest in the world, but the environmentally-inspired taxes had a deleterious impact on its economy, particularly the mining of coal and iron. As noted, the cost of electricity skyrocketed.

The present Prime Minister is Anthony John “Tony” Abbott. He has held the office since 2013 and has been the leader of the Liberal Party since 2009. A Member of Parliament, he was first elected in 1994 as the representative of Warringah. He made a lot of news when he protested a proposed Emissions Trade Scheme and forced a leadership ballot that defeated it, becoming in the process the Liberal Party leader and leader of the opposition to Rudd and Gillard’s Labor Party.

As reported in the April 30 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald, Abbott’s Commission of Audit “has recommended massive cuts to the size of government, with whole agencies to be abolished, privatized, or devolved to the states, in what would be the biggest reworking of the federation ever undertaken.”

The Commission, the Herald reported, has 86 recommendations, among which are “calls for the axing of multiple agencies and the surrender of huge swathes of responsibility back to the states in education, health, and other services.”

The Australian reported that Joseph Benedict “Joe” Hockey, Australia’s Treasurer as part of the Abbott government, said that the proposed budget would axe “the vast number of (environmental) agencies that are involved in doing the same thing.” Hockey is no fan of wind power, saying “If I can be a little indulgent, I drive to Canberra to go to parliament and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive. I think they are a blight on the landscape.” That kind of candid talk, if he was an American politician, would be considered astonishing.

The best “transformation” America could undergo is not President Obama’s version, but a return to the limits set forth in the U.S. Constitution, a document that reflected the Founder’s distinct distrust of a large central government and its allocation of civic responsibilities to the individual states to the greatest degree possible, and to “the people.”

Australia is way ahead of the U.S. in that regard, learning from the errors of environment laws and the expansion of its government into areas of health and education. We would do well to follow its example.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

United States: More Tornadoes in the Future?

pielke_tornadoesProfessor Roger Pielke is an objective and well-informed professor of environmental policy at the University of Colorado. He had a useful column in the Wall Street Journal last Saturday, The Decline of Tornado Devastation, debunking the claims of the global warming/climate change wackos, who seek to persuade you that a carbon tax will somehow reduce severe storms, and tornadoes especially. Pielke’s chart of normalized tornado damage is nearby. Bottom line: damage is decreasing, as a result of better science, technology (radar), and communication. The USA will never be spared tornadoes, because of our geography. We were reminded of this only a day after Pielke’s column, when tornadoes struck Arkansas.

What makes the wind blow? In a word (or two), “temperature differences.” If you live near a coast, you’re familiar with the land breeze and sea breeze effect. In the daytime, the land warms more rapidly than the sea, and a breeze from the sea flows in to replace the rising air. At night, the land cools more rapidly than the sea, and the cooler, more dense air flows outward from the land. Pretty easy to understand, especially for a Floridian. You may not realize that simple explanation is the major driver of the Earth’s general circulation, but it’s true. And you thought meteorology and climate were complicated! Just remember, it’s the difference of temperatures that causes the circulation, the wind, not the absolute temperature value. Herewith, a couple more examples.

In the large land mass of Asia, Summertime heating causes formation of a low pressure system over Siberia, while the western Pacific and Indian Ocean remain relatively cool. The result is the Summer monsoon, bringing rain as the humid oceanic air rises over the mountains; millions of people depend on the monsoon rains for their food. Of course, there’s a lesser-known Winter monsoon as well, when cool air from China and India pushes south. For the same reasons, there’s an American “monsoon” and an African “monsoon”; in meteorology, any seasonal reversal of circulation is referred to as a “monsoon.”

The major temperature difference that drives atmospheric circulation is that between the wintertime pole and the “thermal equator”, the subsolar location, which moves 24 degrees North and South between the solstices. The difference is most intense and most localized in the mid-latitudes, approximately 30 degrees to 60 degrees North and South. We call those intense differences “fronts”, a name deliberately evocative of the military “fronts” of World War One, when meteorological science was being formulated in Norway. The stronger that contrast, the greater the violence in the storm.

The “global warming” doctrine claims that carbon dioxide (CO2) will cause worldwide warming, and that this warming will be greatest at the poles – the Arctic Ocean ice will melt, the two-mile thick Greenland icecap will melt, sea level will rise, coastal cities will be flooded, millions of “climate refugees” will overrun neighboring regions, and, oh yes, storms will become more severe. This is, of course, self-contradictory. If the poles were to become warmer, the thermal contrast that drives the General Circulation would become weaker and storms would become less intense. Very big if, since there’s no evidence of polar warming. Polar sea ice is at record levels, as is ice on the Great Lakes.

motherjonesThat’s why it’s maddening to read the idiotic pronouncements of “global warming” liars such as Chris Mooney, a self-appointed “science and political journalist” (i.e., he’s an English major) writing for Mother Jones magazine. His latest piece of anti-scientific nonsense was out on Monday, the day after the tornadoes killed 14 people in Arkansas. Mooney not only claims “global warming” is responsible, he asks “Will Global Warming Produce More Tornadoes?” You can guess his answer: of course. The climate models – which have been wrong for 17 years and counting – predict so. The real basis of Mooney’s prediction is the liberal obsession to destroy economic freedom in the name of saving the planet.

LIAbookEnd of story, right? Mooney’s wrong. But, Mooney’s wrong for the wrong reason. He claims the poles are warming; they’re not. They’re cooling; polar sea ice is at record levels. What will that do to mid-latitude winds and storms? Make them stronger! Bad news! We’re seen this happen before – in the Little Ice Age, from 1400 to 1850 – and especially during the minimum of sunspots between 1650 and 1730, known as the Maunder Minimum.

For a few examples of life during the Little Ice Age, let me refer you to the book of that name, by Professor Brian Fagan, an archaeologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The following examples of storms in a period of cooling are from his book.

Between 1680 and 1730, the coldest cycle of the Little Ice Age, temperatures plummeted and the growing season in England was about five weeks shorter then than now. The winter of 1683/4 was so cold that the ground froze to a depth of more than a meter in parts of south west England and belts of ice appeared off the Channel coast of England and northern France. The ice lay up to 30 miles offshore along the Dutch coast and many harbours were so choked with ice that shipping halted throughout the North Sea.

Another exceptional winter was that of 1708/9. Deep snow fell in England and lasted for weeks while further East people walked from Denmark to Sweden on the ice as shipping was again halted in the North Sea. Hard frosts killed thousands of trees in France, where Provence lost most of its orange trees and vineyards were abandoned in northern France, not to be recultivated until the 20th Century. In 1716 the Thames froze so deep that a spring tide raised the ice fair on the river by 4 meters! The summer of 1725 in London was the coldest in the known temperature record and described as “more like winter than summer”.

Later in the 17th Century, great storms blew millions of tonnes of formerly stable dunes across the Brecklands of Norfolk and Suffolk, burying valuable farm land under meters of sand. This area has never recovered and is heathland. A similar event occurred in Scotland in 1694. The 1400 hectare Culbin Estate had been a prosperous farm complex next to the Moray Firth until it was hit by another huge storm which blew so much sand over it that the farm buildings themselves disappeared. A rich estate had become a desert overnight and the owner, the local Laird, died a pauper three years later.

Am I trying to scare you? No; hopefully we’re in for a couple of solar cycles’ (22 years) worth of cooling, like the 22 years of warming from 1976 to 1998. Let’s hope we don’t experience the deadly weather of Europe during the 1650 – 1730 years of the Little Ice Age. But if we do have some more harsh Winters and cool Summers, don’t let people like Mooney and Mother Jones tell you it’s evidence of “global warming.”

On Selling Classical Liberalism by Alberto Benegas-Lynch, Jr.

Some say we classical liberals should do a better job of “selling ideas.” And maybe we should, but I have my doubts. Indeed, transmitting ideas is a different process altogether. And I base my own conclusions in the wisdom of Leonard Read.

When a consumer buys a product, he has to understand what kind of service the good in question will provide. But it is not at all necessary for him to be aware of the production process involved. (For example, when you buy toothpaste, you expect the product to clean your teeth.) On the other hand, when someone puts an idea forward—if the listener is neither a fanatic nor a fundamentalist—it often will be necessary for her to grasp the causal chain involved in its production, so she can fully understand the idea. It would be difficult for someone, say, to understand how DNA works without first understanding something about genes, as well as something about molecules.

Further, the selling process does not apply to ideas—especially in relation to classical liberalism—because our worldview does not specify (nor could it) what will result from the adoption of a truly open society. And yet a salesman incapable of explaining the result of buying and using the product he intends to sell would not be in business for very long.

In other words, selling a good or a service is generally not the same as transmitting an idea.

Of course, such does not contradict any criticism by those who think we classical liberals fail to transmit our ideas skillfully. In fact, I think we often do a poor job, and because we tend to be easier on ourselves than on others, we should reconsider our communication defaults. Instead of complaining about others’ inability to understand what freedom really means, we certainly ought to work on our modes of presentation and polish our messages. And of course we should do more homework—both about how people receive messages and how best to craft them.

An Open Adventure of Thought

Having said all this, I want to return to another reason the selling process is not adequate for the marketplace of ideas. I am inspired to do so by Leonard Read’s The Coming Aristocracy, although in some respects I will give a different turn to what he expressed.

When freedom is adopted, the adventure of thought remains open. Karl Popper writes in The Poverty of Historicisim that “future knowledge is not possible in the present.” This will never be understood by authoritarians who act as if they know what will happen in their own lives, not to mention in the lives of the billons of other people, with innumerable relations among them.

The almost infinite unforeseen consequences of their actions, in the context of ever-changing conditions, are unknowable. Only the monumental presumption of knowledge by statists allows them to move with such confidence, as if information were pulled from a shimmering well in the temple of State (instead of dispersed among billions). But knowledge cannot be concentrated in the hands of bureaucrats, however arrogant. And their power is really just concentrated ignorance.

Thomas Sowell, in Knowledge and Decisions, explains that the matter would not be in any way solved if there were available computers with gigantic memories, because the data simply do not exist before these uncountable actions take place. This is also why Ludwig von Mises has demonstrated that without private property and prices, economic calculation is impossible. It’s why price interference by planners distorts the allocation of resources, which in turn means we are unable to read market signals correctly. And this leads to misinformation, malinvestment, capital overconsumption, and, finally, reduced wages and incomes in real terms.

Of course, all of this isn’t easy to “sell,” even in an overview. Neither, of course, is suggesting to the uninitiated that they read Sowell’s Knowledge and Decisions or Mises’ “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.”

Semantics

Still, Warren Nutter helps to clarify some of the semantics in this debate in one of the pieces collected in Political Economy and Freedom. Specifically, Nutter distinguishes between “development” and “progress.”

In the first case, “development” is more of the same (a tumor has developed, for example, which can be forecasted) and that is why planners often use this expression; in the second case, however—despite contemporary socialist buzzwords—the future, real “progress,” is open and unknown, and thus cannot be planned.

The trust of classical liberals in freedom is based not only on iterative experiences of success, but in the need for each person to decide how his or her own life is to be lived. Instead of being domesticated by governments, people can govern themselves and determine their own destinies, which amounts in any case to an unplanned harmony.

In the final analysis, can we seriously suggest an idea whose results we cannot predict? But this is precisely the advantage of freedom: We can trust in people to manage their own lives. If there are those who prefer to delegate decision-making powers to others—instead of supporting socialist political trends that extend this delegation to everyone, with or without their consent—they can appoint tutors, consultants and counselors who cannot so easily rob people of their dignity.

It is as if those that appreciate and love freedom were to cry as loud as they possibly could, “Let me be human! Let me manage my own affairs!”

As the Adams—Smith and Ferguson—taught, each individual pursues his own particular interest, but if they are to become successful they must satisfy others’ needs. In this way they participate in the creation of an order that was not in their initial purposes (nor in their faculties) to create.

Government, in this stage of cultural evolution—despite the fertile, continuing debates on externalities, public goods, and prisoners’ dilemmas—is to protect justice. That means, as Roman Ulpiano famously put it, “to give each one what belongs to each one.” Such is a tribute to the sanctity of the institution of property rights.

As Hayek explains, ideas are a complex phenomenon that require a difficult and long chain of reasoning—especially in the field of social sciences where there are no laboratory experiments. On the other hand, as we said, for the selling process the marketer need only concentrate on the benefits of the final product. This is the reason the teaching process demands so much reading and time with instructors.

This is the long way. But it may be the only way.

Sales Redux

By the same token, it is not acceptable to connect liberal ideas to marketing, because such normally requires the ability to detect (and in rarer cases inspire) what people want so as to provide it. In our case, on the contrary—although it may be paradoxical—to a great extent liberals must work against the trends of the ideas market (since people can want socialist redistribution—or at least can be inspired to believe they do) in order to protect the market process itself. If statist ideas should prevail, the market would largely disappear.

Finally, in another sense, ideas are not subject to being sold in another way. That is, a person who maintains the virtues of integrity and decency will not sell his or her principles. As Al Pacino said in Scent of a Woman, “There isn’t nothin’ like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that.”

ABOUT ALBERTO BENEGAS-LYNCH, JR.

Alberto Benegas-Lynch, Jr. holds two doctorate degrees, one in Economics and one in Business Administration, is president of the Economic Science Section of Argentina’s National Academy of Sciences, author of 17 books and a former member of the Board of the Mont Pelerin Society.

The 2014 state of wind energy: Desperately seeking subsidies by Marita Noon

With the growing story coming out of Ukraine, the ongoing search for the missing Malaysian jet, the intensifying Nevada cattle battle, and the new announcement about the additional Keystone pipeline delay, little attention is being paid to the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy—or any of the other 50 lapsed tax breaks the Senate Finance Committee approved earlier this month. But, despite the low news profile, the gears of government continue to grind up taxpayer dollars.

The Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act (EXPIRE) did not originally include the PT; however, prior to the committee markup hearing on April 3, Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) pushed for an amendment to add a 2-year PTC extension. The tax extender package passed out of committee and has been sent to the Senate floor for debate. There, its future is uncertain.

“If the bill becomes law,” reports the Energy Collective, “it will allow wind energy developers to qualify for tax credits if they begin construction by the end of 2015.” The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) website calls on Congress to: “act quickly to retroactively extend the PTC.”

The PTC is often the deciding factor in determining whether or not to build a wind farm. According to Bloomberg, wind power advocates fear: “Without the restoration of the subsidies, worth $23 per megawatt hour to turbine owners, the industry might not recover, and the U.S. may lose ground in its race to reduce dependence on fossil fuels driving global warming.” \

NRELThe National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a report earlier this month affirming the importance of the subsidies to the wind industry. It showed that the PTC has been critical to the development of the U.S. wind power industry. The report also found: PTC “extension options that would ramp down by the end of 2022 appear to be insufficient to support recent levels of deployment.… Extending the production tax credit at its historical level could provide the best opportunity to sustain strong U.S. wind energy installation and domestic manufacturing.”

The PTC was originally part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. It has expired many times— most recently at the close of 2013. The last-minute 2012 extension, as a part of the American Tax Relief Act, included an eligibility criteria adjustment that allows projects that began construction in 2013, and maintain construction through as long as 2016, to qualify for the 10-year tax credit designed to establish a production incentive. Previously, projects would have had to be producing electricity at the time the PTC expired to qualify.

Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, which represents the interests of oil, coal, and natural gas companies, called the 2013 expiration of the wind PTC “a victory for taxpayers.” He explained: “The notion that the wind industry is an infant that needs the PTC to get on its feet is simply not true. The PTC has overstayed its welcome and any attempt to extend it would do a great disservice to the American people.”

As recently as 2006-2007, “the wind PTC had no natural enemies,” states a new report on the PTC’s future. “The Declining Appetite for the Wind PTC” report points to the assumption that “all extenders are extended eventually, and that enacting the extension is purely a matter of routine, in which gridlock on unrelated topics is the only source of uncertainty and delay.” The report then concludes: “That has been a correct view in past years.”

The report predicts that the PTC will follow “the same political trajectory as the ethanol mandate and the ethanol blenders’ tax credit before it.” The mandate remains—albeit in a slightly weakened state—and the tax credit is gone: “Ethanol no longer needed the blenders’ tax credit because it had the strong support of a mandate (an implicit subsidy) behind it.”

The PTC once enjoyed support from some in the utility industry that needed it to bolster wind power development to meet the mandates. Today, utilities have met their state mandates—or come close enough, the report points out: “their state utility commissioners will not allow them to build more.” It is important to realize that the commissioners are appointed or elected to protect the ratepayers and insure that the rates charged by the utilities are fair and as low as possible. Because of the increased cost of wind energy over conventional sources, commissioners won’t allow any more than is necessary to meet the mandates passed by the legislatures.

The abundance of natural gas and subsequent low price has also hurt wind energy’s predicted price parity. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), in Bloombergsaid: “If gas prices weren’t so cheap, then wind might be able to compete on its own.” David Crane, chief executive officer of NRG Energy Inc.—which builds both gas and renewable power plants—agrees: “Cheap gas has definitely made it harder to compete.” With the subsidy, companies were able to propose wind projects “below the price of gas.” Without the PTC, Stephen Munro, an analyst at New Energy Finance, confirms: “we don’t expect wind to be at cost parity with gas.”

The changing conditions combined with “wide agreement that the majority of extenders are special interest handouts, the pet political projects of a few influential members of Congress,” mean that “the wind PTC is not a sure bet for extension.” Bloomberg declares: “Wind power in the U.S. is on a respirator.” Mike Krancer, who previously served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, in an article in Roll Callstates: “Washington’s usual handout to keep the turbines spinning may be harder to win this time around.”

Despite the claim of “Loud support for the PTC” from North American Windpower (NAW), the report predicts “political resistance.” NAW points to letters from 144 members of Congress urging colleagues to “act quickly to revive the incentives.” Twenty-six Senate members signed the letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), and 118 House members signed a similar letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). However, of the 118, only six were Republicans—which, even if the PTC extension makes it out of the Senate, points to the difficulty of getting it extended in the Republican-controlled House.

Bloomberg cites AWEA as saying: “the Republican-led House of Representatives may not support efforts to extend the tax credits before the November campelection.” This supports the view stated in the report. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-MI) held his first hearing on tax extenders on April 8. He only wants two of the 55 tax breaks continued: small business depreciation and the R & D tax credit. The report states: “Camp says that he will probably hold hearings on which extenders should be permanent through the spring and into the summer. He hasn’t said when he would do an extenders proposal himself, but our guess is that he will wait until after the fall elections. …We think the PTC is most endangered if Republicans win a Senate majority in the fall.”

So, even if the PTC survives the current Senate’s floor debate (Senator Pat Toomey [R-PA] offered an amendment that would have entirely done away with the PTC), it is only the “first step in a long journey” and, according to David Burton, a partner at law firm Akin Gump Hauer and Feld, is “unlikely on its own to create enough confidence to spur investment in the development of new projects.” Plus, the House will likely hold up its resurrection.

Not to mention the growing opposition to wind energy due to the slaughter of birds and bats—including the protected bald and golden eagles. Or, growing fears about health impacts, maintenance costs, and abandoned turbines.

All of these factors have likely led Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive officer of General Electric Co.—the biggest U.S. turbine supplier—to recently state: “We’re planning for a world that’s unsubsidized. Renewables have to find a way to get to the grid unsubsidized.”

Perhaps this time, the PTC is really dead, leaving smaller manufacturers desperately seeking subsidies.

About the Author: Marita Noon

Marita NoonThe author of Energy FreedomMarita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Local communities face onslaught from self-anointed planners by Bonner Cohen, Ph.D.

A growing number of initiatives by elitist organizations, working hand-in-glove with local kindred spirits, is transforming once-self-governing communities into instruments of environmental political correctness.

Cloaked in the mantle of providing for “sustainable” or “livable” communities, these programs include such fashionable ideas as “open space,” “heritage areas,” “view sheds,” ”smart growth,” “clean energy,” and “combatting climate change,” – just to name a few.

What was once largely the domain of far-away UN conferences and obscure academic journals has now made its way to Main Street. Planning commissions, which have spread like wildfire over the past couple of decades and whose members are unelected, produce an endless array of schemes designed to micro-manage every aspect of commercial, residential, and recreational life. No town, no matter how small, is safe from the meddling of planners in and outside of government.

The Shadow of Agenda 21

The proliferation of efforts by green elites to mold communities in their own image is a consequence of the rise of the environmental movement – both in the U.S. and throughout the world. Those efforts received a substantial boost with the adoption of something called Agenda 21 at the conclusion of the June 3-14, 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment & Development in Rio de Janeiro. Agenda 21 is described by UNbuildingthe UN Division on Sustainable Development as “a comprehensive plan of development to be taken globally, nationally, and locally by organizations of the United Nations Systems, Governments and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts (sic) on the environment.”

A 300-page document divided into 40 chapters, Agenda 21 has many goals, including changing consumption patterns, conserving biological diversity, protecting fragile environments and the atmosphere, and achieving more sustainable settlements. Agenda 21 provides a blueprint for the kinds of structural changes the proponents of sustainable development (a term left purposely vague) want to see take place.

Merely setting goals, however, was not enough; the task of implementing Agenda 21 fell to another UN body, the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Founded in 1990, ICLEI is an association of local and regional governments as well as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) – all sharing a commitment to sustainable development. ICLEI’s membership currently numbers over 1200 cities, towns, counties, and NGOs in 84 countries. In the United States, 528 cities belong to ICLEI, including New York, Los Angeles, Dubuque, Iowa, and Arlington, Texas.

ICLEI’s U.S. website, www.icleyus.org, informs its visitors that $618 million in funding for grants and technical assistance is available for state, local, and tribal governments. The largess comes courtesy of the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Energy, Interior, and Transportation and is be used for climate and energy initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Lest they have any doubts about the organization’s commitment to combatting climate change, visitors also can read about ICLEI’s new emissions-management software.

Another organization spreading the gospel of sustainable development is the appropriately named American Planning Association (APA). Founded in 1978, APA provided a ready-made vehicle for taking the goals of Agenda 21 to the local level. A forum for the exchange of views and proposals among urban and regional planners of every description, APA has state chapters throughout the country. In addition to its well-attended conferences, APA uses its website, www.planning.org, to get the message out. Its website, for example, touts the virtues of solar power and bike-sharing as ways communities can reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions.

When such “lofty” goals are adopted by local governments, they have real-world consequences for those on the receiving end of the elitists’ grand vision. Open space in a case in point. Thomas Sewell, senior fellow with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, notes that open space comes at an enormous cost to perspective homeowners and those seeking affordable apartments to rent. “What that lovely phrase means is that there are vast amounts of empty land where the law forbids anybody from building anything,” he says. “Anybody who has taken Economics 101 knows that preventing the supply from rising to meet demand means that prices are going to rise,” he explains. “Housing is no exception.” (Washington Times, April 23, 2014)

The “Plantocracy”

Indeed, all across the country, the lives of ordinary citizens are under siege by the grandiose schemes of what we will call the “plantocracy.” Consider:

  • In Ohio, the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) teamed up with the Montgomery County Commission, the Washington Township Board, and an assortment of NGO “stakeholders” to have a bike path added to a road-widening project. The bike path comes within seven feet of the front door of a local resident’s 164-year-old farm house. In July 2013, bulldozers flattened hedges and trees in front of the historic farm house to make way for the bike path. The owner of the property protested vehemently, but to no avail. An official with the MVRPC justified the bike path and the destruction to private property it wrought by saying, “Doing so reduces the amount of carbon and harmful emissions into the atmosphere so that our air is cleaner.” (Range, Winter 2013-14)
  • In Washington, a bill, HB 2386, introduced in the legislature would create the State Maritime Heritage Area that would include “all federal, state, local, and tribal lands that allow public access and are partly located within one-quarter mile land inward of the saltwater shoreline (of the Pacific Ocean)…” Language in the bill assures the public that nothing in the legislation “creates any regulatory jurisdiction or grants any regulatory authority to any government or other entity” or “abridges the rights of any owner of public or private property within the designated area,” or “established any legal rights or obligations, including in regards to any environmental or administrative review process involving land use.” Opponents of the legislation ask why, if the designation is so benign, does Maryland have a 19-member Maryland Heritage Authority and a 10-member board appointed by the governor to oversee the state’s heritage areas. The question is a reflection of the well-founded mistrust of such schemes on the part of ordinary citizens.
  • In Isle of Wight County, Virginia, local officials are trying to prohibit a farmer from allowing a disable friend from staying overnight on his property in an RV. County officials claim that the use of the RV constitutes an unauthorized “campground” in violation of local zoning ordinances. “Cases such as this one are becoming increasingly common across the country as overzealous government officials routinely enforce laws that undermine the very property rights that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution,” says John Whitehead, president of the Charlottesville, Va.-based Rutherford Institute.

Defenders of Agenda 21 and ICLEI are quick to point out that they have no regulatory authority and cannot enforce any of their recommendations. That’s true. But once the genie is out of the bottle and finds its way into the rules, regulations, ordinances, “green” building codes, and land-use restrictions of local governments, what comes out does have the force of law behind it. The plantocracy, with all the interlocking relationships it has with well-funded and well-connected interests, is a beast that is roaming the countryside searching for its next prey.
Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

About the Author: Bonner Cohen, Ph. D.

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph. D., is a senior policy analyst with CFACT.

Should California dictate U.S. energy policies? by Paul Driessen

Can the rest of America afford its Alice in Wonderland energy policies for? (Can California?)

California loves to be seen as the trendsetter on energy and environmental policies. But can we really afford to adopt their laws and regulations in the rest of America? Heck, can the once Golden State afford them itself? The path to hell is paved with good intentions, counter-productive policies – and hypocrisy.

The officiajoblessinCAl national unemployment rate is stuck at 6.7% – but with much higher rates for blacks and Hispanics and a labor p labor participation rate that remains the lowest in 35 years. Measured by gross national product, our economy is growing at an abysmal 1.5% or even 1.0% annual rate.

Meanwhile, California’s jobless rate is higher than in all but three other states: 8.1% – and with far worse rates as high as 15% for blacks, Hispanics, and inland communities. First the good news, then the insanity.

Citigroup’s Energy 2020: North America report estimates that the United States, Canada, and Mexico could make North America almost energy independent in 6 years, simply by tapping their vast recoverable oil and natural gas reserves. Doing so would help lower energy and consumer prices, insulate the three nations from volatile or blackmailing foreign suppliers, and spur job creation based on reliable, affordable energy, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Driving this revolution is horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. According to Citigroup, IHS Global Insights, the EIA, and other analysts, “fracking” technology contributed 2.1 million jobs and $285 billion to the U.S. economy in 2013, while adding $62 billion to local, state and federal treasuries! Compare that to mandates and subsidies required for expensive, unreliable, job-killing wind, solar and biofuel energy.

Fracking also slashed America’s oil imports from 60% of its total needs in 2005 to just 28% in 2013. It slashed our import bill by some $100 billion annually.

By 2020 the government share of this boom is expected to rise to $111 billion. By 2035, U.S. oil and natural gas operations could inject over $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures into the economy, while contributing $300 billion a year to GDP and generating over $2.5 trillion in cumulative additional government revenues. What incredible benefits! But there’s more.

A Yale University study calculates that the drop in natural gas prices (from $8 per thousand cubic feet or million Btu in 2008, and much more on the spot market, to $4.00 or so now) is saving businesses and families over $125 billion a year in heating, electricity, fertilizer and raw material feed stock costs.

The only thing standing in the way of a U.S. employment boom and economic and industrial renaissance, says Citigroup, is politics: continued or even more oppressive anti-hydrocarbon policies and regulations.

Here’s the insanity. Fully 96% of this nation’s oil and gas production increase took place on state and private lands. Production fell significantly on federal lands under President Obama’s watch, with the Interior Department leasing only 2% of federal offshore lands and 6% of its onshore domain for petroleum, then slow-walking drilling permits, according to the Institute for Energy Research.

The President continues to stall on the Keystone pipeline, while threatening layers of expensive carbon dioxide and other regulations, to prevent what he insists is “dangerous manmade climate change.” His EPA just adopted California’s expensive all-pain-no-gain rules for sulfur in gasoline, and the Administration and environmentalists constantly look to the West Coast for policy guidance.

poweroutageGovernor Jerry Brown says 30 million vehicles in California translate into “a lot of oil” and “the time for no more oil drilling” will be when its residents “can get around without using any gasoline.” However, that rational message has not reached the state’s legislators, environmental activists, or urban elites.

California’s ruling classes strongly oppose drilling and fracking – and leading Democrats are campaigning hard to impose at least a long temporary ban, based on ludicrous claims that fracking causes groundwater contamination and even earthquakes and birth defects.

Meanwhile, California’s oil production represents just 38% of its needs – and is falling steadily, even though the state has enormous onshore and offshore natural gas deposits, accessible via conventional and hydraulic fracturing technologies. The state imports 12% of its oil from Alaska and 50% more from foreign nations, much of it from Canada, notes Sacramento area energy consultant Tom Tanton.

The record is far worse when it comes to electricity. The Do-As-I-Say state imports about 29% of its total electricity from out of state: via the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Phoenix, coal-fired generators in the Four Corners area, and hydroelectric dams in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest, Tanton explains.

Another 50% of its electricity is generated using natural gas that is also imported from sources outside California. Instead, the Greener-Than-Thou State relies heavily on gas imported via pipelines from Canada, the Rockies and the American Southwest, to power its gas-fired turbines. Those turbines and out-of-state sources also back up its numerous unreliable bird-killing wind turbines.

It adds up to a great way to preen and strut about their environmental consciousness. They simply leach off their neighbors for 62% of their gasoline and 79% of their electricity, and let other states do the hard work and emit the CO2.

These foreign fuels power the state’s profitable and liberal Silicon Valley and entertainment industries – as well as the heavily subsidized electric and hybrid vehicles that wealthy elites so love for their pseudo-ecological benefits, $7,500 tax credits, and automatic entry into fast-moving HOV lanes.

Meanwhile, California’s poor white, black, Hispanic, and other families get to pay $4.23 per gallon for regular gasoline, the second highest price in America – and 16.2 cents per kWh for residential electricity, double that in most states, and behind only New York, New England, Alaska, and Hawaii.

However, the state’s eco-centric ruling classes are not yet satisfied. Having already hammered large industrial facilities with costly CO2 cap-and-trade regulations, thereby driving more jobs out of the state, on January 1, 2015, they will impose cap-and-trade rules on gasoline and diesel fuels. That will instantly add at least 12 cents more per gallon, with the price escalating over the coming years.

CARCULTURERegulators are also ginning up tough new “low-carbon fuel standards,” requiring that California’s transportation fuels reduce their “carbon intensity” or “life-cycle” CO2 emissions by 10% below 2010 levels. This will be accomplished by forcing refiners and retailers to provide more corn-based ethanol, biodiesel, and still-nonexistent cellulosic biofuel.

These fuels are much more expensive than even cap-tax-and-trade gasoline – which means the poor families that liberals care so deeply about will be forced to pay still more to drive their cars and trucks.

In fact, Charles River Associates estimates that the LCFS will raise the cost of gasoline and diesel by up to 170% (!) over the next 10 years, on top of all the other price hikes.

In the meantime, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Germany, and a hundred other countries are burning more coal, driving more cars, and emitting vastly more carbon dioxide. So the alleged benefits to global atmospheric CO2 levels range from illusory and fabricated to fraudulent.

Of course, commuters who cannot afford these soaring prices can always park their cars and add a few hours to their daily treks, by taking multiple buses to work, school and other activities.

There’s more, naturally. Much more. But I’m out of space and floundering amid all the lunacy.

Can we really afford to inflict California’s insane policies on the rest of America? In fact, how long can the Left Coast afford to let its ruling classes inflict those policies on its own citizens?

About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

President Obama: Request you prepare the USA for Dangerous Cold Climate

The Orlando, FL based Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC) delivered a letter to the White House this morning for President Obama, in which it warned of the dangers expected from the ongoing climate change to decades of record cold weather.

This predicted historic event is caused by a rare, yet repeating 206-year cycle of the Sun which the SSRC calls a “solar hibernation.” During these hibernations, the Sun dramatically reduces the energy by which it keeps the Earth warm.  In past occurrences of these solar hibernations, the Earth was struck by two of the worst cold climate periods ever recorded, each of which witnessed global crop devastation, civil and political strife, and warfare.

One historian classified the last hibernation from 1793 to 1830, as the world’s “last great subsistence crisis.” That period was also called the Dalton Minimum, because of the scientist who kept track of temperatures then and the reduced energy output of the Sun as measured by a low number of sunspots during that period. The previous hibernation from 1615 to 1745 was called the Maunder Minimum and was far worse than the last hibernation both in terms of the depth, and extent of the cold epoch but also in the global crop devastation. Russian scientists are saying we are heading into another Maunder class solar hibernation starting this year.

John Casey

John Casey, President, Space and Science Research Corporation.

The letter to President Obama coincides with the seventh anniversary of discovery of the 206-year cycle that led to the formulation of the ‘Theory of Relational Cycles of Solar Activity,’ or the ‘RC Theory.’ The RC Theory creator and SSRC President Mr. John Casey, has since been leading the effort in the United States to alert the US government, the media, and US citizens about the dangers associated with this regular, albeit ominous cycle of the Sun. The SSRC record of major climate predictions using the RC Theory has been recognized as one of, if not the best public record of climate prediction in the US. That includes a successful record of predictions better than NASA, and NOAA, and by far exceeds that of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN-IPCC).

According to Mr. Casey, “There is overwhelming evidence that global warming no longer exists and that the use of CO2 and the greenhouse gas theory by the UN and our own government represents what I and other scientists believe is the greatest scientific fraud in history. Sadly, even though the Earth is now cooling rapidly, we still see the current US administration and other countries trying to force-feed this bad science on their citizens. The record winter of 2013-2014 along with others in the past six years is but one example of how this recently started solar hibernation will continue to make the Earth much colder. The SSRC’s Global Climate Status Report, now shows that of twenty-four global climate parameters that we monitor, eighteen are showing a cooling trend is in place.

“I am also particularly concerned how the President’s climate policies will hit African Americans, other minorities and the poor the hardest, in terms of higher energy bills they will be paying and that they will be totally unprepared for the cold climate ahead. That matter is also addressed in the letter the White House received today.”

Read the full letter to President Obama by going here.

ABOUT THE SPACE AND SCIENCE RESEARCH CORPORATION

Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC) is a leading independent US climate research company. It is the foremost institution in the United States dedicated to the analysis and planning for the next climate change – forecast to be one of decades of record cold weather.

The SSRC maintains active communication channels with some of the world’s best experts in the field of solar physics and climate research pertaining to the matter of the next climate change. In addition it has a dedicated list of “Supporting Researchers” who have committed their name and assistance to the mission of the SSRC. The SSRC also updates key US government leaders of the status of climate change activity centered on its area of expertise.

The SSRC possesses the capability to conduct planning and research on how best to prepare individuals, businesses, and governments at all levels for the next climate change to a period of long lasting and potentially dangerous colder weather.

EPA’s McCarthy Defends Hiding Secret Science from Public

In a speech filled with more straw men than a corn field in the fall, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy fired back at critics, like the U.S. Chamber, who have called out the agency for its lack of transparency and openness involving scientific data and analysis that it uses to impose costly air regulations on the economy.

The debate stems around access to data on the health effects of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) on humans. While EPA and researchers have blocked public access to the data, the agency has used it to justify nearly all (98%) of the benefits of EPA air regulations between 2002 and 2012.

“People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. You can’t just claim the science isn’t real when it doesn’t align well with your political or financial interests,” McCarthy said to the National Academy of Sciences, “Science is real and verifiable.”

See what I mean about straw men?

No one disagrees with any of this. What EPA critics want is public access to the data in order to scrutinize, verify, and reproduce the conclusions.

For instance, William Kovacs notes a major problem with the data:

The studies used to support the 1997 PM 2.5 standard have never been independently reproduced or validated, and EPA has successfully resisted all attempts – including a 2000 Freedom of Information Act request from the U.S. Chamber – to obtain the data underlying the studies upon which EPA based its standards.

Nevertheless, in her speech to the Academy, McCarthy reaffirmed her agency’s refusal to make the data available to public scrutiny.

Science is an iterative process. It builds on previous work and assumes that no one has all the answers. EPA shouldn’t be afraid to open the data to public inspection.

This is especially important when regulators use this data to impose tremendous costs on the economy—especially inelectricity generation–keep jobs from being created, and hold back investments. The public should be able to see the data and not merely take the word of a federal agency.

Despite McCarthy’s claim that EPA critics are attacking science itself, by advocating for openness and transparency we’re defending the scientific process that’s delivered progress to humanity for centuries.

“When we follow the science — we all win,” McCarthy told the audience, and she’s right. However, that requires that the data be open so the public can examine it.

[via memeorandum]

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is by photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg.

Ouch! Washington Post Calls Keystone XL Delays, “Embarrassing”

The Washington Post editorial board excoriated the Obama administration for holding up the Keystone XL pipeline [emphasis mine]:

If foot-dragging were a competitive sport, President Obama and his administration would be world champions for their performance in delaying the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Last Friday afternoon, the time when officials make announcements they hope no one will notice, the State Department declared that it is putting off a decision on Keystone XL indefinitely — or at least, it seems, well past November’s midterm elections. This time, the excuse is litigation in Nebraska over the proposed route, because that might lead to a change in the project that various federal agencies will want to consider. The State Department might even decide to substantially restart the environmental review process. This is yet another laughable reason to delay a project that the federal government has been scrutinizing for more than five years.

As for the pipeline’s routing, planners and regulators have already considered all sorts of options through Nebraska, and they already shifted the route once. Neither route posed environmental concerns of a sort that would justify concluding that Keystone XL is outside the national interest. It is bizarre to imagine that a new route from an even more careful process in Nebraska would significantly increase environmental concerns.

The administration’s latest decision is not responsible; it is embarrassing. The United States continues to insult its Canadian allies by holding up what should have been a routine permitting decision amid a funhouse-mirror environmental debate that got way out of hand. The president should end this national psychodrama now, bow to reason, approve the pipeline and go do something more productive for the climate.

That will leave a mark.

Along with that scathing editorial, the American Petroleum Institute released a poll of registered voters that shows 70% support building the Keystone XL pipeline. Here are some other findings:

  • 78% agree that the pipeline would improve America’s energy security by helping to create jobs.
  • 78% believe that the pipeline is in America’s national interest because it would increase North American oil supplies.
  • 67% say that if the United States has to import oil, they would like to see more of it come from Canada rather than other foreign countries.
  • 68% say they’re more likely to support a candidate who supports the pipeline.

UPDATE: This political cartoon illustrates how these delays have become a farce.

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[via memeorandum]

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

EDITORS NOTE: The features photo of sections of pipe for the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma in 2013 was taken by photographer Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.