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The Heartland Institute Exhibits “Bad Judgment”

For some years now I have publicly praised the work of the Heartland Institute for leading the attack against the fraud of the anthropogenic global warming movement.

Based on criticism the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC) received from Heartland the day after our June 8, 2015 press release, it would seem my praise has been misdirected.

The June 9, 2015 ‘shoot-from-the-hip’ opinion by members of the Heartland Institute (HI), about the important SSRC press release, demonstrates what I believe is a patent lack of credibility and bad scientific judgment on the part of the institute.

The article was written by HI ‘expert’ Alan Caruba with comments by HI Science Director Dr. Jay Lehr. See the article at Mr. Caruba’s site at Facts Not Fantasy. They jointly recommended that people be “extremely skeptical” of the SSRC press release.

The SSRC Press Release 3-2015 was titled “Earthquake and Volcano Threat for USA Increases.”  The release referenced new research that was subsequently published in the SSRC’s Global Climate Status Report (GCSR) on June 10, 2015. See the report at the GCSR page of the SSRC web site.

The SSRC press release and the semi-annual GCSR were a culmination of a number of other papers from the sister company of the SSRC, the International Earthquake and Volcano Prediction Center (IEVPC).  As well, leading edge climate research from the SSRC over the past eight years was included. Several PhD experts in seismology and solar induced climate change were directly involved in the research in the GCSR that supported the assertion of the press release – that a potentially dangerous era of increased geophysical activity – major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, has begun.

The press release not only contained a general U.S. wide alert, but also referenced a letter sent to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, asking that he begin to prepare the US for what the science says is coming. In these documents, the SSRC specifically indicated another major earthquake is highly probable in the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) between St. Louis and Memphis. The time frame for the next catastrophic quake to strike was determined to be 2017 to 2038.

The Caruba-Lehr explanation seems to be that they have accepted the current USGS position that no one can predict earthquakes. The USGS position was born out of their singular attempt and failure to predict an earthquake in Parkfield, California between 1985 and 1993. This has led to a global scientific barrier to advancements in earthquake prediction based on the belief that if the USGS cannot do it, then no one else can, or should try!

Beyond that, the HI article has many fundamental errors that should not go unmentioned:

  1. Neither Mr. Caruba nor Dr. Lehr have any research background in seismology or climate science and are thus unqualified to render such important opinions as they have about the SSRC press release. Though a well published author in ground water hydrology, the public record shows Dr. Lehr has done nothing in the relevant fields of seismology, or climate science, much less solar effects on the Earth’s climate. Mr. Caruba’s choice of someone with no apparent credentials or history of scientific achievement in the fields being discussed is like asking a brain surgeon to do his first heart transplant operation on you. Everyone should demand a ‘second opinion’ here.
  2. The criticism by HI completely ignores the decades of experience and success achieved in the fields of seismology and climate science found within the careers of the authors of the research cited.
  3. The HI assault on the credibility of the SSRC and the IEVPC comes from Dr. Lehr and Mr. Caruba without either of them even reading the research! The research was not posted in the GCSR until two days after they issued their critical article. This is an unforgivable failure in making a scientific decision on any subject, especially one where so many lives are at stake. This is de facto bad scientific judgment. One has to ask is this typical of how decisions at HI are normally conducted?
  4. If Caruba and Lehr had done their homework first, they would realize that what the press release said was nothing new but merely an independent research company confirming what is already widely known by the USGS and experts who study the NMSZ, namely: The approximately 200 year pattern of major quakes in the NMSZ is already well established. The work by the SSRC shows the pattern is identical in periodicity to a 206 year solar cycle. We merely confirm what is already known from a solar-climate perspective.
  5. The geology community and the USGS are keenly aware that there has been a dramatic increase in earthquakes and volcanoes worldwide and in the US. Our press release and GCSR just gives a new rationale, highly correlated to climate change, for why this is happening.
  6. The expected quake for the NMSZ mentioned in the article is not a prediction for an earthquake per se since it lacks a specific magnitude, epicenter location, depth and day (s) expected. Neither the SSRC nor the IEVPC currently do earthquake predictions. The press release is, however, a reasoned long range warning of a highly likely event based on past history and now linked to naturally caused climate variation.
  7. The criticism by HI misses the point altogether of both the press release and the more important GCSR, the latter of course no one read anyway. Specifically, the last four devastating quakes in the NMSZ struck at the bottom of a solar hibernation, a period of dramatic reduction in solar energy output. Now that the next solar hibernation has begun, common sense dictates that major preparations be made in the interest of public safety.

The present state of preparation by the federal government and the state governments involved for another major NMSZ quake can be described as token at best, and otherwise abysmal in all categories. A human catastrophe is highly probable based on the best seismic and climate research available. Yet what do we see from the Heartland Institute and the federal and state governments? Nothing, except heads buried in sand or else criticism of those who wish to give the public the information they deserve.  Is it any wonder why so many Americans distrust the US government and political organizations?

In the absence of any government and media interest in properly educating our people on the increased risks they face, the SSRC has issued the appropriate press release and notification of the FEMA Administrator.

The Heartland Institute article by Caruba and Lehr is a clear example of shooting the messenger. Except this time, many citizens may pay with their lives for following such uninformed, incompetent advice.

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EDITORS NOTE: After this column was published we learned that Alan Caruba had passed away. Alan was a friend, colleague and contributor to this publication. We will miss his daily commentary and analysis of the issues. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

To read all of Alan’s contributions to this publication please click here.

How Can So Many World Leaders Be So Wrong?

In a recent Daily Caller article, Michael Bastach took note of “25 Years of predicting The Global Warming ‘Tipping Point’.” This is the message that the Earth is warming rapidly and, if we don’t abandon the use of fossil fuels for power, it will arrive to wreak destruction on the human race and all life on the planet.

Cartoon - Man-Made Weather

It is astounding how many past and present world leaders are telling everyone this despite the total lack of any real science, nor any actual warming—the Earth has been in a natural cooling cycle since 1997!

At the heart of the global warming—now called climate change—“crisis” has been the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that has been issuing apocalyptic predictions since its inception in 1988. None of its predictions have come true. How could they, based as they are on the false science of computer models, not that based on observable climate events and trends?

To this day our own government through its meteorological agencies has been caught manipulating the data gathered over the years to conform with the “warming” scenario. The worst has been the Environmental Protection Agency which is engaged in an effort to shut down coal-fired utilities and access to every other energy source on which we depend to power the nation.

Despite this national and international effort, mostly likely based on the liberal ideology that there are too many humans on the plant and dramatic ways must be found to reduce that number. In the past these anti-humanity advocates could depend on famine, disease and wars to kill off millions, but in the modern world that has become less of a threat.

One libertarian think tank, the Heartland Institute, has been leading the battle against the global warming/climate change hoax for a decade. As a Heartland policy advisor I have had a front row seat. In June, Heartland will sponsor the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change bringing together some of the world’s leading scientists to recommend that it is time for Congress to “take a fresh look at climate science”, “explore better science-based policies for energy and the environment”, and, bluntly stated, to “start over on the question of global warming?”

It did not surprise me to learn that Heartland had dispatched staff to Rome when the Pope announced he too was joining the “climate change” advocates despite its lack of any basis in science. The group garnered tons of international media coverage by simply presenting the truth. You can find out more about them here. It didn’t take long for Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University professor and ‘special advisor” to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, to write a commentary condemning global warming “deniers” that appeared on a Catholic website called Pewsitter.

Sachs took particular aim at The Heartland Institute and, despite not attending its Rome press conference or any of the presentations the experts provided, did not hesitate to identify Heartland as having been supported for years by the Koch brothers, known for the support of conservative groups and causes.

Joseph Bast, Heartland president, does not let such cheap shots pass by. “The Heartland Instituter has received just $25,000 from a single organization, a charitable foundation affiliated with the Koch brothers during the past 15 years. Our annual budget is approximately $7 million. Even that small gift was earmarked for our work on health care reform, not global warming. Why does Sachs mention the ‘Koch brothers’ unless his intention is to smear an independent organization by falsely implying a much larger or somehow Improper level of support from some singularly unpopular billionaires?”

Bast got to the heart of the war being perpetrated by the either misinformed or deliberately lying world leaders of the climate change hoax. “The dishonesty of Sachs’ reference to The Heartland Institute would be startling, coming from a person of Sachs’ stature, if this sort of misrepresentation of facts weren’t so common in the debate over climate change. President Obama sets the tone. Comparing global warming realists to members of the ‘flat earth society’ and rather ominously calling on his supporters to ‘hold climate change denier’s feet to the fire.’”

“Sachs has had a long and distinguished career as an academic and in various government agencies,” said Bast, “but on this issue he is letter his liberal ideology cloud his judgement. His short essay reveals a disturbing lack of knowledge about climate science and compassion toward the billions of people in the world who will be harmed by the UN’s plans to make energy more expensive and less reliable.”

“Sachs ends his essay with a call on people of all faiths to ‘fulfill our moral responsibilities to humanity nd the future of Earth.’ That responsibility starts with truth-telling. Sachs and his colleagues on the left haven’t reach the starting line yet.”

It doesn’t matter if it is the Pope, the President of the United States, or the UN Secretary General if the assertion that the Earth is warming when it is not or that coal, oil and natural gas must be abandoned to “save the Earth.” Whether from ignorance or a dark hidden agenda, the whole of the global warming/climate change is aimed at harming billions, many of whom need the power that this hoax would deny to everyone.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

EDITORS NOTE: The feature image is of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with His Holiness Pope Francis, with CEB members. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The Death Throes of Common Core

Americans are learning the hard way that the federal government should not be permitted to impose one-size-fits-all standards to education. It was never intended to play a role in education and the absence of any mention in the Constitution is proof enough that education was intended to be supervised by the states where the school districts, schools, and parents are closest to the process.

Common Core is going to play a large role in the 2016 elections and that is likely to impact former Governor Jeb Bush the most. At the heart of the unhappiness with Common Core has been its emphasis on testing.

A March 20th Wall Street Journal article, “Bush Faces Test of Exam Policy”, reported that “A Rasmussen Reports nationwide survey in February found that 52% of respondents thought there was too much emphasis on testing in schools and 69% believed there was too much ‘teaching to the test.’”

The transformation of the nation’s educational system began when the Department of Education was signed into law by Jimmy Carter in 1979 and began operating in 1980. It continued with the passage of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the name given to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It requires all public schools receiving Title 1 federal funding to annually administer a state-wide standardized test to all students. NCLB was coauthored by Representatives John Boehner (R-OH), George Miller (D-CA) and Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Judd Gregg (R-NH).

President George W. Bush was a leading NCLB advocate and signed it into law on January 8, 2002. Each state was expected to develop its own standards because NCLB did not impose a national one. This year when its reauthorization came up for consideration, it was pulled from the House floor in February. The Heritage Foundation deems it “outdated, ineffective, and prioritizes government standards over the needs of individual students.”

According to Neal McCluskey, Associate Director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, “There is no compelling evidence that No Child Left Behind, and federal intervention overall, has produced much good, while it is very clear it has cost substantial money and is unconstitutional.”

In Missouri, circuit court Judge Daniel R. Green, ruled in February that the state’s payment of more than $4 million in membership fees as part of a standardized testing consortium was illegal. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium “is an unlawful interstate compact to which the U.S. Congress has never consented, whose existence and operation violate” Article 1 and 10 of the federal Constitution. It dealt a blow to Common Core.

It’s not just Missouri. In January the Mississippi Board of Education voted to withdraw from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers consortium which is one of the two tests aligned to Common Core. A full repeal of Common Core standards is under discussion.

By June 2014, two months before its implementation date, 19 states had either withdrawn from the tests or had paused implementation of the standards. Four of the 19, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Louisiana had completely exited the national standards. Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia never adopted it.

Gov. Bush is beginning to put some distance between himself and Common Core. His spokeswoman, Kristi Campbell, said “There is such a thing as too much testing.” Reportedly “he says the federal government shouldn’t impose particular tests or curricula on states.” Meanwhile, in one state after another, Common Core is being rejected.

On the political front, the Heartland Institute’s monthly newsletter, School Reform News, reported in March that “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a front runner in the contest for the Republican nomination for president, made bold reforms of elementary, secondary, and college education a prominent part of his proposed 2015-17 budget.”

“The budget, presented on February 3, would remove the cap on the state’s school choice program, eliminate state funding for Smarter Balanced tests tied to Common Core State Standards, and cut $300 million from the University of Wisconsin over two years in exchange for greater autonomy for the system.”

On Capitol Hill, four Republican senators including Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Roberts of Kansas have introduced a bill that would prevent the federal government from strong-arming states into adopting education standards such as Common Core and, presumably, NCLB. The bill is called learning Opportunities Created at the Local Level Act. As reported in the Daily Caller.com, it “would limit the federal government’s ability to control state educational standards and curriculums through financial incentives, grants, mandates, and other forms of influence.”

There’s no way to know when Common Core will die or whether No Child Left Behind will suffer a similar fate but the trend nationwide is obvious. Parents, teachers, schools and districts want to determine the best curricula for the children in their systems. They want the federal government out and that is a very good thing.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

A Great Plan to Replace the EPA

For years now I have been saying that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be eliminated and its powers given to the fifty states, all of which,have their own departments of environmental protection. Until now, however, there has been no plan put forth to do so.

Dr. Jay Lehr has done just that and his plan no doubt will be sent to the members of Congress and the state governors. Titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency” it should be read by everyone who, like Dr. Lehr, has concluded that the EPA was a good idea when it was introduced in 1971, but has since evolved into a rogue agency threatening the U.S. economy, attacking the fundamental concept of private property, and the lives of all Americans in countless and costly ways.

AA - Jay Lehr

Dr. Jay Lehr

Dr. Lehr is the Science Director and Senior Fellow of The Heartland Institute, for whom I am a policy adviser. He is a leading authority on groundwater hydrology and the author of more than 500 magazine and journal articles, and 30 books. He has testified before Congress on more than three dozen occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the federal government and with many foreign countries. The Institute is a national nonprofit research and education organizations supported by voluntary contributions.

Ironically, he was among the scientists who called for the creation of the EPA and served on many of the then-new agency’s advisory councils. Over the course of its first ten years, he helped write a significant number of legislative bills to create a safety net for the environment.

As he notes in his plan, “Beginning around 1981, liberal activist groups recognized EPA could be used to advance their political agenda by regulating virtually all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment. Politicians recognized they could win votes by posing as protectors of the public health and wildlife. Industries saw a way to use regulations to handicap competitors or help themselves to public subsidies. Since that time, not a single environmental law or regulation has passed that benefited either the environment or society.”

“The takeover of EPA and all of its activities by liberal activists was slow and methodical over the past 30 years. Today, EPA is all but a wholly owned subsidiary of liberal activist groups. Its rules account for about half of the nearly $2 trillion a year cost of complying with all national regulations in the U.S. President Barack Obama is using it to circumvent Congress to impose regulations on the energy sector that will cause prices to ‘skyrocket.’ It is a rogue agency.”

Dr. Lehr says that “Incremental reform of EPA is simply not an option.” He’s right.

“I have come to believe that the national EPA must be systematically dismantled and replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Those agencies in nearly all cases long ago took over primary responsibility for the implementation of environmental laws passed by Congress (or simply handed down by EPA as fiat rulings without congressional vote or oversight.”

Looking back over the years, Dr. Lehr notes that “The initial laws I helped write have become increasingly draconian, yet they have not benefited our environment or the health of our citizens. Instead they suppress our economy and the right of our citizens to make an honest living. It seems to me, and to others, that this is actually the intention of those in EPA and in Congress who want to see government power expanded without regard to whether it is needed to protect the environment or public health.”

Eliminating the EPA would provide a major savings by eliminating 80% of its budget. The remaining 20% could be used to run its research labs and administer the Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental agencies. “The Committee would determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were established by EPA without congressional approval.”

Dr. Lehr estimates the EPA’s federal budget would be reduced from $8.2 billion to $2 billion. Staffing would be reduced from more than 15,000 to 300 and that staff would serve in a new national EPA headquarters he recommends be “located centrally in Topeka, Kansas, to allow the closest contact with the individual states.” The staff would consist of six delegate-employees from each of the 50 states.”

“Most states,” says Dr. Lehr, “will enthusiastically embrace this plan, as their opposition to EPA’s ‘regulatory train wreck’ grows and since it gives them the autonomy and authority they were promised when EPA was first created and the funding to carry it out.”

The EPA was a good idea when it was created, the nation’s air and water needed to be cleaned, but they have been at this point. Since then, the utterly bogus “global warming”, now called “climate change”, has been used to justify a torrent of EPA regulations. The science the EPA cites as justification is equally tainted and often kept secret from the public.

“It’s time for the national EPA to go,” says Dr. Lehr and I most emphatically agree. “All that is missing is the political will.”

© Alan Caruba, 2014

RELATED ARTICLE: Fight Heats Up Over EPA Sabotage of Alaska Gold Mine

The Slow, Sure Death of “Climate Change” Lies

Even though President Obama continues to lie about “climate change” and employs the many elements of the federal government to repeat those lies, this huge hoax is dying.

Obama is on record saying that climate change “once considered an issue for the distant future, has moved firmly into the present” and is “affecting Americans right now.” Climate change as studied by climatologists is measured in terms of centuries whereas the weather is what is happening today. It has been happening before and since the rise of civilization. Obama’s claim that “climate-related changes are outside of recent experience” and “have become more frequent and/or intense” is a lie from start to finish.

The White House recently released its latest “National Climate Assessment.” It is 841 pages of outlandish claims that reflect the lies generated by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. When you consider that the federal government spends an estimated $2.6 billion annually in grants for climate research, about the only beneficiaries are those “scientists” employed to further the hoax.

The UN’s IPCC was created in 1983 and has issued a series of reports whose sole intention has been to frighten people around the world with claims of global warming that are scientifically baseless.

The Heartland Institute, a non-profit market-based think tank, responded by creating the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) and by sponsoring a series of international conferences. The 9th conference will be July 7-9 in Las Vegas. That effort began in 2003 in cooperation with the Science & Environmental Project led by Dr. S. Fred Singer and was joined by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

I am an advisor to the Institute, having written about environmental and energy issues for several decades at this point.

AA - Heartland Cover

Click on the image to view and download a free copy of the report.

Calling on thousands of scientists around the world, in 2013 the NIPCC published the first of a three-volume response to the IPCC’s fifth assessment. This year, it has published a volume of Climate Change Reconsidered devoted to biological impacts, a 1,062 page opus. The NIPCC is an international panel of scientists and scholars with no government affiliation or sponsorship, and it receives no corporate funding.

Writing in the Financial Post in October 2013, Lawrence Solomon, the executive director of Energy Probe, a Toronto-based environmental group, noted that “solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.” The Earth’s climate is primarily a reflection of solar radiation or the lack of it. From 1300 to 1850, the Earth was subject to a mini-ice age. While the global warming hoax began in the late 1980s, Solomon noted that, in the 1960s and 1970s, the scientific consensus was that the Earth “was entering a period of global cooling. The media in those years was filled with stories about a pending new ice age.

It was only the intervention of the UN’s IPCC that changed the “consensus” to one of global warming. A cooling cycle that began around fourteen years ago could lead to another mini-ice age or the planet could be on the cusp of a full-fledged one. On average, the interglacial periods of the Earth have lasted about 11,500 years and we are at the end of such a period.

Climate Change Reconsidered II devoted to biological impact features scientific studies that conclude:

  • “Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant.” Considering that all vegetation on Earth depends on it, it is not surprising that another conclusion was that the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth.
  • As a result, “there is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels and that terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Multiple lines of evidence indicate animal species are adapting, and in some cases, evolving, to cope with climate change of the modern era.”
  • In addition, “rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels to no pose a significant threat to aquatic life and that a modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperate-related events.”

The irony of the latest NIPCC report, of course, is that it responds to the claims of global warming and carbon dioxide’s role at a time when the Earth is cooling. It makes one wish that all the talk about “greenhouse gases” is true enough to help us escape from the present cooling.

One thing we do know for sure is that the Greens talk of climate change has lost its grip on the public imagination and attention. As the cooling cycle continues, people around the world will be far more focused on increased evidence of massive ice sheets at both poles, on frozen lakes and rivers, on shortened growing seasons, and on the desperate need for more fossil fuels to warm our homes and workplaces.

© Alan Caruba, 2014