On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – John Berlau: Taxpayers Lose Billions on Auto Bailout

Somewhat Reasonable - January 20, 2015, 4:25 PM

Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow John Berlau joins The Heartland Institute’s Budget & Tax News managing editor Jesse Hathaway to talk about the U.S. Treasury Department’s recent announcement that the “auto bailout” portion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) had officially ended with the final repayment of taxpayer-funded loans to Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC.

Berlau offers a brief history of the auto bailout, started by President George W. Bush and continued under President Barack Obama, and explains the consequences affecting taxpayers today.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

2015 SOTU – Expect All Show and No Substance

Somewhat Reasonable - January 20, 2015, 4:24 PM

With the Presidential State of the Union address tonight, The Heartland Institute Director of Research S.T. Karnick talks with Tony Katz, host of The Big Story, about what to expect from the speech. Both Karnick and Katz agree, tonight’s State of the Union will be all show and no substance.

President Obama is expected to layout a number of programs designed to appeal to the public and, most of all, his political base. As Karnick states in the interview, the address has devolved over the years into a laundry list of things the government is going to do for you. Instead of the address explaining the challenges that lie ahead for the nation, it now resembles more of a political stump speech.

The President will likely outline a number of plans. He is expected to discuss tax cuts and hikes, new infrastructure and housing projects and a plan to offer free community college. But as Karnick warns in his interview, most of these concepts are formed around misconceptions and bait-and-switch tactics.

Be sure to stay tuned to The Heartland Institute for news and analysis of the 2015 Presidential State of the Union.

Categories: On the Blog

Global Free Trade Makes for Mutual Prosperity and World Peace

Somewhat Reasonable - January 20, 2015, 2:10 PM

The recent brutal events in France have reminded us how small the world is that we all share. Violence and conflicts that have their origin in one part of the globe shows itself in another part of our planet. And mass media immediately shares those events to the rest of us, no matter where we are.

The impression that is often created by these events and those images is that the world is a dangerous place. And that the more interconnected we become, the more we face the threat of that violence and those conflicts coming our way.

However, the sensationalism of the pictures and videos capturing such tragic events as those in Paris should not distract us from the much more fundamental and everyday linkages that increasingly bind all of us together for mutual prosperity and possible world peace here on Planet Earth.

The Global Economy and Gains from Trade

I mean, of course, the global economy and the network of supplies and demands, productions and consumptions of goods and services that has been and continues to make us one interdependent market of buyers and sellers regardless of the political lines that appear to divide us into different nations and countries in this common world of ours.

For the last two hundred years the increasing integration of our world has, certainly been, been greatly influenced by new, better, and swifter means of travel and communication.

For example, about 160 years ago, in the 1850s, a journey from Boston, Massachusetts to Charleston, South Carolina took about 15 to 16 days of hard riding by stagecoach, or anywhere between 7 and 25 days by sailing ship, depending upon the winds.

Now, in the 21st century, flying nonstop gets you from Boston to Charleston in less than two and a half hours. Air travel enables us, as well, to circumvent the globe in less than twenty-four hours.

But what has been the prime factor behind the develop of trade and its increasingly global nature is a social and economic setting in which individuals are relatively free to peacefully interact in networks of exchange guided by market prices that inform producers and consumers about potential gains from trade.

More and more parts of the world are being drawn into this nexus of international trade, and reaping benefits from it.

South Carolina’s Place in the Global Economy

Let’s take South Carolina, the state in which I now live, as an example of the impact and significance of global trade on people’s livelihood and well being. South Carolina is part of this global economy no less than the rest of the United States.

In 2013, South Carolina industries exported goods to over 200 countries worth more $26 billion, making up nearly 15 percent of the state’s Gross Domestic Product. Charleston, alone, made up $3.5 billion of those export earnings

If 160 years ago, cotton was “king” in export earnings, today, the state’s leading export sectors are automobiles, machinery, rubber, aircraft, plastics, paper and wood products, optics and organic chemicals. Indeed, South Carolina, in 2013, was the number one state in the export of tires, and number two in the export of automobiles to the global market.

Nearly 30 percent of South Carolina’s manufacturing jobs are connected with its export trade. In fact, out of an employed labor force of over two million, more than 500,000, or one-fourth of the total jobs in South Carolina, are connected with exports, imports, and international shipping. Twenty percent of those half-a-million trade related jobs are supplied from foreign direct investment in the state of South Carolina.

Foreign imported goods into South Carolina in 2013 came to over $32 billion, with the largest share of those goods coming into the state arriving from Germany, China, Canada, and Mexico. Nearly 200,000 South Carolinians are employed where foreign, imported goods are sold in the state.

I wish to highlight the import side of South Carolina’s foreign trade because most discussions over the benefits that the state or America as a whole receives from international commerce focuses on the gains in sales and jobs in the export sectors of the state’s economy.

Imports as the Real Gain from Trade

The only real purpose and benefit from “exporting,” however, is its ability to enable us as individuals or a country to earn the financial means to buy “imports” either from our neighbors next door or from sellers on the other side of the globe, who can produce and supply those goods at a lower cost and/or a better quality than if we tried to manufacture them for ourselves.

As Adam Smith expressed it in his famous book, The Wealth of Nations, in 1776:

“It is the maxim of every prudent master of a family, never to attempt to make at home what it will cost him more to make than to buy. The tailor does not attempt to make his own shoes, but buys them of the shoemaker. The shoemaker does not attempt to make his own clothes, but employs a tailor . . .

“What is prudence is the conduct of every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom. If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better to buy it of them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which we have some advantage.”

A concern is often expressed that the purchasing of any good or service from the producers of another country deprives domestic businesses and workers of employment.

Imports are Paid for with Exports

But we need to remember that, just like ourselves, the foreign seller does not give his goods away for free. He wishes to sell them precisely in order to earn an income that enables him to, then, turn around and purchase other goods that we or some other country’s producers can make better or less expensively than if he made those goods in his own home country.

When manufacturers in Germany, China, Canada, or Mexico sell some of their goods in South Carolina or some other part of the United States, they earn dollars. Since U.S. dollars are not the currency of use in any of these countries, they will either spend those earned dollars back in the United States demanding American goods in exchange for what they have sold to us, or will sell those dollars on the foreign exchange market for some other currency they wish to use to buy desired goods and services.

If, for example, an export producer in Canada would prefer to buy goods made in Germany than those produced in the U.S., he will sell his earned dollars for Euros. But why would some holder of Euros have sold them for U.S. dollars other than that he, instead, wishes to buy goods made in America or even in South Carolina?

Ultimately, it is goods that trade for goods through the medium of one type of money or another. And what we buy from other countries must, finally, be paid for through part of our own output as individuals and as a nation.

It is true that if American consumers find it more attractive to purchase a foreign version of some product, the domestic American producer(s) may experience declines in their sales, market share, and profitability. Some U.S. firms in this part of the economy may reduce output or even go out of business, with a matching loss of some jobs in this sector of the domestic market.

Those businesses and jobs will have to shift into other areas of enterprise. To where will these businesses and workers “migrate”? Some will find alternative profitability or employment in the export industries with which South Carolina’s and America’s imports are paid.

Imports and Cost-Efficient Trade Improve Our Standard of Living

Others will find new profits and employments satisfying different domestic demands. For instance, suppose that a foreign import costs $10, while the domestic version of this product that Americans or South Carolinians used to buy costs $15. Consumers in America now pay $10 for what used to cost them $15. They have the desired good, plus they have saved $5 on the price. The less expensive foreign product has “freed up” $5 of purchasing power in each consumer’s pocket that now enables them to increase their demand for other things that previously they could not afford when they were paying the higher American-made price for this good.

No doubt, in the short-run this requires some people to change what products they produce or where they are employed. But this is the price of economic progress from which we all gain in the long-run: new, better, and less expensive goods and services available to improve our standard of living as well as the quality of our life.

The fact that more commercial airplanes and automobiles are now manufactured in South Carolina has, no doubt, resulted in the loss of some business and jobs in other states in America where these planes and cars were previously being produced. (Or, if nothing else, a loss of greater business and jobs that might have come to those other states, if factories had not been built in South Carolina, instead.)

But in the long run everyone in America is better off with those planes and cars being produced where they could be manufactured most cost-efficiently to the gain of all of us as consumers. When goods that we, the consumers, want are produced in the most least costly manner, which includes the comparative advantage of the manufacturing location as well, all in society benefit from the resources available to people being used in the ways that enable getting the most out of them that is possible in both physical and value terms.

Finally, I would emphasize another gain from international trade and commerce that goes beyond its more narrowly “economic” benefits to all participants.

Ends in Ourselves, and Means to Each Other’s Ends

I am referring to the fact that trade is a means and a method for people who may live very differently from each other, based on widely diverse beliefs and values, to cooperate and mutually benefit from free and voluntary association.

The nature of the market economy, both domestic and international, is that it leaves each individual and voluntary group free to follow whatever ends, goals or purposes they may find desirable to pursue, given their values and belief-systems. Each serves others in society as the means to their own ends, with little concern or consideration as to why and for what purpose those who fulfill our demands want the income they earn by selling us the goods we desire.

For example, how much do any of us know about those who earn a living making commercial planes or automobiles at the Boeing or BMW factories in South Carolina, and how they use their incomes in their own role as consumers? The answer is, virtually nothing.

In some cases, no doubt, if we knew how some of them spend the income they have earned by producing and selling us automobiles, we would be shocked and disturbed because of, maybe, radically differing views about what values and ends people should pursue in their lives.

But the beauty of the market system is that we use each other as means, while each of us is free to follow the ends that give meaning, purpose and value to our individual lives. Whether a vocal minority or a substantial majority disapproves of how you furnish your home, select your wardrobe, decide on the church to go to, or contribute to some charitable cause, you are at liberty to make your own decisions in these matters as a sovereign consumer in a free market, given your success as a producer in fulfilling and satisfying the ends and goals of others with whose choices you may have no agreement or even respect.

Political Decentralization and Market Freedom Make for Diversity

It is this aspect or element of a, now, global market, that makes for, and even fosters the social and cultural “diversity” about which many often speak, but about which they frequently have little understanding concerning how it is only made possible through a competitive, open, and free market order.

A Muslim in Kuwait who makes his living in his country’s oil fields may use his income to contribute to his mosque and maintain a standard of living for his two-wife family. The American Christian family that drives to church on Sunday with gasoline that has been refined from Kuwaiti crude oil may tithe for significantly different reasons than that Muslim half-way around the world, and consider having more than one wife morally and legally unacceptable.

But each can live his own life as he chooses without a “conflict of visions” about a moral and right life leading to violence and bloodshed between them. What makes this possible at an international level is that fact that we live in a world of global anarchy.

That is, there is no single and unified political authority that controls the world and imposes the political and ideological values of one society on all the rest. It is that decentralization of political power among many governments rather than one global united nation that leaves people free in their international dealings from the values and preferences of others in other parts of the world with which they may disagree.

When governments do not intrude into international trading affairs for either economic or ideological reasons through political or military intervention, there is often the potential for greater peace and mutual harmony than within a country, where different groups and individuals vie for control over their own government to impose their particular values, beliefs and desires on their fellow citizens.

This is why on the mundane, everyday level, the people of South Carolina and those of the United States as a whole are able to trade and associate with the other people of the world through buying and selling, importing and exporting, with all the participants gaining and benefiting from the talents, skills, and specializations of others in faraway places.

All of this happens for everyone’s mutual betterment without having to accept or have imposed on them the values, beliefs and ideals of others in those faraway lands. If we understand this better and leave markets and people free in this manner, there would be a greater chance for both world peace and material and cultural prosperity for all.

[The text is based on a talk given at the Charleston Rotary Club of South Carolina on January 13, 2015 And, first appeared at Epictimes]
Categories: On the Blog

Green Energy Powered our Past, but Cannot Provide for our Future.

Somewhat Reasonable - January 20, 2015, 1:56 PM

Climate Alarmists turn back the Clock

Three centuries ago, the world ran on green power. Wood was used for heating and cooking, charcoal for smelting and smithing, wind or water-power for pumps mills and ships, and whale oil or tallow for lamps. People and soldiers walked or rode horses, and millions of horses and oxen pulled ploughs, wagons, coaches and artillery.

But smoke from open fires choked cities, forests were stripped of trees, most of the crops went to feed draft animals, and streets were littered with horse manure. For many people, life was “nasty, brutish and short”.

Then the steam engine was developed, and later the internal combustion engine, electricity and refrigeration came along. Green power was replaced by coal and oil. Carbon energy powered factories, mills, pumps, ships, trains and smelters; and cars, trucks and tractors replaced the work-horses. The result was a green revolution – forests began to regrow and vast areas of crop-land used for horse feed were released to produce food for humans. Poverty declined and population soared.

But new environmental problems emerged. Smoke pollution from burning cheap dirty coal in millions of open fires, old boilers and smelters produced massive smog problems in cities like London and Pittsburgh.

The solution was improved technology, sensible pollution-control laws and the supply of coal gas and coal-powered electricity to the cities. The air was cleared by “Clean Coal by Wire” at the flick of a switch and “Piped Coal Energy” at the click of a gas-lighter. In some places use of hydro, geothermal and nuclear power also helped.

In recent years, however, affluent urban alarmists have declared war on the carbon dioxide produced by burning coal, oil and gas. They claim it is a pollutant and it causes dangerous global warming.

The pollutant claims are easy to refute.

The worst air pollution in the world today is the Asian smog. Smog is very visible – but carbon dioxide is a transparent gas that is exhaled by all living creatures.

Smog is air polluted with particulates and noxious gases – but there are no particulates or noxious components in carbon dioxide. Therefore carbon dioxide plays no part in creating smog.

Smog consists of ash particles, unburnt fuels and noxious gases produced by the inefficient combustion of anything, usually in open fires or obsolete boilers engines or smelters with no pollution control equipment. Wind-blown dust, bush and forest fires, blue haze from forests and drifting volcanic ash add to the smog. Modern coal-fired power stations with efficient pollution controls do not release detectable particulates or noxious gases. Bans on dirty combustion and more clean electricity will clear the smog of Asian cities.

All gases in the atmosphere have an effect on global climate, usually a moderating one, reducing the intense heat of the midday sun and reducing the rate of cooling at night. But only in theoretical climate models does carbon dioxide drive global warming – real evidence contradicts them.

The unrelenting war on carbon fuels has far greater risks, with some zealots advocating “Zero Emissions”, while also, incredibly, opposing nuclear and hydro-power. They would take us all back to the BC Era (before coal).

Already urban environmentalists are polluting city air by burning wood (“biomass”) and briquetted paper in stoves and home heaters; and trying to prevent millions in Asia and Africa from getting cheap clean electricity. Other misguided nations are clearing forests and transporting low-energy wood chips to burn in distant power stations. And the high costs of green energy are already forcing some poor people to burn old books and strip parks and forests for fire-wood.

In addition, crops that once fed people are now making “green” ethanol to fuel cars, and native forests are being cleared and burnt to make way for more fuel crops. Our modern “Iron Horses” are eating the crops again.

The use of carbon fuels in the production, fertilising, transport and storage of food has been a major factor in allowing the world population to grow by several billions since the start of the industrial revolution. If climate alarmists succeed in turning back the clock, food and energy will again become reserved for the rich and powerful, and billions of poor people will die of starvation or exposure.

For those who would like to read more:

Wood burning stoves are encouraged but they produce soot:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/climatechange/8474733/Wood-burning-stoves-cause-global-warming.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/interiorsandshopping/9839432/Everyone-loves-a-wood-burning-stove-but-are-they-bad-for-us.html

The Fireplace Delusion:
http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-fireplace-delusion

Burning Yak Dung in Tibet:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/01/16/breaking-science-news-yak-dung-burning-pollutes-indoor-air-of-tibetan-households/

Greeks raiding National Parks for Firewood:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/04/world/europe/oil-tax-forces-greeks-to-fight-winter-with-fire.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Drax power station converts from burning coal to burning wood:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-25/biggest-english-polluter-spends-1-billion-to-burn-wood-energy.html

The New Dark Green Age coming to Britain:
http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/6954843/a-green-dark-age.thtml

Dust storms envelope Iran:
http://iranprimer.usip.org/blog/2014/apr/07/dust-storms-cloud-iran%E2%80%99s-future#.U0plXcuGRIE.email

Most of the trees in England had been cut down to make charcoal for iron making. Britain was the first country to reach crisis point over the shortage of wood and charcoal. The industrial revolution faltered because of the shortage of timber in England. Then a bright spark, Abraham Darby, came up with the idea of making iron with coke. His first pour was on 4/1/1709 in Coalbrookdale (where there was low-Sulphur coal). After that Coalbrookdale became the centre of the British iron industry.
Source: Robert Raymond, “Out of the fiery furnace”, MacMillan, Australia, 1984.  ISBN 0 333 38024 X.

Politicians Promote Futuristic Schemes to Gullible People:
http://blog.heartland.org/2015/01/government-phony-science-waste

Some thoughts on coal power and The Asian smog:
http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/greenpeace-selective-blindness.pdf
http://carbon-sense.com/2013/03/02/chasing-a-will-o-the-wisp/
http://carbon-sense.com/2008/08/04/clearing-the-smog/
.
VRF, 6/1/15

Rising Seas are Nothing New.

The most careful analysis of world sea levels suggests they are rising at between zero and 2mm per year. Measurements to this accuracy are questionable as they are complicated by changes in ocean currents and wind direction, and shorelines that may rise and sink.

Sea levels are never still, but with global temperatures flat and snow cover and polar ice steady, sea levels are probably as stable today as they ever get.

However, we still have creative climatists concocting complex computer models that predict dangerously rising seas to justify their goal to ban coastal development and to revive their failing war on carbon.

Alarmists should study earth history.

At the depth of our recent ice age, just 16,000 years ago, a thick sheet of ice covered much of North America and Northern Europe.

Source: created by Randall Munroe from Dyke et al 2002
If the above image does not display, Click the following link: 
http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/green-energy-is-past.pdf


So much water was locked up in ice that humans could walk on dry land from London to Paris, from Siberia to Alaska and from New Guinea to Australia. The River Rhine flowed across a broad coastal plain (which is now the North Sea) and met the Atlantic Ocean up between Scotland and Norway.

There was no Great Barrier Reef as Queensland’s continental shelf was part of the coastal plain, and rivers like the Burdekin met the ocean about 160 km east of its current mouth. Most of its ancestral river channel can still be recognised beneath the Coral Sea.

Then, about 13,000 years ago, with no help from man-made engines burning hydrocarbons, the Earth began warming. This was probably caused by natural cycles affecting our sun and the solar system, aided by volcanic heat along Earth’s Rings of Fire under the oceans.

The great ice sheets melted, sea levels rapidly rose some 130m and coastal settlements and ancient port cities were drowned and are being rediscovered, even today.

As the oceans warmed, they expelled much of their dissolved load of carbon dioxide. The warm temperatures and extra carbon dioxide plant food caused vigorous plant growth. Permafrost melted, forests colonised the treeless tundra and grasses and herbs covered the Great Plains. Iceball Earth became the Blue/green planet, supporting a huge increase in plant and animal life.

Without any zoning laws to guide them, our smart ancestors moved ahead of the rising waters and adapted happily to the warmer climate with less snow, more rain, more carbon dioxide plant food and more ice-free land.

This warming phase peaked in the Medieval Warm Era about 1,000 years ago, when sea levels also peaked. They fell during the Little Ice Age, rose slightly during the Modern Warm Era, and are relatively stable now.

Rising seas are never a lethal threat to life on Earth. The danger sign is falling sea levels caused by a return of the great ice sheets. This would quickly put high-latitude farming into the deep freezer, thus creating widespread starvation. Trying to grow crops on emerging salty mudflats in a stormy, icy climate will give some future farmers a real climate concern.

And despite World Heritage listing, when the next ice age comes the skeletons of the stranded Great Barrier Reef will become bleached limestone deposits on the coastal plain. The indestructible coral populations will abandon their marooned homes and build new reefs further out under the retreating seas.

For those who would like to read more:

Ice Age Europe
http://donsmaps.com/icemaps.html

Nothing New about Rising sea levels:
http://carbon-sense.com/2013/11/30/nothing-new-about-climate-change/

Sea levels were probably been higher than this during the Medieval Warming, and fell in the Little Ice Age:
http://carbon-sense.com/2013/12/02/endlich-sea-level-claims/

The Buried Burdekin River Channel:
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/geosciencefacpub/386/

Sea level in the southwest pacific is stable:
http://carbon-sense.com/2010/01/01/south-pacific-sea-level-changes/

VRF, 15/12/14

Is Diesel the New Green Fuel?

Are Climatists giving a green tick to diesel power?

Ten thousand professional climate crusaders recently attended yet another Climate Carnival in Lima, Peru. Did they use green power to minimise their carbon footprint? No way; massive diesel generators were trucked in on diesel-powered lorries because the local hydro/solar power could not cope. The delegates were also moved between hotels and the venue in more than 300 diesel buses – few bothered to walk or ride the bicycles provided.

In sunny Spain, the government solar subsidies were so generous that some entrepreneurs managed to produce solar energy for 24 hours per day. However, inspectors discovered that diesel generators were being operated at night, thus producing great profits in selling “solar” energy to the grid.

Then in “go-green, vote-blue” Britain, wind power is proving so erratic that thousands of reliable diesel generators are being installed by utilities and businesses to maintain power when the grid becomes unstable.

Finally we have people who disconnect from the grid, aiming to become independent by generating their own power from small solar and wind installations. After the first long spell of cloudy windless weather, most turn to a reliable on-demand diesel backup generator to keep the fridge running and the lights on.

It seems that diesel is the new “green” fuel. In some bitter winter, when real blackouts hit UK or Europe, maybe clean “green” coal will be re-discovered and cranked up again.

For those who would like to read more:

Diesel powers Lima Climate Festivities:
http://iceagenow.info/2014/12/lima-climate-talks-ultimate-hypocrisy/

Lima Climate Confab generates record carbon footprint:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-2867303/Lima-climate-talks-set-record-carbon-footprint.html

Nothing Useful Achieved at Lima Climate Gabfest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/peru/11292469/Frantic-efforts-to-save-Lima-climate-change-talks.html

Climate Conference generates vast Carbon Footprint:
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article4296131.ece

Diesel generates solar power in Spain:
http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/timblair/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/the_future_of_solar_is_diesel/

The Spanish Solar Inquisition:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/08/17/nobody-expects-the-spanish-solar-inquisition/

Diesel Generators step in when the volatile grid power fails in Britain:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362762/The-dirty-secret-Britains-power-madness-Polluting-diesel-generators-built-secret-foreign-companies-kick-theres-wind-turbines–insane-true-eco-scandals.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/10220083/We-could-soon-be-paying-billions-for-this-wind-back-up.html

Is Coal Dirty?
http://carbon-sense.com/2012/07/14/is-coal-dirty/

Coal, Combustion, and the Grand Carbon Cycle:
http://carbon-sense.com/2010/06/03/coal-combustion/

VRF 23/12/14

Save the Snipe AND the Swamps

The surest way to find an “endangered” species is to declare a major development site, and something “threatened” will soon turn up.

So it is no surprise that the proposed expansion of Abbot Point, which has been continuously shipping coal from Queensland for thirty years, has discovered the rare Australian painted snipe in a possible silt dumping site in adjacent swamps.

But we can save the snipe AND the Abbot Point wetlands by shifting the natural silt from port development further out to sea. That’s where rivers, creeks and ocean currents are taking it anyway.

And everyone knows we should not try to thwart nature – natural processes will dump it there eventually.

The Overflow Column

The ‘ocean acidification’ scare may be as fraudulent as ‘global warming’
Mike Wallace, a PhD candidate at the University of New Mexico, discovered that Richard Feely, the scientist who was richly rewarded for claiming that rising levels of CO2 is causing ocean acidification and, thereby, threatening sea life, committed fraud in constructing his theory. Freely omitted data prior to 1988 going back a hundred years. When all the data is included, there is no evidence of increasing ocean acidification. Wallace is incensed that it is acceptable among global-warmists to omit data and then hide the omission. So are we.

American Thinker. 25 December 2014
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/12/evidence_discovered_that_ocean_acidification_scare_may_be_as_fraudulent_as_global_warming.html

Remembering “The Little Ice Age”.
Global Warming is not the big danger– It is Ice that Kills. The Little Ice age was a time of storms, extreme weather, natural climate disruption, famine, death, disease, revolution and war. Climate is always changing, and we do not know the future. But climate history can give us a clue.:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=DzvyTj10zm0

Another Cold Winter in The Northern hemisphere:
https://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/us-having-10th-coldest-january-on-record/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2896884/Deadly-cold-snap-strike-half-Monday-bringing-sub-zero-temperatures-heavy-rain-snow-50-MILLION-people.html

And the Arctic is NOT Warming:
https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/warm-arctic-is-simply-part-of-natural-cycle/

Don’t Forget: “The Great Global Warming Swindle”
http://carbon-sense.com/2014/12/22/the-great-global-warming-swindle/


Civilisation is Doomed – More Planned Propaganda on the road to Paris:
2015 is shaping up as the Climate Alarm Waterloo, but the climax will be seen in Paris, not Waterloo. The world climate alarmists will make one last attempt to stitch up yet another agreement that transfers power and cash to the UN and various unelected international pressure groups. We can expect a flood of climate alarm propaganda – lies, outlandish claims, abuse of sceptics and doomsday forecasts. For example, Lonnie Thompson who received the U.S. National Medal of Science in 2010, said recently that virtually all climatologists “are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.

Pulitzer Prize-winner, Ross Gelbspan says that the climate crisis “threatens the survival of our civilization”.

Mark Hertsgaard agrees, saying that the continuation of global warming “would create planetary conditions all but certain to end civilization as we know it.”

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/14/opinion/co2-crisis-griffin/index.html

Finally, a chance to listen to Professor Carter and Professor Franks in Perth, Sydney or Brisbane:

http://www.ipa.org.au/events/information/event/climate-change-briefings

Categories: On the Blog

How Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Vision Underpins the Compact for a Balanced Budget

Somewhat Reasonable - January 20, 2015, 12:04 PM

Perhaps the most important aspect of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision was his core belief that every American should be represented equally in our system of governance, regardless of race, color or creed.

King understood that good intentions were not enough to secure such equality. He understood that the structure of governance itself had to be reformed, and from the bottom-up.

The same core value animates the Balanced Budget Amendment, which is advanced by the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

The national debt problem is, at its root, a problem of representation. Without a limit on the federal government’s borrowing capacity, there is just too great an incentive for elected federal officials to make unsustainable political promises that advance their career. This is because they can borrow the money and send the bill to our kids and grandkids, who do not vote yet. Unprincipled elected officials know our kids and grandkids cannot punish them politically for many years—probably long after they’re gone.

Without a Balanced Budget Amendment, our kids and grandkids have to rely on us to represent their interests. But the truth is nobody can represent their future adult interests as well as they will be able to—just as wives could not rely on loving husbands to represent their interests adequately before women got the right to vote.

Our kids and grandkids are just not equally represented when it comes to our national debt, which undeniably burdens their future adult lives.

This problem of representation cannot be fixed by reforming access to the ballot. There is no time machine that can transport our kids and grandkids when they reach voting age to vote in our current elections.

Instead, just like civil rights reform required all Jim Crow laws to be uprooted, not just an end to the poll tax, we must reform the system itself to ensure that it does not treat our kids and grandkids unequally when they come of age.

That is precisely what the Balanced Budget Amendment at the core of the Compact for a Balanced Budget would do.

The Amendment would limit the federal government’s borrowing capacity, ensure fiscal transparency, and demand a wide national consensus for federal debt policy.

In short, the Amendment would ensure that our system of governance itself does not unequally represent our kids and grandkids when it comes to decisions that severely restrict their future freedom as adults.

While many battles continue on other fronts to fulfill King’s vision (and fiscal policy reform was not King’s focus), we sincerely believe that he would be proud of the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

If you agree, please like and share this blog! And don’t forget to support our Bring the Fight to Them campaign to put scholarly boots on the ground in DC to educate the Washington political class about the Compact for a Balanced Budget.

[Originally published at Compact for America]

Categories: On the Blog

NASA Keeps Telling “Warmest” Lies

Somewhat Reasonable - January 20, 2015, 11:24 AM

On January 16 The New York Times reported the lies NASA keeps telling about global warming with an article titled “2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics.”  We have reached the point where neither a famed government agency nor a famed daily newspaper can be believed simply because both are lying to advance the greatest hoax of the modern era.

Remember that 2014 started off with something called a “polar vortex” to describe the incredibly cold weather being experienced and remember, too, that we were being told that it was evidence of global warming! That’s how stupid the “Warmists” who keep saying such things think we are.

The Earth is in the 19th year of a natural cooling cycle based on the reduced radiation of the Sun which is in its own natural cycle. It hasn’t been getting warmer and most people who give it any thought at all know the truth of that.

Enough people have concluded this that, according to a recent CNN poll, more than half, 57%, say that global warming is not a global threat. In addition, the poll revealed that only 50% of Americans believe the alleged global warming is not caused by man-made emissions, while 23% believe it is the result of natural changes, and 26% believe global warming is not a proven fact.

That’s progress. No youngster under the age of 19 has ever experienced a single day of global warming. No computer model that ever predicted it has been accurate. Neither the Pope nor the President, nor any other world leader who repeats the global warming claim is correct.

The latest claim came from NASA and, as I continue to remind readers, it is a government agency whose budget depends on parroting the lies the President keeps telling about global warming.

Astrophysicist, Dr. David Whitehouse, said “The NASA press release is highly misleading…talk of a record is scientifically and statistically meaningless.”  He was joined by climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer who said “We are arguing over the significance of hundredths of a degree.”

Do you believe that a hundredth of a degree makes a difference? Well, it does if you are a government agency desperately trying to keep the global warming hoax alive. Climatologist Dr. Pat Michaels asked “Is 58.46 degrees distinguishable from 58.45 degrees? In a word, NO.”

Marc Morano, the editor of CFACT’s ClimateDepot.com, said, “There are dueling global datasets—surface temperature records and satellite records—and they disagree. The satellites show an 18 year-plus global warming standstill and the satellite was set up to be ‘more accurate’ than the surface records.” As for the NASA claim, Morano dismissed it as “simply a political statement not based on temperature gauges.” Morano, a former member of the staff of the U.S. Senate Environmental & Public Works Committee, is working on an upcoming documentary “Climate Hustle.”

How does this affect you? The lie that carbon dioxide and methane emissions, dubbed “greenhouse gases”, are causing global warming is the basis for the Obama administration’s attack on the nation’s energy sector and, in particular, the provision of electricity by coal-fired plants. In the past six years many of these plants have been shut down or will be. The result is less electricity and higher prices for electricity. The other result is an attack on the oil and natural gas industry that drill to access these resources.  There is not a scintilla of truth to justify what is being done to Americans in the name of global warming.

There is yet another result and that is the loss of jobs in the energy sector and the reduction in revenue to the nation and states it represents. The nation’s economy overall has been in sluggish state which the word “growth” doesn’t even begin to describe. That hurts everyone.

Most of us don’t have a lot of time to get up to speed and stay there regarding the facts surrounding global warming or climate change. An excellent source of information is theEnvironment & Climate News, a monthly publication by The Heartland Institute, a thirty year old non-profit free market think tank that will sponsor its tenth annual International Conference on Climate Change in Washington, D.C. in June.

NASA has been allowed to degrade to the point where the agency that sent men to the Moon no longer has the capacity to even transport them to the International Space Station built by the Russians. We have gone from the world’s leader in space exploration to an agency that has been turned into a propaganda machine asserting that a hundredth of a degree “proves” that global warming is happening.

The U.S. and the rest of the world are setting records, but they are records for how cold it has become everywhere. There was snow recently in Saudi Arabia from a storm that swept across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. Does that sound like global warming to you? For an excellent source of information on the cooling of the planet, visithttp://iceagenow.info.

You have an obligation to yourself, your family, friends and co-workers to not just know the truth but to denounce entities like NASA, the EPA, and The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, and others that keep repeating the lies about global warming.

Categories: On the Blog

International Housing Affordability in 2014

Somewhat Reasonable - January 20, 2015, 10:49 AM

The just released 11th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey shows the least affordable major housing markets to be internationally to be Hong Kong, Vancouver, Sydney, along with San Francisco and San Jose in the United States. Honolulu, which should reach 1,000,000 population this year (and thus become a major metropolitan market) was nearly as unaffordable as San Francisco and San Jose. An interactive map in The New Zealand Herald illustrates the results.

Rating Housing Affordability

The Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey uses the “median multiple” price-to-income ratio. The median multiple is calculated by dividing the median house price by the median household income. Following World War II, virtually all metropolitan areas in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States had median multiples of 3.0 or below. Since that time, housing affordability has been seriously retarded in metropolitan areas that have been subjected to urban containment policies. This includes virtually metropolitan areas of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and some markets in the United States and Canada.

Housing affordability ratings are indicated in Table 1.

 

Table 1 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey  Housing Affordability Rating Categories Rating Median Multiple Severely Unaffordable 5.1 & Over Seriously Unaffordable 4.1 to 5.0 Moderately Unaffordable 3.1 to 4.0 Affordable 3.0 & Under

 

Table 2 summarizes housing affordability ratings for the 86 major metropolitan areas in the nine nations covered. Apart from China (Hong Kong), the least affordable nation among the major markets is New Zealand, at 8.2, followed by Australia at 6.4. Both nations (and Hong Kong) are rated severely unaffordable.

 

Table 2 Housing Affordability Ratings by Nation: Major Markets (Over 1,000,000 Population)  Nation Seriously Unaffordable (4.1-5.0) Severely Unaffordable (5.1 & Over) Affordable (3.0 & Under)  Moderately Unaffordable (3.1-4.0) Total Median Market  Australia 0 0 0 5 5 6.4  Canada 0 2 2 2 6 4.3  China (Hong Kong) 0 0 0 1 1 17  Ireland 0 0 1 0 1 4.3  Japan 0 1 1 0 2 4.4  New Zealand 0 0 0 1 1 8.2  Singapore 0 0 1 0 1 5  United Kingdom 0 1 10 6 17 4.7  United States 14 23 6 9 52 3.6  TOTAL 14 27 21 24 86 4.2

 

Least Affordable Major Markets

Hong Kong registered the highest median multiple out of the 86 major markets and also in the history of the Survey, at 17.0. Vancouver reached 10.6. Sydney had its worst recorded housing affordability, with a median multiple of 9.8. Adjacent metropolitan areas San Francisco and San Jose had median multiples of 9.2, while Honolulu’s median multiple was 9.0. The ten least affordable major metropolitan areas are shown in Figure 1. In nine of these markets, housing was affordable before adoption of urban containment policy (Hong Kong data is not available).

 

Affordable Major Markets

All of the affordable major markets are in the United States. This includes perhaps the most depressed market, Detroit as well as Atlanta, which has spent most of the last three decades as the fastest growing larger metropolitan area in the high income world. At the same time, Atlanta has consistently been among the most affordable. Detroit’s median multiple is 2.0, while Atlanta’s is 2.9.

Comparing Demographia Results to The Economist and Kookmin Bank

This year’s edition includes a comparison of housing affordability multiple data from The Economist’s survey of 40 metropolitan areas in China and Kookmin Bank’s survey of major metropolitan areas in South Korea. The least affordable major markets are in China, New Zealand and Australia, all with severely unaffordable median multiples. The most affordable major markets are in the United States and Korea, both rated as moderately unaffordable (Figure 2).

 

Perspective

Hugh Pavletich, of performanceurbanplanning.com and I have published each of the annual editions, which began in 2005. The perspective of the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey is that domestic public policy should, first and foremost be focused on improving the standard of living and reducing poverty. This requires policies that facilitate both higher household incomes and lower household expenditures (other things being equal). Housing costs are usually the largest component of household expenditure and it is therefore important that public policy both encourage and preserve housing affordability.

Housing Affordability and Urban Containment Policy

However, in recent years, land use policy has not been focused on this concern. Conventional urban theory sees urban containment as a necessity. Yet, urban containment policies are associated with the loss of housing affordability, due principally to their rationing of land for development. This effect is consistent with basic economics – restricting supply of a desired good tends to drive up prices – that has been long established.

Some of the most important contributions have come from Sir Peter Hall, et al (see The Costs of Smart Growth Revisited), Paul Cheshire at the London School of Economics (New Zealand Seeks to Avoid “Generation Rent”) and William Fischel at Dartmouth University (The Consequences of Smart Growth). Donald Brash, former governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand attributed the housing affordability losses to “the extent to which governments place artificial restrictions on the supply of residential land” in his introduction to the 4th Annual Edition.

The Importance of Urban Expansion

This year’s introduction is provided by Dr. Shlomo Angel, leader of the New York University Urban Expansion Program. Dr. Angel reminds us that “where expansion is effectively contained by draconian laws, it typically results in land supply bottlenecks that render housing unaffordable to the great majority of residents.”

He describes the Urban Expansion Program is “dedicated to assisting municipalities of rapidly growing cities in preparing for their coming expansion, so that it is orderly and so that residential land on the urban fringe remains plentiful and affordable.” Urban Expansion Program teams are already working with local officials in Ethiopia and Colombia to achieve this goal. Angel’s previous work documented the association between urban containment policy in Seoul and large house price increases relative to incomes (see Planet of Cities).

Policies seeking the same goals of plentiful and affordable land on the urban fringe are just as necessary in high income world metropolitan areas.

As time goes on, the negative consequences of urban containment policy on housing affordability and the standard of living have been increasingly acknowledged. Christine Legarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund said that “supply-side constraints will require further measures to increase the availability of land for development and to remove unnecessary constraints on land use.” in a recent statement on housing affordability in the United Kingdom.

Similarly a recent feature article in The Economist (see PLACES APART: The world is becoming ever more suburban, and the better for it) noted that the only reliable way to stop urban expansion was to stop them forcefully (such as through urban containment policy). Yet, The Economist continued, “But the consequences of doing that are severe” and cites the higher property prices that have been the result:”

The Economist continued to note the effect of the policy on households: “It has also forced many people into undignified homes, widened the wealth gap between property owners and everyone else…”

Wendell Cox is principal of Demographia, an international public policy and demographics firm. He is co-author of the “Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey” and author of “Demographia World Urban Areas” and “War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life.” He was appointed to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, where he served with the leading city and county leadership as the only non-elected member. He was appointed to the Amtrak Reform Council to fill the unexpired term of Governor Christine Todd Whitman and has served as a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, a national university in Paris.

Categories: On the Blog

The EPA’s Methane Madness

Somewhat Reasonable - January 20, 2015, 8:26 AM

The Obama administration’s attack on America’s energy sector is insane. They might as well tell us what to eat. Oh, wait, Michelle Obama is doing that. Or that the Islamic State is not Islamic. Oh, wait, Barack Obama said that.

Or that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is about protecting the environment. It used to be decades ago, but not these days.

There was a time when the EPA was devoted to cleaning up the nation’s air and water. It did a very good job and we now all breathe cleaner air and have cleaner water. At some point, though, it went from a science-based government agency to one for which science is whatever they say it is and its agenda is the single minded reduction of all sources of energy, coal, oil and natural gas, by telling huge lies, citing junk science, and generating a torrent of regulation.

Americans have been so blitzed with global warming and climate change propaganda for so long one can understand why many just assume that these pose a hazard even though there hasn’t been any warming for 19 years and climate change is something that has been going on for 4.5 billion years. When the EPA says that it’s protecting everyone’s health, one can understand why that is an assumption many automatically accept.

The problem is that the so-called “science” behind virtually all of the EPA pronouncements and regulations cannot even be accessed by the public that paid for it. The problem is so bad that, in November 2014, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) introduced a bill, HR 4012, the Secret Science Reform Act, to address it. It would force the EPA to disclose all scientific and technical information before proposing or finalizing any regulation.

As often as not, those conducting taxpayer funded science studies refuse to release the raw data they obtained and the methods they used to interpret it. Moreover, agency “science” isn’t always about empirical data collection, but as Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, noted in 2013, it is “a ‘literature search’ with researchers in a library selecting papers and reports by others that merely summarize results and give opinions of the actual scientists. These agency researchers never even see the underlying data, much less collect it in the field.”

The syndicated columnist, Larry Bell, recently noted that “Such misleading and downright deceptive practices openly violate the Information Quality Act, Executive Order 12688, and related Office of Management and Budget guidelines requiring that regulatory agencies provide for full, independent, peer review of all ‘influential scientific information.’” It isn’t that there are laws to protect us from the use of junk science. It’s more like they are not enforced.

These days the EPA is on a tear to regulate mercury and methane. It claims that its mercury air and toxics rule would produce $53 billion to $140 billion in annual health and environmental benefits. That is so absurd it defies the imagination. It is based on the EPA’s estimated benefits from reducing particulates that are—wait for it—already covered by existing regulations!

Regarding the methane reduction crusade the EPA has launched, Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, says “EPA’s methane regulation is redundant, costly, and unnecessary. Energy producers are already reducing methane emissions because methane is a valuable commodity. It would be like issuing regulations forcing ice cream makers to spill less ice cream.”

“The Obama administration’s latest attack on American energy,” said Pyle, “reaffirms that their agenda is not about the climate at all—it’s about driving up the cost of producing and using natural gas, oil, and coal in America. The proof is the EPA’s own research on methane which shows that this rule will have no discernible impact on the climate.”

Fred Singer, founder and Director of the Science and Environmental Policy Project as well as a Senior Fellow with The Heartland Institute says “Contrary to radical environmentalists’ claims, methane is NOT an important greenhouse gas; it has a totally negligible impact on climate. Attempts to control methane emissions make little sense. A Heartland colleague, Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, says “Obama is again avoiding Congress, relying on regulations to effectively create new laws he couldn’t legally pass.”

As Larry Bell noted, even by the EPA’s own calculations and estimates, the methane emissions limits, along with other limits on so called greenhouse gases “will prevent less than two-hundredths of a degree Celsius of warming by the end of this century.”

That’s a high price to pay for the loss of countless plants that generate the electricity on which the entire nation depends for its existence. That is where the EPA is taking us.

Nothing the government does can have any effect on the climate. You don’t need a PhD in meteorology or climatology to know that.

Categories: On the Blog

Weather Bulletin 5: Warmest year debate belies winter chill dangers

Somewhat Reasonable - January 19, 2015, 6:30 PM

Severe winter weather continues to pound the U.S. and the Middle East, of all places. The Weather Channel reports that one of the worst winter storm in more than a decade hit Lebanon leaving hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees living in tents with little in the way of heat. At least two Syrian refugees dies from exposure. Snow blanketed much of Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.

Britain experienced its coldest night of the year on the 18th as temperatures in the Scottish highlands dropped to -11C as icy conditions resulted in a commuter jet carrying 47 passengers sliding off the tarmac and into the grass in Inverness.

In New Jersey, on Sunday the 18, what had been expected to be a fairly routine rain storm turned into dangerous ice storm as lower than expected temperatures, resulted in as much as a quarter of an inch of freezing rain falling in parts of New York and New Jersey resulting on some road and bridge closures and restrictions. The New Jersey State Police reported 428 accidents and 186 calls for aid through Sunday afternoon. Despite more than enough work in New Jersey, some northern New Jersey ambulance companies were sent units to New York City to deal with a glut of emergency calls due to ice.

Cold air from Canada delivered frigid conditions to much of the U.S. with cold in North Carolina resulting in delayed school openings, and school closings in Minnesota, New England and throughout the Mid-West.

In Chicago, where wind chills were -21 degrees on January 8, firefighters battled blazes while icicles formed on their uniforms.

With wind chill readings between 25 and 45 degrees below zero, and white out’s some areas, conditions on many of the nation’s highways were deadly, for instance, an 18 vehicle pileup in Western Pennsylvania resulted in three deaths.

Looking ahead, the Weather Channel projects that much of the Eastern, Mid-West and Southern U.S. should brace for colder than average temperatures from February through April, while the Western U.S. might experience warmer than average temperatures due to a temporary high temperature ridge over the West Coast.

While climate pontificators blather on about whether 2014 was the warmest year on record, outside of the Ivory Tower, people around the world are shivering in the dark as winter continues its deadly, icy grip.

Categories: On the Blog

Merchants of Smear

Somewhat Reasonable - January 19, 2015, 2:52 PM

I want YOU to believe my alarmist hype about the climate.

Manmade climate disaster proponents know the Saul Alinksy community agitator playbook by heart. In a fight, almost anything goes. Never admit error; just change your terminology and attack again.  Expand your base, by giving potential allies financial and political reasons to join your cause. Pick “enemy” targets, freeze them, personalize them, polarize them and vilify them.

The “crisis” was global cooling, until Earth stopped cooling around 1976. It was global warming, until our planet stopped warming around 1995. The alarmist mantra then became “climate change” or “climate disruption” or “extreme weather.” Always manmade. Since Earth’s climate often fluctuates, and there are always weather extremes, such claims can never be disproven, certainly not to the alarmists’ satisfaction.

Alarmists say modern civilization’s “greenhouse gas” emissions are causing profound climate change – by replacing the powerful, interconnected solar and other natural forces that have driven climate and weather patterns and events since Earth and human history began. They insist that these alleged human-induced changes are already happening and are already disastrous. Pope Francis says we are already witnessing a “great cataclysm” for our planet, people and environment.

However, there is no cataclysm – now or imminent – even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have gone well past the alleged 350 parts-per-million “tipping point,” and now hover near 400 ppm (0.04%). There has been no warming since 1995, and recent winters have been among the coldest in centuries in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, despite steadily rising levels of plant-fertilizing CO2.

As of January 12, 2015, it has been 3,365 days (9.2 years!) since a Category 3-5 hurricane hit the US mainland. This is by far the longest such stretch since record-keeping began in 1900, if not since the American Civil War. Sea levels are barely rising, at a mere seven inches per century. Antarctic sea ice is expanding to new records; Arctic ice has also rebounded. Polar bears are thriving. In fact:

Every measure of actual evidence contradicts alarmist claims and computer model predictions. No matter how fast or sophisticated those models are, feeding them false or unproven assumptions about CO2 and manipulated or “homogenized” temperature data still yields garbage output, scenarios and predictions.

That’s why alarmists also intoned the “peak oil” and “resource depletion” mantra – until fracking produced gushers of new supplies. So now they talk about “sustainable development,” which really means “whatever we advocate is sustainable; whatever we despise and oppose is unsustainable.”

USEPA Administrator Gina McCarthy also ignores climate realities. Her agency is battling coal-fired power plants (and will go after methane and gas-fired generators next), to “stop climate change” and “trigger a range of investments” in innovation and a “clean power future.” What she really means is: Smart businesses will support our agenda. If they do, we’ll give them billions in taxpayer and consumer money. If they oppose us, we will crush them. And when we say innovation, we don’t mean fracking.

As to responding to these inconvenient climate realities, or debating them with the thousands of scientists who reject the “dangerous manmade climate change” tautology, she responds: “The time for arguing about climate change has passed. The vast majority of scientists agree that our climate is changing.”

This absurd, dismissive assertion underscores citizen investigative journalist Russell Cook’s findings, in his perceptive and fascinating Merchants of Smear report. The climate catastrophe narrative survives only because there has been virtually no debate over its scientific claims, he explains. The public rarely sees the extensive evidence debunking and destroying climate cataclysm assertions, because alarmists insist that “the science is settled,” refuse to acknowledge or debate anyone who says otherwise, and claim skeptical scientists get paid by oil companies, tainting anything they say.

The fossil-fuel-payoff claim is classic Alinsky: Target and vilify your “enemies.”

“No one has ever offered an iota of evidence” that oil interests paid skeptical researchers to change their science to fit industry views, “despite legions of people repeating the claim,” Cook notes. “Never has so much – the very survival of the global warming issue – depended on so little – a paper-thin accusation from people having hugely troubling credibility issues of their own.” The tactic is intended to marginalize manmade global warming skeptics. But the larger problem is mainstream media malfeasance: reporters never question “climate crisis” dogmas … or allegations that “climate denier” scientists are willing to fabricate studies questioning “settled science” for a few grand in illicit industry money.

Pay no attention to the real-world climate or those guys behind the curtain, we are told. Just worry about climate monsters conjured up by their computer models. “Climate change deniers” are Big Oil lackeys – and you should turn a blind eye to the billions of dollars in government, industry and foundation money paid annually to researchers and modelers who subscribe to manmade climate disruption claims.

In fact, the US government alone spent over $106 billion in taxpayer funds on alarmist climate research between 2003 and 2010. In return, the researchers refuse to let other scientists, IPCC reviewers or FOIA investigators see their raw data, computer codes or CO2-driven algorithms. The modelers and scientists claim the information is private property, even though taxpayers paid for the work and the results are used to justify energy, job and economy-killing policies and regulations. Uncle Sam spends billions more every year on renewable energy programs that raise energy prices, cost jobs and reduce living standards.

None of these recipients wants to derail this money train, by entertaining doubts about the “climate crisis.” Al Gore won’t debate anyone or even address audience questions he hasn’t preapproved.

As to claims of a “97% consensus,” one source is responses from 75 of 77 “climate scientists” who were selected from a 2010 survey that went to 10,257 scientists. Apparently, the analysts didn’t like the “consensus” of the other 10,180 scientists. Another study, by a University of Queensland professor, claimed that 97% of published scientific papers agree that humans caused at least half of the 1.3o F (0.7o C) global warming since 1950; in reality, only 41 of the 11,944 papers cited explicitly said this.

“Skeptical” scientists do not say climate doesn’t change or humans don’t affect Earth’s climate to some (small) degree. However, more than 1,000 climate scientists, 31,000 American scientists and 48% of US meteorologists say there is no evidence that we are causing dangerous warming or climate change.

Two recent United States Senate staff reports shed further light on other shady dealings that underlie the “dangerous manmade climate change” house of cards. Chains of Environmental Command reveals how Big Green activists and foundations collude with federal agencies to develop renewable energy and anti-hydrocarbon policies. EPA’s Playbook Unveiled shines a bright light on the fraud, deceit and secret science behind the agency’s sue-and-settle lawsuits, pollution standards and CO2 regulations.

The phony “solutions” to the imaginary “climate crisis” hurt our children and grandchildren, by driving up energy prices, threatening electricity reliability, thwarting job creation, adversely impacting people’s health and welfare, and subsidizing wind turbines that slaughter birds and bats. They perpetuate poverty, misery, disease and premature death in poor African and Asian countries, by blocking construction of fossil fuel power plants that would bring electricity to 1.3 billion people who still do not have it.

The caterwauling over climate change has nothing to do with real-world warming, cooling, storms or droughts. It has everything to do with an ideologically driven hatred of hydrocarbons, capitalism and economic development, and a callous disdain for middle class workers and impoverished Third World families that “progressive” activists, politicians and bureaucrats always claim to care so much about.

House and Senate committees should use studies cited above as a guide for requiring a robust pollution, health and climate debate. They should compel EPA, climate modelers and scientists to testify under oath, present their evidence and respond to tough questions. Congress should then block any regulations that do not conform to the scientific method and basic standards of honesty, transparency and solid proof.

Categories: On the Blog

NOAA and NASA Lied on Temperature Records

Somewhat Reasonable - January 19, 2015, 2:03 PM

During the 2012 presidential election, Rasmussen Report’s poll conducted between November 1st and 3rd showed 49% of likely voters supported Barack Obama and an equal number supported Mitt Romney. But by Rasmussen’s next poll, covering the November 2 to 4th time frame, the Governor led 49% to 48%.

This change didn’t result in great celebration in the Romney camp.

Neither were opinion leaders suddenly forecasting a Romney victory based on such a small gain. They understood that the margins of error of the surveys were greater than the supposed change. The apparent increase in Romney’s support may not have reflected any real change in public opinion at all.

Most people easily understand this concept during elections. But when it comes to climate change, the public’s appreciation of uncertainty seems to vanish. This is partly due to intense propaganda from official government bodies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

For example, last week NOAA headlined their home page, “It’s official: 2014 was Earth’s warmest year on record.”

NASA proclaimed in their January 16th news release video, “2014 was the hottest year on record.”

But these announcements are effectively lies.

NOAA’s own data shows that the record for the year was set by only four one-hundredths of a degree Celsius over the previous record warmest years, 2010 and 2005, while the uncertainty in the temperature statistic is nine one-hundredths of a degree, or more than twice the amount by which the supposed record was set (NASA showed a record being set in 2014 by only two one-hundredths of a degree). In fact, NOAA temperature statistics for seven previous years — 2013, 2010, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, and 1998 — are all within nine one-hundredths of a degree of 2014’s level.

So they all tie with 2014. No new record was set.

The same applies to NOAA’s announcement that, “December 2014 was warmest December on record for globe.”

December 2014 was one one-hundredths of a degree hotter than December 2006, the previous warmest December. But the uncertainty is seven one-hundredths of a degree, seven times the amount by which the supposed record was set. December 2003 was only one one-hundredths of a degree cooler than 2006, so the December temperature statistic for all three years — 2014, 2006, and 2003 — are effectively equal. No new December record was set.

Contrary to supporting the notion that global warming continues unabated, NOAA’s data reinforces the observation that we are in the midst of an 18-year pause in planetary warming.

If NOAA and NASA made a big deal of a temperature record set by a few hundredths of a degree, many in the public would laugh, appreciating that such small changes cannot even be felt, let alone present problems.

So instead the government emphasizes the amount by which the new temperature statistics exceed the “the 20th century average.” But to know this difference to hundredths of a degree, as they claim to do, requires that we also know the average for the 20th century to hundredths of a degree. And this in turn requires that we know the so-called global average temperature in each year during the 20th century to a similarly high degree of accuracy.

Historical climatologist Dr. Tim Ball, former professor at the University of Winnipeg, explains, “Typical accuracies of temperature measurements throughout the 20th century were between one and one-half degree Celsius. Therefore it makes no sense whatsoever for NASA and NOAA to claim differences from a 20th century average in hundredths of a degree.”

Ball explains that even modern “instrumental data is inadequate. There is are virtually no data for the 70% of Earth’s surface that is oceans.

There is practically no data for the 19% of land area that are mountains, 20% that are desert, 20% boreal forest, 20% grasslands, and 6% tropical rain forest.”

“So NASA just invents data to complete the picture,” continues Ball.

“They do this by making the ridiculous claim that a single station temperature represents all land temperature within a 1200 km radius region.”

So, it is not possible for NASA and NOAA to determine a meaningful average temperature statistic for the planet as a whole based on surface readings, as they pretend to do. It is only through the use of satellite-based instruments that we can hope to get a meaningful overview of planetary conditions. And satellite data shows that 2014 did not set a record at all, with computed temperatures statistics merely extending the current plateau.

NOAA chief scientist Richard Spinrad boasted in a January 16 news release that “NOAA provides decision makers with timely and trusted science-based information about our changing world…”

In reality, Spinrad’s agency is merely about PR spin when it comes to global temperature records. Science be damned.

[First published at the Pasadena Citizen.]

Categories: On the Blog

R.I. Unemployment Worse Than it Seems

Somewhat Reasonable - January 19, 2015, 11:26 AM

The old adage “numbers never lie” is true. Numbers can’t lie, but the people who use them can and very often do. Such is the case with the unemployment rate in Rhode Island.

When a falling unemployment rate in Rhode Island was coupled with a sudden loss of 2,600 jobs from September to October, Charles J. Fogarty, the director of the state’s Department of Labor and Training, talked-up the unemployment drop and dismissed serious concerns about the job losses. “[The number of lost jobs] got our attention but everything else seems to be working well,” Fogarty insisted. “So, it could be a statistical aberration.”

The DLT and others in the state who stand to benefit from improving employment figures see recent improvements in Rhode Island and across the nation as a sign of significant economic gains. Between June and November 2014, the Rhode Island unemployment rate dropped from 7.9 percent to 7.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Similarly, the U.S. unemployment rate also dropped — down to 5.6 percent — causing many political pundits to tout the alleged success of President Barack Obama’s economic policies.

What pundits both inside and outside of Rhode Island won’t tell you is that the real reason the unemployment rate is falling is not because the economy is improving; it’s because unemployment data are being tortured to fit a politically driven narrative. In other words, politicians and their sycophants are lying to you.

Although it’s true the percentage of people working relative to the number of workers considered by the BLS to be in the labor force is improving in Rhode Island and the United States as a whole, the number of workers in the labor force is shrinking to an unprecedented level.

In March 2010, at the height of the recession, the Rhode Island unemployment rate stood at a dismal 11.9 percent and the labor force included 573,930 workers. Even though the unemployment rate is down to 7.1 percent (with lower figures expected for the December report), the labor force has shrunk by more than 20,000, making it appear as though the economy has improved more than it actually has.

If the same number of workers were in the Rhode Island labor force today as there were in March 2010, the unemployment rate would actually be over 10 percent — a much less appealing figure for the Rhode Island Democrats who have run the state over that period.

Nationally, the situation is only slightly better. There are more than 92 million American workers aged 16 or older that are not considered to be in the labor force, which means only 62.7 percent of the population eligible is working or looking for work. This represents the lowest national labor force participation rate since 1978.

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that unemployment rates are falling; there simply aren’t as many workers in the economy as there were just four short years ago, and there is no sign the drain of available workers will halt anytime soon.

 

[Originally published at the Providence Journal]

Categories: On the Blog

The Founders Wanted a Laser-Targeted Article V Convention (Part 5 of 8)

Somewhat Reasonable - January 19, 2015, 10:12 AM

This is part 5 of the 8 part series establishing that the laser-focus of the Compact for America approach to organizing an Article V convention with the specific job advancing and ratifying a pre-drafted, specific federal Balanced Budget Amendment is clearly, unequivocally, and overwhelmingly what the Founders expected from the state-originated amendment process.

Exhibit E-Alexander Hamilton in Federalist No. 85

In Federalist No. 85, Alexander Hamilton said all amendment proposals under Article V, logically including even those originated by the sates, would be brought forth without “giving or talking” and “singly;” that “nine” states [two-thirds] would effect “alterations,” that “nine” states would effect “subsequent amendment” by setting “on foot the measure,” and he promised, “we may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority” by using their amendment power under Article V.

Hamilton not only focused Federalist No. 85 on the argument that the Article V amendment process was superior to convening a second wide-open convention, his statements all anticipate the amendment-specifying power of an Article V application, which alone is entirely controlled by two-thirds of the states through their legislatures; as well as a narrow and preset agenda for an Article V convention.

[Originally published at Compact for America]

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Jon Haubert: Responsible Energy Development in Colorado

Somewhat Reasonable - January 19, 2015, 10:00 AM

There is a lot of misleading information about hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” out there. Some of it comes from sources that are intentionally misleading, like the movie Gasland, but some of the confusion surrounding the process of hydraulic fracturing comes as a result of poor messaging from the the oil and gas industry itself, who for years allowed environmental activists to control the narrative around fracking.

Jon Haubert from the group Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED) discusses the role that CRED plays in helping the general public understand the process of hydraulic fracturing in a balanced manner that weighs the costs of developing oil and natural gas against the benefits derived from them. Haubert discusses some strategies for communicating the benefits of fracking to a general audience and share successes from Colorado.

Categories: On the Blog

Pope Francis Says Freedom Of Speech Has ‘Limits,’ Gets It Wrong Again

Somewhat Reasonable - January 18, 2015, 2:37 PM

Just two weeks after reports surfaced that Pope Francis plans to put significant pressure on global leaders to fight what he believes to be manmade, imminent global warming, the leader of the world’s largest church is receiving strong and worthy criticism from conservatives again — this time for suggesting there is a “limit” to freedom of speech in wake of the Paris attacks on magazine Charlie Hebdo.

According to the Associated Press’ Nicole Winfield, Francis responded to questions about the Paris attacks and the notorious cartoons and satirical articles published by Charlie Hebdo that inspired them, saying, “You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”

“There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others,” Pope Francis said. “They are provocateurs. … There is a limit.”

France apparently agrees. According to CNN, French comic Dieudonné M’bala M’bala now faces up to seven years in prison for posting a Facebook comment in wake of the terrorist attack. He allegedly wrote “Je suis Charlie Coulibaly,” a combination of a popular French phrase in support of Charlie Hebdo and the last name of one of the attackers. M’bala has a history of making anti-Semitic remarks, and the French government is now claiming he should be charged with publicly supporting terrorism.

What the pope and the French do not understand is that freedom of speech is not the problem; radical Islamism mixed with violence is. This is not to say Charlie Hebdo’s disgusting jokes and cartoons about the religious beliefs of others were moral, but the idea that freedom should be limited whenever there is a chance deeply held beliefs could be “insulted” is an idea far more dangerous to a free society than anything cowardly terrorists could ever do.

If Francis is correct and speech ought to be limited, who gets to decide what permissible language is and what it isn’t? Which “moral” government agency decides which commentaries are too shocking or insulting?

The logical end result of Pope Francis’s comments is the majority population subjugating minority groups to whatever standards the majority determines acceptable. The pontiff can praise the virtues of liberty all he wants, but if he doesn’t support putting liberty into practice, his voice will ultimately be used to oppose freedom.

Pope Francis’s comments come just hours after Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo that took the lives of 12 people. The organization says plans for the attacks had been in the works for several years, and that they were motivated by France’s “crimes” against Muslims. AQAP did not claim responsibility for a second attack on a kosher grocery store in Paris.

The “limits” on speech the pontiff seems to be suggesting, which may be nothing more than society choosing not to tolerate offensive organizations like Charlie Hebdo, is precisely what Al Qaeda and other radicals want: to create an environment where people are afraid to speak freely.

If freedom of speech is abridged — even if it’s only limited by society and not by some sort of legal restraint from the government — and other potentially offensive behaviors are forbidden as an overreaction to the horrific attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the terrorists win. French society will become slaves to whatever politically correct fad comes next, and the voice of the minority will slowly and surely be drowned out by popular waves of emotion and irrational attacks on liberty.

 

[Originally published at the Daily Caller]

 

Categories: On the Blog

Minimum Wage Mythology Will Hurt Workers

Somewhat Reasonable - January 18, 2015, 11:09 AM

More than 3.1 million workers across the nation received a late Christmas gift on Jan. 1, when minimum wages were increased in 21 states. Although the mandated wage hike was welcomed by many workers, they will soon find that their new pay raise will cause more harm than help.

It’s understandable why voters supported increasing the minimum wage. Living on $7.25 per hour—the federal requirement for minimum wages—is an exceptionally difficult endeavor, and it’s hard to imagine a family with children thriving with such little income, even if parents are working 40 hours per week or more. However, behind all of the compassionate slogans and well-intentioned protests rests a reality that sharply cuts through the many myths surrounding minimum wage increases: economics and common sense.

Contrary to claims made by advocates of the mandated increases, raising wages by less than one dollar will do little to curb poverty. In Colorado, for instance, wages increased 23 cents to $8.23, but that only means full-time workers earning the minimum wage will see roughly $9.20 (before taxes) more per week than they currently receive now and about $478 more per year, assuming the worker works all 52 weeks.

If current trends for inflation and the consumer price index continue at rates comparable to the past three years, those minimum wage increases will evaporate by the end of 2016—and this assumes the minimum wage hike will have no effect on prices in Colorado.

Ultimately, minimum wage laws do little to help impoverished workers, and basic economics explains why. When any market sees an increase in dollars available, prices for common goods and services, such as gasoline and groceries, inevitably go up. The reason for this is simple: If consumers have more money to spend, businesses will charge more money in the hopes of earning a greater profit.

For example, a small store in Colorado, where the state’s minimum wage increased 23 cents to $8.23, may employ 10 workers earning a minimum wage and working an average of 40 hours per week. With the passage of the new minimum wage, the store owner now has to pay his or her workers a total of $92 more per week than in 2014. The easiest way for a business owner to come up with the difference is to raise prices, which leads to increased costs for all consumers across the market.

Many business owners, however, are already charging what they believe to be the highest prices possible to stay competitive, which means owners must either take a profit loss themselves or reduce employee hours. Myriad businesses are even compelled to lay workers off.

Minimum wage proponents argue that such sacrifices may be necessary in order to keep an entire class of workers who can’t survive on a minimum wage from falling into poverty, but this myth fails to consider the many taxpayer-subsidized benefits minimum wage earners already receive.

At the federal level alone, full-time minimum wage workers with any number of children are eligible for both the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)—$496 in 2014—and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which combined with the federal minimum wage of $7.25 equals or exceeds the poverty level for all conceivable family combinations. This effectively means that no one working full-time on a minimum wage in the United States is actually in poverty according to the federal government, and the taxpayer aid they receive dwarfs the minute benefits minimum wage workers gain from increased pay.

Although voters’ desire to increase the minimum wage was based on an altruistic hope that the government mandate would lift thousands of Americans out of poverty, the reality is that no full-time minimum wage workers are in poverty by the federal government’s own standards, and even if they were, artificially raising the minimum wage will do little to improve their lives.

[Originally published at Human Events]

 

Categories: On the Blog

The Founders Wanted a Laser-Focused Article V Convention (Part 4 of 8)

Somewhat Reasonable - January 17, 2015, 2:18 PM

This is part 4 of the 8 part series establishing that the laser-focus of the Compact for America approach to organizing an Article V convention with the specific job advancing and ratifying a pre-drafted, specific federal Balanced Budget Amendment is clearly, unequivocally, and overwhelmingly what the Founders expected from the state-originated amendment process.

Exhibit D-George Nicholas’ Reply to Patrick Henry

On June 6, 1788, Patrick Henry raged against ratification at the Virginia convention.

In response , leading Federalist, George Nicholas, observed that state legislatures may apply for an Article V convention confined to a “few points;” and that “it is natural to conclude that those States who will apply for calling the Convention, will concur in the ratification of the proposed amendments.”

Notice how Nicholas’ conclusion is only “natural” with the expectation that the states would typically organize a convention with a narrow and preset agenda, and only after first agreeing on one or more amendments specified in their Article V application.

This is, of course, the foundational principle of the Compact approach to advancing constitutional amendments. Like and share if you agree and want to spread the word! And consider a tax deductible donation to our “Balance the Budget Now!” campaign.

[Originally published at Compact for America]

Categories: On the Blog

Capitalizing on Cheap Energy for the Long Term

Somewhat Reasonable - January 17, 2015, 8:37 AM

For the past several weeks, falling oil prices and a likely veto of the Keystone XL pipeline by President Barack Obama have been commanding the headlines. But something more significant has been lost in the commotion. Last year, the United States produced more oil and natural gas than any other country, allowing us to achieve virtual energy independence which has been an expressed goal of public policy since the 1970s. What’s more, American consumers are reaping a fiscal windfall as lower energy prices reduce the costs driving their cars and heating and powering their homes. Most American industries are benefiting as well, especially energy-intensive manufacturing companies that use oil and gas both as fuels and feed stocks.

American innovations, in particular the application of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in the nation’s many shale plays, are primarily responsible for our new-found energy abundance. Ironically, while total U.S. oil output has doubled since 2008, off-shore production has been dropping for the past six years.

Here’s another little known fact: The largest gas field in the nation today isn’t in the Southwest but in the North East. The Marcellus shale, which encompasses much of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Eastern Ohio and the southern tier of New York, has become the nation’s biggest gas producer. And even though New York has banned hydraulic fracturing, the state’s residents nonetheless benefit from the drilling activity occurring on the south bank of the Susquehanna River.

The economic benefits from America’s shale revolution have not been limited to the traditional oil patch but have been spread widely across the nation. Thirty-two states currently produce commercial amounts of oil and gas, and though only about 350,000 workers actually toil in the field, the energy industry directly and indirectly supports more than nine million jobs across the country.

Cheap oil and natural gas are helping the economy in other ways, such as reducing our trade deficit and attracting foreign investment, especially in heavy manufacturing. Increased use of clean natural gas for power generation is largely responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to their level of 20 years ago.

The shale boom has also helped revive a number of “Rust Belt” cities who are providing drilling equipment and oilfield services to operators in the northeastern U.S. And the Great Recession would have been longer and deeper absent the shale boom that started about the time the economy went into a tailspin.

Without question, the dramatic drop in oil and gas prices over since last summer is posing challenges to America’s domestic energy industry. The number of operating rigs, as well as new drilling permits, has been falling for the past two months, and several large companies have recently announced layoffs. At today’s prices, new deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico may well be put on hold.

But oil prices won’t remain depressed forever. At present, every OPEC country, including Saudi Arabia, is running a budget deficit due to lower prices, an imbalance that can’t persist for the long-term. By contrast, the U.S. budget picture will be minimally affected by lower oil and gas prices while the International Monetary Fund projects a one-half percent bump in our GDP growth rate this year from cheaper energy.

Being the world’s largest producer of oil and gas gives America huge economic and political leverage, but only if we engage more fully in the global marketplace. To retain this leverage, while sustaining our oil and gas industry during a period of lower prices, we should quickly remove any artificial barriers to enhanced production. In addition to completing the Keystone XL pipeline, all restrictions on the export of oil and natural gas should be lifted and lease sales on federal lands and the outer continental shelf should be resumed.

[This first appeared in The Hill]
Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Sean Parnell: 2014 in Healthcare and Looking Ahead to 2015

Somewhat Reasonable - January 16, 2015, 3:49 PM

Director of Communications Jim Lakely talks to Managing Editor of Healthcare News and Research Fellow Sean Parnell about the past year in regards to healthcare and the obamacare law. They discuss the failures from the launch of the government healthcare websites to the lackluster enrollment numbers.

Lakely and Parnell also talk about the future of Obamacare and what 2015 may hold for the controversial law. They discuss the potential political battles that may be looming. Between the pressure to repeal and replace the afforable care act and the further implementation of said law, 2015 should be an interesting year for the subject of healthcare.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

The EPA’s Methane Madness

Somewhat Reasonable - January 16, 2015, 11:03 AM

The Obama administration’s attack on America’s energy sector is insane. They might as well tell us what to eat. Oh, wait, Michelle Obama is doing that. Or that the Islamic State is not Islamic. Oh, wait, Barack Obama said that.

Or that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is about protecting the environment. It used to be decades ago, but not these days.

There was a time when the EPA was devoted to cleaning up the nation’s air and water. It did a very good job and we now all breathe cleaner air and have cleaner water. At some point, though, it went from a science-based government agency to one for which science is whatever they say it is and its agenda is the single minded reduction of all sources of energy, coal, oil and natural gas, by telling huge lies, citing junk science, and generating a torrent of regulation.

Americans have been so blitzed with global warming and climate change propaganda for so long one can understand why many just assume that these pose a hazard even though there hasn’t been any warming for 19 years and climate change is something that has been going on for 4.5 billion years. When the EPA says that it’s protecting everyone’s health, one can understand why that is an assumption many automatically accept.

The problem is that the so-called “science” behind virtually all of the EPA pronouncements and regulations cannot even be accessed by the public that paid for it. The problem is so bad that, in November 2014, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) introduced a bill, HR 4012, the Secret Science Reform Act, to address it. It would force the EPA to disclose all scientific and technical information before proposing or finalizing any regulation.

As often as not, those conducting taxpayer funded science studies refuse to release the raw data they obtained and the methods they used to interpret it. Moreover, agency “science” isn’t always about empirical data collection, but as Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, noted in 2013, it is “a ‘literature search’ with researchers in a library selecting papers and reports by others that merely summarize results and give opinions of the actual scientists. These agency researchers never even see the underlying data, much less collect it in the field.”

The syndicated columnist, Larry Bell, recently noted that “Such misleading and downright deceptive practices openly violate the Information Quality Act, Executive Order 12688, and related Office of Management and Budget guidelines requiring that regulatory agencies provide for full, independent, peer review of all ‘influential scientific information.’” It isn’t that there are laws to protect us from the use of junk science. It’s more like they are not enforced.

These days the EPA is on a tear to regulate mercury and methane. It claims that its mercury air and toxics rule would produce $53 billion to $140 billion in annual health and environmental benefits. That is so absurd it defies the imagination. It is based on the EPA’s estimated benefits from reducing particulates that are—wait for it—already covered by existing regulations!

Regarding the methane reduction crusade the EPA has launched, Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, says “EPA’s methane regulation is redundant, costly, and unnecessary. Energy producers are already reducing methane emissions because methane is a valuable commodity. It would be like issuing regulations forcing ice cream makers to spill less ice cream.”

“The Obama administration’s latest attack on American energy,” said Pyle, “reaffirms that their agenda is not about the climate at all—it’s about driving up the cost of producing and using natural gas, oil, and coal in America. The proof is the EPA’s own research on methane which shows that this rule will have no discernible impact on the climate.”

S. Fred Singer, founder and Director of the Science and Environmental Policy Project as well as a Senior Fellow with The Heartland Institutesays “Contrary to radical environmentalists’ claims, methane is NOT an important greenhouse gas; it has a totally negligible impact on climate. Attempts to control methane emissions make little sense. A Heartland colleague, Research Fellow H. Sterling Burnett, says “Obama is again avoiding Congress, relying on regulations to effectively create new laws he couldn’t legally pass.”

As Larry Bell noted, even by the EPA’s own calculations and estimates, the methane emissions limits, along with other limits on so called greenhouse gases “will prevent less than two-hundredths of a degree Celsius of warming by the end of this century.”

That’s a high price to pay for the loss of countless plants that generate the electricity on which the entire nation depends for its existence. That is where the EPA is taking us.

Nothing the government does can have any effect on the climate. You don’t need a PhD in meteorology or climatology to know that.

[Originally published at Warning Signs]

Categories: On the Blog
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