Is wood the best fuel to generate electricity? Despite wood’s low energy density and high cost, utilities in the US and abroad are switching from coal to wood to produce electrical power. The switch to wood is driven by regulations from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other international organizations. These regulations are based on the false assumption that burning wood reduces carbon dioxide emissions.
Wood has never been a major fuel source for electrical power. In 1882, when Thomas Edison built the first power plant in New York at Pearl Street Station, he used coal to fire the plant. A switch to wood is not going back in time; it is adopting a fuel that was regarded as inferior at the dawn of the electrical age.
Pound for pound, wood contains less energy and is more expensive than other fuels. A 2008 study conducted at the Rapids Energy Center plant in Minnesota found that, compared to coal, more than twice the mass of wood was required to produce the same electrical output. A 2008 study by the UK House of Lords concluded that electricity from biomass was more than twice the cost of electricity from coal or natural gas. Nevertheless, an increasing number of electrical power plants are switching from coal to low-energy-density and high-cost wood fuel.
This irrational behavior is driven by the EPA, the US Department of Energy, the European Union, the California Air Resources Board, and other world organizations that assume that biomass fuel is “carbon neutral.” Biomass-fired plants receive carbon credits, tax exemptions, and subsidies from promoting governments.
When burned, biomass emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere like any other combustion. A 2012 paper by Synapse Energy Economics estimated that burning biomass emits 50 to 85 percent more CO2 than burning coal since the energy content of biomass is lower than coal relative to its carbon content.
The “carbon neutral” concept originated in a 1996 Greenhouse Gas Inventory paper from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations. The IPCC assumed that, as biofuel plants grow, they absorb CO2 equal to the amount released when burned. If correct, substitution of wood for coal would reduce net emissions.
But a 2011 opinion by the European Environment Agency pointed to a “serious error” in greenhouse gas accounting. The carbon neutral assumption does not account for CO2 that would be absorbed by the natural vegetation that grows on land not used for biofuel production. Substitution of wood for coal in electrical power plants is actually increasing carbon dioxide emissions.
Nevertheless, governments have adopted the “carbon neutral” assumption and continue to promote biomass as a substitute for coal. As a result, nations and utilities are not required to count their CO2 emissions from biomass combustion.
In July, Dominion Virginia Power completed conversion of its Altavista Power Station to biomass fuel, the first of three planned facility conversions at a total cost of $165 million. The change was lauded as a method to “help to meet Virginia’s renewable energy goal.” Virginia citizens paid for the conversion and will pay higher electricity bills in the future.
The Altavista station and other biomass plants claim to be using “waste” fuel that would otherwise be going into landfills. But according to the DOE, 65 percent of US biomass-generated electricity comes from wood and 35 percent from waste.
Finding sources of wood to feed ravenous power plants is not easy. The small wood-fired EJ Stoneman power plant in Cassville, Wisconsin is rated at 40 megawatts. Each day it burns 1,000 tons of wood delivered by 30 different suppliers. The 100-megawatt Picway power plant in southern Ohio considered a conversion to biomass, but could not secure a good wood supply. Picway will be shut down in 2015 when tougher EPA emission regulations take effect.
Following President Obama’s direction, the EPA plans to impose CO2 emission limits on existing power plants, requiring the shuttering of US coal-fired power stations. In 2012, 37 percent of US electricity was produced from coal, with only 1.4 percent produced from biomass. Without some common sense about CO2 emissions, look for expanded efforts to cut down US forests to feed a growing number of biomass plants.
The height of eco-madness is the conversion of the Drax Power Station in the United Kingdom from coal to wood fuel. Drax is the largest power plant in Europe, generating up to 3,960 megawatts of power from 36,000 tons of coal per day, delivered by 140 trains every week. In order to “reduce emissions” at Drax, more than 70,000 tons of wood will be harvested every day from forests in the US and shipped 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to Britain.
Conversion of the Drax facility will cost British citizens £700 million ($1.1 Billion) and the new wood-fired electricity will cost double or triple the cost from coal. Drax Group plc will receive a subsidy of over £1 billion ($1.6 billion) per year for this green miracle.
[Originally published in The Washington Times]
If you are looking for a book that will fully explain why affordable, reliable energy is absolutely crucial to our social and economic well-being, Energy Freedom by Marita Littauer Noon is the book for you. This is truly one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a very long time.
I am not alone in my assessment.
John Fund, columnist for the Wall Street Journal, said of this book, “Even people who have no idea where the electricity that lights their home or gas that cooks their meals comes from will find Energy Freedom a clear, understandable primer on why we all have to care about energy.”
“Marita Noon’s Energy Freedom documents both the role energy plays in the exercise of American freedom and the efforts by some to subvert that freedom through restricting its supply,” said Apollo 17 astronaut and former U.S. Senator Harrison Schmitt.
Both these men are entirely correct.
Progress Through Energy Advances
In a thorough but very readable narrative, Noon explains how and why so many people work to bring us affordable energy. She also lifts the veil on the dark side of energy politics, where anti-energy extremists pull out all the stops to restrict energy production and consumers’ energy use. Indeed, she slays the “green” monster that warps the thinking of some of the most intelligent people in politics, and she explains how government regulation and red tape have prevented access to so many of our vast natural resources
Noon details how life would be with only electric cars and limited transportation, comparing it to the pre-1920s when Americans rode on horseback. Sure, there were no direct carbon dioxide emissions from transportation (other than horses’ breathing), but each horse required five acres of hay and oats to feed it, and the horses left piles of manure on city streets which created great stench and spread disease. The unintended environmental and health impacts of conventional energy substitutes may have changed over the years, but they remain in one form or another, regardless of how environmental activists choose to frame the issue.
Noon describes an environmental dystopia where the medicines that have helped double our life spans in the past century would be drastically curtailed by reduced availability of cheap energy.
Noon understands and agrees that we all want a green earth—clean air, fresh water, and a safe food supply—but restricting energy use and blocking technological progress are not good ways to achieve it. We have made huge environmental strides since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Despite dramatic increases in population, economic production, electricity generation, transportation miles, etc., U.S. aggregate emissions are less than half of what they were just a few decades ago.
When someone on a street corner or in front of a grocery store asks us to sign a petition to stop plans for a new power plant or some other natural resource project, we ought to remember the larger implications of the environmental utopia they seek, Noon notes.
Unmasking Environmental Extremists
She pulls no punches in linking today’s environmental zealots to the authoritarian leftists of the early and mid-twentieth century. Noon gives full documentation why many people correctly refer to today’s environmental activist groups as “watermelons”—green on the outside, red (Communist) underneath. She quotes George Will explaining, “today’s green left is the old red revised…. The left exists to enlarge the state’s supervision of life, narrowing the individual choices in the name of the collective good.”
Noon provides support for her points with detailed case studies, such as the nefarious ways of the seemingly innocuous Humane Society. Noon gives readers all the information we need to find and read the detailed case studies ourselves, which is a huge plus.
Noon also provides excellent information and data on the most dangerous environmental groups, such as their astonishing net worth. For example, the World Wildlife Fund, which is number three on the list, has a net worth of $426 million. Collectively, numbers two through 10 on the list are worth $2.6 trillion. The number one group on the list, the Nature Conservancy, is worth more than $5 trillion. Even groups ranking relatively low on the list have astonishing resources at their command. The number 7 group, the Natural Resources Defense Council, is worth $232 million. Number 8, Environmental Defense, is worth $145 million.
Topics that Stand Out
The book does an excellent job slaying misconceptions on many energy-related topics, and a few deserve special praise. Noon emphatically and persuasively documents the farce of “free” solar energy. She meticulously explains the absurdity of burning crops to make ethanol and biofuels, documenting the vast amounts of land and resources required to divert our food supply into fuel.
Providing context for energy-related environmental hoaxes, Noon succinctly conveys the deadly historical effects that followed the false DDT claims. She also documents the tragic economic toll on northwestern U.S. communities resulting from efforts to save the non-endangered spotted owl. Far greater economic costs are being imposed on the United States and western democracies in the name of fighting a nonexistent global warming problem.
Energy Freedom is both a thorough book and an easy read. It will make a great Christmas stocking stuffer.
Investigative reporter Chuck Goudie notes that what the U.S. Census Bureau began in 1790 as a straight head-count has morphed into a massive data-collection effort on the living habits of Americans. And know this: If you see a copy of the “American Community Survey” in your mailbox, the answers are not voluntary.
Answering is mandatory, and a Census Bureau employee will show up at your door and harass you into answering — at least by the account of one of subjects of this story. He called the persistent efforts of the government to learn about the daily habits of him and his family “incredibly creepy.”
ABC7 reached out to The Heartland Institute to talk about the American Community Survey (ACS) and our Steve Stanek was happy to oblige. He’s featured in the video below.
Over the years, the Census Bureau has been demanding more and more information way beyond how many people live in your house.
Among the questions your government insists some quarter of a million Americans answer each month:
- What time do you leave for work?
- How many bedrooms are in your house?
- Do you have a flush toilet?
- Does a mental condition impact your ability to shop?
The fine for not answering the government’s questions is $5,000. One wonders how, in a free society, merely wanting to be left alone subjects a middle-class family to forfieting a month’s pay. Oh, yeah. I remember now. The steady march of leftism.
BTW: The government assured ABC7 that all the data they collect is “encrypted and could never get into the wrong hands.” Sure. Just ask some Tea Party groups around the country what they think of that promise. Also check back in a few weeks with the poor saps who entered their personal information into the federal government’s Obamacare site.
Goudie’s report mentions that all this prying Census information is available for free to any American who would like to look at it — including businesses trying to craft better marketing plans. That’s supposed to make us feel better about it? Didn’t work on Heartland’s Steve Stanek, who said:
If it’s useful for business, business ought to pay for that. They should not use the American taxpayer to get information from them.
Goudie closes by noting that scammers are out there knocking on doors pretending to be from the Census Bureau and following up on this mandatory survey — and stealing personal financial information in the process. Of course. Criminals want a Merry Christmas, too.
This story makes me think of that quip from Ronald Reagan:
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I’m here from the government, and I’m here to help.”
Watch below a report on what your friendly, neighborhood Bureaucrat-Man is up to these days:
During a symposium held recently at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yale historian Tim Snyder told the attendees: “Climate change acts as a “multiplier of other resource crises leading to “the ecological panic that I’m afraid will lead to mass killings in the decades come.”
In his attempt to predict the future, he is relying on historic resource crises that have led to mass killings, revolts, invasions, and famines. However, almost all of those resource crises came during the earth’s “little ice ages,” not during our planet’s warm cycles. (Neither Hitler nor Mao Tse Tung was driven by resource crises; Japan may have thought it was, but its invasion of China cost a terrible price.)
On the whole, the warmings have been the good times. The long summers, sunny skies, and moderate rainfall in the Medieval Warming tripled human numbers around the globe, according to respected Medieval population scholar Josiah Russell. The long Roman Warming delivered similar benefits, with ample food and a massive increase in economic growth, trade, and prosperity.
The key resource crises have always been about food. It’s hard to grow much food if your farmers are beset by short, cold, cloudy summers, century-long droughts and violent, flooding storms. The six cultural collapses in Egypt’s famously fertile NileValley were all caused by centuries of too little rainfall in the Sudanese and Ethiopian highlands during the “little ice ages.” Half the Egyptians may have died in the resulting famines, and records say that parents literally ate their own children. That was truly a resource crisis!
The famed Bronze Age collapse occurred at 1200 BC because of a global stab of cold and storms. Roads turned to mud, and sea-storms sank ships. Making bronze required tin, and the ships could no longer safely reach the major tin mines in southern England, Turkey, and the Malay Peninsula. The Greeks, the Hittites in Turkey, the Egyptians, the Akkadian Empire in the Tigris-Euphrates valley, the Harappans in northwestern India, the steppe nomads on the grasslands across Eurasia, and several cultures in China all collapsed. For several centuries, famine ruled most of the populated world.
Dian Zhang calculates that 80% of China’s wars, rebellions, and failed dynasties have come during the floods, droughts, and famines of its “little ice ages.” What comparable “resource crises” does Dr. Snyder see in our globally warmed future?
The global computer models’ predictions have already failed. We have no reason to expect their predictions of sudden catastrophic warming to come true. Nor has the UN’s climate panel told its computers about the long, natural 1,500-year climate cycle. The Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle has afflicted humanity with eight “little ice ages” since the last Ice Age. However, it has also given us an equal number of warm, stable centuries-long warmings.
Humanity only began to rise above the “little ice age” famines as we began to develop high-yield farming, out of desperation, toward the end of the last Little Ice Age (AD 1200–1850). The new gang plow permitted cropping the heaviest, richest bottomlands for the first time. The mechanical seeder allowed planting in rows, so the crops could be weeded. The potato and tomato came from the New World. Turnips from China permitted a livestock feed crop after the grains were harvested.
History tells us that if we have food, the other resource crises can be handled. In the current Corn Belt drought, our grain and yields will still be about six times as high as during the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s. We have developed no-till farming during the intervening 80-plus years to protect the land from erosion when drought events happen. Our biggest recent mistake has been to put a sizeable percentage of our food crops into corn ethanol—so the U.S. drought will now drive up the costs of both food and fuel to excruciating levels.
Take the food out of our gas tanks and put it back on the table. Reinvigorate high-yield farming research. Our ancestors coped with the “resource crises” as long as they could eat.[Article originally on cfact.org]
The marketplace long ago provided what some in Congress now want to mandate.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller just introduced legislation, the “Consumer Choice in Online Video Act.”
It “aims to enable the ultimate a la carte – to give consumers the ability to watch the programming they want to watch, when they want to watch it, how they want to watch it, and pay for only what they actually watch.”
Mandating that video programming be bought and sold in one government proscribed manner is not consumer choice; it is old-fashioned rate regulation of video content and service.
The legislation incorrectly assumes that the hundred million American households who freely choose pay TV have no choice.
That the choice to view video free or for pay from either over-the-air broadcast, coax cable, DBS, fiber cable, copper cable, or over-the-top online video is somehow not choice.
That the choice of basic packages, premium packages, a la carte premium and sports channels, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or YouTube are not choices.
Consumer video choice already abounds in the marketplace!
Moreover, the video nirvana the legislation seeks already is a consumer choice in the market. The “ultimate a la carte” is exactly what Google-YouTube’s no-pay-TV business model is. Consumers don’t need a government mandate on everyone to get what they already can choose for themselves. No legislation needed.
Think about it. According to Google, YouTube has over a billion viewers viewing six billion hours of video each month. It claims to reach more 18-34 adult Americans than any U.S. cable network. And it boasts it has thousands of channels making six figures a year.
Relative to their nearest Internet video competitor, YouTube commands 21 times more U.S. videos viewed and 17 times more U.S. unique video viewers, per comScore.
Anyone immediately can upload most anything to YouTube without any review or authorization by anyone. They then can immediately offer it to the world and potentially earn advertising on who views it, unless users choose to skip their ads, which 75% of users do.
Also Google reports it has taken down 200 million pirated videos from YouTube in 2013 alone.
The other key attribute to YouTube being the “ultimate a la carte” video offering is that their “open” no curation policy. With no supervision or accountability, YouTube conducts business in ways that quality content producers cannot, and do not want to broadly associate with.
YouTube’s lowest video curation standards in the industry mean YouTube will host and advertise: age inappropriate, improper, indecent and illegal videos until someone other than Google objects.
Most quality brands need and want the choice to not affiliate with potential video choices of actual beheadings, sex trafficking of teenagers, or illegal drugs for sale.
What the recently announced legislation fails to recognize, is that in a competitive marketplace that produces the most demanded video content in the world, consumers are not the only ones with choice.
Content suppliers have distribution choices too. That’s how markets work. Supply meets demand where it is economic and good business to do so.
U.S. content creators can choose to sell their content to those who are most effective in protecting it, and to those who enable them to make a return on investment on their copyrighted property.
They can choose to not do business with those who do not provide an economic return; those who turn a blind-eye to piracy; or those who generally devalue their product in the marketplace. That’s choice-driven competition. And it’s made the American video programming market the envy of the world.
And America’s unmatched $1.2 trillion in private investment in competitive broadband facilities over the last fifteen years is also the envy of the world.
America’s competitive broadband marketplace allows for different companies to offer the choice of using different technologies in different ways to meet the varied needs, wants and means of America’s broadband consumers. That’s successful consumer-choice-driven competition.
So what about Chairman Rockefeller’s online video legislation? However well intentioned it may be, it is not pro-competition, but actually heavy-handed, unwarranted, implicit price regulation. It would profoundly distort the marketplace in several destructively uneconomic ways.
It would not promote competition based on economics and property; it would simply favor one type of business model over all others. That would foster competition for government favors, not competition for Americans’ business.
The legislation should repeal the obsolete 1992 Cable Act, because it incorrectly assumes that cable is a monopoly when nearly half of America’s video households, 46 million, get service from a cable competitor.
Specifically, it seeks to treat online video distributors, the way Congress treated DBS companies in 1992, with mandated program access. In 1992, DBS providers were completely new entrants facing a then effective cable monopoly.
Those market facts warranted government intervention to jumpstart competition. Today those market facts no longer exist.
Consider the primary beneficiaries of this legislation. They aren’t new entrants and they aren’t facing an effective monopoly.
First, Google-YouTube already has a billion viewers, is the third most valuable company, and generates $30b in gross annual profit. The other is Netflix, which is the largest video distributor by subscribers in the U.S., and which enjoys a stratospheric market valuation and a billion dollars in annual gross profit.
The legislation would effectively grant these two online video juggernauts, who consume half of the nation’s peak downstream bandwidth, with implicit, multi-billion dollar, bandwidth and content subsidies. That’s not competition. That’s corporate welfare for billionaires.
In sum, American consumers already enjoy the most unfettered video choice in the world.
This legislation perversely would destroy consumer video choice because it would destroy the sound and sustainable economics of the current vibrantly competitive video marketplace.
It nonsensically would force content producers and bandwidth providers to offer their products at prices and on terms where they could not earn any return on their investment.
Simply, government mandates naturally limit consumer choices. In contrast, market-based competition naturally promotes consumer choice.
Scott Cleland is Chairman of NetCompetition, a pro-competition e-forum supported by broadband interests and President of Precursor LLC, a research consultancy for Fortune 500 companies. Cleland served as Deputy U.S. Coordinator for International Communications & Information Policy in the George H. W. Bush Administration.
[Article originally posted on dailycaller.com]
When you consider that a bunch of global warming propagandists, the 19th Conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions has been meeting in Warsaw this month are still claiming that we are in the midst of global warming, you have a demonstration of how great a hoax has been perpetrated on the peoples of the world.
These people and the scientists who supplied the falsified and inaccurate climate models to support the global warming claims have committed a criminal fraud.
Bit by bit, the truth in the form of increasingly cold weather is causing people to wonder whether they are being duped. The media has either buried the stories of extraordinary cold events or continues to tip-toe around the truth.
An example is a recent Wall Street Journal article by Robert Lee Hotz,“Strange Doings on the Sun”, Hotz reported that “Researchers are puzzled. They can’t tell if the lull is temporary or the onset of a decades-long decline, which might ease global warming a bit by altering the sun’s brightness or the wavelengths of its light.”
After describing the fact that the Sun has entered a period of reduced sunspot activity, always a precursor to a cooling cycle and even an ice age, Dr. David Hathaway, head of the solar physics group at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, is quoted as saying “It may give us a brief respite from global warming, but it is not going to stop it.”
Plainly said, you cannot trust what government scientists have to say about global warming. The government’s policy since the late 1980s has been that global warming is real and poses a great threat to the Earth. What Dr. Hathaway and other “warmists” are desperately trying to ignore is the fact that the Earth entered a natural and predictable cooling cycle around 1997 or 1998. It has been cooling ever since!
In 1997 Robert W. Felix authored the definitive book on the coming ice age in his book, “Not by Fire, but by Ice.” It is still widely available. His website,IceAgeNow.info provides updated information on the many weather events around the world that demonstrate an ice age—whether it is a mini-ice age or a full-scale one—is occurring. Felix says that a major Ice Age, when it begins, will come on very swiftly.
One post on Felix’s website is about Victor Emanuel Velasco Herrera, a geophysicist at the University of Mexico, who predicts that the “Earth will enter a ‘Little Ice Age’ which will last from 60 to 80 years and may be caused by the decrease in solar activity.” You don’t have to be a geophysicist to figure out that less solar activity adds up to a colder Earth.
2014 is the year many scientists believe an ice age, “mini” or full-scale will begin. Herrera hedged his prediction saying that “with the mass production of current carbon dioxide (CO2) it is unlikely that we will see a major ice age like the one experienced 12,000 years ago.” Carbon Dioxide plays no role in warming the Earth. It is a very minor element of the Earth’s atmosphere.
The implications of an ice age, no matter how long or short, is its impact on the growing of crops to feed everyone. Dr. Tim Patterson of Canada’s Carleton University’s Department of Earth Sciences, in a May 18, 2007 article in the Calgary Times, wrote that satellite data “shows that by the year 2020 the next solar cycle is going to be solar cycle 25—the weakest one since the Little Ice Age (that started in the 13th century and ended around 1860)…should be a great strategic concern in Canada because nobody is farming north of us. In other words, Canada—the great breadbasket of the world—might not be able to grow grains in much of the prairies.” This prediction applies as well, of course, to the U.S. production of grains.
Other scientists have been sounding the alarm, predicting dramatic cooling to begin in the current decade. Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a Fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, has noted that “Earth has passed the peak of its warmer period and a fairly cold spell will set in quite soon, by 2012, real cold will come when solar activity reaches its minimum, by 2041, and will last for 50-60 years or even longer.” While the years cited by scientists may differ, they are in agreement that we are looking at decades of cold.
In the years since the late 1980s when “global warming” was unleashed on the world as the greatest hoax of the modern era, billions have come to believe the Earth was threatened by greater warming cause by man-made “greenhouse gases” resulting from industrial and all other uses of fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. While carbon dioxide has, indeed, increased in the atmosphere, the truth is that the Earth has entered a cooling cycle and that it is on the cusp of very cold weather for decades. We could even cross over into a full-fledged Ice Age because one is overdue at this point in time.
You cannot depend on what the mass media tells you. They are hardwired to continue the global warming hoax. You can, however, educate yourself with books such as Robert Felix’s. You can use Google to find out more about ice ages. You can and should prepare yourself for changes in the Earth’s climate that will have vast impacts on the global economy and on the ability to grow enough crops to feed the world’s population.
[Originally published on Warning Signs]
During hearings on the nomination of Janet Yellen as Chair of the Federal Reserve, Senator David Vitter asked her position on Senator Rand Paul’s bill to audit the Fed. She replied that while she supports “transparency,” she also guards “independence,” and so opposes the bill. The two things – transparency and independence – are not the same.
The argument for independence is strong. There is a negative correlation between central bank independence and the rate of inflation. In countries with more independent central banks, the decision of the political branches to deficit spend is made separately from the decision of the central bank to finance the deficit with newly-created money. The political branches are therefore subject to the discipline of the bond market. Thus, central bank independence both directly (by immunizing the money supply from deficits) and indirectly (by subjecting the budget to the discipline of the bond market) supports sound money.
The gold standard could be viewed as the ultimate form of independence. Indeed, with a gold standard, you wouldn’t even need a central bank. Or, if you have a central bank along with a gold standard, the central bank’s power over the money supply would be limited. Hopefully, it would be able to, and would actually intervene during times of financial crisis so as to prevent deflation from breaking out (something the Fed failed to do during the Great Depression).
With fiat money, because there is no natural check on the money supply, central bank independence becomes very important. Furthermore, the goals of monetary policy also become important. Is the goal exclusively to maintain the purchasing power of the monetary unit, to include preventing both inflation and deflation? Or, are there multiple (and even conflicting) goals, such as fighting both inflation and unemployment, and possibly also keeping the interest rates on government debt low?
The more expansive are the goals for monetary policy, the more difficult it is to discern what the central bank is trying to do. Is the central bank, for example, compromising on inflation to fight unemployment? Do huge deficits put pressure on the central bank to expand the money supply? Because of these uncertainties, it is argued, the financial markets need to “listen in” to the deliberations of central bankers so as to maintain confidence in their fidelity to the goal of maintaining th purchasing power of the monetary unit. Transparency, therefore, has little to do with being accountable to the political branches of government. It’s about allaying the concerns of the financial market in the face of accommodative monetary policy.
In the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, opinion leaders across the world are arguing that we will see more frequent and more severe extreme weather due to man-made global warming. This makes no sense. If increasing greenhouse gas emissions were to cause the world to warm significantly, an unlikely scenario, temperatures at high latitudes are forecast to rise the most, reducing the difference between arctic and tropical temperatures. Since this differential drives weather, we should see less extreme weather in a warmer world, not more.
The lack of extreme weather increase with global warming is one of the few areas of agreement between the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC—see ipcc.ch) and the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. In 2012 the IPCC asserted that a relationship between global warming and wildfires, rainfall, storms, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events has not been demonstrated. In their latest assessment report released on September 27, 2013, IPCC scientists concluded that they had only “Low confidence” that “damaging increases will occur in either drought or tropical cyclone activity” as a result of global warming.
The NIPCC report released on September 17, 2013 concluded the same, asserting that “In no case has a convincing relationship been established between warming over the past 100 years and increases in any of these extreme events.”
While Typhoon Haiyan was certainly a tragic event, it is important to recognize that the number of tropical cyclones making landfall in the Philippines has not changed significantly over the past century. For the North Atlantic, forecasters predicted that the 2013 hurricane season would be more active than usual. But it has been one of the weakest hurricane seasons since record-keeping began about 50 years ago. No major hurricane made landfall, something that has not happened in 45 years. 2013 also saw the fewest number of North Atlantic hurricanes since 1982.
Regardless, devastating events such as Haiyan will always happen from time to time. So, instead of wasting vast sums of money vainly trying to stop such events from happening, we need to prepare for and adapt to them as best we can. This would include doing such things as burying electrical cables underground and reinforcing buildings and other infrastructure. Had the evacuation shelters in the Philippines been of more study construction, far fewer people would have died. We also need to support reliable energy sources such as coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear and hydro-power, to ensure that we have plenty of energy to heat and cool our dwellings as needed. Weak and intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar are simply not up to the task at hand.
The real tragedy in all this is that most climate funding is devoted to supposedly preventing climate change that may happen in the future, not to helping people impacted by natural climate variability today in places like the Sahel in Africa and Northern Canada. According to the San Francisco-based Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) report (October 2013), of the approximately $357 billion US (almost $1 billion per day) that was spent on climate finance across the world in 2012, only 6% of it went to helping people in today’s world prepare for and adapt to climate change. CPI’s 2011 report demonstrated that, even within developing countries, only 5% of climate finance went into adaptation, a mistake that cost many lives this week in The Philippines. The rest of the money all went to trying to stop climate change that might happen decades in the future. This is essentially giving more value to the lives of people yet to be born than those suffering today due to the impacts of climate change, however caused.
People from across the political spectrum should speak out about this immoral approach, starting at the UN climate change conference currently underway in Poland. Developing countries must demand that adaptation negotiations be totally separated from the pointless, and usually fruitless, mitigation discussions. This will this greatly simplify adaptation negotiations and increase the likelihood of significant climate adaptation agreements. In contrast to mitigation where China and the United States continue to argue over who should go first and the very foundation of the issue is under dispute among scientists, no one doubts that climate change has dangerous impacts on the world’s poor.
Moving adaptation negotiations to conferences entirely separate from the UN mitigation-focused extravaganzas is crucially needed to give the topic a fresh start. Then, assisting countries in need due to natural climate variability will become an issue of foreign aid, one that should be debated as a humanitarian concern, not an environmental one.[Tom Harris' article was originally posted on canadafreepress.com]
Granted, the Front Range brain trust has set a low bar for itself, what with the shivering co-eds they paid to walk around Denver in their skivvies. And who could forget last month’s Brosurance ad featuring the dumbest, whitest seventh-year undergrads in the state keg-standing their nation to insolvency?
One would think that the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative would have watched a few Mad Men eps before trying their hands at another campaign. Au contraire.
Worried that the bro-only focus left out the ladies, the site DoYouGotInsurance.com (actual name) decided to make young women look dumb too.
“Shotskis keep us happy. Flu shots keep us healthy. Saving money on flu shots leaves us more money for fun shots.” It’s hard to believe that an adult wrote that copy, let alone an advertising professional. But we can be thankful that the white girl, white girl, white girl, white girl and white girl don’t have to skimp on their drinking budget for something as trivial as basic healthcare.
Another equally lame ad (this one featuring a white girl and a white girl) shows the duo drinking wine while clumsily exercising so they can stay “smokin’ hot.” I like a drink as well as the next guy, but I never considered ordering my neighbors to pick up the tab.
Please note that the only Latina in the new ad series is pregnant. Way to reinforce those stereotypes, guys.
The ads get downright depressing with the introduction of white girl #8 and some dude so skeevy that he makes Robin Thicke look like Ned Flanders.
This ad made Obamacare look so bad that many liberals on Twitter apparently thought it was a parody attacking the program. Alas, it was all too real. Now that the health exchange has promoted binge drinking and the hook-up culture, what’s next — a date-rape themed ad? (I probably shouldn’t give them ideas.)
Effective ads aimed at millennials are aspirational: young people are shown to be smart, savvy and sophisticated. Smart marketers want twentysomethings to become customers, so they wouldn’t dream of insulting them.
But Obamacare marketers portray millennials as drunken, irresponsible, libidinous morons fighting over keg taps and groping Axe-sprayed collar-poppers. Why insult your target market?
The answer is simple: Obama thinks you’re stupid.
The President and his hired guns have figured out that smart, independent, free-thinking millennials know Obamacare is a sham. Sophisticated young consumers realize they shouldn’t pay overpriced monthly insurance rates when they can just pay $95 if they get sick. And this net-savvy generation knows better than to put personal information on a broken website with endless security issues.
Not surprisingly, Colorado’s lousy ads don’t seem to be working. To date, only 3,700 poor souls have signed up, or 1 in 1400 Coloradans. Looks like the ad guys have a lot more people to insult.
[First published at FreedomWorks.]
Why the concern over President Obama’s Executive Orders? It is human nature that desensitization will creep in as related to frequency, making felt outrage over each successive mandate seem less intense or serious. The result: executive orders are likely to become more frequent and increasingly more extreme in their content in the absence of any serious push back to reign them in.
Not only concern, but an element of fear should abide in all Americans who believe in free enterprise and freedom of choice over having elected President who is resorting to executive orders, when unable to get legislation passed by Congress, to wrest control away from the American people. The American people didn’t vote for an Imperial president in 2008, such as our President has morphed into.
As was noted in Part 1 , Obama’s latest Executive Order on November 1st was geared at the takeover of this nation’s climate-change policy through measures that would prepare this nation for climate-related challenges. Reining in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, and specifically coal-burning plants, received top billing in keeping with the misguided belief that gas emissions from power plants represent this nation’s largest contributor to global warming.
During this past week, the EPA held “listening sessions” in eleven cities as part of the administration’s public outreach campaign as it implements harsh new limits on carbon emissions from power plants. The sessions were hosted at EPA regional offices in cities across the nation. Cities where listening tours were held to hear questions, concerns and complaints about its new global-warming regulations included San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. Kansas City, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
Usually the EPA conducts public hearings after specific regulations are proposed. Could the unusual step of hosting listening session before starting the process be related in any way to the EPA’s need to seek cover before proceeding with the regulations they already plan to adopt? Advocates of the Sierra Club and Beyond Coal campaign were most likely present at each of the eleven listening sessions, not shy in giving the EPA cover with messages urging the adoption of the most stringent carbon emissions limits.
Although the EPA sees itself as open to all points of views, why were towns avoided that rely heavily of coal mining, as well as those that depend on coal-fired power plants to support their local economy? Not surprising at all given an EPA that targets coal-burning plants as the largest contributor to global warming.
The new rules will definitely have a spill-over effect on the mining industry, for as demand for coal decreases, U.S. power-generation facilities will be forced to close resulting in a loss of jobs and economic uncertainty and downturns.
Regarding the implementation of coal plant carbon rules, the Obama administration has requested the EPA to have the rules ready for review by June 1, with finalization to take place by mid-2015. This would gives states a year to implement the new standards, which is not considered a long enough time to comply with the regulations. The development of technology to solve the environmental challenges will take both time and investments in research.
Chicago was the second-to-last stop on Friday, November 8th, before Philadelphia later in the day, of the eleven EPA-sponsored “Listening Tours” in major U.S. cities. The hearing was held at the Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago to gather public discourse on the Obama administration’s “Climate Plan.”
The Chicago-based Heartland Institute registered to attend and presented testimony at the EPA-sponsored Chicago event as a well qualified and renowned think tank world-wide in the promotion of sound science and market-based (rather than government-based) solutions to environmental problems. Headed by President and CEO, Joseph Bast, The Heartland Institute recently released a major new report on climate change science, produced by an international team of 40 scientists, which challenges the overly 2013 alarmist report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The following article was posted by James Lakely, Director of Communications at the Heartland Institute, following the testimony of Heartland’s two Policy Advisors, Steve Goreham and Paul Driessen, on Friday, November 8th at the Metcalfe Federal Building in Chicago, Heartlanders at EPA Hearing in Chicago: Reject Obama’s Climate Action Plan.
The presentations of Steve Goreham and Paul Driessen were limited to three minutes each. Although it would be prudent to read the two presentations in full, for brevity sake only the first part of each presentation is noted below.
Steve Goreham (Executive Director, Climate Science Coalition of America):
December 7, 2009 is a date that will live in infamy. Not in memory of Pearl Harbor, but because on that date, the Environmental Protection Agency declared carbon dioxide to be a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Ladies and gentlemen, that is bizarre. Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. It’s an odorless, harmless, invisible gas. It does not cause smoke or smog. The white vapor above a power plant’s cooling tower is condensing water vapor . . .
Paul Driessen (Senior Policy Advisor for a Constructive Tomorrow):
The EPA says carbon dioxide from America’s coal-fired power plants is causing dangerous climate change. It says computer models support these claims. But the models are useless. Their predictions have been totally wrong — and none of EPA’s claims about hurricanes, tornadoes, rising seas and other alleged dangers have been accurate. Climate change has been ‘real’ since Earth began. The Dust Bowl, hurricanes, the Little Ice Age. . .
Paul Driessen, as the first speaker, took it upon himself to write his impressions of what happened at the Chicago’s EPA “public listening” program following his presentation. Jim Lakely obtained permission from Paul Driessen to make Driessen’s insightful comments public. As such they appear on the following blog post by Lakely.
Driessen commented first about the opening statements made by EPA public officers, then a brief capsule of his own there minute presentation, followed by a summary of what happened during the rest of the hearing.
Below is a brief overview of Driessen’s EPA Chicago listening tour writeup:
After Driessen’s presentation, a half dozen citizens, including several Indiana coal miners who had driven all the way to Chicago, outlined how EPA’s proposed rules would put them out of work and devastate their families and communities. . .
Then the alarmists began presenting their remarks. The first person ignored the purpose of the hearing. . . and made the ridiculous claim that ‘air pollution’ has now been ‘linked to’ cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s! . . . The absurd claim simply underscores the abysmal state of environmentalist ‘thinking”. . .
It’s clear that EPA’s mind is absolutely made up on the issue, and these ‘listening’ sessions are just for show. . . EPA can be assured of plentiful upper class ‘environmentalist’ speaker — who will happily applaud the new rules . . . but these urban elites won’t be hammered immediately the way coal mining, factory and many small business job, families and communities will be.
Already nine state (Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming) have teamed up against the Obama administration in an upcoming Supreme Court case over the unwise environmental regulation. Filed was a friend of the court brief opposing the EPA’s administration agenda to reduce air pollution on Thursday, October 29th, with the claim that the EPA doesn’t have the authority to attempt to regulate power plant emissions that cross state line.
As was stated by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) who is leading the states’ effort:
The move is by the EPA is just one more effort to slam the door on energy-producing states. It is a blatant attempt to promote a reckless agenda that picks winners and lowers and puts our nation’s goal for energy independence in a tenuous position.
Oral arguments are scheduled in the high court on December 10, with the final decision made by next summer.
A possible takeover of this nation’s climate change policy definitely calls for following the money. For with government in charge of the purse strings to control how and where money is being spent (and lost through failed green energy projects), the additional money and power abducted by the government will grant government more money and power to silence climate change skeptics such as The Heartland Institute.
The final paragraph of Paul Driessen’s writeup sums up the situation:
EPA’s actions and proposed rules are despicable and absurd. But they will not be stopped, unless the US Supreme Court and other courts finally step in and say ‘Enough.’
Part 1 is HERE.
[Originally published in the Illinois Review]
A new poll by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRSC) is asking residents in key the Senatorial swing-states of Arkansas, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Louisiana about their feelings on “carbon pollution.”
Well, the results are in and what did we learn? No one knows what “carbon pollution” is because it was never defined in the survey.
All survey responses are heavily dependent on the language used in the questions. Biased language in the questions will result in biased (but politically expedient) answers. The general public can’t be expected to give an informed answer to the question when they aren’t sure what the question is asking. One of the questions on the NRDC survey reads:
Currently, there are no limits on how much carbon pollution power plants can emit. The EPA is planning to propose standards limiting carbon pollution released by power plants into the air. Do you favor or oppose these standards?
It’s actually amazing that only 51 percent of the respondents said they favored regulating “carbon pollution” from power plants — because quite frankly, the intentionally misleading language makes it sound scary. Any time the word “pollution” is thrown around people will be for regulating it, even if they aren’t sure what they are regulating.
But, there is an important follow-up question to ask, are the survey takers worried that carbon dioxide is polluting the atmosphere, or are they worried that the carbon leaving power plants is itself polluted? Like the age old question “How many licks to the center of a Tootsie-Pop?” the world may never know.
Pollsters use misleading questions to manipulate survey takers and get the answers they want, but these surveys do very little to give insight into how the public actually feels, let alone thinks. Manipulative surveys become even worse when coupled with a U.S. population notorious for being easily duped when it comes to scientific issues.
Remember last April Fool’s Day when those zany morning DJ’s Val St. John and Scott Fish were nearly charged with felonies after telling their listeners that dihydrogen monoxide (also known as water) was coming out of their faucets? Their April Fool’s joke resulted in what USA Today called a “small scale panic,” and the DJ’s were admonished by the Florida Department of Health, all because people didn’t know the scientific name for water.
Penn and Teller performed a similar feat when they convinced hundreds of self-proclaimed environmentalists to sign petitions encouraging that “something be done” about that very same dihydrogen monoxide that has “corrosive properties” when it comes in contact with metal. With the right spin, even water can sound life-threatening.
That’s the problem with using scary, misleading, and meaningless buzzwords. Couple an organization with financial and political incentives to mislead and misrepresent the issues with the general public’s general lack of knowledge about science and you clearly have the perfect recipe for an NRSC fundraising letter and scary campaign commercials — but not an accurate survey of people’s opinions on “carbon pollution.”
Whatever that is.
President Barack Obama today announced a “fix” for his beleaguered health care law, allowing state health commissioners to allow the sale of insurance plans that don’t adhere to the mandates in the Affordable Care Act. (Transcript.)
The following statements from health care policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution.
“President Obama is flailing desperately for some path to solving a problem of his own creation. The fact that plans people liked are being canceled is a feature, not a bug, of his national health care overhaul. Now he is attempting to beg insurers and state insurance commissioners to go along with a brazen, and likely illegal, attempt to play for time, extending 2013 plans into the next year. This would require an enormous amount of cooperation from insurers, and it is already being rejected as unworkable by Democratic insurance commissioners in many states.
“Ultimately, Obama’s fix is not a fix at all – it is just an attempt to shift blame away from the White House, which is where most of the blame for this debacle ought to fall.”
“First, kill the plans by regulations, then try to resurrect them? The whole idea of insurance depends on faith that the plan you are funding will continue to exist. Who can believe this now? Our access to care will depend on the whim of government until we declare independence.”
“The president’s speech today is the perfect metaphor for the legislation that will define his presidency: not ready on time and failing to deliver what it promised. The president has shown once again that Obamacare is not ready for prime time and neither is he.
“A creature of academia and community organizers, the president lives in a bipolar world: one world of theories to which he clings no matter what the facts, and one in which the forcefulness of demands – “What do we want? We don’t know. When do we want it? NOW!” – is the only thing needed to achieve any given goal.
“But facts are stubborn things, and in the end win out. The facts are that Obamacare was an ill-conceived and unworkable plan, poorly executed, and thus doomed to fail from the start. A Democratic president and Congress have put the nation through a great deal of turmoil for nothing. Let’s hope that whitehouse.gov/typhoon works a whole lot better than the Obamacare Web site.”
“President Obama’s proposal today at best only delays by one year the breaking of his fundamental promise to the American people, that if you like your plan you can keep it. It is also unclear whether this decree is even possible – forcing insurers to renew policies on short notice that they had long planned to eliminate because of the Affordable Care Act’s requirements may not be feasible for many or most of them.
“Between cancelled policies and a Web site that prevents people from signing up for new coverage, it is possible that millions of Americans will find themselves uninsured on January 1 solely because of this ill-conceived and poorly implemented law. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and enact reforms that put patients and providers at the center of health care, not politicians and bureaucrats.”
“President Obama’s ‘fix’ amounts to unilaterally rewriting a massive, integrated package of legislation adopted by Congress. The ‘fix’ amounts to new legislation – but enacted without Congress. The president has no constitutional authority to rewrite statutes, especially in ways that impose new obligations on people, and that is what the fix seems to entail. Indeed, Congress is working on legislation quite similar to the president’s fix, demonstrating the primarily legislative nature of these issues.
“President Obama did not specify what statutory authority, if any, he thinks authorizes him to make such dictats, and given the gargantuan length of the Obamacare statute, he might still be looking. Apparently, the president is claiming a broad enforcement discretion. It is true that the chief executive has some room to decide how strongly to enforce a law. But here, Obama is apparently suspending the enforcement of a law for a year – simply to head off actual legislation not to his liking.
“Indeed, the fix goes far beyond ‘non-enforcement’ because it requires insurers to take certain new action to enjoy the discretion. This is government by decree, not by law.
“Obama is evidently convinced that he needs to allow this and that and another thing, like some king! A president is supposed to preside — which means stand by and guard! This country is going down the tubes.”
Tibor R. Machan
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
R. C. Hoiles Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Free Enterprise
Argyros School of Business & Economics
The recent typhoon that hit the Philippines- Typhoon Haiyan- has caused an uproar from the global warming alarmists. One such alarmist, Susan Brooks Thistlewaite, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post on Tuesday in which she identified global warming skeptics as “morally evil”.
In this podcast, The Heartland Institute’s Senior Environmental Expert, James Taylor, responds to Thistlewaite’s accusations and discusses his expert perspective on Typhoon Haiyan and its relation to climate change.
Typhoon Haiyan was a real catastrophe and devastated the Philippines, but Taylor says that the severity of the storm was hyped and wildly over estimated. Taylor explains that to say the typhoon was caused by global warming goes against the facts.
Instead of using global warming as an excuse to add more government regulation, Taylor suggests that we allow policies that spur economic growth, which will increase human welfare and allow for the technology that will improve environmental impacts, like pollution.
Listen to the podcast in the player above.
But apparently you’re not. Crain’s recently published“Pullman inching closer to national park status,” an article detailing plans by Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk and Rep. Robin Kelly of Chicago to introduce a bill to make Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood a national park. They and local supporters say a national park designation could “bring much-needed funds and development to the neighborhood.”
The article notes the approximately 300 acres of empty factories and occupied bungalows and mansions in the district already have city and national historic landmark status. If these historic landmark designations have failed to generate the economic growth people in the area desire, there’s no good reason to expect economic growth from declaring the area a national park.
Have you ever been to the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois? It’s one of the poorest areas of the state. Yellowstone is America’s greatest national park, but it’s hardly a bastion of economic power and prosperity. Creating a national park doesn’t guarantee sudden wealth. Where there is lots of wealth in or near a national park, nearly all of it would be there without the park.
NOTHING TO SHOW
The article also notes, “Over the past 20 years, the state has spent about $20 million stabilizing and restoring (the vacant Pullman factory and administration complex) without being able to find new uses for them.”
There’s the nub. Illinois state government has nothing to show for its $20 million of spending. The state government is beyond broke and unable to pour more useless millions into Pullman. Chicago’s finances are a mess and likely to worsen, as revealed in the Chicago Tribune’s recent series of articles on the multibillion-dollar borrowing and economic development scams perpetrated during the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley. Rather than face the reality of failed stimulus, Mr. Durbin and company have decided to throw more good money after bad. Unlike the state and city governments, the federal government has a printing press, but even this might not be enough.
“One of the largest obstacles is coming up with enough money to consider this opportunity when we are currently hard-pressed to pay for our existing historic sites,” Crain’s quoted Mr. Durbin saying.
When even he acknowledges the abysmal fiscal situation of the federal government he helps run — and declares the federal government is “hard-pressed to pay for our existing historic sites” — there’s no way a responsible person could endorse creating another federal park to add to the government’s fiscal problems.
Crain’s also quotes a nonprofit community development leader as saying: “The general consensus is the park needs to happen before (President Barack Obama) leaves office,” because that’s where Mr. Obama was a community organizer. “We’re hopeful we can convince him that the park will be part of his legacy.”
Millions for a 300-acre monument to a sitting president is hardly money well-spent.
[Originally published on Crain's Chicago Business]
Is it possible that President Obama was never advised that governing by Executive Order is not the wisest thing to do? It’s definitely not the panacea he may think it is! According to Princeton University professor Julian Zelizer, who teaches history and public affairs:
Administrative actions don’t have the same kind of impact in defining a president as big legislative accomplishments and they are more susceptible to being overturned. The next president can change them. That’s always the problem.
Noted recently in Business Insider, because of Obama’s limited ability to achieve his policy goals through legislation [brought about by his own belligerent attitude], he very well may increase his use of executive power on three of his legislative agenda priorities: 1) the farm bill, 2) immigration reform, and 3) a more lasting budget deal.
Rumblings are even under foot that Obama is seeking to halt insurance cancellations of individual insurance policies resulting from his healthcare law through means that wouldn’t require legislation.
In an Executive Order issued on Friday, November 1st, President Obama appeared to be seeking a chance to obtain a climate legacy as he faces the grim reality that much of his agenda is seemingly falling apart in Congress? Obama lost on gun legislation earlier in the year. There is a perception that immigration reform is on life support. To top off Obama’s obvious frustration over his elusive, floundering agenda, what was to be his signature first-term achievement — Obamacare — suffered a disastrous roll out. The promise of having the site up and running by Nov. 30th sounds like a pie-in-the-sky dream.
It was through the stroke of a pen that President Obama issued his latest executive order with its goal to prepare the U.S for the impacts of climate change. Not unexpectedly there has been a mainstream media blackout since the mandate was signed and sealed on November 1st, insuring that Obama’s continued and blatant disregard of the division of power among three set branches of government has resulted in yet another under-the-radar abduction of control by Obama. This takeover concerns our nation’s climate change policy. While the lack of concern by the mainstream media and others is predictable, inexcusable is why Congress is no where to be found with this latest usurpation by the President of their power?
Obama’s November 1st executive order builds on the Climate Action Plan unveiled in June, whose centerpiece was to be the application of new regulations to power plants.
Obama’s November mandate goes even further by citing facts from the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which basically amounts to a rubber stamp of the highly questionable finding of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCP).
Following is an excerpt from President Obama’s new executive order, “Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change”:
The impact of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economics, and public health across the Nation. These impacts are often most significant for communities that already ace economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures.
New rules for power plants regulations mandate that CO2 emission from new coal-fired power plants are to be no more than 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hours of electricity produced. The most efficient plant produces about 1,800 pounds.
In common layman language, the mandated rules would require a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions below that of the most efficient coal-fired plants, this despite the absence of surface warming in the past sixteen years and how climate models consistently overestimate global warming. For all practical purposes, the new CO2 emissions rules would effectively prohibit the construction of new coal-fired power plants.
Also mandated by Obama’s Executive Order was the establishment of a volunteer “Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience” as a venue for suggesting ways in which the federal government can help communities face “the impacts of climate change,” including bracing for longer heat waves, heavier downpours, more severe wildfires and worse droughts.
This task force, to be composed of governors and mayor, must report to the White House within a year to suggest ways the government can best “remove barriers, create incentives and otherwise modernize federal programs to encourage investments, practices and partnerships that facilitate increased resistance to climate impacts, including those associated with extreme weather.”
Recommended suggestions will more than likely include infrastructure projects like bridges and measures to manage floor control. Such projects, however, do come with a hefty price tag, a tall order as no new federal funds were offered to support the task force.
Those who are tasked with carrying out Obama’s Executive Order are EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, both dedicated members of Obama’s green team. McCarthy and Moniz are powerful advocates and defenders of the premise held by those who promote climate change action, “that the artificially contrived climate science debate has ended.”
Gina McCarthy and Ernest Moniz will be making a series of speeches and media appearances to support and to promote what could provide the basis for a second-term climate legacy for Obama.
But things aren’t full steam ahead for McCarthy or Moniz in that a Pew Research Center poll conducted in mid-October shows that just 44% say believe that human activity causes global warming. They will have lots of convincing to do on the trail.
As is so often the case, much in the same way Obamacare and the Common Core Curriculum are being sold to the public, executive orders are spun in a way to have the pubic believe that the government knows what is best for us. Here within lies the crux of the problem of Obama’s Executive Order on Climate Change: It’s government grabbing for control which further involves following the money.
As reported by Fox News on November 1st in a story aired about Obama’s Climate Change mandate:
The federal government will control all of the purse strings They will make certain that they get their piece of the pie, grabbing more taxes and funds to apply where and to whomever they please. They will use all of the buzzwords platitudes necessary to lull their acolytes while lining their pockets and those of their cronies. All the while creating a nation devoid of states’ rights.
It goes without saying that the climate change mandate will result in crippling the economy and the economic well-being of the American people, all under the false and misguided premise that this nation and its people must be prepared for and made ready for what is only a perceived future climate change without scientific evidence or backing to merit the enactment of what would amount to extreme pain without gain!
Stay tuned for Part II, tomorrow. Renowned scientists associated with The Heartland Institute bump heads with environmentalists at Chicago’s EPA listening tour, as the EPA prepares to draft new regulations to regulate greenhouse gases under the 40-year-old federal Clean Air Act.
[Originally published in the Illinois Review]
After the devastating Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, the Heartland Institute’s Senior Environmental Expert, James Taylor appeared on Blaze TV to discuss policy implications of climate change.
Blaze’s contributor, Will Cain, prompts James Taylor to address the dilemma of the climate change solutions provided by the United Nations which do not take into account costs. Taylor, like the NIPCC, asserts that cutting carbon dioxide emissions would have a minimal impact on climate. Rather than using the solutions being advocated by the United Nations, which funnel money from Western Democracies to overseas companies that are tied to the government, Taylor calls for a “…championing of policies that allow people to have inexpensive energy, so they have more money for stronger housing and other infrastructure that will help them weather the storm.”
James Taylor is not only a Senior Fellow at the Heartland Institute, but managing editor of Heartland’s Environment and Climate News. He writes a weekly column on Forbes online, and has appeared on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS and CBS for energy and environmental analysis.
Douglas County, a wealthy suburb near Denver, has perhaps the most innovative school district in the country. Its School Board has, since 2011, voluntarily chosen policies most districts regard with horror: the country’s first district-run vouchers (now tied up in court); a market-based pay scale for teachers; dropping their teachers union contract; rejecting national education standards and tests for locally decided, higher goals; and sponsoring materials and activities for home-school families.
This year, the ousted local union decided to attempt a comeback.
It sponsored a slate of four candidates seeking a majority on the seven-member board to reverse the district’s pioneering efforts. The race caught national attention and campaign donations, including from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. The union candidates lost.
Conventional wisdom says suburban voters don’t feel a need for education reform, believing the local schools they pay higher housing costs and a property tax premium for are high-quality, despite the evidence showing otherwise.
To be sure, with high turnout, nearly half of Douglas County voters voted against the pro-market candidates, so clearly not everyone in the district likes the new policies. But typically effective union political organizing still failed against a board willing to risk innovating beyond the status quo.
The election demonstrates that organizing by parents and local citizens can be as effective as unions’ efforts. Douglas County’s School Board flipped pro-reform in 2009 after a deliberate campaign by politically conservative parents under the name Parent-Led Reform.
The parents were sick of contract negotiations held behind closed doors, plans to build schools for nonexistent students under contracts granted to a sitting board member and repeated requests to raise taxes. This sort of behavior is routine for school districts. Rather than rail at national politics they had little chance of influencing, Douglas County residents decided to go local.
Their campaign strategy and favored policies now have a strong track record — three election wins in a row — and Parent-Led Reform is looking to show other grassroots groups how to replicate their success.
As many have acknowledged following President Barack Obama’s election and re-election, conservatives don’t play the political ground game as well as progressives.
A network of government-financed nonprofits, community organizations and political groups such as unions are powerful, high-touch forces against more atomized and politically broad counterparts like chambers of commerce and churches. The results of progressive politics are now so obviously rotten — see the Obamacare rollout and the nation’s horrifying, child-enslaving fiscal condition — that some conservatives have turned to drastic, politically implausible national initiatives such as a constitutional convention.
It’s easy to understand the desperation for a quick fix when big government ruins more and more lives every day. But it has taken our nation 250 years to get into this mess, and one election or attempt to amend the Constitution or a pander-fest to illegal immigration will not get us out.
Shifting our culture back toward individual liberty and personal responsibility will require at least an entire generation of sustained effort, on myriad fronts small and large. For one, America’s statist education system cannot help but produce statists, and that has to change.
The Douglas County election results can and should sow similar efforts around the country to reclaim local institutions to protect freedom and demonstrate effective self-government. There’s never been a more pressing time.[Article originally posted on watchdog.org]
I recently read somewhere that there are so many laws and regulations on the books of federal and state governments that we are all breaking a law at some point every hour of the day. I have little doubt of that.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the author of “Democracy in America”, was a Frenchman living under a monarchy that, not long after the American Revolution would be overthrown. In contrasting America’s emerging society with his own, he wrote “[Tyrannical] power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.”
“For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?”
I had a college professor who said that no government is more than two weeks from being overthrown if it cannot feed its people. This was the case of the French Revolution and, in more modern times, a major reason for the initial overthrow of the Egyptian government.
The Socialist movement that emerged in the early years of the last century is a perfect example of a tyranny that seeks to control all aspects of people’s lives.
Food is critical to our lives and there is no lack of those in government and outside of it who are intent on determining, controlling, what we can freely choose to eat. Some are just petty do-gooders like New York Mayor Bloomberg intent on imposing his views on the citizens of the Big Apple.
Others spread fear like those who rant about Bisphanal-A, a beneficial chemical that protects people against food poisoning. The World Health Organization, the European Food Safety Authority and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology have all discounted its risk to human health. I have written extensively about BPA and you can visit the blog, The BPA File, I maintain in its support. Another example of food fear-mongering has been the smear campaign against finely textured beef that was subjected to some very bad, inaccurate media coverage last year, called it “pink slime.” It is a filler that has been commonly used for decades in ground beef and other food products. I wrote about it in March 2012. To avoid more attacks, Cargill Inc. has announced it will begin labeling ground beef that contains it.
There have been and are some foods that pose a threat to health and that is why, in 1906, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration came into being, signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt. Originally called the Food, Drug, and Insecticide organization, later shortened to the FDA. By 2008, it had 9,300 employees and I have little doubt they perform a very useful, necessary service.
The FDA recently ruled that trans fats, partially hydrogenated fats or oils, are unsafe in food. They are deemed a potential prime factor that could lead to heart attacks and strokes. In her excellent book, “Fat—It’s Not What You Think”, Connie Leas, while dispelling many misconceptions about fat, noted that “Beginning about the 1950s, believing that saturated fats were implicated in heart diseases, medical organizations such as the American Heart Association, and government agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration, urged Americans to abandon traditional fats, such as butter, in favor in favor of trans fats such as margarine.” Leas said they were wrong and, though it has taken more than a half century, it is a good thing the FDA has finally ruled against their use.
Lately in the news is the trend of food companies who are no longer using the terms like “natural” and “all natural” when describing their products. A recent Wall Street Journal article by Mike Esterl reported that “The Food and Drug Administration has no definition, says a spokeswoman, but rather a long-standing policy that considers ‘natural’ to mean that ‘nothing artificial or synthetic (including all color additives regardless of source) has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food.” To varying degrees, while all foods start out as natural, food processing plays a role in the final product. Spending more money for “organic” food is a waste of money.
All food starts off as organic. This simple truth is lost on those who have an irrational fear of genetically modified crops and there is a worldwide movement to create a baseless fear of GM crops. As Dr. Marc Van Montagu noted in a recent Wall Street Journal commentary, “In fact, people have consumed billions of meals containing GM foods in the 17 years since they were first commercialized and no one problem has been documented.” One would think that is self-evident since “Mankind has been breeding crops—and thereby genetically altering them—since the dawn of agriculture. Today’s techniques for modifying plants are simply new, high-precision methods for doing the same.”
In a world of heavily-funded propaganda to create various fears about food, it behooves us to educate ourselves about the real science and real facts about what we eat and drink. Were it not for GM crops, the growing population of the world would lack the vast amounts of food it provides. It says a lot about the planet’s capability to produce all manner of food that one of the problems we hear about lately, whether it is America or China, is obesity. There is a cure for it—EAT LESS.
We should be mindful of what and how much we consume.[Article originally posted on Alan Caruba's Warning Signs Blog]
Ben Domenech, the Heartland Institute’s Senior Budget and Healthcare expert, joined the panel on Blaze TV Tuesday to discuss Bill Clinton’s comments in an interview on ozy.com regarding Obamacare. While it has been official Democrats are weaning on their ardent support for the Affordable Care Act, Clinton called on President Obama to honor his statement that citizens had the option to keep their health care plans, even if it meant changing the law.
Proceeding on the premise of the fix-it approach, Ben Domenech asserts that allowing people to keep their health care plans would be virtually impossible at this point. States such as California have pushed major private health care companies out, as we have seen with Aetna. Bill Clinton’s comments show a breaking away from the Clintons and Obama’s budding friendship. This platform is now paving the way for potential 2016 Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton to sweep in and save the day.
If you like this kind of analysis, sign up for The Blaze. And be sure to also check out Ben’s outstanding new publication The Federalist; subscribe to Ben’s politics and policy newsletter The Transom; sign up for his free Consumer Power Report weekly email newsletter on health care policy from The Heartland Institute; and also listen to his contributions to The Heartland Daily Podcast and the Coffee & Markets podcast.
… and that is not an exhaustive list of Ben’s projects. He’s the hardest working man in new media!
Political humorist and Heartland friend Bill Mellberg appeared last week on the Stevie Jay and Diane Ducey show on ESPN Radio 93.5 in Champaign-Urbana, IL to imagine a world in which President Obama not only wasn’t re-elected president, but didn’t win his first Senate race in 2004.
In Bill’s parody, Obama operates a used car lot, “Crazy Barry’s Obama Car, Used Car, Car Emporium”, where he only sells American, union made cars fromthe “workers paradise” of Detroit. We don’t want to give too much away, so just listen in the player above.