No Keystone XL Decision Until After Election Day


Good news for at-risk Dems as they can say they’re for it, but the president doesn’t have to act anytime soon. From the Washington Post:

The Nebraska Supreme Court will announce as soon as Thursday that it will hear oral arguments in the case over the Keystone XL pipeline’s route in early September, effectively postponing any final federal decision on the controversial project until after the midterm elections.

In April, the State Department announced that it would not issue a determination on whether the pipeline was in the nation’s interest until Nebraska resolved whether the project’s path through the state complied with state law. A group of landowners is challenging the decision by Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) to sign legislation designed to speed the project by approving its route and letting the company use the power of eminent domain in negotiating right of way for the project.

Court officials confirmed Monday that it will hear arguments in the case,Thompson v. Heineman, in the first week of September. Under that schedule, a final ruling would not come out until October at the earliest, though it could take some months longer than that.

A administration official familiar with the State Department’s decision-making process, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said it is “highly unlikely that a decision will be made before the mid-term election” given the court’s schedule.

The rest here.

Do Cyborgs Care about Global Warming?


Because if this guy’s prediction comes true, they better. Via Business Insider:

“Today there’s no legislation regarding how much intelligence a machine can have, how interconnected it can be. If that continues, look at the exponential trend. We will reach the singularity in the timeframe most experts predict. From that point on you’re going to see that the top species will no longer be humans, but machines.”

These are the words of Louis Del Monte, physicist, entrepreneur, and author of “The Artificial Intelligence Revolution.” Del Monte spoke to us over the phone about his thoughts surrounding artificial intelligence and the singularity, an indeterminate point in the future when machine intelligence will outmatch not only your own intelligence, but the world’s combined human intelligence too.

The average estimate for when this will happen is 2040, though Del Monte says it might be as late as 2045. Either way, it’s a timeframe of within three decades.

I’ll go out on a limb here and predict we won’t have a cyborg problem by 2045. Or 2145, for that matter. 

And there’s nothing in the article to suggest that Del Monte might be off by a few years — or centuries. But because he wrote a book and has a science degree, his ideas are given credibility. This robot-alarmism isn’t that much different from the climate-alarmism we’re currently enduring: a scary, titillating headline designed for clicks but nothing more than that.

Or maybe I’m wrong and we’ll soon face the dual threat of cyborgs and global warming. I bet their solutions to it will be smarter than the IPCC’s.


False Accusations of GM’s ‘Culture of Cover-Up’


bin laden is dead! GM is alive! – Obama-Biden 2012 campaign bumper sticker

What a difference two years makes, with al Qaeda very much alive in the Mideast and GM counting 13 dead from an ignition switch failure. Yet, since General Motors disclosed a delayed defective-ignition recall earlier this year, President Obama has ignored the scandal that has enveloped a company that his White House Auto Task Force took over in 2009. As the number of GM vehicles recalled reached 14.8 million this week, a review of White House press conferences finds no questions from the White House press corps about whether Washington shoulders any responsibility.

MSM coverage has echoed the scathing critiques of trial lawyer-funded senators like Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.), who claims a tough, internal review of GM by former United States attorney Anton Valukas proved the company’s “culture of cover-up.”

Yet that is not what the Valukas report found.

Indeed, GM recalled the Chevy Cobalt twice for safety defects — hardly evidence of a culture of cover-up. In the same year, 2007, that GM allegedly snuffed the Cobalt’s ignition switch defect, the company recalled its best-selling Chevy Silverado alone four times.

Independent attorney Kenneth Feinberg, who is administering GM’s victim compensation fund, says the fund is intended to address what “was a unique series [my emphasis] of mistakes that were made over an extended period of time.”

“We dug pretty deep. It was a unique series of mistakes done over a long period of time,” reiterated GM CEO Mary Barra.

A close reading of the report (pages 100-101, for example) finds that Cobalt engineer Ray DeGiorgio’s surreptitious alteration of the switch design in 2007 — without a corresponding change in part number — not only violated company protocol but made it extremely difficult for company investigators in the future to track down the source of accidents in which air bags failed to deploy. The report fails to resolve DeGiorgio’s reasons for this oversight because he claims amnesia.

GM executives have every motive to publicly burn at the stake the humiliating “Old GM” that produced the sub-par Cobalt and took government welfare. The public seems satisfied as GM sales of new, competitive products have not suffered despite the wave of mea culpa recalls. Meanwhile, Democrats and their media mouthpieces have done an about-face on the General. When the government ran GM, the press covered up questions of union cronyism and investor intimidation. Now that the fed’s NHTSA arm is investigating GM, the MSM is painting a caricature of a reckless company.

The truth is much more complicated.

Al Gore in Colorado for ‘Aspen Ideas’


Here he is telling David Gregory about the “good news” in the climate crisis, namely that alternative energy costs have come down faster than he anticipated. Gore does exaggerate those cost savings, though. He talks about 79 countries where there is grid parity between solar and traditional energy sources, but that’s because of subsidies for solar

If you didn’t stick around until the end, Gore spoke about India’s new plan to bring solar power to some 400 million without electricity. It’s a great plan, in theory, but it’s already running into problems, as India looks to protect domestic solar-panel producers, making it difficult to attract the foreign capital necessary to make the plan a success.

But, hey, there’s a reason they call it “Aspen Ideas” — and not “Aspen Plans.”




Bill Gates Wants You to Watch This Bjørn Lomborg Video


Via Bill Gates’ Facebook page. . .

. . .here’s a new video from Bjørn Lomborg on the need for fossil fuels to lift billions out of poverty:



Latest EPA Problem: Employees Defecating in the Hallways


Via the Free Beacon and Government Executive:  

After pretending to be CIA agents, watching porn at their desks, and building “man caves,” employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are now pooping in the hallway, according to Government Executive.

The latest scandal involving EPA employee conduct was revealed in an email obtained by the publication, which detailed how an employee at their headquarters in Denver placed “feces in the hallway.” The EPA declined to comment on the matter.

Government Executive reports:

It appears, however, that a regional office has reached a new low: Management for Region 8 in Denver, Colo., wrote an email earlier this year to all staff in the area pleading with them to stop inappropriate bathroom behavior, including defecating in the hallway.

In the email, obtained by Government Executive, Deputy Regional Administrator Howard Cantor mentioned “several incidents” in the building, including clogging the toilets with paper towels and “an individual placing feces in the hallway” outside the restroom.

Confounded by what to make of this occurrence, EPA management “consulted” with workplace violence “national expert” John Nicoletti, who said that hallway feces is in fact a health and safety risk. He added the behavior was “very dangerous” and the individuals responsible would “probably escalate” their actions.

I think the FBI should get a DNA sample of the feces and find the perpetrator before his or her behavior escalates. This is dangerous, people. 

The rest here.

SUV the Planet


Dearborn, Michigan — Save the planet, SUV the planet.

The Green Church and its media acolytes have targeted sport utility vehicles as a sin against the planet. In 1998, New York Times reporter Keith Bradsher demonized SUVs in his book High and Mighty as unsafe and a mortal threat to the planet. In 2003, Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post spearheaded the “What Would Jesus Drive?” campaign at the Detroit Auto Show, demanding that automakers downsize to small cars. Even Ford Chairman Bill Ford, a committed tree-hugger, derisively referred to his own company’s giant Ford Excursion SUV as the “Ford Valdez.”

But these elites are no match for consumer demand. On Tuesday, Ford announced that it will begin exporting the American-designed Ford Edge SUV to Europe to meet the insatiable global demand for SUVs.

In the last six years, SUVs have been the only auto growth segment in Europe, with sales increasing by 72 percent — even as elites have derided American gas guzzlers and proposed stringent new CO2 rules. Globally, SUV sales have doubled. One in five vehicle sales in China is now a ute. Sure, these vehicles aren’t hulking Excursions, but they are significantly larger than the sedans of the past, requiring more steel to build and more gas to drive.

“People all over the world are in love with the two-box silhouette,” said Ford marketing guru Jim Farley in making the Edge announcement here.

Ford — the biggest seller of SUVs in the U.S. despite its chairman’s rhetoric — is determined to capitalize on the trend as utes are far more profitable than sedans. Jeep — a division of Fiat-Chrysler — is also determined to expand its iconic brand, announcing a goal of doubling its global sales by 2018.

Since the Great Recession of 2008, SUV sales have rebounded to  51 percent of U.S. market share, fueling Detroit makers’ return to profitability. Like the domestic explosion of oil and gas production in the face of an anti-carbon White House, SUV popularity defies government regulation.

ABC News parroted a recent EPA claim that U.S. automakers are on track to meet federal average mpg standards of 54.5 mpg by 2025 — but the number is only reachable because the rules have become a Swiss cheese of lobbyist exemptions. For example, by 2016, all vehicles are supposed to average 35.5 mpg under EPA edict. In truth, only some 25 of the 265 vehicles sold in the U.S. market will meet that criteria.

The SUV is dead. Long live the SUV.

California Dems Worried about Higher Gas Prices


Maybe they shouldn’t have voted for that emissions-reduction law, then. Via the Sacramento Bee:

Business-friendly Democrats in the state Assembly are urging the Brown administration to back off implementation of a greenhouse gas reduction measure that is expected to result in higher gas prices starting next year.

In a letter to Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, 16 Assembly Democrats last week urged delaying or changing a planned expansion of the state’s cap-and-trade program to transportation fuels. As it stands, California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law, Assembly Bill 32, will require that oil companies buy carbon credits for fuel they swell starting next year.

“We are concerned about the impact of the AB 32 cap-and-trade program on our constituents,” the lawmakers wrote. “Fuel prices for consumers are going to be driven up once fuel is covered under cap-and-trade at the start of next year, weakening the economy just as California is recovering from the last recession, and hurting the most vulnerable members of our communities who must commute to work and drive long distances for necessary services like medical care.”

The rest here.


EPA Loses SCOTUS Ruling


We’ll see if if this does anything to slow down the president’s new EPA rules. As of now, this ruling’s affect on those new rules is uncertain. Via Fox News:

The Supreme Court delivered a setback to the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday, placing limits on the sole Obama administration program already in place to deal with power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming. 

The decision does not affect recent and highly controversial EPA proposals to set the first-ever national standards for new and existing power plants. One recent proposal would aim for a 30 percent emissions reduction by 2030. 

Rather, at issue was a requirement that companies expanding industrial facilities or building new ones that would increase overall pollution must evaluate ways to reduce carbon emissions. The justices said Monday that the EPA lacks authority in some cases to force companies to do so. 

However, the ruling could nevertheless be used to challenge other aspects of the EPA’s effort to deal with global warming. 

The rule in question applies when a company needs a permit to expand facilities or build new ones that would increase overall pollution. 

Under Monday’s ruling, EPA can continue to require permits for greenhouse gas emissions for those facilities that already have to obtain permits because they emit other pollutants that EPA has long regulated. But Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court’s conservatives in the part of the ruling in which the justices split 5-4, said EPA could not require a permit solely on the basis of greenhouse gas emissions. 

The program at issue is the first piece of EPA’s attempt to reduce carbon output from large sources of pollution. 

The utility industry, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and 13 states led by Texas asked the court to rule that the EPA overstepped its authority by trying to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the permitting program. The administration failed to get climate change legislation through Congress. 

The outcome does preserve EPA’s authority over facilities that already emit pollutants that the agency regulates other than greenhouse gases. 

Scalia, writing for the court, said “EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case.” Scalia said the agency wanted to regulate 86 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted from plants nationwide. The agency will be able to regulate 83 percent of the emissions under the ruling, Scalia said. 

The rest here.

Scientists Shocked That Penguins Are Adapting To Climate Change


Penguin alarmism bites the dust:

Researchers From The University Of Minnesota Have Discovered That Emperor Penguins Are Acting In Such A Manner Which Might Assist Them In Adjusting To A Warmer Earth Because Of Climate Change.

Research conducted earlier had supposed that emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) were philopatric or were loyal to their nesting grounds. Images taken from satellite now suggest that these penguins are not going back to the same place for breeding.

The research team discovered six cases where penguins changed their breeding grounds in duration of three years. Michelle LaRue presented the findings of the research at the IDEACITY conference in Toronto and the study will be published in the journal Ecography.

Another related research by British Antarctic Survey scientists had shown that these birds were deserting their customary breeding grounds for steady ice shelves. 

The rest here.


Canada’s Pipeline Fight


Canada has approved a nearly multi-billion-dollar pipeline to transport oil from Alberta through British Columbia to port facilities on the Pacific coast, but like with Keystone XL here in the U.S., there’s still work to do at the local level to win approval. Financial Post:

Enbridge Inc. cleared a major hurdle Tuesday with federal cabinet approval of its contentious Northern Gateway pipeline. Now the difficult work begins.

The $7.9-billion export artery would bring up to 525,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to a super-tanker port on B.C.’s northern coast for export to refineries in California and Asia. Deliveries could start by late 2018, Enbridge has said, but first the company must nail down a final cost estimate as well as oil-shipping contracts that take into account the 200-plus approval conditions regulators attached to the project last year.

Suncor Energy Inc., Cenovus Energy Inc., Inpex Canada Ltd., CNOOC Ltd. subsidiary Nexen Inc. and Total SA of France have all helped front the project’s initial development costs and signed so-called precedent agreements to ship oil on the 1,178-kilometre pipeline. But they balked at signing binding shipping contracts, citing uncertainty over whether the project would get approved.

With that hurdle cleared, some industry analysts say a raft of competing export projects and the sharp growth of oil shipments by rail could make shoring up commercial support for the pipeline difficult, potentially delaying construction well into next decade.

Enbridge has until July 1 to update regulators on commercial negotiations. The company needs firm transportation contracts covering at least 60% of the pipeline’s capacity prior to starting construction, according to conditions of its approval.

“There’s only so much take-away capacity needed,” said Robert Mark, director of research at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc. in Toronto.

Oil sands production is expected to climb to 3.2 million barrels per day by 2020, rising to about four million barrels by 2025, according to industry estimates. In 2013, production stood at 1.95 million barrels a day.

If built, Gateway would serve as an important link between the Alberta deposits and energy-thirsty markets such as China, Mr. Mark said. But construction could get pushed to the “early 2020s” if alternative export options materialize first.

“Timing is a big part of it,” he said. If TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL project and Energy East are approved, “I think Gateway gets shelved for a very, very long time, because we won’t be able to fill it.”

Those projects are no sure bet: Keystone XL remains mired in a political quagmire in the United States and Energy East has yet to begin regulatory hearings.

The rest here.

Conservatives in Canada, however, are distancing themselves from the approval. National Post:

Only two years ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the Northern Gateway pipeline project as in Canada’s “vital interest.” His environment minister called opponents “radicals.”

But on the day that his government gave its sanction to the project — as long as Enbridge Inc. meets 209 conditions — nary a Conservative minister or MP was there to announce it.

The news came, instead, via a colourless release with the bureaucratic title “Government of Canada Accepts Recommendation to Impose 209 Conditions on Northern Gateway Proposal.” The usual prefix, “Harper Government,” was absent.

The surgical gloves approach speaks volumes on the tough position the Conservative government find itself in on the project.


Tesla’s Elon Musk Warns of ‘Terminators’


Here’s Musk in an interview with Business Insider on the dangers of artificial intelligence:

JB: That’s amazing. But you did just invest in a company called Vicarious Artificial Intelligence. What is this company?

MUSK: Right. I was also an investor in DeepMind before Google acquired it and Vicarious. Mostly I sort of – it’s not from the standpoint of actually trying to make any investment return. It’s really, I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there and we need to –

KE: Dangerous? How so?

EM: Potentially, yes. I mean, there have been movies about this, you know, like “Terminator.”

KE: Well, yes, but movies are — even if that is the case, what do you do about it? I mean, what dangers do you see that you can actually do something about?

MUSK: I don’t know.

JB: Well why did you invest in Vicarious? What exactly does Vicarious do? What do you see it doing down the line?

MUSK: Well, I mean, Vicarious refers to it as recursive cortical networks. Essentially emulating the human brain. And so I think — 

JB: So you want to make sure that technology is used for good and not “Terminator”-like evil?

MUSK: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think — in the movie “Terminator,” they didn’t create A.I. to — they didn’t expect, you know some sort of “Terminator”-like outcome. It is sort of like the “Monty Python” thing: Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition. It’s just — you know, but you have to be careful. Yeah, you want to make sure that —

Let’s recap what the world would need for a robot army of “Terminators” to take over.

First the robots would need a way to manufacture more killer robots. The assembly line at Musk’s Tesla should work nicely.

The robots needs weapons, of course, so they’ll need a company with cutting edge rocket technology that can be easily weaponized. Something like Musk’s SpaceX maybe?

Robots need a power source, and the obvious choice would be an lithium-ion battery charged with solar power. Coincidentally, Musk is building what he calls the world’s most advanced plant to make batteries and he just got into the business of manufacturing solar panels:

SolarCity, the dominant U.S. installer of residential solar panels whose largest shareholder is entrepreneur Elon Musk, announced Tuesday that it plans to acquire solar panel maker Silevo and expand into manufacturing with new panel factories.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which leases rooftop systems with little to zero upfront costs, said the acquisition enables it to produce efficient, low-cost panels in volumes large enough to ensure its supply. It’s in talks with the state of New York to build, within two years there, one of the world’s largest solar panel factories with an annual capacity of at least one gigawatt.

“If we don’t do this, we thought there was a risk of not being able to have the solar panels we need to expand our business in the long-term,” chairman Elon Musk, also CEO of Tesla Motors, said Tuesday in a conference call. He said while many basic panels are being made, more advanced ones are needed for the solar industry to lower its costs and compete with other energy sources without government subsidies.

If “Terminators” are a real risk, then when they arrive to kill us all don’t be surprised to find “Made by Musk” stamped on their armored exoskeletons.  

Or maybe it’s too late and Tesla-nators already walk among us, waiting to strike? 

We’re doomed.


‘Saudi Dakota’ Hits Oil Production Milestone of 1 Million Barrels Per Day


Good news on oil production in North Dakota, via Mark Perry at AEI:

Oil drillers in North Dakota oil pumped out an average of over one million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in April, setting another new monthly all-time record high for the state’s crude oil production, according to oil production data released today by North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources (see blue line in chart above). Reaching the one million barrels of oil per day level is another important energy milestone for North Dakota, which has seen its oil production increase twelve-fold over the last decade from only 83,233 bpd in April 2004 to 1,001,149 bpd in April this year.

Here are some other highlights of North Dakota’s record-setting oil and gas output in April:

1) In April, the state’s average daily oil production increased by 26.1% compared to a year earlier, which was the largest year-over-year gain in three months. Remarkably, in only the last 30 months, oil production in North Dakota has almost doubled from 510,534 bpd in November of 2011 to more than one million bpd in April.

2) For the fifth month since last summer North Dakota produced more than 12% of all US oil in April. In November 2009, North Dakota’s oil production represented only 4.5% of total US crude output. Due to the phenomenal growth of oil output in the shale-rich Bakken fields, North Dakota share of US crude production has gradually increased, and is now consistently above 12%.

3) In dollar terms, the oil produced in North Dakota in April had a daily market value of more than $102 million at the average oil price of $102.07 per barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil during the month. For the entire month of April, that would put the market value of North Dakota oil at more than $3 billion, setting a new all-time record for the dollar value of the state’s monthly oil output.

4) The Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota produced more than 937,000 bpd in April for the first time ever (see brown line in chart), and a new all-time monthly output record of 937,263 bpd was established, which also represented a new record-high 93.6% of the state’s monthly oil production. In contrast, the Bakken region produced less than 9% of the state’s oil output at the beginning of 2007, before breakthrough drilling techniques (hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling) were able to tap into a bonanza of unconventional oil in the shale-rich areas of western North Dakota. At the current pace, production in the Bakken oil field is on track to surpass the million bpd milestone by July or August of this year and join an elite group of only ten super-giant oil fields worldwide that have ever produced at the million barrel level at their peak daily production.

The rest here.

Did Gina McCarthy Declare a ‘War on Coal’? Yes.


Media Matters is angry again:

Putting The “War On Coal” In Gina McCarthy’s Mouth
What The Head Of The EPA Actually Said On Real Time With Bill Maher

Conservative media are claiming that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted she is waging a “war on coal” when, in fact, she has consistently stated that the EPA is simply meeting its obligation to serve public health with its new clean power plan.

In an interview with McCarthy on the June 13 edition of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, host Maher said that he has heard that the EPA’s proposed “clean power program,” which will for the first time implement standards for carbon pollution from existing power plants, amounts to “a war on coal,” adding that he “hope[s] it is.” McCarthy responded, “Actually, EPA is all about fighting against pollution and fighting for public health. That’s exactly what this is.” Maher responded “Oh, great.”

The Weekly Standard declared that this meant that McCarthy ”agreed with Bill Maher” that “the Obama administration is engaged in a war on  coal.” National ReviewTwitchy and EHS Today all concurred. However, even the conservative Washington Examiner concluded that “[i]t appears Maher’s glee was premature” after an EPA spokesperson clarified that McCarthy was not agreeing with Maher and has consistently stated that the agency is not waging a “war on coal.”

Media Matters left out a few “conservative” outlets, however. Like Grist:

So McCarthy’s kinda-declaration-of-war comes not a moment too soon. In fact, some would argue that it’s long overdue.

And EcoWatch:

EPA Administrator Declares War on Coal on ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’​

CBS affiliate WYMT-TV in Kentucky:

EPA administrator appears to suggest agency is fighting “war on coal”

Media Matters can play the semantics game all they want to, but the message was received loud and clear — recognized by conservatives AND liberals: The EPA is going to war over coal. 



Tesla Won’t Sue Competitors Over Patents


Last week, Tesla announced a big move with its portfolio of patents that will basically let the large automakers copy their technology. Here’s Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk on the move:

Yesterday, there was a wall of Tesla patents in the lobby of our Palo Alto headquarters. That is no longer the case. They have been removed, in the spirit of the open source movement, for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.

Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.

And. . .

Given that annual new vehicle production is approaching 100 million per year and the global fleet is approximately 2 billion cars, it is impossible for Tesla to build electric cars fast enough to address the carbon crisis. By the same token, it means the market is enormous. Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day.

We believe that Tesla, other companies making electric cars, and the world would all benefit from a common, rapidly-evolving technology platform. 

Mr. Musk left out a few things. One, he needs the big automakers to start making electric cars, something they’ve stopped doing, in order to get the infrastructure in place for things like charging stations that will make Teslas — and all electric cars — more attractive. And two, there’s speculation that Tesla needs more automakers in the electric-car space to justify their new battery factory with Panasonic.

Also of note, Tesla hasn’t really opened up or released their patents. They’ve only said they won’t sue a company if that company uses the patent in “good faith.” Good faith remains undefined, however, and until we know more, this announcement looks like nothing but hype.

Obama Uses UC Irvine Commencement Speech to Pitch Climate Alarmism


Here’s the transcript of the president’s address to the graduates of the University of California-Irvine. An excerpt:

Now, this isn’t a policy speech.  I understand it’s a commencement, and I already delivered a long climate address last summer.  I remember because it was 95 degrees and my staff had me do it outside, and I was pouring with sweat — as a visual aid.  (Laughter.)  And since this is a very educated group, you already know the science.  Burning fossil fuels release carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide traps heat.  Levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are higher than they’ve been in 800,000 years.

No. . .not a policy speech. At. all.

The president continued with this. . .

Now, part of what’s unique about climate change, though, is the nature of some of the opposition to action.  It’s pretty rare that you’ll encounter somebody who says the problem you’re trying to solve simply doesn’t exist.  When President Kennedy set us on a course for the moon, there were a number of people who made a serious case that it wouldn’t be worth it; it was going to be too expensive, it was going to be too hard, it would take too long.  But nobody ignored the science.  I don’t remember anybody saying that the moon wasn’t there or that it was made of cheese.  (Laughter.)

And today’s Congress, though, is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence about climate change.  They will tell you it is a hoax, or a fad.  One member of Congress actually says the world is cooling.  There was one member of Congress who mentioned a theory involving “dinosaur flatulence” — which I won’t get into.  (Laughter.)

. . .Thinking global warming isn’t manageable through adaptation is now akin to believing the moon is made of cheese?  Consider the strawman slayed, Mr. President. 

What about the theory of “dinosaur flatulence” contributing to global warming? I read about it on National Geographic so it must be true:

Dinosaurs may have helped warm ancient Earth via their own natural gaseous emissions, a new study says.

But I’m all for the president mocking digestion as a driver of anthropogenic global warming. Now, if the president can just do something about the guy who’s trying to regulate bovine manure, we might get somewhere. From the White House:

Agriculture: In June, in partnership with the dairy industry, the USDA, EPA and DOE will jointly release a “Biogas Roadmap” outlining voluntary strategies to accelerate adoption of methane digesters and other cost-effective technologies to reduce U.S. dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. 

I’ll end with this: what’s a commencement speech in California without mentioning “drought?”

And we also have to realize, as hundreds of scientists declared last month, that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but “has moved firmly into the present.”  That’s a quote.  In some parts of the country, weather-related disasters like droughts, and fires, and storms, and floods are going to get harsher and they’re going to get costlier.  And that’s why, today, I’m announcing a new $1 billion competitive fund to help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change and build more resilient infrastructure across the country.  (Applause.)

And then President Obama left Anaheim and traveled to the drought-stricken, desert-city of Palm Springs to play golf on a lush, green fairways. California’s water crisis or global warming never seems as pressing while chasing a little ball around in the grass. 

And this isn’t the first instance of water-hypocrisy from the president. Here’s how Time magazine wrote up the president’s last trip to Palm Springs in February:

Obama Plays Water Guzzling Desert Golf Courses Amid California Drought

Over to you, Mr. President. I’ll start worrying about global warming when you start worrying about water management. 




New Poll in Kentucky Has Grimes Winning; EPA, McConnell Losing


There’s a new poll out by Magellan Strategies, a Republican polling firm, that has Alison Lundergan Grimes over incumbent Mitch McConnell 49 percent to 46 percent.

Which isn’t that surprising really. Real Clear Politics has the race a “toss up” and this poll is as close as other recent polls.

What could be good news for the McConnell campaign though are these results that show how vulnerable Grimes is when it comes to the EPA’s new rule to regulate power plant emissions:

T5. As you may know, the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency on Monday proposed a new regulation to cut carbon emissions by 30% from existing power plants by the year 2030. From what you have seen, read and heard about the new regulation, do you support it or oppose it? 
Total Support – 34% 
Total Oppose – 52%

T6. Which is more important to you, President Obama focusing his time and attention on creating a new regulation for power plants to combat climate change or focusing his attention on creating jobs and growing our economy? 

Focusing on new regulation for power plants – 14% 
Focusing on creating jobs and the economy – 80% 
Unsure or no opinion – 6% 

I am now going to read to you some more information about the new regulation. After 
hearing the information, please tell me if you are more likely to support or oppose the 
new regulation, or if it makes no difference in your opinion. 
T7. The EPA regulation requires the states to reduce carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, 
which would reduce global carbon emissions by a very small amount. 
More likely to support the new regulation — 24% 
More likely to oppose the new regulation – 48% 
No difference in your decision — 26% 
Unsure or no opinion – 2% 

T8. The EPA regulation would require the 50 states to meet their carbon emission target 
limits through state based cap-and-trade, tax, and regulatory programs. 
More likely to support the new regulation — 21% 
More likely to oppose the new regulation — 52% 
No difference in your decision – 24% 
Unsure or no opinion – 3%

[. . .]

T11. Thinking now about the election this November, are you more likely to support or 
oppose a candidate for the United States Senate that supports the Obama 
Administration’s new carbon emission regulation? 
More likely to support a candidate that supports – 28% 
More likely to oppose a candidate that supports  – 58% 
Unsure or no opinion – 14% 

The more McConnell can tie Grimes to the EPA and the president, the better of he’ll be.




If Miami Is Really Threatened by Global Warming. . .


. . . why is the city entertaining a 99-year lease for this $400 million, 1,000-foot-tall observation tower just inches from Biscayne Bay? 

The settled science says Miami will be underwater, but what do I know?

Science: Volcanoes Might Be Melting Antarctica’s Ice from Below


Me: Duh. 

Here’s an excerpt of the new research from Live Science:

Scientists use computer models to try to predict the future of the ice sheet, but their lack of understanding of subglacial geothermal energy has been a glaring gap in these models. Measuring geothermal activity under the ice sheet is so difficult that researchers usually just enter one, uniform estimate for the contributions of geothermal heat to melting, Schroeder said.

Of course, volcanism isn’t uniform. Geothermal hotspots no doubt influence melting more in some areas than in others.

“It’s the most complex thermal environment you might imagine,” study co-author Don Blankenship, a geophysicist at UT Austin, said in a statement. “And then, you plop the most critical dynamically unstable ice sheet on planet Earth in the middle of this thing, and then you try to model it. It’s virtually impossible.”

Hotspots melting

To unravel the complexity, the researchers built on a previous study they published in 2013 that mapped out the system of channels that flows beneath the Thwaites Glacier, a fast-flowing glacier that scientists say is vulnerable to global warming.

Using radar data from satellites in orbit, the researchers were able to figure out where these subglacial streams were too full to be explained by flow from upstream. The swollen streams revealed spots of unusually high melt, Schroeder said. Next, the researchers checked out the subglacial geology in the region and found that fast-melting spots were disproportionately clustered near confirmed West Antarctic volcanoes, suspected volcanoes or other presumed hotspots.

“There’s a pattern of hotspots,” Schroeder said. “One of them is next to Mount Takahe, which is a volcano that actually sticks out of the ice sheet.”

The minimum average heat flow beneath Thwaites Glacier is 114 milliwatts per square meter (or per about 10 square feet) with some areas giving off 200 milliwatts per square meter or more, the researchers report today (June 9) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (A milliwatt is one-thousandth of a watt.) In comparison, Schroeder said, the average heat flow of the rest of the continents is 65 milliwatts per square meter.

“It’s pretty hot by continental standards,” he said.

The extra melt caused by subglacial volcanoes could lubricate the ice sheet from beneath, hastening its flow toward the sea, Schroeder said. To understand how much the volcanic melt contributes to this flow — and what that means for the future of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet — glaciologists and climate scientists will have to include the new, finer-grained findings in their models. Schroeder and his colleagues also plan to expand their study to other glaciers in the region.

I wonder if President Obama and the EPA have a plan to regulate plate tectonics next?


Did Alison Grimes Have ‘Strong Words’ with Harry Reid about Obama’s War on Coal?


Maybe, but not while standing next to Harry Reid in front of donors. In fact, coal never even came up at her big fundraiser with the majority leader:

Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign insisted last week that she’d use a high-dollar fundraiser with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as a forum to promote Kentucky’s coal industry and demand action to protect the use of fossil fuel.

That didn’t happen, according to an audio recording of the 45-minute affair obtained by POLITICO through a source at the event.

Instead, when the Kentucky Democrat spoke at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill last Thursday, she stuck to a partisan script, railing against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s record on jobs, the minimum wage and women’s issues.

The one word she didn’t say during her 11-minute speech: “coal.”

“Make no mistake, the hill that we are climbing … it is steep, but I will continue to run circles in my heels around Mitch McConnell,” Grimes told the donors, who paid as much as $2,600 a plate to attend. “It is going to take a nation to help Kentucky rise up to do this, and Alison’s army. And as I look out today, amongst the quality that is here, Leader Reid, I know this is the army that will help to get it done.”

It’s a notable omission for a campaign that went out of its way last week to say that Grimes would “use the event” to raise concerns about environmental rules that are unpopular in Kentucky. After she was criticized for holding a fundraiser with Reid — whose views against coal are unpopular in her state — her campaign said the event would offer a chance to highlight opposition to newly proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency to dramatically cut carbon emissions.

Now for the she-did-say/she-didn’t-say: Grimes’s campaign told Politico the “strong words” with Reid were in private, but Politico adds:

A Washington consultant who attended the event said “there is no way” Grimes could have privately had a discussion with Reid at the event because he arrived late and left before the Kentuckian.

And for what it’s worth, The Hill spoke with Reid’s office and “confirmed the substance of the conversation, but no independent verification was available.”

Whatever version of events is true, Grimes is worried about the EPA and that’s not going away. 





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