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. 




EPA Round-Up, Cont.


New ‘Green’ Job in France: Wind-Turbine-Metal Thief


France 24 reports:

A sophisticated network of metal thieves has targeted some 20 French wind turbines in a new looting trend, scaling the near 40-metre-high structures and stealing up to one tonne of metal from a single engine, Le Figaro reported Wednesday.

Citing an anonymous police source, the daily newspaper said the ring stole metal from wind farms in sparsely populated areas, where they had less chance of being caught.

“They cut the power to turn off the engine propeller motor,” the officer said, noting the thieves broke through the doors at the bottom of the turbines, before using the stairs to reach the engine which is located at the top – often as high as 40 metres off the ground. “By using bolt cutters and makeshift tools they then cut and ripped out the whole metal wiring, which is mostly made of copper,” he said.

The officer said a metal raid of a single wind turbine engine could amount to as much as one tonne of loot. One tonne of copper is estimated to be worth around 4,500 euros on the  market.

The rest here.

China Bulldozing Mountains to Build Cities


So the U.S. was hoping that our plan to cut CO2 emissions by 30 percent would inspire China and the rest of the world to make cuts, too? Yeah, China will get right on that as soon as they’re done flattening a few mountains. BBC:

China’s campaign to bulldoze mountains to create land to build on could cause extensive environmental problems, scientists say.

Researchers from Chang’an University in China have warned that dozens of mountains have already been flattened – and this is causing air and water pollution, soil erosion and flooding.

They say that this activity is happening on an unprecedented scale.

They report their concerns in the journal Nature.

Prof Peiyue Li, from Chang’an University’s School of Environmental Science and Engineering, said: “Because there have been no land creation projects like this before in the world, there are no guidelines.”

China’s cities are expanding rapidly as its economy grows, and moving mountains is one way to supply more land for development.

About one-fifth of the country’s population lives in mountainous areas.

Around the country, in cities such as Chongqing, Shiyan, Yichang, Lanzhou and Yan’an, dozens of hilltops have been levelled.

The soil and rock is then used to fill in valleys, and overall this has so far created hundreds of square kilometres of flat terrain.

Bonus: the new land created by this environmental destruction might not be safe to build on. . .

Prof Li said: “Mountainous cities such as Yan’an are mostly located in relatively flat valleys.

“The valleys are narrow and limit the development of the cities – and huge population density is also a factor.”

While mountaintop removal is sometimes used by the mining industry, particularly in the US, researchers say the scale of this in China is unparalleled.

They warn that turning hills into plains is throwing dust particles into the atmosphere, polluting waterways, causing landslides and flooding and endangering plants and animals.

They add that the flattened land could also be unsuitable to build on.

The rest here.

Andrew Klavan Takes On ‘Fake Climate Change’


Roger Pielke Jr. vs. Paul Krugman


Do read the whole thing, but it looks like Krugman owes Pielke Jr. a correction. 


GM Fires 15 Over Recall Issues


Fox News:

General Motors has fired 15 employees and disciplined five others in the wake of an internal investigation into the company’s handling of defective ignition switches, which lead to at least 13 fatalities.

GM CEO Mary Barra says the personnel worked in several areas including engineering, legal and public policy, and that a disproportionate number of them were senior executives or higher.

Barra described the conclusions of the investigation as “extremely thorough, brutally tough, and deeply troubling.”

“Pieces of information and clues didn’t get put together.”

Barra says that the report found no conspiracy to cover up facts or trade-off between safety and cost, but that the problem was misdiagnosed and that the individuals involved simply didn’t do enough, didn’t take responsibility or act with a sense of urgency to address the issue when it came to light.

“Pieces of information and clues didn’t get put together,” Barra said.

The rest here.

Science: DARPA Funded Company Trying to Save the Planet with Gene Manipulation


This is a fascinating article on Twist Bioscience, a San Francisco biotech company that just closed a $31.1 million financing with DARPA. Some excerpts of what they do:

[CEO Emily] Leproust co-founded Twist with Bill Banyai and Bill Peck after recognizing that genetics and chemical companies were going through a very long development process in order to settle on a single gene that is useful to their work.

“If you want to build 10,000 different genes, you can’t. The turnaround time is too high. It takes weeks or even months to get the DNA,” Leproust said. “The building is the bottleneck.”

The solution was simple: Dramatically increase the number of genes that can be made at a time and build a machine that can handle the fluid transfers and other manufacturing steps. Twist’s plates are made on the same silicon manufacturing equipment that is used in the electronics industry, so it is readily available and relatively inexpensive.

And. . .

If Twist succeeds, it could find customers in the chemical, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and agricultural industries. It could help companies genetically engineer microbes that fix ammonia from the air, negating the need for fertilizer in farming. It could boost efforts to use biomass to create plastic instead of relying on oil. Vaccines and personalized medicine would be easier to create. All of these efforts are already underway, but Twist could help make them cheaper.

“It will be a key industry in the 21st century,” Leproust said. “To feed the world, to (create) the energy we need and maintain the health of people, it’s going to have to come from bio. Plants and microbes are going to save the world. That’s where we are going to get our food and our health.”

Amazing stuff, and just one example of why the global warming models can’t be accurate as there’s no way the models can account for technological changes that will mitigate many of their worst predictions. 

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Science: Words, Music Change the Structure of Water


And we’re the ones in denial?

Details here via Marc Morano. 

Obama: New EPA Rules Will ‘Shrink’ Electricity Costs


An excerpt from a conference call the president held with public health groups:

As a result, your electricity bills will shrink as these standards spur investment in energy efficiency, cutting waste, and ultimately we’re going to be saving money for homes and for businesses.

I assume the fact-checkers will rule in his favor as the president said “ultimately,” whenever that may be. 

EPA Round-Up Day 3


It looks like the new EPA proposal will be good news for Mitch McConnell in his Kentucky Senate race as his opponent is already running ads against it. . .

WHAS 11: Grimes targets Obama, new EPA coal rules in radio, newspaper ads

One hope initially voiced was that this move by the EPA would somehow pressure China to cut its emissions. Nope. . .

Andrew Revkin, NYTBehind the mask — A reality check on China’s plans for a carbon cap

David Harsanyi, The Federalist: No, China isn’t following Obama’s lead on carbon emissions

And to top it off, the EPA rules really aren’t enough for the alarmists in America. . .

Puneet Kollipara​, WonkbookObama’s new EPA rule won’t save the world, and it won’t kill the economy

Brad Plummer, VoxObama’s climate plan is ambitious – and inadequate

Nor are the alarmists in Europe satisfied. Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Action Commissioner, released this statement:

”This proposed rule is the strongest action ever taken by the U.S. government to fight climate change, which is good news and also shows that the United States is taking climate change seriously. If implemented as planned, this measure will help the country meet its 2020 emissions target. This of course sends a positive signal ahead of the Paris conference to finalise a new global climate agreement next year. But for Paris to deliver what is needed to stay below a 2°C increase in global temperature, all countries, including the United States, must do even more than what this reduction trajectory indicates. Nevertheless, this is an important step for an administration and a President really investing politically in fighting climate change.”

So other than the proposal from the EPA hurting Dems in close senate races, failing to persuade China to act, and generating criticism from the alarmists that the proposal doesn’t go far enough, it’s a perfect political move. 

EPA Round-Up Day 2: Red State Dem Reaction


Vox Map of Who Benefits From New EPA Regs


Via Matt Yglesias:

India and China are on their own, as they both have booming economies. So the real cause for concern are the countries of Africa and SE Asia, which if everything the EPA says about the new regulations are true, won’t be helped at all in the near term by the new regulations.

If anything, as Americans become poorer because of these new regulations, the amount of tax dollars available for international aid will be reduced.

Oxfam just tweeted out this ominous warning from the UN:

UN predicts that by year’s end, half of #SouthSudan’s 12m people will flee, face starvation, or die  @UNICEF

What’s the Obama plan for this coming disaster? Because cutting CO2 by a tiny fraction won’t do a damn thing. 

Gina McCarthy: Electricity Prices Won’t Skyrocket


From her just concluded speech on the EPA’s new proposal to regulate power plant emissions and its costs:

I know people are wondering: can we cut pollution while keeping our energy affordable and reliable? We can, and we will. Critics claim your energy bills will skyrocket. They’re wrong. Any small, short-term change in electricity prices would be within normal fluctuations the power sector already deals with. And any small price increase—think about the price of a gallon of milk a month—is dwarfed by huge benefits. This is an investment in better health and a better future for our kids. 


Los Angeles TimesOne recent study predicts the cost of electricity in California alone could jump 47 percent over the next 16 years, in part because of the state’s shift toward more expensive renewable energy.

WSJ: Greenhouse-Gas Emissions Limits Likely to Drive Up Electricity Prices

And from the EPA’s biggest critic, presidential candidate Barack Obama: “Electricity rates will necessary skyrocket.”


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