Reading the Russian Tea Leaves


Texas Tea, that is. Black gold.

Here’s an interesting post over at the Environmental Capital blog from the WSJ on Russian oil production. In summary, analysts don’t believe the Russian numbers — which might give OPEC the production cuts it’s looking for to raise prices.

Hope and Change . . . or Else


In this post, I think Greg has stumbled onto Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan: Buy a hybrid, or you’re fired.

Given the fact that the Obama administration has shown itself willing to resort to threats to get its way (as Henry Payne notes here), and the fact that their economic plan seems to be to have a majority of Americans working for the federal government within a few years, I wish this were more clearly a joke.


Changes Coming to the Ethanol Industry?


The WSJ reports today:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Tuesday will step up efforts to increase the availability of ethanol at filling stations and to speed up subsidies to struggling biofuel producers. But the trade-off is that the administration is also expected to propose a rule that could make certain biofuels look less climate-friendly.

At a news conference led by the heads of the Agriculture Department, Energy Department and Environmental Protection Agency, the administration is expected to announce the creation of an interagency group that will be charged with forging a plan to encourage the production of more automobiles that can run on high-level ethanol blends, and increase the availability of high-level ethanol blends at gasoline stations.

President Barack Obama is also expected to direct the Agriculture Department to expedite the awarding of loan guarantees to support the development and construction of more biofuel refineries.

But at the same time, the EPA is expected to propose measuring the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with biofuel production — including emissions that result overseas when farmers world-wide respond to higher food prices by converting forest and grassland to cropland. The EPA decision could undercut the environmental rationale the ethanol industry has used to sustain support for its government subsidies.

In an effort to ease the sting of Tuesday’s announcement, the administration scheduled a news conference to discuss not only the EPA rulemaking but also what it called Mr. Obama’s “commitment to advance biofuels research and commercialization.”

The question of whether biofuels help or harm the climate has been heating up for months in scientific, corporate and environmental circles. A study published last year in the journal Science found that U.S. production of corn-based ethanol increases emissions by 93% compared with using gasoline, when expected world-wide land-use changes are taken into account.

Buy American . . . or You’re Fired


From the LA Times “Top of the Ticket” blog:

You’ve got to admire James Fouts and his eagerness to start a courtroom brawl.

The mayor of Warren, Mich., has issued an executive order requiring that all political appointees drive an American-made car. For those who now drive a Honda or a Lexus? Get shopping.

According to Fouts, they have to guarantee that their next car purchase will be a vehicle made by General Motors, DaimlerChrysler or Ford.

To those who don’t want to make the switch?

“They can find another place to work,” Fouts said.

What’s next? Buy a hybrid or you’re fired?

The Health Hazards of Twisty Light Bulbs


Via, there’s this report from the Times of London:

WHEN British consumers are compelled to buy energy-efficient lightbulbs from 2012, they will save up to 5m tons of carbon dioxide a year from being pumped into the atmosphere. In China, however, a heavy environmental price is being paid for the production of “green” lightbulbs in cost-cutting factories.

Large numbers of Chinese workers have been poisoned by mercury, which forms part of the compact fluorescent lightbulbs. A surge in foreign demand, set off by a European Union directive making these bulbs compulsory within three years, has also led to the reopening of mercury mines that have ruined the environment.

Doctors, regulators, lawyers and courts in China — which supplies two thirds of the compact fluorescent bulbs sold in Britain — are increasingly alert to the potential impacts on public health of an industry that promotes itself as a friend of the earth but depends on highly toxic mercury.


‘Threatened by the White House’


Tony Soprano, meet Barack Obama.

The Obama administration’s War on Capital — as National Review’s editors have aptly named it — claimed its first victim last week, as the lawyer for the investment firm Perella Weinberg Partners says it was threatened by the White House into accepting a deal for a measly 29 cents on their investment dollar.

“One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight,” lawyer Tom Lauria told Detroit radio host Frank Beckmann Friday. Lauria later said the brass knuckles belonged to White House Auto Task Force leader Steve Rattner.

In short, take da deal or we break yer legs.

Lauria’s account t raises more than a few troubling questions. The White House naturally denied the threat, but the extraordinary intervention of the President of the United States in bankruptcy negotiations is intimidation enough. Obama unloaded on these creditors last week, accusing them of being “speculators” out to destroy an American industrial icon. Those bullying words come from a man who has the power of the IRS and the SEC at his disposal, not to mention the bully pulpit.

We’d hate to see anybody break anything in your office.

But Lauria’s account should also shame the Washington press corps which by Lauria’s account is nothing but a trained Democratic Rottweiler (“the full force of the White House press corps”) that the administration can set loose on its enemies any time it feels the urge.

The Chrysler episode is a disturbing sign of how far this president is willing the bend the law — and the truth — to satiate the demands of a major Democratic special interest, the UAW, which makes out like a bandit in the Chrysler deal, winning 55 percent of the company (the expected investment return, apparently, of committing $25 million to Democratic candidates over the last 20 years).

When asked by Beckmann to counter Obama’s claim that the bondholders refused to make “sacrifices and worked constructively,” Lauria responded that “contrary to what the president said in his news conference,” the bondholders agreed to take a haircut of 50 cents of their investment dollar.

In other words, the president lied.

What’s Russian for ‘Drill, Baby, Drill?’


To paraphrase Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impression, “I can see Russia’s Arctic nuclear-powered drilling rigs from my house!”

Re: The Great NYC Tsunami


Reader Craig sends this in regarding this post:

A number of vulcanologists and tsunami experts theorize that the La Palma volcano in the Canary Islands could be the source of both past and future major landslides which would result in a major Atlantic tsunami all along the eastern American seaboard. See:

Well, it can’t be said that NRO and Jonah Goldberg didn’t warn everyone.



Here’s the New York Post today on New York City electric bills. Wait until the Obama Energy Tax takes effect . . . :

A shocking 22 percent of a typical city apartment dweller’s Con Ed electric bill goes to a battery of city, state and federal taxes under a new state rate schedule that kicks in this month, a Post analysis found.

People who burn 250 kilowatt hours of electricity per month — what a 750-square-foot apartment might use when air conditioners are turned off — will see their bills jump 4 percent starting this month, assuming electric generating costs stay constant.

A big part of that jump is going to a 31 percent boost in Con Ed’s property taxes, a 16 percent hike in the company’s state and federal income taxes, and a sixfold boost in one of the state’s utility taxes, which is rising from 0.33 percent to 2 percent, The Post’s analysis shows.

After those levies are toted up in the bill, the city plops some whipped cream onto this tax sundae by imposing 2.35 percent tax on the company’s gross receipts that Con Ed passes on to customers.

Then comes the maraschino cherry on top: The whole package is slapped with a 4 percent state sales tax — which in part taxes taxes elsewhere in the bill.

Coal Capacity Is Not the Only Thing China Is Developing


Energy Tribune has the latest on China’s nuclear-power buildup:

China’s nuclear power sector will triple in size over the next decade. According to the latest data from the National Energy Administration, China will activate 24 new reactors by 2020. That new capacity should allow the country to more than quadruple the quantity of electricity it generates from fission.

With 11 reactors now in place, China has about 9.1 gigawatts of nuclear capacity. Within a decade, that capacity is expected to hit 40 GW, thereby doubling nuclear’s share of the Chinese electric market from 2 percent to 4 percent.

The latest units being built are at the Sanmen Nuclear Power Plant in Zhejiang province. The three-phase scheme, with an investment of more than $5.9 billion earmarked for the first phase, will incorporate the application of the third-generation pressurized water reactor technology AP1000 introduced from US-based Westinghouse. The first phase project will include two units each with a generating capacity of 1.25 GW, which are slated for completion in 2013 and 2014. Additional reactor projects will begin construction this year, all of which will be located in coastal areas.

According to Qian Zhimin, the chairman of China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC), the Chinese government will issue licenses this year to construct another four or eight reactors, making China the world leader in volume of nuclear power stations under construction.

To promote the nuclear power sector, Chinese nuclear entities are aggressively working with their overseas partners. In late April, Kazakh national nuclear company Kazatomprom and CGNPC agreed to set up a joint venture to construct nuclear power stations in China. The Kazakh company will supply China with some 24,000 tons of uranium by 2020.

An Inconvenient Truth?


The “shocking” claim, with a supporting graph (just like Al Gore uses!), that climate change is tied not to CO2 emissions, but to the cost of a U.S. Postal Service stamp. From Jo Nova . . .

The Spoof Finally Figures It Out


Al Gore created the Internet to send us back to the Stone Age.

Scientist and Power industry experts fear that the insatiable demand for electricity to power the internet may cause power grids across [the] globe to collapse. The report after a few hours of digestion brought an A-Hah! Moment as the tumblers turned and observers realized the truth.

Al Gore the radical environmentalist invented the internet to create an unsuppliable demand for energy. This unlimited appetite for googling, tweeting and 24 hour porn was really a subversive plan to bring about the destruction of the earth destroying modern technology.

Gore is believed to have relocated to a cave in the Ozark mountains where he, Tipper and the kids eats nuts and berries and locust and honey, wear synthetic animal skins and pray to Gaia for the end of the world as we know it.

Canaries Over Coalminers


Chuck DeVore over at Big Hollywood:

Paul Rodriguez wants water — and he’s angry enough to get some . . .

One wouldn’t immediately associate comedian and actor Paul Rodriguez with a serious issue such as water.  But, as Mark Twain said: “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” 

Rodriguez is so concerned about water that he helped create the California Latino Water Coalition, led marches with several thousand people in recent weeks, and spoke Saturday night to a convention of the conservative California Republican Assembly in Bakersfield. I addressed the convention goers about my U.S. Senate run against Barbara Boxer just before Rodriguez’ turn at the podium.

What has Rodriguez’ concerned to spark political action is the shutdown of water pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. These pumps move water from California’s wet north to the agricultural Central Valley and urban Southern California. A judge’s ruling switched the pumps off over a controversial U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report that declared a fish, the delta smelt, threatened. No one really knows if turning the pumps off will help the fish, but most can agree that California’s agricultural industry will take a big hit this year due to lack of water.

Rodriguez and his family own farmland in the Central Valley where, as the comedian said Saturday night, “We grow the sweetest oranges and sourest lemons.” But now, because of a judge’s ruling, the most fertile land on “this blue marble” will lie fallow. People will be out of work. Less food will be grown. And farmer and farm worker alike will be hurt.

Rodriguez had notes at the podium but didn’t refer to them as he spoke for 40 minutes, presenting a potent alternating mix of passion, humor, and fact. He recalled using his talent to help many prominent Democrats raise money only to have every one of them turn him a deaf ear when he asked them for assistance over the water issue. “What are they afraid of?” he asked, “Fish can’t vote.”

He said many environmentalists are earnest people who are concerned that the delta smelt are “the canary in the coal mine” of the delta’s environmental health. Rodriguez said he asked his uncle who mined coal in Chihuahua about canaries and coal mines. The uncle said, “Yes, we used canaries. When the canary dies, you run like hell out of the mine!” The canary dies and the coal miners live. In the case of the delta though, “The fish lives and the farmers die,” Rodriguez observed.

The Great NYC Tsunami


Forget global warming:

A huge tsunami-style wave crashed into the New York City region 2,300 years ago, dumping seashells across Long Island and New Jersey and flinging debris far up the Hudson River, scientists told the BBC Sunday.

Twenty dig sites in New York and New Jersey show some sort of violent force swept the coastal region around 300 B.C. It could have been a giant storm but scientists now suspect a huge wave.

“If we’re wrong, it was one heck of a storm,” said Steven Goodbred of Vanderbilt University.

So, what caused the tsunami and when’s the next one going to hit?

Study: Declining Great Lakes Levels Entirely Natural


Detroit, Mich. — Like polar bears, hurricanes, and arctic ice caps, recent drops in Great Lake water levels have been a poster child for green activists’ claims that the global warming crisis is upon us. A sampling:

April, 2003, Detroit News: “A group of scientists predicted that global warming will wreak havoc on the Great Lakes region . . . the largest single concentration of fresh water in the world.”

October, 2003, Detroit Free Press: “The idea that warming has benefits may be a particularly tough sell to Michiganders already disturbed by what happens when the Great Lakes drop near historic lows.”

April, 2007, Detroit News: “Data from a new United Nations report on climate change . . . strengthens scientific opinion that Michigan will see other dramatic effects in the coming decades: lower Great Lakes water levels, a dramatically receding Lake St. Clair. . . . ”

May, 2008, Detroit News: “A report released by an environmental group warns that unless Congress acts to curb global warming, Great Lakes water levels will drop up to 3 feet; beaches will close more often, and fish and animal populations will decline.”

Never mind.

In a comprehensive, two-year study of Great Lakes water levels, Canadian and American researchers working for the International Joint Commission this week found Mother Nature was to blame. “Its not ongoing. It has definitely stabilized,” said Ted Yuzyk, the Canadian co-chair of the study, who added the changes have reversed in the last two years anyway. “And its not human driven. This is more natural.”

“Record high levels were seen in the early 1950s, in 1973, and again in 1985-1986,” reads The International Upper Great Lakes Study. “In the late 1990s, a nearly 30-year period of above-average water level conditions in the upper Great Lakes ended. Since then, Lake Michigan-Huron and Lake Superior have experienced lower than average lake level conditions.”

Among the natural factors that explain the lakes cyclical rise and fall, reported the Detroit News, “were changing climate patterns, including greater rain and snow” and “shifts in the s crust, called glacial isostatic adjustment, that are the result of the planet’s rebound from the melting of glaciers 10,000 years ago.”

Green groups were not amused. Facts are such inconvenient things.

The Only Good Recession Is a Mandated Recession


Yesterday, I was reading through my inbox — including some articles from an upcoming Nature magazine, one of which touted James Hansen, noting how his penchant for saying outrageous things tends to ruffle feathers . . . particularly when he’s right. Knowing Hansen’s utterances and his singular ability to be wrong in doomsday prognosticating as almost no man before him has been, I eagerly read on. When might that have been, I wondered.


Nature cited as its lead example none other than how Hansen burst onto the scene in 1988 warning of his vision, something about trumpeting how he had now detected “the greenhouse effect”. Of course, that is also when he famously provided Congress in the “stagecraft” hearing with three scenarios, from essentially deindustrialization to “doing nothing.” As those not soaking wet from wallowing in the fever swamp know, having “done nothing” — ok, GHG emissions rose faster than projected, maybe less-than-nothing — we’re even cooler than under his deindustrialization scenario. A big oops, in most other circumstances; here, cause for hero worship.


Naturally, my take-away was once again how this industry somehow thrives on watching everything they promised fail to come true — atmospheric temperatures, sea level temperatures, sea level rise, polar warming and ice mass, hurricanes . . . you name it, they’ve promised a parade of calamity and are continually being proven wrong — only to see the media and other hangers-on queue up to hear how things are happening even faster or worse than expected!


So it was no great shakes to see this item in my inbox from the Irish Times, located in the home of one of Europe’s deepest economic recessions:

Downturn means CO2 targets now achievable


IRELAND IS now likely to meet its Kyoto targets for greenhouse emissions because of the downturn in the economy, an authority on environmental and economic policy has said.


Frank Convery, professor of environmental policy at UCD, said that the extraordinary turnaround in the country’s finances had made the exacting Kyoto targets suddenly achievable. His view was shared by Dr Lisa Ryan of Comhar,


Prof Convery said that as recently as September 2008, it was being forecast that GDP would continue to grow at a rate of at least 3 per cent. But less than five months later the ESRI concluded that GDP had already dropped by 9 per cent bringing us back to the 2005 income level.

First, remember that Ireland’s promised “emission reduction” was no such thing but a promise to increase emissions not more than 13 percent. Second, this might buttress the notion of waiting a few years, until maybe we’re less unable economically (and politically) to take vows of energy poverty, as sensible an idea as anyone eager to inflict the Kyoto agenda on themselves could ever come up with.


Such seeds will be given no time by the global warming industry to take root, however; their handmaidens are already clucking worriedly over the idea of “losing momentum” and clinging to the greens’ script like grim death:

Global recession could worsen global warming


By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY


Hopes that humankind will deal with Earth’s changing climate are in danger of being dashed by the ongoing “Great Recession.”


Under the onslaught of the financial crisis, some European nations have turned skittish on forcing limits in heat-trapping “greenhouse” gas emissions.

So, recession, which brings about the demanded emission cuts “now!!!” — but, sadly, without the laws making that permanent — actually will (like everything else) make global warming worse. Ah. You see, the global warmists understand that no free society would ever do to itself what they demand, hence the employment of end-of-days panic (like a dozen years of warning how we only have ten years left). Now that the opening strains of the economic outcome they have longed for arrived on its own, they fear circumstances may make legislating the deepening of their game-plan ever more difficult.


This is affirmed by recent maneuvering on Capitol Hill (the president has called House Energy and Commerce Committee lawmakers up to hear the riot act on Tuesday). What remains to be seen is whether the warmists have the muscle to force votes on carbon legislation that could, like its BTU cousin did in more affluent days of yore, end many a political career.

Chrysler and Obama’s Euro-envy


“In America, there’s a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world,” President Obama said in France this April. “There have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.”

Obama’s sweeping apologies to Europe include not just American foreign and climate policy, but also the cars that American manufacturers make. It is important to understand the administration’s eagerness for a Chrysler/Fiat alliance in that context.

”For years, while foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, American automakers were spending their time investing in bigger, faster cars,” he said during the campaign addressing a theme he has continued to sound in office.

Never mind that Chrysler’s downfall was a result of losing market share to foreign competitors that made those bigger and faster cars with better quality. What clearly appeals to the president about Fiat is his fixation with Europe’s high-mpg cars and his determination to build them here. Obama’s plan requires that, in return for a 35 percent stake in the Detroit automaker, Fiat must transplant its engine technology to Chrysler plants and produce a 40-mpg car.

But Fiat invested in fuel-efficient cars because that’s what an Italian market of high gas taxes and crowded city streets demanded. Chrysler, on the other hand, is a company that built its reputation on minivans, the iconic Jeep brand, and the earth-pawing Dodge Viper. It is a culture bred in a land of low fuel prices and vast spaces. Similar marriages in the past have ended on the rocks. GM-Fiat, for example. Or Daimler-Chrysler.

Grafting an “econobox” Fiat culture onto “ram-tough” Chrysler looks easy only to an arrogant politician who has been so dismissive of market experience, even derisive.

All in the Spin


The tax-and-rationers’ great hope, to paraphrase Luther, is to “spin boldly.” From the New York Times:

The problem with global warming, some environmentalists believe, is “global warming.”

The term turns people off, fostering images of shaggy-haired liberals, economic sacrifice and complex scientific disputes, according to extensive polling and focus group sessions conducted by ecoAmerica, a nonprofit environmental marketing and messaging firm in Washington.

Instead of grim warnings about global warming, the firm advises, talk about “our deteriorating atmosphere.” Drop discussions of carbon dioxide and bring up “moving away from the dirty fuels of the past.” Don’t confuse people with cap and trade; use terms like “cap and cash back” or “pollution reduction refund.”

EcoAmerica has been conducting research for the last several years to find new ways to frame environmental issues and so build public support for climate change legislation and other initiatives. A summary of the group’s latest findings and recommendations was accidentally sent by e-mail to a number of news organizations by someone who sat in this week on a briefing intended for government officials and environmental leaders.

Blame Poverty, Not Pork, for the Swine Flu


“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before,” Rahm Emanuel famously remarked after President Obama’s election in November 2008. Swine flu is shaping up to be no exception.

Reuters reported earlier this week that, “Weather experts are studying swine flu to see if climate could influence its spread and severity.” While even the UN’s World Meteorological Organization seems to agree (so far anyway) that the 0.07 degree Celsius per decade increase in mean global temperature that has occurred since 1880 is unlikely to have affected the virtually random process of genetic mutation in viruses, some unidentified “experts” are apparently still willing to spend taxpayer money to look into the matter.

Such nonsensical research aside, my guess as to where swine flu could play an inflammatory role to advance the green agenda is with respect to the issue of large-scale livestock production.

Climate alarmists rank the greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production up with emissions from the transportation sector — each is responsible for about 20 percent of total global emissions goes the lore –hence their calls to reduce meat consumption.

IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri says we should have two or more meat-free days a week. New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman equates the environmental impacts of livestock production to those of nuclear war. On the loopier side is Paul McCartney’s ex-wife, Heather Mills, whose global warming worries led her to recommend that people switch from cow’s milk to milk from dogs and rats.

A major boogeyman of the cow-farts-cause-global-warming crowd is the much-dreaded “factory farm” (green-speak) or “confined animal feeding operations” (industry-speak). Though anti-meat and anti-business greens have tried many ways to attack large-scale livestock production — e.g., allegations of manure-laden run-off and overuse of groundwater — global warming fears seem to have gotten them the most press. Now comes swine flu to add fuel to the fire.

For example, a recent article, “Swine-flu outbreak could be linked to Smithfield factory farms,” railed about how “Mexican authorities treat hog CAFOs with just as much if not more indulgence than [sic] their peers north of the border, to the detriment of surrounding communities and the general public health.”

But as the greens try to lay the blame for swine flu on Smithfield and factory farming in hopes of effecting policy change in the U.S., the real problem in Mexico is not livestock production but poverty — average income is one-fourth of that in the U.S., and Veracruz, the state in which the flu outbreak is thought to have started, is among the poorest Mexican states. Not surprisingly, Mexicans pay a significant price in terms of health for that disparity. Mexican infant mortality, for example, is three times higher than in the U.S., and Veracruz is below the national average in terms of health indicators.

Rather than supporting economic development in Mexico as means of improving public-health conditions, the greens are content to sit back and exploit the swine flu crisis as another means for advancing their anti-people, anti-business and, yes, anti-environment social and political agenda. Remember, it’s the wealthiest nations that have the cleanest environments. So opposing economic development is essentially a vote for foul air and fetid water.
President Obama is under pressure to move the U.S. away from large-scale livestock production. He’s already embraced global warming as a reason to reduce our meat consumption. Will he fall for the swine flu angle as well?

You can almost hear the first green president channeling JFK: “Ask not what you can do for a crisis; ask what the crisis can do for you.”

– Steve Milloy publishes and is the author of the new book, Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.

‘Cash for Clunkers’ Gaining Momentum



WASHINGTON ( — A congressional effort to subsidize new cars sales for consumers who scrap old ones is gaining momentum, as leaders seek to help the struggling auto industry.

So-called cash-for-clunkers legislation introduced in January aimed to encourage the purchase of more fuel efficient cars. Consumers with old, gas guzzlers could get $1,500 to $5,000 vouchers funded by the government to use toward the purchase of new cars.

The goal: reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel car sales. How far the legislation should go to accomplish those often competing goals has become a bone of contention on Capitol Hill.

The bills didn’t move very far until President Obama weighed in with his support a few weeks ago. Now negotiators are working this week on the details of a cash for clunkers program that would be added to an over-arching clean energy bill.

Don’t worry, taxpayer. The incentives are “funded by the government” and must be free.


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