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The Spoof Finally Figures It Out



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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



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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.

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The Great NYC Tsunami



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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



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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



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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.

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Chrysler and Obama’s Euro-envy



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“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



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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



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“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 Grist.org 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 JunkScience.com 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



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CNN:

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) — 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.

A New, Green Way to Get Rid of Old Tires



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Headline of the Day



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VoteVets.org Goes Green



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A new ad that’s running, according to the Daily Kos, in four districts on why veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are supporting President Obama’s green energy agenda:

Hilarious



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California’s attorney general, Jerry Brown, had two tires stolen off his Prius. Even funnier: it was parked outside City Hall.

What’s Good for Chrysler is Good for the Masses



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Regarding my post and Henry’s below (and his longer Corner item), the signals could not be any more clear about the present and future machinations and motivations involved in the unfolding Chrysler disaster than what I just saw:

At his presser announcing the matter, the individual immediately to his left (not much room, admittedly . . . except possibly for recent-ex-board members of the Socialist International) appeared to be none other than Climate and Energy Czarina Carol Browner.

Ummm . . . why? At an event to announce an auto company’s . . . state . . . managed . . . future. Ah. Right.

This was mere hours after the EPA head whom Ms. Browner oversees had just told NPR that “The President has said — and I couldn’t agree more — that what this country needs is one single national road map that tells auto makers who are trying to become solvent again, what kind of car it is they need to be designing and building for the American people. . . . [Because that] is free enterprise in a way. [But don't forget that . . . ] first and foremost the free enterprise system has us where we are right this second.”

Well, actually no, it wasn’t free enterprise that mandated lenders make loans to people who couldn’t pay them back and automakers to make automobiles that people didn’t want to buy. As seems to be this sort’s standard response to failed central planning, we’re hearing others blamed amid calls for more and better central planners. Heaven help us all.

Obama’s Product Line



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President Obama — not Treasury Secretary Geithner or car czar Rattner — made the announcement this morning that the U.S. government intends to reorganize Chrysler in bankruptcy under an alliance with Italian manufacturer Fiat (as I noted over on the Corner). The intent was clearly to establish that President Obama is taking personal responsibility for Chrysler’s survival, and as self-appointed CEO, he emphasized that the company’s future lies in making small, fuel-efficient cars.

“Fiat will (introduce) a vehicle produced at a Chrysler factory in the U.S. that performs at 40 mpg,” CEO Obama said in his first product roll-out.

Why? Because there is a market for a 40-mpg cars in the U.S.? Or because it will meet Washington’s CAFE rules? We know CEO Obama admires European market socialism, but as CEO of an American auto company he should know that 40-mpg small cars are a sliver of the U.S. market. Fiat is experienced at making 40-mpg vehicles because Euro-consumers demand them in a market with $6-a-gallon petrol.

Obama’s obsession with small cars demonstrates the perils of a politician running a for-profit auto company: He wants to make cars that meet regulatory needs, not consumer needs.

The EBA (Everything’s our Business Agency)



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Cafe Hayek has something you’ll want to be seated to read (put it this way: even NPR was taken aback).

Seated, preferably not in one of those museum-bound vehicles as you have come to know them:

In this NPR interview, Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, gives her perspective (and her boss’s) on the auto industry (HT: TJ Goss). In the second quote from her, I have tried to reproduce the sounds she makes in trying to avoid telling a ridiculous lie. She tells it anyway. From the 3:35 mark of the interview:

Jackson: The President has said — and I couldn’t agree more — that what this country needs is one single national road map that tells auto makers who are trying to become solvent again, what kind of car it is they need to be designing and building for the American people.

NPR reporter (interrupting): Is that the role of the government. though? I mean that doesn’t sound like free enterprise.

Jackson: Well, ih it , it is free enterprise in a way. Umm uhh you know, first and foremost the free enterprise system has us where we are right this second (laughs) and so some would argue that the government already has a much larger role than we might have when Henry Ford rolled the first cars off the assembly line.

Trabant meets Obama . . . the TraBama 2010.

A Feasible Alternative to Coal



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Today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reports on the recent discovery of a large natural gas deposit in Northern Louisiana.

CADDO PARISH, La. — A massive natural-gas discovery here in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation’s energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas.

Even conservative estimates suggest the Louisiana discovery — known as the Haynesville Shale, for the dense rock formation that contains the gas — could hold some 200 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s the equivalent of 33 billion barrels of oil, or 18 years’ worth of current U.S. oil production. Some industry executives think the field could be several times that size.

Huge new fields also have been found in Texas, Arkansas and Pennsylvania. One industry-backed study estimates the U.S. has more than 2,200 trillion cubic feet of gas waiting to be pumped, enough to satisfy nearly 100 years of current U.S. natural-gas demand.

Quick primer on natural gas: Its carbon impact is roughly half of coal’s. It has multiple energy uses. It’s found right here at home. Politicians have placed much of it off limits — yet they want us off of coal. Good luck with that, without much more natural gas. And nuclear.

No Feasible Alternative to Oil



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The Freakonomics item I excerpted yesterday? Navy Bob will have none of it:

Interesting articles cited by Dubner, but he makes the same error every other energy pundit seems to make — that new or more efficient ways to produce electricity will somehow replace oil.

 

There’s no connection between oil and electricity. Schemes to produce more electricity from tidal and wave power and transmit it more efficiently through ultra-high-voltage power lines will not reduce oil consumption or imports by a single barrel. They’re dreamed up for environmental reasons (or potential cost savings in the case of more efficient transmission.). Oil is not burned to produce electricity except in isolated and insignificant amounts. The electricity that flows through transmission lines to our homes and factories comes from coal, nukes, dams, natural gas, and the occasional windmill and solar panel. We could increase electricity production a hundredfold from all sources, and we’d still need the same amount of oil. Oil is produced and imported to make fuel for vehicle engines — gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. All the other petroleum products produced from a barrel — heating oil, bunker C, lubricating oil, grease, waxes, Vaseline – are essentially leftovers. If they were all eliminated, we’d still have to import the same amount of oil to make fuel for transportation. Electricity does not go into vehicles’ fuel tanks. And until we get lighter, cheaper batteries with much greater capacity, it never will.

So Those Green Jobs Can’t Be Outsourced, Eh?



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You know, the jobs President Obama promises we’ll be world leaders in . . .

Maybe he means they’ll become our leading export.

From Benny Peiser:

International wind-turbine maker Vestas has announced that it will lay off 1900 employees including 600 in the UK. The news was well received by markets, with Vestas raising £700m in a Danish share issue the next day and announcing investments in Chinese plants. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper to make wind turbines in India or China, just like most manufactured goods. So forget about a glorious future of British windmill makers winning orders from around the globe.
   –Lewis Page, The Register, 29 April 2009

‘Cash for Clunkers’ Gets a Reality Check



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Democrats have spent this term in Green Neverland daydreaming about what cars automakers should build in order to save the planet and themselves. Detroit “must build the cars of the future” our president likes to say. But with Washington now finding itself an investor in the most complicated consumer-products business on the planet, politicians are being forced to face reality.

Take this week’s House effort to draft a “cash for clunkers” bill modeled after European “scrappage” incentives for consumers to trade in their old cars for new models, thus jump-starting dead car sales.

Loath to let a crisis go to waste, Democrats added green provisions to force consumers to consider only fuel-efficient cars. Two bills emerged from this process, with green groups favoring a proposal sponsored by Rep. Steve Israel (D., N.Y.) requiring that eligible cars for purchase get a whopping 25 percent more than current fuel mileage rules, or 34 mpg for cars and 28 mpg for trucks. (A competing bill from Rep. Betty Sutton (D., Ohio), supported by the Michigan delegation, would extend the deal to American cars only — a measure protested for its protectionist trade implications).

Well, hello, reality. While Congress fancies the idea that Americans crave small cars, they don’t. The number of vehicles that meet the Israel bill criteria is small — and they are small cars, so-called B or C-class cars like the Toyota Yaris or hybrids like the Toyota Prius. As a result, the bills would have discriminated against families that need larger vehicles and ultimately would have done little for Detroit because the mpg designation would bypass the D and E class segments which are the meat of auto sales. For example, Chrysler — the hardest-hit automaker — would have no vehicles qualify.

As a result, a compromise reportedly reached Wednesday between the two bills departs significantly from their original, green priorities. Charles Territo of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says dryly: “Members of Congress are getting much more insight into the vehicles that consumers want.”

Gone are the hard ideological demands that a voucher worth $3,000 to $5,000 go only to small cars — replaced by rules that echo existing federal CAFE rules of 22.7 mpg for trucks 27.5 mpg for cars, averages that every major manufacturer meets.

Furthermore, Rep. Israel indicated that the standards would be soft, requiring the purchase of vehicles “at or near existing CAFE standards.” In other words, a loophole you can drive a Chrysler Town & Country minivan (21 mpg) or GMC Canyon Crew Cab pickup (21 mpg) through.

“It’s a disappointing compromise,” Israel said, trying to appease outraged green groups. “It isn’t exactly visionary.”

No, but it’s a nod to reality.

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