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Taxpayers Funded a Climate-Change Musical



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The National Science Federation spent $700,000 on this:

Call it Climate Change: The Musical! 

The National Science Foundation has spent nearly $700,000 on a climate change-themed theatrical production, leaving some in Congress questioning if the organization’s grant funds could be put to better use. 

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, questioned White House science czar John Holdren in a hearing last Thursday about the way the NSF is using taxpayer money — including on the grants for the play, a New York production called “The Great Immensity.” 

“I support basic research, which can lead to discoveries that change our world, expand our horizons and save lives,” Smith, chairman of the House Science Committee, told FoxNews.com. “But NSF has funded too many questionable research grants. Spending taxpayer dollars to fund a climate change musical called ‘The Great Immensity’ sounds more like a waste of taxpayer dollars — money that could have funded higher priority research.” 

“All government employees and their agency heads need to remember they are accountable to the American taxpayer who pays their salary and funds their projects. It is not the government’s money; it is the people’s money,” he added. 

The play is being produced by New York-based activist theater group The Civilians with a grant award from 2010. According to a plot description on the theater company’s website, “The Great Immensity” focuses on a woman named Phyllis as she tries to track down a friend who disappeared while filming an assignment for a nature show on a tropical island. During her search, she also uncovers a devious plot surrounding an international climate summit in Auckland, New Zealand. 

So, what did we get for our money? Here’s one of the songs from the play:

What a waste.

About That New IPCC Report. . .



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Via Power Line, here’s what Barbara Boxer had to say about the new IPCC report titled “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability​.” She can see global warming from her house:

“In California, we can just look out the window to see climate change’s impacts – from the driest year on record in 2013 to the increased frequency and intensity of wildfires. This new IPCC report identifies the serious threats to human health, vital infrastructure, and the world’s economy that will multiply as temperatures warm. It confirms that we must cut carbon pollution now to avoid lasting changes to our planet.”

Well, if she looks out the window today all she’s going to see is cold and rain.

Anyway, what she and most everyone else are missing from the report is how much the report ties poverty to those who’ll be affected if their climate models come true. For example, this:

The most effective vulnerability reduction measures for health in the near-term are programs that 
implement and improve basic public health measures such as provision of clean water and 
sanitation, secure essential health care including vaccination and child health services, increase 
capacity for disaster preparedness and response, and alleviate poverty (very high confidence). By 
2100 for the high-emission scenario RCP8.5, the combination of high temperature and humidity 
in some areas for parts of the year is projected to compromise normal human activities, including 
growing food or working outdoors (high confidence).

And this. . .

Urban areas 

Many global risks of climate change are concentrated in urban areas (medium confidence). 
Steps that build resilience and enable sustainable development can accelerate successful 
climate-change adaptation globally. Heat stress, extreme precipitation, inland and coastal 
flooding, landslides, air pollution, drought, and water scarcity pose risks in urban areas for 
people, assets, economies, and ecosystems (very high confidence). Risks are amplified for those 
lacking essential infrastructure and services or living in poor-quality housing and exposed areas. 
Reducing basic service deficits, improving housing, and building resilient infrastructure systems 
could significantly reduce vulnerability and exposure in urban areas. Urban adaptation benefits 
from effective multi-level urban risk governance, alignment of policies and incentives, 
strengthened local government and community adaptation capacity, synergies with the private 
sector, and appropriate financing and institutional development (medium confidence). Increased 
capacity, voice, and influence of low-income groups and vulnerable communities and their 
partnerships with local governments also benefit adaptation.

Rural areas

Major future rural impacts are expected in the near-term and beyond through impacts on 
water availability and supply, food security, and agricultural incomes, including shifts in 
production areas of food and non-food crops across the world (high confidence). These 
impacts are expected to disproportionately affect the welfare of the poor in rural areas, such as 
female-headed households and those with limited access to land, modern agricultural inputs, 
infrastructure, and education. Further adaptations for agriculture, water, forestry, and 
biodiversity can occur through policies taking account of rural decision-making contexts. Trade 
reform and investment can improve market access for small-scale farms (medium confidence).

The report is crystal clear and says that even in wealthy nations, it’s the poor who will be hurt the most:

Distribution of impacts: Risks are unevenly distributed and are generally greater for 
disadvantaged people and communities in countries at all levels of development. Risks are 
already moderate because of regionally differentiated climate-change impacts on crop 
production in particular (medium to high confidence). Based on projected decreases in 
regional crop yields and water availability, risks of unevenly distributed impacts are high for 
additional warming above 2°C (medium confidence).

In summary, the IPCC says that we need reduce poverty to protect people from global warming. But saying you’re in favor of reducing poverty around the globe and actually implementing policies that will reduce poverty around the globe are not the same thing. To make the actual infrastructure improvements that the IPCC writes about will need one common input: cheap energy.

Environmentalists like Bjørn Lomborg​ and James Lovelock (and us) have been saying this for years now. The world needs more CO2 emissions, not fewer, as Sen. Boxer desires. Here’s Lomborg, for example, writing about the need for cheaper electricity:

​. . .a new analysis from the Center for Global Development finds that by investing $10 billion in renewable energy, we can pull one person out of poverty for about $500. Using gas electrification instead would be more than four times as efficient. By insisting on renewables, we deliberately choose to leave 60 million people in darkness and poverty. This seems hypocritical, as the rich world gets just 0.8% of its energy from hugely expensive solar and wind technologies, which remain unreliable. Even with optimistic assumptions, the International Energy Agency estimates that by 2035, we will produce just 2.6% of our energy from wind and under 1% from solar.

And here’s a recent Guardian piece on Lovelock’s views:

Environmentalism has “become a religion” and does not pay enough attention to facts, according to James Lovelock.

The 94 year-old scientist, famous for his Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a self-regulating, single organism, also said that he had been too certain about the rate of global warming in his past book, that “it’s just as silly to be a [climate] denier as it is to be a believer” and that fracking and nuclear power should power the UK, not renewable sources such as windfarms.

Sen. Boxer, the IPCC, the UN, and the other energy-deniers just don’t get it. The way best way to mitigate the affects of their global warming is with more nuclear, natural gas, and coal-fired power-plants. To say otherwise locks billions in poverty. 

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Spider-Man Endorses Earth Hour



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White House Wants New EPA Rules on Methane Emissions



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The White House today released it’s ”comprehensive, interagency strategy to cut methane emissions.” Full report — a PDF file – here.

And here’s the (long) summary and Fact-Sheet from the White House Blog:

In June 2013, President Obama gave a speech at Georgetown University where he laid out both the case for action on climate change and the steps his Administration will take to address it. The Climate Action Plan that the President announced includes steps to cut carbon pollution, help prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that are already on the way, and continue American leadership in international efforts to combat global climate change.

In his Climate Action Plan, President Obama directed the Administration to develop a comprehensive, interagency strategy to cut methane emissions. Today, the White House released the Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions. Learn more about the strategy in the fact sheet below, and check out the full Strategy here.

In June 2013, President Obama gave a speech at Georgetown University where he laid out both the case for action on climate change and the steps his Administration will take to address it. The Climate Action Plan that the President announced includes steps to cut carbon pollution, help prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that are already on the way, and continue American leadership in international efforts to combat global climate change.

In his Climate Action Plan, President Obama directed the Administration to develop a comprehensive, interagency strategy to cut methane emissions. Today, the White House released the Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions. Learn more about the strategy in the fact sheet below, and check out the full Strategy here.

Dan Utech is the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

FACT SHEET: Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions

With an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. That’s why last June, President Obama issued a broad-based Climate Action Plan, announcing a series of executive actions to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address global climate change.

Since June, the Administration has made substantial progress in meeting the ambitious goals laid out in the Climate Action Plan in a way that advances our economy, our environment, and public health. In just the last few months:

  • The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced permitting the 50th renewables-related project on federal lands during the Administration – bringing us closer to meeting the goal of siting enough wind and solar projects on public lands by 2020 to power more than 6 million homes.
  • President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty vehicles to save families money at the pump and further reduce reliance on foreign oil and fuel consumption.
  • The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued two proposed energy conservation standards for appliances and equipment and finalized two energy conservation standards. That’s on top of the five proposed and two final energy conservation standards DOE has already issued since June. These standards will help cut consumers’ electricity bills by billions of dollars.
  • The Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced seven new “climate hubs” to help farmers and ranchers adapt their operations to a changing climate and the President’s Budget proposed a $1 billion in new funding for new technologies and incentives to build smarter, more resilient infrastructure to help communities prepare for a changing climate.
  • The Administration announced the Climate Data Initiative, an ambitious new effort bringing together extensive open government data and design competitions with commitments from the private and philanthropic sectors to develop data-driven planning and resilience tools for local communities. This effort will help give communities across America the information and tools they need to plan for current and future climate impacts.
  • The Administration has continued the work of the U.S.-China Climate Change Working Group that’s working to promote clean energy and transportation solutions in both countries. And we’re working closely with India to accelerate its clean energy revolution and address the impacts of climate change in vulnerable communities.

Today, the Administration is releasing another key element called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan – a Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions. The strategy summarizes the sources of methane emissions, commits to new steps to cut emissions of this potent greenhouse gas, and outlines the Administration’s efforts to improve the measurement of these emissions. The strategy builds on progress to date and takes steps to further cut methane emissions from landfills, coal mining, and agriculture, and oil and gas systems through cost-effective voluntary actions and common-sense standards. Key steps include:

  • Landfills: In the summer of 2014, the EPA will propose updated standards to reduce methane from new landfills and take public comment on whether to update standards for existing landfills.
  • Coal Mines:  In April 2014, the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will release an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to gather public input on the development of a program for the capture and sale, or disposal of waste mine methane on lands leased by the Federal government.  
  • 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.
  • Oil and Gas: Building on success in reducing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector through voluntary programs and targeted regulations, the Administration will take new actions to encourage additional cost-effective reductions. Key steps include:
    • In the spring of 2014, EPA will assess several potentially significant sources of methane and other emissions from the oil and gas sector. EPA will solicit input from independent experts through a series of technical white papers, and in the fall of 2014, EPA will determine how best to pursue further methane reductions from these sources. If EPA decides to develop additional regulations, it will complete those regulations by the end of 2016.
    • Later this year, the BLM will propose updated standards to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas production on public lands. 
    • As part of the Quadrennial Energy Review, and through DOE-convened roundtables, the Administration will identify “downstream” methane reduction opportunities. Through the Natural Gas STAR program, EPA will work with the industry to expand voluntary efforts to reduce methane emissions.

Taking action to curb methane waste and pollution is important because emissions of methane make up nearly 9 percent of all the greenhouse gas emitted as a result of human activity in the United States. Since 1990, methane pollution in the United States has decreased by 11 percent, even as activities that can produce methane have increased. However, methane pollution is projected to increase to a level equivalent to over 620 million tons of carbon dioxide pollution in 2030 absent additional action to reduce emissions.

Reducing methane emissions is a powerful way to take action on climate change; and putting methane to use can support local economies with a source of clean energy that generates revenue, spurs investment and jobs, improves safety, and leads to cleaner air. When fully implemented, the policies in the methane strategy will improve public health and safety while recovering otherwise wasted energy to power our communities, farms, factories, and power plants.   

Birds Attack Another Jet out of JFK



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It’s only a matter of time until the suicidal birds claim a kill, but luckily, not today.

The Port Authority has come under fire for shooting the birds (and other animals) that put the jets at risk, but it looks like actual changes to the environment near the airports, such as the marshes around JFK, might be necessary.

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Marijuana vs. The California Drought



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You’d think California would have thought about issues like water use, pollution, and enforcement before making marijuana legal, but, nope. McClatchy:

Growers of thirsty pot are under fire in drought-struck California

WASHINGTON — In drought-hit California, marijuana growers are feeling the heat, accused of using too much water for their thirsty plants and of polluting streams and rivers with their pesticides and fertilizers.

State officials say a pot plant sucks up an average of 6 gallons of water per day, worsening a shortage caused by one of the biggest droughts on record. They say the situation is particularly acute along California’s North Coast, where the growing pressure to irrigate pot threatens salmon and other fish.

“This industry _ and it is an industry _ is completely unregulated,” said Scott Bauer, a fisheries biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “What I just hope is that the watersheds don’t go up in smoke before we get things regulated and protect our fish and wildlife.”

California is also the most popular state for pot producers to grow crops in U.S. forests, accounting for 86 percent of the nearly 1 million plants federal officials seized in 2012.

“Those are lands that you and I own,” said Rep. Mike Thompson, a California Democrat. “And when people are growing dope there and guarding their operations with guns and the likes, and sometimes with booby traps, we can’t use the land that we own. It happens all over.”

The situation is a complicated one in California, which passed the nation’s first medical marijuana law in 1996, allowing people to possess and grow pot, even though the federal government still bans the drug.

Medical growers who tend their crops on private property object to getting lumped in with the illegal growers who are trespassing on federal lands.

They say they’re a scapegoat in the debate.

“It’s really easy to point fingers at a very large cash crop that’s completely unregulated. It’s one of the main cash crops of the state,” said Kristin Nevedal of Garberville, Calif., the founding chairwoman of the Emerald Growers Association. She doesn’t grow marijuana herself but she’s the spokeswoman for the group, which has about 400 members.

Public officials are taking aim at both the legal and illegal growers in many ways.

In pot-rich Mendocino County, the sheriff’s department is cracking down on growers who steal water.

In Sacramento, Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown proposed in his January budget to spend $3.3 million to enforce pot cultivation rules to protect water and endangered species.

The rest here.

Study That Helped Get Polar Bears Listed as Threatened Now ‘Invalidated’



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Watts Up With That has the details, but in summary, the scientists didn’t account for – get this — polar bears moving from place to place. 

Brrrr: More Global-Warming Snow for the Northeast



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The Lights Stay On



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The Obama administration’s War on Carbon rages, but the good news is the incandescent light bulb still lives.

For the third year in a row, the federal ban on the popular incandescent light bulb — the choice of most Americans — was postponed by Republican House intervention that defunded EPA enforcement of the law.

“None of the funds made available in this Act may be used . . . to implement or enforce the standards with respect to incandescent reflector lamps,” reads section 322 of the $1.1 trillion budget signed by the president in January. The language was cheered by Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R., Ky.) and endorsed by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R., Mich.) who has become a champion of the common bulb after infamously teaming with Lame Duck Bush and then-speaker Pelosi to kill the bulb in a 2007 global-warming-fighting energy bill.

After a firestorm of criticism from consumer groups led by Freedom Action’s Myron Ebell, Upton & Co. stayed the bulb’s sentence hours before its January 1, 2012 execution. The law eliminates the common bulb by capping the energy that bulbs can draw — effectively a mpg law for bulbs that only CFLs can meet.

The Obama EPA, greens, and their corporate-crony allies have continued to push the ban, however. As in so many of its transformation-of-America ventures, the White House has teamed with Big Business — in this case GE, Philips, and Sylvania — as they use regulation to gain higher profit margins on alternative energy and expensively energy-efficient products. Hundreds of jobs have already been lost as these companies shuttered U.S. incandescent plants to begin CFL production in China – part of the process of “transforming the global lighting industry,” as GE put it.

A ban would come at considerable cost to consumers. In the run up to the 2012 ax, retailers tried to mask the inconvenience to buyers by advertising CFLs at huge discounts. They were short-lived. These days an 8-pack of 60-watt incandescents sells at Lowe’s for $2.98, while equivalent CFLs sticker for six times more: $8.78 for a 4-pack.

Now we know why the president wants that $10 minimum wage — to help low-income workers pay for his bulb ban.

The 40W-60W bulbs not only make up over 50 percent of the market, but CFLs are not the energy-savers greens promised. CFLs are fragile — particularly when turned on and off multiple times. Meanwhile, thanks to general media silence, recent polling indicates only 28 percent of the public is aware that their primary bulb source hangs by a thread. Keep the lights on, GOP.

Tags: light bulb , Obama , Upton

The Obama Administration’s Defective Toyota Shakedown



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“The verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in February, 2011 upon releasing an exhaustive study by NHTSA and NASA absolving Toyota of allegations its vehicles were unsafe.

Three years later, the U.S. Justice Department this week fined Toyota a record $1.2 billion for failing to warn customers of unsafe vehicles.

Huh? Americans can be excused if they feel they’ve fallen down Alice’s rabbit hole.

“The problems gained public attention (in 2009) when a highway patrolman and his family were killed in an accident in San Diego,” reported a Reuters story typical of media coverage. “Toyota responded with a recall of millions of vehicles but left on the road some vehicles. . . having among the worst problems with floor mats that trapped acceleration pedals.”

Like pictures Photoshopped of their most critical details, these reports rewrite history. As such they are cover for a Justice Department kangaroo court that handed down fines bearing little relation to the original allegations against Toyota.

In truth federal probes were part of a massive effort by the trial-lawyer community, the safety advocates they fund, and Democratic politicians to open a broad new litigation front against Toyota (and by extension all automakers) claiming that buggy electronic throttle controls cause deadly, unintended acceleration.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) called 2010 House hearings to take “a serious look at the possibility that electronic defects could be causing the problem.”

And tort lawyer–funded safety advocate Clarence Ditlow of the Center for Auto Safety told a Senate hearing that “the Toyota unintended acceleration crisis” had been caused by “electronic controls.”

The circus hearings paralleled a media panic that featured almost daily claims of electronically induced sudden acceleration accidents — including footage of a “runaway” Toyota Prius in San Diego that gripped cable news and a faked report by ABC’s Brian Ross alleging how Toyotas could accelerate without warning.

Toyota denied any electronic defects, instead claiming — to widespread Washington snickering — the incidents were caused by faulty floor mats, a sticky plastic pedal piece, or pedal misapplication (i.e., mistaking accelerator for brake). In late 2009 and early 2010, Toyota announced two recalls totaling nearly 7 million vehicles to replace floor mats and the plastic piece. The company also revamped its U.S. safety management admitting it had grown complacent in the face of customer concerns.

A year later, the NHTSA/NAA study of Event Data Recorders (a.k.a., the “black boxes” found in modern cars) confirmed Toyotas were mechanically sound.

While a handful of incidents involved accelerator-trapping floor mats, NHTSA said it “believes that the most likely cause of (most) incidents was pedal misapplication.” The tragic death of the officer and his family? The result of a dealer having installed the wrong floor mat in a loaner Lexus ES350 sedan. The family makes up four of five confirmed Toyota vehicle deaths (the fifth also allegedly floor mat related).

Yet Holder & media have ignored this history.

Incredibly, this week’s coverage approvingly quoted discredited former NHTSA chief Joan Colebrook – whose Carter-era airbag mandate for front seat passengers led to dozens of child deaths – who told Reuters that the Justice fine “means at the highest levels of the auto company, they have to worry about going to jail if they don’t report a defect.”

Having invested so much into charging Toyota with fictional electronic gremlins, Washington’s Iron Triangle — Justice, media, and safety lobby — convicted the company anyway.

Significantly, Toyota admitted no wrongdoing in an opaque public statement accepting Holder’s penalty. Profitable and with its Lexus and Toyota brands ranked Nos. 1 and  2 by Consumer Reports for reliability, the company has made a calculation to put Justice’s Inquisition behind it.

Legal experts were troubled by the fine, seeing it as part of a larger, anti-business Obama administration campaign narrative.

“The timing of the original (2010) investigation seemed a bit suspicious, because it was in the midst of the American car companies’ woes,” David Skeel, Professor of Corporate Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, told me. “As for the new fine one possible explanation is a desire to appear tough on global corporations in the wake of the Attorney General’s much criticized suggestion that some of the big banks are ‘too big to jail.’”

Whatever the motivation, Holder’s action sets a disturbing precedent for auto companies whether they are guilty or not. “Sentence first, verdict afterwards,” said the Queen in Alice in Wonderland.

Tags: holder , toyota , ditlow

Israel No Longer Has a Water Shortage



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Thanks to desalinization plants:

Israel has gone through one of the driest winters in its history, but despite the lean rainy season, the government has suspended a longstanding campaign to conserve water.

The familiar public messages during recent years of drought, often showing images of parched earth, have disappeared from television despite weeks of balmy weather with record low rainfalls in some areas.

The level of the Sea of Galilee, the country’s natural water reservoir, is no longer closely tracked in news reports or the subject of anxious national discussion.

The reason: Israel has in recent years achieved a quiet water revolution through desalination.

With four plants currently in operation, all built since 2005, and a fifth slated to go into service this year, Israel is meeting much of its water needs by purifying seawater from the Mediterranean. Some 80 percent of domestic water use in Israeli cities comes from desalinated water, according to Israeli officials.

“There’s no water problem because of the desalination,” said Hila Gil, director of the desalination division in the Israel Water Authority. “The problem is no longer on the agenda.”

Last time I checked, there was a large body of water available to water-hungry California in case they decided to copy Israel’s model. Just a thought. 

The rest here.

 

President Obama in Miami Today for Two Fundraisers



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Given that Miami is ground-zero for much of the alarmism on rising sea-levels, I assume the president will bring up climate change at his two fundraisers tonight. And when he does, here’s hoping somebody in the audience asks him why he continues to fly around the country on non-essential trips like the one today if climate change is such a huge problem. 

Who can blame the president for wanting to come to Miami from D.C.? But I wonder why didn’t schedule the trip for next week – when global warming is supposed to strike D.C. yet again this year. Welcome to Spring, Washingtonians! Don’t forget your mittens!

The Success of GM Crops in India



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Here’s the latest from Bjørn Lomborg, celebrating the success of GM crops in India and debunking the idea that such crops are tied to increased suicides among India’s small farmers:

Too often, we let emotion crowd out the facts of a news story. We base our opinions on the most attention-generating headlines, and deeply held convictions are shaped by only a few highly publicized stories. Recently, I was at a major New England university discussing the state of the world when we touched on nutrition. I made the point that the Green Revolution from the 1970s was a technological solution which has reaped huge benefits for both mankind and the environment.

First a bit of history: Spearheaded by Norman Borlaug, the Green Revolution found ways to make the yield of staple crops much higher, so we could grow much more food on the same agricultural land. The Green Revolution made food cheaper, and allowed countries like India to shift from imminent starvation to surplus food production. Higher yields also reaped environmental benefits, as there was less need to cut down forests and intrude on nature. For his work, Borlaug earned the nickname “The Man Who Saved a Billion Lives” and was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.

And yet, at this discussion, a college professor remarked that is was debatable whether the Green Revolution had been an overall good for India, since “there are so many suicides.”

The Indian farmer suicides the professor alluded to tie into the controversy around genetically modified (GM) crops. While not part of the original Green Revolution, the advent of GM crops became possible because of the legacy of agricultural technological innovation. In recent years these stories have generated numerous headlines and follow a now-familiar pattern.

Opponents claim that the proliferation of GM crops like Bt cotton has placed enormous financial strain on India’s smallholder farmers, driving them to suicide. A popular proponent of this narrative is Vandana Shiva, a prominent Indian environmentalist. Shiva and others argue that “corporate seeds” were foisted upon Indian farmers during India’s liberalization in the 1990s. Whereas farmers had once saved seeds from season to season, the need to buy new seeds every year, plus the additional costs of fertilizers and pesticides, drove impoverished Indian farmers into a spiral of debt. This eventually has led to an epidemic in which a quarter million of them have taken their own lives since the mid-1990s.

No one wants to trivialize the tragedy of families who have lost loved ones, but this narrative doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Several academics have undertaken studies to get to the heart of the suicide “epidemic,” and their findings paint a far different picture.

The rest here.

Nate Silver Hires Roger Pielke Jr.



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And the alarmists are angry! Think Progress:

Nate Silver’s New Science Writer Ignores The Data On Climate Science

Nate Silver’s highly anticipated data-driven news site FiveThirtyEight launched on Monday, with a controversial figure covering science issues. Silver has brought on Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, as a contributing writer – a political scientist who comes with a long history of data distortion and confrontations with climate scientists.

“Given Nate’s professed obsession with rigorous statistical analysis, it is rather disappointing to see him hire for his new venture an individual who has displayed a pattern of sloppiness when it comes to the analysis of climate data,” said top climate scientist Michael Mann via email. Pointing to a chapter in Silver’s recent book that addresses climate change (for which Mann was interviewed) he adds, “Sadly, this isn’t the first time Nate has been led astray when it comes to dealing with the science of climate change.”

Pielke routinely seeks to minimize the impacts and severity of climate change and in the process, has been repeatedly criticized as inaccurate and misleading by some of the nation’s foremost climate scientists.

Most recently, Pielke tangled with Obama science advisor and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John Holdren, over the relationship between the severity of California’s epic drought and climate change. In February, Pielkeslammed Holdren for offering a scientifically-grounded explanation of how climate change is worsening western drought. As Joe Romm observed, “Holdren’s views are right in the mainstream of climatologists’ view of drought. I can think of no climate scientists who share Pielke’s startling assessment of Holdren’s views as ‘zombie science.’”

Holdren responded to the jabs with an unprecedented six-page response debunking Pielke’s muddling statements and detailing how climate change is in fact exacerbating drought in the west. “Dr. Pielke’s statements about global drought trends, while irrelevant to my comments about drought in California and the Colorado River Basin, are seriously misleading,” Holdren wrote.

The rest here.

More Alarmism in Leaked IPCC Draft



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From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Food security, economy to be hit by climate change, leaked IPCC draft report shows

Global warming will displace millions of people, trigger falling crop yields, stoke conflict and cost trillions of dollars in lost economic output, a United Nations report will warn.

A draft of the report to be finalised later this month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and obtained by The Independent in Britain, says “hundreds of millions of people” will be forced to move because of coastal flooding and land loss as sea levels rise.

Food security will increasingly be threatened, with median crop yields to drop by as much as 2 per cent per decade for the rest of the century. Demand, though, is on course to rise 14 per cent per decade until 2050, the Independent cited the IPCC draft as saying.

Poverty and economic shocks from climate change will have a significant impact on migration, increasing the risks of violence from protests and from civil or international conflicts, according the draft version of the report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability states.

Among the projections likely to attract scrutiny from reviewers when the final report of the IPCC’s Working Group II is settled on in Japan later this month is the draft’s estimate that annual global gross domestic product will drop by 0.2-2 per cent if temperatures rise 2.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The rest here.

If the alarmists are serious about food scarcity, we better start worldwide rationing, no? Maybe even a calorie-credit scheme where skinny people can sell their extra calorie-credit to those with larger appetites? 

Global Warming Strikes the White House on St. Patrick’s Day



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I hope the dyed-green fountains honoring St. Patrick don’t freeze. Brrrrr:

 

Boo, Hoo: Tesla is Having Problems Selling Cars in New Jersey



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My friend A. J. Delgado has a good piece over on the homepage on the problems electric car maker Tesla is having with Governor Chris Christie and the New Jersey legislature as the company challenges state law that protects the antiquated dealer model preventing car companies from selling their products directly to consumers.

I’m of two minds on this. One, I agree with A. J. that New Jersey is treating Tesla unfairly, but two, as Tesla is a company that owes its existence to government welfare and environmental edicts, I find it quite amusing that they’re now complaining about the U.S. leviathan that gives them life. A. J. notes Tesla’s duplicity in her piece:

New Jersey is just the latest state seeking to block Tesla. Although the company has received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal and state subsidies — in the form of loans, air-pollution credits, and tax breaks for buyers — Tesla finds itself on the side of the free market when it comes to the state-by-state struggle against America’s patchwork of car-dealer protections.

Let’s check out the recent headlines to help further explain my apathy to Tesla’s predicament.

  • US News & World Report, 12/30/13: “Tesla’s Government Handouts Are the Gift That Keeps On Giving; The company is profitable, yet keeps receiving tax subsidies.”
  • Slate, 5/29/13: “How the U.S. government’s bungled investment in the car company cost taxpayers at least $1 billion.”
  • Washington Post’s “Wonk Blog, 5/30/2103: “Should the government have made more money off Tesla?” (Responding to the Slate piece above)

And Tesla owes its “profitability” to the great Sate of California’s regulatory zealotry and generous taxpayer base. First there’s the state’s regulatory scheme that gives Tesla environmental tax credits which it then sells to the legacy car companies who can’t meet California’s emission regulations . . .

  • Los Angeles Times, 5/5/2013: “Tesla drives California environmental credits to the bank”

. . . and then some more breaks, this time to “boost production”:

And how does Tesla repay California? With a kick to the groin:

  • Los Angles Times, 3/7/14: Tesla has already ruled out California for the plant costing as much as $5 billion and employing 6,500 workers. Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas are in the running.

Tesla has been playing both sides of the system for far too long. The company survives because of onerous regulations that put a boot to the throat of the legacy car companies. Now that the regulatory boot is aimed at Tesla, the company expects a pass? 

As bad as Chris Christie may be acting on this, Tesla has long used politicians for its own gain. And now, it’s payback time. 

Midwest: Record Global Freezing



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“To the surprise of no one, the winter of 2013–14 has shaped up to be one of the coldest on record,” report my colleagues at the Detroit News, of this year’s record-breaking Michigan temps. “The average temperature for (December, January, February) was 20.9 degrees, making it the coldest winter since 1977–78 and securing it the No. 8 spot for all-time cold winters.”

To the surprise of no one?  

Democratic pols, lefty climatologists, and their media parrots have been predicting to us Midwesterners that the Atlantic Ocean would be lapping at our ankles by now thanks to melting ice caps (thus the tens of billions Detroit automakers have already spent to meet the EPA global warming mandate of 54.5 mpg-by-2025).

More records fell this week. Wednesday’s March Madness dumped 6.5 inches of snow on Detroit, breaking the previous March 12 record of 1984. “Nighttime lows could dip near zero, plummeting past the previous records of 4 and 5 from 1896,” reports the News.

Yes, we are back to the 1970s when  the “scientific consensus” claimed a global freezing crisis. The solutions?  ”Melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers,” claimed Newsweek in 1975.

But the Green Left  is boxed in. After an enormous investment in films, legislation, and media propaganda, they cemented “global warming” as their Armageddon of choice. Desperate to continue their choke hold on industrial CO2 emissions, Gore and his media allies have tried to rename the crisis “climate change.”

But how do you whitewash the title of your bible, “An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming”?

Tags: Al Gore , Global Warming , Climate Change

Al Gore Speaks at Climate-Activist Training Conference in Johannesburg



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You’d think that “environmental thinkers and activists from around the continent” would be more cognizant of the carbon-footprint of such an event. An online event, live-streamed, isn’t good enough? Obviously not:

Al Gore, the former American vice-president and Nobel Peace prize winner, spoke on the second day of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Johannesburg on Thursday. The event drew environmental thinkers and activists from around the continent. The corps is a global movement to teach people about climate change and help them adapt to a changing world. 

In his presentation, Gore gave an overview of how humans were driving climate change and how it was affecting conditions around the world right now.

“Whenever any important question is ultimately resolved into a choice between right and wrong, the outcome becomes inevitable.” The current global system was destroying the habitability of the planet by burning fossil fuels, Gore said, adding that it was wrong and needed to change. “We can see the pathway ahead very clearly and we are going to prevail.”

Showing a timelapse map of world temperatures since 1884 – when most modern records began – he illustrated how the entire globe was getting hotter on average. Last year was the 37th consecutive year where the average temperature was above the 20th century average. “As the average goes up, the extremes go up,” he said. The last decade was the hottest on record. 

’Man-made pollution’
This was, according to him, because humans were pumping gases into the atmosphere and driving global warming – 90-million tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases every day. With the atmosphere being as thin as a coat of varnish on a globe, the impact was devastating. “The accumulated man-made pollution in the atmosphere traps as much heats as 400 000 Hiroshima-scale atomic bombs every day. It is a big planet, but that is a lot of heat energy,” he said. 

Al Gore’s number about the 400,000 Hiroshima-scale atomic bombs comes from James Hansen, but it’s really no big deal. An explanation of the math via Watts Up With That:

1 ton of TNT = 4.184e+9 joules (J) source

Hiroshima bomb = 15 kilotons of TNT = 6.28e+13 joules (ibid)

Hansen says increase in forcing is “400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day”, which comes to 2.51e+19 joules/day.

A watt is a joule per second, so that works out to a constant additional global forcing of 2.91e+14 watts.

Normally, we look at forcings in watts per square metre (W/m2). Total forcing (solar plus longwave) averaged around the globe 24/7 is about 500 watts per square metre.

To convert Hansen’s figures to a per-square-metre value, the global surface area is 5.11e+14 square metres … which means that Hansens dreaded 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day works out to 0.6 watts per square metre … in other words, Hansen wants us to be very afraid because of a claimed imbalance of six tenths of a watt per square metre in a system where the downwelling radiation is half a kilowatt per square metre … we cannot even measure the radiation to that kind of accuracy.

And this is the reason we call these people alarmists. They can’t make their point without scary sounding, but dubious, statements. 

What Was the Carbon Footprint of the President’s Visit to NYC?



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I only ask because Senate Democrats want America to focus on climate change issues and if we’re to take them seriously, then cutting carbon emissions should start at home. 

For example, President Obama traveled to New York City yesterday, first landing at JFK airport on his 747, and then helicoptering to Manhattan for two fundraisers and a shopping trip at the GAP. That’s a lot of carbon emissions for a trip that wasn’t necessary. And yet, I can find no criticism from the pajama-party caucus of climate-alarmist Senate Democrats criticizing the president’s carbon-spewing trip. Since one of the president’s fundraisers was to help raise money for Senate Democrats in 2014, I’m inclined to believe that maybe — just maybe – Dems put raising money for their reelection campaigns ahead of climate change.

But Senate Dems are not alone in putting other issues ahead of climate change. Gallup has a new poll out that lists climate change second-to-last on a list of issues that worry Americans. Like the alarmist Dems, Americans don’t really care about climate change, either.

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