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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

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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!

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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.

Curb Global Warming to ‘Prevent Russia From Becoming a Superpower’



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Journalist Matthew Fleischer argues in today’s Los Angeles Times that if we don’t curb climate change, Russia will control our food supply:

Melting of permafrost will further open up previously marginal or even unworkable lands to agriculture. Melting Arctic ice will create new shipping routes along Russia’s northern coast and will open up previously inaccessible oil and gas reserves. Russia’s warming has already helped the country hit record harvests of ricecorn and sunflower seeds in recent years. Continued warming could conceivably allow the country to become the world’s bread basket — and control the planet’s food supply.

Russia is, of course, fully aware of these possible rosy global warming scenarios. Putin has said that “two or three degrees” of climate change could be good for Russia, in that it would reduce heating costs and increase crop yields.

So we’re now using carbon reductions as a WMD? Fleischer doesn’t mention that other parts of the world, like the northern continental United States, Alaska, Greenland, and Canada will also benefit from a warmer world and keep Russia’s power in check. 

And, actually, if UN population projections are to be believed, the world will need as much food and oil as it can get. Bring on global warming to save the starving children of the future!

Bailout Turnabout: Jeep SUVs the Planet



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In 2009 President Barack Obama handed bankrupt Chrysler Corporation to Fiat so that the Italian maker would educate Detroit’s SUV-dependent heathens on how to make small cars in order to save the world from global warming. Five years later and Fiat has announced in Geneva that the new Jeep Renegade will be built in Italy and exported to markets around the world, including the United States.

Save the planet? SUV the planet is more like it.

Fiat’s announcement came one day after Chrysler posted an industry-leading, 11 percent sales increase thanks to record February sales for Jeep SUVs and a 26 percent leap in RAM truck sales.

Those sales records were thanks in large part to frigid winter temperatures that have increased the demand for gas-guzzling, all-wheel-drive vehicles. Indeed, Detroit – Fiat’s U.S. headquarters –  recorded the coldest winter since 1978 when the America’s media claimed a scientific consensus for global freezing (solutions, reported Newsweek at the time, included “melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot’).

“The severe weather has been ideally suited for our legendary Jeep 4×4 capability as Jeep brand sales were up 47 percent,” said Reid Bigland, head of Jeep North America sales.

Jeep unit sales of 46,000 dwarfed purchases of Obama’s preferred Fiat small cars (3,500) and the Dodge Dart compact (4,900) — the 40 mpg car that Fiat was required to build in the U.S. in order to complete its takeover of the Detroit automaker. What’s more, Jeep and RAM are much more profitable vehicles than the Italian-designed sedans.

Which is why Detroit’s heathens are now exporting Jeep designs to Italian assembly plants.  

Jeep sales saved Chrysler and CEO Sergio Marchionne hopes that they will save struggling Fiat as well. In defiance of their political betters, consumers have made SUVs the hottest-selling vehicles in the world – particularly in emerging markets like South America and China. Sure, they are smaller than the hulking Jeep Cherokees found in the U.S. — but they ain’t global warming-fighting Smart cars either. Even Europeans can’t help themselves — SUV sales have increased there even as total auto sales have declined. Fiat expects Jeep Renegade sales will hit 1 million in over 100 markets around the globe.

Naturally, White House policies will work to trim these Jeep profits. Convinced the earth is hotting up, the EPA’s 54.5 mpg-by-2025 mandate is forcing Jeep to equip its SUVs with expensive nine-speed transmissions. Meanwhile, Ford and GM are already investing billions to convert their trucks to lighter-weight aluminum skins to meet the pie-in-the-sky rules — and industry experts expect Jeep will have to follow suit.

The king must have his sacrifice.

Tags: Fiat , Jeep , SUV

Ed Markey and the Settled Science of Daylight Savings Time



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Here’s Senator Markey talking up yesterday’s manipulation of the clock and how it will save energy:

“After this long, dreary winter, people are ready to go from polar to solar. Instead of most of the United States still being covered in snow, our evenings will be bathed in sunlight a little longer, and a little sooner than before,” said Senator Markey. “In addition to the benefits of energy savings, fewer traffic fatalities, more recreation time and increased economic activity, Daylight Saving Time helps clear away the winter blues a little earlier. Government analysis has proven that extra sunshine provides more than just smiles. Daylight Saving Time saves consumers money and also curbs the nation’s energy consumption, which means lower energy bills, less pollution, and more reasons to enjoy the outdoors. We all just feel sunnier after we set the clocks ahead.”

Um, not so fast. The latest research shows that DST does not curb “energy consumption or  mean ” lower energy bills” and “less pollution.” It is good for the grilling and golfing industries, however. Via Tufts Now of Tufts University:

The reason we spring forward each year has more to do with what we spend on summer fun than with lowering our consumption of energy

With the switchover to daylight saving time just around the corner, you might wonder why we go to the trouble of springing forward and falling backward every year.

It turns out that more daylight gives us more time to shop, drive, grill and perfect our golf game. What it doesn’t do is cut our energy use, as is the intent, says Michael Downing, a lecturer in English and author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time.

In fact, when we lose an hour’s sleep at 2 a.m. on March 9—beginning the eight-month DST season—it will not reduce our electricity use even by one half of 1 percent, says Downing, contrary to the most recent study by the Department of Energy.

While the government continues to claim that the country reduces electricity use for each day during DST, Downing says we come nowhere near that.  Some studies do report small reductions in electricity use, but the most comprehensive study of household energy demand and many others report an increase in overall energy consumption ranging from 1 to 4 percent during DST.

“The barbeque grill and charcoal industries say they gain $200 million in sales with an extra month of daylight saving—and they were among the biggest lobbies in favor of extending DST from six to seven months in 1986,” he says. Lobbying alongside them that year was the golf industry, which says that additional month of daylight has meant more time on the links and an additional $400 million in revenue.

But what’s good for retail is bad for overall energy use, says Downing. “If it’s light when we leave work and we decide to go to the mall or a restaurant or head for a summer night at the beach, we don’t walk there; we get in our cars,” he says.

And as the article goes on to point out, we now have eight months of DST and four months of standard time. Why not just spring-forward all year? 

The rest here.

Some Senate Dems Plan Climate ‘All-Nighter’



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Note the list of Dems who will be skipping the pajama-party. I guess a good night’s sleep is more important to their reelection efforts. Via The Hill:

Senate Democrats are pulling an all-nighter on the chamber floor Monday night to stir up the climate change debate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) will be among those participating in the talk-a-thon, along with Sens. Barbara Boxer (Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii) and 24 others. 

Notably absent from the marathon session will be the four most endangered Senate Democrats up for reelection this year. Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mark Begich (Alaska) are not scheduled to take part, according to a list of speakers. 

The point of the all-night climate change push is to “break the pattern of the Senate,” Whitehouse said last month. 

“The cost of Congress’ inaction on climate change is too high for our communities, our kids and grandkids, and our economy,” he said in a statement on Friday. “On Monday we’ll be sending a clear message: It’s time for Congress to wake up and get serious about addressing this issue.” 

I look forward to hearing if they ever come up with the actual cost, not just the “the cost of inaction is too high” boilerplate.

Sec. Kerry to U.S. Diplomats: Make Fighting Climate Change a Priority



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Kerry and Team Obama really think this will work? Good luck. AFP:

US Secretary of State John Kerry has called on American ambassadors around the world to make the fight against climate change a top priority ahead of new UN talks next year.

In his first department-wide policy guidance statement since taking office a year ago, he told his 70,000 staff: “The environment has been one of the central causes of my life.”

“Protecting our environment and meeting the challenge of global climate change is a critical mission for me as our country’s top diplomat,” Kerry said in the letter issued on Friday to all 275 US embassies and across the State Department.

“It’s also a critical mission for all of you: our brave men and women on the frontlines of direct diplomacy,” he added in the document seen by AFP.

He urged all “chiefs of mission to make climate change a priority for all relevant personnel and to promote concerted action at posts and in host countries to address this problem.”

The clarion call comes ahead of key UN-led talks in Paris next year when the international community is due to try to set new emissions goals for greenhouses blamed for global warming.

The emission levels will be applicable to all countries, not just the developed world, and will come into effect in 2020.

The new agreement will replace the Kyoto treaty which is due to expire in 2015.

The rest here.

Tesla’s New Battery Plant Won’t Be in California



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California is out of the running for Tesla’s new $5 billion battery plant. Los Angeles Times:

California loves Tesla Motors.

The Palo Alto electric car maker’s Model S sedan is the state’s new eco-luxury status symbol. Californians bought more than a third of Teslas sold globally last year. Residents of the state pack the order list for Tesla’s next offering, a sport utility vehicle.

California pollution-control policies enable Tesla to rake in tens of millions of dollars each year from selling environmental credits to other automakers — a key source of Tesla’s revenue.

But is this a case of unrequited love? When it comes to building a $4-billion to $5-billion battery factory that will employ 6,500 workers, Tesla is shunning the Golden State.

The automaker is looking at 500- to 1,000-acre sites in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Although the location hasn’t been determined, Tesla has crossed California off the list. The company declined to comment on the reasons.

State officials aren’t saying much either. A spokesman in Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration said the state presented a proposal to the automaker with several possible sites, but that the automaker didn’t bite.

Brown’s office provided no other details.

“The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development maintains a strong partnership with Tesla and continues to work with them on future opportunities in California,” the office said in a statement.

When Tesla’s “gigafactory” opens in about three years, it will be large enough to manufacture more lithium-ion batteries than the entire industry produces now. The automaker said it expects the advanced technology plant will slash the cost of the battery packs for its cars by almost a third, enabling Tesla to introduce a car that will sell for roughly half of its $70,000 to $100,000 Model S sedan.

Cost and politics are the two biggest reasons Tesla is looking elsewhere.

Land prices alone make a project of this scope more expensive than in the other states, said Michael Bernick, the former head of California’s Employment Development Department. Wages are also higher than in the other regions, he said.

“Tesla should have no difficulty finding skilled workers wherever it locates,” Bernick said.

The rest here.

 

Think Progress Warns of Sea Level Rise 2,000 Years from Today



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Think Progress is serious about this, which could make it the stupidest thing ever written on climate change:

Almost 200 cultural heritage sites, including the Statue of Liberty and the Sydney Opera House, could be compromised if global warming reaches 3 degrees above pre-industrial levels, a new report in Environmental Research Letters shows.

The research released Tuesday from Austria and Germany used both sea-level estimates for the next 2000 years and high-resolution topography data to compute which of the more than 700 listed UNESCO World Heritage sites would be affected by sea-level rise at different levels of sustained future warming. The report found that if warming reaches 3 degrees Celsius, sea level would rise six feet in the next 2,000 years, and 170 of those sites would be drowned.

“After 2000 years, the oceans would have reached a new equilibrium state and we can compute the ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica from physical models,” co-author Anders Levermann, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, told Red Orbit. “At the same time, we consider 2000 years a short enough time to be of relevance for the cultural heritage we cherish.”

Some cultural heritage sites will be at risk even if warming is more mild. If global average temperatures rise by 1 degree Celsius in the next two millennia, the report said approximately 40 of the sites would be threatened by the water. If temperatures were worse — if the climate warmed 3 degrees — 20 percent of the cultural sites in places like Naples, Italy and Istanbul, Turkey would be affected.

The rest here.

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