American Elephants


The Environmental Themes of Aronofsky’s “Noah” by The Elephant's Child

I have not seen Noah, nor do I intend to. Saw the trailers, and Noah as an environmentalist and vegetarian with really bad dialogue left me thinking there were better ways to spend my time.

This summary of, um, “creative interpretation or heretical imagination” — or Noah’s top five environmental intrusions into the biblical textual account convinced me that, much as I like Russell Crowe, I would pass on this one.

The environmental notions of the movie show the extent of the culture wars.

  1. Man’s primary sin is that of destroying the environment.
  2. God prefers animals to humans.
  3. Man is an unwelcome intrusion on the environment.
  4. Taking dominion over the earth means ravaging it.
  5. Man’s task is to reduce his environmental footprint.

The explanations of each theme are here. The author says:

Aronofsky himself sees the movie as an environmentalist sermon of sorts, with anthropogenic global warming as our latest evil to combat. “The water is rising, and we already saw it once,” he commented to CNN on the supposed climate effects predicted by the United Nations. “We are living the second chance that was given to Noah.”

Sounds like a religion to me. The culture wars are getting exceedingly strange.



The Age of Global Warming Is Over: Sanity Returns. by The Elephant's Child

Mankind cannot predict the future. We attempt it constantly. Prediction has become a profession of sorts, with strategists, planners, futurists—and governmental agencies. We’re not always successful with our plans for tomorrow, which should teach us something about prediction, but hope springs eternal.

The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, is a prime example. Weather forecasters can predict the future pretty well for the rest of the week, but the IPCC attempts to do a “gigantic weather forecast for a century or more.”And they know that because they have computer programs the tell them so. The total absurdity of such predictions is clearly expressed by Christopher Booker in The  Telegraph:

When future generations come to look back on the alarm over global warming that seized the world towards the end of the 20th century, much will puzzle them as to how such a scare could have arisen. They will wonder why there was such a panic over a 0.4 per cent rise in global temperatures between 1975 and 1998, when similar rises between 1860 and 1880 and 1910 and 1940 had given no cause for concern. They will see these modest rises as just part of a general warming that began at the start of the 19th century, as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age, when the Earth had grown cooler for 400 years.

That’s four-tenths of one percent! And the panic over that 0.4 percent of warming has become a religion, with ardent true believers who want to send “denialists” to prison. That 0.4 percent has drawn forth massive government investment in low-flush toilets, banning lightbulbs, massive wind farms, solar arrays, electric cars, ethanol, biofuels, and pages and pages of regulations. The stage of the panic can be partly measured by the list of things caused by global warming. The amount of money misapplied to preventing global warming, with no visible result, is immeasurable. The totals would be humiliating, and we will probably never know. Wasted. Completely wasted.

Also in The Telegraph, Charles Moore reviews The Age of Global Warming by Rupert Darwall.

The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction. Yet it is as a prediction that global warming (or, as we are now ordered to call it in the face of a stubbornly parky 21st century, “global weirding”) has captured the political and bureaucratic elites. All the action plans, taxes, green levies, protocols and carbon-emitting flights to massive summit meetings, after all, are not because of what its supporters call “The Science”. Proper science studies what is – which is, in principle, knowable – and is consequently very cautious about the future – which isn’t. No, they are the result of a belief that something big and bad is going to hit us one of these days.

James Delingpole, another Brit, reports on the latest Climate Change Reconsidered report by the NIPCC — the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change, an independent research body funded by the Heartland Institute:

The latest verdict is in on ‘climate change’— and the news is good. The planet is greening, the oceans are blooming, food production is up, animals are thriving and humans are doing better than ever; and all thanks to CO2 and global warming.

Mr. Delingpole summarizes the work of the NIPCC, and the scientific studies which support it. Nice to have a concise summary of where we stand. And the scientists and  ordinary people who disagree with the true believers are not “deniers,” they are skeptics— skeptical that humans are causing a disruption in the climate of the earth, skeptical that computer programs based on a superficial understanding of climate and a lot of sheer guesses can predict the climate 50 to 100 years out, and very skeptical that we should be spending billions to attempt to change the climate.

Do read all three pieces. They’re not long, and they give a good picture of the real world of climate change.

 



Forecasting the Climate: Maybe Not So Bad After All. by The Elephant's Child

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will soon publish the second part of its latest report on the likely impact of climate change. It will reportedly be less frightening than last time around in 2007.

Contrary to media opinion, the real debate has never been between “deniers” and the rest, but between those who think warming is fairly harmless and those who think the future is alarming.

Matt Ridley writes in the Wall Street Journal that a small amount of warming over a long period will probably be a good thing. People can adapt. Satellites have recorded roughly a 14% increase in greenery on the planet over the past 30 years, in all ecosystems.

And if renewable energy had proved by now to be cheap, clean and thrifty in its use of land, then we would be right to address that small risk of a large catastrophe by rushing to replace fossil fuels with first-generation wind, solar and bioenergy. But since these forms of energy have proved expensive, environmentally damaging and land-hungry, it appears that in our efforts to combat warming we may have been taking the economic equivalent of chemotherapy for a cold.

Almost every global environmental scare of the past half century proved exaggerated including the population “bomb,” pesticides, acid rain, the ozone hole, falling sperm counts, genetically engineered crops and killer bees. In every case, institutional scientists gained a lot of funding from the scare and then quietly converged on the view that the problem was much more moderate than the extreme voices had argued. Global warming is no different.

 



The Latest News from the Greenies: by The Elephant's Child

From Mother Jones, Friday, March 21: “One Reason It May Be Harder to Find Flight 370: We Messed Up the Currents: How climate change factors into the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

Scientists say man-made climate change has fundamentally altered the currents of the vast, deep oceans where investigators are currently scouring for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, setting a complex stage for the ongoing search for MH370. If the Boeing 777 did plunge into the ocean somewhere in the vicinity of where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean, the location where its debris finally ends up, if found at all, may be vastly different from where investigators could have anticipated 30 years ago.

From The Hollywood Reporter: 3/20/2014: “Darren Aronofsky wrestles one of scripture’s most primal stories to the ground and extracts something vital and audacious, while also pushing some aggressive environmentalism, in Noah…. Already banned in some Middle Eastern countries, Noah will rile some for the complete omission of the name “God” from the dialogue, others for its numerous dramatic fabrications and still more for its heavy-handed ecological doomsday messages, which unmistakably mark it as a product of its time.”

From the Washington Examiner, March 21, 2014:”Burials go green; bodies interred in just a cloth bag or wicker basket”

Cemeteries are the latest business go to green.

The new trend is for families of the dead to skip the traditional embalming, elaborate casket and concrete box and simply wrap the dead in a cloth shroud and put the body into the earth.

A Washington, D.C., cemetery is being recognized for helping lead the green drive. And not just any cemetery. The Historic Congressional Cemetery reported on Friday that it has been certified as a “Hybrid Service Provider from the Green Burial Council.” They said Congressional is the only cemetery within a 100-mile radius of Washington to get the certificate.

“Green burial options are increasingly popular with pre-planning baby boomers and other socially and environmentally conscious individuals,” said cemetery president Paul K. Williams, “and with the designation, we are proud to be the only cemetery in the Washington D.C. metropolitan region to qualify to date.”



Wooden High-Rise Buildings to Fight Climate Change? by The Elephant's Child

Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack announced a new partnership at the White House Rural Council last week, to train architects, engineers and builders about the benefits of advanced wood building materials, and plans for a forthcoming prize competition to design and build high-rise wood demonstration projects.

In support of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan
goal of preserving the role of forests
in mitigating climate change.

Secretary Vilsack is a former governor of the State of Iowa, which means he must know about farming and corn and trees, right? Actually, he doesn’t seem to have ever done anything but Democratic politics, but that makes him a good candidate for Secretary of Agriculture.

Wood may be one of the world’s oldest building materials, but it is now also one of the most advanced, said Vilsack. Building stronger markets for innovative new wood products supports sustainable forestry, helps buffer reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and puts rural America at the forefront of an emerging industry. Presently, the market for wood and other related forest products supports more than one million direct jobs, many in rural America. As these markets expand, so will the economic opportunities.

The Secretary also announced plans to launch a new prize competition, expected to begin later this year, for developers, institutions, organizations and design teams competing to demonstrate the architectural and commercial viability of using sustainable wood products in high-rise construction.

The lumber mills that provided employment for most of the small towns where I grew up are long gone. The log trains as well. Seldom see a logging truck. Back in the Clinton administration, one of his bright ideas was to ban roads in the woods. Of course that meant the hotshot crews had a harder time getting to the fires. Greens have had a hard time understanding that trees are a renewable resource. The time frame is just longer. Oddly enough, plentiful carbon dioxide  in the atmosphere, a natural fertilizer, helps them to grow.

Perhaps you remember this 2008 video of a bunch of Earth First loonies in a stand of saplings wailing over one that has been cut down. I feel confident that they are all city apartment people whose connections with the out-of-doors are a little tenuous at best.

They usually don’t know much about the environment itself, only their emotional response to nature.  We shut down the forests to save the spotted owl, who nests only in old growth, except that turned out to be false. And their declining numbers were due to their barred owl cousins, not evil loggers.

We must refuse to build the Keystone XL pipeline because a pipeline might someday spring a leak, but this pushes the transportation of oil onto trucks and trains which is much more dangerous. The newest protest is against the  Cove Point facility in Maryland that is due to be the first to export liquified natural gas, which Europe needs badly for fuel to counter the risk of Putin’s blackmail with Russian natural gas. In the meantime, we are exporting wood pellets to England to fire the furnaces to keep the Brits warm. Go figure.

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan will do nothing to change the climate, but if Democrats keep talking as if it will, they will get $100 million from Tom Steyer who is a billionaire hedge fund climate activist. The promise of more subsidies for solar and wind will reward Obama’s supporters and accomplish nothing for our energy mix. Secretary Vilsack is a big ethanol supporter, which is probably what got him the appointment. If I have given the impression that nobody knows what they are doing, that’s what I had in mind. Actions have consequences. If you think things through, the consequences don’t have to be unfortunate unintended ones.



Super Sprowtz? Let’s All Indoctrinate the Kids! by The Elephant's Child

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Do you find yourself wondering these days just what you can believe? When they are not just plain lying to you for political purposes, they are exaggerating, or making false claims, or insisting that you ignore what you know to be true. I’m at the point where I don’t want to hear any of those innocuous public service announcements from some federal agency and the ad council, and I’m irritated at the ad council for participating.

Take, for example, the Childhood Obesity Epidemic, please. It seems now, there is not and never was any childhood obesity epidemic. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported on a study that indicates that obesity rates among two to five-year olds have plunged over the past decade.

The prevalence of obesity in two to five-year olds declined by an estimated 39.6 percent between 2003-04 and 2011-12 from 13.9 percent to 8.4 percent. According to the same study, it declined by 23 percent between 2003-04  and 2005-06 and then rose by 19.8 percent between 2007-08 and 2009-10. Huh?

Childhood obesity is a brand-new concept, invented a few years ago for essentially political reasons. It is arbitrary. They took the 95th percentile of the height-weight chart from the 60′s and 70′s and treated that as a definition of childhood obesity. Besides that, it was based on a deeply flawed Body-Mass Index height-weight ratio (BMI) that inflates the obesity rate. And it was self-reported!

The United States at the present time has an enormous weight loss industry. Stop and think about a day’s accumulation of messages about diet or weight control on the radio, in magazines, online (“Eat this one weird food”), weight-loss programs, diet foods, diet programs, health clubs, fashion models, latest fashions, and so on.  Fat is big business. Some of that enthusiasm was bound to overflow to the kids.

I have a small modicum of expertise in little kids and fat. Many years of Red-Cross swim lessons and you see a lot of small bodies. Some little kids are naturally and healthily — skinny. Really skinny. Other kids of the same age are naturally and healthily — stocky, not fat, but stocky.  I don’t know what they were measuring, but it wasn’t real kids.

I assume with the best of intentions, Michelle Obama set out to cope with the epidemic of childhood obesity. (Naturally with reports of the decline, Ms. Obama is being credited with the improvement) Not so.

Michelle Obama’s well-intentioned National School Lunch Program has not gone well. There has been a sharp decline in participation, a total of 1,086,000 students stopped buying school lunch. 321 districts  left the National School Lunch Program altogether, many citing the new standards as a factor.  (Translation: The kids hated the meals.) The waste problem was huge, kids threw out the healthy fruits and vegetables. Lunchroom costs went up because schools needed additional kitchen equipment to comply with the new lunch requirements.

Calorie counts were specified for each age group, but kids in athletic programs weren’t getting enough to eat. This is not a small problem. The National School Lunch Program served more than 31 million children in fiscal 2012, with $11.6 billion in federal support. In many cases schools had to raise the price of meals to cope with increased requirements, an estimated $3.2 billion overall for school districts to come up with. Participation dropped even more in 2012-2013.

Reformers believe that the kids will get used to the “healthy food” and eventually get to like it. Students discarded roughly 60 to 75 percent of the vegetables and 40 percent of the fruit. Some nutritionists say that fruit is simply sugar anyway. I don’t know. I saw a menu a while back, and I thought it was pretty gross.

Undeterred, Ms. Obama is proposing a ban on marketing junk food and sodas in schools, and an expansion of food service to free breakfast and lunch. She is also pushing new food nutrition labels for grocery store products to make them easier to read and easier for people to understand. If you are wondering who elected…, and where does the authority… nevermind. If you are pondering the similarities between this boondoggle and ObamaCare, it’s all in the family, isn’t it.

As for the nutrition labeling program (do they not have any understanding of the costs this kind of thing imposes on business or what it does to the cost of food? Of course not.) A. Barton Hinkle takes that program on in a piece entitled “Big Government Will Help You Eat Right.” Funny! Do read the whole thing, you will need the laugh.

Americans so dumb. Not know how to do basic stuff, like eat. Or read. Or math. Dumber than sack of hammers, really. Take labels on boxes and cans of food.



When a Billionaire Says Support Climate Change, Democrats Hold a “Talkfest”. by The Elephant's Child

Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer

Why did the Democrats in the Senate hold an all-night pajama party talkfest? They have no intention of passing a bill or doing anything about “cap and trade.” It is all about campaign cash. Tom Steyer, a billionaire hedge-fund manager, who made much of his money on government-subsidized “green’ energy projects, has become one of the Democrat Party’s most important donors.

He has retired from hedge funds to devote all his attention to politics, and particularly to the “urgent” case of climate change. He has pledged to contribute $50 million and raise another $50 million to help Democrats in the 2014 campaign. The catch is that they have to emphasize global warming as an issue. His new group NextGen Political Action. The group will refuse to spend money on behalf of Democrats who oppose climate regulation, but will not spend against them either. To quote Breitbart:

Once upon a time, Democrats complained about fatcats funding campaigns. Then they discovered that it was they who had the fatter cats. So that made the situation different: Fatcats—at least liberal fatcats— are okay.

The new breed of fat cat demands that candidates espouse a Green ideology that happens to be ballot-box poison. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple just announced that he didn’t want any climate change deniers investing in Apple. Way to go! For many Democrats it is a matter of faith, not of science. when it comes to political donations the Koch brothers are far down the list, something like 59th. They are more inclined to invest their money in searching for a cure for cancer. It was John Kerry, married to another Green billionaire, Theresa Heinz Kerry, who declared “Climate change can now be considered another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.”

The environmental true believers range from passionate to Malthusian. They run around in private jets and limousines, but as a recent Sierra Club press release said “There’s no such thing as sustainable growth, not in a country like the US. We have to de-grow our economy.” Their goal is to de-grow the economy. Passionate true believers are seldom interested in ordinary science, or ordinary economics either.

Among other things they are totally opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline. Dirty Canadian oil needs be banned and to hell with all the jobs. The voters do want jobs, they do want plentiful, cheap energy, and common sense and direct observation leads them to believe that climate change is not an urgent problem.

Leaves Congressional Democrats walking a fine line. They want and need the political donations, but want to avoid anything that might upset the voters on the one hand or the donors on the other. Hence the talkfest.

 



Have You Noticed Rising Food Prices? Here’s why: by The Elephant's Child

Food prices are up, and manufacturers are trying hard to keep you from noticing. Cereal boxes remain the same height, but they are thinner. Baker’s chocolate, formerly in 8 oz. boxes, now comes in boxes that are about ¼” smaller in every direction, contains half as much chocolate “NEW! 4 oz. Easy Break Bar, Same great chocolate. ” Still the same great price, for half as much. Sugar packages have lost a pound of content. I don’t like seeing food prices climb, but I object even more to manufacturers’ attempts to fool me.

If we insist, as a nation, on putting most of our corn crop into our gas tanks — the result is food price inflation. Food prices are rising faster than overall inflation. Core inflation is running around 2%, but the USDA said food prices would be up 3% to 4% last year. Corn ethanol does nothing for the climate, and it contains less energy than gasoline.  You’re just paying farmers to grow fuel instead of food. A rise in the price of corn affects the price of other farm commodities such as meat, poultry, dairy and soy products. Congress ended the direct ethanol subsidies in 2011, but the renewables standard remains, and it is the biggest factor. Food prices hit the poor the hardest, and the ethanol mandate is essentially a tax on the poor.

“Organic” foods have been heavily promoted. They cost about 30% more than non-organic foods, but the label “organic” means only that growers used “natural” fertilizers and “natural” pesticides, but pesticide residue does not cross the conservative safety thresholds set by regulators. Natural fertilizer refers to animal manure —pathogen-laden animal excreta. “Organic” is supposed to be better for the natural environment, but it isn’t so, it just uses more land. The term “organic” refers to the practices and procedures a farmer intends to use. It does not indicate superior nutrition, flavor, or healthful qualities. It’s not better for  you, just more expensive.

And for sheer silliness, consider the locavores. Now that with modern transportation we can have summer foods in the winter, plentiful vegetables when it’s snowing out, and strawberries all year around, the purists insist on locally grown food, with the suggestion that it is much fresher. But there’s not much local in the winter, and it may be flown in faster anyway.

Environmentalists are the loons who care more about the environment than about people. Fringe anti-biotechnology activists are hell-bent on banning anything containing a chemical.  Chemicals are bad. A current interest is genetically modified food. Modify people’s genes as much as you want, select the desired sex and attributes of your potential baby, but don’t modify plants to be more resistant to disease, or insert a gene for Vitamin A to prevent blindness, as in “golden rice,”— an incalculable benefit to parts of the world dependent on rice, yet lacking the essential vitamin in their food supply. Better to have blind kids than mess with their food. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) are not GMO skeptics, as they like to portray themselves,  but fringe anti-chemical activists operating on the “precautionary principle” or the theory that if something is ‘suspected’ of potentially causing harm, you have to prove that it will not.

We are growing more food on less land, the green revolution, that will help to feed a hungry world. Food for the Poor is asking for help to feed starving Guatemalan children. Egypt is having trouble feeding their own people. We have over 17 years of successful GMO cultivation, millions of acres, hundreds of millions of servings and not one instance of adverse health or environmental effects. It is a remarkable achievement, and there are far more achievements in the pipeline.

Biotechnology offers an unparalleled safety record and demonstrated commercial success. Remarkably, however, biotechnology might not reach its full potential. In part, that’s because outspoken opponents of GM crops in the U.S. have spearheaded a “labeling” movement that would distinguish modified food from other food on grocery store shelves. Never mind that 60%-70% of processed food on the market contains genetically modified ingredients. In much of Europe, farmers are barred from growing genetically modified crops. Even in Africa, anti-biotechnology sentiment has blocked its application. In Zambia, for example, the government refused donations of GM corn in 2002, even as its people starved.

Opponents of GM crops have been extremely effective at spreading misinformation. GM crops don’t, as one discredited study claimed recently, cause cancer or other diseases. GM cotton isn’t responsible for suicides among Indian farmers—a 2008 study by an alliance of 64 governments and nongovernmental organizations debunked that myth completely. And GM crops don’t harm bees or monarch butterflies.

Anyone who cares about alleviating hunger and protecting the environment should work quickly to remove the bias against GM crops. A good first step is for educated, scientifically literate people to avoid being taken in by the myths about genetically modified food. These innovations have too much potential to empower individuals and feed the world to be thwarted by falsehoods and fear-mongering.



Polar Vortexes and Presidential Pollution Proclamations by The Elephant's Child

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In January of this year, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) told a Senate Environment and Pubic Works (EPW) committee hearing that the president must have fabricated two oft-repeated climate claims.

“Both statements are false,” Inhofe said of Obama’s global warming claims, since neither the EPA nor the U.N.’s IPCC climate group can provide any supporting statistics.

On multiple occasions, and most recently on May 30th of last year, President Obama has said, and this is a quote he has used several times, he said that “the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even ten years ago” and that “the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or ten  years ago.”Neither agency could provide statistics to support the president’s claim. Senator Inhofe pointed out that temperatures have “flat-lined over the last 15 years, something no climate model ever predicted.”

When you go back and loot at the temperature projections from climate models and compare them to actual temperatures, two things are readily evident: first, temperatures have flatlined over the last 15 years, and second, an average of over 100 climate models from the last decade shows that the scientific community did not predict this would happen. And to my knowledge, not a single climate model ever predicted that a pause in global warming would ever occur.

Climate scientists thought that they could enter into their computer models the established, known facts about climate, and add to that educated guesses, and likely scenarios, and the result would allow you to predict the future climate out 50 to 100 years. Well, garbage in, garbage out (GIGO). We just didn’t know that much about the climate.

And then it turned out that our national temperature records had a distinctly ‘warming’ leaning because many of the stations were located next to air-conditioning outlets and concrete walls to reflect the heat. The records could not be trusted. And tree rings turned out to be faulty as well.

And then it was realized that although clouds had a major influence on climate, we had no clue as to how to measure that. Clouds are of many different types (my dad always loved cumulus nimbus — I think he just liked to say it) and shapes. They move, a lot, and at different levels they may be moving in opposite directions, so you’re dealing with air currents as well.  And then we know that meteorologists cannot predict the weather out more than 7 days, and they don’t always get that right.

President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget allocates about $1 trillion for discretionary spending, and within that amount is continued funding for regulations by the EPA to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants. They’ve issued rules for new plants and rules for existing plants will come out in June. His budget ( the one they said is ‘dead on arrival’ ) calls for:

  • A permanent extension of the production tax credit for wind, $19.2 billion over 10 years. $401 million for alternative-fuel trucks tax credits and $1,7 billion for cellulosic biofuel. (more polluting than gasoline)
  • Cut $4 billion in ‘tax breaks’ that are currently available to the oil and natural gas industries, and $3.9 billion in tax preferences for coal, which supplies nearly half of our electricity.
  • $1 billion to fund new technology and ‘infrastructure to prepare for climate change’ and for research.
  • $2,3 billion more for the Forest Service to suppress and ‘research’ wildfires.
  • $400 million for DHS to identify “critical infrastructure vulnerabilities” to climate change.
  • $362 million to the National Science Foundation to research ‘advanced forms’ of ‘green energy.’
  • Overall the budget boosts funding for the Energy Dept. to $27.9 billion in 2015, an increase of 2.6 percent over 2014. Includes $355 million to fuel transportation infrastructure and beef up the electrical grid.

On the Left, global warming — now referred to as climate change — is a matter of religious faith. They simply believe. Republicans don’t, because they keep up with the changing science. Undoubtedly one of the reasons the left believes is because Republicans don’t. They sneeringly call us “deniers” although nobody denies that the climate is always changing. We just deny that it’s a big problem. Back in the 1970s, we were worried about global cooling and a new ice age.

We haven’t had any warming for seventeen years. It has been far warmer in the past — the medieval warming was the finest weather known to man, when wine grapes grew in England and Germany. It’s been far colder as well. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been higher in the past and also lower. Man seems able to adapt. Number Watch, a British website, consists simply of a complete list of things “caused by global warming.”

And for the second time this year, Niagara Falls has frozen over. The pictures are breathtaking. And the Great Lakes are close to being completely frozen over.  57° degrees here today.



Matt Ridley, On The Greening of the Planet. by The Elephant's Child

This video is a year old this month, but the very clear message seems not to have reached the true believers, so I’m re-posting it.  Apple CEO Tim Cook has just told global warming skeptics to “get out of this stock.” In essence, he told every Apple shareholder to take a hike and waved away any potential investors.

When Mr. Cook met with shareholders on Friday, a group proposed that the company be more open about its environmental activism and more transparent about the costs it incurs as it increases its dependence on renewable energy. “If you want me to do things only for ROI (return on investment) reasons, you should get out of this stock,” he said.

What he was saying is that profit is overrated, and if you aren’t interested in a warm feeling from political activism, you are misdirected. Cook succeeded Steve Jobs in 2011, and Apple has gone for fighting global warming in a big way, tripling the use of renewable energy for its offices to 75%, The goal is to go 100% renewable.

Unfortunately, comparing costs is interesting. The cost per megawatt hour of a new natural gas power plant averages $66, while the tab for wind is $96, and solar photovoltaic $153, and solar thermal $242. It not only costs way more, it doesn’t do anything whatsoever to stop the natural warming and cooling of the planet. And you may have noticed that cooling is the current mode. There has been no warming for over 17 years.

European countries are becoming aware of the vast drag on their economies from their investment in “renewable” energy. Germany is realizing that its Energiewende — its radical energy policies — cost taxpayers €22 billion last year alone, making businesses uncompetitive.

True believers aren’t interested in facts, but are hell-bent on saving the planet. It’s a religious belief, and it’s adherents are cult-like in their devotion.

Over the past three decades, our planet has gotten greener!

Even stranger, the greening of the planet in recent decades appears to be happening because of, not despite, our reliance on fossil fuels. While environmentalists often talk about how bad stuff like CO2 causes bad things to happen like global warming, it turns out that the plants aren’t complaining.



A Political Problem? Just Throw Money At It. Make It Go Away! by The Elephant's Child

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
But once you get up over a billion dollars, or even before that, it’s hard to grasp just what we are really talking about.

The current administration was hoping that the Republicans would fail to raise the debt ceiling, so they could demonize the GOP for the rest of the  year for not paying our country’s bills, for defaulting on the debt, destroying our credit-rating, for all the things they would be able to shut down to pay for the damage the nasty Republicans were doing to the country. But Republicans raised the limit, as had to be done anyway, and now the GOP is free to point at those who, so callously, could not stop spending.

The First Lady and the girls are in Aspen, skiing. The president has gone to California to play golf with Jay Carney, but dropped in on the Central Valley to publicize California’s drought — as a sign of global warming. It is a little preposterous to try to blame  the East’s snow and ice on global warming, though some of media have valiantly tried to do so. It really doesn’t pass the laugh test. Ditto for the drought.

Another quiet story broke that didn’t make front-page headlines. “A newly-uncovered and monumental calculating error in official U.S. government climate data shows that climate scientists unjustifiably added on a whopping one degree of phantom warming to the official ‘raw’ temperature record. ” Independent data analyst Steven Goddard released his telling study of the officially adjusted and “homogenized” U.S. temperature records relied upon by NASA, NOAA, USHCN and scientists  around the world to “prove” our climate has been warming dangerously. His evidence proves conclusively that the officially-claimed one-degree increase in temperatures is entirely fictitious. It also discredits the reliability of any assertion by such agencies to possess a reliable and robust temperature record.

So on his trip to California, President Obama is pitching a new $1 billion climate change resilience fund during a visit to Fresno and the Great Central Valley, devastated by government-caused drought. The President even hauled out his assistant to the president on science and technology, John Holdren, who said “Weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change.”

The new fund—separate from Obama’s climate agenda announced in June — will be detailed in the president’s 2015 budget, set for release next month.  Obama has said he will use his executive authority to push his climate agenda and other policies during his “year of action,”  but the president would need approval from Congress for the fund.

In Europe, countries are backing away from renewable energy as they realize that they can’t afford the subsidies, and without subsidies the renewable energy goes away. Britain is having a flooding problem, blamed by some on global warming, but in reality, apparently the fault of government’s failure to dredge coastal rivers in order to protect a mollusc.

Victor Davis Hanson, a 3rd or 4th generation California farmer, explains the drought Mr, Obama wants to spend a billion on, as two droughts — nature’s and its man made twin.

Californians have not built a major reservoir since the New Melones Dam more than 30 years ago. As the state subsequently added almost 20 million people, it assumed that it was exempt from creating any more “unnatural” Sierra lakes and canals to store precious water during California’s rarer wet and snow-filled years.

Then, short-sightedness soon became conceit. Green utopians went further and demanded that an ailing three-inch bait fish in the San Francisco delta receive more fresh oxygenated water. In the last five years, they have successfully gone to court to force millions of acre-feet of contracted irrigation water to be diverted from farms to flow freely out to sea.

So there you have it. Government causes problems, president proposes billions in public money, congress appropriates, which doesn’t solve problems and creates more.  You can’t fix problems by throwing money at them. A Political Problem cannot be solved by throwing money in it’s direction.



Obama Is Going After “Carbon Pollution” With “Climate Hubs” by The Elephant's Child

Your federal Government at work.  President Obama has enacted part of his promised “Climate Action Plan” today with the creation of regional “Climate Hubs” to coordinate a response to global warming with farmers, ranchers and owners of forest land. This is another executive order by the president without benefit of Congressional

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the seven Regional Hubs for Risk Adaption and Mitigation to Climate Change “are going to do a risk analysis of crop production and of forestry, in terms of changing climates.”

This is, you see, part of Obama’s State of the Union promise “to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put America on track to a cleaner environment.” Unfortunately there is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” We are carbon-based life forms. Carbon is one of the basic building blocks of life. No carbon — no life. There is not a thing that Mr. Obama can do to “slow the effects of climate change.”

Well, nevermind. They are going to “responsibly” cut carbon pollution. CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants. It helps plants withstand cold, and many climate scientists believe we are looking at another 20 years of cooling at least. There has been no warming for 17 years.

The problem with Liberals is not that they don’t know anything, but that they know so many things that just aren’t so. The New Yorker: “How Cold Weather Makes You Forget About Global Warming:” Suggests the media needs to “frame the (cold) weather within the context of climate change, emphasizing that it was unnatural.”

“It may come as a surprise to you — it certainly did to me — that 51 percent of the entire land mass of the United States is engaged in either agriculture or forestry. This is a part of our economy that is significant: 16 million people are employed as a result of agriculture, and it represents roughly 5 percent of the gross domestic product,” Vilsack said, adding that the recent severe snow storms and the persistent California drought are a “reflection of the changing weather patterns that will, indeed, impact and affect crop production, livestock production, as well as an expansion of pests and diseases and could compromise agriculture and forestry.”

Well, if we’d start appointing Agriculture Secretaries who have some familiarity with farming, it would help. Vilsack’s qualification was that he had been governor of Iowa. He was also a big backer of the Pigford claimants who fraudulently pretended to be farmers to get enormous amounts of reparations from the government.

Vilsack’s examples of how the new hubs might work would be to identify technologies and practical science-based guidance that will say to farmers — this is how you need to manage, this is what you need to grow, and what seed technology you need. The general direction described doesn’t sound as if this is something the farmers have requested, but simply more Federal busywork. Farmers know a lot more about what they need to do than the Federal government does.




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