American Elephants


Root Causes: Here’s Why Ferguson Rioted: by The Elephant's Child

There is always an answer for every problem. In the case of Ferguson, Missouri, everyone has been searching for the cause of this summer’s violence. We just weren’t looking in the right place. The violence was clearly caused by climate change.

350.org Strategic Partnership Coordinator Deirdre Smith wrote:

To me, the connection between militarized state violence, racism, and climate change was common-sense and intuitive. Oppression and extreme weather combine to ‘incite’ militarized violence.

Smith explained that poor minority communities have fewer resources to deal with the impacts of climate change, but that “people of color also disproportionately live in climate-vulnerable areas,” which makes climate change a race issue.

The 350.org Strategic Partnership is behind the big climate march this weekend at the UN Climate meeting that everybody important is skipping. And of course, their real interest is the doctrine of “environmental justice,” a notion used by the EPA whenever it seems to be helpful in their legal arguments.

The EPA defines “environmental justice” as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies,” according to the EPA website.

That makes it a civil rights issue, which brings in a whole different body of laws and regulations. It suggests that power plants or “excessive” car exhaust can be considered civil rights violations — if they occur in poor or minority neighborhoods. The object is not to improve anyone’s life, but control, which is accomplished with a maze of regulation and red tape, and gigantic fines for those who offend the EPA.

Climate, which is a statistic representing worldwide temperatures, affects everyone equally, and since in the last one hundred years it has only warmed by about one degree, we can all adapt fairly well, even the folks in Ferguson. Weather can affect some people more than others because of where they live—in Tornado alley, near the beach where Hurricane Sandy hit. We just had a small earthquake yesterday, but earthquakes are not climate or weather. This one was only a .4 and we didn’t feel it at all.

The National Weather Service says the St.Louis area was not noticeably warmer this summer than it has ever been. At 80.3 degrees F. this August’s average temperature was only the seventh-warmest of the last 20 years, substantially cooler than the high of the last two decades of 83.9 in August of 1995. It got up in the 90s here in the Seattle area as it usually does once or twice a year.



EPA Administrator Admits to Senate That CO2 Regulations are Not About Pollution Control by The Elephant's Child

On Wednesday EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, and slipped in this priceless quote regarding the EPA’s proposed carbon dioxide regulations — the Clean Power Plan.

“And the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. It’s about increased efficiency at our plants…It’s about investments in renewables and clean energy. It’s about investments in people’s ability to lower their electricity bills by getting good, clean, efficient appliances, homes, rental units.”

Ms. McCarthy’s Endangerment Finding  was all about the awful effects of “carbon pollution,” whatever that is, on the planet. Now we learn that it not about pollution control? Oooops!

It hasn’t been all that long since Administrator McCarthy admitted that they could not produce the science on which they depend for their outrageous power grabs. Oh.

And back in 2012, EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendanz confirmed that the reason EPA fines are so huge and so unreasonable is simply to make an example of people with truly aggressive fines so you scare everyone into compliance and get people in that industry to clean up quickly.

The problem is that these disputes are often settled in the courts, where judges may know little, if anything, about climate science, and the idea of being exposed as a climate ignoramus is pretty scary.

Ms. McCarthy is an accomplished liar, but this one may come back to bite her.



They Call It “The Great Recession,” But Obama Is Going To Make It Worse, Again. by The Elephant's Child

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We have been told that Obama does not change his mind. If he once believed something, he believes it today. (See Uncommon Knowledge starting at 20:40) He believes in global warming and he believes he can save the country from its ravages. Hence the Big EPA attack announced today on “carbon pollution.” Misinformation rules.

Obama could not get the Democrats’ cap-and-trade scheme through Congress, so he’s attempting to do an end run by turning the whole thing over to the EPA, and embarking on some very uncharted legal waters by so doing. It is far from obvious that the Obama administration has any legal authority for this, aside from the faulty internal logic of the program itself. Obama supposedly thinks we will set a good example for China, who will then follow in cutting back on emissions. Coal does not care where it is burned. Reducing demand here just makes it less expensive abroad, and they can use more of it.

The notion that “global warming” is caused by an increase in CO² in the atmosphere arose because they saw global temperatures going up and CO² increasing and assumed the latter was causing the former. Turned out that the increases in temperature were faulty because so many of the monitoring stations were placed in the middle of acres of concrete reflecting heat, or next to air-conditioner exhausts, so the readings reflected a much higher temperature than was accurate. Now the sun has gone quiet (no sunspots) and there has been no increase in temperature for 17 years and 9 months, but the CO² in the atmosphere keeps right on increasing. Ooops!

“Carbon pollution is ‘soot,’ which is not a problem. The EPA’s own data shows that it is well below EPA stated standards, and has declined by 50% since 1999. We are carbon life forms. Carbon is one of the building blocks of life—if you omitted carbon from the earth, you would omit life. You exhale carbon dioxide which is not a pollutant. And 97% of scientists do NOT agree about global warming. Hurricanes are not caused by climate change. Tornadoes, floods and hurricanes are weather, not climate change nor global warming.

The president does not learn from the experience of others. Countries in Europe went for green jobs, solar arrays and wind farms in a big way, and practically destroyed their nations in the process. Spain found that their economy lost 2½ jobs in the regular economy for every green job, due to the higher cost of energy. Mr. Obama has been warned that such an attempt to install cap-and-trade by restricting coal-fired power plants would create havoc throughout the economy with a climbing cost of power, a quarter of a million jobs a year lost due to the higher cost of energy— which means the higher cost of everything. He denies it.

EPA director Gina McCarthy, who apparently flunked high school biology, announced a draft rule seeking a 30% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from existing power plants based on emission levels from 2005. This agency is ruling that the states must implement the rules and submit their compliance plans by June 2016. The only way a 30% reduction would be possible is by upgrading all combustion units, and the ultimate cost of the upgrades would make coal noncompetitive. The EPA’s own model estimates that its new policies would prevent a grand total of 0.018% in warming by 2100. The EPA’s inspector general says the agency may rely on faulty data.

Of course this may not be about global warming at all, but simply another tax—a very large one, used to underwrite favors for Democratic interest groups and creating corporate subsidies for politically connected businesses who have financial positions in so-called clean-energy technologies.

The vigor and innovation of the American economy has long depended on cheap, reliable power. So-called clean ‘renewable’ energy is only produced with fossil fuels, for both wind and solar require 24/7 backup from conventional power plants. The wind is highly intermittent, and power is only produced when the wind blows steadily at the right speed.  Solar energy is only produced when the sun shines, and it sinks beneath the horizon every night, and clouds block the sun. Wind turbines are made from carbon.

If you think your power bill is high now — just wait.

 



EPA’s At It Again. Mandated “Green” Fuel Will Damage Cars. by The Elephant's Child

AAA has urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt sales of gasoline with higher ethanol concentrations, on Friday, contending the fuel blend causes engine damage not covered under most  auto warranties.

The EPA has been hellbent to get E15 ethanol blend into the nation’s gas pumps, despite warning cries from all sides. Cars from model year 2001 and later are supposedly able to handle E15 the fuel blend made up of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent petroleum. Automakers say that the EPA is only considering the fuel’s impact on emissions control systems while disregarding the impact on the rest of the vehicle.

AAA conducted a survey and found that 95% of people had never heard of E15, which means many innocents may improperly fill up with this gasoline and permanently damage their vehicle. The agency said that many automakers refuse to honor warranties for wear and tear from the higher ethanol fuel blend.

AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet said “Bringing E15 to market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers.”

The Renewable Fuels Association accused AAA of acting as a conduit for oil firms. Bob Dinneen, the association;s CEO, said petroleum groups want to defeat E15 because it cuts into oil’s market share.

Getting E15 widely available on the market is a chief concern for biofuels groups. The industry must hit accelerating ethanol blending targets established by the renewable fuel standard, and doing so with 10 percent ethanol blends will likely be untenable after 21013.

Dinneen claimed that E15 is “the most aggressively and comprehensively tested fuel in the history of the EPA.” Uh huh.

GM spokesperson Sharon Basel said the EPA was being “irresponsible” by permitting the use of E15 without evaluating the fuel’s effects on the entire car. AAA noted that BMW. Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen do not cover damage from E15 under their warranties.  Ford, Honda, Hyundai Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have said E15 damage might void warranties according to AAA.

The EPA under Director Lisa Jackson has shown a tendency to barrel ahead with whatever they want to do, and never mind the consequences. Which has meant an unusual number of court appearances and court  slap-downs. Cut their budget drastically to keep them out of trouble.



Dirty Secrets at the EPA by The Elephant's Child

What do you suppose President Obama’s initial instruction were to his agency heads: Lisa Jackson at the EPA, Dr. Steven Chu at Energy, Ken Salazar at Interior and Tom Vilsack at Agriculture? “Go forth and regulate. Wrap American business in enough red tape to hamstring their efforts to grow or prosper. Restrict energy wherever you can, favoring 21st Century green power, use lots of ethanol— fuel of the future, and try to get rid of dirty coal.”

One would hope that such orders were improbable, but the results would seem to indicate something along those lines. Thanks to the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, public grants of up to $30,000 are being made available to anyone able to claim to build “healthy, sustainable and green communities” or create “green collar jobs.”

I’m not sure what “environmental justice” is. We have a system of justice already, formulated by Legislature, supposedly expressing the will of the people, and administered by the judiciary. It is called the Judicial System. So what is this other thing? Environmental justice must be something outside the regular judicial system, perhaps emanating from the EPA which seems to have its own rules.

Oddly enough, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is already in deepwater with both a federal Court and Congress in a case alleging that it conducted illegal experiments on human beings over the past decade.  Based on Freedom of Information Act released documents, the EPA is being accused of exposing hundreds of people over the last decade to extraordinarily high levels of air pollutants, including diesel exhaust and particulate matter known as PM2.5. The experiments were run at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Steve Milloy’s excellent Junk Science website has followed the story. “Many study subjects were health-impaired; suffering from asthma, metabolic syndrome, and old age (up to 75 years). Financially needy, they enrolled in these experiments for $12 per hour.” As laboratory rats.

The EPA began imposing restrictions on the use of PM2.5, a major component of diesel exhaust fumes in 1997, after it found that long-term exposure could be fatal. The EPA further tightened regulations in 2004, and said it believed PM2.5 could actually kill after short-term exposure.  EPA administrator Lisa Jackson even testified before Congress in September 2011 that “particulate matter causes premature death. It doesn’t make you sick.  It’s directly causal to dying sooner than you should.” The EPA, as a result, imposed stringent regulations regarding PM2.5, all predicated on their own determination that it’s a killer.

When the Reagan administration took office and found similar types of experiments being conducted, it immediately banned them. No such action has so far been taken  in the case of the EPA. It was just let’s just experiment on real people — for the greater good. If federal law finds the EPA culpable, criminal proceedings could follow.

The EPA has been no stranger in federal courts, or state courts. Their enthusiasm for shutting down the coal industry is challenged by a new study is further bad news for the agency. The report Economic implications of Recent and Anticipated EPA Regulations Affecting the Electricity Sector claims EPA regulations affecting the U.S. Coal industry would cost 1.5 million jobs over the next presidential term. CO2 emissions have fallen sharply in the U.S., without regulation, due to increased use of natural gas. The NERA study warns that EPA regulations affecting coal-fired electricity power generation would cost in industry $200 to $220 billion from 2013 to 2034.

The EPA is set to regulate the largest “polluters” to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted to the air. Yet CO2,which we exhale, is a natural  fertilizer that makes plants grow. At the Congressional hearing in March dealing with this regulation, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) asked the EPA’s Chief of Air Programs and Greenhouse Gas Regulations if she knew what the level of CO2 is right now in the atmosphere. She said she didn’t have that figure. In greenhouses, growers raise the levels of CO2 to 1,000 parts per million  to increase growth. It is currently around 390 ppm. The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have been both much higher and much lower in the past. It is not at all certain that so-called global warming is caused by CO2 in the atmosphere. We have not had any warming for the past 15 years, it has been both much warmer in the past and much cooler.  We are  presently in a cooling phase.

The EPA has spent much of the last four years in court, and their batting average is not good. And there is lots more to come. EPA administrators have been using a series of hidden or “alias” email accounts, which is against federal law. “Richard Windsor” is one of the alias names used by Ms. Jackson to keep her email from those who ask for it. So there will be more court appearances. Lisa Jackson is now said to be departing the agency and returning to her native New Jersey. Quite a flood of people departing the Obama administration.



Obama Promised to Bankrupt the Coal Industry: the EPA is Doing it For Him. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama was speaking in Ohio a couple of weeks ago on one of his many campaign swings, and he said quite specifically:

We also need to keep investing in clean energy like wind power and solar power.

And as long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments.  I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments.  I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America.  (Applause.)  By American workers.  That’s the future we want.

The president has picked three industries and is arguing for an industrial policy to subsidize them — in part, just because other countries are subsidizing them. This is the same president who argues that we must remove such subsidies from our tax code. If he wants to subsidize wind and solar power because he wants to accelerate the development of carbon-free alternatives, then he should make that argument. These edicts bypass the legislative process, but Obama has little interest in the legislative process unless it backs him on whatever he wants to do. Without their cooperation, he’ll just do it on his own. He’s president. Who’s going to stop him?

Germany, in the meantime, is cutting their subsidies for solar energy. Their solar cell manufacturing companies are going bankrupt, and Germany is turning to coal for energy. The Germans are paranoid about nuclear energy, though the French, next door, are committed to nuclear energy.  Obama, on the other hand, is not only not up on what other countries are doing, but he simply does not change his mind:

If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.
Candidate Barack Obama, 2008

We were warned. This week the out-of-control bureaucrats at the EPA announced a set of proposed rules designed to target greenhouse gas emissions. If enacted, these rules will essentially destroy the coal industry. Under the proposed rules, new power plants will be required to emit no more than 1.000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity. Coal plants average 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt. Natural gas plants already meet this requirement, but if a utility wants to burn coal for electricity, it will need to install carbon capture technology— which is very expensive.

The EPA stresses that the new rules would apply only to new plants, but nobody believes that. David Doniger, climate program policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council notes that the Clean Air Act will undoubtedly make it inevitable that the EPA will tackle existing coal-fired plants. Mr. Doniger promises “We look forward to reaching an agreement with EPA on a schedule for completing the standard for new sources and developing standards for existing sources. Excuse me, but who elected the Natural Resources Defense Council to have any voice in official policy? And the American people have no voice?

Isn’t this the very same Barack Obama who was out on the campaign trail bragging about his “all of the above” energy policy, because people are upset with high gas prices? The “all of the above” claim was clearly a lie. But there is an enormous problem here. Coal-fired power plants produce 45 percent of our electricity. These EPA standards effectively bans new coal-fired plants, and will lead to higher energy costs as the country is forced to switch to natural gas for base-lead supply. Coal is our cheapest energy source, and the United States is the “Saudi Arabia” of coal.

The big problem is that the EPA seems determined to shut down coal plants first, assuming that Obama’s new green energy will replace it. That will not happen. Both wind and solar require 24/7 backup from a regular power plant. Manufacturing states like Michigan are particularly dependent on coal, with 70 percent of the state’s electricity needs coming from coal. Carbon capture technology is still  ‘under development.’ Expensive and not available.  The natural gas industry is historically very volatile. The natural gas industry has discovered vast new resources in the U.S. but that exploration is coming under assault from the EPA.

This misguided ideological thrust is heading into unknown territory of brownouts and blackouts. Our need for energy in increasing at the same time that Obama is waging war on cheap available fossil fuels. The lack of any significant warming for over a decade makes it more difficult for the warmists to demonize CO2. CO2 is not, contrary to EPA claims, a pollutant. Life on earth has flourished for hundreds of millions of years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today. Increasing CO2 levels would be a net benefit, because plants grow better and are more resistant to drought at higher CO2 levels. Nations that have plentiful supplies of cheap, abundant fossil fuels are far more prosperous and healthy than those without.

The administration has decreed that by 2020 — in just eight years—we are to get 30% of our electricity from “renewable resources.” The current amount that we get in total pow from renewable resources is just 8.2%. So the nation that is the world powerhouse of cheap, abundant fossil fuels — oil, natural gas and coal — is supposed to dump those and depend on windmills and solar shingles that cannot exist without huge governmental subsidy and full time backup by—fossil fuel power plants.

That makes sense only if you are a failed president who  needs the backing of the big environmental organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club and the others who are all awash in money.



Obama Said He Would Bankrupt the Coal Industry: The EPA is Doing It For Him. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama said on Friday that wilderness conservation provides an environmental and economic lift to the country.

We’re not just preserving our land and water for the next generation, we are also making more land available for hunting and fishing, and we are bolstering an outdoor economy that supports more than nine million jobs and brings in more than a trillion dollars a year.

Obama, in the speech, said that having to choose between environmental protection and growing the economy is a “false choice,” and also touted administration efforts to develop renewable energy on public lands.

But while it is important to use public lands to develop things like wind and solar energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we have also got to focus on protecting our planet, and that is why Teddy Roosevelt made sure that as we build this country and harvest its bounty, we also protect its beauty. That is part of our national character, and historically it has been bipartisan,” he said at the conference.

Once again, Obama demonstrates that he does not understand that wind and solar energy do not reduce our dependence on foreign oil. They make a little electricity — approximately one tenth of one percent of our national electricity. No solar energy and no wind energy go into our gas tanks. These casual fallacies indicate that we shouldn’t depend much on his other statistics either.

Obama, in the speech, also touted recent Environmental Protection Agency rules to curb mercury and other air toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants, a regulation that many Republicans say will burden the economy and are seeking to scuttle.

“When we put in place new common-sense rules to reduce air pollution, like we did in December, it was to prevent our kids from breathing in dangerous chemicals,” Obama said. “That’s something we should all be able to agree on. But it will also create new jobs, building and installing all sorts of pollution control technology.”

Unfortunately the rules have nothing to do with common sense. The 1,117 pages of the EPA’s rules are designed to shut down the workhorse of the U.S. power system — coal-fired power plants — in the name of climate change. And they are succeeding. Two utilities  have announced the closure of ten aging power plants. GenOn will close plants  in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, 3,140 megawatts; and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the closure of two Midwest Generation plants in 2012 and 2014.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club called the closures “a giant leap in our work to move America beyond coal.” Uh huh. This is a massive power play by the EPA to shut down coal plants, in obedience to Obama’s promise to bankrupt coal. What will replace these plants that produce a total of 5,512 megawatts? Nobody knows. That is not, the EPA says, their concern. The cost of your electricity is sure to rise.
1 megawatt = 1 million watts = enough electricity for 1 hour of use for 1,000 homes.

The Sierra Club claims to have stopped more than 150 coal plants from breaking ground, and the Fisk and Crawford plants are the 98th and 99th plants to be retired since the “beyond Coal” Campaign began.

The EPA claims all sorts of mythical health benefits from removing mercury as the justification for the shutdown, though the U.S. power plant contribution of mercury is close to a 0.5% value. The other 99.5% of mercury in the air comes from other sources like forest fires , Chinese power plants, volcanoes and geysers. Completely consistent, as always, the EPA and their Green buddies are mandating mercury containing CFL light bulbs into every home in America. Steve Milloy points out that the EPA junk science is not “to prevent our kids from breathing in dangerous chemicals.”

The scientific and medical reality is that ambient air pollution – even as grimy, stinky, eye-watering and ugly as it is in China – does not kill or hasten death. Fine particulate matter was such a public health problem, in fact, that no one knew about it until EPA-funded researchers invented it in 1993 – 30 years after the Clean Air Act was enacted.

Since the Clinton administration, the agency has been using its invention to impose billions and billions of dollars of costs on our economy in return for the entirely imaginary benefit of tens of thousands of lives saved annually.

The EPA estimates the cost of all this to be around $9.6 billion. This a gross, deliberate underestimate. The EPA told FERC economists that the EPA does not directly answer anything associated with local reliability. They told Congress that they had very frequent and substantive contact and consultation with FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). The cost of degrading the grid, potential blackouts or brownouts, economic harm are unbelievable. This reckless agency should be shut down.




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