American Elephants


Industry Warns the EPA: The Climate Rule is Not Workable. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama tried to pressure “climate change deniers” in a recent interview. He said that most CEOs in the United States are paying attention to climate change, and they are more concerned with the administration’s climate policies than with debating the science. What they want is some certainty about the regulations so they can start planning. They have to make capital investments and have to look at investments for 20 and 30 years out. They have to know if we are putting a price on carbon? Are we serious about this?

“But none of them are engaging in some of the nonsense that you’re hearing out of the climate change [deniers},” Obama said.

The president drew a stark contrast between the questions CEOs are asking about his carbon pollution limits on existing power plants and the attacks from Republicans in Congress who say the standards will devastate the economy and businesses.

Companies like General Mills, Microsoft, IBM and Coca-Cola have joined efforts to mitigate climate change. Some oil companies like Shell have also joined others in supporting strong cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama said that CEOs always complain about regulation, but that his “policies have produced a record stock market, record corporate profits, 52 months of consecutive job growth, 10 million new jobs, the deficit being cut in half, an energy sector that’s booming, a clean-energy sector that’s booming, a reduction of carbon pollution greater than the Europeans or any other country.” He added:

I think you’d have to say that we’ve managed the economy pretty well and business has done OK.

This is so delusional, you just have to wonder. We are also told that he doesn’t talk to anybody outside of his closest advisers. Certainly he has no understanding that his job growth does not compensate for the new people who are entering the job market and those who have given up and are no longer looking. The situation is getting worse, not better.

Nobody is a “climate change denier.” Climate change is always going on and the planet warms and cools in cycles that are not yet well understood. What we do deny is that the slight increase in warming — less than 1° in a century —is anything to get excited about. The planet has been far warmer in the past, and the Medieval Warm Period which was much warmer, was the finest climate known to man. The Vikings settled in Greenland and built farms. Wine grapes grew in northern England, and the fine climate meant the fend of the Dark Ages and the flowering of the Renaissance.

Today there has been no warming for over 17 years, for the sun has gone quiet. The greens insist that warming will mean more hurricanes, more tornadoes, more forest fires, rising oceans, the list of things that are or will be caused by global warming climate change is  unbelievably long, and fairly amusing.

A dozen states filed suit on Friday to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enacting its “Clean Power Plan.” These are the new rules that would put many coal-fired plants out of business, and hundreds of people out of their jobs.  The EPA held hearings last week for the public about the plan. Four hearings, nationwide. In Pittsburgh thousands of coal workers turned out to register their objections to the Obama administrations intentions.

Leading industry groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Mining Association, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and more, have told the EPA that their new climate regulation is “not workable.”

“There is obviously going to be legal action in the future,”said Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “We would like to see the rule altered and see the agency stop and listen to constituents and the consumers that will be most impacted. But assuming all things stay as they are, then we’ll see some action in the courts.”

The Clean Power Plan is a very bad regulation that has far more negative results that the EPA understands. If the climate is actually cooling, and last winter was a preview, then America will need more electric power, not less. Coal-fired power plants currently provide about 40 percent of our electricity needs, reliably and cheaply. Retrofitting those plants to meet EPA standards may mean that most will shut down because the possible retrofit is too expensive. Big jumps in the cost of power on top of big jumps in the cost of health care may be, to use a favorite theme of the left — unsustainable. Increases in the cost of energy means inflation as the cost of everything goes up dramatically. The Left does not understand incentives, and they really don’t understand, nor look for, unintended consequences. They still do not understand that wind and solar are simply unworkable and can never produce any significant part of our energy needs.



A Little Quiz About Science: Do You Know Anything? by The Elephant's Child

(h/t: Maggie’s Farm)



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.



“Environmental Literacy” or Indoctrination? by The Elephant's Child

The state of Maryland has become the first state in the country to impose a new requirement for kids to graduate from high school—something called  “environmental literacy.”

The new rule is a regulation from the State Board of Education, not a law passed by the legislature.  Governor Martin O”Malley offers no  details but praises it saying that “it will infuse core subjects with lessons about conservation and smart growth and the health of our natural world.  O’Malley also said that it will also serve as a “foundation for green jobs.”

An analyst remarks that training for those is just like it is for any other job.  “You need to know how to get there on time, how to be alert, how to work hard, how to absorb a lot of information, how to — learn new skills.

The state board of education leaves all content up to local school boards.  Sarah Boder of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation supports the initiative and says that students could learn by doing. “Kids have the opportunity to participate in some real world learning, such as raising native oysters and replenishing reef habitat.  By raising the oysters they can learn math and read about the history of oystering in the state of Maryland and throughout the Chesapeake Bay and that gets them excited and that helps to boost their achievement.”

Sounds like a pretty complicated way of getting kids to learn math.  Could there possibly be  political agenda?  Well, in short, yes.  The local school boards won’t get any extra money, so a group called the North American Association of Environmental Education offers a teacher’s guide.

An early passage from the guide says “consumption of natural resources, air and water pollution, and the impacts of climate change are among the many complex challenges that threaten human health, economic development, and national security.”  It goes on to talk about the need to “take informed action.”

That’s not education, it’s indoctrination. Myron Ebell of CEI points out that “it’s propaganda and it’s designed to raise up a new generation of easily led and poorly educated and misinformed students.”

Beware of associations and groups that are just delighted to step in and offer all sorts of free materials to help with the education of your children.  They usually have an agenda.  When kids’ ability in math is a problem, it’s not wise to take more time away from the subject to play around with activist agendas.  Environmental literacy, indeed. Our school have been busy indoctrinating kids in “environmentalism” because they can write papers about cute polar bears and find all sorts of pictures on the internet.  Do they learn that polar bear numbers are increasing, and the bears are not endangered?  Not likely.

They call them NGOs.  Non-governmental organizations.  Because they call themselves “an association” and have a website and a 501(3)C designation doesn’t mean that then are anything other than a bunch of activists with an agenda.



If You Watch Just One Video Today, Make it This One! by The Elephant's Child

A complete debunking of the left’s global warming agenda, from Roy W. Spencer, former NASA climatologist and climate expert.  Dr. Spencer, at University of Alabama at Huntsville, continues his work with NASA as the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

He has published two popular books on global warming that are completely accessible for those who are not scientists.  He’s a good explainer.  His first was Climate Confusion (2008), followed by The Great Global Warming Blunder, which has the coolest cover ever.  And for more on this topic, purchase his new Broadside, “The Bad Science and Bad Policy of Obama’s Global Warming Agenda” by clicking here: http://amzn.to/jYWz

He has provided expert testimony to Congress several times on the subject of global warming.

[via @adamsbaldwin on Twitter]



And Now They’re Going to Regulate Your Kitchen! by The Elephant's Child

Sam Kass, who was the Obama’s chef in Chicago, came to the White House with the Obamas.  He was known as Mrs. Obama’s Food Initiative Coordinator, but about a month ago, his title was changed to Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives.  The new title more accurately reflects Kass’ broad range of duties, as internal and external expert on all things health, kids, and food.  Or in the vernacular — he is the “Food Czar.”

So Sam Kass went from being a 20-something Chicago gourmet cook, privately paid to cook for the Obamas, to a big-time White House adviser.  Michelle Obama’s healthy nutrition program is supposed to eliminate childhood obesity within a generation, especially in the country’s inner cities.  Mrs. Obama claims that childhood obesity is a threat to national security, and a crisis that requires the administration to spend $400 million a year to bring “healthy foods” to low-income neighborhoods and $10 billion to make revisions to the old federal program that feeds tens of millions of poor children at school. Mrs Obama said when launching  last month’s “Chefs Move to Schools” initiative — a program to get professional chefs to volunteer in America’s schools:

I think it’s just pretty powerful to see what started out as a few conversations in our kitchen on the South Side of Chicago turn into a major initiative that hopefully will change the way we think as a country, not just about the health of our kids but about our health as a nation,”

I think the ambitions may once again exceed what is possible or probable.  Mrs. Obama is enamored of organic produce, local, regional and “sustainable” food.  I assume that is not “sustainable” in the sense of the cans of food in the pantry, but in some larger, greener sense.  “Sustainable” is very big in the green left, but I haven’t figured out yet just what it means, but is sure is a popular word.

Mr. Kass gave the keynote speech at the Food Marketing Institute’s trade show in Las Vegas, urging supermarket important people to take a leadership role in “Let’s Move.”  He told the grocery retailers that it’s time to seize the opportunity to be leaders in creating a generation of healthier kids by being “architects of choice” on the micro and macro level.  He gave, according the to blog “Obama Foodorama” “a mini dissertation on how to change the design of markets which ranged from where to position healthy foods, to changing food packaging labels is crucial for parents’ decision making, to why it’s important to build more supermarkets in places that don’t have them.”

There was also a conference with governors to urge them to establish food initiatives in their states and cities. Baltimore has a food czar named Holly Freishtat, and the City of Boston has recently joined in, creating a $75,000 a year position of “Food Policy Director” with an ambitious agenda.

I may not grasp the true meaning of “sustainable” but I do know a bit about “organic” food.  “Organic” is a marketing ploy designed to sell smaller fruits and vegetables grown on larger acreages at higher prices.  Organic produce has been  tested over and over, and there is no benefit in nutrition or freshness. It usually costs about 30% more.  Organic designates a method of growing which involves using only ‘natural’ fertilizers (manure) and only ‘natural’ pesticides (like pyrethrums–some of the most poisonous pesticides).  No better for you.  You can look up the process that farmers must follow to get the “organic” label, but it remains only a marketing ploy.

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall at that convention of supermarket CEOs being lectured by the Obama’s 20-something cook.  But I’m not a foodie, I’m just an ordinary good cook.



Protestors abound at Copenhagen. Are You Surprised at Who They Are? by The Elephant's Child
December 16, 2009, 1:45 am
Filed under: Politics, Religion, Socialism, Statism | Tags: , , ,

Lord Christopher Monckton remarked that “They call themselves Green because they are too yellow to admit they’re really Red.” As the Soviet Union fell, many of the “true believers” migrated to the environmental movement. The environmental movement and global warming have always been political efforts, not scientific. And now it’s playing out. ClimateGate is exposing the truth.




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