American Elephants

In the throes of an economic crisis, governments begin to question environmental claims. by The Elephant's Child

Delegates from 190 countries are meeting in Poznan, Poland to prepare the way for next year’s UN conference in Copenhagen at which the world will seek agreement on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. In an essay titled President-elect Barack Obama proposes economic suicide for US” in The Telegraph, Christopher Booker writes that, at the meeting, delegates will see a video of Mr. Obama pledging, in only his second major policy commitment, that America is now about to play the leading role in the fight to “save the planet” from global warming.

Obama begins by saying that “the science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear”.  He claims that “sea levels are rising, coastlines are shrinking, we’ve seen record drought, spreading famine and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.”

Apparently Mr. Obama has believed all the wonders of Al Gore’s loony film An Inconvenient Truth without checking the actual facts.  Sea levels are indeed rising, but no faster than they have for the last three centuries.  Even the UN’s IPCC’s computer models only predict a rise of from four to seventeen inches.

The tiny countries of Tuvalu and the Maldives often claim that rising sea levels are inundating their land, but Satellite measurements show that since 1993 sea levels have actually gone down about four inches.  Coastlines are not shrinking, except where land is subsiding as it has been doing for thousands of years on the east coast of England.

Mr. Obama proposes spending $15 billion a year to encourage “clean energy” sources, such as thousands more wind turbines, apparently unaware that the 10,000 turbines the United States has already installed “representing 18 gigawatts of installed capacity” only generate 4.5 GW of power, less than a single coal-fired power plant.

In the Energy Tribune, Peter Glover and Michael J. Economides in an article titled Wind Power Exposed: The Renewable Energy Source is Expensive, Unreliable and Won’t Save Natural Gas.” In the U.K,  where the government is ordered to meet a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, wind has been the favored substitute since England is the windiest country in Europe.  In the U.K. gas and electricity prices have risen by 29.7 percent. Ofgem, which regulates the U.K.’s electricity and gas markets, has already expressed concern for all the billions of public investment when wind produces a mere 1.2 percent of Britain’s energy needs.

The Times, in London, has a column titled The fool’s gold of carbon trading: A huge new market designed to solve global warming seems doomed to failure” by Jonathan Leake.  In The Local, Germany’s News in English, the headline read “Report claims EU climate plan could cost 100,000 jobs. In Canada, in the National Post, Peter Foster says:

President-elect Obama’s plans represent an enormous threat both to the U.S. and world economies.  Far from creating new jobs, any “green” jobs arising from draconian legislation and/or subsidies will be bought at the cost of more jobs lost in restricted/disfavored sectors.  Green jobs carry a reverse multiplier.

As for the benefits of green government guidance, just look at how much Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards have done to help guide U.S. auto makers towards viability.  Nevertheless, the conventional wisdom is that any bailouts for the Big Three must be accompanied by commitments on their part to create “more fuel efficient” cars rather than simply cars that people want to buy.  Government bureaucrats may even be put on their boards to lend their expertise to the process.  Having poured good money after bad, the government will add to the investment’s guaranteed failure by further muddling corporate direction with political input.

According to a poll of 12,000 citizens in 11 countries, reports, less than half of those surveyed said that they were prepared to make personal lifestyle changes to reduce carbon emissions, down from 58 percent last year.  Only 37 percent said they were willing to spend “extra time” on the effort, an 8 point drop, and only 20 percent said they would spend extra money to reduce climate change. But other questions yielded the information that more than half of respondents felt that their governments should do more by investing in renewable energy sources — as long as it doesn’t cost anything.

These bits and pieces are not offered as a comprehensive survey. The vast majority of the mainstream media are firmly in the Al Gore camp.  But there are alternative voices coming from all over the world pointing out that all is not as it seems.  The countries of the European Union are backing off their climate change commitments.  In the wake of the economic crisis, they are taking a hard look at their climate change priorities, and deciding that the wish-list is just too expensive.   Perhaps, in their considerations, they may be more open to looking at the observed science instead of the questionable predictions of computer climate models.

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