American Elephants

Fifty Million People Disappear! Embarrassment Ensues. by The Elephant's Child

Back in 2005, The United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people would be forced to flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to the production of food.

The United Nations Environment Programme even provided a handy map. The map shows us the places most at risk included the very sensitive low-lying islands of the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Back on April 11th, Gavin Atkins of the Asian Correspondent asked a simple question:

“What happened to the climate refugees?

Anthony Watts explains the whole embarrassing story.  The UN somehow made the handy map vanish, just like the 50 million refugees simply vanished. Then they moved the goalposts. There’s even a dandy picture of people at the beach waiting for the rising of the tides. But scroll down, the refugee map is recaptured, and all is exposed. If you are unfamiliar with Watts Up With That, Anthony’s splendid and popular website, be sure to bookmark it.

The EPA Exposed: Bad Science, Bad Economics and Lies. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s most draconian campaign pledge was to “implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.” Ron Arnold reports in the Washington Examiner that:

The NCEE [National Center for Environmental Economics]was ready to cement the case for the Environmental Protection Agency’s “endangerment finding,” the official declaration that carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels poses a threat to human health and welfare. Thousands of government careers, academic contracts, and Big Green grants hung in the balance, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson needed to release it within days.

Senior Research Analyst Alan Carlin PhD, a 38-year EPA veteran with a physics degree from CalTech and a PhD in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, submitted his report that the agency’s case was full of predetermined, politically mandated, cherry-picked scientific garbage.

In the four days before the EPA finding was to be released, Carlin criticized as many details as possible:  The EPA had relied on outdated research and ignored major new developments, including declines in global temperatures, projections that hurricanes would not increase, and findings that ocean cycles best explain the fluctuations of temperature.

Carlin applied the scientific method to every study used in the EPA’s supporting documents. He found computerized guesswork, editing by advocates, and urgently requested that his report be forwarded to top decision makers.

The director refused. In an email to Carlin, he said, “The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.”

Carlin explained that he knew where his duty lay concerning scientific truth and the administration, and got these appalling replies: “I don’t want you to spend any additional EPA time on climate change,” and, “Do not have any direct communication with anyone outside of NCEE on endangerment. There should be no meetings, emails, written statements, phone calls etc.”

That was two years ago. But there is more to the story. A lot more.  Two weeks ago, Carlin’s report, updated, expanded, and peer-reviewed, was published in the respected International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.  And the scandal is not over.  Read the whole thing.

The EU Has Mandated E10 Gasoline. The Germans Said No. by The Elephant's Child
April 19, 2011, 4:09 pm
Filed under: Capitalism, Europe, Freedom, Junk Science, Statism | Tags: , ,

Gasoline, laced with ethanol and known as E10, is ubiquitous in the United States and the EPA is busily trying to force the country to accept E15.  The Germans, on the other hand, will have none of it.

A  European Union directive requires gas stations to sell fuel with 10 percent ethanol content.  The law regulating the introduction of E10 foresees industry penalties should CO2 targets not be met, so the average tank of gasoline will cost more.

Der Spiegel reports that:

An attempt to introduce the biofuel mixture E10 in Germany has been a disaster, after motorists refused to buy the supposed green gasoline.  Car makers, oil companies and politicians have all tried to blame each other for the mess.  Even environmentalists oppose the new fuel. …

German motorists are to blame for the commercial failure of the supposed green gasoline.  The first attempt by politicians to foist a product that is both expensive and environmentally questionable on consumers has failed.  German Environment Minister Norbert Rottgen, who had earlier argued in favor of the fuel, is now as embarrassed as the petroleum industry and the auto industry. …

Of course, drivers are the ones paying for the setback.  Oil companies, like Aral, Shell, Esso and Jet, have already raised their prices to recoup their additional costs.  According to industry information, the cost of converting refineries and filling stations to E-10 was in the triple-digit millions, while reversing the development is unlikely to be much cheaper.

The article includes all the usual political themes.  Drivers are just uninformed, drivers don’t think wheat belongs in their gas tanks with people starving in many countries, the benefits of E10 were not properly explained, and drivers were uncertain if their cars could cope with E10.  Sounds just like our media, except you probably would never find a source that would say “supposed green gasoline.”

The EU had intended to limit emissions in carmakers’ new models to an average of only 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Auto makers were uncertain about promoting the fuel.  Even the German Interior Ministry instructed its employees not to fill up their official vehicles with biofuel until further notice.  Auto makers have backed off, have been slow to issue a liability promise for E10 damage.  Motorists are required to show that E10 damaged their engine, a major hurdle.

The car industry blames the oil industry, which has not done a big advertising campaign. The oil companies have little interest in biofuels, beyond doing the bare minimum needed to satisfy the requirement.

Greenpeace says increasing the ethanol content of gasoline is not a sensible climate or environmental protection measure.  BUND (Friends of the Earth) calls the measure ineffective. The London-based Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and nine other European environmental organizations funded a study that found that  the environmental record of fuel from renewable resources is not positive, but negative. Biofuel, they reported, is “more harmful” to the climate than the fossil fuels it is supposed to replace.

About 27,000 square miles of forest, pasture and wetlands would have to be cultivated as farmland to satisfy the future demand for biofuel in Europe alone, or an area twice the size of Belgium. Corn grown for ethanol is replacing potatoes, raw materials for beer, and food prices are rising. Farmers like higher prices, subsidies confuse the situation, the EU changes its mind and admits that it is wrong about as often as the EPA. In the meantime, can you buy plain old gasoline anywhere here?

Eco-Boobs: The World’s Very First Carbon Neutral Bra by The Elephant's Child
April 19, 2011, 8:12 am
Filed under: Energy, Environment, Junk Science | Tags: , ,

The world’s first carbon neutral bra, made in a factory run on solar panels, has been launched onto the fashion market with hopes that all clothing will be more environmentally friendly in the future.

There are limits! Lately we are inundated with urgings to be “green” from every business in the community, just when the public has lost interest and have become correctly convinced that it is all a crock. Polls show that global warming ranks dead last in any list of public worries. Like no interest at all.

The EPA is trying desperately to regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act, never intended by Congress for such a scandalous overreaching grab for power, while ordinary folk who remember their high school biology exhale carbon dioxide and wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s hard to tell whether business is unaware of societal trends, or worried about avoiding the heavy hand of government regulators.

The famed British firm, Marks and Spencer, has introduced this lingerie that:

was made in an “eco factory” in Sri Lanka where energy has been reduced a third through measures like making sure all lighting is from the sun or low energy light bulbs.

It is powered by hydroelectricity produced on a nearby river and solar panels on the roof.  The rest of the carbon dioxide produced in making the bra will be offset by planting 6,000 trees in the community every year.  Most of the trees will be native to Sri Lanka, therefore boosting wildlife.  A quarter will be fruit trees that can generate money for the local community.

The Carbon Trust Footprinting Certification Company has calculated the carbon used in making the bra and will monitor the project to ensure emissions are cut.

The scheme will also help wildlife.  Sri Lanka’s forests are home to approximately 90 per cent of the country’s endemic species but are disappearing at a rate of 1.6 per cent per year.”

Marks and Spencer should be laughed out of the lingerie business. Although the British Isles may sink under the weight of environmental nonsense permeating the place. One would think that the ClimateGate scandal would expose environmental looniness for what it is. Britain’s aging power stations are required to be shut down shortly. This winter, energy poverty forced citizens to go without food in order to keep the heat on.  And the National Grid is suggesting that “smart meters’ will allow the government to compensate for unreliable, undependable wind energy by selective power outages to individual homes and appliances within those homes. Like turning off your stove as you are preparing a meal for guests? Many of  British green requirements come from the EU which is as bad as our EPA.

I’m fed up.  And beginning to avoid any product that forces their “green” message on me. I bought a box of kitchen matches a couple of days ago.  I didn’t notice until I got home that they were “green” matches (even the sulphur tips were dyed green) with a big blurb about their being made from “sustainable” wood. I should have returned them. Otherwise it only encourages them.

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