American Elephants


Dr. Istvan Marko, Award Winning Chemist, Explains About Carbon Dioxide. by The Elephant's Child

Dr, Istvan Marko, Professor of Chemistry at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, discusses the need for CO2 on Earth.

We keep telling them and telling them, but the global warmists aren’t interested in facts or evidence. It is their religion, and they believe absolutely.



The State of the Union Speech, More or Less, Not Particularly Accurately by The Elephant's Child

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I did not watch the State of the Union speech last night. I’m not up for the hectoring, lecturing tone of Mr. Obama’s speeches. He long ago forgot the idea that he works for us — if he ever recognized it. I did, however, print out the prepared speech from the White House website under the assumption that it might offer a clue to what is coming for the coming year. I did, it does, and it’s not encouraging, but easily summed up as more of the same.

I wrote a fairly lengthy piece about it, and when I was nearly done — it vanished. Dunno what happened, it wasn’t in the trash, help from WordPress on how to recover lost posts didn’t help — just gone. Probably all for the best. Critical pieces abound, and mine will not be missed.

Mr. Obama is a Progressive, and lives, as I recently said, in an alternate reality. He finds America unsatisfactory and wants us to stop meddling in the world and turn the funds to making more people completely dependent on governmental largess, well, taxpayer largess, and take from the rich who are undeserving and give to those who are deserving. Social Justice and all that. American businesses and American people need more regulation, so they will behave better.  The federal government, which is much better at regulating things, will tell businesses how to operate, raise the minimum wage, reduce obscene executive pay, give workers more time off and more say in their working conditions, and create more job training programs for those who can’t find a job.

Obama will empty Guantanamo, sending detainees back home with the insistence that they must behave better. He will continue releasing non-violent felons who are only drug dealers (dealers, not users) but arrested with illegal weapons, into free society, with the insistence that they must behave better. No one will be allowed to ask about a criminal record, so they will be able to get good jobs, become good citizens and vote Democrat in gratitude. The crime rate has been going down dramatically for a number of years, but Progressives do not understand the relationship between more crooks in prison, and a reduction in crime. Too complicated.

Obama will promote equal pay for equal work — which has been the law since 1963, but is ignored in the White House and in Hillary’s campaign.

Everybody needs a college education, so we will have to fork over for  college tuition and room and board for everyone.

“We have the spirit of discovery in our DNA,” he said, because we built the space program, so now we need a new moonshot — America can cure Cancer. He is putting Joe Biden  in charge of mission control. (not a joke)

America, which meddles too much, is the most powerful nation on earth. “No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that’s the path to ruin. Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office.” A little awkward when Iran just grabbed 10 of our sailors, two Navy small craft with all of their equipment, photographed them all in a humiliating kneeling position with hands over their heads in direct conflict with Article 13 of the Geneva Convention, and forced the female sailor to don a hijab. Humiliating for the administration. Great propaganda for the Mullahs, who will use the pictures to show how Iran humiliated the Great Satan.

Secretary of State Kerry groveled abjectly, apologized, did his doormat act, and the Iranians released the sailors — whether with their 2 ships and equipment, I don’t know.

Obama said “That’s why we built a global coalition, with sanctions and principled diplomacy, to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran. As we speak, Ian has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile, and the world has avoided another war.” See how simple it all is?

This was dashed off a little more quickly than the previous lost and unrecoverable piece, so I may have missed some of the excitement. Sorry about that!



A Bit More on the Alternative Reality by The Elephant's Child

Five days ago I wrote a post on TransCanada Corp.’s two new lawsuits against the Obama Administration’s denial of the Keystone XL Pipeline for the long drawn-out, multi-year rejection of the pipeline. One lawsuit filed in a Houston Federal Court, states that President Obama exceeded his authority in November when he blocked the pipeline’s construction, the other, separately filed, is an international petition under NAFTA seeking to recover $15 billion in costs and damages incurred in its attempt to build the cross-border pipeline.

Today, it seems that the same Obama Administration that rejected the Keystone XL pipeline has no problem at all in supporting a new oil pipeline project in Kenya. U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec told Kenya’s energy minister that the Obama Administration would help Nairobi raise $18 billion to finance its PowerAfrica project. The pipeline, the Wall Street Journal reports, would stretch from Kenya’s Rift Valley to Lamu on the coast. Mr. Godec said that “Kenya needs $18 billion worth of financing, so one of the questions we are discussing is how we can work together with the private sector and governments to raise that sum, to find ways to make certain that this financing becomes available.”

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, the U.S. is obliged to treat a Canadian company in the same way it would treat an American company. The case may well succeed because of the extraordinary regulatory barriers the U.S. imposed on the investment. It’s clear that President Obama blocked the project on arbitrary political grounds. The resolution of these two cases will be interesting to watch. A oil pipeline would undoubtedly help Kenya, but I’m not sure it should be financed with taxpayer dollars.



The Mystery and Magic of Ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Standard by The Elephant's Child

10020841+1ethanol092114Back in the dim reaches of the 20th Century, when scientists discovered the eternally expanding global warming grant proposal that gave them prestige; fun world conferences; better furnished departments; assistants and best of all they became Climate Scientists instead of just some PhD in an obscure part of the science building—the IPCC was founded, the EPA was founded and equipped with the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, so someone or other decided it would be a good idea if we started adding large quantities of Iowa corn to our gas tanks as a biofuel called Ethanol.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established the first Renewable Fuels Standard that required 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel to be blended into gasoline by 2012. The idea was that it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as reducing reliance on imported oil.

Sounded like a good idea. But ethanol has also raised the cost of driving. It seems that the renewable fuel has cost drivers an extra $83 billion to fill their gas tanks while doing little if any good for the climate. 40 percent of the corn grown in the United states goes into ethanol.  Current ethanol blends produce fewer miles per gallon, so drivers pay more to go the same distance.

Ethanol adds more CO2 to the atmosphere than it eliminates by replacing fossil fuels. Beyond that it has led farmers to plow up more land to grow corn.  And thanks to shale gas and fracking, America no longer needs renewable fuels to reduce dependence on foreign oil. We are the richest oil producing state in the world. Farmers and ethanol producers were hoping to increase the amount of ethanol required in gasoline to 15% or more, but automobile engines cannot take that amount without damage.

If we replaced the 18 billion gallons of ethanol required under the EPA’s 2016 RFS, it would reduce the oil glut and improve the nation’s carbon footprint even more. Nevertheless, this is an issue in the campaign in Iowa. You will be hearing about corporate welfare.



The Keystone XL Pipeline Developer Sues the Obama Administration! by The Elephant's Child

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TransCanada Corporation has filed two major legal challenges to the Obama Administration. TransCanada is the company that has waited patiently while the Obama Administration played politics with the Keystone XL Pipeline project. The first lawsuit was filed in a Houston federal court stating that President Obama exceeded his authority in November when he blocked the pipeline’s construction.

The company separately filed an international petition under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) seeking to recover the $15 billion in costs and damages which it incurred in its attempts to build the cross border pipeline. What a colossal mess the Obama administration made of the U.S. end of that project.

I’m on TransCanada’s side in this one. I’ve been writing about it ever since the first proposal. It has always been a matter of politics. Obama’s green supporters are violently opposed to the pipeline, mostly because they don’t like petroleum and want it to stay in the ground. Their science is that deep. Also Hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer promised $100 million to the Democrats if they just continued to oppose global warming. (I don’t know if he gave them the money) The unions desperately want the 13,000 construction jobs promised by the project, and the 118,000 estimated spin-off jobs as well. Obama responds that the jobs are just temporary, but all construction jobs are temporary. Skills learned on one job make you more eligible for the next.

“TransCanada’s legal actions challenge the foundation of the U.S. administration’s decision to deny a presidential border crossing permit for the project,” the Calgary, Canada-based company said in a statement.

“In its decision, the U.S. State Department acknowledged the denial was not based on the merits of the project,” it continued. “Rather, it was a symbolic gesture based on speculation about the perceptions of the international community regarding the administration’s leadership on climate change and the president’s assertion of unprecedented, independent powers.”

Obama has asserted his power to decide the fate of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline because it would have crossed an international border — an argument TransCanada said is not supported by the law, the Constitution or NAFTA.

The oil was always going to go to market. Obama’s denial meant that it would go by train, much more dangerous than supposed pipeline leaks, for rail is subject to derailment, as has happened too many times. The State Dept. approved it twice, then disapproved it. The route was changed slightly to allay worries from Nebraska, and from Indian tribes.

For the Obama Administration politics rules in all cases.  What is supposed to come first is the welfare of the American people. It’s really that simple.

Canadian and US Crude Oil Pipeline Proposals

 



The Art of Getting Rich on the Taxpayer’s Dime by The Elephant's Child

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Big Solar developments depend on government subsidy, and if the subsidies end, the solar project usually ends as well. Greens deny that, but that’s the way it happens all over the world.

We are about to have proof once again:

Elon Musk’s SolarCity stated Wednesday it will immediately cease operations in Nevada after a state commission voted unanimously to repeal taxpayer support for the rooftop solar industry.

“If the Nevada Public Utilities Commission’s [PUC] proposed decision is accepted tomorrow it will destroy the rooftop solar industry in one of the states with the most sunshine. There is so much wrong with the decision, [sic] the only option for the PUC is to reject it,” Lyndon Rive, the CEO of SolarCity, writes in a Monday statement. “If the PUC approves this proposal, it will force SolarCity to cease sales and installation operations in Nevada.

Elon Musk received a $1.4 billion in taxpayer support from the state of Nevada to build a “gigafactory” for Tesla Motors. That must be a thrill for Nevada taxpayers to help out in producing the glamorous Tesla Roadster — prices start at $101,500 and options are extra.

But Solar City is a different operation. They also got a big incentive to move to Nevada. The commission’s decision will gradually reduce the subsidies over the next four years, so it is not abrupt, but a gradual reduction. But Solar City has a history of threatening to pull out of states who end their support. They play hardball.

Solar subsidies in the U.S. go to support a 30 percent tax credit for residential solar. Companies like Solar City install rooftop systems which usually cost a minimum of $10,000, at no cost to the consumer. This huge bargain is actually profitable because the subsidies from the state and federal government are so massive. A MIT study concluded that rooftop solar subsidies are inefficient and costly and the companies cannot compete without government support. Of course company profits are a cost of doing the subsidized business.

Would be fun to see your big ideas brought to fruition with the government financing the whole deal. Please explain how this is a good deal for the taxpayers who don’t get a choice about whether or not they want to pay for it. Solar power gets 326 times more subsidy than conventional energy producers. In 2013, only $1.7 billion went to support nuclear power. And the EPA went to work trying to end coal-fired power plants. For all that, solar power amounted to only 0.4 percent of the electricity generated in the country. Note that is not 4%, but 4 tenths of one percent!

Ideology may trump common sense if you are convinced that using “natural” energy is the only way to save the world from catastrophic climate change, rising seas, all that bit; but you have to be remarkably obtuse and weak in basic arithmetic to go for this kind of deal. No wonder Democrats want big unaccountable government. It’s how they all get rich. The feds gave the solar industry another five-year tax credit extension last week.

Solyndra, Ivanpah, SolarCity and lots of other scandals are mounting up. You’d think someone would notice and put a stop to it.



Endless Hype, Because That’s All They Have. by The Elephant's Child

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More myths, old stories, rumors, hype and prevarications. Ever hear of the “Great Garbage Patch” in the middle of the ocean? Doesn’t exist. We are not “choking the ocean with plastic.” A post at Watts Up With That explains how many of our scary stories “come from the interaction of actual science with activist scientists and clickbait-seeking journalists. It is an example of how real problems become masked by myths, leaving us divided and unable to respond.”

I have written several times of how plastic bags became an endangered species in Democrat run cities. They believe in the great garbage patch, they believe that it must be caused by plastic grocery bags, and they want you to buy and use cloth bags, which are dangerous if not washed between uses, for meat drippings and drippings from moist vegetables can become a source of  E-coli or other illnesses. The orgin of the story was very complicated, but the pursuit of a big tax on plastic bags is just cities trying to raise a little extra money.

Did you see the pictures of the great walrus haulout this last year? It was supposed to be a great environmental catastrophe, except when the wildlife biologists spoke up, apparently walruses like to do that every so often, and it’s not a big deal. They do it all the time.

The polar bears have gotten most of the hype. They are beautiful creatures living in a remote and frozen environment, their cubs are adorable, and they have become the fundraising image for a good many environmental fund drives. Surely you saw the bear costumes in Paris and at other big climate whingdings. At the urging of the Greens, the bears have been considered “threatened” which makes their funding more urgent. However, the bears are doing just fine. Their numbers are increasing, and have been doing so for years.

Environmental activists have learned that they can stop most any project with a claim of “endangered species” needing that particular patch of ground. The sage hen is the current threatened or endangered species, but you never know whether it is true or not. The threat is easy, the proof that the “endangered” category is unnecessary is harder to get. On the other hand, the wind farms are killing raptors at a tremendous rate, and songbirds as well, and although bird lovers are outraged, “natural” wind energy trumps wildlife, because the Greens have a bigger investment in wind.

Carbon Dioxide, CO2, is not a pollutant. It is what we exhale every time we breathe, and your little dog too. The trees absorb the CO2 in a process called photosynthesis, which we all learned in high school biology, except President Obama was busy with his “Choom gang” at the time and missed the whole discussion. CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants and helps to feed a hungry world. More CO2 in the atmosphere would be a good thing. Greenhouses have way more CO2 in their atmosphere and we haven’t had any noticable deaths of nurserymen yet.

And don’t get me started on the Keystone Pipeline.




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