American Elephants


No More Useless Increases in CAFE Standards! Good Riddance. by The Elephant's Child

highwaytraffic

Last Thursday, the EPA and the DOT announced a new proposed rule on automobile fuel efficiency standards. The Obama administration’s rule promulgated in 2012 was supposed to achieve a “corporate average” by the car companies for their new vehicles of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Instead it increased the cost of automobiles and the cost of gas.

The American people apparently are not capable of choosing how fuel-efficient they want their new cars to be. Fuel efficiency is not the number one issue in a car purchase. The most popular vehicles in recent years have been pickup trucks which are not particularly fuel efficient. The Ford F-150 is rated at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway — nowhere near 54.3 mpg. The new rule will end the ongoing increases in CAFE standards after 2020 applicable to new vehicles sold.

A report from the Environmental Protection Agency has found that including ethanol into the U.S. gasoline supply is wreaking havoc on the atmosphere and on the soil.

Advertisements


It’s Not Climate Change that is Fueling Destructive Wildfires by The Elephant's Child

sequoia-forest-fire-505503-sw

People here in the Seattle area are complaining about the smoky air. There are some forest fires, mostly on the other side of the mountains around Omak, and in the Okanagan. In California, Governor Jerry Brown screeches that “since civilization emerged 10,000 years ago, we haven’t had this kind of heat condition, and it’s going to continue getting worse and that’s the way it is.” At a state Office of Emergency Services press conference he said firefighters would have to adapt to increasingly severe wildfires because of climate change.

To quote from the Daily Caller “Years of mismanagement built up in California forests are feeding massive wildfires scorching the state, which is on track to experience its most destructive fire season ever. Nearly 3,000 acres of state and local lands in California have been burned this year, about triple the size of the five-year average for this time of year. The amount outpaces 2017’s historic fire season in the state by about 70,000 acres, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Little Hoover Commission (LHC), an independent California oversight agency, has been documenting forest mismanagement in the Golden State for decades. LHC described California’s Timber Harvest Plan in 1994 as an “inadequate tool” for balancing environmental and economic needs.

The environmental movement got all excited about preserving our forests and put enormous pressure on governmental agencies to stop cutting down trees, stop logging, and stop building logging roads into the beautiful forests. Logging provided lumber for building homes, and the price of lumber went way up, so nobody is building “starter homes” anymore. Ending logging meant that forests were not thinned as they were when logs were harvested, which means the trees are too close together, and there’s more deadwood and brush, which means more fire danger. There are always consequences for your actions. But aside from being wrong about the 10,000 years, Jerry Brown is wrong about climate change as well.

Wildfires have always been nature’s method of forest management.The U.S. Department of the Interior explains:

Fire has always been a natural process that is essential to healthy ecological systems. In the early 1900s, land management agencies sought to suppress all fires in an effort to preserve the timber supply. Over the decades, fire exclusion led to more living and dead vegetation on the landscape, increasing the fuel and as a result, the risk of large wildfires in our forests, rangelands, and near communities.

There are currently an estimated 66 million dead trees in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The land there can comfortably support between 20 and 100 trees per acre, There are currently around 266 trees per acre.

Granted, the Carr fire in Northern California has been devastating, burning much of Redding and Shasta, there have  been 6 deaths and many  homes have been destroyed, which is why Jerry Brown is looking for someone to blame other than mismanagement.  But then he is sure that the end is near from global warming.

A September 2017 report in the journal Science found that the global burned area has dropped by about 25 percent over the previous 18 years,  consistent with a May 2016 paper published by the Royal Society B:Biological Sciences.

During 2017, there were 150 graphs from 122 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals indicating that modern temperatures are Not unprecedented, unusual, nor hockey-stick-shaped —nor do they fall outside the range of natural variability. So far in 2018, there are 108 graphs from 89 scientific papers that undermine the claims that the modern era warming is climatically unusual, so it would seem that the attempt to blame global warming won’t work either.

It is often assumed that most forest fires are caused by lightning strikes, but it is reported that 90 percent of forest fires in this country are caused by human action. Like Smoky Bear said: “Only you can prevent forest fires”



Smoky Air Today: Here’s Why: by The Elephant's Child

If you looked out the window today, you may nave noticed a tinge of smoke in the air. Sure sign of forest fires. This particular map did not include Canada, which also has forest fires, and the smoke, depending on the winds, is apt to affect us. Some rain expected later in the week, which might clear things up.

The so-called “environmentalists” have worked hard to prevent trees from being harvested for lumber. They do not want trees to be cut. But that has consequences as well. Logging roads do not get built into the timber so access to fight fire is more difficult so more territory burns. That dreadful Carr fire in California has burned over 90,000 acres and 6 people have died. It is only 20 percent contained, family homes burned.

Some expert mentioned that there are no “starter homes” being built any more. The cost of lumber has gone up dramatically because less lumber is being harvested.  I posted a story about 3-D printed houses in the Netherlands.

The Left envisions very dense American cities with everyone in high rise apartments (except for the important people, of course) They will have their estates, of course, but with the hoi-polloi  all in high rises, the rest of the country can all be parkland. Government owned, of course. Yet the federal government is having a hard time keeping up the national parks. My point is simply that there are always consequences. Studying up and doing our homework is a lifelong requirement. Sometimes we can prevent the consequences from overwhelming us.



Unfortunately There Is No Law That Prevents Cities From Being Stupid by The Elephant's Child

“Climate Alarmists” (the term for mostly Democrats who can’t be bothered to read the science and are sure the Earth is in it’s last days because of global warming) new thing has been to sue the hated fossil fuel companies (big and rich) to help to pay the city’s alleged costs of dealing with climate change. So far they are 2-0. You can easily guess the two cities involved — San Francisco and New York City. In June, Judge William H. Alsup for the Federal District Court in San Francisco dismissed a lawsuit against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, filed by San Francisco and Oakland.

Now Federal Judge John F. Keenan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed New York City”s lawsuit against the same five major oil companies intended to force them to help pay the city’s alleged costs of dealing with climate change. In his 23-page decision Judge Keenan wrote that climate change must be addressed by the executive branch and Congress, not by the courts.

Although climate change “is a fact of life,” Keenan wrote, “the serious problems caused thereby are not for the judiciary to ameliorate. Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government.”

Keenan ruled New York’s state and federal common law claims were disallowed under the Clean Air Act, saying it would be “illogical” and violate U.S. Supreme Court precedents to allow the claims under state common law “when courts have found that these matters are areas of federal concern that have been delegated to the executive branch as they require a uniform, national solution … [and] the Clean Air Act displaces the City’s claims seeking damages for past and future domestic greenhouse gas emissions brought under federal common law.”

In addition, Keenan determined NYC’s lawsuit was unjustified because the city itself contributed carbon dioxide emissions and benefited from fossil fuel use.

Despite two courts saying clearly that climate policy is soley the business of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, New York City and Oakland and San Francisco say they plan to appeal thier cases’ dismissals. A day after Keenan’s dismissal, Baltimore sued oil companies for climate change in Maryland state court and Rhode Island sued in state court to recover the cost of climate change. This is, of course just a case of an attempted shakedown of companies assumed to have deep pockets. Cities don’t mind frittering away taxpayers money — there’s always more where that came from, they can raise money taxing drinking straws and save the sea life as well.

I don’t know what these cities consider the “costs” of global warming. Perhaps it’s banning plastic bags at the grocery store, or paying for electricity from wind turbines and buying solar panels to put on city buildings? But they should be charged for wasting taxpayer money on “renewable energy” that costs more than fossil fuel energy, and provides less energy. Solar energy and wind turbines are causing “energy poverty” in Germany and other European countries. There is no law against governments at any level being stupid. You have to vote them out. It is Your Responsibility.



Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez, True Believer, Truly Scary. by The Elephant's Child

DNC Chairman Tom Perez suggests that Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez is the exciting new face of the Democrat Party. Her mother said she’s really excited about running and wants to be President some day. She is indeed, the poster-child for the failure of American Universities. She graduated from Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a BA in economics and international relations. She was 4th in her class, but seems not to have learned any economics whatsoever. But she is a member of the Democratic Socialist Party and was an organizer for Bernie Sanders.

Reading up a little on her, it would be a mistake to fail to take her seriously. She has been a political activist, and had a lot of support from Hispanic organizations. She lied about being from the Bronx which she left at age 5 for a wealthier enclave. Her father was an architect, but he died intestate from lung cancer. She worked two jobs, as a waitress and a bartender, which shows determination and hard work.

She said attending the Standing Rock Sioux protests about the pipeline running near their reservation was a defining moment for her. The tribe was ostensibly afraid the pipeline would contaminate their water supply (highly unlikely). The pipeline did not cross reservation land, nor affect any reservation property, but they worked with Earthjustice against fossil fuels and loved the national attention. The final bill for their protests came to about $43 million. And the debris and mess left by the protesters took up over 20 dumpster loads. I wrote about that protest several times.

Ocasia-Cortez supports progressive policies like Medicare for All, a job guarantee, tuition-free universities and public schools, and said that “for the cost of the GOP’s tax bill, we could forgive ALL the student loan debt in the United States. She favors single-payer healthcare as “a human right.” She says a single government insurer should ensure that every American has insurance—while reducing costs overall. Uh huh. Of course she wants to abolish ICE, calling it “a product of the Bush-era Patriot Act suite of legislation enforcement that takes on more of a paramilitary tone every single day.Just two days before the primary election, she attended a protest at an ICE child detention center in Tomillo, Texas, and supports a “path to citizenship” for all immigrants who entered the United States. She told CNN that she would support the impeachment of President Trump, saying that “I think that, you know, we have the grounds to do it, citing Trump’s violations of the Emoluments Clause.

Other than that she is a self-described hardliner on climate issues, and wants us to transition by 2015 to an electrical grid running on 100% renewable energy production and end the use of fossil fuels. She also calls for a “Green New Deal” in the U.S.

Sigh. I was an English major, but I did learn that the federal government has no money of its own. And if you stack all of our billionaires together, they still don’t have enough money to abolish our taxes and give us all that free stuff. 4th in her class! And she favors guaranteed jobs, that is— federally subsidized jobs, a truly interesting proposal. Good grief, the federal government can’t even do job training.  See James Pethokoukis writing at AEI.

She is out there campaigning hard and promising all sorts of free stuff for the American people, and if everyone has a job and is forced to work, well then, there you are.



Re: The California Case against Big Oil — Dismissed! by The Elephant's Child

California’s Judge Alsup has just issued his Opinion and Order shutting down this litigation against BP, Chevron et al. He said several times that it is established and “both parties agree” that Global Warming is real, serious, and anthropogenic and the seas are inevitably rising.

That is irrelevant he wrote, because the California government entities ‘Nuisance theory’ is legally way too much of a stretch and just plain nuts. And issued the order dismissing the claim. Excellent, I will not argue.

He apparently just accepted that which he regarded as the highest authority, and in the case of the rising seas which would inundate San Francisco — He noted that San Francisco hadn’t even started to build  a sea wall!

Here’s the ruling: California v. BP.

The issue is not over science. All parties agree that fossil fuels have led to global warming and ocean rise and will continue to do so, and that eventually the navigable waters of the United States will intrude upon Oakland and San Francisco. The issue is a legal one — whether these producers of fossil fuels should pay for anticipated harm that will eventually flow from a rise in sea level.

The sole claim for relief is for “public nuisance,” a claim governed by federal common law. The specific nuisance is global-warming induced sea level rise. Plaintiffs’ theory, to repeat, is that defendants’ sale of fossil fuels leads to their eventual combustion, which leads to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which leads to more global warming and consequent ocean rise.

The scope of plaintiffs’ theory is breathtaking. It would reach the sale of fossil fuels anywhere in the world, including all past and otherwise lawful sales, where the seller knew that the combustion of fossil fuels contributed to the phenomenon of global warming. While these actions are brought against the first, second, fourth, sixth and ninth largest producers of fossil fuels, anyone who supplied fossil fuels with knowledge of the problem would be liable. At one point, counsel seemed to limit liability to those who had promoted allegedly phony science to deny climate change. But at oral argument, plaintiffs’ counsel clarified that any such promotion remained merely a “plus factor.” Their theory rests on the sweeping proposition that otherwise lawful and everyday sales of fossil fuels, combined with an awareness that greenhouse gas emissions lead to increased global temperatures, constitute a public nuisance.



Will the Once Great State of California Ever Recover From Jerry Brown? by The Elephant's Child

Down in the great state of California, Governor Moonbeam and the Legislature are suing BP (formerly British Petroleum) because the people using nasty fossil fuels (all of us and the American economy) are causing catastrophic global warming which is going to destroy the planet, or kill us all, or something like that. Except that it isn’t.

Our very own governor, who seems to copy every nitwit idea of Governor Moonbeam’s, either is doing his own lawsuit or is joining on California’s, I’m not sure. Our Governor, called locally “Sleepy Jay Inslee” is also trying to push a carbon tax on everybody who drives a vehicle.

This case against BP should be understood as the holy grail of potential jackpots for the legal profession. BP alone had $240.21 billion in revenue last year. Greedy lawyers are envisioning mammoth windfalls, and if they succeed in breaking BP, they can go on with all the other oil companies, breaking them one by one. $$$$$$  We can all rely on wind and solar which are useless, but beloved by Lefties. We could all drive useless electric cars (you think there would be any energy left to plug into your very expensive car?) The Left loathes Big Oil, but as with most things they loathe, don’t really know why they are supposed to do so. Big Oil is simply the name used to describe the world’s six or seven largest publicly traded oil and gas companies BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Total SAand EniSpA and Phillips 66.  Demonized by the Left for the rare spills, when oil-soaked birds serve the same purpose in Leftist propaganda as the current kids in cages, separated, crying, from their mothers. Bad analogy. The oil-soaked birds are real, unfortunately. The kids in cages belong to president Obama.

Our freeways are so crowded that at rush hour a doctor said it took her over two hours to get home, a usual 25 minute drive. People are leaving the state and the outflow of people and business from California is huge.  California’s freeways are, it is reported, potholed, too crowded, and in poor condition while Jerry Brown pursues his high-speed rail to nowhere, and Elon Musk experiments with vacuum tube tunnels.

The Court has asked what the social cost of the use of fossil fuels is. Here’s the answer given the court.




%d bloggers like this: