American Elephants

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

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


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


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.

Environmental Hype, Politics, Fads and Prevarications by The Elephant's Child

567d2443c36188c5408b45afWhen one starts pondering fads, hype, politics, advertising and lies, you quickly get involved in the environment, from which much of the voluminous bubble of hype flows. We have records of a sort going back over a significant amount of time, from tree rings to ice cores, stalagmites and the careful measurements of sea temperatures of Captains in the British Navy in the 1700s, to landscape paintings during the Renaissance.  Of a sort.

We have three systems of measuring heat and cold — Fahrenheit, Celsius and Kelvin, each, I believe, named after the inventor. Most of us are familiar with the Fahrenheit of 20º below zero and the upper ranges of 90º and 100º discomfort, and don’t pay much attention the rest of the time.

Surface temperature records are unreliable because of siting issues, failure to recognize the urban heat island effect, and poor coverage of the oceans — but not so aware of the deliberate falsification of  temperature records by alarmist climate scientists who depend on climate alarm for their jobs and federal grants. They constantly revise temperatures recorded in the past to make the past appear cooler to get more warming in the present.

But we now have satellite data that gives accurate global readings, though it only goes back to 1978. That is, however 37 years of satellite data. Anthony Watts summarized the data.

The average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere has warmed just over four tenths of a degree Celsius (almost three fourths of a degree Fahrenheit) during the past 37 years, with the greatest warming over the Arctic Ocean and Australia, said Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. Microwave sounding units on board NOAA and NASA satellites completed 37 complete years of collecting temperature data in November, giving us nearly global coverage of climate change during that time.

If that trend was to continue for another 63 years, the composite warming for the globe would be 1.1 C (about 2 degrees Fahrenheit) for the century, Christy said. That would put the average global temperature change over 100 years well under the 2.0 C (3.6 degrees F) goal set recently at the climate change summit in Paris.

Anthony Watts notes that a “1.2º C. or 2.2º F. is roughly equal to the warming seen most spring days between 10 a.m and noon.” Well, run for the hills, we’re all doomed!

The policies and programs arising from climate alarmism range from organic food, wind farms, solar arrays, and all the costs and features involved (which have always included the promise of vast employment which hasn’t materialized either.) Consider all the programs, regulations and disastrous policies of the EPA, the Energy Department, the Interior Department, and the White House that arise from the belief in catastrophic global warming. We have even been told that we cannot bomb the oil trucks that transport stolen oil for illegal sale by ISIS to support their beheadings and crucifixions—because blowing them up might harm the environment.

Fads, hype, politics and national security lies. I rest my case.

The picture at the top is indeed ISIS tanker trucks being blown up. Unfortunately it is being accomplished by Russian bombers. We are dropping leaflets to warn the drivers to run away because we might drop a bomb.

The EPA Has Been Allowing the Radical NRDC to Write Their Regulations! Possible Big Violation of the Law. by The Elephant's Child

Twenty-three states are suing the EPA over its emissions rules for new and modified power plants. The EPA rule sets carbon limits for natural gas and coal-fired power plants, requiring the plants to target implement new technologies to decrease their emissions.The states are led by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

This gamble proves far too costly for West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “EPA cannot rely on experimental and costly technology that threatens hard-working West Virginians whose livelihoods are dependent upon the coal industry.”

The new plant rule is separate from the Clean Power Plan, which limits carbon emissions from existing power plants. Taken together, the regulations are designed to reduce power sector carbon emissions, a strategy at the heart of President Obama’s climate platform.

Now the states and businesses who are suing to stop the Obama administration’s anticarbon Clean Power Plan,  have new evidence to seek a preliminary injunction.

Chris Horner, attorney for the Energy & Environment Legal Institute, has been an indefatigable warrior doggedly pursuing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for years.

The government emails finally released show the EPA secretly worked with environmental lobbyists to craft its Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gasses. The emails show that this secret (and illegal) alliance designed a standard that would be impossible or economically ruinous for existing coal plants to meet — specifically to force their closure.

The emails show intense 2011 communications between high level officials at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Sierra Club, and the Clean Air Task Force. Michael Goo worked at the radical NRDC before becoming the EPA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy. Mr. Goo used a private Yahoo email account to send multiple drafts of his options memo to these outside groups who returned them with draft instructions. These radical NRDC  people were essentially acting as a secret staff for the EPA.

There is an Administrative Procedures Act, which governs the writing of regulations, and which takes a dim view of outside special-interest organizations secretly drafting government rules. There is also a Federal Advisory Committee Act that requires federal officials to interact with private entities in a prescribed open manner.

Killing coal-fired power plants may be high on the Obama administration’s goal list, but the power they generate cannot be replaced by Obama’s favored “natural” wind and solar — which have to have 24/7 backup from a conventional power plant to operate at all. The standard the EPA has set is designed to shut them all down permanently.

Some highly regarded Climate scientists believe that we may be approaching another little ice age. The sun has been quiet, without sunspots, for eighteen years and nine months, and unusual stretch of a total absence of warming. Depriving the people of power and warmth could be deadly.

Apart from that, the EPA has misused tax dollars to buy propaganda to influence the public to support their new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation.

First proposed in April 2014, the rule provoked immediate backlash. It expands the reach of the Clean Water Act’s restrictions and the EPA’s domain of authority, a source of concern for dairy farmers, homebuilders, timber companies, energy producers and dozens of organizations and companies.

The White House sneered “The only people with reason to oppose the rule are polluters who threaten our clean water.” But along with a big swath of the public, 30 states have expressed concern.  The EPA anticipated the opposition, and launched a PR campaign two months in advance of filing the rule. Tweets, memes and videos were launched over social media praising the rule and seeking public support. In Congressional testimony Administrator Gina McCarthy cited all the flowing comments on WOTUS as proof that Americans loved it.

Sen. Inhofe (OK-R) asked the GAO for a legal opinion, they responded that the agency violated three statutes that proscribe the use of appropriated funds to engage in covert propaganda and grassroots lobbying. The EPA is not a private company entitled to sell its goods aggressively to consumers. It is a government agency established to execute the laws written by the peoples representatives.

We need to rid the nation of this crooked agency, permanently. They do nothing useful, nothing useful at all.

Paris Agreement, American Leadership, and Pure Fantasy. by The Elephant's Child

The report of the President’s response to the jihadist attack in San Bernardino should give you pause. As soon as he realized that some would classify the killing in San Bernardino as a terrorist attack, he called together his National Security Council and the heads of federal law enforcement agencies to discuss a public relations strategy. A designation of the killing as a terrorist attack would threaten to upset his “strategy” in Syria.

The President of the United States has declared publicly, 22 times, that climate change is a greater threat by far than Islamic terrorism: Jan. 15, 2008; Jan 26, 2000; May 2010; Sept.6, 2012; Jan 23, 2013; Feb. 16, 2014; June, 2014; Sept. 2014; Sept 24, 2014; Oct. 29, 2014; 2015 State of the Union address; Feb. 2015; Feb. 09, 2015, Feb. 10, 2015, April 18, 2015; May, 2015; May 20 2015; July 13, 2015; Defense Dept report, July 29, 2015; Aug 28, 2015; September UN 2015; Sept.28, 2015 at the United Nations, he said “No country can escape the ravages of climate change.”

The Big Climate Meeting: COP 21, has concluded. The negotiators have thrashed out their final details. The agreement will make no difference whatsoever to “climate change,” and the total effects will be another very expensive meeting to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco  next year.

As James Delingpole, who is always correct, said, “All that stuff you’ve read and heard about “time running out,”  “deadlock,” “last minute deals,” — it’s all a charade, everything was pre-ordained. COP is not really about saving the planet, it’s a massive jobs fair for activists, shyster politicians, bureaucrats, and people with otherwise worthless degrees in “sustainability,” “conservation biology,” and “ecology.”

He adds that “No serious person in the world believes in man-made climate change any more. They just don’t. Only people like Secretary of State John Kerry — who has staked the reputation of the Obama presidency on how well it deals with this non-existent problem.” Delingpole adds “If you live by fairies you will die by fairies.”

We said in the beginning that China and India aren’t about to sign on to any plan eliminating or reducing their efforts to industrialize and their need for cheap energy. China is building one new coal-fired power plant every 7 to 10 days, while Japan plans to build 43 coal-fired power projects to replace its Fukushima nuclear plant, which killed 19,000 people and destroyed 150,000 buildings. India has some 500 coal-fired power plants planned.

The stated aim of the meeting was to prevent the earth’s temperature from rising more than 2º C. above pre-industrial levels. If all the world’s leading nations stick to the carbon-reduction commitments they will make (which are totally not binding) then they will stave off ‘global warming’ by the end of this century by 17 one hundredths of one degree C. (0.170º C.) That is the “optimistic scenario,” assuming that nobody’s lying.

The annual cost to the global economy is approximately $1.5 trillion. As Ebeneezer Scrooge said, Bah Humbug!

“We met the moment,” Obama said. “We may not live to see the full realization of our achievement but that’s OK,: he said. “What matters is that today we can be more confident this planet will be in better shape for the next generation.”

So there you go. Nothing binding. Opt-outs written in. Totally fake agreement. What more could you ask for, if you are trying to decorate your legacy? But they will have another big meeting next year, and the year after…

Nevertheless, the press, totally invested in saving the earth, as you hear from them constantly, erupted with delight:

(h/t: T. Becket Adams)

Mark Steyn Takes on The “True Believers” and Rebukes Them. by The Elephant's Child

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Hearing:  Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate. December 8, 2015

Mark Steyn rebukes the Democrats in a climate hearing: “You’re effectively enforcing a state ideology!”

President Obama in Paris, Telling Fishy Stories About Alaska. by The Elephant's Child

720x405-R1245_COV_APresident Obama is in Paris, at COP21 the big climate meeting that is the successor to all the other failed climate meetings. Big hype, remarkable rhetoric, promises that will not be kept. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was a grand plan to save the world, and failed in spectacular fashion. COP21 doesn’t even have such grand ambitions. The commitments, or lack thereof, by the nations have already been submitted and analyzed. The conclusion is that all the nostrums will add up to an effect on climate too small to be measured. All will congratulate themselves for doing something to Save the Earth. And they will make plans for their next big meeting. President Obama’s remarks at the first session included this:

Nearly 200 nations have assembled here this week — a declaration that for all the challenges we face, the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other.  What should give us hope that this is a turning point, that this is the moment we finally determined we would save our planet, is the fact that our nations share a sense of urgency about this challenge and a growing realization that it is within our power to do something about it.

He claimed that fourteen of the fifteen warmest years on record have occurred sine the year 2000, and 2015 is on pace to be the warmest year of all. Except there has been no net warming for 18 years and 9 months. The sun has gone quiet. NOAA made up temperatures for the vast areas of South America where there are no sources for temperature, and produced readings more agreeable for the president to take to COP21. Obama reported on his trip to Alaska last summer:

This summer, I saw the effects of climate change firsthand in our northernmost state, Alaska, where the sea is already swallowing villages and eroding shorelines; where permafrost thaws and the tundra burns; where glaciers are melting at a pace unprecedented in modern times.  And it was a preview of one possible future — a glimpse of our children’s fate if the climate keeps changing faster than our efforts to address it.  Submerged countries.  Abandoned cities.  Fields that no longer grow.  Political disruptions that trigger new conflict, and even more floods of desperate peoples seeking the sanctuary of nations not their own.

OMG the sea is swallowing villages. The permafrost is thawing and the tundra is on fire. Submerged countries! Abandoned cities! Fields that just don’t grow! More conflict and more people seeking sanctuary!  This is irresponsible nonsense. Visiting Alaska was clearly an unusual experience for Mr. Obama, and I believe I remember his being photographed holding a salmon, gingerly. A bit gullible out there in the Great Alone..

Were you ever out in the Great Alone, when the moon was awful clear,
And the icy mountains hemmed you in with a silence you most could hear;
With only the howl of a timber wolf, and you camped there in the cold,
A half-dead thing in a stark, dead world, clean mad for the muck called gold;
While high overhead, green, yellow and red, the North Lights swept in bars? —
Then you’ve a hunch what the music meant. . . hunger and night and the stars.
That’s Robert Service who was also inspired to flights of fancy in the Alaskan landscape. Here is Obama’s first speech at COP21. It’s worth reading at least part of it to understand the mindset. Never were so many whoppers told by a single head of state quite so publicly.  Embarrassing. Here he is with a small Alaskan salmon, which he didn’t catch himself.
ADDENDUM: I am mistaken about the burning tundra. Apparently the tundra is usually burning in places. Fires are ignited by lightning strikes, and they smolder on for ages. They are neither caused by global warming, nor encouraged by it. I don’t want to get in trouble with any of my friends in Alaska.


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