American Elephants


Why We Threw Our Trash Right Out the Car Window, Didn’t You? by The Elephant's Child

In an interview with celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, the U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy laughs about how she and her family would throw their trash right out of the car window.

Some people did. We picked up the candy wrappers that people dropped outside our family place of business. When there is no evidence that it is usual to throw things on the side of the road or in the parking lot, more people don’t. It’s called deterrence. Some Americans used to dump their garbage in any vacant lot if there was a little trash there already. Because our timber came down close to the highway, we had to post signs saying “private property, cut no trees,” around Christmas time. Deterrence worked.

I am deeply offended by the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to seize control of ever more private land for the agency’s own power and federal government control. The public lands belong to the people as a whole, not to the government. The federal government is the designated caretaker, but they don’t do a very good job of it.

Gina McCarthy can laugh ruefully at herself and her family for past environmental abuse. I just thought it was funny. We learn and change our ways. What Ms. McCarthy has not learned is that CO2 is a benign gas necessary to life on Earth. It is not a pollutant, and not the cause of catastrophic global warming — which is not happening. Consult Dr. Istvan Marko just below.

(h/t: Climate Depot)



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 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.



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.




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