Filed under: Environment, Freedom, Global Warming, History, Junk Science, Politics, Regulation, Science/Technology, The United States | Tags: Badly Applied Law, Not All Extinct Species Are Extinct, The Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act became law on December 28, 1973, forty years ago. A law intended to conserve species and habitat has meant recovery for less than 2% of the approximately 2,100 species listed as endangered or threatened, but as an industry for enriching lawyers and environmental activist groups it has been remarkably successful. Benefiting the environment? Not so much.
The law was well intentioned, but was meant to depend on science and data. The bureaucrats in charge have administer the law poorly and ignored provisions designed to promote good science and good sense. In the late 1970s, officials erased the distinction between different levels of endangered species listings. Originally it was only when an animal or plant was labeled “endangered” — on the verge of disappearing — that landowners were hit with heavy regulations, including prohibitions on activities that could “harm” or ‘harass” the species. The Carter administration extended these restrictions to species that are “threatened” — in trouble but not facing extinction.
It is not easy to tell when a species is “endangered.” Wild animals prefer to avoid humans, which makes it hard to count them. And if there is only a small population here, is there another on the other side of the mountain? Animals move in response to food. Animals have predators. It is very, very complicated.
Polar bears were supposed to be “endangered” but they found enough to call them “threatened,” but those designations were based on flawed predictions of melting Arctic Sea ice. The globe warms and cools in natural cycles and the bears have done fine through both cycles. Emperor penguins were supposed to be heading toward extinction in the Antarctic — again based on predictions of vanishing ice. The predictions have been wrong, the globe has not warmed for over 17 years. In 2009, the Beverly herd of Caribou which numbered over 200,000 a decade previously could not be found. But a more diligent search turned them up right where the aboriginal elders said they would be.
If there is a project that environmental activists don’t like, they will fan out over the land involved, searching for a species that might be useful to delay or halt the project.
In Cedar City, in southwest Utah, Endangered Species Act regulations have given the Utah prairie dog the run of the town since it was listed in 1973. The rabbit-size rodent is now listed as “threatened” even though there now seem to be around 40,000 in the area. Residents cannot take measures to control the population nor even try to relocate the animals to federal property. Federal regulation is not amenable to common sense. Homeowners’ yards are pockmarked, mounds and tunnels on airport property create real hazards on runways and taxiways. At one airport hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent to prevent prairie dog infestation.
Small business owner Bruce Hughes bought a 3.4 acre parcel to develop. “Then the prairie dogs moved in,” making it impossible to use the property productively.”If I killed even one, it would be a $10,000 fine and five years in federal prison. I could rob a convenience store and get off easier.” A lesson in small government where legislation should be made as close to the people concerned as possible.
Many of the most damaging Endangered Species regulations come from federal “biological opinions” issued by U.S. Fish and Wildlife or NOAA staff. Man-made drought in the San Joaquin Valley came from a “biop” that claimed that irrigation harmed a tiny fish, the delta smelt. To protect the smelt, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ordered severe restrictions on water deliveries by government water projects. At the height of the man-made drought, hundreds of thousands of acres went fallow, and unemployment in some communities reached 40%. And with so many acres lying fallow in the great Central Valley breadbasket, the cost of your groceries went up.
If the law is to be retained, its execution needs drastic reform, reliance on poorly informed science needs to stop, and some consideration needs to be paid to the jobs and communities involved. If you are interested, enter “Not Extinct” in the search bar over Bob Hope’s head. Seems that nearly a third of supposedly extinct species aren’t, which is good news indeed.
Filed under: China, Communism, Global Warming, Junk Science, Regulation, Science/Technology | Tags: China's Collapsing Green Sector, From Largest Producer to Broke, Solar and Wind Failure
China has gone in for “renewable energy” in a big way. Their solar panel industry has gone from nothing to becoming the world’s largest producer in only five years. But the industry has now crashed with with negative profit margins, idle factories and soaring levels of debt.
Suntech, a solar panel manufacturer, has been a national champion which became the world’s largest, filed for bankruptcy in March after it defaulted on payment of $541 million of bonds. The Chinese government is scrambling to clean up the mess by offering tax breaks to all solar companies who acquire or merge with their competitors.
LDK Solar, another leading Chinese producer, was forced to turn to provincial and local government for protection from its creditors. LDK was the brainchild of the local Communist Party Secretary, and received millions of dollars in state subsidies, cheap financing, land and electricity in 2005. The local government is pumping in money to keep it from sinking, but the company has already shed 20,000 of its 30,000 employees and its shares are 98% below their peak.
China’s solar panel sector remains massively overbuilt. Demand for solar panels has been shrinking as governments in the West learn that it was the subsidies that made solar energy attractive.
Wind power is little different. Sinovel — one of the world’s largest wind turbine manufactures — was earning hundreds of millions of dollars in profits in 2010, to millions of dollars of losses that grow by the day. Revenues are a fifth of what they were in 2010. In 2012, 17% of all windmills lay idle, the power they produce too expensive to connect to the grid. In some regions, 50% of all windmills remain unconnected to the grid.
China’s green sector crash is a textbook example of a command and control economy, where “experts” substitute their ideas for the complex supply and demand decisions of a free market. The Chinese state gave Chinese manufacturers near-monopoly powers and almost free money. The Bank of China, one of the largest state-owned commercial banks, says that 21% of its solar loans are in or near default. The average debt ratio is 75.8%.
To save face, China’s central planners have switched from subsidizing suppliers to subsidizing demand by demanding that power producers meet green targets in the domestic market. China can, of course force consumers to buy solar energy, but that doesn’t really solve anything. Chinese power customers would just pay the price in more expensive and less reliable power.
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Capitalism, National Security, Junk Science, Canada | Tags: World Energy Rankings, Meaningless Words, Pretentionness
About those national rankings: A new World Economic Forum (WEF) survey on the world’s “best sustainable energy systems” places energy self-sufficient Canada below Latvia, Costa Rica, Columbia and Romania. Huh?
The Geneva-based think tank’s latest survey of countries with the most “sustainable energy systems” put Norway as the country with the best energy system in the world. You always have to watch out when they start throwing that “sustainability” word around. It is an ever-so fashionable word, always to be thrown in to any paper deemed to be truly “serious.” And Geneva is always to be considered “serious.”
Canada, our neighbor to the north, producer of one of the world’s largest amounts of crude oil, natural gas, wind, nuclear and hydroelectricity, suddenly finds itself ranked below Latvia, which is almost entirely dependent on Russia for its fossil fuel supply. It had, however, “diversified” enough to warrant a ranking four places above self-sufficient Canada.
“The WEF,” the Financial Post says, “arrived at its befuddling conclusion after ranking countries on economic growth, environmental sustainability and energy security performance, and ‘analysing the complex trade-offs and dependencies that affect country efforts.’”
This report is absurd, of course, but governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have fallen into a pattern of using words that are fashionable but essentially meaningless to show that they are “with it,” to be taken seriously. Call them navy blue pin-striped words, or Rolex words. And “sustainable” is one of the worst. Sustainable means it will last over time, and we clearly have no idea. Tomorrow is unknown.
“Diversity” is more popular in academia than in the energy business, but a way of sneaking in a bunch of unaffordable “alternate energy”systems, beloved by environmentalists, yet only exist with ongoing governmental subsidies. In either case, it is nonsense. In academia it is supposed to be desirable to have students of varying races and ethnicities, but undesirable to have diversity in their thought or politics. All will conform.
Other words that fall into the same general category are “fairness,” (who decides?), “equality,” (how?) “tolerance,”( regarding what?). The words become more meaningless as they are used to excess, and no thought is dedicated to what they really mean in the context where they are used.
Silly report. Canada ranked a paltry 14th, and the United States, soon to become the world’s number one energy producer ranked a distant 37th out of 124 countries.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Economy, Energy, Global Warming, Junk Science, Regulation, Science/Technology, Taxes | Tags: Decarbonization Fail, End User Energy Cost, Public Subsidy Forever
The German energy giant RWE just pulled the plug on one of the world’s largest wind parks, the £4 billion Atlantic Array in the Bristol Channel. RWE did so for the stark reason that “the economics do not stack up”. It’s a mantra that well reflects the entire chaotic, incoherent and frankly competing elements at the heart of Europe’s energy policies.
Big renewable energy projects will always require state intervention and public cash in pursuit of the illusory aims of decarbonization. Private investment and business venture capital, are of sounder mind, and not inclined to take on the monumental risks involved, without the safety net of government guarantees and continuing public subsidies. Often better known as crony capitalism.
A democratic electorate views its key priorities with a combination of skepticism and common sense, particularly when their first priorities, like an improving economy have gone a glimmering. RWE had complained that the government was treating environmental subsidies as a “political football” which is an accurate representation of the ideological differences at the heart of the coalition.
The British Liberal Democrat energy secretariat is philosophically committed to paying for renewable energy, apparently whatever the cost to the end energy user. George Osborne’s Conservative Treasury, on the other hand, is quite aware of the political cost of the consumer’s energy bills. Britain has been dealing with “energy poverty,” for a number of years. But the whole thing goes back to Germany’s panicked knee-jerk reaction to abandon nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima. That led to the early closure of perfectly operational power stations, many owned by RWE. That short-sighted reaction now threatens Germany with a serious power shortage. RWE knew that the Atlantic Array needed more, not less government subsidies, and there is no prospect of that happening. They have embarked on a fast track divestment of their assets, divested itself of part of its UK gas and electricity sector and are outsourcing 1,400 jobs from Europe to India.
This is a stark warning to the rest of the world that renewable energy projects come with a need for constant government subsidy. These projects do not pay for themselves. Australia is drafting legislation to abolish the country’s carbon pricing mechanism to assuage the consumer anger over soaring energy prices. Green Dreams are all very well, but business is business, and the public has had enough of governmental green dreams. Somebody really needs to tell President Obama.
Filed under: Economy, Environment, Global Warming, Junk Science, Regulation, Science/Technology | Tags: A Little Humor, Climate Change, The Dreaded Deniers
Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Freedom, Junk Science, Law, Regulation | Tags: Cancelling Inconvenient Laws, Climate Change Is Not the Threat, Does Duke Energy Get Off?
The Justice Department announced a couple of weeks ago that “a subsidiary of Duke Energy has agreed to pay $1 million for killing golden eagles and other federally protected birds at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. The guilty plea was long overdue victory for the rule of law and a sign that green energy might be going out of vogue.”
“As Justice noted in its news release, this is the first time a case has been brought against a wind company for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The 1918 law makes it a federal crime to kill any bird of more than 1,000 different species. Over the past few decades, federal authorities have brought hundreds of cases against oil and gas companies for killing birds, while the wind industry has enjoyed a de facto exemption. By bringing criminal charges against Duke for killing 14 golden eagles and 149 other protected birds, Justice has ended the legal double standard on enforcement.”
Triumph of hope over Obama priorities. The Obama administration is about to approve a rule that will ensure the death of golden and bald eagles for the next 30 more years. Hundreds of thousands of birds die each year flying into the deadly turbine blades atop the towers of a wind farm. Many wind farms are built in mountain passes where wind is more likely, but that is the birds migrating course as well. The birds that are not chopped up by turbines are often fried by solar arrays.
It gets to be a real problem when you divide everything up into political interest groups, according to how much cash they donate. The Keystone XL Pipeline proved that Greens trump Unions. Unions trump Hispanics, and Hispanics trump Blacks. Where women fit into the priority line, I don’t know, or Gays. The good of the country, or the rule of law, are nowhere to be found. Politics trumps all.
The renewable energy business is also losing its lustre, as the public discovers how expensive “green jobs” are. In January Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported that each wind related job in Texas, the top wind energy state in the union, cost taxpayers $1.75 million. People are also discovering that they don’t much like wind turbines that ruin scenic countryside, reduce property values and create excessive noise. Chris Clarke of KCET reported that the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, a new solar-thermal project in the Mojave Desert killed 52 birds just in October, killed by the intense heat generated by the project’s mirrors.
The President does not change his mind. If he believed that Infrastructure was the key to economic growth in 2008, he still believes that today. Unfortunately, the world is changing its mind. Global warming is no longer a threat, the climate has been cooling for 17 years, and “alternative energy” is way too expensive, and in light of our new wealth in oil and gas from fracking and shale-oil projects on course to make us the Saudi Arabia of the world, maybe it’s not worth it to kill all those birds so carelessly.
And the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 is just an old law. The President can just wave his hand and say that it doesn’t apply to his administration because he likes wind and solar energy better.
Filed under: Capitalism, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Economy, Global Warming, Junk Science | Tags: Developing Resilience?, Federal Busy Work, Growing Government 101
President Obama has just issued an executive order “to prepare the nation for the impacts of climate change by undertaking actions to enhance climate preparedness and resilience.”
“The impacts of climate change — including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise — are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation. These impacts are often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures. Managing these risks requires deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planning by the Federal Government, as well as by stakeholders, to facilitate Federal, State, local, tribal, private-sector, and nonprofit-sector efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources; and provide for the continuity of executive department and agency (agency) operations, services, and programs,” the order states.
So we have a new interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience and a State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. In other words, massive busy work for bureaucrats at all levels of government. Just what are “climate preparedness” and “resilience” other than meaningless bureaucratese? How do you prepare for climate? Hint: Wind turbines are apt to shut down in really cold weather. Demand for electric power will be higher. Perhaps you don’t want to shut down all those coal-fired plants after all.
We have an agency called FEMA — the Federal Emergency Management Agency whose specific task is emergencies of the hurricane and flood variety and they can’t seem to manage those effectively. Each of the “impacts” of climate change mentioned already have an agency or agencies tasked with studies, works and funds devoted to those “impacts.”
“Managing these risks requires deliberate preparation, close cooperation and coordinated planning by the Federal Government.” No it doesn’t. Global Warming ended in the Twentieth Century when it was finally understood that it was just another fraudulent panic developed to enrich the select.
The new Council and related task forces will generate volumes of reports, studies, and stacks of paperwork that no one will read, that will result in no action other than busy work for more and more government employees. We have a vast history of Councils and Task Forces and Committees, and the few who produce serious, quality work are ignored, thanked for their participation, and sent on their way, while someone in the vast halls of the federal bureaucracy will dream up an idea for another Task force and the growth of government will proceed unabated.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Global Warming, Junk Science, Liberalism, Politics, Science/Technology | Tags: Pacific Coast Action Plan, Uselessly "Fighting Climat Change", West Coast States
Just as the world is recognizing that “climate change” is something the climate does quite regularly, and the billion dollars a day the world has spent on “fighting climate change” has all gone for naught, the lefty governments of the left coast have joined together to take action on Climate and Energy.
“British Columbia, California, Oregon & Washington Join
Forces to Combat Climate Change.”
The leaders of British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy yesterday, committing their governments, and a region that represents the world’s fifth largest economy, to a comprehensive and far-reaching strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy.
Through the Action Plan, the leaders agreed that all four jurisdictions will account for the costs of carbon pollution and that , where appropriate and feasible, link programs to create consistency and predictability across the region of 53 million people. The leaders also committed to adopting and maintaining low-carbon fuel standards in each jurisdiction.
That’s what you get when politicians don’t keep up with the news. Global warming alarmism is over. The IPCC computer programs were wrong. There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” We are a carbon life form, we exhale CO², Carbon dioxide is a natural plant fertilizer and is greening the planet, helping the world to feed increasing numbers of people.
Adding ethanol to gasoline makes the exhaust dirtier and does not contain as much energy as plain old gasoline. Oddly enough, the only really “clean” energy is nuclear energy, and I didn’t hear any of this bunch advocating more nuclear plants. They’re still bent on a carbon pricing program and “harmonizing their 2050 greenhouse gas emission targets. Sigh.
“California isn’t waiting for the rest of the world before it takes action on climate change,” said Governor Moonbeam. “Today, California, Oregon. Washington and British Columbia are all joining together to reduce green house gases.”
They’re pledging to cooperate with governments and sub-national governments around the world to press for a global agreement on climate change in 2015. Al Gore will be so pleased.
The West Coast is home to many biofuel plants, a large number of very large radical environmental groups, and a lot of wind farms and solar arrays. Lots of blather about clean energy, joining together, our obligation to future generations and the usual sustainable words. As I said in the post below, the world has “invested $1 billion a day to fight global warming — in a world where there has been no warming in this century — none at all for 16 years even while CO² increased benignly, happily greening the planet. And all that money accomplished nothing, nothing at all.
Governors don’t make time to actually get informed on matters environmental. It was an enormous fraudulent fad, and everybody recycled and packaged their goods in recycled packaging. Businesses jumped on the bandwagon in a big way, donating to environmental causes, and planting trees. Governors’ offices across the country were signed up by the Center for Climate Strategies, who approached with an impressive dog-and-pony show, an “offered governors a terrific bargain: You ration energy use and otherwise coerce the public into major lifestyle modifications and we’ll help you inflate your reputation with media attention and praise as a pragmatist.” This was in 2008, when everyone was attempting to burnish their green credentials.
Already too late — warming peaked in 1998.
Filed under: Health Care, Science/Technology | Tags: Get Your Flu Shot, You Don't Want This.
I think I may live after all. Nasty stuff. Get your Flu shot!
My eyebrows have stopped hurting, and the aches and pains seem to respond to Excedrin. Do get a flu shot if you haven’t had one. This stuff can sneak up on you— in the grocery store. the library — who knows? Nobody is polite enough to carry a sign saying “I am contagious.” They sneak up on you all unrecognized.