American Elephants


RIP: Australian Marine Geologist Dr. Robert Carter by The Elephant's Child

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Dr. Bob Carter died of a massive heart attack at age 74. He was an environmental scientist and emeritus professor from James Cook University. He was the author of more than 100 scientific papers, and served as the Chair of the Earth Sciences Discipline Panel of the Australian Research Council.

When the Greens were panicking over the oceans turning acid, he laughed and remarked that as long as there are rocks in the ocean, that won’t happen.

From Anthony Watts:

I traveled with Bob in Australia during my tour in 2010. To say that he was a man of good cheer and resilience would be an understatement. He not only bore the slings and arrows thrown his way by some of the ugliest people in the climate debate, he reciprocated with professionalism and honor, refusing to let them drag him into the quagmire of climate ugliness we have seen from so many climate activists.
His duty, first and foremost was to truth. I’m reminded of this quote:
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” ― Isaac Asimov
Bob worked hard to dispel scientific ignorance, and to do it with respect and good cheer. We’ve all lost a great friend and a champion of truth.


Annoy a Green True Believer. Tell Them CO2 Makes Forests Grow. by The Elephant's Child

Hoh rainforest
Steven Hayward published an abstract from the coming issue of Forest Ecology & Management which includes an article that finds rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere are mostly beneficial for our forests. Here’s the complete abstract, which will annoy the Greens.

Physiological and ecological factors influencing recent trends in United States forest health responses to climate change

Abstract

The health of United States forests is of concern for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, forest commercial values, and other reasons. Climate change, rising concentrations of CO2 and some pollutants could plausibly have affected forest health and growth rates over the past 150 years and may affect forests in the future. Multiple factors must be considered when assessing present and future forest health. Factors undergoing change include temperature, precipitation (including flood and drought), CO2 concentration, N deposition, and air pollutants. Secondary effects include alteration of pest and pathogen dynamics by climate change. We provide a review of these factors as they relate to forest health and climate change. We find that plants can shift their optimum temperature for photosynthesis, especially in the presence of elevated CO2, which also increases plant productivity. No clear national trend to date has been reported for flood or drought or their effects on forests except for a current drought in the US Southwest. Additionally, elevated CO2 increases water use efficiency and protects plants from drought. Pollutants can reduce plant growth but concentrations of major pollutants such as ozone have declined modestly. Ozone damage in particular is lessened by rising CO2. No clear trend has been reported for pathogen or insect damage but experiments suggest that in many cases rising CO2 enhances plant resistance to both agents. There is strong evidence from the United States and globally that forest growth has been increasing over recent decades to the past 100+ years. Future prospects for forests are not clear because different models produce divergent forecasts. However, forest growth models that incorporate more realistic physiological responses to rising CO2 are more likely to show future enhanced growth. Overall, our review suggests that United States forest health has improved over recent decades and is not likely to be impaired in at least the next few decades.

The study is behind a paywall, but you can get the gist of it from this, and this bit from the conclusion.

The health of United States forests is of increasing concern among scientists and policymakers who predict that CO2-induced climate change will have negative effects on forest establishment and growth. However, when considered over long time frames, drought area does not appear to be increasing in the United States as a whole, though local and periodic excursions are to be expected and do occur. Multiple types of historical data indicate increasing forest productivity. Long-term data on trends for insect and disease incidence and impacts are mostly lacking. . . The IPCC (AR5, WGII p. 305) has reached a similar conclusion, stating: “There is low confidence that climate change is threatening the temperate forest carbon sink directly or indirectly.”

Forest Ecology and Management will probably not be anyone’s favorite bedtime reading, but we skeptics gather up whatever evidence we find to annoy the climate loonies. They are true believers, a sort of religion, and they are quite passionate about it. But wrong.



Obama’s Embarrassing Reasons for Blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline by The Elephant's Child

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We wrote a couple of weeks ago about Trans Canada’s two lawsuits against the Obama Administration over the administration’s blocking of the Keystone XL Pipeline. One is a legal challenge that President Obama exceeded his authority when he blocked the pipeline’s construction. The other is an international petition under NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) seeking to recover the $15 billion in costs and damages incurred when Obama blocked the cross border pipeline.

Someone dredged up the President’s statement back in November, from the Roosevelt Room, when he announced that he was blocking the pipeline, and it’s really quite delicious, if you’re inclined to root for the Canadians. Several whoppers on jobs, the economy, our energy security, but the main reason for rejecting the pipeline was: it might screw up his pitch in Paris for a unenforceable climate agreement that many nations would reject anyway, because it might set a poor example.

America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change.  And frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.  And that’s the biggest risk we face — not acting.

Today, we’re continuing to lead by example.  Because ultimately, if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them and release more dangerous pollution into the sky.

Do read the whole thing. Democrats have a habit of just accepting Progressive talking points and never, never looking into the facts behind the conventional wisdom. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is not the source of what global warming there has been, and it presents not the slightest concern about making the Earth uninhabitable in our lifetimes. I suspect that Canada is going to win this one.



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

Keystonepipeline
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

 




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