American Elephants


Polar Vortexes and Presidential Pollution Proclamations by The Elephant's Child

article-2485612-1927936900000578-580_634x534

In January of this year, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) told a Senate Environment and Pubic Works (EPW) committee hearing that the president must have fabricated two oft-repeated climate claims.

“Both statements are false,” Inhofe said of Obama’s global warming claims, since neither the EPA nor the U.N.’s IPCC climate group can provide any supporting statistics.

On multiple occasions, and most recently on May 30th of last year, President Obama has said, and this is a quote he has used several times, he said that “the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even ten years ago” and that “the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or ten  years ago.”Neither agency could provide statistics to support the president’s claim. Senator Inhofe pointed out that temperatures have “flat-lined over the last 15 years, something no climate model ever predicted.”

When you go back and loot at the temperature projections from climate models and compare them to actual temperatures, two things are readily evident: first, temperatures have flatlined over the last 15 years, and second, an average of over 100 climate models from the last decade shows that the scientific community did not predict this would happen. And to my knowledge, not a single climate model ever predicted that a pause in global warming would ever occur.

Climate scientists thought that they could enter into their computer models the established, known facts about climate, and add to that educated guesses, and likely scenarios, and the result would allow you to predict the future climate out 50 to 100 years. Well, garbage in, garbage out (GIGO). We just didn’t know that much about the climate.

And then it turned out that our national temperature records had a distinctly ‘warming’ leaning because many of the stations were located next to air-conditioning outlets and concrete walls to reflect the heat. The records could not be trusted. And tree rings turned out to be faulty as well.

And then it was realized that although clouds had a major influence on climate, we had no clue as to how to measure that. Clouds are of many different types (my dad always loved cumulus nimbus — I think he just liked to say it) and shapes. They move, a lot, and at different levels they may be moving in opposite directions, so you’re dealing with air currents as well.  And then we know that meteorologists cannot predict the weather out more than 7 days, and they don’t always get that right.

President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2015 budget allocates about $1 trillion for discretionary spending, and within that amount is continued funding for regulations by the EPA to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the nation’s power plants. They’ve issued rules for new plants and rules for existing plants will come out in June. His budget ( the one they said is ‘dead on arrival’ ) calls for:

  • A permanent extension of the production tax credit for wind, $19.2 billion over 10 years. $401 million for alternative-fuel trucks tax credits and $1,7 billion for cellulosic biofuel. (more polluting than gasoline)
  • Cut $4 billion in ‘tax breaks’ that are currently available to the oil and natural gas industries, and $3.9 billion in tax preferences for coal, which supplies nearly half of our electricity.
  • $1 billion to fund new technology and ‘infrastructure to prepare for climate change’ and for research.
  • $2,3 billion more for the Forest Service to suppress and ‘research’ wildfires.
  • $400 million for DHS to identify “critical infrastructure vulnerabilities” to climate change.
  • $362 million to the National Science Foundation to research ‘advanced forms’ of ‘green energy.’
  • Overall the budget boosts funding for the Energy Dept. to $27.9 billion in 2015, an increase of 2.6 percent over 2014. Includes $355 million to fuel transportation infrastructure and beef up the electrical grid.

On the Left, global warming — now referred to as climate change — is a matter of religious faith. They simply believe. Republicans don’t, because they keep up with the changing science. Undoubtedly one of the reasons the left believes is because Republicans don’t. They sneeringly call us “deniers” although nobody denies that the climate is always changing. We just deny that it’s a big problem. Back in the 1970s, we were worried about global cooling and a new ice age.

We haven’t had any warming for seventeen years. It has been far warmer in the past — the medieval warming was the finest weather known to man, when wine grapes grew in England and Germany. It’s been far colder as well. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been higher in the past and also lower. Man seems able to adapt. Number Watch, a British website, consists simply of a complete list of things “caused by global warming.”

And for the second time this year, Niagara Falls has frozen over. The pictures are breathtaking. And the Great Lakes are close to being completely frozen over.  57° degrees here today.



Matt Ridley, On The Greening of the Planet. by The Elephant's Child

This video is a year old this month, but the very clear message seems not to have reached the true believers, so I’m re-posting it.  Apple CEO Tim Cook has just told global warming skeptics to “get out of this stock.” In essence, he told every Apple shareholder to take a hike and waved away any potential investors.

When Mr. Cook met with shareholders on Friday, a group proposed that the company be more open about its environmental activism and more transparent about the costs it incurs as it increases its dependence on renewable energy. “If you want me to do things only for ROI (return on investment) reasons, you should get out of this stock,” he said.

What he was saying is that profit is overrated, and if you aren’t interested in a warm feeling from political activism, you are misdirected. Cook succeeded Steve Jobs in 2011, and Apple has gone for fighting global warming in a big way, tripling the use of renewable energy for its offices to 75%, The goal is to go 100% renewable.

Unfortunately, comparing costs is interesting. The cost per megawatt hour of a new natural gas power plant averages $66, while the tab for wind is $96, and solar photovoltaic $153, and solar thermal $242. It not only costs way more, it doesn’t do anything whatsoever to stop the natural warming and cooling of the planet. And you may have noticed that cooling is the current mode. There has been no warming for over 17 years.

European countries are becoming aware of the vast drag on their economies from their investment in “renewable” energy. Germany is realizing that its Energiewende — its radical energy policies — cost taxpayers €22 billion last year alone, making businesses uncompetitive.

True believers aren’t interested in facts, but are hell-bent on saving the planet. It’s a religious belief, and it’s adherents are cult-like in their devotion.

Over the past three decades, our planet has gotten greener!

Even stranger, the greening of the planet in recent decades appears to be happening because of, not despite, our reliance on fossil fuels. While environmentalists often talk about how bad stuff like CO2 causes bad things to happen like global warming, it turns out that the plants aren’t complaining.



Welcome To Life! by The Elephant's Child

agodship



Thursday Morning Cute by The Elephant's Child

6a010535647bf3970b01a3fb8757c3970b-800wi

For more, visit www.zooborns.com, but warning, it can be addictive.



A Political Problem? Just Throw Money At It. Make It Go Away! by The Elephant's Child

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
But once you get up over a billion dollars, or even before that, it’s hard to grasp just what we are really talking about.

The current administration was hoping that the Republicans would fail to raise the debt ceiling, so they could demonize the GOP for the rest of the  year for not paying our country’s bills, for defaulting on the debt, destroying our credit-rating, for all the things they would be able to shut down to pay for the damage the nasty Republicans were doing to the country. But Republicans raised the limit, as had to be done anyway, and now the GOP is free to point at those who, so callously, could not stop spending.

The First Lady and the girls are in Aspen, skiing. The president has gone to California to play golf with Jay Carney, but dropped in on the Central Valley to publicize California’s drought — as a sign of global warming. It is a little preposterous to try to blame  the East’s snow and ice on global warming, though some of media have valiantly tried to do so. It really doesn’t pass the laugh test. Ditto for the drought.

Another quiet story broke that didn’t make front-page headlines. “A newly-uncovered and monumental calculating error in official U.S. government climate data shows that climate scientists unjustifiably added on a whopping one degree of phantom warming to the official ‘raw’ temperature record. ” Independent data analyst Steven Goddard released his telling study of the officially adjusted and “homogenized” U.S. temperature records relied upon by NASA, NOAA, USHCN and scientists  around the world to “prove” our climate has been warming dangerously. His evidence proves conclusively that the officially-claimed one-degree increase in temperatures is entirely fictitious. It also discredits the reliability of any assertion by such agencies to possess a reliable and robust temperature record.

So on his trip to California, President Obama is pitching a new $1 billion climate change resilience fund during a visit to Fresno and the Great Central Valley, devastated by government-caused drought. The President even hauled out his assistant to the president on science and technology, John Holdren, who said “Weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change.”

The new fund—separate from Obama’s climate agenda announced in June — will be detailed in the president’s 2015 budget, set for release next month.  Obama has said he will use his executive authority to push his climate agenda and other policies during his “year of action,”  but the president would need approval from Congress for the fund.

In Europe, countries are backing away from renewable energy as they realize that they can’t afford the subsidies, and without subsidies the renewable energy goes away. Britain is having a flooding problem, blamed by some on global warming, but in reality, apparently the fault of government’s failure to dredge coastal rivers in order to protect a mollusc.

Victor Davis Hanson, a 3rd or 4th generation California farmer, explains the drought Mr, Obama wants to spend a billion on, as two droughts — nature’s and its man made twin.

Californians have not built a major reservoir since the New Melones Dam more than 30 years ago. As the state subsequently added almost 20 million people, it assumed that it was exempt from creating any more “unnatural” Sierra lakes and canals to store precious water during California’s rarer wet and snow-filled years.

Then, short-sightedness soon became conceit. Green utopians went further and demanded that an ailing three-inch bait fish in the San Francisco delta receive more fresh oxygenated water. In the last five years, they have successfully gone to court to force millions of acre-feet of contracted irrigation water to be diverted from farms to flow freely out to sea.

So there you have it. Government causes problems, president proposes billions in public money, congress appropriates, which doesn’t solve problems and creates more.  You can’t fix problems by throwing money at them. A Political Problem cannot be solved by throwing money in it’s direction.



A Mammoth, A Mammoth, Right Here in Town! by The Elephant's Child

2022886720Local news: A tusk, believed to be from an Ice Age mammoth, was found Tuesday at a South Lake Union construction project. The tusk was found on private property, so the landowner will decide what to do with it, but the Burke Museum paleontologists are very interested in excavating it. It’s a good way to learn a little more about what is under Seattle’s fabled seven hills and the bluest skies bit. (both are fables—there were bits of blue today and the temperature hit 58°). The Seattle Times said:

Mammoths and their ancient elephant elephant relative, mastodons, inhabited the ice-free lands of North America. Mammoths arrived from Asia about 2 million years ago, while mastodons lived in North America from about 15 million to 9,000 years ago. Both became extinct as the glaciers started receding at the end of the Ice Age, between 10,000 and 11,000 years ago.

Some mammoths grew to 12 feet at the shoulder, their tusks curved down from the face and then upwards at the ends. They chewed grass with large, flat teeth similar to elephant’s teeth.

Mammoth fossils have been found in various locations around the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, for those unfamiliar with the area, borders on Puget Sound to the West, and lies between the Sound and Lake Washington on the East which borders Bellevue on the West, then Lake Sammamish on the East. Lake Union is a smaller affair, connecting the Sound and Lake Washington with locks and canals.
(photo: Jeff Estep/Transit Plumbing)



Obama Is Going After “Carbon Pollution” With “Climate Hubs” by The Elephant's Child

Your federal Government at work.  President Obama has enacted part of his promised “Climate Action Plan” today with the creation of regional “Climate Hubs” to coordinate a response to global warming with farmers, ranchers and owners of forest land. This is another executive order by the president without benefit of Congressional

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said the seven Regional Hubs for Risk Adaption and Mitigation to Climate Change “are going to do a risk analysis of crop production and of forestry, in terms of changing climates.”

This is, you see, part of Obama’s State of the Union promise “to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put America on track to a cleaner environment.” Unfortunately there is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” We are carbon-based life forms. Carbon is one of the basic building blocks of life. No carbon — no life. There is not a thing that Mr. Obama can do to “slow the effects of climate change.”

Well, nevermind. They are going to “responsibly” cut carbon pollution. CO2 is a natural fertilizer for plants. It helps plants withstand cold, and many climate scientists believe we are looking at another 20 years of cooling at least. There has been no warming for 17 years.

The problem with Liberals is not that they don’t know anything, but that they know so many things that just aren’t so. The New Yorker: “How Cold Weather Makes You Forget About Global Warming:” Suggests the media needs to “frame the (cold) weather within the context of climate change, emphasizing that it was unnatural.”

“It may come as a surprise to you — it certainly did to me — that 51 percent of the entire land mass of the United States is engaged in either agriculture or forestry. This is a part of our economy that is significant: 16 million people are employed as a result of agriculture, and it represents roughly 5 percent of the gross domestic product,” Vilsack said, adding that the recent severe snow storms and the persistent California drought are a “reflection of the changing weather patterns that will, indeed, impact and affect crop production, livestock production, as well as an expansion of pests and diseases and could compromise agriculture and forestry.”

Well, if we’d start appointing Agriculture Secretaries who have some familiarity with farming, it would help. Vilsack’s qualification was that he had been governor of Iowa. He was also a big backer of the Pigford claimants who fraudulently pretended to be farmers to get enormous amounts of reparations from the government.

Vilsack’s examples of how the new hubs might work would be to identify technologies and practical science-based guidance that will say to farmers — this is how you need to manage, this is what you need to grow, and what seed technology you need. The general direction described doesn’t sound as if this is something the farmers have requested, but simply more Federal busywork. Farmers know a lot more about what they need to do than the Federal government does.



The Day of Reckoning Approaches: Drowning In Energy Subsidies by The Elephant's Child

Back in 2008, then candidate Barack Obama claimed in a speech in Golden Colorado, that his planned investments in “green” energy would create “five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced, ” Robert Bryce notes in the Wall Street Journal.  It was all bunk.

President Obama not only does not change his mind, he doesn’t learn from what is going on in the world. In his State of the Union speech, the president claimed credit for his “all of the above” energy policy, not mentioning that he has fought tooth and nail — every bit of energy production except wind and solar. He has attempted through the EPA to shut down the coal industry which provides nearly half of our electricity.

Increasing amounts of natural gas come from fracking by private investors on private land, which is fortunate, for Obama has opposed any drilling on public lands. He is still talking about “carbon pollution”— whatever he thinks that is — carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer for plants, and as our climate cools will help crops to avoid damage from the cold.

In December, the Center for European Policy Studies, a Brussels-based think tank, reported that European steelmakers are paying twice as much for electricity and four times as much for natural gas as their U.S. competitors. In Denmark, the wind-energy capital of Europe, residential electricity now costs about 41 cents per kilowatt-hour, more than three times the U.S. average rate. Robert Bryce notes:

Proof came last month when both the European Union and the German government announced separately that they were both rolling back aggressive subsidies and mandates for renewable energy. The reason: staggering costs. Spain has racked up some $35 billion in debt—known as the “tariff deficit”—thanks to excessive renewable-energy subsidies. In Germany, renewable-energy subsidies are now costing German consumers and industry about $32 billion a year. The costs have become so onerous that on Jan. 21 Germany’s economy and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel told energy conference attendees in Berlin that his country is risking “dramatic deindustrialization” if it doesn’t reduce energy costs.

It may take 20 years or more for Europe to recover from the waste of their investments in wind and solar.

The American energy landscape has undergone a big change — not thanks to, but in despite the actions of the U.S. government.  U.S. net imports of petroleum have declined from 12.5 million barrels per day in 2005 to 8.6 mbd in 2011. Dependence on imports has dropped from its 60 percent peak in 2005 to 45 percent the level it was back in 1995. This 30 percent reduction in just seven years is equivalent to three times the number of barrels nominally imported from Saudi Arabia. Some of the drop is related to the recession-induced drop in consumption, some to the blend with ethanol. Since 2008, technologies like deep-water drilling, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have increased crude oil output by 18 percent.

The idea of “energy independence” has been way oversold. Oil is a commodity. Assume all of the petroleum in the world goes into one big storage tank. Producers pour oil in, consumers take it out. Everybody pays essentially the same price, and the international oil companies determine what happens to the oil once it enters the global market. When the Arab oil-producing countries declared an embargo of the U.S. and selected European countries way back in 1973, there was no real shortage in the U.S. The long gas lines and price hikes had more to do with panicked consumer behavior and the complete bungling of the Federal energy bureaucracy. The Soviet Union has threatened boycotts of European countries, which has been one of the reasons for the ramp-up of wind and solar in the European Union. There has been talk about a crisis that might be caused by a blockage of the Straits of Hormuz. But America is not dependent on the Persian Gulf for its oil supply. Most of U.S. oil imports come from North America. When there is a supply disruption somewhere in the world, it affects everyone.

A huge calculating error in official U.S. government climate data shows beyond a doubt that climate scientists unjustifiably added on a whole degree of phantom warning to the official “raw” temperature record. Skeptics believe the discovery may trigger a real climate scandal in Congress and sound the death knell on American climate policy. Independent data analyst Steven Goddard released his study of the official adjusted U.S. temperature records relied upon by NASA, NOAA, USHCN and scientists around the world to “prove” that our climate has been dangerously warming. Goddard found a startling disparity between the “raw” thermometer readings, as reported by measuring stations, and the “adjusted” temperatures. The adjustments, in effect, turn a 90 year cooling trend into a warming trend.

Patrick Michaels asks in Forbes if the Overselling of Global Warming will lead to a new Scientific Dark Age? We have relied too much on computers to answer questions for which they have no real answer. We have constructed models of the climate which contain way too many assumptions and guesses, and people are beginning to recognize that it is politics that is driving the issue rather than science, that wind and solar aren’t really free, but make expensive energy that is no longer on offer when the subsidies are removed.



The Dumbest New Ban in 2014: Incandescent Light Bulbs. by The Elephant's Child

There has been a lot of talk about low-information voters, but it appears that it is not only voting about which they have little information. Many people are astonished to find that they cannot buy incandescent lightbulbs any more.

The lightbulb ban is pure crony-capitalism. The profit margin on regular incandescent bulbs was slim, and much better with compact fluorescent bulbs or expensive LED bulbs, but people didn’t want them. So the manufacturers joined with green groups to push for tighter lighting standards. More efficient. Save energy. To hell with the free market, consumers will be forced to buy bulbs that offer more profit for GE, Phillips and Sylvania.

If you were unsure about the meaning of “crony-capitalism” there it is. Business, unable to convince consumers to buy their preferred product, turned to the government for regulation that would rig the market in their favor. Is there a need for “more efficient” lighting? What does more efficient mean? It means that it saves energy, and by saving energy they mean emitting less carbon dioxide, which is falsely claimed to be the cause of global warming, which after 17 years of no increases  in warming is becoming a little dubious.

Carbon dioxide is a natural plant fertilizer and makes plants grow — a good thing in a cooling world. People assume that this is a good thing for the environment and will help to save the planet.

Some technologies become obsolete because they are superseded by something better — the free market at work. But this is not the case with lightbulbs. The market did not kill the traditional light bulb. Government did it, at the request of big business. And Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric became the Obama Administration Job Czar. That worked out well. The new bulbs are made in China.



The Fatally Failed Fallacies of the Obama Administration by The Elephant's Child

pic_giant_102513_SM_Obama-the-Avatar

I am constantly fascinated by language, and the extent to which we use it to confuse or elucidate, to sway minds and to get our way. We have terms for three of the things that can go awry:

  • Unintended consequences —nobody knew that if you did this, that would happen. Pretty straightforward. Sometimes one side has warned about the consequences, but the other denied that it would happen.
  • Paradox — A seemingly contradictory statement that may nevertheless be true. Hegel: “We learn from history that we do not learn from history.” To be thoroughly confused, consult Wikipedia’s paradox page.
  • Fallacy — An idea or opinion founded on mistaken logic or perception, a false notion. This is the word that describes the entire Obama administration, and the specific  reason that there has been no real economic recovery.

President Obama made it clear from the first that he believed the Iraq War was a “dumb war,” and the only reason for being in Afghanistan was to “get” Osama bin Laden. When bin Laden was killed, Obama clearly believed that al Qaeda had been defeated, and was “on the run.” This was mistaken logic, and al Qaeda has taken over Fallujah, and is resurgent throughout the Middle East.

President Obama was sure that spending lots of stimulus money on infrastructure would create the jobs that were needed to restore the economy to prosperity. He discovered that “all those shovel-ready jobs weren’t really shovel ready”.

He was determined to kill two birds with one stone and create green jobs while also saving the earth from global warming. There weren’t really any “green jobs,” the installers came from the manufacturers, and they tried to cover up the lack by labeling janitors, bus drivers, garbage men and secretaries in energy installations as “green jobs,” but that didn’t work. Unemployed men were trained for so-called “green jobs” in government jobs programs like installing insulation, but discovered that to be a competitive field in most communities, who didn’t need additional employees. And the globe hasn’t been warming for over 17 years.

It turned out that green energy merely raised the cost of power, was as inclined to pollute as much demonized petroleum. We have Solyndra, and dozens and dozens of other bankrupt green-energy companies. Electric cars caught fire or turned into bricks, or cost so much that only multi-millionaires could afford to buy the federally subsidized cars. The EPA pushed 15% ethanol in gasoline that would destroy many car engines, and ruin small engines like boats or lawnmowers.

The more you look, the more fallacies you find. The Keystone XL pipeline offers 20,000 direct jobs, and thousands of spin-off jobs. Obama announces a new effort to create jobs, yet refuses to approve the project, which annoys our most important trading partner, and may send the energy to China.

Obama announces a pivot to jobs, while his Environmental Protection Agency is churning out regulations that kill jobs. We have had five years of fallacy.We hired a president who had no experience at running anything, no experience in managing anything. The people with whom he surrounds himself in the White House are as new and inexperienced as the president himself. Their ideas are founded on mistaken logic or perception.

Fallacy. They don’t know what they are doing, and while they may mean well, they lack understanding of the consequences of their actions. In today’s news are more studies that show that giving people insurance — Medicaid for the uninsured — actually significantly increases their use of emergency rooms, raising health care costs rather than saving money.

But we knew that. That was the experience of Romney Care in Massachusetts — the health care the Obama administration liked to pretend they were copying. A complete fallacy in itself. As a policy is put into practice, it collapses or fails to work due to it’s own internal misconceptions.



52 Rescued From Ship Stranded in the Ice in Antarctica, No Mention of Climate Change by The Elephant's Child

AP_akademik_shokalskiy_ship_jef_131230_16x9_992

The Climate Change activists stranded with their guests on the Russian ship Akademic Shokalskiy in the ice in Antarctic summer, have been rescued by a Chinese helicopter and airlifted to a nearby Australian icebreaker, which had tried and failed to reach the stranded ship. The Russian ship’s twenty-member crew has stayed with the Akademic Shokalskiy, well supplied with food and fuel. Three rescue attempts had failed due to growing levels of sea ice and weather conditions.

The Australasian Antarctic expedition was intended to demonstrate the extent to which sea ice was disappearing due to climate change. They believed the ice was sure to be vanishing, and invited paying passengers to accompany them on their scientific expedition. They had been stranded since Christmas morning.  Forty one stories about the ‘mission’ failed to mention climate change or global warming, or why the ship was there. The fact that there has been no warming for over 17 years is rarely mentioned in the media.

Chris Turney, the expedition’s leader, is a professor of climate change at the University of South Wales.  According to Turney’s personal website the purpose of the expedition was to “discover and communicate the environmental changes taking place in the south.” A global warming mission in the Antarctic summer.

The idea that the earth was warming excessively originated  in computer climate programs, which have been demonstrated over and over to be ineffective at predicting climate. People whose livelihood and career depend on grants for study of  various aspects of global warming are seldom willing to admit that it has all been a fraud  — and the earth is always warming and cooling in long cycles that aren’t yet that  well understood.

Journalists who write on climate and environment belong to the Society of Environmental Journalists. If the panic about an overheating globe is over, what will the journalists write about? And then there’s the politics of climate change. President Obama is still convinced that saving the country from the rise of the oceans, and our fatal dependence on foreign oil requires ever more funding from taxpayers. It’s a very complicated situation, and there are lots of true believers, and lots of people who want to invest in “renewable energy,” and where did you think all those grants come from, anyway?

5182822-16x9-700x394

ADDENDUM: It appears that the Australian icebreaker which is rescuing the intrepid Antarctic publicity climate change seekers is now stuck in the ice as well as the original ship. This is, however, weather, as is the cold spell blanketing the Eastern states. Very exciting, gives the environmental journalists a lot to write about. Manitoba is colder than Mars. Oops! Got this one wrong. The Chinese rescue helicopter came from a Chinese icebreaker the Xue Long to which the rescued climate activists were transferred. The Xue Long is having trouble with advancing ice, and is attempting to manouever through it but has notified the Australians that they may need help from their icebreaker which has been put on standby.

The idea that the global warming scientists would prove anything by looking at a small section of the ice sheet which covers 4.5 million square miles is — silly. The whole thing does not grow or shrink all at once, some parts grow, some parts shrink, and that string of volcanoes under part of the ice only confuses matters. Weather is sudden chill that creates more ice, climate is averages of what happens over time.

ADDENDUM II: The plot thickens. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has requested help from the United States Coast Guard. We still have one heavy duty just-refurbished ice breaker. The Polar Star left Seattle in early December on one of its primary missions— Operation Deep Freeze — to break a channel through to McMurdo Sound to resupply and refuel the U.S. Antarctic Program’s (USAP) McMurdo Station on Ross Island. They will cut short their planned stop in Sydney to support the AMSA’s request for assistance before moving on to break a channel through to McMurdo.

400x267xPolarStaratmcMurdo.jpg.pagespeed.ic.2DpbZQ7aQN



Endangered, Threatened, And Extinct Species vs. Bureaucracy. by The Elephant's Child

the utah prairie dog cynomys parvidens is a federally threatened mammal species found only in parts of souther Utah
(davewelling. photoshelter.com)

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.

 




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,433 other followers

%d bloggers like this: