On the Blog

French Fear ‘Lack of Will’ For U.N. Climate Change Pact This Fall

Somewhat Reasonable - June 30, 2015, 8:52 PM

Eco-catastrophe coming for UN?

The U.N.’s climate change treaty talks are being imperiled by a “lack of political will” among government leaders around the globe, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters on Monday.

Fabius and U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki Moon spoke to journalists after a high-level negotiation session, setting the scene for the COP 21 talks in Paris this fall.

Moon complained that the agenda-setting discussion of foreign ministers was moving at a “snail’s pace” and that only “10 days” were left on the U.N. calendar to decide the issues that will merit Paris-level discussion.

“Key political issues” were “still undecided,” Moon said.

Moon said many heads of state had not given their ministers “clear guidance” on climate change policy, and that kind of leadership was needed to “speed negotiations” in the preparatory talks now.

One does not need an official U.N. translator to decifer that global bureaucratese — the climate change treaty talks are in trouble.

Categories: On the Blog

Experts Declare CO2 Benefits Outweigh Dangers

Somewhat Reasonable - June 30, 2015, 11:29 AM

At this year’s International Climate Change Conference (ICCC-10) hosted by Heartland Institute, speakers and scientists praised the social and economic benefits of carbon dioxide – a position in direct contrast to those popularly held among climate change radicals.

Historical Background of Concern Over Climate Change 

As part of Agenda 21 (See here the Agenda) the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 2 -14, 1992.   According to Myron Ebell, a member of Panel 14 at Heartland’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change, Republicans didn’t want George H.W. Bush to sign on to the UN framework, but he went ahead and made the U.S. a signatory, insisting that the agreement was non-binding and no harm would come of it.

It did, however, put a noose around today’s economy.  A really bad break happened when the Supremes ruled that the Clean Air Act could be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in a 5-4 decision. In its wake, Obama’s EPA declared CO2 a pollutant. Although the results haven’t been overly oppressive as of yet — the Koyoto Protocol was dead on arrival and President Obama did fail in his attempt to implement cap and trade — in typical Obama fashion, executive orders have been issued to fight global warming, with more scheduled to be unleashed.

Are We Living in an Age of Poisoned Weather? 

According to Marc Moran of Climate Depot, a project of CFACT, who appeared on Panel 14 at the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change appropriately titled “Fresh Start”: “We are now living in what some call an age of Poisoned Weather.”  As a global warming denier, Moran knows first-hand how skeptics are smeared and discredited by climate change alarmists.  Moran further questioned whether this present era might be the end of constant and dependable electricity in our home, only to be replaced by a situation where the use of power will depend upon its availability?

A current project of CFACT, “Climate Hustle: The global warming shakedown”, is to be released in the fall.  This new documentary will be hosted by Marc Moran.

For those who dare call atmospheric CO2 a pollutant, shame of them.  CO2 is a non-toxic, non-irritating, and natural components of the atmosphere.  Higher atmospheric levels of CO2 increase agricultural yields.  It is not a pollutant, nor will it cause catastrophic global warming. Real pollution (smog, fly ash, etc.) can be cost-effectively controlled. CO2, declared a pollutant under the Clean Air Act by the EPA, constitutes a scam to diminish American economy and a way for crony businesses to make money on carbon trading and “green technology” crony businesses.  The scam additionally serves well as a means to redistribute wealth from those who create it to poor countries governed by criminal tyrants.

As related by G. Cornelis van Kooten, Ph. D., a ICCC-10 Panel 5 participant in speaking on “The Economic Consequences of Carbon Dioxide Regulation”: “The transfer of  millions of dollars to rich people in poor countries will inevitably end up in the pockets of the well-to-do or the elites.”  What is instead needed is the creation of wealth in these poor countries, beginning with the development of energy resources, for energy is the life blood of a nation.  It’s immoral to deny energy to the poor in the world.

Fiddling With Numbers Exaggerates the Severity of Climate Change

There are many social benefits of carbon, but they are meaningless if the tradeoffs between mitigation, adaptation, and damages are not similarly assessed. Such a process can be carried out directly by ascertaining what people are willing to pay for avoiding certain physical consequences. The present U.S. Administration strongly endorses the Interagency Working Group’s BCA (Benefit Cost Analysis) estimates.  As speaker Marlo Lewis, Jr., Ph. D. so succinctly stated as a member of Panel 4 in expounding upon his topic, “The Social Costs of Carbon Dioxide”. . . “by fiddling with the social cost of carbon, analysts can get almost any result they desire.” And why fiddle?  Agencies have an incentive to report climate change in the worst possible way, for by inflating the estimated social cost of carbon, the purported net benefits of their regulations can be increased.  Lewis noted these fiddling tricks that are employed:

  1. Ignore all the climate sensitivity literature.
  2. Use below market discount rates.  When discount rates are as low as 1% renewable energy appears to be more efficient, making renewables look like a bargain at any price.
  3. Simply ignore the benefits of CO2 fertilization.
  4. Assume that doomsday is not only more likely, but also more costly.

“The real damage is not climate change, but trying to change the climate”

Paul Driessen, in his Panel 5 discussion about “How Climate Change Prevention Schemes Impact Human Welfare”, noting how the temperature has barely budged in 18 years, reflected: “The real damage is not climate change, but trying to change the climate.”  According to Driessen, 1.3 billion world inhabitants still lack electricity — 320 million in India and 730 million in Africa.  Four million individuals die every year from lung and intestinal disease caused by using animal dung for cooking and heat. There is also no refrigeration for food.

In action that defies common and moral sense, the World Bank (OPEC) won’t provide funding in Africa to build energy producing facilities.  Why?  Because building energy facilities to provide electricity would result in more global warming.  Does this in any way constitute sound moral judgment?  It is notable that a self-professed atheist and scientific advisor to the Vatican, Hans Schellnhuber, appears to believe in a Mother Earth, the Gaia Principle. And what about 40% of the U.S. corn crop being used for fuel?  Not only has the cost of meat increased here in the U.S., but 412 million people could be fed with the corn being used to make ethanol. In regard to global warming, cold kills.  A modest warming of the planet would result in a net reduction of human morality from temperature-related events.

Panel 12 speaker, Canadian Tom Harris, bemoaned how Canada used to receive 25% of its electricity from coal. Now it’s down to zero percent. Thousands of gigantic onshore wind turbines are being constructed in Ontario, Canada, resulting in grave sites containing millions of birds and bats.  These 610 feet turbines, costing $250,000 each to build, require 30 years to realize a return on the original investment.

John Coleman, founder of the Weather Channel, likewise a speaker on Panel 12, further expounded on the use of wind turbines for energy.  Energy provided by wind turbines will cost the average American family $1,200 more a year.  If a carbon tax is implemented, the yearly cost of energy for the average American family will increase to $4,000.

Economic Implications of War on Fossil Fuel

Of the many noted and learned speakers at the ICCC-10, Jay Lehr, Ph.D., as a Panel 4 participant, had much to say about his topic, “The Future of Fossil Fuels,” which covered the economic implications of the war on fossil fuels.  Lehr, was direct, unapologetic, and passionate in his rhetoric, calling it insanity to limit the use of fossil fuels which only raises the cost of what we buy.  Cheap energy is the only way out of poverty and is needed in Africa and India to improve the standard of living.  Continuing, Lehr observed the following:

  • Nuclear, which has the biggest bang for the buck, is being made more expensive with a burden on safety. Although two nuclear plants are being built, one each in Georgia and South Carolina, most likely these new plants will end construction for the next 20 years.
  • Coal is a cheap source of energy.  As such coal is needed to fuel the poorest parts of the world and is needed, as well, in this country.  “If we can put men on the moon, we can burn coal cleanly.”
  • There is enough gas and oil to last 1000 years as shale is the most prolific rock on the planet.
  • Regarding bio fuels, it is ridiculous to burn food for fuel.
  • Wasteful spending of tax payer monies by Navy and Airforce going green.  Bio-fuel for ships costs $27.00 per gallon vs. $3.50 for regular fuel.  Bio-fuel for jets costs $454 per gallon as compared to $57.00 for regular fuel (This article relates to how President Obama is recruiting the Pentagon to advance his sweeping climate change agenda ranging from building clean energy projects at military installations to the use of expensive green fuels in planes.).
  • According to the U.S. Energy Administration, wind and solar can’t compete economically when subsidies end. Even with 2016 technologies:
  • New wind projects are nearly double the cost of conventional.
  • New solar projects are three to five times more expensive.

Other thoughts shared by Jay Lehr: 1) Get rid of all regulations — the earth is not warming as a result of anything man is doing;  2) Stop picking winners and losers as providers of energy, such as Solyndra, and allow the market to decide;  3) Keep drilling.  Russia is drilling in the Arctic, but this nation’s drilling is restricted; 4) Repeal cafe standards — the only way to increase mileage is to produce lighter cars which result in more fatalities.

Jay Lehr’s plan to phase out the EPA in a five-year plan was detailed in his July, 2014 Policy Brief for the Heartland Institute titled “Replacing the Environmental Protection Agency.” It was circulated widely and has been received positively by at least one influential Republican senator.

Overwhelming Social Benefits of CO2 

Following are the greatest benefits pertaining to those associated with the development of our modern technology-based society:

  • Unprecedented economic growth.
  • Higher standard of living.
  • Increased human life span.
  • One billion persons elevated out of poverty in the past 200 years.
  • Increased agricultural yields to combat hunger.

A booklet handed out at ICCC-10, “Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case” by Kathleen Hartnett White, produced by the Texas Public Policy Foundation www.TexasPolicy.com, notes how fossil fuel was a necessary ingredient of industrialization’s beginning and for its continued growth, having freed billions of human beings from poverty.  Since the Industrial Revolution life expectancy has tripled (a modest warming of the planet is good), while income per-capita has increased 22-fold.

Now consider renewable energy resources from wind, solar, and biomass as ways to replace fossil fuels that are falsely blamed for global warming.  Man can control access to and conversion of energy held in fossil fuels, but no machine or person can control when the wind blows or at what velocity, nor can man or machine control how much of the radiant heat of the sun will hit the earth on a given day or hour.  When considering renewable biomass like corn for ethanol, annual weather and the growing cycle control the timing and quality of harvest.

Heartland Has Last Word

Lastly, consider the below statements that are backed by sound scientific research, in contrast to the unproven global warming hypothesis of the U.N. (accepted as gospel by the Obama administration) obtained from flawed climate models and which portend that the sky is falling unless immediate global action is taken.

From Climate Change Reconsidered II:  Physical Science.  II:  Physical Science. Chicago, IL: The Heartland Institute:

  • “Global climate models are unable to make accurate projections of climate even 10 years ahead, let alone the 100-year period that has been adopted by policy planners. The output of such models should therefore not be used to guide public policy formulation.”
  • “Neither the rate nor the magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming (1979 – 2000) lay outside the range of normal natural variability, nor were they in any way unusual compared to earlier episodes in Earth’s climatic history.  If anything, solar forcing of temperature change is likely more important than is currently recognized.”

Articles by Thorner about the June 11-12 ICCC-10 conference in Washington, D.C.:

[Originally published at Illinois Review]

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Mark Mills: Shale 2.0

Somewhat Reasonable - June 30, 2015, 10:34 AM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, H. Sterling Burnett, managing editor of Environment & Climate News speaks with Mark Mills. Mills, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has a background in science and actively works in economics and technology. Mills and Burnett discuss his Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10) presentation: Shale 2.0.

He discusses why fossil fuels still dominate the energy market and will continue to dominate our energy future for decades to come. He also talks about how modest improvements in the efficient use of fossil fuels produce far more energy than dramatic gains in renewable technologies and why improving efficiency actually leads to more, not less energy use.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Aren’t We Yet Tired of the Feds Being Totally Wrong – Or Lying to Us?

Somewhat Reasonable - June 30, 2015, 10:27 AM

Gassy assertions by government officials are, of course, a given. Very few groups of people are more wrong, more consistently – yet with more confidence – than the people who lord over us.

There are only two possible explanations. They are either really, really ill informed and naive. Or they know they’re wrong – and they are each respectively lying both of their faces off.

Let’s revisit just a few.

Obama Promises To Lower Health Insurance Premiums by $2,500 Per Year

Except:

Thank You, ObamaCare: Families Pay $3000 More for Insurance

And:

A Montage of Obama’s “If You Like Your (Health Care) Plan Keep It”

Except:

100 Million More Could Lose Insurance Under ObamaCare

And:

Obama and Hillary Blame Youtube Video for Benghazi Terrorist Attack as Coffins Arrive

Except:

Hillary Clinton: Source of the Benghazi Video Lie

The mis-assertions endlessly abound.

Obama’s Top 20 Presidential Lies

Five Lies That Have Shaped the Obama Presidency

Obama Administration Just Got Caught in a Massive Lie …

Officials Masked Severity Of (Chinese OPM) Hack

The Obama Administration’s Useful Lie About Iran Talks

And on, and on, and….

So on to the next set of…questionable assertions.

In February, the Barack Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – specifically, the Commission’s three unelected Democrat bureaucrats – fundamentally transformed how the government regulates the Internet.

These three unilaterally imposed 1934 landline telephone law – passed by Congress eighty-one years ago – onto a Web that didn’t even exist until roughly twenty years ago.

This is not just Network Neutrality – which is awful enough. And has already been twice previously imposed by the FCC – and twice unanimously rejected by the D.C. Circuit Court.

This is Net Neutrality – plus the full boat government-mandated-monopoly regime of massive amounts of regulations and lots and lots of taxes.

Leading the charge is FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler – previously seen being a two-time campaign cash bundler for President Obama. And look – he’s promising government restraint.

But fret not, the regulators tell us. They will wield just some – and not all – of their massive new powers. They will practice forbearance.

“(F)orbearance” refers to a special magic power that Congress gave the FCC…which gives the FCC the power to say “you know that specific provision of law that Congress passed? We decide it really doesn’t make sense for us to enforce it in some particular case, so we will forbear” (hence the term forbearance’) from enforcing it.

Because we all know how restrained government always is. There will be omni-directional, near-limitless powers and taxes to wield – but the wielders are promising they won’t wield them.

Except:

FCC Chairman ‘Will Not Let Up’ On Broadband Regulation

Doesn’t sound very forbearance-y to me.

The promises continue.

FCC Claims Dire Net Neutrality Predictions Are Unfounded

FCC’s Wheeler Says Net Neutrality Doesn’t Hurt Investment

Except:

(B)ecause it distorts the operator investment business decision, net neutrality has the potential to significantly discourage infrastructure investment.

Because massive new government intervention never increases the cost of doing business. Like ObamaCare didn’t increase the cost of doing business. Like all government intervention doesn’t increase the costs of doing business.

Federal regulation and intervention cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $1.88 trillion in 2014 in lost economic productivity and higher prices.

If U.S. federal regulation was a country, it would be the world’s 10th largest economy, ranking…ahead of India.

No big deal, they say.

Net Neutrality Starts with a Whimper

Really?

First FCC Net Neutrality Case Hits AT&T with $100 Million Fine

That’s a really expensive whimper.

See what the government did there? In the name of “protecting consumers,” they take for themselves a ton of money. From a company – that will of course have to pass that exorbitant cost on to their consumers. Not so much pro-consumer – as pro-government.

Does government move as fast as the private sector? Not so much.

FCC to Start Work on (Net Neutrality) Broadband Privacy in Fall

Which means the government imposed massive new regulations in February. Which they didn’t define before imposing them – and won’t define for at least half a year after.

Would you invest in a sector where the regulations are amorphous and undefined? And will be for an indeterminate amount of time going forward? And could change yet again, over and over, at any moment – if a bureaucrat decides to change his or her mind about forbearance?

Neither would I.

We’ll close with the broadest possible government Socialism.

FCC Chair: “Broadband Should Be Available To Everyone Everywhere”

Does that to you sound like a government looking to limit itself – as promised?

Not to me either.

[Originally published at Red State]

Categories: On the Blog

F. A. Hayek and Why Government Can’t Manage Society, Part II

Somewhat Reasonable - June 30, 2015, 10:16 AM

It is seventy years, now, since near the end of the Second World War Austrian economist, and much later Nobel Prize winner, Friedrich A. Hayek published his most famous article, “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” in September 1945, demonstrating why it is impossible for a system of socialist central planning to effectively manage a complex and ever-changing economy better than a functioning, competitive free market order.

All the necessary knowledge to comprehensively and successfully plan an entire society does not exist in any one place or in the mind of any one person or group of people. Instead, the knowledge of the world is dispersed and decentralized among all the minds of all the people in the world.

To effectively utilize it for all to benefit it is essential to rely upon the market and the competitive price system, through which everyone is able to communicate with each other for the minimal amount of information to coordinate their activities with all the others in society.

(See, “F. A. Hayek and Why Government Can’t Manage Society, Part I,” EpicTimes, June 22, 2015.)

Hayek’s Message About Prices Still Relevant in a Post-Socialist World

With the failure and implosion of Soviet-style socialist central planning, Hayek and other thinkers like him where shown to have been right. Socialist central planning is died, relegated, to use Marx’s phrase, to the “dustbin of history.”

The issues confronting societies, now, are not markets versus socialist planning. But the form that markets can take on, and in this setting the degree to which government should or can regulate and intervene into the workings of the market system. Influencing and moving markets in one direction compared to another through government regulatory and fiscal policies are a far cry, it is said, from the “old days” of those calling for and predicting the “end of capitalism.”

But a logical extension of Hayek’s argument against central planning is that any interferences with the price system or the autonomy of market participants to act on their own best judgment in their respective local circumstances of time and place must necessarily prevent the “knowledge problem” of economic coordination from being most effectively solved.

Prices, in other words, need to be able to tell the truth: What are the actual demands of market participants for various consumer goods and services, and what are the actual available supplies and alternative demands for the scarce means of production with which those desired consumer and other goods may be manufactured (what economists called the “opportunity costs” of the land, resources, labor and capital in their competing uses on the supply-side of the market)?

Interest Rate Manipulation Distorts Savings and Investment Decisions

Market rates of interest represent a critical network of prices. Hayek made his early reputation as a money and business cycle theorist in opposition to Keynes’ policy proposals for “activist” monetary and fiscal policy.

Hayek argued that market-based interest rates are essential for coordinating the decisions of income earners concerning how much of their income and wealth to divide between consumption and savings with the decisions of potential borrowers desiring to use the savings of others to undertaken time-consuming investment projects that will bring forth desired consumer goods at some point in the future.

Monetary central planners through the central banking system attempt to influence interest rates and the types and amounts of investment spending through increasing the quantity of money in the banking system. The artificially lowered interest rates reduce the cost of borrowing and raise the prospective profitability of possible investment projects that would not have seemed worth undertaking at a higher market-established rate of interest.

The increase in the money supply creates the illusion that there is more savings available to be borrowed to start, complete and sustain investment projects than there are actual real saved resources to do so.

Borrowers and investors are misinformed by an important market signal to use their special and localized knowledge of time and place in misdirected ways that are inconsistent and eventually unsustainable with the real amount and types of scarce resources with which to undertaken their investment projects, given people’s actual decisions to save portions of their income, and thus “free up” a certain amount of resources for future-oriented production.

Precisely because the multitudes of individuals participating in the social system of division of labor cannot know all the others with whom they are interdependent in the complex networks of supply and demand, and therefore directly know what others are planning to do with their income and resources, everyone is dependent on the truthfulness of the price system through which all those individuals coordinate their diverse decisions and actions.

By falsifying interest rates – the intertemporal prices connecting savings choices with investment decisions – governments and central banks potentially set in motion distortions and imbalances in the use of resources, capital and labor that manifest themselves in the form the booms and busts of the business cycle.

Government manipulation of prices, therefore, can be just as disruptive as the abolition of prices by political edict. Just as automobile traffic on the road system would be chaotic if the traffic lights were turned off, it can be equally disruptive and dangerous if red lights are turned to green when the perpendicular traffic at an intersect is simultaneously given a green light signal as well.

Minimum Wage Laws Cause Unemployment and Distort Resource Use

The same applies with the recent political push to raise the U.S. minimum wage law from its current level to $15 per hour or more. Critics of the minimum wage increase have rightly emphasized that doing so will potentially drive many marginal workers out of their existing jobs and prevent other jobs from ever materializing. Setting a minimum wage below which no worker may be legally employed runs the risk of pricing out of the market those unskilled or low-skilled workers who employers find contribute a value to their production activities less than what the government mandates they are to be paid.

None of us pays more for something than we think it to be worth. This applies no less to employers whose only means of paying those they employ are the revenues they earn from selling products and services to the buying public. For an enterpriser to remain in business, costs of production cannot persistently be above the revenues received from sales of goods and services to consumers. Labor costs are no less a determinant of profit or loss than other expenses of doing business.

But besides this, the manipulation of wage rates through minimum wage laws also influence and disrupt the use of scarce resources in comparison to their allocation in a purely market-determined network of wages for different types and skills of labor.

Minimum Wage Can Result in Capital Replacing Labor When Not Needed

A number of both advocates and critics of a minimum wage increase have pointed out that some businesses have suggested that raising labor costs in this manner may result in replacing some workers with capital.

Computer tablets at restaurant counters can replace waiters and waitresses in taking orders conveyed to the cooks and chefs in the kitchen (as has already been happening in some places). And in Japan they have even been experimenting with robots that bring food orders to the counter or the restaurant tables in place of human servers.

All of this may end up being a market-based “wave of the future” to the extent that an aging and retiring population makes certain types of labor more scarce and expensive to employ over time. The demands for labor and their rising cost of employment over many decades in the twentieth century was a major factor behind the reduction in domestic servants in middle class households and their replacement with laborsaving home appliances and conveniences to do everyday housework.

Another example is how the greater cost efficiencies of office and laptop computers resulted, over time, in the disappearance of large numbers of secretaries employed in the “typing pools” of many large and small businesses throughout the economy.

By artificially rising the price and therefore the cost of certain types of labor through minimum wage legislation, the price system for workers no longer is fully telling the truth about who is available for work and at what market-determined wages to assist producers and enterprisers on deciding what would be the most appropriate use and combinations of labor and capital given the real, underlying supply and demand conditions in the market.

Capital that would be more profitably and efficiently utilized in other sectors of the economy will be drawn into these labor-saving activities due to the government imposing this higher wage floor for labor. This may occur, as a consequence, years or decades before the market would have determined that this was the best use for scarce laborsaving capital resources, and in some cases when it might never have been profitably desirable to redirect capital into those uses at all, if not for the minimum law.

So by manipulating workers’ wages through minimum wage legislation, people will, again, potentially make misdirected decisions on how best to use their local knowledge of their own particular place and circumstances in the market because the price of hiring labor will not be telling the truth.

Government Regulations Prevent the Use of Personal Knowledge

This is no less the case with government production regulations and restrictions. In a dynamic market, individuals are constantly coming up with new ideas based on changing supply and demand situations that create the incentives and profit-oriented alertness to discover and imagine new possibilities about what products to produce and how to produce them.

In a world in which change seems to come swift and fast, flexibility and adaptability to such change are keys to business success in meeting and beating the competition in capturing consumer sales. Compare the market world of today with that of twenty or ten or even five years ago, and you see the technological discoveries and applications that have transformed everyday life in ways that we often forget to fully appreciate since they have already become so taken for granted.

It has been pointed out that in the U.S. the private sector spends about $2 trillion a year on compliance with government regulations, which in the Code of Federal Regulations take up over 175,000 pages of rules, commands, restrictions and prohibitions. Businessmen and those they employ must apply their knowledge and time to meet the demands of politicians and bureaucrats rather than utilizing them toward consumer-oriented production, innovation, and improvement in all that their enterprises do.

At the same time, these thousands of pages of regulations serve as straightjackets that limit and inhibit entrepreneurial ability to take advantage of the changing circumstances of time and place because any and all responses, changes and adjustments are confined within the existing permissible rules and regulations imposed on the marketplace by the heavy hand of government.

Of course, appreciating the full impact of this is impossible to completely know precisely because it is part of what Frederic Bastiat explained as the “unseen.” These are all those market activities and outcomes that never occur, or at least not in their entirety, because the regulatory structure prevents or modifies all the forms they would have taken on in a more free market institutional environment.

That we cannot fully see or know all of these “might-have-beens” if not for government regulation does not any the less change the fact that individuals in the marketplace are prevented or restricted in how best to use the knowledge that they only possess and which the government regulators can never know or appreciate in the same way each of the individuals in the market do in their respective places in the division of labor.

The More Complex the Society, the Less Government Can Do Successfully

Another way of saying all of this is that Hayek challenged the entire trend of collectivist thinking and policy advocacy – whether in the form of central planning or price and production interventionism – by emphasizing the limits on what man can successfully command and control in the social and economic order of things.

For decades the socialists and interventionists argued that the more complex the society the less it could be left to the unhampered workings of the market system. The more intricate the social order and people’s relationships in it, the more there needed to be a centralized political guiding hand to assure that it did not fall into chaos and disharmony.

Hayek turned this argument on its head. He insisted that the more complex the social and economic system the less any single or handful of human minds could comprehend, master or manipulate the relationships for better outcomes than when the market was left free.

If we wish to use all of that ever more complex “knowledge of the world” for the benefit of all, we must leave alone those who possess it in decentralized fragments, and who know best its use through their own actions and interactions in their corners of society. We need to allow all of that dispersed knowledge to be effectively coordinated in an increasingly global community of commerce, culture, and creativity through the mechanism of competitively formed market prices to give each the minimal amount of necessary information about all the others with whom they are interdependent so to integrate what each does with the actions of everyone else.

In “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” Hayek summarizes his argument:

“We must look at the price system as . . . a mechanism for communicating information if we want to understand its real function   . . . The most significant fact about this system is the economy of knowledge with which it operates, and how little the individual participants need to know in order to be able to take the right action . . .

“It is more than a metaphor to describe the price system as a kind of machinery for registering change, or a system of telecommunications which enables individual producers to watch the mere the movement of a few pointers, as an engineer might watch the hands of a few dials, in order to adjust their activities to change of which they may never know more than is reflected in the price movement.”

Hayek went on to refer to the “marvel” of all the complex knowledge and actions of multitudes of millions of people the price system successfully and constantly tends to coordinate even in the face of continual unanticipated and uncertain change.

Hayek said:

“I have deliberately used the word ‘marvel’ to shock the reader out of the complacency with which we often take the working of this mechanism for granted. I am convinced that if it were the result of deliberate human design, and if the people guided by the price change understood that their decisions have significance far beyond their immediate aim, this mechanism would have been acclaimed as one of the greatest triumphs of the human mind.”

Of course the competitive price system is not the creation or design of a grand council or benevolent king. Trade, competition and prices emerged “spontaneously” out of people searching for avenues and opportunities to improve their circumstances through discovered mutually advantageous exchange.

The Significance of Hayek’s Contribution to Human Knowledge

The fact that the market price system has emerged and evolved over centuries and not been created by the fanfare of a political command makes most people not even realize its importance, with it being taken for granted like language, or customs and manners, all of which makes society and social life possible but are also not the designs of political leaders.

Looking over the last seven decades since the appearance of Hayek’s “Use of Knowledge in Society,” we can now appreciate that in retrospect it represents one of the most important contributions to man’s understanding of how the world in which he lives and works is made possible without the guiding hand of government command.

And just how relevant his argument remains today in the face of political regulations and controls that prevent that “marvelous” price system from most effectively integrating and coordinating the actions of billions of people whose freedom to use their own bits of unique knowledge and knowhow is critical for the continuing advancement of mankind.

(The text is based on a talk given on a panel session devoted to “Friedrich Hayek as Defender of Liberty” at the Tenth Annual Moral Foundations of Capitalism Conference sponsored by the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism at Clemson University in South Carolina, May 29, 2015)

[Originally published at Epic Times]

Categories: On the Blog

FCC Changed “Can-Do” Internet Into “Can’t-Do” Internet

Somewhat Reasonable - June 30, 2015, 9:30 AM

A “can-do attitude” was the essence of the Internet for the last twenty years, making it a unique decentralized place of endless possibilities and opportunities.

No more, the FCC has changed the “can-do” Internet into a “can’t-do” Internet, by centralizing control via the imposition of unnecessary 1934 telephone utility regulation.

The FCC has enthroned itself as the ultimate gatekeeper of what’s possible and who has what opportunities on America’s Internet.

The FCC imagines it alone knows what’s best for the Internet, and that’s FCC Internet pessimism, not the Internet optimism that made the Internet what it is today.

It will take time and many predictable bad FCC decisions, for people to see the difference in the Internet ethos over time. When they do, they won’t like it.

In beginning to regulate the Internet like a 1934 telephone utility this month, a partisan FCC has self-imposed it’s bureaucratic “can’t-do attitude” on America’s Internet.

It now can tell Internet operators and innovators all of the things they no longer can do in operating and improving the Internet, and that huge fines await any Internet operator that dares doing so without first asking for permission from the FCC.

And the FCC also warns that it will be looking for more things that private sector Internet operators can’t do in the future.

Welcome to the FCC’s new centrally-controlled, can’t do, restricted Internet.

How did the original Internet that the public came to know and love, get changed?

A little history and perspective is helpful here.

The de-centralized Internet freedoms people have appreciated and benefited from over the last twenty years began in April of 1995.

That’s when President Clinton, with strong bipartisan backing in Congress, had the U.S. Government finally turn operations of the Internet over to the private sector, effectively ending the government’s ban on commercial activity on the Internet.

At core this bipartisan vision, consensus and wisdom was to decentralize operation and use of the Internet by handing it off to the private sector, competitive market forces, and individual innovation.

In parallel, Congress was in the process of finalizing the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which similarly embraced a vision of decentralizing communications by ending a failing monopoly communications policy and adopting a new communications policy of promoting competition and market innovation.

These two strongly bipartisan decisions to decentralize communications created the greatest deregulatory success story in history.

The Internet grew from a few American Internet users to roughly 280 million today and to three billion users worldwide.

Private sector competition, commercial incentives, and the freedom to innovate have led to an amazing thousand-fold increase in Internet speeds for the American Internet consumer.

And everyone appreciates the phenomenal amount of choice and diversity of Internet content, products and services that the bipartisan “hands-off-the-Internet” policy created.

However, as the old adage says, no good deed goes unpunished.

Fast forward to 2015, almost twenty years later to the month, the FCC implemented President Obama’s call for the “strongest possible” Title II utility regulation of the Internet, effectively imposing the most onerous, antiquated economic regulation available, on the most modern part of the economy.

The FCC has reversed the de-centralization of a private sector competitive Internet, by appointing itself the ultimate, centralized Internet “decider” for Internet operations.

In a nutshell, how has the FCC changed America’s Internet?

It unilaterally changed America’s wildly-successful and optimistic, “hands-off-the-Internet” policy to a more pessimistic, Government “hands-on-the-Internet” policy — over the strong objection of a majority of Congress.

It changed the bipartisan, “ClintonNet,” private sector vision of the Internet, to a partisan, “ObamaNet,” government-controlled vision of the Internet.

It changed decentralized Internet decision-making, to centralized Internet decision making by the FCC.

That’s how the FCC changed the “can-do” Internet into a “can’t-do” Internet.

[Originally published at the Daily Caller]

Categories: On the Blog

Colorado Supreme Courts Rules Douglas County School Choice Program Unconstitutional

Somewhat Reasonable - June 30, 2015, 7:07 AM

On Monday, June 29th the Colorado Supreme Court struck down the Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program as unconstitutional, preventing 500 students from having the chance to get out of failing and under-performing schools.  The ruling was based on the majority finding of “unconditional aid to religious institutions”.

Pam Benigno, director of the Education Policy Center stated, “This decision is difficult to swallow, especially for students who are struggling in their current school to reach their full potential … Families deserve access to more educational options.”

Colorado is one of 38 states that have a Blaine Amendment in their constitution. These amendments were mostly added during the late 1800s and were anti-Catholic in nature. Due to the large Catholic immigration influx many wanted to prevent any public monies from funding any parochial school.

The Education Policy Center, which was instrumental in the scholarship program, reports that is considering appealing this ruling to the US Supreme Court due to the state’s Blaine Amendment.

Read the actual ruling here
Watch the arguments made before the Colorado Supreme Court here.
More information on the Douglas County Choice Scholarship Program can be found here.

Categories: On the Blog

U.N. Taps ‘The Sundance Kid’ As Its Latest Celebrity ‘Climate Change’ Endorser

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 8:51 PM

The U.N.’s standard for celebrity endorsements for the “climate change” agenda appears to have shriveled rather rapidly in recent days.

Last week, the U.N.’s Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was raving over the Pope’s backing, sort of, of the agency’s global warming hypothesis.

 

Another day, another celebrity endorser for global warming.

(Sadly, the carbon trading scheme favored by progressives didn’t merit the approval of his Holiness, which basically negates the whole command and control economic planning thing.)

The fact that the Pope , moreover, did not even attend the Vatican presser on his environmental encyclical, leaving those dreary duties to an atheist German physicist and a few of his chums from The Curia and The Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Social Sciences did not attract the attention of the media, so enthused were they by the chance to employ his visage to bash the Koch Brothers and their coterie.

Now that Pope Francis is fading from the headlines, the U.N. is trotting out another global celebrity, though one less consequential than the Roman Pontiff. Yes, the Sundance Kid, Robert Redford himself, appeared at the U.N. with Secretary General Moon on Monday  to urge delegates to vote this fall in Paris at the COP 21 talks for a strong climate change treaty.

“This is it – this is our only life source,” said Redford, now 78 years-old. “Save the world before it is too late. ”

Clearly, Redford is no Pope Francis, and many who need celebrity guidance to make up their minds on “scientific issues” like climate change, are probably waiting for him to deliver long-time pal Barbra Streisand to increase the star wattage to a suitable level here. Of course, if she’s not available, there’s always Al Gore. He may never be POTUS – but, he is, as the Italians say, “papabile,” or worthy of being made Pope, for his altrustic work on the environment, right?

Categories: On the Blog

Supreme Court Rules Against EPA on Clean Air Act

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 4:57 PM

The Supreme Court dispensed with a series of industry-crippling environmental regulations today, ruling against the Environmental Protection Agency over its interpretation of the Clean Air Act.

In Michigan v. EPA, the Supreme Court determined that the EPA over-stepped its own core mission after it decided to use the Clean Air Act to regulate the levels of mercury, arsenic and other poisons chemicals emitted by conventional power plants, without considering the burden placed on existing industry. The EPA’s interpretation created a huge cost for both the power plants themselves and individual states; the court determined that the action was not “appropriate and necessary,” within the boundaries of the Act.

In a loss for the Obama administration, the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA unreasonably interpreted the Clean Air Act when it decided to set limits on the emissions of toxic pollutants from power plants without first considering the costs of the industry to do so.

The ruling was 5-4, with Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority. Justice Elena Kagan wrote the dissent for the four liberal justices.

Bill Schuette, the attorney general for Michigan, the state named in the suit, cheered the ruling, as did several conservative voices.

“Today’s ruling is a victory for family budgets and job creation in Michigan,” Schuette said in a statement. “The court agreed that we can and must find a constructive balance in protecting the environment and continuing Michigan’s economic comeback.”

Earthjustice DC Senior Associate Attorney Neil Gormley, whose group that filed a brief in support of EPA, said the court’s ruling “doesn’t change EPA’s authority to protect the public from toxic air pollution.”

This won’t, of course, stop the EPA, which has shown, quite baldly, its willingness to pursue any measure necessary to put pressure on conventional power plants. The EPA has other measures at its disposal that accomplish a similar mission as their Clean Air Act “re-interpretation” might have, and green groups were quick to note that the Supreme Court did not destroy the Act itself, but merely placed a further burden in the EPA’s way.

On the other hand, the EPA will now be forced to consider whether their regulations are as cost-effective as they claim. This case involved 23 individual states, all of whom sued the EPA over its lack of research. According to documents filed in the case, the EPA estimated “health benefits” to amount to a $4 to $6 million cost savings, mostly in health care. In order to achieve that number, the EPA would require approximately $10 million in upgrades from conventional power plants, a cost which, the plaintiffs noted, would be passed along to consumers and to taxpayers. From now on, regulations of this sort should undergo a full return-on-investment analysis, at least, according to the Court.

All of this should have an impact on upcoming regulations, especially those governing air pollution and related emissions controls. Placing a financial test at the heart of environmental regulation means that the EPA will have to think more practically about how it can exact control.

Categories: On the Blog

Jay Lehr Talks About the Pope, Climate Change and Dissolving the EPA

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 4:27 PM

On June 23, Science Director Jay Lehr was a guest on Common Sense Conversations Talk Radio, aired on dozens of stations across the country. Lehr was on to talk about the pope, climate change, the EPA and bureaucratic abuses.

Lehr begins by talking about Pope Francis’ climate encyclical, a topic that has been grabbing headlines recently. The Heartland Institute recently sent a delegation of scientists and experts to the Vatican climate conference to provide balance to the U.N. narrative. While it seems like a non-issue to advocate for a cleaner environment, as Lehr explains, the prevailing “solutions” to climate change would result in harm for the world’s poor.  Lehr addresses this misconception.

Lehr and host Beth Ann also talk about the environmental regulations and the EPA overreach that only serves as a tax on the U.S. citizen. Lehr recently released a Policy Brief that outlined a plan to dissolve the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The full report can be seen here.

Listen to the whole interview above as Lehr explains the repercussions of over-regulation  and government control. Lehr expertly illustrates the problem and offers common sense solutions.

 

Categories: On the Blog

Pope’s Climate Alarmism Will Take a Deadly Toll On World’s Poor

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 3:17 PM

Editor’s Note: This piece was co-authored by H. Sterling Burnett.

Pope Francis’ highly anticipated papal encyclical “Laudato Si,” which means “Praised Be to You,” was released on June 18 by the Vatican, and the potential fallout from the pope’s assault on fossil fuels will devastate the world’s most impoverished people and cause untold unnecessary deaths.

The pope’s letter to the world’s Roman Catholics supports numerous questionable claims made by climate alarmists. “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. … A number of scientific studies indicate that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxides and others) released mainly as a result of human activity,” Francis wrote.

Francis is right, many studies say this. However, the pope ignored the fact that many other scientific studies show the present warming is not at all unusual historically and may be due primarily to natural causes.

The pope urges leaders across the world to do whatever is possible to prevent future human-caused warming. “[B]oth the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor [must be heard],” wrote Francis.

They’re not shouting what the pope thinks they’re shouting.

While Francis is not the first Pope to address climate change, his encyclical is the first of its kind. In contrast to previous cautious papal statements, Francis’ rhetoric echoes language normally espoused by environmental radicals such as Al Gore and anti-capitalists like Michael Moore, not the leader of the Catholic world.

Judging by the way many climate alarmists—including the pope—speak, you would think the world is on the verge of entering a Mad Max-like post-apocalyptic horror. Yet, the solutions suggested by the papacy and climate alarmists around the globe amount to nothing more than blindly throwing money—a whole lot of it—at a problem a cofounder of Greenpeace, Dr. Patrick Moore, says “the science isn’t settled on.”

What science is certain of, however, is when people are forced to use wood, dung, and other primitive forms of energy to heat homes, cook meals, and power medical facilities, people die. Electricity keeps the lights on, safely heats those suffering from extreme cold, powers ventilators, and makes quality surgical care possible. In short, power saves lives, and in many parts of the world electricity is still an unreliable luxury.

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, experts estimate 600 million people live without electricity, and the renewable energy programs climate alarmists such as President Barack Obama and the pope’s climate scientists say we should rely on are incapable of providing the resources needed to save millions of lives.

To address Africa’s deadly power problem, Obama announced the creation of the Power Africa program in 2013. Power Africa provides grants to African governments for energy projects, loan guarantees, insurance, trade promotion, budget advice, and a variety of other services. It’s exactly the sort of program Pope Francis advocates in his encyclical.

But because the Obama administration is committed to battling what it mistakenly believes to be humanity’s baneful effect on the world’s temperature, many of the power-related funding projects implemented, managed, or encouraged by Power Africa have to use renewable energy sources, which are far less efficient, incredibly unreliable, and often more costly than traditional fossil-fuel-powered energy.

In a study by the Center for Global Development, researchers Todd Moses and Benjamin Leo found investing $500 in renewable resources will pull a single person in the developing world out of poverty, but $500 invested in electricity powered by natural gas can lift roughly four people out of poverty.

If the pope is truly concerned about the state of poverty, one of the best ways to improve the lives of billions of impoverished people is to support fossil-fuel power sources.

“How do you keep the medicine cold in a country where you don’t have enough electricity to run a refrigerator?” said Isaac Orr, a research fellow for energy and environmental policy at The Heartland Institute. “The unreliable nature of renewable energy sources like wind and solar power means only temporary or sporadic power. People are dying because of these policies.”

And they’ll continue to die if the pope’s encyclical is used to formulate public policy.

[Originally published at TownHall]

Categories: On the Blog

The Link Between Climate and Poverty

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 3:09 PM

The climate alarmists are practically giddy over Pope Francis’ recently released “climate encyclical”—remember, these are, generally, the very same people who dis the church and its position on abortion, the origin of life on earth, and the definition of marriage. Even Al Gore, who admits he was “raised in the Southern Baptist tradition,” has declared he “could become a Catholic because of this Pope.”

Not surprisingly, Carl Pope, who served as executive director of the Sierra Club for 36 years, chimed in. He penned a piece published on June 22 in EcoWatch in which he bashes “American conservatism” and positions the papal publication as being responsible for a “new dynamism” that he claims is “palpable.”

“It is more a gale than a fresh breeze,” Pope exclaimed, “when the most ground-breaking pope since John XXIII links poverty and climate.” In his post titled “How Pope Francis’s Climate Encyclical is Disrupting American Politics,” Pope pronounces: “Something fundamental is shifting this summer in political and cultural attitudes around the climate.”

The former Sierra Club director then goes into a litany of news stories to support his position. Included in his list: the recent agreement from the “world’s major industrialized nations” to “Phase Out Fossil Fuels by 2100”—which is more rhetoric than reality.

In his claim of colliding “new realities and social change forces,” Pope never mentions the polling indicating that after the most extensive and expensive global propaganda campaign, fewer people are worried about a warming planet than were 25 years ago. Nor does he acknowledge that, according to Harvard Political Review, the vast majority of Americans—even those who agree that “global warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities such as power plants”—are still “unsupportive of government measures to prevent climate change that might harm the economy.”

And “harm the economy” it does—which is why, despite the G7 non-binding “agreement,” many European counties are returning to fossil fuels and retreating from renewables—led by German capacity payments to keep coal-fueled power plants open.

On June 19, in PV Magazine, Stelios Psomas, policy advisor at the Hellenic Association of Photovoltaic Companies, laments Greece’s “policy U-turn towards lignite.” Psomas said: “All [the new government] is concerned with is how to promote power generation from fossil fuels e.g. new lignite power stations, new gas pipes and exploratory drilling for oil. So far, it has shown no interest at all for renewables energy.”

In May, Greece’s Production Reconstruction, Environment and Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, sent a letter to the European Commission “requesting permission to reactivate and prolong the life of Ptolemaida 3”—an “old technology” coal plant. Among his arguments, Lafazanis cited “the country’s ongoing recession, which has prompted the need to maintain household heating costs as low as possible.” Greece is also due to start construction any day on Ptolemaida 5, a new lignite-fired power station in Northern Greece.

Greece’s return to coal is due, according to Lafazanis, to the intermittency of renewable power, which endangers the country’s “energy security,” and to economic concerns. The Greek photovoltaic industry is “now preparing for the worst.”

Similarly, Poland is also seeking exemptions from “the European Union’s rules on reducing carbon emissions because the nation’s energy security and economic development depends on coal,” BloombergBusiness reports. Poland has previously received concessions from the EU climate policy. The new governing party, Law & Justice, is planning a strategy for the economy that “rejects the dogma of de-carbonization.” In Carbon-Pulse.com, Ben Garside predicts: “it may become more tempting for Polish governments to try to opt out of the [climate] laws altogether.”

Following elections in the United Kingdom that gave the conservative Tories a decisive majority, Britain’s energy policies are changing. While, so far, claiming to stick to its carbon targets, the new government will focus on minimizing costs.

In an editorial prior to the elections, The Guardian framed the party differences this way: “The Tories have cast off their green disguise. They will end subsidies for onshore wind power and rely on the market to bring down prices, they are enthusiastic about fracking and they want to build more roads. … The Greens, of course, remain committed to creating a zero-carbon economy, even if that is at the cost of economic growth.”

As predicted, the new Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, announced, an end to onshore wind subsidies, which “will save hundreds of millions of pounds.” She acknowledged that ending the “subsidy scheme” meant about 250 projects, totaling about 2,500 turbines, are now “unlikely to be built.”

The change in the government’s attitude toward wind energy, which was part of the Conservatives Manifesto, is likely the first of many to come in the weeks ahead. The Manifesto pledges to:

  • Keep energy bills as low as possible;
  • Halt the spread of onshore windfarms;
  • Back a significant expansion in new nuclear;
  • Continue to support development of North Sea oil and gas and the safe development of shale gas; and
  • Not support additional distorting and expensive power sector targets.

In The Telegraph, columnist Fraser Nelson reports that, after taking stock of what has been learned in the past five years, Rudd intends to take the summer to come up with “a proper Tory plan”—which, like the wind subsidy decision, is expected to follow the Manifesto and keep energy bills as low as possible.

Once again, economics are an important factor. Nelson states the following as a problem with climate-driven energy policy: “the fact that at least 15,000 British pensioners die of the cold each winter. It’s a staggering death toll, which has been greeted with a shrug for far too long. But this, too, is ending. The notion of ‘fuel poverty’ is being more widely recognized—and green subsidy is compounding the problem.”

In Germany, Greece, Poland and the UK, fossil fuel has reemerged. However, in Ethiopia, according to Pope, they are willing to reduce projected 2030 carbon pollution by 64 percent. The caveat? “If climate finance is made available.”

Yes, there is a “link” between poverty and climate. The green energy favored by the Pope, Carl Pope, and other climate alarmists threatens energy security, harms the economy, and creates fuel poverty that kills thousands of people each year.

Categories: On the Blog

Heartland Daily Podcast – Jessica Sena: Effects of Drilling “Setback” Regulations

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 2:50 PM

In today’s edition of The Heartland Institute Daily Podcast, Research Fellow Isaac Orr speaks with Jessica Sena. Sena is the communications director at the Montana Petroleum Association. Jessica Sena and Isaac Orr discuss the impact drilling setback regulations and more.

Anti-fracking activists have begun to focus their efforts at the local government level to prevent the spread of fracking. These efforts manifest themselves in a variety of ways, from referendums on banning fracking altogether, or other movements that seek to give municipalities more “local control” to enforce setbacks on drilling activity. These setbacks restrict drilling within a specified distance of an occupied dwelling, a quarter mile for example.

While a quarter mile setback may sound reasonable to the average citizen, these setbacks would have profound negative consequences for energy development in the United States, especially in the wake of the landmark study released by the US EPA that concluded fracking does not lead to widespread or system impacts on drinking water, and that incidences of contamination are rare compared to the number of wells drilled.

[Subscribe to the Heartland Daily Podcast for free at this link.]

Categories: On the Blog

Who is Grading the Common Core Tests?

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 12:11 PM

Common Core aligned testing for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) has moved more heavily to the computer, and the question format is moving away from multiple choice in order to include more essays. This presents a grading issue the makers of the tests must solve.

Pearson, CCSS test implementer and textbook publisher, along with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), are working to resolve problems created by the evolving question format by hiring hundreds of people whom they train to grade the tests. According to a report in The New York Times:

“There was a onetime wedding planner, a retired medical technologist and a former Pearson saleswoman with a master’s degree in marital counseling. To get the job, like other scorers nationwide, they needed a four-year college degree with relevant coursework, but no teaching experience.”  [emphasis added]

Pearson Vice President Bob Sanders compares the training methods to those implemented by major corporations, such as McDonalds and Starbucks:

“McDonald’s has a process in place to make sure they put two patties on that Big Mac,” [Sanders] continued. “We do that exact same thing. We have processes to oversee our processes, and to make sure they are being followed.”

According to Diane Ravitch, a well know Common Core opponent, the quick fix is no fix at all:

“Most of the graders have never been teachers. We know that Pearson and other testing companies hire test graders from Craigslist and Kelly Temps. … So, if you want test scoring by readers who are paid by volume, who are not teachers, and who are trained like employees of McDonald’s and Starbucks, the results of Common Core testing should please you.” [emphasis added]

I agree with Ravitch on how the PARCC tests are being graded. The grading lends itself to much subjectivity in what is actually being learned. This is the same for CCSS itself. CCSS does more teaching of emotions and feelings, rather than those pesky things called “facts.” The CCSS tests are the direct result of these methodologies. It is no surprise inappropriate standards lead to a substandard curriculum and poor testing.

Categories: On the Blog

White House: Doctors Should Tell Patients About ‘Health Risks’ of Climate Change

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 11:01 AM

The White House last week held a summit with physicians, nurses, and other health care providers on the “public health” implications of climate change, and pressured the medical community to consider climate models in patient diagnoses.

“We need doctors, nurses, and citizens like all of you to get to work to raise awareness and organize people for real change,” said President Obama in remarks to the conference attendees.

The Surgeon General of the U.S. also attended the conference, and officials also stressed the need to “engage” medical students on global warming.

Long-term, this will minimize asthma outbreaks in vulnerable urban populations, the attendees were told.

Though not explicitly stated, the government does pay 50 percent of all medical bills through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. If the doctors don’t voluntarily comply, payment could be made contingent on patient education, so to speak.

New rules for physicians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: On the Blog

The Green Mirage – and Con Job

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 10:14 AM

Musk, Schmidt, Simons and billionaire buddies build empire based on climate and energy BS

Editor’s note: co-authored by Paul Driessen and Tom Tamarkin

Elon Musk and his fellow barons of Climate Crisis, Inc. recently got a huge boost from Pope Francis. Musk et al. say fossil fuels are causing unprecedented warming and weather disasters. The Pope agrees and says Catholics must “ask God for a positive outcome” to negotiations over another UN climate treaty.

It matters not that the predicted calamities are not happening. There has been no warming in 19 years, no category 3-5 hurricanes making US landfall for a record 9-1/2 years, indeed none of the over-hyped climate disasters occurring in the real world outside the alarmists’ windows. In fact, poor nations support the treaty mostly because it promises some $100 billion per year in adaptation, mitigation and compensation money from FRCs: Formerly Rich Countries that have shackled their own job creation, economic growth and living standards in the name of stabilizing Earth’s perpetually fluctuating climate.

Any money that is transferred will end up in the pockets of governing elites. Poor families will get little or no cash – and will be told their dreams of better lives must be limited to jobs and living standards that can be supported by solar panels on their huts and a few wind turbines near their villages.

Simply put, the Musk-Obama-Pope-Climate Crisis schemes will save humanity from exaggerated and fabricated climate disasters decades from now – by impoverishing billions and killing millions tomorrow.

For the catechism of climate cataclysm coalition, the essential thing is that we believe the hysterical assertions and computer models – and support endless renewable energy mandates and subsidies.

Musk and his Tesla and SolarCity companies have already pocketed $4.9 billion in taxpayer-financed subsidies, and even long-elusive profitability has not ended the handouts. Now he claims a small “blue square” on a map represents the “very little” land required to “get rid of all fossil fuel electricity generation” in the USA and prevent a non-existent climate cataclysm. We just need rooftop solar panels linked to wall-mounted battery packs – a mere 160 million Tesla Powerwalls – to eliminate the need for all coal and natural gas electricity generation in the United States, he insists.

Hogwash (from pork barrel political pig farms). As a careful and extensive analysis demonstrates, even without considering the monumental electricity demand required to convert America’s vehicles to electric-battery versions, providing today’s baseload and peak demand electricity would require 29.3 billion one-square-meter solar panels. Assuming adequate yearlong daily sunlight, that’s 29,333 square kilometers of active solar panel surface area: 7.2 million acres – or nearly all of Maryland and Delaware!

The analysis is technical, beyond the ability of most voters, journalists, politicians and regulators to comprehend fully. Read it anyway, if only to understand the enormity of financing, raw materials, mining, manufacturing and electricity required to make and ship the panels (some 40 million per year), battery packs and inverters (to convert low-voltage solar electricity to 120 or 240 Volt alternating current).

We are clearly dealing with an unprecedented green mirage and con job. It will drive average retail electricity prices from the 8-9 cents per kilowatt-hour in coal and gas-reliant states, to the 15-17 cents per kWh in California, Connecticut and New York – or even the 36-40 cents in Germany and Denmark, where unsubsidized rates are 70-80 cents per kWh! The impact of such prices on people’s jobs, living standards, health and welfare would be devastating. But Musk and his “clean” energy friends ignore this.

Musk has a BS in physics – and obviously holds advanced BS degrees in lobbying and con-artistry about climate disasters and renewable energy solutions, mandated by government decrees and financed by endless billions in subsidies. He has made numerous personal visits to legislative offices in Sacramento and Washington, to promote more such schemes, and aligns his efforts with those of Eric Schmidt, Nat Simons, Tom Steyer, Al Gore and members of the Clean Tech Syndicate: eleven secretive families with total wealth of over $60 billion, who want to get even richer off taxpayers and consumers.

They assume (demand) that bogus climate cataclysms will continue to bring them billions in climate cash payouts from Washington and state capitals, along with more exemptions from endangered species and environmental cleanup laws and regulations that are applied with a vengeance to fossil fuel projects.

Google scientists finally admitted that existing and near-term renewable energy technologies simply do not work as advertised and cannot meet their political or climate promises. The technologies are all hat, no cattle. However, the Climate Crisis and Clean Tech industries are determined to push ahead – using our money, risking little of their own, and getting reimbursed by us when their investments turn sour.

Google and NRG now want a $539-million federal grant to bail them out of $1.6 billion in taxpayer loans for the bird-roasting Ivanpah concentrated solar power project in California, because it does not work and needs so much natural gas to keep its water hot that it doesn’t meet state renewable energy standards. Other Obama “greenbacks” energy “investments” have also drowned in red ink, leaving taxpayers to pay the tab: Solyndra, Abound Solar, Solar Trust, Ener1, Beacon Power, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Musk is nevertheless lobbying for SB-350, which would require that 50% of California’s electricity be produced via “renewable” sources, such as wind, solar, biofuels and politicians’ hot air. Meanwhile, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s family and corporate foundations give millions to alarmist climate scientists, the ultra-green Energy Foundation, and rabid anti-fracking groups like the World Wildlife Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC also gets millions from EPA, to promote the agency’s anti-fossil fuel agenda and place 33 of its employees on 21 EPA “advisory” committees.

Schmidt and Warren Buffett also support the secretive far-left Tides Foundation, which has given millions to groups opposed to coal and hydraulic fracturing, the Keystone XL and Sandpiper pipeline projects, and countless other job-creating hydrocarbon programs. Canadian researcher Cory Morningstar accurately describes Tides as a “magical, money-funneling machine of epic proportions.”

Billionaire Nat Simons and his Sea Change Foundation spend tens of millions annually promoting and lobbying for “renewable” energy policies, mandates and subsidies; investing in wind, solar and biofuel companies; supporting environmentalist pressure groups; and contributing to Democrat politicians who perpetuate the crony corporatist arrangements. Simons, his wife and various Vladimir Putin cronies (via Klein, Ltd. and the shadowy Bermuda Wakefield Quin law firm) are the only contributors to Sea Change.

We often rail against Third World corruption. Our American (and European) environmental corruption is simply more subtle and sophisticated. It is legalized deception and theft – a massive wealth transfer from poor and middle class consumers and taxpayers to billionaires who are raking in still more billions, thanks to brilliantly crafted alarmist campaigns. And let’s not forget Al Gore, Mike Mann, Tom Steyer, James Hansen and all the others who likewise profit immensely from these arrangements – and the constant vilification of scientists who question climate catastrophe mantras.

Pressure groups and governing elites used to argue that we are running out of oil and natural gas. That ploy no longer works. While fossil fuels may eventually prove finite, fracking has given us vast new supplies of petroleum – and huge coal, oil and gas deposits have been placed off limits by government decree. We have at least a century to develop alternative energy sources that actually work – that create real jobs, actual revenues, lower energy prices and true prosperity – without the mandates, subsidies, deception, fraud and corruption that are the hallmark of “green” energy schemes.

No wonder the “clean tech” crowd is financing anti-hydrocarbon and climate chaos campaigns. But despite the Pope’s belated rescue attempt, the pseudo-science of “dangerous manmade global warming” is slowly succumbing to climate reality. And any new UN climate treaty will founder once poor nations realize the promised hundreds of billions a year will not materialize.

Those still impoverished nations should not do what rich countries are doing now that they are rich. They should do what rich countries did to become rich.

___________

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

Tom Tamarkin is founder and CEO of USCL Corporation and of the fusion energy advocacy groups http://www.fusion4freedom.us  and http://www.fuelRfuture.com. He is widely credited with inventing the utility industry smart meter and holds granted and pending patents in the field.

Categories: On the Blog

Global Warming: A Theory that Predicts Nothing, Explains Everything

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 9:57 AM

Al Gore’s friends in the climate change debate use their “judgment” to make forecasts. Good scientists, however, use the scientific method for their work.

George Orwell more than 30 years ago, coined the term “doublethink” in his novel, 1984. “Doublethink” is still very much alive today in discussing and debating Climate Change.

From a featured slide at Hearthland Institute’s recent International Climate Change Conference 10:

  • Doublethink means holding two contradictory beliefs in mind simultaneously (cooling is warming) and accepting both as true.  We thereby become unaware of any discrepancy between true and false.
  • Doublethink mostly stems from total belief in an ideology as in any kind of ISM, like Communism.  The ISM holds the “truth”, as embedded in the language of climatism, the subject of a book by Steve Goreham, “The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism.”
  • Contrived language (C means CO2 can distort and corrupt our thinking, make us stupidly unaware of lies, and fail to question our leaders.  Control the language and you control the people, and hence the society — which is the route to dystopia.

Following are examples of doublethink that are inherent in the Climate Change lexicon:  The immediate intent is to deceive, but the ultimate aim is always to control (a featured slide at ICCC-10):

  • Carbon Dioxide is soot
  • Extremely likely is 95%
  • Climate is Weather
  • Denier is Liar
  • Skeptic is Septic
  • Social License is Green Approval
  • Mitigation is Prevention

The present time as a “pile of filth”?

Despite the doublethink inherent in climate change with its intent to deceive, such as when deniers are called liars, it is amazing that the American people ranked climate change dead last among eight other listed concerns in a recent Gallop poll .  But will public opinion change in lieu of the Vatican’s recently released encyclical by Pope Francis in which the pope blames climate change on human activity and subsequently refers to the present time as a “pile of filth”?

This brash terminology seems to fly in the face of history and reason and more of less redefines the best of all possible times as a living hell-hole.  Granted, many still live in squalor without electricity and even denied electricity, yet we live in luxury that even kings a few centuries ago could only dream about.  One only needs to look at the filth and squalor in which previous generations lived to know that most people in the past would have given anything to be born now.  How is it possible to promote fossil fuel as somehow evil, when it created and made possible the fantastic modern world we live in today?

Although it’s impossible to determine how the Pope’s encyclical will influence the attitude (concerns) of the American people over Climate Change, the Pope, performing much like a lobbyist, is urging prayers for passage of the UN Climate treaty, even telling his faithful “to ask God for a positive outcome” at the upcoming December Paris UN conference.

Heartland goes to Italy

In late April, the Heartland Institute sent a delegation to the Vatican “hoping to inform Pope Francis of the truth about climate science: There is no global warming crisis!”  Seven scientists and other experts gave speeches at a Heartland event held near the Vatican, raising doubts about various aspects of the scientific consensus on climate change, and further urging the pope not to take sides.

The conclusion reached by the Heartland delegation was that Pope Francis had already made up his mind on the question of global warming. A French doubter, Philippe de Larminat, after achieving a spot at the Pope’s climate summit, was told there were no spaces left for him. As de Larminat said, “They did not want to hear an off note.” Philippe de Larminat authored a book arguing that solar activity, not greenhouse gases, was driving global warming.

The U.N.’s role in climate change remains paramount as it continues to move full steam ahead with a major December international climate conference in Paris.  At the December climate conference 196 countries will meet to sign an agreement to be adopted that will take the form of a protocol — a legal instrument or “an agreed outcome with legal force”– that will be applicable to all parties, and which will reflect ambitious outcomes that will have a real impact on tackling climate change.

Any U.N. agreement would not be grounded in sound science.  Its established protocol would impose economic burdens greatly affecting living standards, not only on the American people, but on individuals whose nations are signed signatories to the protocol.  Most certainly a U.N adopted protocol would be a slap in the face of the many renowned scientists who gathered recently at the The Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-10) in Washington, D.C. on June 11 and 12, who are in agreement that CO2 is not a pollutant, nor does it cause global warming.  Fred Singer and Willie Soon, as noted in Article 2, predicted how a Little Ice Age could be on the horizon as a consequence of natural climate cycles and the influence of the sun on the climate, most certainly not CO2 induced!

Relevant questions not subject to review

The three questions noted below, although topics of discussion at the Heartland-sponsored ICCC-10 conference in Washington, D.C. on June 11 – 12, were not subject for review by the Pope. The questions were likewise ignored by the U.N. and others who believe and advocate that climate change is settled science caused by man and that the continued use of fossil fuels will result in horrendous, although unsubstantiated future calamities for Mother Earth.

1.  Is the rising concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere a net positive or net negative for plant life, animals, and human prosperity?

2.  What is the cost of restrictions on energy generation and consumption imposed by the Obama administration and the United Nations?

3.  It is moral to withhold affordable and reliable energy from the impoverished living in the United States and those in developing countries?

What happens if the global warming theory doesn’t fit the data?  Just change the data, as was done by NASA.

Having been documented and verified to be so, global atmospheric temperature had not risen since 1998 (18 years and four months to be exact), despite human carbon dioxide emissions over that period representing 25 percent of all emissions since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution some150 years ago. So it was in early 2013 that a number of scientific and public commentators began to suggest that the phenomena was merely a “pause,” a “slowdown,” and a “hiatus.”  After another analysis of the temperature data since 1998, and through “adjusting” (fudging data) the numbers, NASA reported magically that there was no plateau after all, that the warming actually continued.

Climate change as biggest environmental challenge of our time? Really!

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy remarked at a White House summit on climate change and health on Tuesday, June 23: “Climate change is not just the biggest environmental challenge of our time, it is the biggest public health challenge of our time.” Accordingly, President Obama has moved climate change to the top of his agenda, both domestically and internationally, for the rest of his term. Really!

Perhaps it would behoove the White House to read how Global Warming was described by Robert Tracinski in his “Federalist” article on June 8th: “The Theory that Predicts Nothing and Explains Everything.”

Articles about  the June 11-12 ICCC-10 conference in Washington, D.C.:

Heartland Institute Honors Sen. Inhofe for Challenging Climate Change Myths 

What if the Pope’s Encyclical Destroys Rather Than Save Humanity 

[Originally published at Illinois Review]

Categories: On the Blog

Widespread Wiretapping is “How Google Works”

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 9:28 AM

Google’s wiretapping is back in the news. The Guardian reportsGoogle [Chrome] eavesdropping tool installed on computers without permission.”

This is not an isolated incident. It is a part of a broader Google pattern of behavior.

What should be big news and scandalous here is that the company that has gathered the most Internet users in the world based upon public representations of being pro-privacy and open — is secretly engaged in widespread wiretapping.

Wiretapping is illegally intercepting and recording people’s communications without their knowledge or consent. In the U.S., wiretapping is a criminal offense punishable by a fine and up to five years in prison.

A.   Consider the evidence of Google’s widespread wiretapping.

1.   Google Street View WiFi Data Collection 2008-2011: A few thousand Google Street View vehicles were caught collecting unauthorized WiFi communications from tens of millions of homes in over thirty countries.

In fighting a Google Street View class action suit in the U.S., Google appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court that its unauthorized interception of home WiFi signals was not wiretapping, but Google lost it appeal. Thus Google illegally wiretapped millions of American’s WiFi communications.

2.   Gmail “Content One Box” 2011-present: Legal discovery in a Gmail privacy class action suit, Fread v. Google, uncovered a secret Google network device called “Content One Box” that enables Google to secretly intercept and wiretap, literally hundreds of millions of peoples’ emails over the last four years and counting.

The presiding Federal judge in this case, Judge Lucy Koh, ruled that Google’s scanning of Gmail exchanges to create personal advertising profiles constituted wiretapping. Specifically, Judge Koh ruled that Google’s reading of people’s email is not an “ordinary course of business” and that “accepting Google’s theory of implied consent… would eviscerate the[wiretap] rule against interception.”

This Google wiretapping was also a secret as Bloomberg’s Joel Rosenblatt reported in this courtroom exchange: There is “…a device Google has used to intercept e-mails called the “content one box.” Google determined that the device couldn’t extract information from e-mails that weren’t opened or deleted, or when they were accessed by phones or through Outlook, Rommel said. In 2010, Google moved the device from the storage end of e-mail services to the “delivery pipeline” to extract data before users receive the messages, Rommel said. “That’s the secret,” Rommel said. “It is factually inaccurate to say that the location and the timing of that interception is in the public record,” he said, referring to Google’s disclosures about its scanning. “There is not a single disclosure in the record that identifies, alerts, tells anybody that there is an interception occurring. It’s not there, it doesn’t exist.”

3.  Google Chrome Secret Wiretapping 2015: A Guardian article, “Google eavesdropping tool installed on computers without permission,” reported: “Privacy campaigners and open source developers are up in arms over the secret installing of Google software which is capable of listening in on conversations held in front of a computer.” See this Rick Falkvinge post for more detail.

Tellingly, this is not the first time Google Chrome’s wiretapping ability by design was uncovered. In 2014, Gizmodo reported that Google’s Chrome browser had a way for any website to listen to a website-visitor’s computer microphone, even after the user closed the website link.

4.   Google “Nest Aware” Wiretapping 2015: A separate Guardian article entitled, “Google’s new Nest Cam is always watching, if you let it into your home,” reportedWith Nest Aware, Google is also offering to record up to 30 days of video, with audio, to the cloud and do constant analysis of it.” The purchaser of the Nestcam service may approve of the Google audio recordings, but recorded visitors have not.

5.  Google Glass Wiretapping 2013-14: Since Google Glass was enabled with an always-on audio receiver to listen for the audio command “OK Google,” and since Glass could video and audio record one’s surroundings with a finger tap or a voice command, Google Glass could record people’s private conversations without their knowledge or consent.

Tellingly, CIO.com advised that Google Glass’ “Secret Video and Audio Recordings [are] a Legal Minefield for Employers.”

B.   What does this Google widespread wiretapping pattern tell us?

Now we know of five different Google services that have been, or are, all engaged in some form of audio interception/recording  without peoples’ knowledge or consent – e.g. Street View WiFi communications; Gmail communications; Chrome browser audio transmissions; Nestcam/Internet-of-Things-sensor communications; and Glass wearable communications – all of which upload the wiretapped communications to Google’s servers in the Google’s data centers for storage, analysis, and in the case of Gmail Content One Box, for advertising monetization.

C.   What questions need answering by law enforcement?

1.   Is Google Hangouts wiretapping?

If Google was willing to wiretap over a billion Gmail users and their email senders without their knowledge or meaningful consent, why wouldn’t Google have a Content One Boxcapability for Hangouts communications, i.e. messaging, voice and video calling and conferencing that are all integrated into Gmail?

Why wouldn’t those Hangouts audio communications bits transmit over the same fiber to which the Gmail Content One Box is connected — given how committed Google is to hyper-efficiency in everything computing, communications and storage.

Wouldn’t it would be out of character and contrary to Google’s best engineering practices for Google’s infrastructure to treat Gmail text bits differently from Hangouts audio or video bits – when they commingle everything else for maximal technical and economic efficiencies?

2.   Are Google’s free WiFi services, wireless broadband service “Fi,” and Google Fiber wiretapping?

If Google Street View systematically vacuumed up users’ WiFi communications for three years in over thirty countries without their knowledge or consent, and Google did the same for all email communications of roughly a billion Gmail users, why wouldn’t Google follow its established practice of pushing  the envelope on privacy, and feeding its ad-based business model by intercepting, recording and analyzing all Google WiFi, Fi and Fiber traffic — whether it be text, audio or video – in order subsidize the provision of these costly Google communications services?          

3.  Are Google Nest devices, Google Wearables, and Google’s Internet-of-Things-sensors – wiretapping?

Why wouldn’t Google design its dominant Android mobile operating system to enable Google to listen to the sounds around an Android Internet-of-Things sensor, like Google’s Chrome browser/operating system was designed to enable Google to listen into people’s computers?

Simply, there is no technological limit to Google wiretapping more broadly than it currently does, and there are great commercial advertising incentives for them to do it secretly as well.         

In short, widespread wiretapping is “How Google Works.”

Is anyone but Google listening?

[Originally published at Precursor Blog]

[More “How Google Works” series]

Categories: On the Blog

Twin peaks – Twin Lies

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 9:07 AM

Supposedly record-high temperature and carbon dioxide levels supposedly bring record chaos

Editor’s note: Article co-authored by Paul Driessen and Tom Tamarkin

A recent NOAA article is just what Doctor Doom ordered. It claims the 18-year “hiatus” in rising planetary temperatures isn’t really happening. (The “pause” followed a 20-year modest temperature increase, which followed a prolonged cooling period.) The article states:

Here we present an updated global surface temperature analysis that reveals that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC, especially in recent decades, and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. These results do not support the notion of a ‘slowdown’ in the increase of global surface temperature.”

Published in Science magazine to ensure extensive news coverage before critics could expose its flaws, the report was indeed featured prominently in the national print, television and electronic media.

It’s part of the twin peaks thesis: Peaking carbon dioxide levels will cause peaking temperatures, which will lead to catastrophic climate and weather. Unfortunately for alarmists, the chaos isn’t happening.

No category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States for a record 9-1/2 years. Tornadoes, droughts, polar bears, polar ice, sea levels and wildfires are all in line with (or improvements on) historic patterns and trends. The Sahel is green again, thanks to that extra CO2.  And the newly invented disasters they want to attribute to fossil fuel-driven climate change – allergies, asthma, ISIS and Boko Haram – don’t even pass the laugh test.

The NOAA report appears to have been another salvo in the White House’s attempt to regain the offensive, ahead of the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Climate Conference. However, a growing number of prominent analysts have uncovered serious biases, errors and questions in the report.

Climatologists Pat Michaels, Dick Lindzen, and Chip Knappenberger point out that the NOAA team adjusted sea-surface temperature (SST) data from buoys upward by 0.12 degrees Celsius, to make them “homogenous” with lengthier records from engine intake systems in ships. However, engine intake data are “clearly contaminated by heat conduction” from the ships, and the data were never intended for scientific use – whereas the global buoy network was designed for environmental monitoring.

So why not adjust the ship data downward, to “homogenize” them with buoy data, and account for the contamination? Perhaps because, as Georgia Tech climatologist Judith Curry observed, this latest NOAA analysis “will be regarded as politically useful for the Obama administration.” However, it will not be “particularly useful” for improving our understanding of what is happening in Earth’s climate system.

Dr. Curry and the previously mentioned scientists also note that the buoy network has covered an increasingly wide area over the past couple decades, collecting high quality data. So again, why did NOAA resort to shipboard data? The ARGO buoys and satellite network (both omitted in this new analysis) do not show a warming trend – whereas the NOAA methodology injects a clear warming trend.

Canadian economist and statistical expert Ross McKitrick also analyzed the NOAA approach. He concluded that it wipes out the global warming hiatus that eight other studies have found. Its adjustments to SST records for 1998-2000 had an especially large effect, he says. Dr. McKitrick also recaps the problems scientists have with trying to create consistent temperature records from the multiple measurement methods employed over the centuries.

Theologian, ethicist and climate analyst Calvin Beisner provides an excellent summary of all these and other critiques of the deceptive NOAA paper.

It is also important to note that, in reality, NOAA is quibbling about hundredths of a degree – essentially the margin of error. On that basis it rejects multiple studies that found planetary warming has stopped.

Britain’s Global Warming Policy Forum succinctly concludes: “This is a highly speculative and slight paper that produces a statistically marginal result by cherry-picking time intervals, resulting in a global temperature graph that is at odds with those produced by the UK Met Office and NASA,” as well as by other exhaustive data monitoring reports over the past four decades.

The vitally important bottom line is simple.

The central issue in this ongoing debate is not whether Planet Earth is warming. The issue is: How much is it warming? How much of the warming and other climate changes are due to mankind’s use of fossil fuels and emission of greenhouse gases – and how much are due to the same powerful natural forces that have driven climate and weather fluctuations throughout Earth and human history? And will any changes be short-term or long-term … and good, bad, neutral or catastrophic?

At this time, there is no scientific evidence – based on actual observations and measurements of temperatures and weather events – that humans are altering the climate to a significant or dangerous degree. Computer models, political statements and hypothetical cataclysms cannot and must not substitute for that absence of actual evidence, especially when the consequences would be so dire for so many. In fact, even the “record high” global average temperature of 2014 was concocted and a margin of error.

Simply put, the danger is not climate change – which will always be with us. The danger is energy restrictions imposed in the name of controlling Earth’s perpetually fickle climate.

Moreover, the IPCC’s top climate official says the UN’s unelected bureaucrats are undertaking “probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the [global capitalist] economic development model.” Another IPCC director says, “Climate policy has almost nothing to do anymore with environmental protection. The next world climate summit is actually an economy summit, during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

That summit could also give government officials and environmental activists the power to eliminate fossil fuels, control businesses and entire economies, and tell families what living standards they will be permitted to enjoy – with no accountability for the damage that will result from their actions.

For developed nations, surrendering to the climate crisis industry would result in fossil fuel restrictions that kill jobs, reduce living standards, health, welfare and life spans – and put ideologically driven government bureaucrats in control of everything people make, grow, ship, eat and do.

For poor countries, implementing policies to protect energy-deprived masses from computer-generated manmade climate disasters decades from now would perpetuate poverty and diseases that kill them tomorrow. Denying people their basic rights to have affordable, reliable energy, rise up out of poverty, and enjoy modern technologies and living standards would be immoral – a crime against humanity.

Countries, communities, companies and citizens need to challenge and resist these immoral, harmful, tyrannical, lethal and racist EPA, IPCC, UN and EU decrees. Otherwise, the steady technological, economic, health and human progress of the past 150 years will come to a painful, grinding halt – sacrificed in the name of an illusory and fabricated climate crisis.

________

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death, and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

Tom Tamarkin is founder and CEO of USCL Corporation and of the fusion energy advocacy groups http://www.fusion4freedom.us  and http://www.fuelRfuture.com. He is widely credited with inventing the utility industry smart meter and holds granted and pending patents in the field.

Categories: On the Blog

Green Energy Steals from the Biosphere

Somewhat Reasonable - June 29, 2015, 8:45 AM

Earth has only three significant sources of energy.

First is geothermal energy from Earth’s molten core and decaying radioactive minerals in Earth’s crust. This energy moves continents, powers volcanoes and its heat migrates towards the crust, warming the lithosphere and the deep oceans. It can be harvested successfully in favourable locations, and radioactive minerals can be extracted to provide large amounts of reliable heat for power generation.

Second is energy stored in combustible hydrocarbon minerals such as coal, oil, gas, tar sands and oil shale. These all store solar and geothermal energy collected eons ago and they are the primary energy sources supporting modern industrial societies and the vast populations dependent on them.

Third are radiation and gravitational energies from the Sun and Moon which are captured by the biosphere as heat, winds, tides, rain, rivers and in biomass such as forests, crops and animals. These are the natural “Green” energies that support all processes of life and still support a peasant existence for some peoples.

Green zealots believe that we can and should run modern societies exclusively on “Green” energies, and they have embarked on a war on hydrocarbons. They need to be told that their green energy favourites are just stealing from the biosphere – they are not as green as they claim.

The most obvious example is the ethanol industry which takes food crops like corn, sugar and palm oil and uses a lot of hydrocarbon energy to convert them to ethanol alcohol which will burn in internal combustion engines, but has less energy density than petrol. This process is replacing natural grasslands and forests with artificial monocultures.

The latest stupid suggestion along these lines is to power the “wanna-be-green” US Pacific Fleet using Queensland food crops. Feeding ethanol to the engines of the US Navy would consume far more food than was used feeding hay and grain to the thousands of horses used to move our artillery and Light Horse Brigades in the Great War.

Biomass is a fancy name for plant material and vegetable trash which, if maintained in/on the soil, will provide the fertility for the next crop. To burn it reduces the humus that maintains fertile soil. The ultimate biomass stupidity is to harvest American forests, pelletise them, dry them and ship them across the Atlantic (all using hydrocarbon fuels) to burn in a UK power station. Burning biomass produces the same emission gases as coal.

Most plants will not grow without energy from the sun. Solar arrays steal energy directly from the biosphere. Some incoming solar energy is reflected to space by the panels, some is converted to waste heat on the panels, and some is converted to electricity – much of which ends up as waste heat. Solar radiation that could have given energy to growing plants is largely returned to the atmosphere as waste heat and much is then lost to space.

Some solar farms are built over land that is already desert – the rest create their own deserts in their shadow. Because solar energy is very dilute, very large areas of land must be shaded and sterilised by the panels in order to collect significant energy.

Solar radiation also evaporates water from the oceans and provides the energy for rain, winds and storms. Much of this moisture falls as useful rain when the winds penetrate land masses. Wind turbines create artificial obstacles to the wind, reducing its velocity and thus tending to create more rain near the coast and rain shadows behind the turbine walls. And they chop up many birds and bats. Again, green energy harms the biosphere.

Hydro power is one of the few green energy sources that is “grid ready” and can supply economical reliable energy. So, naturally, many greens are opposed to it. However, in most places there is competition for fresh water for domestic uses, irrigation, industry and environmental flow. Hydro power is just one more competitor for this valuable green resource.

So Green energy is not so green after all. It reduces the supply of food, water and energy available to all life on earth, and it often consumes large amounts of hydrocarbon energy for its manufacture, construction, maintenance and backup.

Green advocates are enemies of the poor. They want to burn their food, waste their water and deny them access to cheap reliable energy.

Hydrocarbon fuels are the true green energy sources. They disturb less land per unit of energy produced, do not murder wildlife and their combustion produces new supplies of water and carbon dioxide for the atmosphere. More carbon dioxide and water in the atmosphere enables plants to grow faster, bigger and more able to cope with heat or drought.

It was coal, and later oil, which created and still largely supports the populations, prosperity and industry of developed nations. With a backdrop of freedom under the law, they can do the same for the whole world.

Those professing concern for the poor need to realise that Green Energy steals from the biosphere and that hydrocarbons are the real friends of the poor.

Finally, those who have swallowed the carbon dioxide scare should be told that nuclear energy is the most reliable and least damaging “low carbon” option.

Categories: On the Blog
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