Voters Reject the Green Political Agenda by Alan Caruba

What the midterm voters wanted was an economy that returned to its average 3.3% annual growth since the end of World War II. For six years of the Obama presidency, growth has all but disappeared. In 2013, as measured by the World Bank, it was barely 1.9% That translated into a lack of jobs, stagnant middle class income, and what Obama correctly called the Great Recession, but could not end.

Instead, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, he was still talking about “climate change” as the greatest threat to the nation and the world. For the voters, however, climate change wasn’t even on its list of priorities and with good reason, there is nothing anyone or any nation can or should do about the great forces of nature that determine what the Earth’s climate will be; starting with the Sun.

The day after the elections two major environmental organizations, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth (FOE), wrote to their members. Their message was similar and their conclusions were absurd.

“The election’s over and the planet lost,” wrote Erich Pica, FOE president. “The next Congress will be controlled by politicians elected with millions of dollars of the Koch brothers’ oil money—putting at risk the vital environmental protections we’ve fought so hard to achieve.” FOE has more than 2 million activists in 75 nations including the U.S.

What Pica does not mention in his letter is the estimated $85 million spent on six Senate races by what The Hill described as “the nation’s top environmental groups including the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and billionaire Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate…”

So the Koch brother’s money is evil, but environmental organizations’ money is okay?

As far as FOE’s Pica is concerned, “The truth is, President Obama hasn’t always done the right thing for the environment. He should have denied the Keystone Pipeline years ago, he should be rolling back unchecked fracking, and he should have taken stronger action on climate both at home and in international negotiations.”

FOE could care less about the thousands of jobs the Keystone pipeline would create, plus the revenue from refining the oil it would transport to the Gulf States. As for fracking, it is not “unchecked.” It has to be done within the context of safety and environmental laws. As for the climate, China and India are just two nations increasing the use of coal to generate the electrical power they need to stimulate industrialization and improve the lives of their citizens by bringing power where he has never been before.

Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, wrote that “Friends of Big Oil have taken control of the Senate” claiming they have “a 100-day action plan that reads like Big Oil’s wish list. Our opposition is about to have free reign to implement their anti-environment agenda. And approving the Keystone XL pipeline and destroying proposed environmental regulations top their list.”

Oh, really? If the polls and elections are any indicator, a lot of Americans want to see the pipeline construction. As for the “anti-environment agenda”, that too is pure fiction. What Americans oppose is the forced closure of electricity generation plants in the name of a global warming that is not happening. Or a climate change over which no government has any role or control.

To drive home his doom-and-gloom message, Brune added that “Rare species of wildlife already hanging by a threat will not survive this onslaught.” Consider the absurdity of the claim that a Republican controlled Congress will be responsible for species extinction. For good measure, Brune, like the FOE, mentioned the Koch brothers, labeling them “big polluters.” Since when is drilling for oil and providing it to a world that runs on it “pollution”? It’s not. It’s progress that benefits humanity.

Commenting on the elections, Dr. Jay Lehr, the Science Director of The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, characterized them as “the repudiation of the President’s policies” and the nation’s political pundits all agree. Dr. Lehr called for “a bill to require the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline which has bipartisan support and has passed every environmental test.”

Dr. Lehr called on Congress to “require the government to open up public lands to environmentally safe mineral and energy exploration as well as speed up approval of permits to drill and mine for resources on already approved lands. This will ensure our resource independence in both areas for centuries to come.”

High on my list of priorities was reflected by Dr. Lehr’s call for Congress “to take charge of the funding of the Environmental Protection Agency which has gone rogue in efforts to impede virtually all economic development in our nation, and eventually phase out the EPA, passing on its responsibilities to a committee of the whole of our fifty state environmental protection agencies.”

A November 6 article, “Climate change supporters suffer losses”, published in The Hill, reported that “Despite millions spent to make climate change a wedge issue during the midterms, environmentally friendly candidates didn’t fare well on Election Day.” Even so, the Sierra Club’s Brune was quoted saying, “Public support is solidly behind action to tackle the climate crisis. While we have lost friends in Congress, we are gaining them in the streets, as our movement grows stronger and broader.” NOT!

Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, echoed Brune’s empty boasts. “Whatever may have driven individual races, the American people want action on climate change.” NOT!

As far as the environment is concerned, it is way down on the list of the voter’s priorities and the change of leadership and control of Congress reflects that. The voters don’t want a lot of vapid, idiotic talk of climate change and other environmental fantasies. They want jobs. They want an economy that will provide them. They want a better future for themselves and their children. And whether they know it or not, they want a conservative approach to government.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Rhode Island Flooding not West Virginia’s Fault by Tom Harris and Bob Carter

It must have taken the patience of Job for West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to participate in Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s climate change tour of the Ocean State on October 10. Whitehouse promised Manchin that he would go to West Virginia to learn about the coal industry if Manchin would come to Rhode Island to view the supposed effects of global warming on sea-level.

It is important to put the concerns of the two senators in perspective.

On the one hand, Manchin is fighting for the survival of West Virginia’s coal sector, his state’s most important industry, the source of 95% of its electricity, and the foundation for thousands of jobs in dozens of communities. The state’s use of abundant, domestically mined coal gives West Virginia the 7th lowest electricity costs in America – at about one-half the price in California, New York, Rhode Island and several other states.

But West Virginia’s coal sector is under siege from increasingly damaging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules. Those rules have meant total coal production in West Virginia declined 9% between 2012 and 2013, a period during which 17% of the Mountain State’s coal mines closed, and coal employment decreased 6.4% for a loss of 3,457 jobs already. Even before the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan regulations, which Whitehouse promotes, come into force, the EPA and Obama Administration’s “war on coal” has already cost West Virginia billions of dollars.

Senator Manchin, in other words, is concerned about the immediate, real-world impacts of climate change regulations on real people, families and businesses in his state.

Senator Whitehouse has a different perspective and is apparently not concerned about the cost of EPA emission regulations. Rhode Island gets none of its electricity from coal, having chosen less-carbon-intensive natural gas as its preferred source of power.

As a result, the state has the 7th highest electricity prices in the continental United States. The impact of these high prices on hospitals, schools, churches, businesses and families is significant.

The White House, of course, shares Senator Whitehouse’s perspective. Neither seems worried that, under the EPA rules, electricity prices will “necessarily skyrocket,” as Obama put it when describing his energy plans as Democratic candidate for president in 2008.

Mr. Whitehouse is, however, worried about the hypothetical future impact of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power stations on “global temperatures.” He believes this will cause “dangerous” sea-level rise along Rhode Island’s coast. Mr. Whitehouse does not hide the fact that, because of these beliefs, he sees his mission as “more or less” to put the coal industry out of business.

If it were known with a high degree of probability that dangerous human-caused sea-level rise was right around the corner, then Mr. Manchin might have reason to sacrifice his constituents’ livelihoods to help save Rhode Islanders from being submerged. But this is not the case.

The September 2013 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change states: “Sea-level rise is not accelerating. The global average sea-level continues to increase at its long-term rate of 1–2 mm/year [0.04-0.08 inches/year] globally” – or four to eight inches over the next century.

As it happens, sea-level rise on the coast of Rhode Island is slightly faster than the global rate – about a tenth of an inch per year in Newport, for example – or ten inches over the next 100 years. Nonetheless, such a slow rate of rise is relatively easy to adapt to, and certainly not worth ruining West Virginia’s economy on the off-chance that it would make any difference to coastal conditions in Rhode Island.

Bear in mind that sea levels have already risen nearly 400 feet since the end of the last Pleistocene Era ice age some 12,000 years ago.

The conflict between the two senators arises because of Mr. Whitehouse’s outmoded belief that rapid CO2-driven global warming is occurring. This, he believes, will cause accelerated glacial melting, the ocean volume to expand, and global sea-level to rise quickly. That in turn would subject low-lying coastal areas of Rhode Island to increasingly intense peak-tide or storm-surge flooding.

Drastically reducing our CO2 emissions is necessary to avoid this looming crisis, he asserts.

However, every step in Whitehouse’s chain of reasoning is either wrong or misleading and based on computer models that falsely assume rising atmospheric CO2 levels will cause rapid global warming. In reality, no global (atmospheric) warming has occurred for the last 18 years, even though CO2 levels have risen 9% during this time.

Neither has there been significant ocean warming since at least 2003. As a consequence, the ocean is not expanding and cannot be causing extra sea-level rise. In fact, the global rate of sea-level rise has actually decreased over the last decade.

The only way the sort of sea-level rise feared by Mr. Whitehouse is possible is if massive quantities of the Antarctic and Greenland ice-caps melted. Not only did that not happen even during the two-degree warmer Holocene Optimum, five to nine thousands years ago, but both the Greenland and Antarctic ice fields have been expanding in recent years.

Moreover, rates of modern sea-level change are controlled by the volume of water in the ocean (which is dependant on worldwide volumes of land ice at any given time), by dynamic oceanographic features such as movements in major ocean currents, and by the uplift or subsidence of the solid earth beneath any measuring station. Humans control none of these factors.

Senator Whitehouse should recognize that Rhode Island’s coastal management problems are his own state’s responsibility, not those of West Virginians. As sea-level continues its natural slow rise along Rhode Island’s coast, flooding due to peak tides and storm surges will continue much as it has for the past century. The way to cope with any small increase in the magnitude of these events is to apply and strengthen current strategies that increase coastal resilience.

In his June 4, 2008 speech on winning the Democratic primaries, President Obama said, “If we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that, generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment …when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

Senator Whitehouse may still believe this pious dream. However, Senator Manchin must resist the nonsensical demand that West Virginians sacrifice their livelihoods and living standards in a vain and King Canute-like attempt to stop the seas from rising.

Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa-based International Climate Science Coalition. Bob Carter is former professor and head of the School of Earth Sciences at James Cook University in Australia.

Obama’s War on U.S. Energy By Alan Caruba

Keytone in Perspective

September 19th was an anniversary you did not read or hear about in the nation’s news media. It marked six years—2008—since the first permit application for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline was submitted to the federal government. Can you imagine how many jobs its construction would have created during a period of recovery from the 2008 financial crisis? President Obama is universally credited with delaying it.

Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, pointed out that World War II, the construction of the Hoover Dam, and the Lewis and Clark Expedition all took place in less time. In a September Forbes article, he noted that “Earlier this year a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 65 percent of Americans support building the pipeline, while only 22 percent oppose it. In Washington three-to-one margins are usually referred to as mandates.”

In contrast, in March 2013 the then-Interior Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, boasted “In just over four years, we have advanced 17 wind, solar, and geothermal projects on our public lands.” It is not these projects that Americans depend upon for energy. The opposite is a stark explanation why coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy remain the heart blood of the economy.

The Daily Caller reported in July that the “U.S. Bureau of Land Management is currently sitting on a backlog of 3,500 applications that need approval to move forward on drilling for oil and natural gas on federal land,” just part of Obama’s war on U.S. energy.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuels met 82% of U.S. energy demand in 2013.

Petroleum, primarily used for transportation, supplied 36% of the energy demand in 2013. Natural gas represented 27%. Coal represented 20% and generated almost 40% of all electricity. In the six years since Obama took office that is a loss of 10%!

The much ballyhooed “renewable sources” of energy, justified by the false claim that carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming or climate change, are a very small part of the nation’s power providers. Wind power represented 1.6% and solar power represented three-tenths of 1%! Hydropower supplied 2.6% making it the largest source of so-called renewable energy.

Politically, it has been Democrats advocating renewable sources and siding with the President’s delay of the oil pipeline and the Environmental Protection Agency’s assault on coal-fired plants to produce electricity. By contrast, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has been busy putting forth legislation to fix aspects of our energy problems and needs.

Some of the bills that were introduced included H.R. 2728: The Protecting State’s Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act; H.R. 3: The Northern Route Approval Act (regarding the keystone XL Pipeline; H.R. 1900: The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act; H.R. 2201: The North American Energy Infrastructure Act; and H.R. 6: The Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act, intended to expedite the export of liquefied natural gas to our allies around the world. The global market is growing at a colossal pace.

These bills will likely all die in the U.S. Senate, controlled by the Democratic Party. The Nov 4 midterm elections can change that if enough Republicans are elected to gain control.

It’s not just natural gas that is helping the economy improve. The Financial Times reported in late September that “The U.S. is overtaking Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of liquid petroleum, in a sign of how its booming oil production has reshaped the energy sector.” Why? “The U.S. industry has been transformed by the shale revolution, with advances in the techniques of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling enabling the exploitation of oilfields, particularly in Texas and North Dakota.”

The only places you won’t find oil drilling are on federally controlled lands. The same holds for coal and natural gas.

This is in keeping with a virtual war on U.S. energy waged from the White House. Consider what we have witnessed:

# Obama has refused to let the Keystone XL pipeline be built.

# Billions wasted on loans to renewable energy companies, many of which like Solyndra and Solar Trust of America went bankrupt.

# Obama made electric cars like the Chevy Volt part of his energy policy, providing subsidies but their high cost and low mileage capacity has resulted in few sales.

# Obama and the EPA advocated a cap-and-trade tax on greenhouse gas emissions when there has been no global warming for 19 years and carbon dioxide plays no role whatever in the Earth’s climate.

# The Obama administration terminating the construction of a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada despite nearly $15 billion already spent on this necessary repository.

These are just a few examples, but in the meantime, the U.S. still requires that a valuable food commodity, corn, be turned into ethanol, an automotive fuel additive, that (a) reduces the millage in every gallon and (b) increases its cost at the pump. As Seldon B. Graham, Jr., a longtime energy industry consultant and observer, notes that “Ethanol production peaked in 2011 at 6% of total oil demand.” Favoring replacing imported foreign oil with American oil, Graham says “Americans would have saved $64.7 billion on the oil price since 2009.”

Americans are afflicted by a President and his administration that for political and environmental reasons are costing them trillions in needless, senseless energy costs, loans and subsidies, and efforts to impose laws that have no basis whatever in science.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

EPA’s Rules On CO2 Emissions Will Kill The Economy

Regulation: In Washington, no good deed goes unpunished. So it’s no surprise that Obama regulators want to impose giant new costs on the Texas economy — the very state that has led the nation in job creation.

We’re referring to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new “Clean Power Plan” to reduce carbon emissions from electric power plants. These rules are estimated by the Heritage Foundation to cost the national economy some $2 trillion in lost GDP and 600,000 jobs through the next decade.

But a new study shows that some states are much bigger losers than others. Just eight — Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Oklahoma — will absorb almost as much of the carbon-reduction requirements as the other 42 states combined. Texas and Florida are responsible for one-quarter of the plan’s costs.

What’s curious is that all these are red states with Republican governors, and many are wondering why they get clobbered by the Obama regulatory hammer. “This law hits Texas much harder than any other state,” fumes Gov. Rick Perry. “We’re being punished for being economically successful and for providing energy for the rest of the nation.”

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily:

SideBear: Well, if can’t audit your political enemies (IRS) then you drown them with new rules and regulations.

RFK, Jr. wants me jailed … as a war criminal! by Paul Driessen

Perhaps he should serve time for eco-manslaughter and crimes against humanity?

The “people’s climate march” was notable for the amazing energy, economic and climate illiteracy displayed by the mostly young people parading along New York City streets September 21.

Their chants, rants and placards demanded that we stop climate change (that’s been ongoing throughout Earth and human history), eliminate fossil fuels (that supply 80% of the energy that makes their modern living standards possible), ban fracking (which is largely responsible for reducing the carbon dioxide emissions they blame for global warming that ended at least 18 years ago), and abolish capitalism!
Some of the absurdities can be enjoyed here and here. Among my personal favorites:

* Al Gore grinning for a photo op with NYC Mayor Bill DiBlasio and UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. This is same Al Gore who got a C and D in his two college science courses, told “Tonight Show” audiences that the Earth’s interior is “several million degrees” (the core is actually nine thousand deg F), and refuses to debate anyone on climate change or even take audience questions he has not preapproved.

* Actor Leonardo DiCaprio basking in the NYC limelight, releasing a series of movies claiming that climate change is immediate and dangerous, and marching with other people’s anti-tar sands and “100% for the planet” signs – after arriving in the Big Apple not via commercial jetliner and subway.

* Actor Mark Ruffalo denouncing Climate Depot director Marc Morano for daring to ask whether celebrities like Messrs. Gore and DiCaprio are appropriate spokesmen for “stop global warming” campaigns – considering how much they enjoy multiple mansions, global vacations, and private jets, yachts, SUVs, helicopters and limos. Questions like that are “off-limits,” Ruffalo declared. “That is a question you shouldn’t be asking here today, because that defies the spirit of what this is about,” he said. “Anyone who attacks Leonardo DiCaprio is either a coward or an ideologue.”

Wow! I wasn’t aware that asking inconvenient questions or pointing out inconvenient truths was improper – especially when posed to people who put themselves forward as paragons of virtue for leading campaigns that inevitably restrict access to energy, lower developed country living standards, and keep the Third World impoverished – while the leaders enjoy lifestyles that are many times more profligate, carbon-intensive and carbon dioxide-spewing than the average American or African citizen’s.

But surely the most surreal episode of the march was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. saying Morano and I and thousands like us should be jailed for expressing doubts about “dangerous manmade climate change.”

So RFK the younger wants to punish us for the “crimes” of exercising our First Amendment rights, demanding actual evidence to support alarmist assertions, saying people’s needs for reliable, affordable energy must be part of the conversation – and insisting that those needs take precedence over absurd claims that climate change is “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction,” posing “greater long-term consequences” than ISIL, terrorism or Ebola, as Secretary of State John Kerry insists.

Mr. Kennedy needs to read the Constitution, reflect on the once proud history of free speech and civil rights in the United States, and acknowledge the harm his policies are causing. He also needs to get his facts straight.

None of us says global warming or climate change “does not exist.” Global warming, global cooling, “climate disruption” and “wild weather” have been “real” since Earth began. What we challenge is alarmist assertions that human carbon dioxide emissions have replaced the powerful, complex natural forces that caused repeated ice ages, little ice ages, warm periods, droughts, storms and other fluctuations throughout history. We dispute claims that any climate changes will be dangerous, and are our fault.

We vigorously refute claims that CO2 is “pollution.” This is what we exhale. It’s the trace gas (0.04% of our atmosphere) that enables plants to grow, and makes all life on Earth possible.

We debunk talk of countless “disasters” that Climate Armageddonites – from President Obama on down – blame on fossil fuels and insist “are happening right now.” The planet hasn’t warmed for 18 years. The nearly nine years since Wilma in October 2005 is the longest period since 1900 (and maybe the US Civil War) without a category 3-5 hurricane hitting the United States. Floods, droughts and other events are all within historic patterns, as readers can see in my new report, Climate Hype Exposed – how pseudo-science is used to justify policies that hurt jobs, liberties and people.

Just as crazy, RFK Jr. made it clear that he and his wife will not give up their $5,000,000 Malibu home or “reduce the, uh, our quality of life in order to have a, uh, rational free market, in order to, um, stop the use of carbon and to divorce ourselves from a fuel that is destroying our planet.” But they, many of the NYC marchers and climate alarm leaders are surely doing all they can to reduce your quality of life.

The policies RFK & Comrades demand would raise the price of fossil fuel energy that powers our modern world, creates and preserves jobs, and improves, enhances and safeguards lives. In Europe, they’ve made energy so expensive that millions of pensioners and other poor families cannot afford to heat their homes properly – and thousands die needlessly from hypothermia every winter. We’re heading there, too.

They cause millions of deaths every year in developing countries – by preventing construction of state-of-the-art coal and gas-fired power plants, and depriving people of reliable, affordable energy. More than 2.5 billion people worldwide must still use wood, charcoal, coal and dung in open fires to heat and cook; well over a billion still do not have electricity, still do not enjoy its wondrous blessings.

As a result, millions die every year from lung diseases due to constantly breathing polluted smoke from cooking and heating fires, from intestinal diseases caused by spoiled food and tainted water, and from countless other diseases of energy deprivation and poverty. The vast majority are women and children.

My colleagues and I would gladly go on trial and even serve time for “treasonous” speech against the climate alarm establishment … and for “polluting” the atmosphere with plant-fertilizing, life-giving CO2.

But then we would insist that Mr. Kennedy and his comrades also be tried and sentenced: for eco-manslaughter and crimes against humanity, for the disease and death their policies cause and perpetuate.

The International Criminal Court might be the proper venue, just as RFK suggested for us. But perhaps the climate demagogues and anti-fossil fuel zealots should be tried – and serve their sentences – in countries that have suffered the most at their hands, for their war on women, children and the poor. Conditions in those Third World prisons are notoriously worse than in the zealots’ mansions, and in the comparatively posh modern jails and prisons found in most of the USA and Europe.

Alternatively, these true climate criminals could be sentenced to do community service, while living like the natives: in mud huts, breathing their air, drinking their water, being bitten by disease-infested insects, and having to walk miles to basic medical services when they inevitably contract malaria, pneumonia or dysentery. That could make alternative community service a death sentence – akin to what Mr. Kennedy and his self-righteous friends are imposing on so many unfortunate people.

It’s time to refocus. The world needs abundant, reliable, affordable energy, to create opportunity and prosperity, improve and save lives, and enable us to adapt to whatever climate changes might come. Misguided noise about climate change “deniers” and humans replacing natural forces in controlling Earth’s climate serve only to distract us from the critical job at hand.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death