Politics

Stop Unconstitutional Federal Spending

There has been much controversy over President Trump’s proposed budget and the revision of health care. Much of the proposed spending in Trump’s budget and previous budgets is not supported by the Constitution.

The 2016 federal budget, submitted by Barack Obama, was $4.147 trillion which was 21.5% of GDP and resulted in a deficit for the year of $503 billion. The total federal deficit is almost $20 trillion. Although the President submits or suggests budgets, it is the duty of Congress to appropriate the money. In my opinion, a large part of federal spending is unconstitutional.

The Constitution of the United States grants certain powers to Congress and Executive Branch. Over the years, Congress has greatly exceeded its Constitutional authority. Federal agencies have created thousands of regulations and spent trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money on things for which they had no authority to do so. These regulations have the force of law, but only Congress can make law. There is a movement to change the constitution with a balanced budget amendment. Such an amendment would be unnecessary if only Congress and the President would enforce the Constitution.

Below are the Constitutionally enumerated powers of Congress. Nowhere in this enumeration can I find the authority for the federal government to have Departments of Education, Labor, or Energy. I see no authority for the Environmental Protection Agency, nor the requirement that citizens buy health insurance. Some may also argue that our whole welfare and medical care systems are unconstitutional. And, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”

The principal authority of Congress is specified in Article I of the Constitution.

Article I, Section 8 : The powers of Congress:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; — And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Other Authority granted to Congress by the Constitution:

Article IV, Section 3, clause 2: “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.”

The 16th Amendment: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

See any justification for Departments of Education, Labor, Energy, or Environmental Protection Agency etc. there? Of course, strictly speaking, there is no justification for Social Security or Medicare either. “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” —James Madison (1792)

The 10th Amendment also limits the powers of Congress: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Heritage Foundation opines: Those who claim the Department of Education is Constitutional say that it promotes the general welfare of the United States, however, this phrase in the preamble of the Constitution does not grant or prohibit power to Congress, that is not its purpose. The preamble simply describes the Constitution and what the document itself was designed to do, and is not actually a binding decree of the Constitution.

The Department of Education was founded using the preamble as the basis for its Constitutionality, but due to what’s stated above, it is clear that it is not. Thomas Jefferson considered the federal government’s involvement in education to be unconstitutional. In 1862, James Buchanan warned that giving education to Congress would create a vast and irresponsible authority. Both he and Jefferson were right. (Source)

Another type of unconstitutional spending occurs when agencies make unauthorized payments. Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution says in part: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.” That provision was invoked in a lawsuit House of Representatives v. Burwell, which involved reimbursements the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had been paying to insurers to keep out-of-pocket costs artificially low for patients with incomes up to 250 percent of the federal poverty line. Congress refused to appropriate the funds for this scheme, but HHS reimbursed the insurers anyway, whereupon the House sued the Obama administration. The judge ruled that the payment of such reimbursements without congressional authorization “violates the Constitution.” (Source)

The essential idea of the Constitution is that the federal government has limited powers, as stated in the 10th Amendment. It’s time to return to the original meaning of the Constitution and downsize the federal government where it is politically possible to do so. Let each State decide how to handle its own business. States might be more circumspect and accountable to their citizens than is a far-off federal government. (Or, they might become California.)

I’m sure you can think of other instances where the federal government is spending taxpayer money on things not authorized by the Constitution.

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Dr. Roy Spencer takes on Al Gore

This is a reblog from Dr. Roy Spencer.

See the original post here.

An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy

August 19th, 2017

Al Gore has provided a target-rich environment of deceptions in his new movie.

After viewing Gore’s most recent movie, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, and after reading the book version of the movie, I was more than a little astounded. The new movie and book are chock-full of bad science, bad policy, and factual errors.

So, I was inspired to do something about it. I’d like to announce my new e-book, entitled An Inconvenient Deception: How Al Gore Distorts Climate Science and Energy Policy, now available on Amazon.com.

After reviewing some of Gore’s history in the environmental movement, I go through the movie, point by point.

One of Gore’s favorite tactics is to show something that happens naturally, then claim (or have you infer) that it is due to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions. As I discuss in the book, this is what he did in his first movie (An Inconvenient Truth), too.

For example, sea level rise. Gore is seen surveying flooded streets in Miami Beach.

That flooding is mostly a combination of (1) natural sea level rise (I show there has been no acceleration of sea level rise beyond what was already happening since the 1800s), and (2) satellite-measured sinking of the reclaimed swamps that have been built upon for over 100 years in Miami Beach.

In other words, Miami Beach was going to have to deal with the increasing flooding from their “king tides”, with or without carbon dioxide emissions.

Gore is also shown jumping across meltwater streams on the Greenland ice sheet. No mention is made that this happens naturally every year. Sure, 2012 was exceptional for its warmth and snow melt (which he mentioned), but then 2017 came along and did just the opposite with record snow accumulation, little melt, and the coldest temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere for a July.

The fact that receding glaciers in Alaska are revealing stumps from ancient forests that grew 1,000 to 2,000 years ago proves that climate varies naturally, and glaciers advance and recede without any help from humans.

So, why is your SUV suddenly being blamed when it happens today?

The list goes on and on.

Some of what Gore claims is just outright false. He says that wheat and corn yields in China are down by 5% in recent decades. Wrong. They have been steadily climbing, just like almost everywhere else in the world. Here’s the situation for all grain crops in China:

And that lack of rainfall in Syria that supposedly caused conflict and war? It didn’t happen. Poor farmers could no longer afford diesel fuel to pump groundwater because Assad tripled the price. Semi-arid Syria is no place to grow enough crops for a rapidly growing population, anyway.

I also address Gore’s views on alternative energy, mainly wind and solar. It is obvious that Gore does not consider government subsidies when he talks about the “cost” of renewable energy sometimes being cheaper than fossil fuels. Apparently, he hasn’t heard that the citizens pay the taxes that then support the alternative energy industries which Gore, Elon Musk and others financially benefit from. If and when renewable energy become cost-competitive, it won’t need politicians and pundits like Mr. Gore campaigning for it.

To counter what is in movie theaters now, I had to whip up this book in only 2 weeks, and I didn’t have a marching army of well-funded people like Gore has had. (Too bad he didn’t have someone doing fact-checking.) Despite my disadvantage, I think I present a powerful case that most of what he presents is, at the very least, very deceptive.

Wryheat comments:

I did buy and read Spencer’s book.  It’s about 81 Kindle pages long. Spencer succinctly debunks all of Gore’s claims with real evidence. Here is the table of contents:

Introduction Global Warming Background
Al Gore’s History in the Climate Debate
Not All Science is Created Equal
The Deceptions in An Inconvenient Truth (AIT)
Al Gore and Bill Nye’s Faked Science Experiment
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Warming Temperatures
Greenland Melting
Sea Level Rise and Street Flooding in Miami Storm Damage
Flooding of the 9/11 Memorial from Hurricane Sandy
Earthrise: The Big Blue Marble
Solar Power, Solar City, and Elon Musk
Pressure on India to use Solar Energy
Air Pollution in China
Typhoon Haiyan Hits the Philippines
Wildfires
Conflict in Syria and the Role of Drought
Crop Yields Are Increasing, Not Decreasing
Is the Atmosphere an Open Sewer for CO2?
The Bataclan Terrorist Attack in Paris
The Paris Climate Conference
Truth to Power
Final Comments

Trump, the National Climate Assessment report, and fake news

The New York Times recently obtained a draft of the up-coming National Climate Assessment report. NYT is worried that the Trump administration will suppress the report. However, according to scientists who worked on the report, it has been available online since last January. (See Daily Caller story) You can download the 545-page 3rd draft report here, but don’t bother.

Besides the “fake news” story in the New York Times, we have a “fake news” story from the Associated Press printed by the Arizona Daily Star. Within that story is this sentence: Contradicting Trump’s claims that climate change is a “hoax,” the draft report representing the consensus of 13 federal agencies concludes that the evidence global warming is being driven by human activities is “unambiguous.”

Definition of unambiguous: “Admitting of no doubt or misunderstanding; having only one meaning or interpretation and leading to only one conclusion.”

Because of that statement and this one: “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC, I downloaded the report to see just how unambiguous the evidence is. Here is what I found.

1) All their evidence consists of computer modeling. There is no physical evidence. That’s just like the previous National Climate Assessment report. They are, in essence, claiming that evidence of warming is evidence of the cause of warming.

2) On page 139, they discuss how they attribute causes:

Detection and attribution of climate change involves assessing the causes of observed changes in the climate system through systematic comparison of climate models and observations using various statistical methods. An attributable change refers to a change in which the relative contribution of causal factors has been evaluated along with an assignment of statistical confidence.

3) Beginning on page 144, they discuss “major uncertainties.” Oops, not so “unambiguous.”

The transient climate response (TCR) is defined as the global mean surface temperature change at the time of CO2 doubling in a 1%/year CO2 transient increase experiment. The TCR of the climate system to greenhouse gas increases remains uncertain, with ranges of 0.9° to 2.0°C (1.6° to 3.6°F) and 0.9° to 2.5°C (1.6° to 4.5°F) in two recent assessments. The climate system response to aerosol forcing (direct and indirect effects combined) remains highly uncertain, because although more of the relevant processes are being in included in models, confidence in these representations remains low. Therefore, there is considerable uncertainty in quantifying the attributable warming contributions of greenhouse gases and aerosols separately. There is uncertainty in the possible levels of internal climate variability, but current estimates likely  range of +/- 0.1°C, or 0.2°F, over 60 years) would have to be too low by more than a factor or two or three for the observed trend to be explainable by internal variability.

Does that sound like the evidence is unambiguous?

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” – Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

UPDATE: The material above refers to the third draft of the report. The fifth draft has just become available. One analyst noticed “that the latest draft climate report, published in June, had seemingly left out a rather embarrassing table from the Executive Summary, one that had previously been written into the Third Draft, published last December.” What has been omitted is the fact “that the hottest temperatures, (averaged over the US), were not only much, much higher in the 1930s. They were also higher during the 1920s. Indeed there have been many other years with higher temperatures than most of the recent ones.” (Source)

I would not call it a hoax as does President Trump; I’d call it a scam. The National Climate Assessment itself is fake news; a political, rather than a scientific document.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair.

Additional reading:

Alan Carlin, a former senior EPA analyst, says computer models fail because: The bottom-up GCM was a bad approach from the start and should never have been paid for by the taxpayers. All that we have are computer models that were designed and then tuned to lead to the IPCC’s desired answers and have had a difficult time even doing that.

So not only are the results claiming that global temperatures are largely determined by atmospheric CO2 wrong, but the basic methodology is useless. Climate is a coupled, non-linear chaotic system, and the IPCC agrees that this is the case. It cannot be usefully modeled by using necessarily limited models which assume the opposite. Read more

Dr. Tim Ball: Uncovered: decades-old government report showing climate data was bad, unfit for purpose. In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences, the research arm of the National Research Council, released a study expressing concern about the accuracy of the data used in the debate over climate change. They said there are,

“Deficiencies in the accuracy, quality and continuity of the records,” that “place serious limitations on the confidence that can be placed in the research results.”

See also:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists – where is the physical evidence

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

My comments on the previous National Climate Assessment:

https://wryheat.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/national-climate-assessment-lacks-physical-evidence/

 

Pima County Az tilting at climate change

In the novel “The Ingenious Nobleman Mister Quixote of La Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes, first published in 1605, the protagonist, Don Quixote, imagines that windmills are giants to be destroyed. Don Quixote attacks the windmills with his lance, an action called “tilting,” all to no avail. From this story comes the idiom “tilting at windmills” which means confrontations where adversaries are incorrectly perceived, or courses of action are based on misinterpreted or misapplied heroic, romantic, or idealistic justifications. We can add the motivation of political correctness to the Pima County, Arizona, plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Since President Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, Pima County Supervisors have approved their own version of the Paris Accord and pledge to reduce the County’s carbon dioxide emissions.

In a previous article, “Impact of Paris climate accord and why Trump was right to dump it” I show that if all countries fully comply with their promises under the Paris Accord, it would make a difference of only 0.17°C by the year 2100.

According to an article in the Arizona Daily Star, Pima County government will attempt to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by 42 percent from current levels by 2025, mainly by using more solar energy. The county government will attempt to get 40 percent of its electricity from very unreliable solar generation. The county will also buy 20 new electric-powered sedans for its vehicle fleet a year, at $30,000 to $40,000 apiece.

These electric vehicles are much more expensive than gasolene-powered versions of the same model. According to a new paper published in the journal Issues in Science and Technology entitled Electric Vehicles: Climate Saviors, Or Not?, driving an electric vehicle rather than a conventional petroleum-powered vehicle effectively does nothing to reduce global-scale CO2 emissions. The net carbon dioxide emissions depend greatly on how the electricity for recharge is generated.

The Star story also notes that the county government’s share of regional greenhouse gas emissions is minuscule. It generated less than 0.1 percent of all emissions produced in eastern Pima County in 2014.

In my opinion, Pima County’s action with regard to reducing carbon dioxide emissions is simply a quixotic exercise in political correctness that will have absolutely no effect on global temperature nor on Tucson temperature. The action also diverts taxpayer money from projects that would actually benefit county citizens, such as repairing roads.

“In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Third Assessment Report, IPCC.

See also:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists which asks: “What physical evidence supports the contention that carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the principal cause of global warming since 1970?” Expert climate scientists can’t cite any such evidence.

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Ozone, Asthma, and EPA Junk Science

On June 22, 2017, the Arizona Daily Star ran a story with the alarmist headline: “Tucson-area air quality the worst in five years.” The “worst in five years” thing is that on just five days during the past three months ground-level ozone measurements exceeded the EPA standard of 70ppb by a few parts per billion. “Ozone levels at Saguaro National Park-East that topped the 70 parts per billion federal standard: June 15 — 77 ppb, June 14 — 73 ppb, May 12 — 71 ppb, April 21 — 73 ppb, April 20 — 74 ppb.” The EPA claims that ozone causes asthma and other respiratory ailments, hence the strict standards. But, the EPA’s own data debunks the claim.

For many years, the EPA has been conducting experiments on the effects of ozone exposure. They placed volunteers in a closed room and subjected them to 300ppb and 400ppb ozone for two hours while they performed mild exercise. The 6,000 volunteers included children, the elderly, and even asthmatics. The EPA reports that “not a single adverse event.. [was] observed.” (Source)

There is also independent data showing that EPA ozone standards are bunk. For instance, there was “No association between air quality (PM2.5, ozone) and hospital admissions for asthma in University of California-Davis Health System during 2010-2012 (19,000+ cases). (Source)

According to the Institute for Energy Research, “average ozone concentrations nationwide dropped by 33 percent from 1980 to 2014. Since the incorporation of the 2008 standards, average ozone levels have declined by more than 9 percent, nationally.”

IER also reports: “According to an August 2015 report by NERA Economic Consulting, which analyzed the impacts of a 65 ppb standard (EPA ultimately went with a slightly higher 70 ppb standard), the total compliance costs could total $1.13 trillion from 2017 to 2040. The rule could also lead to annualized GDP declines of $140 billion as well as $840 in consumption losses for households.” (Source)

The EPA’s rules were endorsed by a panel of scientists required by law to review them, called the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). Both the Clean Air Act and the Federal Advisory Committee Act required that CASAC panels be independent and unbiased. So was the panel independent and/or unbiased? A report shows that members of the board received a total of $192 million worth of EPA grants. (Source)

Some background:

“Ground-level ozone is formed through a chemical reaction when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) interact with sunlight. Emissions from power plants, industrial facilities, automobiles, gasoline vapors and solvents are all sources of NOx and VOCs. Natural sources, such as plant life and fires, also contribute to the formation of ozone; today, given how much ozone levels in the United States have already been reduced, a significant portion of a given area’s ozone concentration is made up of natural background ozone and ozone that has traveled from other states and, increasingly, from overseas.” (Source, study by National Association of Manufacturers)

A measurement problem:

“While the EPA has long known that ozone measurements are significantly biased upward by mercury vapor, the agency has required States to use ultraviolet ozone monitors subject to mercury interference. These ozone monitors blow air between an ultraviolet (UV) lamp and a UV detector. Ozone strongly absorbs UV, so reductions in UV arriving at the detector are proportional to the ozone in the air. But mercury vapor and other contaminants in air also absorb UV, thus, artificially inflating the amount of ‘ozone’ that is measured. The bias can range from a few parts per billion to many more.” (Source)

Mercury occurs in soil in and around Tucson. It is possible that readings recorded by local instruments may be “biased upward” by the mercury contained in blowing dust. A study in Avra Valley, west of Tucson, found soil mercury values up to 750ppb. (Arizona Geological Survey, Open-File Report 81-5, 1981).

The AZ Star article expresses much concern over the County exceeding EPA standards. These standards are the current law, so they may have economic consequences for non-attainment. There is, however, no proof that exceeding these standards have any effect on health.

See also: EPA experiments on humans debunk their ozone and particulate matter health claims

Impact of Paris Climate Accord and why Trump was right to dump it

The much touted Paris Climate Accord aims at worldwide reduction of carbon dioxide emissions in order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. This goal is purely arbitrary and based not upon any physical evidence, but upon the unproven assumption that carbon dioxide emissions play a significant role in global warming. What the Paris Accord really does is to transfer trillions of dollars from industrialized countries, mainly the US, to the sticky-fingered United Nations and to developing nations. It has a very minimal effect on global warming.

Several studies estimate the actual effects of the Accord. The most recent is from Bjorn Lomborg, published in the peer-reviewed journal, Global Policy (read full paper). Here is the paper abstract:

This article investigates the temperature reduction impact of major climate policy proposals implemented by 2030, using the standard MAGICC climate model [developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, US, and University of Adelaide, Australia].

Even optimistically assuming that promised emission cuts are maintained throughout the century, the impacts are generally small.

The impact of the US Clean Power Plan (USCPP) is a reduction in temperature rise by 0.013°C by 2100.

The full US promise for the COP21 climate conference in Paris, its so-called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) will reduce temperature rise by 0.031°C.

The EU 20-20 policy has an impact of 0.026°C, the EU INDC 0.053°C, and China INDC 0.048°C.

All climate policies by the US, China, the EU and the rest of the world, implemented from the early 2000s to 2030 and sustained through the century will likely reduce global temperature rise about 0.17°C in 2100.

The estimated cost of this scam:

REPORT: $12.7 Trillion Needed To Meet Paris Climate Accord’s Goal

by Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller

A whopping $7.4 trillion will be spent globally on new green energy facilities in the coming decades, but another $5.3 trillion is needed to meet the goals of the Paris climate accord, according to a new report.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) is out with a new long-term energy outlook report, this time projecting a total of $12.7 trillion to keep projected global warming below 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century — a goal of the Paris accord. Read more

“The current focus on CO2 emissions reductions risks having a massively expensive global solution that is more damaging to societies than the problem of climate change.” – Dr. Judith Curry

But the Accord will harm poor people in developing countries:

While the plan’s costs may range as high as $1 trillion annually, none of it would have any meaningful impact on the roughly three billion people in the developing world who currently have no real access to energy.

Much of the developing world still burns dung as their chief means of cooking and heating. Realistically, the most effective means of saving their lives and improving living conditions would be to provide the steady electricity generation needed for water and sewage treatment as well as lighting and cooking.

The Paris Accord, in contrast, essentially ends any chance to help them. While natural gas and coal power plants could provide reliable, affordable electricity for these populations, the Accord aims to steadily reduce fossil fuel usage. Read more

Estimates of the Accord’s effectiveness in reducing global warming as stated above are based on analysis of surface temperatures. However, “For the past 38 years, satellites have continually tracked global temperatures. And what they’ve recorded in that time is a temperature increase averaging 0.136 degrees Celsius per decade. That means on its current trajectory the Earth could see a potential surface temperature increase of 1.36 degrees Celsius over the entire 21st century.

Noting the current warming trajectory, it appears that by simply doing nothing, the world could accomplish the main goal of the Accord.” (IBID.)

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Failure of climate models shows that carbon dioxide does not drive global temperature

An examination of the relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide

 

Trouble with squirrels in Los Angeles – a feminist, posthumanist view

I suspect than most readers missed a new study of squirrels in Los Angeles that was recently published in Gender, Place & Culture, A Journal of Feminist Geography. I was alerted to this paper by an article in American Thinker: “’Liberal studies’ professor writes that squirrels are victims of ‘racist’ media bias.” (Link) I was able to download and read the whole paper, but I now find that it is behind a paywall. You can, however, read the abstract (link).

The paper contains a smidgen of science, but it is basically a politically-correct rant about gender equality. The paper is filled with the vernacular of leftist academia and is actually quite amusing because of the academia-speak.

Paper title: When ‘Angelino’ squirrels don’t eat nuts: a feminist posthumanist politics of consumption across southern California

Author: Teresa Lloro-Bidart, liberal Studies department, california State Polytechnic university, Pomona, Pomona, Ca, USA

The Abstract:

Eastern fox squirrels (Sciurus niger), reddish-brown tree squirrels native to the eastern and southeastern United States, were introduced to and now thrive in suburban/urban California. As a result, many residents in the greater Los Angeles region are grappling with living amongst tree squirrels, particularly because the state’s native western gray squirrel (Sciurus griseus) is less tolerant of human beings and, as a result, has historically been absent from most sections of the greater Los Angeles area. ‘Easties,’ as they are colloquially referred to in the popular press, are willing to feed on trash and have an ‘appetite for everything.’ Given that the shift in tree squirrel demographics is a relatively recent phenomenon, this case presents a unique opportunity to question and re-theorize the ontological given of ‘otherness’ that manifests, in part, through a politics whereby animal food choices ‘[come] to stand in for both compliance and resistance to the dominant forces in [human] culture’. I, therefore, juxtapose feminist posthumanist theories and feminist food studies scholarship to demonstrate how eastern fox squirrels are subjected to gendered, racialized, and speciesist thinking in the popular news media as a result of their feeding/eating practices, their unique and unfixed spatial arrangements in the greater Los Angeles region, and the western, modernist human frame through which humans interpret these actions. I conclude by drawing out the implications of this research for the fields of animal geography and feminist geography.

Prior to reading this paper, I had not heard of “feminist geography.” Wikipedia defines it thusly:

“The geography of women focuses upon description of the effects on gender inequality. Its theoretical influences focus on welfare geography and liberal feminism. Geographically, feminist geographers emphasize on constraints of distance and spatial separation. As Seager et al. argues, gender is only the narrow-minded approach when understanding the oppression of women throughout the decades of colonial history. In such, understanding the geography of women would mean taking a critical approach in questioning the dimensions of age, class, ethnicity, orientation and other socio-economic factors.”

Wikipedia goes on the say:

Socialist feminist geography seeks to explain inequality and the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy. It uses Marxism and Socialist feminism to explain the interdependence of geography, gender relations and economic development under capitalism. Socialist feminist geography revolved around the questions of how to reduce gender inequality based on patriarchy and capitalism. It has theoretical influences on Marxism, socialist feminism.” (link)

One more example of the point of view and jargon in the paper (edited):

Feminist posthumanist performativity and intersectionality

Feminist scholars first systematically began to consider ‘the animal question’ in the late 1970s with the development of ecofeminism. Although this early work was criticized as essentialist for its treatment of the category of ‘woman’ as a white, western, heterosexual subject and because some theorists worried it celebrated the association of women with caring tasks (e.g. caring for animals or the environment) to the detriment of establishing women as political actors, ecofeminism nevertheless made important contributions to feminist theory, particularly regarding human-animal relationships. Ecofeminists were the frst to theorize animal oppression through intersectional lenses, arguing that the same social systems and structures that oppress women also oppress animals.

Such is the State of the Union today. “May you live in interesting times.”

Note: I support the idea of feminism and gender equally. I do not support jargon-laden papers such as this one, no matter what the field of study is.

Tucson’s March for Science – a plea for continued climate funding

The several “Marches for Science” (held April 22) around the country are not really about science, but about fear that President Trump’s proposed cuts to the EPA and other agencies for climate research will make federal grants disappear. It’s about the money, not the climate.

A front page story in the Arizona Daily Star ( 4-14-17) was about Tucson’s “March for Science.” (Link) They called off the march itself, because they could not afford the price “to barricade North Stone Avenue, hire off-duty police and medics, and take out insurance.” Instead, they settled for a rally on Saturday.

The article featured University of Arizona professor Scott Saleska who is concerned that cuts to the EPA budget will jeopardize his research funding. The article quotes part of a letter which Saleska and other professors sent to EPA head Scott Pruitt.

Here is the money quote: “In fact, we know with an exceptionally high degree of confidence that most of the climate warming over at least the last six decades has been caused by rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.”

I emailed Dr. Saleska (on April 14) asking this question: “What specific physical evidence supports the contention that CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels is the principal cause of recent warming? Note: computer simulations are not physical evidence. Consensus is not physical evidence.”

Dr. Saleska replied on Thursday, April 20. Rather than citing specific evidence, he deflected the question: “My apologies for the slow reply. Busy week. But you raise an interesting question. What kind of evidence are you looking for? That is, what evidence would, in your mind, support the contention if it were observed?”

My response: “I think physical evidence supporting your contention does not exist because the hypothesis is wrong. So again, what physical evidence do you have in support?”

I have posed that same question to four other UofA “climate science” professors during public meetings. None could cite any supporting physical evidence. Strange that they all have an “exceptionally high degree of confidence” but can cite no physical evidence.

Once upon a time, science was based on empirical evidence rather than politics.

Most of the climate models make the assumption that CO2 is the main driver of global temperature. That assumption, however, causes model output to diverge widely from observations, showing that the assumption is wrong:

 

On the national “March for Science” website (link) is this statement: “We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”[emphasis added] Where is the evidence for the policy on global warming?

In my opinion, climate science has turned into political science and many professors fear that “draining the swamp” will kill their cash cow.

See some real physical evidence:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

The University of Arizona Guide for Snowflakes

If you plan to visit the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson, you perhaps should read a new 20-page pamphlet produced by Jesús Treviño, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence, so that you will be politically correct at all times. The pamphlet is entitled: “Diversity and Inclusiveness in the Classroom.” (Link) This is just one of the things Dr. Treviño does to earn his reported salary of $214,000 per year. (Source)

The pamphlet is introduced with this paragraph:

“With the increase in diversity at institutions of higher education, campus communities are now commonly comprised of individuals from many backgrounds and with diverse experiences as well as multiple and intersecting identities. In addition, many campus constituents have social identities that historically have been under-represented (e.g. Black/African Americans, Latinx/Chicanx/Hispanic [sic], Asian American/Pacific Islanders, Natives Americans, LBTQIA+ folks, international students and employees, people with diverse religious affiliations, veterans, non-traditional students, women, first-generation college students, and people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds). The University of Arizona does not differ from other institutions when it comes to diversity. Considering race and ethnicity alone, currently the UA has over 40% students of color. The multiplicity of the groups mentioned above form a valuable part of our student body.”

This pamphlet was produced for both students and faculty who may occasionally find themselves outside of “safe spaces” and be subjected to or commit a “microaggression.”

Major topics include:

Understanding Diversity and Inclusive Excellence

Tools/Exercises for Preparing Students To Interact in the Classroom

Guidelines for Classroom Discussions

Dialogue vs. Debate

Microaggressions in the Classroom

Among the sage advice given by this document is this: “Oops/ouch: If a student feels hurt or offended by another student’s comment, the hurt student can say ‘ouch.’ In acknowledgement, the student who made the hurtful comment says ‘oops.’ If necessary, there can be further dialogue about this exchange.”

By the way, the document defines “microaggressions” as: “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” Welcome to the real world.

This pamphlet is apparently for all students whose parents never taught them how to behave in civil society.

This article was originally published in the Arizona Daily Independent  and received many comments.

See also:

Free Speech and Tender Feelings

NOAA caught manipulating temperature data – again

Dr John Bates, a recently retired senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), alleges that a NOAA paper written before the historic climate conference in Paris in 2015 breached NOAA’s own rules and was based on misleading and unverified data. That, to many, looks like the paper was designed to stoke up hysteria over global warming in the run-up to the conference. (Source)

NOAA has often been accused of manipulating data for political purposes. See for instance, my ADI article: The past is getting cooler which reflects a curiosity of published government temperature records that show the 1930s getting cooler and cooler with each update of the record. The more recent scandal derives from NOAA’s attempt to erase the 18-year “pause” in global warming. Even though atmospheric carbon dioxide has been rising, global temperature has failed to respond as the climate models say it should. (See El Nino to El Nino – no warming of global temperature) This recent scandal was exposed by David Rose in an article in the British paper Daily Mail.

Global temperatures published by NOAA compared to global temperatures published by the British MET office shows that NOAA temperatures are consistently higher. In the graph below (source), the red line shows the current NOAA world temperature graph, which relies on the ‘adjusted’ and unreliable sea temperature data cited in the flawed ‘Pausebuster’ paper. The blue line is the UK Met Office’s independently tested and verified ‘HadCRUT4’ record, showing lower monthly readings and a shallower recent warming trend.

noaa-vs-met

David Rose notes: NOAA’s 2015 ‘Pausebuster’ paper was based on two new temperature sets of data – one containing measurements of temperatures at the planet’s surface on land, the other at the surface of the seas. Both datasets were flawed. This newspaper has learnt that NOAA has now decided that the sea dataset will have to be replaced and substantially revised just 18 months after it was issued, because it used unreliable methods which overstated the speed of warming. The revised data will show both lower temperatures and a slower rate in the recent warming trend. The land temperature dataset used by the study was afflicted by devastating bugs in its software that rendered its findings ‘unstable’.

To add to the confusion, NOAA also changed the computer programs it uses to compile temperature data, and guess what? The new program creates global warming where there had been none before. These changes are documented in a post by Rud Istvan.

“A 2011 paper announced that NOAA would be transitioning to updated and improved CONUS software around the end of 2013. The program used until the upgrade was called Drd964x. The upgrade was launched from late 2013 into 2014 in two tranches. Late in 2013 came the new graphical interfaces, which are an improvement. Then about February 2014 came the new data output, which includes revised station selection, homogenization, and gridding. The new version is called nClimDiv.” The graphs below show some of the results for temperatures from 1900 to 2010. Left shows old system results versus new system results on right.

maine

michigan

california

Another way NOAA influences the official temperature is by removal of thousands of weather station land thermometers from remote, high altitude, and/or non-urban locations since the 1970s. These are stations which do not show the warming trends predicted by models, as they are not affected by proximity to artificial or non-climatic heat sources (pavements, buildings, machinery, industry, etc.) like urban weather stations are. (Thermometers near urban heat sources can cause warming biases of between 0.1 and 0.4°C per decade.) This inflates the average temperature reported. Read more

Perhaps the Trump administration can get NOAA out of politics and back to science.