2016-03 March

People for the West -Tucson

PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868 pfw-tucson@cox.net

Newsletter, March, 2016

Why Scientists Disagree about Global Warming

This new book by climate scientists Craig D. Idso, Robert M. Carter, and S. Fred Singer is a tour-de-force on the scientific debate about global warming.

The most important fact about climate science, often overlooked, is that scientists disagree about the environmental impacts of the combustion of fossil fuels on the global climate. There is no survey or study showing “consensus” on the most important scientific issues, despite frequent claims by advocates to the contrary.

Scientists disagree about the causes and consequences of climate for several reasons. Climate is an interdisciplinary subject requiring insights from many fields. Very few scholars have mastery of more than one or two of these disciplines. Fundamental uncertainties arise from insufficient observational evidence, disagreements over how to interpret data, and how to set the parameters of models. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), created to find and disseminate research finding a human impact on global climate, is not a credible source. It is agenda-driven, a political rather than scientific body, and some allege it is corrupt. Finally, climate scientists, like all humans, can be biased. Origins of bias include careerism, grant-seeking, political views, and confirmation bias.

See my book review on Wryheat here.

The book is published by the Heartland Institute. You can download the entire book as a PDF file (7.8Mb) for free here.

“Nothing is more obstinate than a fashionable consensus.” -Margaret Thatcher

Capitalism Is Freedom; Socialism Is Slavery

by John Hawkins

In a time where consumers have almost unlimited choices of music, movies, websites and every product you can imagine in the supermarket, socialism is an outdated economic system that no longer fits with the world we live in. Socialism requires the intervention and control of the marketplace by an overwhelmingly powerful centralized government. It penalizes high achievers, rewards laziness and stifles choice.

Socialism is a government regulation that stops you from creating a successful business. It’s the Bureau of Land Management or the EPA making arbitrary decisions about what you can do with your own land. It’s the IRS taking the money you busted your butt to earn and giving it to people who didn’t work as hard as you did.

Almost every socialist policy requires taking resources from someone who’s earned them and giving them to someone who hasn’t. Even programs that are supposed to be self-funding rarely are because the juice is never quite worth the squeeze. The real reason we’re so deeply in debt is because if the middle class was forced to choose between paying for what our government is spending or dramatically cutting back, our government would already be much smaller than it is – and no wonder.

What does our government do well anymore? Do you trust the IRS? FEMA? Are our borders secure? How does the customer service of the post office or DMV compare to, let’s say Apple or Amazon? Who wants to live in government housing? Who wants a minimum wage job? Who wants to answer to bureaucrats, jump through their hoops and do as he’s told by people who see him as a nameless, faceless slob dependent upon them for his livelihood? Read more

Here’s 11.9 Billion Good Reasons The Feds Are Bad At Managing National Parks

by Andrew Follett, Daily Caller

The Obama administration is doing an awful job managing the country’s national parks.

National Parks Service (NPS) owes $11.9 billion in deferred maintenance and other backlogged expenses, according to recent research that builds upon criticisms brought by lawmakers of President Barack Obama’s public lands agenda.

The Park Service is falling behind about $300 million annually on deferred maintenance and the total backlog among all land-management agencies is around $20 billion – yet the Obama Administration keeps trying to acquire more land. The U.S. government has spent more than $10 billion acquiring new public lands, according to the Congressional Research Service. Read more

Obamacare Paperwork: A Multi-Billion-Dollar Cost Americans Can’t Afford

by Justin Haskins is an executive editor at The Heartland Institute.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Barack Obama’s signature law, including the entire field of Republican presidential candidates, say Obamacare has caused significant premium price increases and has forced millions of Americans out of insurance plans they enjoyed prior to the law’s passage.

While these burdens are significant and are limiting Americans’ access to affordable quality health care, one of the most important problems that has emerged from ACA is one neither the law’s opponents nor its supporters are talking about: the millions of hours of paperwork required for businesses and individuals to keep up with federal regulators’ demands.

Tara O’Neill, a health care policy analyst for the American Action Forum (AAF), says a new AAF report reveals the 106 regulations finalized since 2010 to implement Obamacare have forced businesses and individuals to spend 165 million hours completing paperwork to comply with Obamacare’s many requirements. AAF says these regulations have cost more than $45 billion. Read more

Climate Change: The Burden of Proof

By S. Fred Singer

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has to provide proof for significant human-caused climate change; yet their climate models have never been validated and are rapidly diverging from actual observations. The real threat to humanity comes not from any (trivial) greenhouse warming but from cooling periods creating food shortages and famines.

Burden of proof

Climate change has been going on for millions of years — long before humans existed on this planet. Obviously, the causes were all of natural origin and not anthropogenic. There is no reason to think that these natural causes have suddenly stopped. For example, volcanic eruptions, various types of solar influences, and atmosphere-ocean oscillations all continue today. We cannot model these natural climate-forcings precisely and therefore cannot anticipate what they will be in the future.

But let’s call this the “Null hypothesis.” Logically therefore, the burden of proof falls upon alarmists to demonstrate that this null hypothesis is not adequate to account for empirical climate data. In other words, alarmists must provide convincing observational evidence for anthropogenic climate change (ACC). They must do this by detailed comparison of the data with climate models. This is of course extremely difficult and virtually impossible since one cannot specify these natural influences precisely.

We’re not aware of such detailed comparisons, only of anecdotal evidence — although we must admit that ACC is plausible; after all, CO2 is a greenhouse gas and its level has been rising mainly because of the burning of fossil fuels.

Yet when we compare greenhouse models to past observations (“hindcasting”), it appears that ACC is much smaller than predicted by the models. There’s even a time interval of no significant warming (“pause” or “hiatus”) during the past 18 years or so — in spite of rapidly rising atmospheric CO2 levels.

There seems to be at present no generally accepted explanation for this discrepancy between models and observations, mainly during the 21st century. The five IPCC reports [1900 to 2014] insist that there is no “gap.” Yet strangely, as this gap grows larger and larger, their claimed certainty that there is no gap becomes ever greater. Successive IPCC reports give 50%, 66%, 90%, 95%, and 99% for this certainty.

Needless to say, there are no sufficient conditions to establish the existence of any significant ACC from existing data. Even necessary conditions based on empirical data, like temperature vs altitude and latitude, cloud cover, precipitation, are difficult to establish.

To summarize, any major disagreement of data with models therefore disproves ACC.

IPCC’s models are not validated — and therefore not policy-relevant

In other words, GH models have not been validated and may never be validated — and therefore are not policy-relevant.

Anyway, any warming observed during the past century appears to be trivially small and most likely economically beneficial overall. Careful studies by leading economists and agricultural experts have established these facts [see for example NIPCC-ClimateChangeReconsidered-II – 2014].

I therefore regard the absence of any significant GH warming as settled; note my emphasis on the word “significant.” Policies to limit CO2 emissions are wasting resources that could better be used for genuine societal problems like public health. They are also counter-productive since CO2 promotes plant growth and crop yields, as shown by dozens of agricultural publications.

Surviving a coming climate cooling

I am much more concerned by a cooling climate — as predicted by many climate scientists — with its adverse effects on ecology and severe consequences for humanity.

Singer and Avery in “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years” have described one form of observed cyclical climate change. It was first seen during the past glaciation. Loehle and Singer claim evidence for these cycles to extend into the present.

In particular, historical records identify the recent cycle of a (beneficial) Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the (destructive) Little Ice Age (LIA) with its failed harvests, starvation, disease, and mass deaths. Many solar experts predict another LIA cooling within decades.

I have therefore explored ways to counter the (imminent) next cooling phase through low-cost and low- ecological-risk geo-engineering, using a specific greenhouse effect – not based on CO2.

At the same time, assuming that our scheme does not work perfectly, we need to prepare for adaptation to a colder climate, with special attention to supply of food and sustainable water and energy.

The outlook for such adaptation appears promising – provided there is adequate preparation. However, the coming cold period will test the survivability of our technological civilization.

[S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His specialty is atmospheric and space physics. An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere.]

Measuring global temperatures: Satellites or thermometers?

By Dr. Roy Spencer

The official global temperature numbers are in, and NOAA and NASA have decided that 2015 was the warmest year on record. Based mostly upon surface thermometers, the official pronouncement ignores the other two primary ways of measuring global air temperatures, satellites and radiosondes (weather balloons).

The fact that those ignored temperature datasets suggest little or no warming for about 18 years now, it is worth outlining the primary differences between these three measurement systems.

Three Ways to Measure Global Temperatures

The primary ways to monitor global average air temperatures are surface based thermometers (since the late 1800s), radiosondes (weather balloons, since about the 1950s), and satellites measuring microwave emissions (since 1979). Other technologies, such as GPS satellite based methods have limited record length and have not yet gained wide acceptance for accuracy.

While the thermometers measure near-surface temperature, the satellites and radiosondes measure the average temperature of a deep layer of the lower atmosphere. Based upon our understanding of how the atmosphere works, the deep layer temperatures are supposed to warm (and cool) somewhat more strongly than the surface temperatures. In other words, variations in global average temperature are expected to be magnified with height, say through the lowest 10 km of atmosphere. We indeed see this during warm El Nino years (like 2015) and cool La Nina years.

The satellite record is the shortest, and since most warming has occurred since the 1970s anyway we often talk about temperature trends since 1979 so that we can compare all three datasets over a common period.

Temperatures of the deep ocean, which I will not address in detail, have warmed by amounts so small — hundredths of a degree — that it is debatable whether they are accurate enough to be of much use. Sea surface temperatures, also indicating modest warming in recent decades, involve an entirely new set of problems, with rather sparse sampling by a mixture of bucket temperatures from many years ago, to newer ship engine intake temperatures, buoys, and since the early 1980s infrared satellite measurements.

How Much Warming?

Since 1979, it is generally accepted that the satellites and radiosondes measure 50% less of a warming trend than the surface thermometer data do, rather than 30-50% greater warming trend that theory predicts for warming aloft versus at the surface.

This is a substantial disagreement.

There are different possibilities for the disagreement:

1) Surface thermometer analyses are spuriously overestimating the true temperature trend

2) Satellites and radiosondes are spuriously underestimating the true temperature trend

3) All data are largely correct, and are telling us something new about how the climate system operates under long-term warming.

First let’s look at the fundamental basis for each measurement.

All Temperature Measurements are “Indirect”

Roughly speaking, “temperature” is a measure of the kinetic energy of motion of molecules in air.

Unfortunately, we do not have an easy way to directly measure that kinetic energy of motion.

Instead, many years ago, mercury-in-glass or alcohol-in-glass thermometers were commonly used, where the thermal expansion of a column of liquid in response to temperature was estimated by eye. These measurements have now largely been replaced with thermistors, which measure the resistance to the flow of electricity, which is also temperature-dependent.

Such measurements are just for the air immediately surrounding the thermometer, and as we all know, local sources of heat (a wall, pavement, air conditioning or heating equipment, etc.) can and do affect the measurements made by the thermometer. It has been demonstrated many times that urban locations have higher temperatures than rural locations, and such spurious heat influences are difficult to eliminate entirely, since we tend to place thermometers where people live.

Radiosondes also use a thermistor, which is usually checked against a separate thermometer just before weather balloon launch. As the weather balloon carries the thermistor up through the atmosphere, it is immune from ground-based sources of contamination, but it still has various errors due to sunlight heating and infrared cooling which are minimized through radiosonde enclosure design. Radiosondes are much fewer in number, generally making hundreds of point measurements around the world each day, rather than many thousands of measurements that thermometers make.

Satellite microwave radiometers are the fewest in number, only a dozen or so, but each one is transported by its own satellite to continuously measure virtually the entire earth each day. Each individual measurement represents the average temperature of a volume of the lower atmosphere about 50 km in diameter and about 10 km deep, which is about 25,000 cubic kilometers of air. About 20 of those measurements are made every second as the satellite travels and the instrument scans across the Earth.

The satellite measurement itself is “radiative”: the level of microwave emission by oxygen in the atmosphere is measured and compared to that from a warm calibration target on the satellite (whose temperature is monitored with several highly accurate platinum resistance thermometers), and a cold calibration view of the cosmic background radiation from space, assumed to be about 3 Kelvin (close to absolute zero temperature). A less sophisticated (infrared) radiation temperature measurement is made with the medical thermometer you place in your ear.

So, Which System is Better?

The satellites have the advantage of measuring virtually the whole Earth every day with the same instruments, which are then checked against each other. But since there are very small differences between the instruments, which can change slightly over time, adjustments must be made.

Thermometers have the advantage of being much greater in number, but with potentially large long-term spurious warming effects depending on how each thermometer’s local environment has changed with the addition of manmade objects and structures.

Virtually all thermometer measurements require adjustments of some sort, simply because with the exception of a few thermometer sites, there has not been a single, unaltered instrument measuring the same place for 30+ years without a change in its environment. When such rare thermometers were identified in a recent study of the U.S., it was found that by comparison the official U.S. warming trends were exaggerated by close to 60%. Thus, the current official NOAA adjustment procedures appear to force the good data to match the bad data, rather than the other way around. Whether such problem exist with other countries data remains to be seen.

Changes in radiosonde design and software have occurred over the years, making some adjustments necessary to the raw data.

For the satellites, orbital decay of the satellites requires an adjustment of the “lower tropospheric” (LT) temperatures, which is well understood and quite accurate, depending only upon geometry and the average rate of temperature decrease with altitude. But the orbital decay also causes the satellites to slowly drift in the time of day they observe. This “diurnal drift” adjustment is less certain. Significantly, very different procedures for this adjustment have led to almost identical results between the satellite datasets produced by UAH (The University of Alabama in Huntsville) and RSS (Remote Sensing Systems, Santa Rosa, California).

The fact that the satellites and radiosondes – two very different types of measurement system — tend to agree with each other gives us somewhat more confidence in their result that warming has been much less than predicted by climate models. But even the thermometers indicate less warming than the models, just with less of a discrepancy.

And this is probably the most important issue…that no matter which temperature monitoring method we use, the climate models that global warming policies are based upon have been, on average, warming faster than all of our temperature observation systems.

I do believe “global warming” has occurred, but (1) it is weaker than expected, based upon independent satellite and weather balloon measurements; (2) it has been overestimated with poorly adjusted surface-based thermometers; (3) it has a substantial natural component; and (4) it is likely to be more beneficial to life on Earth than harmful. Source

Global Warming – The Madness of our Age

by Jonathan DuHamel

The bogeyman of global warming has hatched some really stupid policy and some outlandish claims. Here is a sampling.

Pentagon orders commanders to prioritize climate change in all military actions

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies. A new directive’s theme: The U.S. Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.”

It says the military will not be able to maintain effectiveness unless the directive is followed. It orders the establishment of a new layer of bureaucracy — a wide array of “climate change boards, councils and working groups” to infuse climate change into “programs, plans and policies.” Read more

Latest Green Idea: Pouring Millions of Tons of Bubble Mix into the Sea

A new study suggests that large ocean going ships could help reduce global warming, by pouring surfactants into their wake, to extend the life of the shiny bubbles churned up by ship’s propellers. Read more

Reduce CO2, or More Homeless Kittens

According to the New South Wales Cat Protection Society, climate induced warmer weather is causing cats to have more unwanted kittens. Read more

Global Warming is Causing Dogs to Become Depressed

Pet behaviourists have claimed that dogs and horses are becoming bored and depressed, because global warming induced weather is stopping their owners from taking them out for exercise. Read more

Reduce Global CO2, or all the Cuddly Koala Bears will Die

A professor has received a $5 million grant, to investigate whether rising CO2 and predicted endless drought will make the Koala’s Eucalyptus leaf diet too toxic for them to eat. Read more

Study: “Wrong” kind of trees in Europe Exacerbating Global Warming

A study claims that the shift from broadleaf to conifer trees in managed European forests has caused 0.12c (0.21F) of warming in Europe, by reducing the albedo of large areas of land, causing more sunlight to be absorbed. Read more

Why Can’t We Find Aliens? Climate Change Killed Them

As we look deeper into our galaxy for signs of extraterrestrial life, we keep drawing a blank. Does this mean life on Earth is unique and we’re the only ones out here? Or could it just mean that all the aliens are dead? Read more

Don’t despair: Machine Human Hybrids will Solve Climate Change

The Daily Mail has claimed that the super intelligence of a new race of cybernetic enhanced humans will be able to solve wicked problems such as Climate Change. Read more

Vegetarian diets worse for climate than eating bacon

Carnegie Mellon study finds eating lettuce is more than three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon. In fact, according to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, following the USDA recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood is more harmful to the environment because those foods have relatively high resource uses and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per calorie. Read more

See also my Wryheat article: The Bankruptcy of Climate Science

National Campaign Launched to Abolish U.S. Education Department

by Alex Newman

After years of running up against unconstitutional federal education mandates imposed on states using bribes and bludgeoning from Washington, D.C., a group of parents and grassroots education activists from across America is launching a fresh effort to shut down the U.S. Department of Education once and for all. The mission: “Stop Fed Ed.”

In the crosshairs is everything from dumbed-down “standards” such as the Obama-backed Common Core nationalization of schooling and associated federal testing regimes, to the deeply controversial federal data gathering and data mining encouraged and financed largely by the feds. The group hopes to pressure Congress into ending all education-related federal funding, mandates, and data schemes. Efforts will also be undertaken at the state and local level.

In the end, the group hopes that by abolishing the Education Department and removing the federal government’s tentacles from America’s schools and children, positive reforms can be pursued at the state and local level to improve education — as intended by the framers of the Constitution. Many of the group’s leaders have long track-records of pushing state and local efforts to fix various education problems. But with the specter of unconstitutional federal meddling and threats always looming large, that has been difficult.

Now the parent activists are ready to try a fresh approach. The new national organization, U.S. Parents Involved in Education (US PIE), unveiled its new “Stop Fed Ed” campaign at a series of press conferences in recent days, one in Iowa, another in Texas. Speaking for the grassroots parent group, co-director and longtime anti-Common Core activist Sheri Few outlined what she hopes will be a strategy to make good on one of Ronald Reagan’s key unfulfilled campaign promises: Dismantling the U.S. Department of Education. Read more

Yes, There Are GMOs In Your DNA. If Not, You’re Dead

by Ana-Marija Dolaskie

You have probably seen it on Facebook; a scary graphic which worries that GMOs can be detected in our blood.

We certainly hope so. Without the ability to detect cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in plasma or cells we couldn’t have non-invasive prenatal testing. Our blood also contains foreign DNA, like from viruses and bacteria. At least eight percent of the human genome is composed of endogenous retroviruses– leftovers from retroviral infections which our ancestors had millions of years ago. In fact, it is quite common for animals and humans to acquire foreign genes from microbes, and some of these genes are essential.

And yes— we have DNA from the cells of food we’ve consumed.

So if you have eaten any time recently, food can be detected. If you have not eaten, you are dead – but some people think that is better than eating GMOs.

So, the anti-science activists are wrong, but you know that or you wouldn’t be reading the American Council on Science and Health; you would read Joe Mercola or SourceWatch or watch The Dr. Oz Show.

They are not wrong about being able to detect GMOs, they are just wrong for thinking that it is a concern. Anti-science activists did not come up with that, they don’t do any science. GMO scientists did. Writing on her Frankenfood Facts blog, molecular biologist Layla Katiraee notes that in the thousands of human genomes that have been sequenced to date, DNA from our food has never been shown to be integrated into cellular DNA. Horizontal gene transfer is instead done by a virus or other microorganism.

That is why a 100% Organic Certified sweet potato is a “natural GMO” – it is transgenic, just like Bt corn.

Claiming that we eat GMOs, and our food being detected in our cfDNA is a problem, is like worrying that if I ate Sugar Frosted Chocolate Bombs for breakfast and it can be detected later (it can!), then I will gradually turn into cereal. (Source)

Natural Foods Not Fit to Eat Says Science Historian

American Council on Science and Health

We’ve all seen the claims on various foods that they are “all natural,” implying that these foods are close to their original format and therefore are in some way better for us. But in an intriguing essay titled In Praise of Artificial Food, science and technology historian Rachel Laudan makes the point that it was the rise of food technology that made the typically unpalatable and less than easily digestible all-natural foods fit for human consumption.

Ms Laudan points out, for example, meat was hard to obtain and not very tender, greens were calorically dilute, grains were tiny and hard to digest, nuts were bitter or oily, and roots tended to be poisonous. And don’t even think about fruits available year-round! All-natural foods, anyone?? Of course our foods are not this way any longer — thanks to the rise of food technology and agricultural expertise — developed over the course of millennia. We learned to chop, grind, ferment and soak our raw materials, and most important, we learned to cook them.

Cooking makes foods more palatable, easier to eat in many cases, and can even increase their nutritive value — not to mention killing microorganisms like E. coli and Salmonella. Other forms of food preservation such as salting, canning and freezing followed, as did the use of chemical preservatives such as BHA and BHT. And fortification of some foods allowed populations to avoid deficiency diseases — adding iodine to salt prevented goiters in adults and mental deficiencies in infants.

In spite of these myriad benefits from food processing and agricultural progress, some see only negatives, pointing the finger, Ms Laudan says, at increases in the occurrence of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes — associated with abundant food.

And we now have activists who direct people to turn away from modern food technologies — exhorting them to eat organic or natural (whatever natural means). Many are convinced, although these less-processed foods can be surprisingly more expensive.

In the United Kingdom, for example, a recent survey found that, on average, consumers paid nearly 90 percent more for organic products, even though half of the shoppers felt the foods were overpriced. Although organic proponents have said that this premium stems from the fact that the standards of animal welfare make food more expensive, it’s hard to see why that makes vegetable foods so much more dear.

Perhaps it’s time for the psychologists to weigh in and explain why consumers are so willing to act against their own best interests when it comes to food purchases.

Top 11 problems for wind and solar

by Andrew Follett, Cfact

See full post for explanation of the reasons listed below:

1: Power Storage Is Incredibly Expensive On A Large Scale

2: The U.S. Power Grid Is Older, And Has Trouble Handling Solar And Wind

3: Rebuilding The Power Grid To Handle Solar And Wind Is Absurdly Expensive

4: Solar and Wind Don’t Provide Power At Useful Times

5: Solar And Wind Can’t Keep the Lights On By Themselves

6: The Best Places For Solar And Wind Are Usually Far Away From Consumers

7: Solar And Wind Are A Very Small Percent Of The Power Grid Despite Years of Subsidies

8: The Solar And Wind “Low-Hanging Fruit” Have Already Been Taken

9: Natural Gas Prices Are Very Low In The United States

10: Nuclear Energy Has Enormous Potential

11: Encouraging Wind And Solar Creates Incentives For Massive Corruption

An Inconvenient truth: Electric-car battery materials could harm key soil bacteria

by Anthony Watts

The growing popularity of battery-powered cars could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they are not entirely Earth friendly. Problems can creep in when these batteries are disposed of. Scientists, in a new study in ACS’ journal Chemistry of Materials, are reporting that compounds increasingly used in lithium-ion batteries are toxic to a type of soil-dwelling bacteria that plays an important environmental role. Read more

Green Madness: Electric Cars Are Worsening China’s Smog Problem

The American Interest

Electric vehicles may be one of environmentalists’ favorite eco-options, but they aren’t helping China clear its smoggy skies. To the contrary, they’re actually part of the problem, as their expansion in recent years has raised demand for coal-fired power plants and increased the air pollutants those plants produce.

A series of studies by Tsinghua University, whose alumni includes the incumbent president, showed electric vehicles charged in China produce two to five times as much particulate matter and chemicals that contribute to smog versus petrol-engine cars. Hybrid vehicles fare little better. Read more

The electric car is dead, executed by Al Gore and his environmental allies

by Ross McKitrick, Financial Post, Canada

Gasoline is cheap. Electricity is expensive. Bad environmental policy contributed to both outcomes

Have you noticed the modern practice of counting the benefits of environmental policies in “cars-off-the-road” units? When the Tories launched their massive support program for ethanol fuels, they claimed it would cut greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking one million cars off the road. One million!

Sounds impressive, but all it really tells you is how clean cars have become. On a per-mile basis, cars today emit about one one-hundredth the amount of air contaminants they generated back in the 1960s. A policy that would be equivalent to taking ten 1967 Mustangs off the road would be equivalent to taking a thousand new Corollas off the road. Same policy, but the currency has been devalued, so to speak.

Or, going to extremes, converting even one light fixture over to LED would be equivalent to taking every single electric car off the road.

So who killed the electric car? Anyone minded to do so only needed to come up with a scheme to cause electricity prices to soar and conventional gasoline prices to collapse. Accomplish this, and nobody will give up regular cars that run on cheap gas in favour of ones that require a crushingly expensive electrical recharge. But since 2006, that is precisely what has happened. Read more

Some parting thoughts:

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” – William Pitt (1708-1778)

“The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.” – Milton Friedman

“When a new source of taxation is found it never means, in practice, that an old source is abandoned. It merely means that the politicians have two ways of milking the taxpayer where they had only one before.” – H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

“The whole drift of our law is toward the absolute prohibition of all ideas that diverge in the slightest form from the accepted platitudes, and behind that drift of law there is a far more potent force of growing custom, and under that custom there is a natural philosophy which erects conformity into the noblest of virtues and the free functioning of personality into a capital crime against society.” – H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

“If by the liberty of the press were understood merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it as you please: But if it means the liberty of affronting, calumniating and defaming one another, I, for my part, own myself willing to part with my share of it, whenever our legislators shall please so to alter the law and shall chearfully consent to exchange my liberty of abusing others for the privilege of not being abused myself.” —Benjamin Franklin, 1789

“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” —Harry S Truman (1884-1972)

“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” —John Marshall, 1819

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