People for the West -Tucson
PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868 firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter, August, 2016
Private Property Rights vs Environmental Feudalism
by Jonathan DuHamel
We have seen, especially over the last 40 years, a determined assault on private property rights. It is not coincidental that the passing of the Endangered Species Act marks the beginning of this period. Preservationist groups have accomplished through government coercion what they could not get people to do voluntarily. Increasingly, the cost of perceived societal goals are not borne by society as a whole, but by individual property owners. This situation is nothing more than legal plunder, or as Frederic Bastiat put it, “See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”
The U.S. Constitution states that “..nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” The problem of late, is that the definition of “taking” has been subject to debate in the courts. If government condemns private land for a public project, the issue is straight forward and the owner is usually compensated. But it has been less clear in the courts for the situations where a property owner has been denied beneficial use of all or part of a property through zoning ordinances, “growing smarter” schemes, conservation easements, habitat plans, ecosystem management districts, or for the alleged protection of endangered species, wetlands, historic districts, heritage areas, conservation areas, wilderness areas, wildlife preserves, buffer zones to the foregoing, or for the many other excuses government uses to restrict land use.
So what is the big deal about property rights anyway? Karl Marx: “The theory of Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” The big deal is that private property rights are essential to a free society. These rights confer upon the owner the fruits of his labor, the right to the benefit from his work, his investments, and his ideas. Notice that places without private property rights are generally totalitarian regimes where the citizens are slaves to the government.
The concept of private property rights has a long history in western thought. Our founding fathers, particularly Madison and Jefferson, equated property rights with individual rights. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote of the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The later part of this trinity refers to property rights and seems to have been taken from philosopher John Locke’s “life, liberty and estate.” Jefferson goes on to write, “a right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means by which we are endowed to satisfy those wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the equal rights of other sensible beings.”
Other western philosophers and statesmen reinforce these principles. For Jeremy Bentham, there were four inalienable rights: liberty, property, security (in the sense of the 4th Amendment) and the right of self-defense. Georg Hegel: “Right is in the first place the immediate embodiment which freedom gives itself in an immediate way, i.e., possession, which is property ownership.” Pope Pius XII: “Private property is a natural fruit of labor, a product of intense activity of man, acquired through his energetic determination to ensure and develop with his own strength his own existence and that of his family, and to create for himself and his own an existence of just freedom.” Friedrich von Hayek: “The system of private property is the most important guaranty of freedom, not only for those who own property, but scarcely less for those who do not.” U.S. Supreme Court (Lynch vs Household Finance, 1972): “The dichotomy between personal liberties and property rights is a false one. Property does not have rights. People have rights. The right to enjoy property without unlawful deprivation, no less than the right to speak or the right to travel, is in truth, a ‘personal’ right…a fundamental interdependence exists between personal right to liberty and the personal right to property. Neither could have meaning without the other.”
Individual and property rights have long been under assault by governments. A warning by George Washington applies as well today as it did when he wrote, “The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own…”
The current great assault on our rights derives from environmental laws and their unconstitutional application. We have entered a state of Environmental Feudalism. As Karol Ceplo writes in Land Rights: “The ever-increasing use of regulation to restrict private property rights represents a profound change in the politics of land use. This movement has been described as a ‘new feudalism of regulation.’ The management of environmental resources has shifted from the private owner to a centralized bureaucracy, much as land use in medieval times was controlled by centralized royal or ecclesiastical powers, rather than by the people who lived on and worked the land.”
Local manifestations of environmental feudalism came in the form of draconian rules concerning the pygmy owl, in county interim regulations requiring set aside of 80% of land as mitigation to build on the remaining 20%, and in the scheme called the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan.
These changes did not happen over night, but evolved incrementally, just as James Madison warned, “I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” The road back may also be in small steps. The U.S. Supreme Court seems to have rediscovered the Constitution in many recent decisions, but so far, these decisions deal only with individual circumstances and form no overarching return to Constitutional government.
With the coming change in federal administration, we must insist that environmental laws be tempered with just notice to our rights, and that our representatives and senators return to the principles upon which this nation was founded. ☼
SCOTUS Ruling Vindicates Property Owners’ Right to Court Access
by H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D.
In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a setback to federal authorities’ attempts to control the development of wetlands through their costly permitting processes, upholding the right of property owners to challenge limits placed on their property rights in court.
By a vote of 8–0, the Court determined North Dakota-based Hawkes Co., which had planned to mine peat from property owned by two affiliated companies in northwestern Minnesota, could challenge in court a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ruling without first going through the costly process necessary to obtain a permit to disturb wetlands. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had ruled the property included wetlands protected by the 1972 U.S. Clean Water Act. Read more ☼
“We must always ask: Is government working to liberate and empower the individual? Is it creating incentives for people to produce, save, invest and profit from legitimate risks and honest toil? Or does it seek to compel, command and coerce people into submission and dependence?”–The Gipper
“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” —Thomas Jefferson (1823)
“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”– George Orwell
A Simple Climate Quiz:
Test Someone’s Climate Knowledge with Five Easy Questions
By Steven Capozzola (Source)
If your friends can’t understand why you don’t believe in manmade global warming, give them this simple, five-question quiz. They may realize they don’t know as much about global warming as they think.
1. The primary greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is:
[a] Nitrous Oxide
[b] Carbon Dioxide
[d] Water Vapor
2. Carbon dioxide comprises what percentage of the Earth’s atmosphere?
3.When reviewing our planet’s long geologic history, the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is:
[a] Among the highest levels ever recorded
[b] Among the lowest levels ever recorded
[c] About average
4. Each new molecule of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere traps:
[a] The same amount of heat as the previous additional molecule
[b] More heat than the previous molecule
[c] Less heat than the previous molecule
5. In the twentieth century, solar output was:
[a] The same as it’s always been
[b] The lowest in 1,000 years.
[c] The highest in 1,000 years.
1. [d] Water vapor. Roughly 80% of the Earth’s “greenhouse effect” is sustained by water vapor.
2. [d] 0.04%. Carbon dioxide is a minor constituent in the atmosphere, which is dominated by Nitrogen (78%) and Oxygen (21%).
3. [b] Carbon dioxide levels are currently among the lowest ever recorded in Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history.
4. [c] Less heat. Carbon dioxide follows a logarithmically declining function. That means, it exponentially loses the ability to trap heat as its concentration increases.
5. [c] The highest in 1,000 years. Starting in the latter part of the 1800s, solar activity ramped back up to the peak output previously seen during the Roman Warm Period (250-400 AD) and the Medieval Warm Period (950-1250 AD). ☼
A Guide to Understanding Global Temperature Data
by Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D. Read full paper
In the paper, Dr. Spencer discusses and answers these questions:
1) Does an increasing CO2 level mean there will be higher global temperatures?
2) Can global temperatures go up naturally, even without rising CO2 levels?
3) How are temperature data adjusted?
4) Are global temperatures really going up? If so, by how much?
5) Is warming enough to be concerned about? Is warming necessarily a bad thing?
6) Could the warming be both natural and human-caused?
7) Why would the climate models produce too much warming?
8) What is climate sensitivity?
9) Don’t 97 percent of climate researchers agree that global warming is a serious man-made problem?
10) Haven’t ocean temperatures been going up, too?
11) What does it mean when we hear “the highest temperature on record”?
12) Is there a difference between weather and climate?
13) Why would climate science be biased? Isn’t global warming research immune from politics?
From the introduction:
When we measure temperature in our backyard, we really aren’t that concerned if the thermometer we use is off by a degree or two. Since most people live where the temperature fluctuates by many degrees every day, and the seasonal swing in temperatures can be 80 F or more, a couple of degrees doesn’t matter too much.
But in the case of global warming, one or two degrees is the entire change scientists are trying to measure over a period of 50 to 100 years. Since none of our temperature monitoring systems was designed to measure such a small change over such a long period of time, there is much disagreement over exactly how much warming has or will occur.
Whether we use thermometers, weather balloons, or Earth-orbiting satellites, the measurements must be adjusted for known sources of error. This is difficult if not impossible to do accurately. As a result, different scientists come up with different global warming trends—or no warming trend at all.
Increasingly, the “science” of global warming is being based upon theories of what might happen, not on what is being observed to happen. And the observations are increasingly at odds with the theory.
“It should be clear that the science of global warming is far from settled.”
“Uncertainties in the adjustments to our global temperature datasets, the small amount of warming those datasets have measured compared to what climate models expect, and uncertainties over the possible role of Mother Nature in recent warming, all combine to make climate change beliefs as much faith-based as science-based.”
“Until climate science is funded independent of desired energy policy outcomes, we can continue to expect climate research results to be heavily biased in the direction of catastrophic outcomes.” ☼
A review of climate fraud
by Paul Driessen
The case for widespread misconduct by members of the $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Change & Renewable Energy Complex grows more compelling, and disturbing, by the day. A complete listing and analysis would require books, but these few examples underscore the seriousness of the global problem.
Crisis fabrication. After warming 1910-1940, cooling 1940-1975, warming 1975-1998, not budging 1998-2015, Earth warmed slightly 2015-2016 amid a strong El Niño. No category 3-5 hurricane has hit the United States for a record 10-1/2 years. Seas are rising at 7 inches per century. Arctic ice is near normal; Antarctic ice at a record high. There are more polar bears than ever.
But the White House, EPA, UN and media falsely claim we face an unprecedented crisis – and must quickly replace reliable, affordable hydrocarbons with expensive, subsidized, unreliable renewable energy, and let unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats control our lives, livelihoods and living standards. Any warming, any weather event, is our fault – the result of using fossil fuels to power our economy.
Data manipulation. When actual measurements don’t support climate chaos claims, dishonest scientists “homogenize” and manipulate them to create imaginary warming trends. Phil Jones, his British team and their US counterparts eliminated centuries of Little Ice Age cooling and created new records showing planetary temperatures suddenly spiking in recent decades. They used ClimateGate emails to devise devious schemes preventing outside analysts from examining their data, computer algorithms and methodologies – and then “lost” information that peer reviewers wanted to examine.
NOAA’s clever climate consortium adjusted accurate sea-surface temperature data from scientific ocean buoys upward by a quarter-degree, to “homogenize” them with records from engine intake systems contaminated by shipboard heat – thereby creating a previously undetected warming trend.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology revised Rutherglen weather station data to convert 100 years of data showing a slight cooling trend into a warming of several degrees per century. As with other “adjustments” (by NASA, for instance) the revisions always create warming trends – never a slight cooling – and climate crisis scientists always say humans caused the warming, even though they are unable to separate natural forces, cycles and fluctuations from alleged human influences.
GIGO computer models. Climate models assume post-1975 warming is due to manmade carbon dioxide; exaggerate climate sensitivity to CO2 levels; and simplify or ignore vital natural forces like solar energy variations, cosmic ray fluxes, heat-reflecting clouds, and recurrent phenomena like El Niño and La Niña. They conjure up “scenarios” that alarmists treat as valid predictions of what will happen if we don’t slash fossil fuel use. Models replace actual evidence, and play an important role in climate battles.
It’s complete GIGO: faulty assumptions, data, algorithms, analytical methodologies and other garbage in – predictive garbage out. That’s why “hockey stick” and other models are so out of touch with reality. In fact, an official IPCC graph showed that every UN climate model between 1990 and 2012 predicted that average global temperatures would be as much as 0.9 degrees C (1.6 F) higher than they actually were! The inconvenient graph was revised for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2014 report.
Report manipulation. Activists and bureaucrats always finalize the Summary for Policymakers, the only IPCC climate document that most voters, elected officials and journalists ever read. They want to ensure that already politicized climate “science” does not undermine or contradict political themes and agendas.
A 1995 State Department document reveals the extent of this interference and manipulation. The 30-page document gave detailed instructions as to how the Clinton White House wanted the summary’s scientific explanations and conclusions revised, to make alleged climate and weather trends even more worrisome. Donna Laframboise and others document the bias, distortion and deception that dominate IPCC actions.
Consensus fabrication. Claims of a 97% consensus on climate cataclysm science are likewise slippery, and based on bait-and-switch tactics that look only at study abstracts of studies and then misrepresent what the abstracts say, ask one question but base their conclusions on a different one, or use other strategies and misrepresentations to hide the disagreements and debates that still dominate this topic.
Cost-benefit falsification. The US Government has mastered this fraudulent tactic, especially in its “social cost of carbon” calculations. EPA and other agencies blame methane and carbon dioxide emissions for every conceivable impact on agriculture, forests, water resources, “forced migration” of people and wildlife, human health and disease, rising sea levels, flooded coastal cities, too much or too little rain. They totally ignore the way more CO2 makes plants grow faster and better, with less water.
They also ignore the enormous benefits of fossil fuels for 80% of all the energy we use to transport people and products, generate reliable, affordable electricity, and manufacture fertilizers, plastics and thousands of other products. And they ignore the ways anti-energy regulations raise hospital, factory and small business costs, kill jobs, and reduce living standards, health and welfare for millions of people. (Source) Note: this is part of a longer essay with a different title. ☼
“There is no scientific basis for believing that modest increases in atmospheric levels of CO2 will have catastrophic effects despite the misdirected efforts of the UN and alarmist scientists. Attempts to restrict human CO2 emissions serve no useful purpose for anyone except wind and solar industries looking for customers, sensation-seeking news media looking for readers, environmentalists looking for a cause to attract contributions, climate scientists looking for more government grants, and politicians looking for increased government revenue to spend on their favorite boondoggles.” – Alan Carlin ☼
Diablo Canyon Nuclear Units to Shutter: What Are the Consequences?
By Chris Warren
This week, the Institute for Energy Research released an analysis on the consequences of Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) decision to shutter two Diablo Canyon nuclear units in 2024 and 2025. PG&E plans to replace the nuclear units with intermittent wind and solar energy, an endeavor that could cost billions and increase carbon dioxide emissions.
In their infatuation with wind and solar energy, PG&E and the state of California are making decisions that will prove costly to energy consumers.
Key considerations include:
Diablo Canyon produces 9 percent of California’s electricity and 20 percent of Pacific and Gas and Electric’s power. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission indicates that the Diablo Canyon units are well run and among the best in the country. The utility indicates that they are able to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis and flooding.
Decommissioning Diablo Canyon is expected to cost $3.8 billion and replacing all its power with solar energy could cost $15 billion based on current prices.
PG&E is expecting to only need to replace half of Diablo Canyon’s power, 9,000 gigawatt-hours. The utility expects to get 2,000 gigawatt-hours from improved energy efficiency by 2025, leaving a gap of 7,000 gigawatt-hours that it is expecting to fill with wind and solar power. However, when nuclear plants have been shuttered thus far, their energy has been replaced almost entirely by natural gas.
Natural gas consumption could increase by 34 percent in northern California between 2023 and 2026 when Diablo Canyon is shuttered despite the company’s renewable energy and efficiency goals. Some have estimated that the carbon dioxide emissions from the replacement power are equivalent to putting 2 million cars on the road.
Only California would consider closing a perfectly good nuclear plant that emits no carbon dioxide emissions and replace it with intermittent renewable energy that needs back-up power from a flexible fuel such as natural gas.
California’s laws to get 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy and to double its energy efficiency–both by 2030–are driving these decisions that will prove costly for electricity consumers in the state. Click here to read the full analysis. ☼
Wind-Energy Sector Gets $176 Billion Worth of Crony Capitalism
by Robert Bryce
It takes enormous amounts of taxpayer cash to make wind energy seem affordable. Last month, during its annual conference, the American Wind Energy Association issued a press release trumpeting the growth of wind-energy capacity. It quoted the association’s CEO, Tom Kiernan, who declared that the wind business is “an American success story.” There’s no doubt that wind-energy capacity has grown substantially in recent years. But that growth has been fueled not by consumer demand, but by billions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer money. According to data from Subsidy Tracker — a database maintained by Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C.–based organization that promotes “corporate and government accountability in economic development and smart growth for working families” — the total value of the subsidies given to the biggest players in the U.S. wind industry is now $176 billion. That sum includes all local, state, and federal subsidies as well as federal loans and loan guarantees received by companies on the American Wind Energy Association’s board of directors since 2000. (Most of the federal grants have been awarded since 2007.) Of the $176 billion provided to the wind-energy sector, $2.9 billion came from local and state governments; $9.4 billion came from federal grants and tax credits; and $163.9 billion was provided in the form of federal loans or loan guarantees. Read more ☼
Obama Public Land Fracking Rule Struck Down: “No Congressional Authority”
by Eric Worrall
An attempt by the Obama administration to impose harsh regulations on fracking operations on public land has been thrown out by a Wyoming court, on the grounds that the Interior Department exceeded the bounds of its Congressional authority.
The blocked rule would not have affected most fracking operations in the United States, since it would have applied only to fracking on federal lands. The vast majority of fracking in the United States — almost 90 percent — is done on state and private land and is governed by state and local regulations. The rule was unlikely to have stopped most new fracking on public lands, although oil and gas companies complained that it could have slowed operations by creating burdensome paperwork. (Source) ☼
Greenpeace’s deadly war on science
By Bjorn Lomborg
Is Greenpeace committing a crime against humanity?
A letter from 110 Nobel laureates suggests as much. It urges the environmental group to drop its campaign against genetically modified foods, particularly so-called “Golden Rice,” which could help prevent millions of deaths in the developing world.
Calling GMOs food “Frankenfood” is a brilliant scare-mongering term, heavily promoted by Greenpeace. But it has no basis in reality.
Just a couple of months ago, the National Academies of Sciences found in its latest report that GMOs “are as safe as” non-GMOs foods. The European Union has concluded after 130 research projects and 25 years of research that “there is, as of today, no scientific evidence associating GMOs with higher risks for the environment or for food and feed safety than conventional plants and organisms.”
Why, then, does Greenpeace insist these foods could be “a threat to human and environmental health?” One of the Nobel laureates, Sir Richard Roberts, suggests an answer: A scare campaign was good for fund-raising. Read more ☼
Fed investigation: Wolf program was mishandled
By Lauren Villagran, Albuguerque Journal
Catron County officials have long made claims that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has mishandled a program to return the endangered Mexican wolf to the wild.
A federal investigation corroborates the complaints about wolves made by N.M. ranchers.
A new federal investigation backs them up.
The investigation by the Department of Interior Office of the Inspector General, expected to be made public today, substantiates many of the allegations made by Catron County in a 2013 complaint – namely that the service protected “genetically valuable” wolves in the wild, even after they preyed on cattle, did not tell residents when wolves were near and did not fully compensate ranchers for cattle killed by wolves. Read more
An Arizona shell game
By Dexter K. Oliver
The report is out, and the results are exactly what were to be expected.
The University of Arizona, in a deft shell game, took $771,000 originally earmarked by Congress for Homeland Security and spent it on a three-year jaguar “study” that told us what we already knew.
In the abstract from the report, we are informed: “Knowledge gained from monitoring jaguars is helpful for wildlife managers who are responsible for conserving this species.” The problem with this theory is that jaguars, as a viable breeding population, do not exist in Arizona or anywhere in the United States, and there are no wildlife managers working here who have anything to do with conserving “the species.”
Biologists from Mexico to Argentina may well be doing this because that is where real jaguar habitat is to be found.
The U of A reports the use of hundreds of trail cameras and a jaguar scat-detecting dog revealed one jaguar and three ocelots in southern Arizona during the three-year project. The jaguar and at least one ocelot were already confirmed individuals before the study.
All of these endangered cats were males that were wandering at the extreme northern fringe of their territory, a type of action that has been well documented for decades. None of them is important to the conservation of its species. Read more ☼
How Much Should Nothing Cost?
By Dan Byers
$2 billion is the state of Texas’ compliance cost for a recently finalized regional haze mandate that EPA admits has imperceptible benefits. That’s one of the reasons why the U.S. Chamber was pleased to recently join the Texas Association of Business and 23 other state business groups in formal support of a lawsuit to block the costly rules. Fortunately, last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued an order staying the EPA’s implementation of the rule for Texas and concluding that the case has a “strong likelihood” of success on the merits. This is a major victory that not only protects states in the 5th Circuit (Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi), but also holds promise for other states impacted by these onerous rules. Before we explain why this is so important, a bit of background is in order. Regional haze is somewhat unique among EPA’s regulatory authorities, because its purpose is not to protect public health or the environment, but rather to improve aesthetics. Read more ☼
Americans Have To Fill Out 188 Million Hours Of Paperwork To Comply With EPA Regs
by Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not only costing heavy industries billions of dollars a year, the agency is also forcing companies to spend 188 million hours every year filing paperwork to comply with federal rules.
To comply with EPA’s paperwork burden “it would take more than 94,200 employees working full-time (2,000 hours a year) to complete one year of EPA paperwork,” according to Sam Batkins, the director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum (AAF).
“Year after year of new regulatory costs have not only translated into shuttered power plants, but also new reporting and record keeping requirements. EPA’s paperwork burden now stands at 188 million hours,” Batkins wrote in a report on how much paperwork it takes to comply with EPA rules. Read more ☼
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Newsletters can be viewed online on Jonathan’s Wryheat Blog:
See my essay on climate change:
The Constitution is the real contract with America.
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People for the West – Tucson, Inc.
PO Box 86868
Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Jonathan DuHamel, President & Editor
Dr. John Forrester, Vice President
Lonni Lees, Associate Editor
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