People for the West -Tucson
Newsletter, February, 2018
PO Box 86868, Tucson, AZ 85754-6868
Real environmentalism can go hand in hand with natural resource production, private property rights, and access to public lands.
Climate Craziness, Politics, and Hypocrisy
by Jonathan DuHamel
In my opinion, the greatest danger we face from global warming is that politicians think they can stop it. Politicians decree that we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions from use of fossil fuels even though there is no physical evidence that those emissions play a significant role is controlling global temperature. (See: Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect)
The policy of reducing CO2 emissions is costing billions, even trillions, of dollars that could be put to better use. For instance, Germany will have to spend more than 1 trillion euros ($1.2 trillion) to meet even the lower end of the European Union’s 2050 target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, according to a draft of a study commissioned by the BDI German industry group. (Source).
Several counties and municipalities in California as well as New York City have filed lawsuits against energy companies. These suits are seeking to force oil and gas companies to pay reparations for severe weather and infrastructure advancements to guard against future storms and rising sea levels. Read more However, as noted by Valerie Richardson in The Washington Times, the risks posed by human-caused climate change were apparently alarming enough to prompt seven California municipalities last year to sue ExxonMobil, but not serious enough to disclose in full to their investors. “Notwithstanding their claims of imminent, allegedly near-certain harm, none of the municipalities disclosed to investors such risks in their respective bond offerings, which collectively netted over $8 billion for these local governments over the last 27 years,” said ExxonMobil in its petition in Texas District Court. Read more.
Back in the year 2000, Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, predicted that within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is. Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” (Source) Residents of the northeast U.S. would disagree due to the very cold weather and snowfalls this winter.
Also, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (January, 2018), climate activists set up a mock Arctic base camp to educate world leaders about man-made global warming. Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, however, as the “Gore Effect” kicked in and dumped about six feet of snow on their little stunt during the last six days. (See: Gore Effect Nature’s Little Joke). The weather at Davos did not deter the arrival of 1,000 private jets owned or chartered by elites who lecture the rest of us about limiting our “carbon footprint.” The hosting organization for the Davos forum has a formal sustainability policy that vows to “limit our environmental impact” and addresses such issues as climate change and deforestation.
Just plain crazy:
Researchers at The University of Manchester have carried out the first ever study looking at the carbon footprint of sandwiches, both home-made and pre-packaged. They considered the whole life cycle of sandwiches, including the production of ingredients, sandwiches and their packaging, as well as food waste discarded at home and elsewhere in the supply chain. Of the recipes considered, the most carbon-intensive variety is a ready-made ‘all-day breakfast’ sandwich which includes egg, bacon and sausage. Read more
Researchers at the University of Arizona set out to learn more about how people’s perception of the threat of global climate change affects their mental health. They found that while some people have little anxiety about the Earth’s changing climate, others are experiencing high levels of stress, and even depression, based on their perception of the threat of global climate change. Read more
Alarmist scientists have found a terrifying new ‘climate change’ threat: mutant transgender turtles. Their study, titled Environmental Warming and Feminization of One of the Largest Sea Turtle Populations in the World, warns that global warming could turn the world’s sea turtle populations female, possibly leading to their extinction. Read more.
And even this: A Canadian government website claims Santa Claus signed an international agreement to relocate his workshop to the South Pole to escape the effects of man-made global warming in the Arctic. Read more ☼
Benefits of carbon dioxide
Although some politicians and environmentalists vilify carbon dioxide, real science shows that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide has many benefits. Here are several new papers reviewed by CO2Science.org which show some of the benefits.
The Enhanced Performance of a Fast-growing Tree Species Under Elevated CO2
After a year of CO2 enrichment, purging nut (Jatropha curcas) trees produced more biomass and fruit than their ambient-air counterparts. Read more
The Relationship Between Symbiotically-fixed Nitrogen and Soybean Yield Under Elevated CO2
A study of eight cultivars reveals that elevated CO2 increases symbiotically-fixed N uptake, the magnitude of which is directly correlated with soybean seed yield enhancement. Read more
Elevated CO2 Improves Rice Yields Under Both Well-watered and Water-stressed Conditions
In the future, rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will increase rice yields under normal watering conditions (needing less water to do so), while under water-deficit conditions it will help to mitigate (and potentially overcome) yield losses. Read more
Two Decades of Forest Productivity Enhancement
A study of 23 temperate and boreal ecosystems reveals a respectable 19 percent increase in gross primary production and an impressive 31 percent increase in net ecosystem production, courtesy of the beneficial impacts of atmospheric CO2 fertilization. Read more
The Interaction Between Salinity and Short-term CO2 Enrichment of a Perennial Herb Short-term CO2 enrichment helps a perennial herb with multiple therapeutic benefits withstand the detrimental effects of a saline growing environment. Read more
Elevated CO2 Improves Photosynthesis and Growth in an Endemic Antarctic Macroalga Species
Under every possible combination of temperature and irradiance treatment levels examined by the authors of this study, elevated CO2 concentrations at 1000 ppm stimulated net photosynthesis and growth of this macroalga species by 30-50 percent compared to what was observed under ambient CO2 conditions (380 ppm). Read more
CO2-enhanced Heat Tolerance of a C4 Perennial Grass Species
Following four weeks of heat stress, elevated CO2 suppressed heat-induced damages and improved the heat tolerance of bermuda grass. Read more
Barley Yield and Belowground Rhizosphere Response to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment
It looks to be a win-win situation. Elevated CO2 increases barley yield and stimulates the below ground input of plant-derived nutrient compounds that benefit the rhizosphere prokaryotic community, which feeds upon them. Read more
Elevated CO2 Promotes a Rhizosphere-driven Increase in Nitrogen and Phosphorus Availability
New research suggests that plants can shape the composition of their rhizosphere microbiomes, enhancing soil organic matter decomposition and nutrient availability under elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2, which is great news for nutrient-poor ecosystems. Read more ☼
How Regulations Made California’s Fires Worse
By Richard Zuber
After raging through almost all of December, the so-called Thomas fire, California’s largest wildfire ever recorded, was finally contained on January 12. While the worst is behind us (for now), the fact that last year’s wildfires so violently spun out of control puts the spotlight on the Golden State’s government and its lack of fire prevention measures.
The fires across the state caused unprecedented damage and loss of life. Unsurprisingly, California governor Jerry Brown was quick to pin the blame on climate change for the forest fires’ ferocity and extraordinary longevity this season. Whatever truth there may be to this, it would be a mistake to gloss over how misguided policies and regulations have hurt California’s ability to prevent and respond to fires.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), shrubs and live and dead vegetation are the most important factor in forest fires, being an easily ignitable fuel source that helps spread the flames quickly over vast distances. For a dry and warm state prone to fires, regular clearing measures removing this vegetation should be common sense. However, California has enacted several laws that heavily restrict such vital fire-preventing measures as logging, removal of dead trees, and clearing of dry underbrush. Read more ☼
Why the “Population Bomb” Never Exploded
by Nicholas Vardy
“The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s the world will undergo famines – hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death…” – Paul R. Ehrlich, The Population Bomb published in 1968.
Ehrlich’s prediction failed because of human ingenuity.
A Famously Bad Commodity Investment
University of Maryland economist Julian Simon was a vociferous critic of the Ehrlich-inspired famine mania of the 1970s.
He wanted to put Ehrlich’s predictions to the test.
So in 1980, Simon issued a challenge to all Malthusians.
He offered to let anyone pick any natural resource – grain, oil, coal, timber, metals – and any future date.
Any Malthusian would argue that as the world’s population increased and the commodity became scarcer, its price should rise.
Simon was willing to take the opposite side of the bet, saying that the price of the commodity would decline instead.
Ehrlich snidely accepted “Simon’s astonishing offer before other greedy people jump in.”
He bet $1,000 and covered the price of five metals over a period of 10 years. By the time 1990 rolled around, the world’s population had grown by more than 800 million, or 17.8% – the highest rate of increase over the course of a decade in history. Yet the price of each of the commodities in the Simon-Ehrlich bet tumbled. The price of copper had fallen by 3.5%. Tin had collapsed by 72%. In short, Ehrlich lost the bet decisively. Simon offered to raise the stakes of the next wager to $20,000. Ehrlich declined.
The Power of Human Ingenuity
On its face, the Simon-Ehrlich bet was about the future price of five metals between 1980 and 1990. On a deeper level, it was about a conflict of visions concerning the future of humanity. Was mankind’s future constrained by the Earth’s ever-depleting resources… or by the limits of human ingenuity? The verdict from history is clear.
Charles Maurice and Charles W. Smithson at Texas A&M University studied the history of natural resources over 10,000 years. They found that temporary scarcities in natural resources are the norm. They also found that same temporary scarcity always led to an improved substitute.
The Greeks’ transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age 3,000 years ago was forced by a shortage of tin. The rise of coal followed timber shortages in 16th-century Britain. The shortage of whale oil in 1850 led directly to the first oil well in 1859.
Human ingenuity has always been successful in overcoming crises that once seemed inevitable.
Ehrlich was right about one thing: The world’s population has continued to expand. Today, the global population stands at 7.6 billion. That’s double the 3.8 billion when Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. And yet, despite Ehrlich’s predictions, no devastating famine threatening humanity’s existence ever ensued.
The reason is straightforward. Food production increased faster than the population – a pattern that has repeated since Malthus. Today, the average person is healthier, wealthier and better fed than in 1968. Infant mortality has declined. Life expectancy has increased. Ironically, both Japan and Europe do have a population problem. But the problem is not the threat of famine due to too many mouths to feed. It’s that women are having too few children to maintain current population levels.
Here is a final irony…
Ehrlich has spent his entire academic career ensconced at Stanford University – the intellectual Godfather of Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley, in turn, embodies the optimism and progress that has always overcome the relentless logic of Malthusian doom and gloom.
I can’t help but wonder how an academic who spent his life surrounded by symbols of human progress can be so pessimistic. Yet at 85, Ehrlich remains unapologetic for his (so far) misguided predictions. Ehrlich has said that if he wrote The Population Bomb today, he’d be even more apocalyptic than he was in 1968. Like all doom-and-gloomers, Ehrlich won’t concede he’s wrong. (Source)
Green Energy Mandate Bankrupts East Coast Oil Refinery, 1,100 Jobs at Risk
by Eric Worrall
The hangover of President Obama’s war on cheap energy is still causing financial hardship. Philadelphia Energy Solutions, which employs 1,100 people, has been driven into financial distress by the cost of compulsory green energy mandates.
Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC, the owner of the largest U.S. East Coast oil refining complex, announced to its employees on Sunday that it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to an internal memo reviewed by Reuters.
Part of the refiner’s financial troubles stem from a costly biofuels law called the Renewable Fuels Standard, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and requires refiners to blend biofuels into the nation’s fuel supply every year, or buy credits from those who do.
Since 2012, Philadelphia Energy Solutions has spent more than $800 million on credits to comply with the law, making it the refiner’s biggest expense after the purchase of crude, according to the memo. Read more ☼
REPORT: New England Faces A Future Of ‘Rolling Blackouts’ As Power Plants Close
by Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller
New England is facing an energy future of “rolling blackouts and controlled outages” by 2025 as more power plants close down and pipeline capacity continues to lag behind.
The new report by the New England’s grid operator comes after the region suffered through a frigid start to the new year that pushed up prices and strained energy supplies. It could be just a taste of the region’s future.
“Taken together, the study results suggest that New England could be headed for significant levels of emergency actions, particularly during major fuel or resource outages,” ISO New England found in a new study.
Environmentalists have played a major role in killing pipeline projects meant to bring natural gas to the northeast. New Englanders can also thank Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the lack of pipeline capacity. Read more ☼
Frigid cold is why we need dependable energy
Anthony Watts / 11 hours ago January 16, 2018
Foreword by Paul Driessen
The United States has more coal than any other nation. With modern coal-fired power plants, it can be used to generate very inexpensive electricity, with virtually no significant pollution: about the only thing that comes out of the stacks today are water vapor and carbon dioxide, the miracle molecule that helps plants grow and makes life on Earth possible. Even though coal-based electricity has plummeted from 52% of all US electricity in 2008 to 30% by the time President Obama left office, it still helps to keep the lights on and keep people warm in all but a few states.
But as Tom Harris points out in this thought-provoking article, even under President Trump, the USA is a long way from taking full advantage of its mighty coal reserves – and the restrictions on coal use bring virtually no environmental or climate benefits. That’s because the scientific case for fossil fuels fueling “dangerous manmade climate change” grows weaker by the week – and because no developing countries are going to reduce their use of coal anytime soon. So any and all reductions in coal use and CO2 emissions by the United States bring zero benefits in the global arena. Read more ☼
Economists Say Carbon Taxes Increase Carbon Emissions
by Spencer Morrison
Most legislation especially the liberal bills tend to have really awful unintended consequences. That’s because their primary purpose is to change human behavior. Except humans aren’t always predictable. That’s what happens with Carbon Taxes. Instead of forcing the use of carbon-based fuels to diminish, economists say carbon taxes cause an increase the CO2 in the atmosphere.
As the hysteria over global warming heats up, carbon taxes have become the “cool” option. Environmentalists love them. So do politicians, who are more than happy to raise taxes while scoring political points.
Carbon taxes, or other analogous pricing schemes, are now prevalent in Western Europe, and are making headway in North America—California recently joined forces with the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec to create an integrated cap-and-trade carbon market.
Also, many well-known economists support carbon taxes. A relatively new report, written by thirteen leading economists under the direction of professors Nicholas Stern and Joseph Stiglitz, recommends the adoption of a global carbon tax. The tax would value carbon emissions somewhere between 50 and 100 USD per ton by 2030 and would cost upwards of $4 trillion. Theoretically, the tax would raise the cost of using carbon-intensive sources of energy, thereby nudging producers to switch from fossil fuels to “green energy” sources.
Theoretically, this makes sense, but reality’s a bitch.
Carbon taxes are just that: taxes. They’re a money-grab disguised with good intentions. Worse still, carbon taxes will not reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, adopting them in the West will actually raise global carbon emissions by offshoring economic activity from environmentally-friendly places, like the USA, to places with lax environmental laws, like China. Read more ☼
More renewables mean less stable grids, researchers find
by Tildy Bayar
Grid stability is likely to be increasingly challenged as power distribution moves from a centralized to a more decentralized model, new research has found.
According to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Energy by researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the UK’s Queen Mary University of London, integrating growing numbers of renewable power installations and microgrids onto the grid can result in larger-than-expected fluctuations in grid frequency.
The researchers collected data from grids of various sizes in Germany, France, the UK, Finland, Mallorca, Japan and the US. Based on this data, they developed mathematical models that “can establish the influence of making the grid smaller or of adding a bit more renewable energy” in order to aid in planning, said Professor Christian Beck of Queen Mary University, one of the paper’s co-authors.
The team found that small grids like Mallorca’s displayed larger frequency deviations than larger grids, such as continental Europe’s. And comparing different regions showed that a larger share of renewable generation resulted in larger frequency deviations. Read more ☼
STATE OF THE UNION
The Wall Is Not Enough. Here’s How to Solve Illegal Immigration.
By David Inserra
If President Trump and lawmakers really want to stop illegal immigration, here’s what to do: Expand the number of ICE officers, push back on sanctuary cities, expedite deportations, and increase the efficiency and number of immigration courts. Read more
President Trump has received much criticism about restricting immigration, but here is the law:
Title 8, Chapter 12, US Code 1182, courtesy of Cornell University Law’s website:
Paragraph (f): Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline. ☼
National Review: Reform the Antiquities Act
by Shawn Regan
The Antiquities Act has, in effect, become a tool for the executive branch to impose wide-ranging conservation protections by presidential fiat. Since 1996, more than 11 million acres of land have been designated as national monuments, primarily in rural western areas, and about 760 million acres of ocean as marine monuments. Past presidents have used the act to justify setting aside geological formations and natural landscapes and even to protect biodiversity, as in the case of Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou monument, created by President Bill Clinton in 2000. President Barack Obama was especially fond of the act, using it to create more monuments than any other president.
But regardless of how the legal action shakes out, one thing should be noted: The lands in question are still federally owned. Despite Patagonia’s claim that Trump “stole your land,” the lands remain public. Monument or not, they are still subject to strict laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. And, like all public lands, they remain protected through other, yet-broader federal laws such as the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, created in 1979 to protect ancient artifacts on public land from looting or desecration, and the National Historic Preservation Act, established in 1966 to protect historic structures on federal property.
In light of past monument abuses, Trump’s efforts to downsize monuments and loosen land-use restrictions may indeed be righting the wrongs of prior administrations. But what’s really needed is an overhaul of the Antiquities Act, and that may be on its way. This fall the House Natural Resources Committee approved a bill, introduced by Bishop, that would limit the size of monuments that can be designated by unilateral executive authority. Monuments of more than 640 acres would require public input, and large monuments, up to a maximum of 85,000 acres, would need approval from local and state lawmakers.
The proposed legislation would also clarify the scope of the Antiquities Act by limiting the types of resources that it can be used to protect. Bishop’s bill would define “objects of antiquity” as “relics,” “artifacts,” “skeletal remains,” “fossils,” and “certain buildings” already constructed. The bill would also codify the president’s power to reduce the size of monuments designated by predecessors.
Regardless of the bill’s outcome, the Antiquities Act should be recognized as an ineffective and inappropriate law that is incompatible with our American system of government, which typically rejects such wide-ranging executive authority. If nothing else, this much should be clear: If monument designations were good public policy, they wouldn’t require presidential proclamations. The same, of course, could be said of Trump’s unilateral monument reductions, should they withstand legal challenges. As long as such decisions are made by presidential decree, any particular outcome will be hopelessly uncertain and may last only as long as a president’s tenure in the White House — and that’s hardly an effective conservation strategy.
The only real solution is to get rid of the antiquated law that got us in this position in the first place. Congress should make the Antiquities Act a thing of the past and require that national monuments be established through individual legislative action, as is the case with national parks and federal wilderness areas. After all, if government is simply the word for the things we do together, as progressives like to tell us, then let’s actually govern together — even when it comes to our land-conservation policies.
– Mr. Regan is a research fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center in Bozeman, Montana. (Source) ☼
Australian Birds Steal Fire to Smoke Out Prey
By Mindy Weisberger
Grassland fires that are deadly and devastating events for many kinds of wildlife are a boon to certain types of birds known as fire foragers. These opportunists prey on animals fleeing from a blaze, or scavenge the remains of creatures that succumbed to the flames and the smoke.
But in Australia, some fire-foraging birds are also fire starters.
Three species of raptors — predatory birds with sharp beaks and talons, and keen eyesight — are widely known not only for lurking on the fringes of fires but also for snatching up smoldering grasses or branches and using them to kindle fresh flames, to smoke out mammal and insect prey.
Scientists recently collected and evaluated reports from Aboriginal and nonindigenous people of these so-called firehawks — black kites (Milvus migrans), whistling kites (Haliastur sphenurus) and brown falcons (Falco berigora) — to better understand this unusual behavior, and to evaluate its implications for fire management in regions where the birds are active, the researchers wrote in a new study.
Aboriginal people in some parts of northern Australia referenced the fire-spreading actions of firehawks in sacred rituals and noted numerous sightings of the firehawks. In total, the study authors identified 12 Aboriginal groups in which people described firsthand sightings of raptors deliberately setting new fires with smoldering brands salvaged from existing fires, acting on their own and cooperating with other birds. Read more ☼
“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.” —John Adams (1776)
“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
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1) Support private property rights.
2) Support multiple use management of federal lands for agriculture, livestock grazing, mining, oil and gas production, recreation, timber harvesting and water development activities.
3) Support a balance of environmental responsibility and economic benefit for all Americans by urging that environmental policy be based on good science and sound economic principles.
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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