Obama

How President Obama has increased our energy costs

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) has just released a report documenting “actions President Obama has taken to increase energy prices and to increase the costs of cars, trucks, appliances, ice makers, and a multitude of other items that use electricity.” The list covers the period from February, 2009, to September, 2014. The full list (available here) extends for 13 pages and provides links to individual actions. Here is a sampling from the list:

February 4, 2009

Cancelled 77 oil and gas leases in Utah that could cost American taxpayers millions in lost lease bids, production royalties, new jobs and the energy needed to offset rising imports of oil and gas.

March 30, 2009

Signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act into law. This $10 billion, 1200-page bill prohibited energy production on over 3 million acres of federal land, costing American jobs.

January 8, 2010

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for some consumer and commercial products including dishwashers, dehumidifiers, microwave ovens and clothes washers utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

February 17, 2010

Department of Energy notified Congress that it would reprogram $115 million Congress appropriated to continue the Yucca Mountain licensing process, and instead use it to terminate the only national repository for spent nuclear fuel under current law.

December 23, 2010

Interior Department announced a new “Wild Lands” Secretarial Order that could place hundreds of millions of acres of public lands off-limits to American energy production.

August 26, 2011

The Department of State concludes its 36–month environmental assessment of Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport as much as 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada per day to be refined and used in the US. The review found that no significant adverse impacts to the environment would result from the pipeline. Yet no action was taken to approve the pipeline.

January 9, 2012

Obama’s Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announces a 20-year ban on uranium mining on one million acres of federal land in Arizona.

February 3, 2012

Obama Administration announces plans to close off 75 percent of Western oil shale—of which 70 percent is on federal lands—to development.

January 18, 2013

Announced EPA regulations that would mandate costly upgrades to Arizona’s coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. Such changes would increase power and could impact water prices in Arizona as well. The local Navajo reservation could also see increased unemployment due to regulatory impacts.

November 15, 2013

Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) levels outlining the levels of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel fuel in 2014. The proposal calls for 17 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels in 2014. As of August 2014 producers have only been able to generate 72,000 gallons due to cost and complexity of the process.

April 18, 2014

Delayed final judgment again on Keystone XL pipeline that would deliver millions of barrels of oil from Canada and states like North Dakota to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The project has been blocked by the Obama Administration since 2008.

Remember, the whole list covers 13 pages. What I’ve listed above is about one page.

The Obama administration, especially the EPA, has been in collusion with radical environmental groups to stifle energy production. Anthony Watts has a report on his blog showing that “FOIA’d Emails show outside ‘green’ lobby groups staffed up, collude with Obama EPA, calling rules’ legality into question.” See his full post here. It begins:

The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal)

released a report today [Sep. 15] revealing and piecing together dozens of emails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which lay out in detail EPA’s collusion with senior activists within environmentalist pressure groups, and proving the real thinking about the intent behind and impact of EPA’s “climate” regulations.

Far from the required recusing to avoid the appearance of a conflict, EPA filled its senior political ranks with green pressure group activists, continuing their life’s work and coordinating with former colleagues from their new positions in government. These emails show the groups sharing jokes about EPA assurances that it isn’t waging a war on coal, and gloating about the courts serially siding with EPA as it rewrites federal environmental law. More important, they show the special role and undue influence these relationships provided, the very sort of influence the Obama Administration once disavowed.

Obama claims that he is for “all of the above” on types of energy production, but in practice, it seems that “all of the above” does not include things that actually work.

See also:

Obama Clueless on Energy – Part 1

Obama Clueless on Energy – Part 2

Obama administration still clueless on energy

Obama, the Keystone Cop-out

Obama’s April Fools Joke

Obama’s Climate Action Plan is Clueless and Dangerous

Advertisements

National Climate Assessment Report = science fiction and politics

The new National Climate Assessment report (NCA) is an attempt by the Obama administration to scare us with dire predictions of gloom and doom and thereby justify his climate action plan and ruinous energy policy. It is sad to see such a perversion of science.  Here is a sampling of comments:

Follow the money:

Frank Beckmann writes in the Detroit News, “The administration, anxious to continue taxpayer-provided subsidies to politically-favored green energy firms that return the favor with campaign contributions to Democrats, claims it used the expertise of hundreds of ‘experts’ to come up with the findings. A cursory glance of the participants shows no participation by climate realists but leading report authors from environmental political action groups like Second Nature, The Nature Conservancy, Planet Forward, and the misnamed Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that is not made up of scientists at all and which also advocates for unilateral U.S. nuclear disarmament.”

Follow the science:

Paul C. Knappenberger of the CATO Institute succinctly sums up the theme of the report in a Washington Times Article: “Let’s get one thing clear: The National Climate Assessment is a political call to action document meant for the president’s left-leaning constituency. What pretense of scientific support that decorates it quickly falls away under a close and critical inspection.”

Knappenberger also debunks the NCA claim that heat waves are causing more deaths.

Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and former Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, takes on the NCA point by point here. Among his points are:

“..there is no way to know whether the global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities [as claimed by NCA, because there is no fingerprint of human-caused versus naturally-caused climate change. To claim the changes are ‘unprecedented’ cannot be demonstrated with reliable data, and are contradicted by some published paleoclimate data which suggests most centuries experience substantial warming or cooling.”

There is “no sign of climate change impacts on agricultural yields. There are always natural fluctuations, but if there is any negative human-induced impact, it is swamped by the increasing yields due to improved agricultural practices, seed varieties, and very likely CO2 fertilization.”

Dr. Judith Curry, Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, comments:

“My main conclusion from reading the report is this: the phrase ‘climate change’ is now officially meaningless. The report effectively implies that there is no climate change other than what is caused by humans, and that extreme weather events are equivalent to climate change. Any increase in adverse impacts from extreme weather events or sea level rise is caused by humans. Possible scenarios of future climate change depend only on emissions scenarios that are translated into warming by climate models that produce far more warming than has recently been observed.”

Wryheat comments:

The National Climate Assessment claims that effects of global warming are already happening and causing increases in extreme weather events and wildfires. Well, let’s look at the data.
Wildfires: Data from the National Interagency Fire Center shows that the number of wildfires has been steadily decreasing since 1960. The number of acres burned, however, has been increasing since about 1995 due in part to changes in forest management under the Endangered Species Act. For more details see Wildfires and Warming.
Heatwaves: Looks like the 1930s surpass any we’ve experienced recently.

Heatwave Index

Droughts: No trend since 1900

Drought-trend

 

Unusually wet weather: No trend since 1900

Wet-weather-trend

 

Hurricanes: Variable, but decreasing trend since 1993

Hurricane-trend

For more data on extreme weather see the WUWT extreme weather page.
The National Climate Assessment also worries about sea level rise, although sea level has been rising naturally for the past 18,000 years. The rate of sea level rise is cyclical on decadal and multi-decadal time scales, but overall, the rate is decreasing even as the planet warms, (see Sea Level Rising?).

For real, peer-reviewed science, see Climate Change Reconsidered II (CCR-II), an independent, comprehensive, and authoritative report on the current state of climate science. It is produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an international network of climate scientists sponsored by three nonprofit organizations: the Science and Environmental Policy Project, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and The Heartland Institute.

I provide summaries of and links to these reports here:
Climate Change Reconsidered II- Physical Science
Climate Change Reconsidered II – Biological Impact

 

UPDATE: Dr. Don J. Easterbrook takes the NCA apart by showing how the assertions and claims have no basis in fact.  Easterbrook concludes:

How well do the NCA assertions compare with real data? As can be seen from the data above, they diverge wildly from real data. The report is filled with wild distortions and outright fabrications. If we apply Feynman’s scientific method (if an assertion disagrees with observations or data, it is wrong) to the NCA report, we can only conclude that the report fails badly. One can only wonder why the so-called scientists who wrote the report could possibly justify making such unsupported assertions contrary to hard data.

A substantial part of the report emphasizes weather events (drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, etc). The authors don’t seem to know the difference between weatherand climate. None of the ‘extreme events’ they cite have any meaning whatsoever to climate. Single weather events can happen at any time, regardless of the climate.

The authors also don’t seem to be able to distinguish cause-and-effect relationships from artificial scenarios. They frequently point to ‘global warming’ as if that somehow proves it was caused by CO2,totally ignoring vast amounts of data showing that CO2 always lagswarming, even on a short term basis. If COlags warming, it can’t be the cause of the warming!

The most obvious shortcoming of the NCA report is all of the assertions that are contrary to hard data. But the report is also weakened by the wholesale ignoring of relevant data. Rather than discussing data and justifying their assertions, the authors simply disregard any data that doesn’t fit their scenarios.

From these observations, one can only conclude that the report is really not a scientific document at all, but rather a huge political propaganda effort.   Read full post here.

Obama Crony Capitalism and Green Tech Failures

As part of President Obama’s “war on coal” and fossil fuels in general, his administration has provided more than $100 billion to so called “green tech” or “clean tech” companies, most of which have gone bankrupt or somehow “disappeared” the money.

CBS 60 Minutes aired a show on January 5, 2014 exploring part of this issue (see video and transcript here).  “Hoping to create innovation and jobs, he [Obama] committed north of a $100 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks to Cleantech.  But instead of breakthroughs, the sector suffered a string of expensive tax-funded flops. Suddenly Cleantech was a dirty word.” Up to now, CBS 60 Minutes has been in the climate alarmist camp.  But with this report they are regarded by alarmist media as having “turned” and that media are attacking CBS (see here).

China is snapping up some of these failed companies.  CBS notes that the Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang has bought up 27 plants in 13 states with some 6,000 American workers.  Most of these failed companies made batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles. A company spokesman says that every third car made in the U.S. now has Wanxiang parts.”  Made in America takes on a new meaning under Obama.

On January 6, 2014, Fox News’ Kelly File program took up the story and added some things that CBS left out (see video here).  According to Fox News, of the approximately $100 billion that the Obama gave to green tech companies, 80 percent went to donors to Obama’s campaign and to other Democrats.  For every dollar those fund-raisers gave, they made back $25,000.  Such a deal.

Back in October, 2012, the Heritage Foundation provided a list of 34 companies that received government subsidies or loan guarantees, but had gone bankrupt or are laying off workers and heading for bankruptcy (see article here).  Heritage opines, “The government’s picking winners and losers in the energy market has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and the rate of failure, cronyism, and corruption at the companies receiving the subsidies is substantial.”

The money wasted on “green energy” could have been better spent on other things such as finding a cure for cancer.  Or the government could have saved us all money by not spending it at all.  The real question is “where did all that money go?” Is it parked in some off-shore bank accounts?

See also (links  update):

Your tax dollars at work and play

The hypocrisy of Obama’s energy boasts

Obama’s Climate Action Plan is Clueless and Dangerous

The Real State of the Union – 2014

After five years of Obama’s ideologically-driven policy and incompetence:

budget-deficit.jpeg-372x307

The deficit for fiscal year 2013 was “only” $973 billion. The total U.S. national debt is $17.3 trillion as of January 30, 2014.

Some other Obama numbers (from Mark Alexander, Patriot Post):

10.4 million: Americans unemployed – not counting three million more Americans who have given up looking for work.

7.8 million: Americans working part-time who would like to work full-time.

46%: 18- to 34-year-old Americans unemployed under Obama (many of whom voted for him).

63%: Labor force participation rate as of January 2014 under Obama.

1978: The last time the labor force participation rate was this low.

46.5 million: Americans now living in poverty by U.S. standards.

6.7 million: Americans who have fallen into poverty under Obama.

47.6 million: Americans receiving food stamps.

19.4 million: Americans added to food stamp rolls under Obama.

$3,827: Decline in median household income under Obama.

721,000: Construction jobs lost under Obama.

528,000: Manufacturing jobs lost under Obama.

44%: Recent college graduates in jobs that do not require a college degree.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has just released it annual report on government regulation and spending.

Highlights of the report:

• Total costs for Americans to comply with federal regulations reached $1.806 trillion in 2012. For the first time, this amounts to more than half of total federal spending. It is more than the GDPs of Canada or Mexico.

• This is the 20th anniversary of Ten Thousand Commandments. In the 20 years of publication, 81,883 final rules have been issued. That’s more than 3,500 per year or about nine per day.

• The Anti-Democracy Index – the ratio of regulations issued to laws passed by Congress and signed by the president – stood at 29 for 2012. That’s 127 new laws and 3,708 new rules – or a new rule every 2 ½ hours.

• Regulatory costs amount to $14,678 per family – 23 percent of the average household income of $63,685 and 30 percent of the expenditure budget of $49,705 and more than receipts from corporate and personal income taxes combined.

• Combined with $3.53 trillion in federal spending, Washington’s share of the economy now reaches 34.4 percent. Read full report here.

The roll-out of Obamacare caused and will continue to cause great disruption. Officially called the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” we are finding that it does neither. People are finding it unaffordable and are losing their doctors. The Act itself contains more than 2,500 pages and 500,000 words (the U.S. Constitution contains about 4,500 words). Since Obamacare passed, various agencies of government have issued more than 70,000 pages of regulations and guidance to implement it. See a CATO report “Obamacare What We Know Now.

CATO: “Health care reform was designed to accomplish three goals: provide health insurance coverage for all Americans, reduce insurance costs for individuals, businesses, and government, and increase the quality of health care and the value received for each dollar of health care spending. With nearly four years of experience since the law passed, and with the most significant provisions finally kicking in, we can say that, judged by these goals, the new law should be considered a colossal failure.”

Last year Obama said, “It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government…” But Obama’s government was not smart enough to produce an operating website. He also said last year, “Our government shouldn’t make promises we cannot keep – but we must keep the promises we’ve already made.” And if you like your doctor….

And speaking of a smarter government, the Obama administration managed to blow $100 billion in loans, grants and tax breaks to alternative energy schemes that went bankrupt or are about to. Of the approximately $100 billion that Obama gave to green tech companies, 80 percent went to donors to Obama’s campaign and to other Democrats. For every dollar those fund-raisers gave, they made back $25,000.(See story here).

This year Obama claimed, “America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades. … The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.”

Climate change has been a fact for about 4 billion years, but the debate is not settled as shown by the abject failure of climate models to jive with observations.

As for energy independence, it is true that America produces more oil and gas than ever before, but that new production came from private and state land. Production from federal land decreased due to Obama’s obstructionist policies. (Read more)

Obama’s official, but futile policy to do something about climate change will adversely affect scientific research. Steven Goddard, proprietor of the blog “Real Science” opines that by declaring an official and unassailable scientific position on “climate change”- it is now career threatening for any government scientist to produce evidence to the contrary. Undoubtedly the most disgusting anti-science event in US history. Climate change is a completely vague, nebulous, undefinable concept, so Obama can use his decree as an excuse to purge anyone who doesn’t fall in line.

Meanwhile, the EPA is conducting a war against natural resource production, electrical generation, the economy, and jobs.

“A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must, in practice, be a bad government.” –Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833

That’s the real state of the union.

Obama’s Climate Action Plan is Clueless and Dangerous

The Obama administration has been marked by many scandals and questionable policies demonstrating its incompetence in leadership, its sleaziness, and its disregard for the Constitution.  If  Benghazi, the IRS, AP/Fox and NSA scandals were not enough, Obama’s Climate Action Plan, may be his stupidest policy (even considering Obamacare).  Remember Bill Clinton’s admonition: “It’s the economy, stupid?”

Obama’s war on coal and carbon dioxide will have the effect of making everything more expensive and endanger our electricity supply.  The Heritage Foundation estimates that Obama’s anti-coal policies will cause a family of four to lose more than $1,000 in annual income. The Science and Public Policy Institute estimates that Obama’s proposed reduction in carbon dioxide emissions might, theoretically, reduce the global temperature by 0.17 degrees Celsius by the year 2100.  Much more pain than gain.  Obama’s plan will harm America.  Is he doing it through sheer naive zealotry or by calculated intention?

Obama’s plan aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3 billion metric tons by 2030.   Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University says,  “It’s amazing how little this all actually does.” “In many ways, this makes things worse.”  How? One scheme to reduce emissions is by carbon capture (and storage) at electrical generating plants.  The trouble is that such systems use about 40% of the energy produced so that they may actual result in more emissions.  So called “clean coal” systems would almost double the cost of electricity produced from natural gas and coal, making it almost as expensive as wind-generated electricity.  The feasibility of this scheme is questionable since the technology is largely unproven.

The usually liberal Washington Post opines:

“If you accept the science of global warming, then you accept the fact that the president’s unilateral action on climate change will have absolutely no effect in terms of adjusting the global thermostat to a temperature Obama finds desirable. The rest of the developing world, anchored by India and China, are building carbon-burning factories, power plants and even whole new cities that will overwhelm any new rules the president may impose on Americans and our struggling economy.”

Meteorologist Anthony Watts, proprietor of the “Watts Up With That?” blog has an analysis of the plan in which he makes these points:

→More hand-outs for an already bloated climate science culture, $2.7 billion in FY 2014.

→More regulations on existing power plants, as if they don’t have enough already. This will translate into higher electricity prices everywhere.

→The trucking industry is going to get hit again. This will translate into higher cost for goods.

→Fast-tracking green energy – more pie in the sky since just about every green initiative and handout in Obama’s first term has ended in failure.

→No comprehensive nuclear power plan, no mention of a Thorium reactor initiative, much like China is doing.

→Giveaways: approximately $7.5 billion for climate assistance to developing countries.

As British blogger Bishop Hill (Andrew Montford) opines, “The general theme seems to be some more fixing of markets to favor his supporters in the renewables industry and some more regulations to tie up the fossil fuel bogeyman.”

In some respects, Obama’s plan seems largely to appease environmental activists whose support he has been losing. For instance, The Huffington Post reports: “President Barack Obama will ask the State Department not to approve the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline unless it can first determine that it will not lead to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Anthony Watts responds: “Well, the State Department has already found that Keystone XL will have no impact on the climate because Canada will still develop its oil sands. In fact, if Keystone XL isn’t built, global greenhouse gas emissions are likely to increase because more oil sands crude would be refined in countries like China where current emissions standards allow three times more sulfur dioxide than in the United States. Canada accounts for only 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions and emissions from oil sands are a small fraction of that.”

The Competitive Enterprise Institute opines that Obama’s plan is “undemocratic, bordering on authoritarian, disingenuous on Keystone” and that it “is being done without public or congressional support and is being pursued in this way because he knows the peoples’ elected representatives would never approve these plans.”  Furthermore, “Obama’s all-pain, no-gain agenda will cost jobs, drive up prices and have little effect on global emissions.”

Dr. Tim Ball, retired climatology professor from the University of Winnipeg, says that Obama’s climate speech was “riddled with lies.”  “President Barack Obama’s naïve and error-riddled speech at Georgetown University…clearly demonstrated that he is serious about trying to stop global climate change.” “Obama also seems oblivious to real-world economic evidence that the policy path on which he is setting the U.S. has already been tried and has failed in other countries.”

The Washington Times claims: “Mr. Obama is about to hammer the American energy industry, and he’s doing it for money.”

The Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil not only from Canada, but also from the booming oil fields of North Dakota.  Currently, the North Dakota production is carried by rail, specifically Warren Buffet’s Burlington Northern railroad.  Mr. Buffet also owns Union Tank Car, one of the biggest makers of oil tank railcars.

“Running Mr. Buffett’s name through the Federal Election Commission data bank reveals page after page of contributions to Mr. Obama and every conceivable Democratic Party-affiliated organization, amounting to uncounted millions.”

The common theme in the Obama administration scandals is abuse of power or incompetence. Mr. Obama, in his climate address, claims he is doing it “for the children.”  Yeah right!

Obama calls carbon dioxide a pollutant, even though it is necessary for all life on the planet. For some real science on the beneficial effects of carbon dioxide see an editorial from the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change here.

(This article was originally published in the Arizona Daily Independent)

See also:

Big Wind gets “get out of jail free card” from Obama Administration

Regulating behind closed doors, the cozy relationship between the Feds and environmental groups

Another Obama scandal may be brewing at the EPA

 

The hypocrisy of Obama’s energy boasts

“The measure of a man is what he does with power”-Plato

President Obama has several times claimed, “that under my Administration oil production is higher than it has been in a decade or more.” That is a true, but misleading, statement because during the period FY2007 through FY2012, all of the increased oil and gas production came from private and state land, over which Obama had no control, meanwhile production from federal lands, over which he does have control, decreased.  Obama was hypocritically taking credit for positive events that happened in spite of his policies.

That assertion comes from a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, “U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Production in Federal and Non-Federal Areas.” Here are the data graphically:

Oil-production-1

Gas-production-1

This result reflects the use of fracking on State and private land and the de facto moratorium on leasing Federal land.

According to the CRS report, “On non-federal lands, there were modest fluctuations in oil production from fiscal years (FY) 2008-2010, then a significant increase from FY2010 to FY2012 increasing total U.S. oil production by about 1.1 million barrels per day over FY2007 production levels. All of the increase from FY2007 to FY2012 took place on non-federal lands, and the federal share of total U.S. crude oil production fell by about seven percentage points.”

“The shale gas boom has resulted in rising supplies of natural gas. Overall, U.S. natural gas production rose by four trillion cubic feet or 20% since 2007, while production on federal lands (onshore and offshore) fell by about 33% and production on non-federal lands grew by 40%.”

CRS also says that the bureaucratic burden of drilling on Federal land is much more burdensome than on state or private land, and concludes that production from Federal land will remain lower because “the regulatory framework for developing resources on federal lands will likely remain more involved and time-consuming than that on private land.” CRS notes that time to process drilling permits rose from 218 days in 2006 to 307 days in 2011.

There is great potential for discovery and production of oil and gas on Federal land, including off-shore drilling. However, as noted by Investor’s Business Daily, President Obama chose instead “to withdraw tracts of federal land that had already been cleared for oil and gas development” and he ignored a judge’s order to lift a ban on off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. In effect, Obama administration policies close about 85% of potential off-shore areas to drilling.

The Wall Street Journal reports: “Mr. Obama has blocked exploration and production on significant areas of the Outer Continental Shelf, and the few leases he has put up for auction contain land that is of little value to drillers….The U.S. oil and gas boom has been a rare bright spot in the otherwise gloomy Obama economy. Imagine how much more energy the U.S. could produce, and how many more high-paid jobs it could create, if the Obama Administration stopped being an obstacle.”

See also:

Open federal land to energy exploration and development to boost economy

President Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy isn’t

Obama’s April Fools Joke Shows off-shore areas still blocked by Obama policy

Were Obama and Romney derelict in not discussing climate change during their debates?

That question was the subject of “yes-no” editorial pair in the Arizona Daily Star today. The way the two views were handled is revealing.

The “yes side” was written by Joseph Nevins is an associate professor of geography at Vassar College. His essay was essentially a rant about the evils of capitalism. He used emotive phrases such as “climate crisis” and set up straw men implications that drought, wildfires and hurricane Sandy were the results of human-caused climate change. He failed to present any supporting physical evidence.

The “no side” was written by Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. She said it was “a good thing because policies enacted to fight global warming hurt people. Anti-global-warming policies are crafted to raise the price of energy to deter its use. They cause inflation and kill jobs.” And, “Even anti-global-warming activists admit the policies they fight for won’t have a meaningful impact on global temperatures. Too little, they say.”

Ridenour points out that the major carbon dioxide emissions of the future will be in China and India – out of control of American policy.

Ridenour also provides some physical evidence that carbon dioxide forcing is not a major factor: “Data collected from 3,000 land and sea locations around the globe and jointly released last month by Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre (HADCRUT) and the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia show that from early 1997 until August 2012 there was no noticeable rise in global temperatures.”

The-pause-temp-1996-2013I have added the graph of HADCRUT data. A version of this graph was published in the British Daily Mail here (The link provides a discussion of the reaction to these results).

This “pause” in global warming shows that forcing by carbon dioxide is very weak compared to the forcings of natural variation. This “pause” is also contrary to what climate models predict, indicating that the models are not programmed to reflect reality.

In my opinion, this point-counterpoint editorial pair was valuable because it shows the nature of the argument. The “alarmist’s” fact-free diatribe demonstrates the truth of Mencken’s admonition: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

The “skeptic’s” side is more akin to Dragnet’s Sgt. Joe Friday who implored informants to provide “Just the facts, ma’am.”

See also:

A Perspective on Climate Change a tutorial

Carbon Dioxide and the Greenhouse Effect

Humans and the Carbon Cycle

Droughts in the Southwest put in perspective

Hurricane Sandy in perspective

The electoral college – pros and cons

After many elections, there are often calls to abolish the electoral college method of choosing our president and vice president. (We note that this year, Arizona governor Jan Brewer voiced such an opinion.) We, the people, do not elect the president and vice president directly by popular vote. Instead, we elect a slate of “electors” who are pledged to particular candidates for president and vice president (24 states have laws that punish “faithless” electors, those who don’t honor their pledge). The manner in which each state selects electors is up to the state’s legislature. These electors meet on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December in each state capitol, at which time they cast their electoral votes on separate ballots for President and Vice President.

An original proposal at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was that Congress select the president and vice president, but this was finally considered to make the president too beholden to Congress. The electoral college was a compromise between the big and small states and reflects the fact that our country is a union of states.

Each state has a number of electors equal to its Congressional representation (senators plus representatives). Also, the District of Columbia has three electors. In nearly all states, the winner of the popular vote in the state gets all the state’s electors.

Why not have a direct popular vote? Arguments have been that a direct popular vote would cause candidates to ignore rural areas and small states of the heartland and concentrate on the large population centers of the coasts. That same argument is put forth against the electoral method because it forces candidates to focus on “swing” states. For instance, it is possible to win the election by winning just eleven states and disregarding the rest of the country: California (55 votes), Texas (38), New York (29), Florida (29), Illinois (20), Pennsylvania (20), Ohio (18), Michigan (16), Georgia (16), North Carolina (15), and New Jersey (14) equal the currently required 270 electoral votes.

But, even with a “majority rule” popular vote, the majority may not rule.

For instance, in six postwar elections–1948, 1960, 1968, 1992, 1996, and 2000–no candidate had a popular majority. In the 2000 Bush-Gore contest, Bush got 47.9% of the nationwide popular vote versus Gore’s 48.4%. Neither got the majority of voters. In 1992, Bill Clinton won with only 43% of the popular vote (George H.W. Bush got 37.5%; Ross Perot got 19%). This was similar to the 1968 race in which Nixon won against Humphrey. Nixon got 43.4% of popular vote, Humphrey got 42.7% and George Wallace got 13.5%. The electoral college transforms a popular plurality into a majority and a small majority into a bigger majority, thereby providing a more satisfying outcome.

What about apportioning a state’s electoral votes based on the popular vote? This has been suggested, but others claim such a system promotes fraud and could lead to lawsuits and challenges in every county in which the vote count was close.

The current system has a popular component within each state and gives each state a say in the federal union. I’m sure the debate will continue.

Obama’s undercover EPA regulations

As described by Steven J. Milloy:

The mainstream media has been noticeably silent on EPA plans for the country … a slew of new rules and regulations to go into effect after November 7th that Obama has ordered be kept under wraps until after the election. What this Administration doesn’t want American families to know is precisely what they need to know.

 The US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Minority Staff recently released a report on the upcoming EPA rules and regulations that, it said, will “eliminate American jobs, drive up the price of gas at the pump even more, impose construction bans on local communities, and essentially shut down American oil, natural gas, and coal production. They don’t want this economic pain to hit American families just before the election because it would cost President Obama votes.”

 The Senate report, A Look Ahead to EPA Regulations for 2013, looked at 13 of these new regulations, noting that they will hit American families, the poor, and those on fixed incomes especially hard, as Americans struggle more than ever in this economy and have already seen their energy costs skyrocket over the past four years.

 The entire report is a must read, but here are a few examples of what is being planned for us:

 New greenhouse gas regulations will no longer just affect coal plants, but will regulate churches, schools, restaurants, hospitals and farms, putting an enormous burden on Americans. “President Obama himself warned [these] would be worse than global warming cap-and-trade legislation,” said the Senate report. The new regulations will cost more than $300 to $400 billion a year and significantly raise the price of gas at the pump and energy in homes.

 Farms, for example, will be required to comply with costly permit mandates and have to pay a “cow tax” on each animal and an annual fee on greenhouse gases emitted. EPA estimates that over 37,000 farms and ranches will be subject to greenhouse gas permits, at an average cost of $23,000 per permit each year, affecting over 90% of the livestock production in the country. “The EPA will proceed to issue regulations, industry by industry, until virtually every aspect of the American economy is constrained by strict regulatory requirements and high energy prices.”

 New ozone rules will cost $90 billion a year by EPA estimates, while other studies have projected costs upwards of a trillion dollars and destroy 7.4 million jobs, the report found. Large numbers of companies, by EPA’s own projections, will be unable to meet the stringent restrictions and are expected to close.

 Natural gas fracturing regulations will severely impact energy production, resulting in new permits and well workovers costing $1.499 Billion to $1.615 Billion a year. At least “14 Federal agencies are working to regulate hydraulic fracturing at the federal level, so that they can limit and eventually stop the practice altogether,” the report revealed.

 Clean Water Act new guidelines would allow EPA to expand federal control over virtually every body of water in the country, no matter how small, the report described.

 Final stormwater regulations proposed by the EPA would become “the most expensive rule in EPA history,” according to the Senate. It would establish for the first time, standards for post-construction runoff, mandate cities to change existing buildings, stormwater sewers and streets, “and mandate the use of ‘green infrastructure’ techniques (like ‘green roofs,’ rain gardens, permeable pavement) to replace conventional stormwater management practices.”

 New Gas regulations called Tier III, would lower the sulfur content in gasoline to from 30 to 10 parts per million at a cost of up to $10 billion initially and $2.4 billion each year. That would add another 9 cents per gallon in manufacturing costs, cost that will be passed on to consumers at the pump.

 Farm Dust Regulations being proposed are so tightened, they would be below the dust created during normal farming operations and be impossible for rural American farms to meet.

 The report goes on in more detail about the planned regulatory onslaught. It also describes the war on coal, which includes the EPA obstructing 190 coal mining permits, jeopardizing 18,000 jobs, and trying to stop permits that have already been granted. It describes the war on oil and natural gas, such as EPA alleging water contamination from fracturing, even when it was unable to find supportive evidence and quietly withdrew the scares after the damage had been done to companies and had frightened homeowners.

 You can read the entire Senate report here.

 See also:

Electricity supply endangered by EPA regulations

BREAKING: Court tosses EPA Cross-state air pollution rule

EPA versus Arizona on regional haze issue

EPA war on coal threatens Tucson water supply

EPA fuel standards costly and ineffective

EPA, ethanol, and catch 22

EPA Admits CO2 Regulation Ineffective

How Many Haz-Mat Suits Do You Need to Change a Lightbulb?

“Forward” with Obama

Obama’s new campaign slogan has a history

Obama’s previous campaign was about “Hope & Change.” But it seems that mere “Hope” was not enough when competent action was required. The “Change” part doesn’t seem to be working either.

According to Investor’s Business Daily the change so far is:

• Median incomes: These have fallen 7.3% since Obama took office, which translates into an average of $4,000. Since the so-called recovery started, median incomes continued to fall, dropping $2,544, or 4.8%.

 • Long-term unemployed: More than three years into Obama’s recovery, 811,000 more still fall into this category than when the recession ended.

 • Poverty: The poverty rate climbed to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009, and economists think it may have hit 15.7% last year, highest since the 1960s.

 • Food stamps: There are 11.8 million more people on food stamps since Obama’s recovery started.

 • Disability: More than 1 million workers have been added to Social Security’s disability program in the last three years.

 • Gas prices: A gallon of gas cost $1.89 when Obama was sworn in. By June 2009, the price was $2.70. Today, it’s $3.84.

 • Misery Index: When Obama took office, the combination of unemployment and inflation stood at 7.83. Today it’s 9.71.

 • Union membership: Even unions are worse off under Obama, with membership dropping half a million between 2009 and 2011.

 • Debt: Everyone is far worse off if you just look at the national debt. It has climbed more than $5 trillion under Obama, crossing $16 trillion for the first time on Tuesday and driving the U.S. credit rating down.

So the Obama campaign has come up with a new slogan:

forward

The slogan “Forward” has been used before, probably just a coincidence:

forward2

forward3

Is this the “Forward” you want?

See also:

The Collectivist Mind

Reclaiming Americanism and the Constitution

Personal Responsibility and Independence

Freedom, Morality, and Ignorance