Sunday, October 30, 2011

Killing Energy, Killing Jobs, Killing America

By Alan Caruba

America has been under attack since Barack Obama took the oath of office on January 20, 2009. The primary target has been the nation’s ability to generate energy for electricity and transportation, without which this nation will slide into Third World status and economic decline.

This appears to be the goal of this administration from the President to his Secretaries of Energy and Interior, to his Director of the Environmental Protection Agency. There is no other rational explanation for what they are doing.

We are days away from the latest Environmental Protection Agency assault in the form of the “MACT” rule allegedly to reduce mercury and other emissions that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says will reduce electricity generation in America by about 81 gigawatts in the years ahead. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial said “this could compromise the reliability of the electric system if as much as 8% of generating capacity is subtracted from the grid.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that eleven Governors have written the EPA to ask that it delay the final rule in November. Twenty-five state Attorneys Generals have filed suit “to lift a legal document known as a consent decree that the EPA is using as a fig leaf for its political goals.”

As but one example, in Illinois, Ameron announced the planned shutdown of its Meredosia and Hutsonville energy centers, The Meredosia center generates 369 megawatts. The Hutsonville center has a generating capacity of 151 megawatts.

The EPA, even before the Obama administration, has been using the 1970 Clean Air Act to bludgeon the nation’s ability to access the energy resources required to generate electricity, primarily coal that provides 50% of such generation, and oil that fuels our transportation capability.

In late October, James J. Mulva, the CEO of Conoco-Phillips, addressed the subject of the growing discoveries of natural gas being found throughout the nation. “More than 600,000 Americans already explore, produce, store and produce natural gas, according to consultancy IHS Global Insight.”

At least 15 states now produce shale gas and others may join them,” noting that the largest shale area, the Marcellus which covers much of the Northeast” “already supports 140,000 jobs in Pennsylvania alone.”

The Obama administration, beginning with the president’s admitted goal of shutting down as much of the coal industry as possible, has demonstrated his intention of deterring the provision of energy. When the BP Oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the administration imposed a moratorium on all drilling. The decreased production cost 360,000 barrels a day in addition to lost jobs related to oil drilling in the Gulf. Rigs that are needed to drill have since been moved to other sites around the world.

The U.S. is home to more than 150 billion barrels of conventional oil that has the capability of generating thousands of new jobs if access to it was permitted. The most immediate result has been the rise in the cost of gasoline at the pump. Two courts ordered that the moratorium be lifted.

Oil companies currently pay more than $30 billion a year in federal, state, and local taxes. Meanwhile the Obama administration has been wasting billions in loan guarantees to essentially useless solar and wind power companies, the latest of which, Solyandra, will cost taxpayers millions when the solar panel producer went belly-up. Others will follow.

Meanwhile, the President crisscrosses the nations demanding higher taxes on companies engaged in coal, oil and natural gas. When Jimmy Carter imposed a windfall tax on oil companies many ceased to explore for new sources here, moving their efforts to other nations. Today, by withholding the necessary permits to produce energy in Alaska, the Trans Alaska Pipeline System is operating at one third of its capacity.

A proposed pipeline from Canada still awaits approval and, on November 6th, led by the Sierra Club, the largest protest against its tar sands is expected to draw thousands to Washington, D.C. to join hands and circle the White House to ensure the Keystone XL pipeline is kept from providing the U.S. with the oil extracted. The proposed pipeline would reduce the U.S. dependence on Middle East oil. The U.S. already has more than 50,000 safely operating oil pipelines to support our transportation and other needs.

In January 2010, Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, warned that the Obama administration “continues to embrace Washington-dominated, command-and-control energy policies focused on mandates, subsidies, and political favors—not market forces.” He criticized “subsidizing one form of energy,” wind and solar, “while restricting the exploration of another,” warning that it “will lead to several measurable outcomes, increasing energy prices across the board, fewer jobs, and a weaker footing in the global economy..”

Nearly two years later, that warning has come true with a vengeance.

Oil, coal, or natural gas, it doesn’t matter to an administration and a president determined to restrict the amount of energy Americans need for their present and future needs. The result, in part, has been a stalled energy sector and a contributing factor in an economy with an estimated 20 million unemployed or under-employed.

The losses in income taxes and the taxes paid by this industry sector, in addition to the hideous borrowing and spending by the Obama administration is doing enormous harm to America and yet Barack Obama wants a second term in office.

Little wonder that Americans fear for the future of the nation.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Difficulty of Predicting the End of the World

By Alan Caruba

I am beginning to feel sorry for Pastor Harold Camping who predicted the end of the world would occur on May 21, 2011 and, when it didn’t, predicted that it would end on October 21 instead. Oops.

The fact is that men of varying theological and astrological inclinations have been predicting the end of the world for a very long time. Predictions can be found in Hindu, Taoist, Scandinavian, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim eschatology—the branch of theology that is devoted to final events.

There is brief mention of it in Jewish literature but the term “messiah” referred to a human leader who would lead the Jews out of bondage and unite the nation. The most famous is Moses in the story of Exodus until Christians adopted the belief that Jesus was, in fact, the messiah and would return. Similarly, the Muslims adapted this to refer to the Twelfth Imam, a mythical figure whose return would be hastened by all manner of earthly death and destruction.

The very fact that all major faith systems have some version of a messiah or an end of the world story suggests that the fear of this event is deeply imbedded in human psychology and no doubt is related to the fact that we all die at some point. Conveniently, most religions have their version of what will occur when that happens and usually have a destination such as heaven or paradise for those who have lived moral lives and hell for those who have not. A Hindu gets to come back, but must dodge doing so as a cockroach.

The most famous prediction is the Mayan one that predicts December 21, 2012 as the end of the world. Technically, the calendar began on August 13, 3114 BC and the cycle it asserted ends in December 2012. Its longevity is testament the fascination that the Mayan calendar has evoked. Need it be said that Mayan civilization is no more, so in that sense it was accurate, but off by several thousand years.

In its most basic terms, the end of the world ends for every one of us when we die. Human vanity, being what it is, most of us can barely conceive of the world without our being in it. Some religions preach that we should embrace death and an afterlife while others, more pragmatic, suggest we make the best of the one we have in the here and now.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in the course of his soliloquy about suicide refers to “the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns” while Macbeth laments, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time” concluding it is “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, said we should “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

We are besieged by scientists who keep telling us that a stray asteroid could destroy the Earth by randomly colliding with it out of the great vastness of space. Others content themselves with calculating when the Sun will go supernova billions of years hence. Then there are the known extinctions that coincided with magnetic reversals.

In the1970s the United Nations climate clowns cooked up a huge hoax about global warming which has gone awry thanks to another completely predictable and natural cooling cycle that began in the late 1990s. That has not prevented the UN from trying to assert complete control over the world’s nations and their populations by scaring them into believing yet another end-of-the-world scenario.

For the record, a predictable new Ice Age is on its way, due to begin any day now since the last one ended about 11,500 years ago. When it does arrive, its affect will be swift and play havoc with the northern hemisphere. Meanwhile, winter around the world is becoming harsher in duration and effect.

Lawrence E. Joseph undertook “a scientific investigation into civilization’s end” in “Apocalypse 2012” published by Morgan Road Books in 2007, concluding that the Mayan calendar is a poor guide to the end of the world. “I think doomsday has a profound if unspeakable allure for those who are unhappy with themselves, their society, their Maker. It’s a form of vicarious revenge that anyone can take on life’s unfairness.”

“At any given point in history,” Joseph wrote, “there has always been a chorus of eccentrics predicting the end of the world. If only so much of the information about 2012 did not violate one’s sense of intellectual decorum: prophecies from Mayan shamans, interstellar theories of obscure Siberian geophysics, ruminations of South African psychics, and decrees of kabbalist rabbis.”

“Indeed, no single source, no matter how persuasive, could or should move one to seriously ponder the imponderable of the world tumultuously metamorphosing in 2012.”

With luck, if we are not struck dead by lightning or a sixteen-wheeler whose driver has fallen asleep at the wheel, the victim of an Iranian nuclear bomb, plus a multitude of other ways to shuffle off this mortal coil, we shall be around on December 21, 2012.

Nobody gets out of this world alive.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Will Warmists Face Justice for their Deceptions?

By Alan Caruba

When you murder someone the case is never closed. The same holds when you murder the truth. No matter how long it takes, truth is defended despite all the calumnies heaped on those who stand firm against the lies and the propaganda intended to persuade those who have been deceived.

Ultimately, truth is its own defense. There never was a shred of truth in the claim that humans were causing the Earth’s climate to heat up by using so-called “fossil fuels” and engaging in manufacturing and other activities. There was no dramatic “global warming” in the 1980s until the present.

The Earth’s climate has warmed very slightly since the end of the Little Ice Age, dated to around 1850. Five hundred years of extremely cold weather had gripped the northern hemisphere starting around 1300. The much heralded “climate change” is, unlike the weather, measured in terms of centuries, not days, weeks or years. It is used by politicians that do not know what they are talking about. It is also used by charlatans, but I repeat myself.

Under the direction of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a massive fraud was engineered. The object was to turn carbon dioxide (CO2), a common though minor atmospheric gas, into a commodity that could be traded in exchanges around the world that would issue “carbon credits” to utilities, industrial facilities, and others who would be required to pay for permission to produce energy and products. It was an audacious scheme.

It began with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the Kyoto Protocol. It set binding targets for the reduction of CO2 by 37 industrialized nations and the European community and was adopted on December 11, 1997 and entered into force on February 16, 2005. The U.S. never signed the Protocols. They were rejected by a unanimous vote in the Senate.

It was a complete lie without any basis in science. C02 plays no role in climate change and reducing whatever amount industry and other human activities might produce would be meaningless.

Surely the people behind the scheme knew this. The IPCC charged a small clique of climate scientists to come up with “proof” that global warming was happening. In England they were located at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit and, in America, they were led by Dr. Michael Mann working first at the University of Virginia and later at Penn State University.

Dr. Michael Mann's "Hockey Stick" Graph
Mann’s research, assisted by co-authors Bradley and Hughes, was published in 1998. “Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations” became famous for a graph dubbed the “hockey stick”. Its sudden upward curve, intended to demonstrate a dramatic increase was based on tree ring reconstruction of climate over a thousand years.

To say it attracted attention is an understatement. It and other studies produced by the IPCC clique became the cornerstone of the “global warming” hoax. The problem for Dr. Mann was that Steve McIntyre, a Canadian mathematician in Toronto, along with Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph concluded it was bogus science and published a paper in 2004 criticizing it.

In science, when a theory or hypothesis is put forward, the data supporting it is as well. Years went by before McIntyre could get access to it. The tree ring data had been provided by Keith Briffa of the Hadley UK Climate Research Unit. Neither Dr. Mann, nor Briffa made it available, but McIntyre was able to secure it from another source. When he plotted all the tree ring data, not just the parts cherry-picked by Mann, the “hockey stick” disappeared.

In November 2009, thousands of leaked emails between Dr. Mann and other "warmists"---scientists responsible for the global warming hoax, revealed nothing less than a massive fraud.

Flash forward to a freedom of information (FOI) request by Chris Horner on behalf of American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center. Despite stonewalling for years, Dr. Mann’s former employer, the University of Virginia complied in May 2011, agreeing to release Dr. Mann’s computer files containing the data he had kept hidden for more than a decade.

Serendipitously, a similar FOI issued to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has revealed the level of financial gain received by another key player in the global warming hoax, Dr. James Hansen, a longtime NASA employee and the man credited with generating the hoax with testimony before a congressional committee in 1988. He has been the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies since 1981

It turns out that in 2010 alone he received “between 236,000 and $1,232.500 in outside income”! When you add in all the awards and speech fees Dr. Hansen has received over the years it is a tidy sum while he exploited his taxpayer-funded position. The agency had resisted disclosing this information for years, but as a federal employee Dr. Hansen waives privacy interests as a condition of employment.

A former government employee, Vice President Al Gore, became the face and voice of the hoax, earning millions in the process.

What has the global warming cost Americans? Joanne Nova of the Science and Public Policy Institute has estimated that the U.S. government spent more than $32.5 billion on climate studies between 1989 and 2009, nor does that include about $79 billion more spent for related climate change technology research, foreign aid, and tax breaks for “green energy” (solar and wind).

For deception on that scale, one might think they will be punished at some point, but it will likely be years more before those responsible for the global warming fraud will stand before the bar of justice, if ever.

© Alan Caruba, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The EPA Gets Caught in a Big Fact Lie

By Alan Caruba

The notion that the Environmental Protection Agency uses “science” to justify their regulations is false, just like most of the claims they issue on various aspects of the nation’s environment. Their favorite scam is to estimate the number of deaths they will prevent with some new draconian regulation.

The EPA is the American equivalent of the Gestapo, a ruthless enforcement agency with a very Green agenda that is opposed to the use of many beneficial chemicals, every form of energy, and the right of people to be left alone.

At the top of its list of priorities is the destruction of the nation’s economy with special attention to all forms of energy production. Manufacturing anything comes next, followed by afflicting the nation’s vast agricultural sector. The EPA insists that dust is a pollutant. You can’t farm without generating DUST.

To understand the threat the EPA poses it is necessary to understand that proposed Clean Air regulations are based on the claim that “global warming” is real, is happening, and is caused primarily by carbon dioxide (CO2). The claim is utterly without any scientific merit..

There is NO global warming. At least not the kind Al Gore lies about.

The North and South Poles are not melting; they gain and lose ice in a perfectly natural cycle that has been going on for billions of years. The polar bears are not disappearing. Drilling for oil in ANWR will have zero effect on the caribou. Et cetera!

With our vast reserves of coal and natural gas, the U.S. does not lack for the ability to generate electricity or to refine oil for transportation.

If you want to stay warm this winter, you better hope that utilities keep producing the electricity for your home or apartment’s heating system. Fifty percent of that electricity is produced by cheap, abundant coal and the EPA is hell bent to shut down as many coal mines as possible, leading in turn to the shutdown of utilities that burn coal. Natural gas accounts for just over twenty-four percent of electricity generation and it need hardly be said that the EPA is wary of fracking, the technology to access it.

Blowing the Whistle on the EPA

The big news—the kind even the mainstream media was unable to ignore—was that the EPA’s own inspector general has released a report accusing the agency of cutting corners regarding the “science” cited to justify its effort to declare CO2 a “pollutant.”

Simply stated, without CO2 all life on Earth dies.

It is a gas that plants use for their growth. From a blade of grass to a giant redwood, all depend on CO2, as do all the crops grown coast to coast. Enormous quantities of corn and wheat are grown that contribute to the U.S. economy, feeding both livestock and humans in wondrous ways. Take away vegetation and the animals die. Take away the animals that grace our dinner plates and we die.

Absurdly, the EPA says it is a “pollutant”, a dangerous hazard to our health.

No, the most dangerous hazard to our health is the EPA.

The EPA insists on ignoring all the other natural sources of CO2 as well as the fact that it constitutes less than one percent, 0.038 percent of the atmosphere. The oceans of the world gather it, store it, and release it. The EPA, though, says that when man is involved, it is pure evil.

Mind you, every human exhales about six pounds of CO2 every day. The fact is that the air Americans inhale daily is clean is due to the agency’s early efforts to mitigate some abuses. Those were the days before the EPA abandoned a rational, fact-based approach to its stated objectives. One of its legacies is the idiotic required inclusion of ethanol in every gallon of gasoline. Made from corn, it actually produces more CO2 to produce and use.

The EPA effort to regulate CO2 came along with the invention of the global warming hoax that claimed CO2 was “trapping” the Earth’s heat. That is why CO2 and others are deceptively called “greenhouse” gases (GHGs). Manufacturing everything from a donut to megawatts of electricity emits GHGs.

Finally, even the EPA’s inspector general blew the whistle on the utterly deceitful way the EPA arrives at its justification for a vast matrix of regulations that has been stifling the economy for years. The IG has charged that the EPA did not meet its own guidelines for peer review to ensure the integrity of the science stated.

Anyone who has been following the rise and fall of the global warming hoax knows that “peer review” has become a highly corrupted practice. Real peer review is critical to the integrity of any scientific study. When major science journals abandoned the peer review process to publish gibberish about global warming, they put all other new scientific studies at risk.

As Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, noted, the EPA’s regulation of CO2 emissions would require “230,000 full-time employees to produce 1.4 billion work hours to address the actual increase in permitting functions” that would result if the EPA is allowed to get away with this scandalous hoax. It would cost an estimated $21 billion per year. By contrast, the EPA’s budget request for fiscal year 2012 is $8.973 billion.

The EPA claims that the Clean Air Act gives it the power to regulate CO2, but it does not. It was never intended to, but the Supreme Court in one of its more idiotic rulings opened the door for the EPA claim. In his dissent from Massachusetts v EPA, Justice Antonin Scalia quipped that, as defined by the Court, “everything airborne, from Frisbees to flatulence, qualifies as an ‘air pollutant’”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) pointed out that “The EPA’s determination has led to a mountain of Clean Air Act regulations that could cost over a million jobs.” It is noteworthy that Sen. Barrasso said, “EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has regularly assured Congress and the American public that its finding is based on sound scientific practices.” It isn’t. Jackson “should testify immediately,” said Sen. Barrasso, “the American people deserve the truth.”

The EPA has been short on the truth about all of its claims for four decades and needs to be shut down in order to let a truly science-based agency replace it with strict congressional oversight and limitations.

The time is long overdue to pull the plug on the Environmental Protection Agency.

© Alan Caruba, 2011