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Posts Tagged ‘Climate change’

When politicians talk about the human cost of global warming, we now know what they mean. According to the Daily Mail, an Argentinian couple killed themselves, one of their kids, and wounded another supposedly because of fears of climate change. Notwithstanding the title of this post, I don’t think Al Gore should be held responsible for the lunatic actions of this couple, but I can’t help but wonder whether this would have received more attention if a depressed taxpayer did the same thing and blamed Obama’s proposed tax hikes. My guess is that there would be front page stories about the irresponsible rhetoric of pro-taxpayer organizations:

A seven-month-old baby girl survived three days alone with a bullet in her chest beside the bodies of her parents and toddler brother. Argentines Francisco Lotero, 56, and Miriam Coletti, 23, shot their children before killing themselves after making an apparent suicide pact over fears about global warming. Their son Francisco, two, died instantly after being hit in the back.

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The Taxpayers Alliance in London has an amusing video highlighting different ways the government has wasted money on global warming/climate change propaganda. Or maybe it’s only amusing because I’m American and my tax dollars weren’t being wasted on the projects in the video.

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One of the many reprehensible features of Washington is how companies climb into bed with government. They do this either because they want legislation to get undeserved wealth by screwing consumers or competitors, or they do it because they think they the government is going to do something bad to them and they hope to reduce the pain by acting like cringing curs. This is a good description of the global-warming/climate-change/whatever-they’re-calling-it-now issue, where many big companies are part of a coalition to support the Administration’s statist agenda. The good news is that this coalition is now beginning to fall apart, as thee big companies have decided that having a “seat at the table” isn’t such a good idea if it’s Thanksgiving and you’re a turkey. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Three big companies quit an influential lobbying group that had focused on shaping climate-change legislation, in the latest sign that support for an ambitious bill is melting away. Oil giants BP PLC and Conoco-Phillips and heavy-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. said Tuesday they won’t renew their membership in the three-year-old U.S. Climate Action Partnership… “We think there’s momentum to get [a climate bill] done,” USCAP spokesman Tad Segal said. “President [Barack] Obama’s State of the Union address made it clear the administration is behind us.” But experts said the companies’ decision to withdraw from USCAP is a sign the politics of climate change is shifting in Washington. When Mr. Obama took office, Congress appeared to have momentum for a climate bill that would push the economy toward lower-carbon alternatives. But as the economy soured, support waned.

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Saw this linked on Instapundit. It’s poetic justice when scam artists and moochers get mocked.

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It’s almost amusing to see the Securities and Exchange Commission jumping on the sinking ship of global warming alarmism. After all, only a government bureaucracy would take such a step at precisely the moment that the scam has been exposed. But I said it’s “almost amusing” because the added costs imposed on companies will be real, and this will hurt workers, shareholders, and consumers. But I will tip my proverbial hat to the Democrats. I remember several years ago trying to get the SEC to give shareholders more accurate information by having dividend checks show that corporate tax already was paid on the money. This would help people realize, of course, that declaring dividend income on personal tax returns was a punitive form of double taxation. Yet even though this was squarely in the SEC’s mission of supposedly serving investors, the Republicans in charge were politely dismissive. The moment Democrats get in charge, however, they move forward with a politically-motivated change that has nothing to do with helping investors. This is a good example of the old saying that Republicans are the stupid party and Democrats are the evil party:

A politically divided Securities and Exchange Commission voted on Wednesday to make clear when companies must provide information to investors about the business risks associated with climate change. The commission, in a 3 to 2 vote, decided to require that companies disclose in their public filings the impact of climate change on their businesses — from new regulations or legislation they may face domestically or abroad to potential changes in economic trends or physical risks to a company. Chairman Mary L. Schapiro and the two Democrats on the commission supported the new requirements, while the two Republicans vehemently opposed them. “I can only conclude that the purpose of this release is to place the imprimatur of the commission on the agenda of the social and environmental policy lobby, an agenda that falls outside of our expertise and beyond our fundamental mission of investor protection,” Republican commissioner Kathleen L. Casey said.

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Proponents of sound science and economic growth certainly have many reasons to be happy. The global-warming crowd has been exposed as a bunch of fraudsters, the Copenhagen “climate change” summit collapsed in failure, and there now appears to be no chance that the US Senate will pass legislation to cripple the American economy. But while we are winning the battles, the war is far from over. As Walter Williams warns, there are many special interest groups who have invested money in the scam and they will not give up:

Mounting evidence of scientific fraud might make little difference in terms of the response to manmade global warming hysteria. Why? Vested economic and political interests have emerged where trillions of dollars and social control are at stake. Therefore, many people who recognize the scientific fraud underlying global warming claims are likely to defend it anyway. Automobile companies have invested billions in research and investment in producing “green cars.” General Electric and Phillips have spent millions lobbying Congress to outlaw incandescent bulbs so that they can force us to buy costly compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL). Farmers and ethanol manufacturers have gotten Congress to enact laws mandating greater use of their product, not to mention massive subsidies. …Then there’s Chicago Climate Futures Exchange that plans to trade in billions of dollars of greenhouse gas emission allowances. Corporate America and labor unions, as well as their international counterparts have a huge multi-trillion dollar financial stake in the perpetuation of the global warming fraud. Federal, state and local agencies have spent billions of dollars and created millions of jobs to deal with one aspect or another of global warming.

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When people ask me about global warming, or climate change, or whatever they’re calling it now, I freely admit that I’m not a climatologist and thus have no informed opinion on whether the planet is warming due to human activity (or whether this, on net, would be a bad thing). But I am somewhat familiar with how special interests like to obtain power and unearned wealth using the coercive power of government. So when I see people who have always favored statism suddenly say we need big government to fight global warming, I am inherently skeptical. My doubts become even larger when I see that some of the same people were playing Chicken Little a few decades ago saying we faced a coming ice age. And I get downright suspicious when these people (did someone say Al Gore?) directly line their own pockets as a result of the policies they promote. So I was not surprised when the climate-gate scandal broke. After all, these supposed scientists had every reason to behave dishonestly and unethically to keep the gravy train of government grants rolling. The latest scandal comes from a high-level con artist with the so-called Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the United Nations. First, we have a stunning confession that a major claim of the IPCC is fake, as noted by the Wall Street Journal:

…when it comes to unsubstantiated research it’s hard to beat the IPCC, whose 2007 report insisted that the glaciers—which feed the rivers that in turn feed much of South Asia—were very likely to nearly disappear by the year 2035. “The receding and thinning of Himalayan glaciers,” it wrote in its supposedly definitive report, “can be attributed primarily to the [sic] global warming due to increase in anthropogenic emission of greenhouse gases.” It turns out that this widely publicized prediction was taken from a 2005 report from the World Wildlife Fund, which based it on a comment by Indian glacier expert Syed Hasnain from 1999. Mr. Hasnian now says he was “misquoted.” Even more interesting is that the IPCC was warned in 2006 by leading glaciologist Georg Kaser that the 2035 forecast was baseless. …Mr. Kaser told the Agence France-Presse. “It is so wrong that it is not even worth discussing.”

Then we have the revelation that the Chairman of the IPCC used (and almost certainly was aware that he was using) totally dishonest assertions to fleece donors – including gullible American foundations and oppressed European taxpayers. Chairman Pachauri already has been appropriate mocked for his giant “carbon footprint” due to his globe trotting (in first class, of course). Now he’s catching some much-deserved flak for lining his pockets while pimping for the IPCC hucksters. Here’s what the UK-based Times reported:

The chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has used bogus claims that Himalayan glaciers were melting to win grants worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Rajendra Pachauri’s Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), based in New Delhi, was awarded up to £310,000 by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the lion’s share of a £2.5m EU grant funded by European taxpayers. It means that EU taxpayers are funding research into a scientific claim about glaciers that any ice researcher should immediately recognise as bogus. …In one presentation at last May’s launch, Anastasios Kentarchos, of the European Commission’s Climate Change and Environmental Risks Unit, specifically cited the bogus IPCC claims about glacier melt as a reason for pouring EU taxpayers’ money into the project. …questions remain. One of the most important is in connection with Pachauri’s earnings. In an interview with The Sunday Times he said his only income came from his salary at TERI. However TERI does not publish his salary and he refused to divulge it. In India questions are also being asked about Pachauri’s links with GloriOil, a Houston, Texas-based oil technology company that specialises in recovering extra oil from declining oil fields . Pachauri is listed as a founder and scientific advisor.

But you have to give the guy credit for cojones. An article in the Times of India reports that, “…while his credibility and that of the IPCC has taken a battering, Pachauri maintains his chutzpah in the face of growing skepticism, arguing that his acceptance that the research on glaciers had been dodgy had actually somehow enhanced the credibility of the body.”

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An earlier post poked fun at green-friendly sex toys. In the same spirit, let’s now look at the enviro-fanatic campaign against soft toilet paper. For those of you who have had the pleasure of traveling abroad, you have probably had the less-than-satisfactory experience of…well, let’s just say the mixed experience of using inadequate bathroom paper products. It’s not quite as bad as using wax paper, but it definitely falls short of the comfort – and ultimate cleanliness – of an American bathroom. It definitely would be a step in the wrong direction if substandard products were imposed on Americans. Heck, that may just be the beginning. Limousine liberals such as Cheryl Crow want us to use just one square of toilet paper. And let’s not forget the toilet paper police that will be necessary to enforce this policy. So imagine a future world where we get to use one square of crummy toilet paper. Is it any surprise that we will be less likely to be attracted to a significant other, or for a significant other to be attracted to us. Give the left credit for thinking ahead. Sex toys will be far more popular in that world. Here’s a news report about the toilet paper fight:

The issue over tissue in the bathroom — the really super-soft stuff — is more like the fight about the big SUVs loved by many Americans. Anti-green, according to environmentalists. Politically incorrect. Why should Americans use luxurious toilet paper made from old-growth trees when much of the world gets by with a far more basic and often recycled product? …Greenpeace, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups have pushed manufacturers such as Kimberly-Clark (Cottonelle) and Procter & Gamble (Charmin) to stop using wood from virgin forests to make tissue products. Mountains of paper are dumped every day into recycling bins in homes, offices, factories and schools. Use that to make toilet paper, the activists said. …The problem, though, is that each time paper is shredded during the recycling process, its fibers get shorter. The shorter the fiber, the less soft the tissue. And Americans, though indicating in surveys that they embraced green initiatives, also said they don’t want to sacrifice comfort.

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I’m not really sure what to say about this story. A company in Ireland has started to produce environmentally-friendly vibrators. My guess is that consumers won’t be…um, what’s the right word…satisfied with this product, but human ingenuity and the free market are a potent combination. If the company got some government subsidies, their product would be the ideal Christmas present for your leftist friends:

The global sex toy industry is worth an estimated annual $15 billion and uses up a mountain of batteries in the process, many of which end up as toxic waste. But now one Irish company reckons they’ve got the solution to shake up the market: a vibrator they are calling the world’s first-ever “green technology sex toy”. The Earth Angel, described as “eight inches (20 centimetres) with a sleek white finish”, is a wind-up vibrator which comes with a handle built into the bottom. “You just flip out the handle, grab a hold of it there, and you just wind it,” said Janice O’Connor, the co-founder of Earth Angel makers Caden Enterprises along with her husband Chris. …The vibrator is made of 100 per cent recyclable materials and the couple hope it will encourage sex toy fans around the globe to do their bit for the environment. …”We wanted to produce an environmentally-friendly sex toy that appealed to all consumers. …the O’Connors, both practicing Catholics, believe God is on their side. “In all fairness, wouldn’t God want something that’s green and that doesn’t do any damage to the environment?” asked Chris. An Earth Angel costs 70 euros (100 dollars) plus shipping costs and around 1,000 have already been sold to people seeking its special brand of “sustainable pleasure”.

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Should your tax dollars be used to destroy American jobs and subsidize them being relocated to other nations? Sounds crazy, but it’s already happening in England thanks to global warming policies, as this Wall Street Journal column explains. Only politicians and bureaucrats would think this is a good idea:

The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 required signatories to reduce their carbon emissions, and the European Union in 2005 launched its own cap-and-trade system. The program sets a limit on carbon emissions, and companies are issued free carbon allowances that they can buy or sell based on their emissions needs. Fast forward to this month’s news that Corus, Europe’s second-largest steel producer, is shuttering a giant U.K. steelmaking plant at Redcar, cutting 1,700 jobs. …By closing Redcar’s annual capacity of three million tons of steel, Corus will produce six million fewer tons of CO2. That means more carbon allowances, which could translate into about $300 million a year if credits hit $50. Corus is essentially being paid to lay off British workers. …Were Corus to move production to a “clean” Indian factory, it could receive hundreds of millions of dollars annually from the Clean Development Fund. The kicker is that none of this results in fewer carbon emissions. …The Corus story also shows that cap and trade isn’t really a free market. Markets develop to efficiently allocate resources and capital. Carbon cap and trade is a government-rigged market, in which carbon allowances are dispensed based on political influence. Such a system is ripe for manipulation, and Corus is merely the latest example.

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Let’s all be thankful this holiday season for our Founding Fathers, who wisely created a system based on separation of power. As such, when the Secretary of State blithely pontificates about fleecing American tapxayers to help finance $100 billion of added foreign aid, the good news is that this money can only be squandered if the House and Senate also agree. That’s a real possibility, of course, but at least there’s some hope that common sense will prevail since the fiscal burden of government already is far too large. Here’s a NY Daily News report on what’s happening in Copenhagen, including worrisome signs that politicians who don’t pay for their own travel are planning to make the rest of us pay more:

“The US is prepared to work with other countries toward a goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion a year by 2020 to address the climate change needs of developing countries,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. …While she would not disclose how much the U.S. would be contribution to the climate fund, Clinton said there would be a fair amount contributed to the pot that would be made available in 2020. The finances will reportedly be raised partially by taxing aviation and shipping, as proposed by the European Union.

Pat Buchanan, meanwhile, cuts to the heart of the issue, explaining for Townhall.com that global warming is a “racket” for the benefits of political elites:

“Zenawi said he would accept $30 billion in the short term, rising to $100 billion by 2020. … This was seen as a key concession by developing countries, which had previously spurned that figure … as too low.” There was a time when a U.S. diplomat would have burst out laughing after listening to a Third World con artist like this. But not the Obamaites. They are already ponying up. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack just pledged $1 billion at Copenhagen to developing countries who preserve their forests. Thus, America, $12 trillion in debt and facing a second straight $1.4 trillion deficit, will borrow another $1 billion from China to send to Brazil to bribe them to stop cutting down their trees. When you slice through the blather about marooned bears and melting ice caps, oceans rising and cities sinking, global warming is a racket and a crock. It is all about money and power. Copenhagen has always been about an endless transfer of wealth from America, Europe and Japan and creation of a global bureaucracy to control the pace of world economic and industrial development.

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The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page lifts a rock and looks at the sordid redistribution of other people’s money that is happening in Copenhagen. The unavoidable conclusion is that developing countries are there to cash in on a new foreign-aid boondoggle and rich countries are there because politicians are seeking a new source of power over their national economies:

Monday’s walkout revealed the real reason that the developing world is in Copenhagen in the first place: They see climate change as a potential foreign-aid bonanza, and they are at the table to leverage the West’s environmental angst into massive transfers of wealth. …the developed world has been pouring trillions of dollars into development aid in various forms for decades, with little to show for it. The reasons are well-known: Corruption, political oppression, government control of the economy and the absence of rule of law combine to keep poor countries poor. And those factors also ensure that most aid is squandered or skimmed off the top.Recasting foreign aid as “climate mitigation” won’t change any of that. …The G-77 scoffed at a European offer of €7.2 billion ($10 billion) over three years. Instead, the Sudanese chairman of the group, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, suggested in an interview with Mother Jones magazine that something on the order of a trillion dollars, or more, would be appropriate. “The world’s scientists and policy decision makers have publicly stated that this is the greatest risk humanity has ever faced,” says Mr. Di-Aping. “Now if that’s the case, it’s very strange that $10 billion is considered adequate financing.” Mr. Di-Aping deserves credit for taking the climate alarmists on their own terms and drawing consistent conclusions.

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The newspapers and blogosphere are buzzing with the revelation (from hacked emails) that proponents of the sky-is-falling school of climate change have conspired to hide data and smear critics. Here’s a blurb from the Washington Post report:

…newly disclosed private exchanges among climate scientists at Britain’s Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia reveal an intellectual circle that appears to feel very much under attack, and eager to punish its enemies. In one e-mail, the center’s director, Phil Jones, writes Pennsylvania State University’s Michael E. Mann and questions whether the work of academics that question the link between human activities and global warming deserve to make it into the prestigious IPCC report, which represents the global consensus view on climate science. “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report,” Jones writes. “Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!” In another, Jones and Mann discuss how they can pressure an academic journal not to accept the work of climate skeptics with whom they disagree. “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal,” Mann writes. “I will be emailing the journal to tell them I’m having nothing more to do with it until they rid themselves of this troublesome editor,” Jones replies. …Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute who has questioned whether climate change is human-caused, blogged that the e-mails have “the makings of a very big” scandal. “Imagine this sort of news coming in the field of AIDS research,” he added.

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The UK-based Telegraph reports that some outfit called the Optimal Population Trust is suggesting that people should have fewer babies to fight supposed global warming (or climate change, or whatever they’re calling it now). This is a reflection of the people-are-bad mentality that seems disturbingly common among enviro-statists:

The report, Fewer Emitter, Lower Emissions, Less Cost, concludes that family planning should be seen as one of the primary methods of emissions reduction. The UN estimates that 40 per cent of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended. …Roger Martin, chairman of the Optimum Population Trust at the LSE, said: “It’s always been obviously that total emissions depend on the number of emitters as well as their individual emissions.

Reading this article, though, reminded me of another article from a British paper. As this story from the Daily Mail explains, some radical environmentalists are deliberately choosing to sterlilize themselves to avoid having kids:

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers – and a voice calling her Mummy. But the very thought makes her shudder with horror. Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet. …Incredibly, so determined was she that the terrible “mistake” of pregnancy should never happen again, that she begged the doctor who performed the abortion to sterilise her at the same time. He refused, but Toni – who works for an environmental charity – “relentlessly hunted down a doctor who would perform the irreversible surgery. …”Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,” says Toni, 35. “Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population.” …Toni is far from alone. When Sarah Irving, 31, was a teenager she sat down and wrote a wish-list for the future. …Most young girls dream of marriage and babies. But Sarah dreamed of helping the environment – and as she agonised over the perils of climate change, the loss of animal species and destruction of wilderness, she came to the extraordinary decision never to have a child. “I realised then that a baby would pollute the planet – and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do.” …Mark adds: “Sarah and I live as green a life a possible. We don’t have a car, cycle everywhere instead, and we never fly. “We recycle, use low-energy light bulbs and eat only organic, locally produced food. “In short, we do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint. But all this would be undone if we had a child.”

Think about what this means. If the nut-job environmentalists persist in not having kids, that almost surely means the world’s population will gradually become more sensible about these issue since mommy and daddy enviro-statist won’t be raising little interventionists to plague future generations. Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone.

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A new study reveals the unseemly degree to which the government has spent tens of billions of dollars to co-opt scientists into parroting global-warming alarmism. This has resulted in “models” that supposedly show the need to take drastic action to prevent slight warming in the next 50-100 years, yet those same models cannot predict today’s weather based on past data. The politicians are getting the “results” they want, but the end result may be a new power grab by government to control and direct our lives. Transworldnews.com has a report:

The Science and Public Policy Institute announces the publication of Climate Money, a study by Joanne Nova revealing that the federal Government has a near-monopsony on climate science funding. This distorts the science towards self-serving alarmism. …The US Government has spent more than $79 billion of taxpayers’ money since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, administration, propaganda campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks. Most of this spending was unnecessary. Despite the billions wasted, audits of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of “global warming” theory and to compete with a lavishly-funded, highly-organized climate monopsony. Major errors have been exposed again and again. …Meanwhile, in a distracting sideshow, Exxon-Mobil Corp is repeatedly attacked for paying just $23 million to skeptics—less than a thousandth of what the US government spends on alarmists… The large expenditure designed to prove the non-existent connection between carbon and climate has created a powerful alliance of self-serving vested interests. …Robert Ferguson, SPPI’s president, says: “This study counts the cost of years of wasted Federal spending on the ‘global warming’ non-problem. Government bodies, big businesses and environmental NGOs have behaved like big tobacco: recruiting, controlling and rewarding their own “group-think” scientists who bend climate modeling to justify the State’s near-maniacal quest for power, control, wealth and forced population reduction. “Joanne Nova, who wrote our study, speaks for thousands of scientists in questioning whether a clique of taxpayer-funded climate modelers are getting the data right, or just getting the “right” data. Are politicians paying out billions of our dollars for evidence-driven policy-making, or policy-driven evidence-making?  The truth is more crucial than ever, because American lives, property and constitutional liberties are at risk.”

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