Monday, March 25, 2013

Barking Up Wrong Trees

Government attempts to solve problems inevitably leads to “barking up the wrong tree”. The most expensive example is fighting global warming through energy deprivation, i.e., reducing fossil fuel use without viable replacements (wind and solar aren’t). Thanks to years of recession, the United States and most European countries have reduced their “carbon footprints”, but China and India, and other developing nations, are very rapidly expanding theirs. To do otherwise is senseless. As Bjorn Lomborg logically demonstrates, more energy use increases global prosperity, prosperity facilitates adaptation, and adaptation is far more cost effective (there is ample proof that climate change is natural, and will be as beneficial as previous warm periods).

Other examples of “wrong tree barking”:

Conducting a “War on Drugs” instead of decriminalizing drug use. Didn’t we learn anything from Prohibition?

Passing and defending the “Defense of Marriage Act” instead of separating church and state – civil unions are a state responsibility, marriage is religious. Since about 40% of children have unwed mothers, it’s obvious same-sex unions didn’t cause the crumbling marriage rock.

Fighting gun violence by banning “assault” rifles. In 2011, less than 6% of gun homicides were by rifle (679 of 11,780); unlicensed hand guns wielded by minorities on minorities accounted for almost all gun violence. However, young white male registered Democrats committed almost all the mass murders, NRA members didn’t commit any, but you couldn’t tell that from the news. (I messed up by adding this italicized part, and admitted my mistake in the following post)

Providing government of the people, by the people, for the people, by only taxing a few of the people. Providing unsustainable government employee pensions that can’t be reduced.

Not taxing employer-provided health care as compensation but allowing it as a business tax deduction, while non-covered employees probably won’t be able to deduct health insurance costs paid from their taxed income.

We’re up the tree without a ladder.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sinking Global Warming Alarmism

The past week was a perfect storm sinking the good ship, Global Warming Alarmism. The highly publicized Marcott et al. study that concluded the present was warmer than 20% of the past 11,700 years was found to have based its recent warming conclusions on re-dated 1,000 year-old samples.

Then a week ago “Mr. FOIA” released the password disclosing over 200,000 emails (Climategate 3.0) that illustrated climate alarmists’ non-scientific game playing to prevent opposing views from publication and inclusion in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments. Although supposedly based on peer-reviewed studies, the assessments contain many “grey” (informally published) articles authored by Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund, and other activist organizations.

Professor Phil Jones, former head of the Climatic Research Unit, admitted there has not been significant global warming since 1995, eighteen years ago.

Myles Allen, Oxford University’s Professor of Geosystem Science, thought the world on course for a catastrophic temperature rise of more than five degrees this century. But he now says: ‘The odds have come down,’ – adding that warming is likely to be significantly lower. Allen says higher estimates are now ‘looking iffy’.

Piers Forster, Climate Change Professor at Leeds University: “The fact that global surface temperatures haven’t risen in the last 15 years, combined with good knowledge of the terms changing climate, make the high estimates unlikely.”

Professor Judith Curry, head of climate science, Georgia Institute of Technology: “The models are running too hot.”

James Annan, prominent ‘warmist’, said high estimates for climate sensitivity now look ‘increasingly untenable’...

Dr. David Whitehouse: “Global warming should no longer be the main determinant of anyone’s economic or energy policy.”

Paul Krugman: “You can deny global warming (and may you be punished in the afterlife for doing so).”

Mr. Krugman, who resigned and made you Pope?

See you in Hell.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Reenergizing Climate Alarmists

The ICO is not the only publication that is “all climate change alarmism all the time.” The news media has exploded with extraordinary claims of ‘unprecedented global warming’ asserted in a paper “A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years” by Marcott, Shakun, Clark, and Mix in Science. A NY Times headline reads “Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 Years,” and proclaims that global warming will “surpass levels not seen on the planet since before the last ice age.”

Geologist Dr. Don J. Easterbrook, Emeritus Professor at Western Washington University, author of eight books and 150 journal publications, finds that this study cannot support its conclusions: “As shown in more than 3,000 publications, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) is widely recognized to have been somewhat warmer than present. In the past 10,000 years, at least six other warm periods of magnitude equal to the MWP occurred; nine other warm periods that were 0.5°C warmer than the MWP occurred; two warm periods that were 1°C warmer than the MWP occurred; and three warm periods that were 1.5°C warmer than the MWP occurred. All of these periods warmer than the MWP clearly contradict the Marcott et al. conclusions.”

Paradoxically, this study finds no warming where there was – the Medieval and Roman warm periods – but finds warming where there wasn’t: the past seventeen years. A detailed analysis of the study discloses its obvious flaws: its primary proxies for temperature, marine organisms, have not been calibrated against atmospheric temperatures including present ones, and have huge error bands (hundreds of years) because of low sample definition. The sample definitions are so poor that they don’t even hint at the Dark Ages Cooling, nor reflect the magnitude of Little Ice Age cooling.

It’s not much, but it did its job: reenergized alarmists.  

Friday, March 01, 2013

Environmentalist Hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of environmentalists is humorous, particularly since they take themselves so seriously. A recent and ongoing example is the ban on Gualala Independence Day fireworks. Obviously, Gualala sea birds are more sensitive than Point Arena birds and require protection. But while the otherwise quite common Gualala sea birds don’t suffer momentary disturbance, environmentalists supported and heavily taxpayer-subsidized wind farms kill thousands of birds annually, many of which are rare and endangered birds of prey.

I laughed at a recent ICO cartoon: one of its characters was looking longingly at our wind-swept bluffs and envisioning a gargantuan wind turbine upon it. I think at various other times this cartoon has featured sea birds soaring over those bluffs, but hasn’t put together the birds soaring into the wind turbine blades yet.

At other times local environmentalists revolt at the prospect of the scenic pollution of offshore oil rigs (which because of advances in drilling techniques would be few in number and far apart) without regard for the large numbers of wind turbines it requires for a wind farm.

Of course, environmentalists give us intermittent, unreliable, and costly wind farms, plus the abomination of ethanol. Among its many taxpayer-subsidized shortcomings is that ethanol requires more energy to produce than it delivers, and takes food from the mouths of the poor. In a “fracking” article in this month’s National Geographic, environmentalists bemoaned the water needed for fracking, without noting that far more water (and natural gas for making fertilizer) is needed to grow the crops to make the ethanol. And, delicious irony of ironies, than the combustion of ethanol releases CO2, too, and so do the farming tractors, and the trucks that haul the corn, and the ethanol refineries.

Environmentalists require tunnel vision as they quest to save us all.