“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
—Daniel J. Boorstin

Weather Bulletin #4, January 5, 2015: The Iceman cometh

palm snowdayTemperatures in the coastal city of Syracuse in Sicily, dropped to record or near record lows on December 31 and again on January 2. January is typically the coldest month of the year in Syracuse, but the average low temperature according to Best of Sicily is a relatively balmy 50 degrees. In addition to unusually low temperatures, Syracuse rang in the year with a historic snowfall – something that had never happened before.

Indeed, snow and ice struck, and stuck, across much of Europe in late December, leaving thousands of homes without power in Britain, with accompanying high winds closing France’s port of Calais. While the French Alps welcomed the snowfall, so much snow fell so fast, traffic jams occurred resulting in fewer than 7,000 of 36,000 drivers expected to reach the alpine region of Savoie. France established emergency shelters for the thousands forced to spend the night on the road.

Florida state lawmakers should fight EPA's dangerous economic plan

powerPresident Obama is finally trying to make good on his 2008 campaign promise to heal our warming planet and calm our rising seas. His administration will soon release a regulation that will force Florida to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 38 percent — a move which the president has touted as environmentally and economically necessary.

The exact opposite is true.

Known as the "Clean Power Plan," this sweeping regulation will have essentially zero environmental benefits. But it will force crushing costs upon consumers and businesses alike. Upon returning to Tallahassee on March 3, Florida lawmakers should immediately pass legislation protecting Floridians from this unprecedented power grab.

Canada missing absurd greenhouse gas reduction targets for 27 years

harperHarperAs we begin 2015, it's worth noting we are entering the 27th year of Canadian politicians making ridiculous and impractical promises to reduce Canada's industrial carbon dioxide emissions, ostensibly to combat global warming.

The last absurd promise was Prime Minister Stephen Harper's commitment in 2010 to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, through government regulation.

Since, as Prof. Andrew Leach of the University of Alberta School of Business observed at the time, that would have required the Conservatives to shut down the equivalent of Canada's transportation sector within a decade, it's hardly surprising that, five years later, we are nowhere near that goal.

White House Climate Lunacy

summitAs January 2014 arrived with a blast of cold air ominously dubbed the “polar vortex”, the White House released a video in which the Chief Science Advisor to President Obama, Dr. John Holdren, managed to get on both sides of it, declaring the “extreme cold” to be “a pattern that we expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.” How the Earth is getting both colder and warmer at the same time defies reality, but that is of little concern to Dr. Holdren and, indeed, the entire global warming—now called climate change--hoax.

Earlier, in November 2013, the White House made Dr. Holdren available to social media saying he would answer “any questions that you have about climate change…”  As noted by Jim Lakely, Communications Director of The Heartland Institute, the invitation welcomed questions “but only if they conform to the notion that human activity is causing a climate crisis, and restricting human activity by government direction can ‘fight it.’” The answers would have to wait “because the White House social media experts are having a hard time sifting through the wreckage of their ill-conceived campaign and finding the very few that conform to Holdren’s alarmist point of view.”

Mississippi groups attack carbon dioxide limits, say unreasonable

coal fired power plantMississippi regulators and utilities are savaging the federal government’s proposal to force Mississippi power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

In comments filed in December, leaders of utilities, state agencies and business groups called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan illegal, infeasible and economically unbearable.

The EPA announced specific targets for all the states in June, accepting comments through Dec. 1, with plans to finalize the rule in 2015. The proposal calls for Mississippi’s power plants to emit 38 percent less carbon dioxide in 2030 than in 2005.

In a Mississippi fact sheet released in June, the Obama administration said the plan would help Mississippi improve health by cutting asthma, as well as stabilizing the climate to prevent harmful changes in the weather. A number of environmental groups are supporting the effort.

Snow-bound Californians now paying “Global Warming” gas tax hike

Julian SnowMy family was set to see the snow in the local mountains today, until we discovered thousands of fellow Californians decided they were going to check out this novelty as well.

Interstate 8 east ground to a halt, the mountain town of Julian became completely gridlocked in traffic — and access to several mountain recreation areas was closed off at mid-afternoon Thursday — as thousands of San Diegans went to play in the snow.

The quaint town of Julian was packed Thursday as residents tried to park to find snow, hot pie or other attractions.

Block EPA energy mandate

powerThe Obama administration is on a crusade against our state’s energy policies – and Kansas is fighting back. When the administration announced last year that it would force us to slash our greenhouse-gas emissions, our state quickly sued the federal government. That was the right thing to do – the mandate is illegal and would harm our economy in numerous ways.

But despite numerous legal challenges, the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency will release the final regulation soon. Once that happens, our state will be legally bound to implement it.

Unless our Legislature acts.

Making Predictions

futureIf there is one thing pundits like to do it is to make predictions. If they turn out to be right you can always look back and quote them as proof of your prescience and if they are not, you can always ignore them.

The best ones, of course, are those filled with doom and I suspect they are the most prevalent. We all live to some degree in fear of the future. It is, after all, unpredictable and we are conditioned to believe something awful will happen. That’s what keeps insurance companies in business. Governments continue to create problems and then promise to solve them.

For example, at some point there will be a huge earthquake in California thanks to the San Andreas Fault and in a comparable fashion the Yellowstone National Park will have an even bigger event due to a huge volcano that lies beneath it. The loss of life and economic impact will be historic no matter when they occur.

Pope Embraces the Green Religion

vatican-takeoverAnd up until now now Pope Francis had been doing so well: pious, popular, a scourge of incompetence and corruption, a champion of the poor….

But unfortunately, 2015 looks like the year he’s going to blow it all by casting his lot with the morally bankrupt, scientifically illiterate, world-poverty-inducing cause of environmentalism when he issues a papal encyclical on the subject of “global warming” – apparently with a view to influencing the next round of UN climate talks in Paris in September.

Of course, the Pope’s views on climate change will only be as good as the “expert” advice he gets. And unfortunately, on this score, the auguries do not bode well – as we learn by studying the list of delegates at a workshop staged by the Vatican in May 2014 with the grisly theme “Sustainable Humanity Sustainable Nature Our Responsibility.” (H/T Bishop Hill)

My Person of the Year: Ben Trovato

trovatoExcerpts from The Federalist:

He has been everywhere and had a hand in just about every big story, from Ferguson to the University of Virginia. He has been most active in his usual fields, journalism and politics, but we can see his impact as far afield as espionage and even retail.

You’ve never heard of him? Maybe so, but you already know him very well.

For those who suspect that Ben Trovato is not a real, literal person, you’re right. But the whole point of old Ben’s influence is that it doesn’t matter whether he’s literally real. Or whether anything is literally real, for that matter.

Government, Not Consumer, Is North to Auto Industry’s Compass

fordNews this week indicates the extent to which climate policy has assumed the driver’s seat of the auto industry.

In a story on market “disrupters” in yesterday’s Financial Times ($), Robert Wright highlighted Ford’s decision to use aluminum to render the body of the F-150, the sales of which comprise up to 90 percent of the company’s profits. Aluminum never before has been incorporated into a mass produced vehicle on such a scale; Ford is using it in order to make the trucks lighter, and thereby achieve greater fuel efficiency/lower greenhouse gas emissions. Reports Wright:

“It’s a huge change,” Michelle Krebs, an analyst at autotrader.com says…Ford is hoping to gain first mover advantage. It believes that General Motors and Chrysler will have to redesign their vehicles to meet new fuel efficiency[/GHG] standards—and the first manufacturer to make the transition should retain a long term lead in the market.