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

Martin O'Malley: Global warming created ISIS

omalleyDemocratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley told Bloomberg News over the weekend that climate change is responsible for the rise of ISIS. This is a significant flip flop for the former Maryland governor who earlier tried to separate global warming from national security.

But that bandwagon is leaving the station and O'Malley figured it was time to jump aboard.

"One of the things that preceded the failure of the nation-state of Syria and the rise of ISIS was the effect of climate change and the mega-drought that affected that region, wiped out farmers, drove people to cities, created a humanitarian crisis that created the symptoms — or rather the conditions of extreme poverty — that has now led to the rise of ISIL and this extreme violence,” O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, told Bloomberg news in a question about foreign policy.

Dispelling the deadly air pollution myth

gina hillThe Supreme Court’s recent rejection of the Environmental Protection Agency’s mercury emissions rule for coal-fired power plants sets up a much-needed showdown over a key health claim underpinning the agency’s so-called “war on coal,” and global warming and ozone initiatives.

The court acted because the EPA refused to consider the heavy costs of the rule, estimating the rule would provide $4-6 million in monetized direct health benefits at a cost of $10 billion. Though the court deemed this benefit-cost ratio “not rational,” it was the agency’s refusal to consider costs that got the ruled overturned.

But the EPA also claimed the rule would provide indirect health benefits worth up to $90 billion annually by preventing 11,000 premature deaths per year. This claim is based on the reasoning that by reducing mercury emissions, emissions of fine particulate matter would also be reduced — emissions the agency claims kill people. The EPA values each prevented death at about $10 million.

Insurance premiums up? EPA blames climate change, honors ‘Champions of Change’ faith leaders

Yes, that’s today’s big climate thought from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Readers were already troubled to learn that cleaning out the refrigerator leads to more food in landfills, where it produces greenhouse gasses that are killing all life on earth, but climate change is a troubling thing.

California Way Wrong Energy Model For Nation, World

brownCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown has hailed the Golden State as a model to be followed when United Nations climate negotiators convene in Paris this year.

If my experience working for the California Energy Commission taught me anything, it's that the California way is more a cautionary tale than a model for the world.

In 2006, California aimed to make a splash when it passed AB 32, its landmark energy law requiring greenhouse gas reductions to 1990 levels by 2020. The centerpieces of the plan are an energy mandate forcing utilities to purchase one-third of their electricity from unreliable renewable sources, and a costly and convoluted carbon cap-and-trade system.

Arctic Sea Ice grows grows 33 percent, stunning researchers

cryostatAccording to the Europe's Cryosat satellite, Arctic sea ice volume has increased by a third in 2013 and that this growth continued into last year. Researchers have been examining data from the satellite to study the loss of Arctic sea ice volume. Researchers involved in the study believe that shifts in summer temperatures have a much bigger effect on sea ice volume than previously expected, the BBC reports.

Compared to the average of the period between 2010 and 2012, a 33 percent increase in sea ice volume was found in 2013 and and in 2014 there was still a quarter more ice than during that period. The satellite uses a sophisticated radar that is capable of measuring the thickness of sea ice from its orbit in space.

The researchers have been studying sea ice volume over the last five years using the polar monitoring spacecraft to estimate the volume of the Arctic. They used "88 million measurements of sea ice thickness from Cryosat and found that between 2010 and 2012, the volume of sea ice went down by 14%." This is far less than what computer models predicted would happen in the Arctic.

Hansen Study: Ice sheets to melt in a few decades, coastal cities uninhabitable

HansenIn 1988, climate scientist James Hansen announced to a select committee in Congress that over the next ten years, temperatures would increase .35 degrees Celsius. The actual increase was .11 degrees. Hansen overestimated his findings by 300 percent. Now Hansen has a new study coming out this week in the journal Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry warning that humanity could face a “sea level rise of several meters by the end of the century." That's a ten-foot-rise of sea levels, over 300 percent higher than what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted.

In fact, the IPCC conservatively estimates that if temperatures increase 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, we may see a three-foot-rise in sea levels. However, as an April 2015 studypublished in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports showed, "global warming was not progressing as fast as it would even under the most severe emissions scenarios as outlined by the IPCC." The study indicated that climate models underestimate the magnitude of natural decade-to-decade climate variability, which leads to an "over-interpretation of short-term temperature trends."

Britain’s Green Energy Subsidies Face The Axe

greennotworkingSubsidies for new wind farms and solar power plants are set to be cut as ministers move to protect millions of families from rising energy bills. The government is expected to announce the decision this week, after official figures revealed that so-called “green” energy schemes will require £1.5 billion more in subsidies – paid for by customers – than originally planned. Whitehall sources said the subsidies – under the so-called Levy Control Framework – could be reduced, or the scheme closed early. Details of the how the subsidies will be curbed are still being finalised. --Tim Ross, The Sunday Telegraph, 19 July 2015

Green taxes which push up energy bills are to be slashed by the government, MailOnline has learned. A ‘big reset’ of the support given to the renewable industry is expected to be announced within weeks, including cuts to funding for the solar industry. Cabinet insiders say the view on tackling subsidies has ‘hardened’ over fears recent price cuts announced by power firms will be wiped out by rising environmental taxes. The Tories have already announced that taxpayer subsidies for wind farms are to be axed a year early. But the government is expected to go much further and review all support given to green energy which is funded by levies on bills worth £4.3billion-a-year. --Matt Chorley, Daily Mail, 17 July 2015

Let's Worry about a Real Threat

power gridThe electric grid is a stellar achievement of civilization. Without the grid, modern civilization would collapse. In the U.S., thousands of electric generating plants are interconnected by thousands of miles of transmission lines. Electricity is generated as it is consumed.

These days, there is a lot of tampering with the electric grid. People who wouldn’t know a generator from a turbine are suddenly making no small plans to reform it. We now have good electricity and bad electricity. Good electricity is generated without emitting carbon dioxide (CO2). But that rule is not rigid, because nuclear electricity, and hydro electricity, if it involves a dam, are both bad electricity, even though they don’t emit CO2.

I’m not making this up. I’m repeating the California legal definition of renewable electricity.

Gaia or God? Is the Pope making a bad mistake?

francisAny perception that it would prefer to thunder forth in condemnation of any opposition, rather than encouraging a genuine environmental debate, is not a good look for the Catholic Church. It brings back uncomfortable memories of days we expect long past. So when the Pope, widely respected as a good man, deeply concerned for the poor and needy worldwide, is perceived to be bypassing what many regard as his prime concern – in the shoes of St Peter – there is a degree of eyebrow raising, even consternation.

In the draft of his recent encyclical, the Pope states that there may be some natural reasons for global warming, but strongly chastises climate sceptics, “Their attitudes hindering the paths toward a solution, even amongst the believers, go from negating the problem to indifference, to an easy resignation, or to a blind faith in technical solutions,” he wrote.

Gov. Brown Wants Papal Climate Change Support–While Dumping Junipero Serra

brownCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown will take his utopian foreign policy to the Vatican to participate this week in an environmental summit hosted by Pope Francis. Despite California’s majority Democrats’ intention to banish celebrations of Catholic missionary Father Junipero Serra’s accomplishments, Brown will carry a state resolution supporting Pope Francis’ recent draft “Encyclical on Climate Change.”

Pope Francis last month called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling…the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions.” Governor Brown has proposed that other countries join California in requiring an increase in the generation of electricity from renewable sources, boost energy efficiency in older buildings, and reduce by half the amount of gasoline used on state roads.

Take a bow for the new revolution

mccarthy ginaFrom the outset, President Obama directed his powerful government agencies and congressional allies to help him “fundamentally transform” the United States. Too many of them were eager to nationalize the nation’s healthcare system, ignore or rewrite inconvenient laws, control the internet and political speech, implement new regulations that imposed enormous costs for few or illusory benefits, and shut down oil, gas and coal in favor of expensive, unreliable, heavily subsidized wind, solar and biofuel energy.

We voters and citizens were supposed to “tip our hats to the new Constitution” and “take a bow for the new revolution,” as The Who put it in their classic song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

But now people seem less inclined to “smile and grin at the change all around.” They increasingly grasp the enormous costs of this ruling class totalitarian anarchy, refuse to get fooled again, and are telling Mr. Obama, “Your states and your citizens are beyond your command,” as Bob Dylan might say. Perhaps “the times are a-changing” once again, and “the losers now will be later to win” – in 2016 and beyond.

Pervasive signs certainly portend a newer revolution. Indeed, the reactions of some previous cheerleaders reflect anger at the disdain the president often seems to show for their jobs and well-being. The energy and environment arena is only part of the total picture, but it’s a vitally important one.

Climate Change: When Two Tribes Go To War

antarctic volcano(h/t Gator) Have you ever wondered why every climate change discussion ever held on earth in the past decade has turned pear-shaped and gone toxic? It seems you cannot get two antagonists alone together without one calling the other names within about three comments.

Why is that? Well, I think I know.

The climate change debate is not actually about the science, it’s about the culture wars. It’s about two tribes.

‘Crippling High Energy Costs’ Blamed For 720 UK Jobs Losses At Tata Steel

francisTata Steel blamed green taxes and cheap imports as it announced 720 job cuts at its speciality steel business in the UK. The steel maker said the business – which supplies sectors such as aerospace and construction – had been hit by the UK’s “cripplingly high electricity costs”, which are up to more than double those of its European rivals. --Amy Frizell, The Independent, 17 July 2015

The government has been slammed for failing to tackle “the UK's cripplingly high electricity costs,” which Tata Steel claim have left it no choice but to make 720 UK jobs redundant. Most of the jobs are being cut from its steel bar-making plant in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, which has been underperforming  because of electricity costs “which are more than double those of key European competitors”, it said today. --Catherine Neilan, City A.M. 17 July 2015