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De Omnibus Dubitandum - Lux Veritas

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Green Notes






            
Bill Kirchner: Passing of a legend
By Rich Kozlovich
William L. Kirchner, passed away on April 15, 2017 at the age of 83. He was preceded by his wife "Honey" in 2014 who was 78.

In Memoriam: William L. Kirchner
Eleanor and William

MY COMMENTARY

Why Are They Really Coming Here?
By Rich Kozlovich
Brad Harbison wrote an editorial in the August issue of PCT Magazine entitled, Another M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions) Player Takes a Seat at the Table, discussing PCT’s April 2007 cover story saying: “we chose the headline “The British Are Coming” for an article that explored the impact of UK-based Rentokil’s purchase of Reading, Pa.-based J.C. Ehrlich, which at the time was the fourth largest pest control company in the Unites States. We speculated how this acquisition might change the North America market, as it provided Rentokil with a platform company for expansion into the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America.” He points out how these buying sprees have made big changes in purchases saying: “valuations skyrocketed with multiples of 2.5 becoming the norm — not the exception — for strategically important, high-quality pest control firms.” He also goes on to say this “may not be at their zenith” since it turns out there’s a Swedish company, Anticimex, entered this market with their own buying spree...........

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY


Fair trade for thee, but not for me
Paul Driessen
Imagine what a Tesla or wind turbine would cost if the Left followed its own “principles”  - “Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting someone else,” Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade co-founder Jerry Greenfield likes to tell us. Let’s hope he doesn’t drive an electric vehicle, doesn’t use a laptop or cell phone, and doesn’t rely on wind or solar power.   We’re constantly confronted with slogans and lectures about fair trade, human rights, sustainability, environmental and social justice, little people versus Big Corporations. Most of these subjective terms reflect perspectives and agendas of the political left, and are intended to advance those worldviews and stifle any discussion about them. But most of their self-avowed adherents never look beneath the surface of their own purchases. Indeed, they would have no standards at all if they didn’t have double standards. ............

Biofuel Justifications are Illusory
Paul Driessen
The closest thing to earthly eternal life, President Ronald Reagan used to say, is a government program. Those who benefit from a program actively and vocally defend it, often giving millions in campaign cash to politicians who help perpetuate it, while those who oppose the program or are harmed by it are usually disorganized and distracted by daily life. Legislative inertia and obstruction of the kind so graphically on display in the Senate over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) also help to perpetuate program life. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), created under the 2005 Energy Policy Act and expanded by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, is a perfect example. It has more lives than Freddy Krueger............

COLONY COLLAPSE DISORDER

How Capitalism Saved the Bees
from the August/September 2017 issue - view article in the Digital Edition
A decade after colony collapse disorder began, pollination entrepreneurs have staved off the beepocalypse. You've heard the story: Honeybees are disappearing. Beginning in 2006, beekeepers began reporting mysteriously large losses to their honeybee hives over the winter. The bees weren't just dying—they were abandoning their hives altogether. The strange phenomenon, dubbed colony collapse disorder, soon became widespread. Ever since, beekeepers have reported higher-than-normal honeybee deaths, raising concerns about a coming silent spring............
 
DDT
 
USNAS Estimates DDT Saved 500 Milion Lives Before it was Banned
By Art Robinson
Readers of Access to Energy have repeatedly, over the past decade, been reminded of a terrible and tragic circumstance: Somewhere on the Earth, on average every 12 seconds, a child dies of DDT-preventable malaria.   The United States National Academy of Sciences estimated that DDT saved 500 million lives before it was banned. The discoverer of DDT was awarded the Nobel Prize.  Then came Silent Spring — a book filled with deliberate falsehoods and blatantly marketed unreasoning and unjustified fear. The burgeoning enviro movement chose these lies for one of their first big campaigns. This campaign coincided with the rise of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA was in search of a big win with which to promote itself. The EPA studied the subject and its own scientific review board reported that – DDT is harmless to the environment and is a very beneficial substance that should not be banned.  Politics prevailed, however, over reason. DDT was banned, and the U.S. government spread that ban throughout the world by tying it to all sorts of international programs.........
 
ENDOCRINE DISTRUPTOR
 
Sunscreen, MS and Endocrine Disruptor BS
By Josh Bloom — July 27, 2017 @ The American Council on Science and Health
A strange but interesting paper by scientists at The University of Wisconsin, which just appeared in PNAS, examines whether two similar sunscreen chemicals, homosalate and octisalate, could be a possible treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). (See my colleague Julianna LeMieux's companion article "Sunscreen, MS And A Scientific Finding That Is Hard To Believe"  about the biological activity of the chemicals.)..........

EPA

Debunking the EPA’s fake accounts of the Gold King mine disaster
by , 0 Comments 
Bureaucrats and politicians should no longer be able to get away with sweeping their sins under the rug. After almost two years, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General released its report on the Gold King Mine disaster that dumped over a million pounds of metals into the Animas River, turning dozens of miles of the river orange.  While inspectors general are tasked with finding out the truth and holding agencies accountable, this recently released report sheds no more light on the disaster than previous misleading reports.  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has inherited not only an environmental mess, but also the mess created by an agency more interested in its narrow self-interests than truth. Pruitt now has an opportunity to send a message that would ripple far beyond the EPA........There you have it: Experts “inadvertently … initiated an internal erosion failure.” It could have happened to anyone...........
 
GLOBAL WARMING
 
Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” hypocrisy
by ,
Michael Mann has consistently refused to share his temperature proxy data for others to examine, forcing one to wonder what it is he has to hide.   Do you remember “Mike’s nature trick” from the infamous “Climategate” emails?  Penn State scientist Michael Mann grafted historical temperature data derived from tree rings and other sources to modern observations and smoothed things out to produce the now infamous “hockey stick” graph the UN likes so much.  Mann’s graph and the approach he used to create it has come in for withering criticism from other researchers.  Mann has consistently refused to share his data for others to examine, forcing one to wonder what it is he has to hide.  (The Medieval Warm Period for one thing)........

Increased Carbon Dioxide Boosts Crops, Not Weeds!
One of the tactics utilized by climate alarmists in their attempt to disparage or downplay the growth-enhancing benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment is to suggest that weeds will become ever more aggressive in the future as the air's CO2 content continues to climb, making them greater threats to the wellbeing of both natural ecosystems and farming operations. But is this contention correct?..........
 
Australian Scientists Caught Fudging Temperature Data ....... Again!
Heartland Institute Climate Change Weekly
For the second time in three years the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has been caught altering or removing low temperature readings from the official record, thus giving the false impression warming is occurring in regions where it isn’t. After several meteorologists and climate researchers noticed low temperature readings were disappearing from the temperature observations recorded at a number of BOM weather stations—observations confirmed by independent sources—BOM was forced to admit a problem with the system. ..............
 
JUNK SCIENCE
 
Point: Trump’s War on Junk Science
Angela Logomasini July 10, 2017
According to many news outlets, President Donald Trump has “declared a war on science.” Yet judging from at least one recent decision, the opposite is true. The Trump administration is trying to prevent policies based on junk science.  A key example is the Trump administration’s denial of an activist petition to ban agricultural uses of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which farmers have safely used for decades. This decision makes sense when you consider the history.  Residential uses of chlorpyrifos, such as for bug spray, were phased out starting in the year 2000, but not because it was proven dangerous. Rather, chemical company Dow Agrosciences voluntarily phased out home uses because Environmental Protection Agency regulations proved too expensive and onerous, making the product unprofitable...........

MEDIA

Behind the NY Times glyphosate fiasco: Why anti-GMO activists turned on Ben & Jerry’s
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REGULATIONS
 
Fixing A Washington That's Gone From Rule Of Law, To Rule By Whatever
Clyde Wayne Crews Forbes July 18, 2017
Astrophysicists have concluded that ordinary visible matter—the Sun, the Moon, the planets, the Milky Way, the multitudes of galaxies beyond our own, and their trillions of component stars, planets, and gas clouds—make up only a tiny fraction of the universe. How tiny a fraction? Less than 5 percent. Weakly interactive but pervasive dark matter and dark energy make up most of the universe, rendering the bulk of existence beyond our ability to observe directly..........

 
 

Debunking the EPA’s fake accounts of the Gold King mine disaster

Bureaucrats and politicians should no longer be able to get away with sweeping their sins under the rug

by , 0 Comments 

After almost two years, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General released its report on the Gold King Mine disaster that dumped over a million pounds of metals into the Animas River, turning dozens of miles of the river orange.  While inspectors general are tasked with finding out the truth and holding agencies accountable, this recently released report sheds no more light on the disaster than previous misleading reports.  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has inherited not only an environmental mess, but also the mess created by an agency more interested in its narrow self-interests than truth. Pruitt now has an opportunity to send a message that would ripple far beyond the EPA........There you have it: Experts “inadvertently … initiated an internal erosion failure.” It could have happened to anyone.

The line that the EPA crew never intended to breach the natural plug (blockage) is flatly contradicted by a recently released Interior Department email that includes an account that appears to have come from the main on-scene coordinator........Important facts supporting this Interior Department account are omitted from the inspector general report. What the inspector general kept in is less important than what the he left out........EPA accounts have constantly..........To Read More....

 


 

Fixing A Washington That's Gone From Rule Of Law, To Rule By Whatever

Clyde Wayne Crews Forbes July 18, 2017

Astrophysicists have concluded that ordinary visible matter—the Sun, the Moon, the planets, the Milky Way, the multitudes of galaxies beyond our own, and their trillions of component stars, planets, and gas clouds—make up only a tiny fraction of the universe. How tiny a fraction? Less than 5 percent. Weakly interactive but pervasive dark matter and dark energy make up most of the universe, rendering the bulk of existence beyond our ability to observe directly.

Here on Earth, in the United States, where the government spends $4 trillion annually and regulatory compliance and economic interventions cost nearly half that amount, there is “regulatory dark matter” that is often hard to detect, much less measure, that's coming to dominate in similar fashion.

Congress passes several dozen public laws from every year, but federal agencies issue several thousand regulations. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) of 1946 (P.L. 79-404) established the process of public notice for proposed rulemakings, and provided the opportunity for public input and comment before a final rule is published in the Federal Register, plus a suitable breathing period before it becomes effective.........To Read More......

Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” hypocrisy

Michael Mann has consistently refused to share his temperature proxy data for others to examine, forcing one to wonder what it is he has to hide.  

by ,

Do you remember “Mike’s nature trick” from the infamous “Climategate” emails?  Penn State scientist Michael Mann grafted historical temperature data derived from tree rings and other sources to modern observations and smoothed things out to produce the now infamous “hockey stick” graph the UN likes so much.  Mann’s graph and the approach he used to create it has come in for withering criticism from other researchers.  Mann has consistently refused to share his data for others to examine, forcing one to wonder what it is he has to hide.  (The Medieval Warm Period for one thing).

Mann tried to use the courts to silence critics.

CFACT’s Bonner Cohen reports at CFACT.org that a decision appears imminent in the legal battle taking place in Canada between Michael Mann and Tim Ball, a climate scientist from the University of Winnipeg.  The court ordered Mann to submit his temperature data for examination and he failed to comply.......To Read More....

Sunscreen, MS and Endocrine Disruptor BS

By Josh Bloom — July 27, 2017 @ The American Council on Science and Health

A strange but interesting paper by scientists at The University of Wisconsin, which just appeared in PNAS, examines whether two similar sunscreen chemicals, homosalate and octisalate, could be a possible treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). (See my colleague Julianna LeMieux's companion article "Sunscreen, MS And A Scientific Finding That Is Hard To Believe"  about the biological activity of the chemicals.)

Sunscreen chemicals that may be useful for treating MS. Octisalate (left) and homosalate (right) may look structurally dissimilar but are anything but. The salicylate group (red circle) is found in both molecules. The green and orange circles show corresponding carbon atoms in both molecules. They are actually very similar. Both chemicals belong to the class of salicylate ester, the simplest being methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen).

Yet, the EWG (Environmental Working Group) and it's even-dumber cosmetics watchdog offshoot Skin Deep (1) has a problem with these chemicals, which is hardly surprising; they rate the chemicals as  "moderate hazards". And why might that be? You probably guessed already. The EWG calls them:


Shocking! Photo: Wikipedia
Homosalate is a potential endocrine disruptor and studies in cells suggest it may impact hormones. In addition to direct health concerns following homosalate exposure, the chemical may also enhance the absorption of pesticides in the body.
Source: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (2)

Talk about wishy-washy language! "May impact hormones?" "May also enhance the absorption of pesticides in the body?" That's not all that convincing, is it? Perhaps homosalate may also help the Knicks make the playoffs or change the tilt of the earth's axis (the latter is far more likely).

What is this statement based on? It turns out, not much. Let's take a look at the "evidence" of this endocrine disruption from the paper that these groups cite as proof that the various UV-filter (3) sunscreens will screw up your hormones. Try not to laugh.

The paper in question consists of two parts. One involves a series of in vitro (4) assays that measure whether the compounds in question induce estrogenic activity in isolated estrogen receptors. Six of six chemicals did so. The second part was designed to see if this translated into real-life estrogenic activity in zebrafish, which were genetically modified to contain a gene that makes it possible to measure whether the compounds affect the fish. None of the six compounds did anything.
In this transgenic zebrafish assay none of the compounds showed estrogenic activity
Source: Arch Toxicol. 2002 Jun;76(5-6):257-61

Well, THAT'S sure good evidence, right? Endocrine disruptors that don't disrupt anything.


Photo: Jan Fennell the Dog Listener


Nice. But hardly unique. This is the kind of junk science that groups like EWG routinely use to scare people, and this is a great opportunity to point out how it's done. Pretty sleazy, no? It should make you wonder how many claims don't stand up when a light is shined upon them.

Sorry, dudes, You're busted. Lights out.

Notes:

(1) This has always puzzled me. The human physiological response (if any) elicited by trace amounts of various chemicals is a medical issue, assuming that it is an issue at all. Please tell me how this is an environmental issue. Hint: it's not. So, why are environmental groups (EWG is not alone) with little or no expertise in medicine spending a whole lot of time writing about this? Why not neurosurgery or bunions? Makes no sense. Unless they have other reasons for doing this. I won't $peculate about this.

(2) The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is an umbrella group, which consists of EWG and other screwball organizations. I am unaware of a "Campaign for Dangerous Cosmetics."

(3) There are two basic ways that sunscreens protect you. Some contain zinc or titanium oxides which act like face paint - physically blocking the UV radiation. The other kind are a group of chemicals which have specific properties that enable them to absorb UV radiation and convert it to heat. You don't want to know exactly how this works. Often both types are used together.

(4) In vitro means "outside the body." This broad term encompasses "test tube" test (which are run in small glass wells, not test tubes). These assays include isolated enzymes and receptors, and cell-based assays, in which given activities of compounds are measured in cultured cells. Cell-based assays are a better representation of what may occur in vivo (in a living organism.)

How Capitalism Saved the Bees

How Capitalism Saved the Bees

A decade after colony collapse disorder began, pollination entrepreneurs have staved off the beepocalypse.

 
You've heard the story: Honeybees are disappearing. Beginning in 2006, beekeepers began reporting mysteriously large losses to their honeybee hives over the winter. The bees weren't just dying—they were abandoning their hives altogether. The strange phenomenon, dubbed colony collapse disorder, soon became widespread. Ever since, beekeepers have reported higher-than-normal honeybee deaths, raising concerns about a coming silent spring.

The media swiftly declared disaster. Time called it a "bee-pocalypse"; Quartz went with "beemageddon." By 2013, National Public Radio was declaring "a crisis point for crops" and a Time cover was foretelling "a world without bees." A share of the blame has gone to everything from genetically modified crops, pesticides, and global warming to cellphones and high-voltage electric transmission lines. The Obama administration created a task force to develop a "national strategy" to promote honeybees and other pollinators, calling for $82 million in federal funding to address pollinator health and enhance 7 million acres of land. This year both Cheerios and Patagonia have rolled out save-the-bees campaigns; the latter is circulating a petition calling on the feds to "protect honeybee populations" by imposing stricter regulations on pesticide use.

A threat to honeybees should certainly raise concerns. They pollinate a wide variety of important food crops—about a third of what we eat—and add about $15 billion in annual value to the economy, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And beekeepers are still reporting above-average bee deaths. In 2016, U.S. beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies over the previous year, the second-highest annual loss reported in the past decade.

Fair trade for thee, but not for me

Imagine what a Tesla or wind turbine would cost if the Left followed its own “principles”
 
Paul Driessen
 
“Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting someone else,” Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade co-founder Jerry Greenfield likes to tell us. Let’s hope he doesn’t drive an electric vehicle, doesn’t use a laptop or cell phone, and doesn’t rely on wind or solar power.
 
We’re constantly confronted with slogans and lectures about fair trade, human rights, sustainability, environmental and social justice, little people versus Big Corporations. Most of these subjective terms reflect perspectives and agendas of the political left, and are intended to advance those worldviews and stifle any discussion about them. But most of their self-avowed adherents never look beneath the surface of their own purchases. Indeed, they would have no standards at all if they didn’t have double standards.
 
Just imagine what a $35,000 to $150,000 electric vehicle would cost if it were built using “fair trade” metals. How expensive already pricey wind and solar electricity would be if manufacturers had to follow fair trade standards, pay the full human and environmental costs associated with components, and pay workers the source-country equivalents of “Fight For $15” wages. Even more challenging:
What if wind, solar and EV systems had to adhere to the “precautionary principle” – which says products must be banned until promoters can prove their technologies will never harm people or the environment?
 
The fair trade, et cetera rules are already enforced with an iron fist against non-renewable products by regulators, politicians, the news media and angry college students. It’s mostly the Progressive Left’s favored, supposedly renewable and eco-friendly energy “alternatives” and toys that get exempted.
 
ExxonMobil was fined $600,000 in 2009 for the deaths of 85 migratory birds that landed in uncovered oilfield waste pits. Compare that $7,000 per bird assessment to the zero to minuscule fines imposed once or twice on Big Wind companies for 85,000 dead eagles and hawks, and 8.5 million sliced and diced other birds and bats, over recent years. (These are artistic license numbers, but very close to the mark.)
 
The Keep It In The Ground campaigns against oil, gas and coal, the fossil fuel divestment movement on campuses, the anti-Israel Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) rabble, the incessant EarthJustice, Greenpeace and World Wildlife Fund lawsuits and campaigns against mining ignore all this, and more.
 
Just beneath the surface of cell phone, EV, computer, wind, solar and other technologies are some shocking and inconvenient truths. These products are not made from pixie dust or raw materials beamed in from the Starship Enterprise. All require lithium, rare earth metals, iron, copper, silica, petroleum and many other materials that must be dug out of the Earth, using human labor or fossil fuels.
 
Petroleum alone is the foundation for some 6,000 products besides fuels: paints, plastics, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and much more. Lithium is essential in computer and EV batteries, neodymium in NdFeB wind turbine generator magnets, cadmium in PV solar panels, petroleum-based resins in turbine blades.
 
The vast majority of these minerals and metals could probably be found in economically recoverable or even world-class deposits in the United States. However, known deposits have been taxed, regulated and litigated into oblivion, while excellent prospects are mostly in western and Alaskan lands made inaccessible by Congress, courts, activists and Antiquities Act decrees. We’re not even allowed to look.
 
That has forced mining companies to go overseas. With few exceptions, American, Canadian, European and Australian companies pay good wages, abide by health and environmental rules, and invest heavily in local schools, libraries, hospitals, and water, sewage and electrical systems. But they are still pilloried, harassed and sued on a regular basis by radical groups in Peru, Guatemala and elsewhere.
 
The late Roy Innis, chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, nailed it perfectly when he blasted the WWF for its callous campaign against a proposed mine in Madagascar.
 
“These enemies of the poor say they are ‘stakeholders,’ who want to ‘preserve’ indigenous people and villages,” Mr. Innis observed. “They never consider what the real stakeholders want – the people who actually live in these impoverished communities and must live with the consequences of harmful campaigns that are being waged all over the world,” blocking their opportunities, hopes and dreams.
 
These well-financed, self-righteous anti-mining assaults too often leave villagers jobless and the world dependent on shoddy state-run operations like the rare earth mines and processing facilities in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, and locally operated, often illegal “artisanal” mines in Africa and Asia. The environmental degradation and human health effects associated with these operations are horrendous.
 
Areas north of Baotou hold 70% of global proven reserves of rare earth minerals (REMs). The region was once productive farmland. But as Australia news, Business Insider, ABC News, Britain’s Guardian, BBC and Daily Mail, and others have documented, it is now a vast wasteland, where nothing grows.
 
Ores are extracted by pumping acid into the ground, then processed using more acids and chemicals. One ton of REMs releases up to 420,000 cubic feet of gases, 2,600 cubic feet of wastewater and 1 ton of other wastes – all of them acidic, toxic and radioactive. The resulting black sludge – laden with acids, heavy metals, carcinogens and other materials – is pipelined to what has become a foul, stinking, lifeless, six-mile-diameter “lake.” Its toxic contents are seeping into groundwater and creeping toward the Yellow (Huang He) River, an important source of drinking and irrigation water for much of northern China.
 
Miners and other workers labor up to 16 hours a day for a few yuan or dollars, under health, safety and environmental conditions that would likely have been intolerable in the US, UK and Europe a century ago. Dirty processing plants have few or no maintenance crews, little or no regular cleaning or repairs. Workers and local residents suffer from lung, heart and intestinal diseases, osteoporosis and cancer, at rates much higher than pre-mining days and well above those in other parts of the Middle Kingdom.
 
Meanwhile, Africa’s Congo region produces 60% of the world’s cobalt-lithium ore. Over 70,000 tons a year pass through the Congo DongFang International Mining Company to manufacturers in China. Entire families – including children as young as five – toil from dawn to dusk, for a dollar or two a day, so that cell phone, computer, EV and other buyers can enjoy cheap high-tech gadgets.
 
Generally without permits, health and safety standards or environmental rules, the parents and kids use picks, shovels, pails and bags to excavate deep holes and vast pits, in search of valuable ores. Cave-ins and mud slides are an ever-present risk. Depending on the weather, they work in dust or muck, getting dangerous levels of cobalt, lead, uranium and other heavy metals in their tissues, blood and organs.
 
Gloves, face masks, protective clothing and showers to wash the toxic dirt off bodies at the end of the day are also nonexistent. Broken bones, suffocation, blood and respiratory diseases, birth defects, cancer and paralysis are commonplace, the Guardian, Washington Post, NPR and human rights groups report.
 
Maybe those evils are better than prostitution for mothers and daughters, drug dealing and criminal gangs for fathers and sons, or starvation and death for entire families. But it certainly smells like exploitation.
 
Where are the Ben & Jerry’s and Fair Trade demands for justice? The Berkeley and Brown student protests, sit-ins and boycotts against Nokia, Samsung, Apple, Lenovo, Tesla, Vestas and Trina Solar? The demands that college endowment and teacher pension funds divest from these companies? The outraged US and EU student marchers in Baotou and Beijing, to support workers, Joshua Wong and Liu Xiaobo?
 
Where are the calls to replace state-run and artisanal mining operations with socially and environmentally responsible Western mining companies? Where is the WWF compensation to poor villagers for the wages, electricity, clean water and improved living standards they could have had?
 
Environmentalist policies don’t merely represent double standards. No matter how Greenpeace or the Sierra Club might disguise or sugarcoat them, radical green policies and campaigns are unjust, unethical, inhuman, imperialistic and racist.
 
It’s time to apply fair trade, living wage and environmental justice principles to the anti-mining, anti-people campaigners. Their real goal is keeping the Third World impoverished, and that is intolerable.
 
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books on the environment. Aug 2017

The Much-Deserved End of Obama’s Operation Choke Point

Dan Mitchell



Trump has been President for more than 200 days and those of us who want more economic liberty don't have many reasons to be happy. Obamacare hasn't been repealed, the tax code hasn't been reformed, and wasteful spending hasn't been cut. The only glimmer of hope is that Trump has eased up on the regulatory burden. More should be happening, of course, but we are seeing some small steps in the right direction. Let's share one positive development. Professor Tony Lima of California State University opined back in January in the Wall Street Journal that Trump could unilaterally boost growth by ending a reprehensible policy known as "Operation Choke Point.".........Keep in mind, by the way, that Congress didn't pass a law mandating discrimination against and harassment of these merchants.  The Washington bureaucracy, along with ideologues in the Obama Administration, simply decided to impose an onerous new policy......To Read More.....




Behind the NY Times glyphosate fiasco: Why anti-GMO activists turned on Ben & Jerry’s

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At the same time I acknowledge that the blanket health, yield, and impact claims are not justified and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. I also have strong opinions about exemptions provided for organic farm labor and the non-use of antibiotics when animals need them to cure infection. It is a subject with much nuance.
 
OCA — A DANGEROUS FRINGE. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a radical fringe arm related remotely to the massive organic industry............
BEN AND JERRY’S — HOISTED ON THEIR OWN PETARD. No matter what the science says they can’t come out and say that glyphosate is safe and that the levels claimed are inconsequential. For years their representatives have argued against genetic engineering and use of such products.They fought vehemently for “GMO” labeling and dismissed science all along the way. They followed the lead of an anti-science movement, and it has come back to now hit them hard.
...........To Read More.....

My Take - Personally...I couldn't be more pleased to see these lunatics eating their own.  Why?  Because it clearly shows there is not now, nor will there ever be, a way to appease these misfits.  So why do we in the pest control industry keep trying?  First it was chlorinated hydrocarbons they wanted eliminated....and it happened.  Then it was carbamates and organophosphates  they wished to destroy, and that mostly happened.   Now it's pyrethrins, pyrethroids and neonicotinoids.  There will never be an end to this insanity until the EPA is eliminated, the activists are defunded, and sued out of existence.  Why is that so hard to understand? 

Leftists demand absolute obedience......or else.  The fact the worst environmental catastrophes were caused by leftists and environmentalists escapes the public, the media, the politicians who support them, and the bureaucrats who make the rules.  You don't believe that you say?  Well, there will be more coming about this later. 
 

 
 
 

Biofuel Justifications are Illusory

It’s time to really cut, cut, cut ethanol and other renewable fuel mandates – maybe to zero

Paul Driessen

The closest thing to earthly eternal life, President Ronald Reagan used to say, is a government program. Those who benefit from a program actively and vocally defend it, often giving millions in campaign cash to politicians who help perpetuate it, while those who oppose the program or are harmed by it are usually disorganized and distracted by daily life. Legislative inertia and obstruction of the kind so graphically on display in the Senate over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) also help to perpetuate program life.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), created under the 2005 Energy Policy Act and expanded by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, is a perfect example. It has more lives than Freddy Krueger.
The laws require that refiners blend steadily increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline, and expect the private sector to produce growing amounts of “cellulosic” biofuel, “biomass-based diesel” and “advanced” biofuels. Except for corn ethanol, the production expectations have mostly turned out to be fantasies. The justifications for renewable fuels were scary exaggerations then, and are now illusions.
Let’s begin with claims made to justify this RFS extravaganza in the first place. It would reduce pollution, we were told. But cars are already 95% cleaner than their 1970 predecessors, so there are no real benefits.
The USA was depleting its petroleum reserves, and the RFS would reduce oil imports from unstable, unfriendly nations. But the horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) revolution has given the United States at least a century of new reserves. America now exports more oil and refined products than it imports, and US foreign oil consumption is now the lowest since 1970.
Renewable fuels would help prevent dangerous manmade climate change, we were also told. This assumes climate is driven by manmade carbon dioxide – and not by changes in solar heat output, cosmic rays, ocean currents and other powerful natural forces that brought ice ages, little ice ages, warm periods, droughts and floods. It assumes biofuels don’t emit CO2, or at least not as much as gasoline; in reality, over their full life cycle, they emit at least as much, if not more, of this plant-fertilizing molecule.
Moreover, contrary to the hysteria, computer models and Al Gore’s new movie, humanity and planet are not experiencing unusual or unprecedented climate or weather. Inconvenient to Mr. Gore’s theme, in fact not a single category 3-5 hurricane has struck the US mainland since October 2005, a record 11 years, 9 months. He simply presents a seemingly endless stream of weather calamities – what Australian science writer Jo Nova aptly refers to as “primal weather porn” and suggests that these events are unprecedented and caused by humans. The claim reflects deliberate distortion of the truth, abysmal grasp of science (by a man who received a C and a D in his only two college science courses), or both.
To get far more complete, factual, honest climate science, see the Climate Hustle documentary instead.
Moreover, with China, India, the rest of Asia, Africa, Poland and even Germany burning more and more coal – and more gasoline and natural gas – total atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continue to rise. But meanwhile, Greenland just had the coldest July temperature ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere, and global average temperatures are back to the 1998-2017 hiatus they had before the 2015-16 El NiƱo.
Regardless, the immortal RFS is still with us. However, the Environmental Protection Agency has issued a previously unheard of proposal: to reduce the RFS total target for 2018 below its 2017 level. It’s a tiny 0.2% reduction, and EPA is not planning to roll back the 15-billion-gallon obligation for “conventional” biofuel, mostly ethanol from corn. But it suggests that a little healthy realism may finally be taking root.
The reduction is for cellulosic biofuel. The federal statutory target is 4.25 billion gallons in 2018. (Set a target, it will become reality, is the mindset.) EPA proposes to reduce the regulatory target to 24 million gallons for 2018, down from 31 million for 2017. But actual production and use of this fuel in 2015 was a meager 2.2 million gallons. This minuscule reduction is a good first step, but far greater reductions in statutory and regulatory targets are realistic and needed, along with a full overhaul of the RFS program.
A little over 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol were produced in 2016 – but only 143 billion gallons of gasoline were sold. That means using all the ethanol would require blends above 10% (E10 gasoline) – which is why Big Ethanol is lobbying hard for government mandates (or at least permission) for more E15 (15% ethanol) gasoline blends and pumps. Refiners refer to the current situation as the “blend wall.”
But E15 damages engines and fuel systems in older cars and motorcycles, as well as small engines for boats and garden equipment, and using E15 voids their warranties. You can already find E15 pumps, but finding zero-ethanol, pure-gasoline pumps is a tall order. Moreover, to produce ethanol, the United States is already devoting 40% of its corn crop, grown on nearly 40 million acres – along with billions of gallons of water to irrigate corn fields, plus huge amounts of fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels. 
Much of the leftover “mash” from ethanol distillation is sold as animal feed. However, the RFS program still enriches a relatively few corn farmers, while raising costs for beef, pork, poultry and fish farmers, and for poor, minority, working class and African families. Ethanol also gets a third less mileage per gallon than gasoline, so cars cannot go as far on a tank of E10 and go even shorter distances with E15.
Ethanol sales also involve the complexities – and sometimes fraudulent practices – of buying and selling Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs: certificates and credits for ethanol. Large integrated oil companies blend more gasoline than they refine, so they collect more RINs than they need, allowing them to hoard RINs and drive up the prices they charge to independent refiners that must buy these RINs to comply with the law. Large retail businesses like Cumberland Farms, Sheetz, Wawa and Walmart blend fuel and collect RINs, but have no RFS obligation; they use RINs as subsidies and their large volumes to command lower prices from refiners, and thereby gain an unfair advantage over small gas station owners.
The net result is that small mom-and-pop gas stations are squeezed hard and often driven out of business. Small refiners, and those on the East Coast that don’t have large wholesale and retail businesses are forced to buy pricey RINs from integrated oil company competitors, which puts those smaller outfits at a disadvantage and threatens their ability to stay in business. That means steel and refinery jobs and employee benefits are at risk. All told, the RFS presents a lot of problems for illusory benefits.
All these hard realities almost persuaded the US Senate Environment Committee to vote on a recent bill that would have revised some of the outdated and outlandish RFS mandates. It didn’t happen, but the political machinations suggest that even some progressive Democrats are beginning to question the RFS.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide are becoming increasingly popular in some states and countries. To cite the perspective of “progressive ethicists” like Peter Singer, perhaps it’s time to apply the same principles to government programs that have outlived their usefulness or should never have been born.
At the very least, politically spawned, politically correct energy programs – founded on questionable, exaggerated or fabricated climate, environmental, consumer or security scares – should no longer get free passes on land use, habitat and wildlife impacts, environmental quality or consumer and employment issues. They need to be subjected to the same tough legislative, regulatory, activist and judicial assessments that we insist on for oil, gas, coal and nuclear programs
This should apply to wind and solar, electric vehicle and battery proposals, as well as to Renewable Fuel Standards. It would restore some much-needed integrity and accountability to our government.
(The opportunity for signing up to present oral testimony at EPA’s August 1 public hearing on the 2018 biofuel standards has passed. However, written statements and supporting information submitted to EPA by August 31 will be given the same weight as comments and materials presented at the hearing.)
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.
 

Increased Carbon Dioxide Boosts Crops, Not Weeds!

Paper Reviewed

 Kaciene, G., Kiksaityte, A., Januskaitiene, I., Miskelyte, D., Zaltauskaite, J., Sujetoviene, G., Sakalauskiene, S., Miliauskiene, Juozapaitiene, G. and Juknys, R. 2017. Different crop and weed performance under single and combined effects of elevated CO2 and temperature. Crop Science 57: 935

One of the tactics utilized by climate alarmists in their attempt to disparage or downplay the growth-enhancing benefits of atmospheric CO2 enrichment is to suggest that weeds will become ever more aggressive in the future as the air's CO2 content continues to climb, making them greater threats to the wellbeing of both natural ecosystems and farming operations. But is this contention correct?

To determine whether elevated carbon dioxide levels and higher temperatures will “differentially affect crop and weed species,” Kaciene et al. grew peas, barley, and the weed wild mustard in a controlled environment under ambient carbon dioxide levels of 400 parts per million (ppm) and elevated levels of 700 ppm and 1400 ppm under ambient and elevated temperatures.

The researchers found higher carbon dioxide conditions elevated the growth and water use efficiency of pea and barley plants, while the wild mustard experienced insignificant gains. The researchers concluded, “crops … take a considerably higher advantage from elevated carbon dioxide compared with weed species,” even under conditions of elevated temperatures. ...........To Read More....

Australian Scientists Caught Fudging Temperature Data ....... Again!

Heartland Institute Climate Change Weekly

For the second time in three years the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has been caught altering or removing low temperature readings from the official record, thus giving the false impression warming is occurring in regions where it isn’t. After several meteorologists and climate researchers noticed low temperature readings were disappearing from the temperature observations recorded at a number of BOM weather stations—observations confirmed by independent sources—BOM was forced to admit a problem with the system.

Evidently the system was set to remove any recorded temperature outside of a preset range of “acceptable” readings. A BOM spokesperson admitted the agency placed limits on how low temperatures could go in some areas of the country. After the press publicized the data changes, BOM said the equipment at a number of locations was being taken offline for repair. The originally recorded low temperatures were restored to the official record, resulting in temperatures plunging by more than a degree at each of the locations in question.

This is not the first time BOM has been accused of manipulating Australia’s temperature data to promote climate alarm. In 2014, independent researchers showed BOM was systematically altering historic temperature data to make the past appear colder and the present warmer, thus showing an enhanced warming trend rather than the cyclical ups and downs in temperatures that had been recorded historically.

At the time, Australia’s environment minister convinced the prime minister not to convene an independent review panel to examine BOM’s data manipulations, saying such an independent review would undermine public confidence in the agency. As a result, instead of an independent forensic examination of BOM’s data collection, accounting, and reporting methods, the agency established an in-house technical review panel. That panel failed to catch the recent scrubbing of low temperatures.

As Tom Knighton writes:
BOM categorically denied that what they did constituted falsifying data, but here’s the problem with that: They ... you know, falsified data.
When you say ‘the Earth is warming up,’ and there is data that may indicate you’re wrong, and then you ‘quality assure’ it out of existence, that’s going to look sketchy as hell. Why? I don’t know, maybe because it’s sketchy as hell.

SOURCES: The Australian August 4 2017; The Australian April 8 2017; PJ Media; The Daily Caller
 

USNAS Estimates DDT Saved 500 Milion Lives Before it was Banned

By Art Robinson

Readers of Access to Energy have repeatedly, over the past decade, been reminded of a terrible and tragic circumstance: Somewhere on the Earth, on average every 12 seconds, a child dies of DDT-preventable malaria.

The United States National Academy of Sciences estimated that DDT saved 500 million lives before it was banned. The discoverer of DDT was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Then came Silent Spring — a book filled with deliberate falsehoods and blatantly marketed unreasoning and unjustified fear. The burgeoning enviro movement chose these lies for one of their first big campaigns. This campaign coincided with the rise of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA was in search of a big win with which to promote itself. The EPA studied the subject and its own scientific review board reported that – DDT is harmless to the environment and is a very beneficial substance that should not be banned.

Politics prevailed, however, over reason. DDT was banned, and the U.S. government spread that ban throughout the world by tying it to all sorts of international programs.........To Read More....

Point: Trump’s War on Junk Science

Angela Logomasini July 10, 2017

According to many news outlets, President Donald Trump has “declared a war on science.” Yet judging from at least one recent decision, the opposite is true. The Trump administration is trying to prevent policies based on junk science.

A key example is the Trump administration’s denial of an activist petition to ban agricultural uses of the pesticide chlorpyrifos, which farmers have safely used for decades. This decision makes sense when you consider the history.

Residential uses of chlorpyrifos, such as for bug spray, were phased out starting in the year 2000, but not because it was proven dangerous. Rather, chemical company Dow Agrosciences voluntarily phased out home uses because Environmental Protection Agency regulations proved too expensive and onerous, making the product unprofitable.......To Read More....

Because Protecting the Environment Is Important, Capitalism Should Play a Bigger Role

August 16, 2017 by Dan Mitchell @ International Liberty
 
Over the years, I’ve had fun mocking the silly extremism of the environmental movement.
 
All you really need to know is that it’s supposedly bad to be a red country.
That being said, protecting the environment is a worthy and important goal.

And that’s why some of us want to give the private sector a bigger role.

John Stossel, for instance, has a must-watch video on how capitalism can save endangered rhinos.



Professor Philip Booth expands on the lesson in the video and urges broad application of market forces to preserve the environment.

Especially well-enforced property rights.
…what is needed for better husbandry of ecological resources is more widespread and deeper establishment of property rights together with their enforcement. The cause of environmentalism is often associated with the Left. This is despite the fact that some of the worst environmental outcomes in the history of our planet have been associated with Communist governments. …a great deal of serious work has been produced by those who believe in market or community-based solutions to environmental problems, and a relatively small role for government. For example, Ronald Coase and Elinor Ostrom are two Nobel Prize winners in economics who have made profound contributions to our understanding of how markets and communities can promote environmental conservation. Indeed, the intellectual and moral high ground when it comes to environmentalism ought to be taken by those who believe in private property, strong community institutions and a free economy.
Philip explains why private ownership produces conservation.
If things are owned, they will tend to be looked after. The owner of a lake will not fish it to near extinction (or even over-fish the lake to a small degree) because the breeding potential of the fish would be reduced.
He then explains the downside of public ownership.
On the other hand, if the lake is not owned by anybody, or if it is owned by the government and fishing is unregulated, the lake will be fished to extinction because nobody has any benefit from holding back. Local businesses may well also pollute the lake if there are no well-defined ownership rights. The much-cited work here is Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons (1968), though, in fact, Hardin was simply referring back to a pamphlet by William Forster Lloyd which was written in 1833. In that pamphlet, a situation was described whereby common land was open to grazing by all. The land would then be over-grazed because a person would get the benefit of putting additional cattle on the land without the cost that arises from over-grazing which would be shared by all users.
He points out that one advantage of Brexit is that the U.K. can implement a fisheries system based on property rights.
Now that fishing policy has been repatriated, the UK should establish property rights in sea fisheries. Few would seriously question private property when it comes to the land. For example, it is rare these days to find people who would suggest that farms should be nationalised or collectivised or returned to an unregulated commons where anybody can graze their animals without restriction. It would be understood that this would lead to chaos, inefficiency and environmental catastrophe.
And since we have real-world evidence that fisheries based on property rights are very successful, hopefully the U.K. government will implement this reform.

So what’s the bottom line on capitalism and the environment?
If we want sustainable environmental outcomes, the answer almost never lies with government control, but with the establishment and enforcement of property rights over environmental resources. This provides the incentive to nurture and conserve. Where the government does intervene it should try to mimic markets. When it comes to the environment, misguided government intervention can lead to conflict and poor environmental outcomes. The best thing the government can do is put its own house in order and ensure that property rights are enforced through proper policing and courts systems. That is certainly the experience of forested areas in South America.

Let’s close by noting one other reason to give the market a bigger role. Simply stated, environmentalists seem to have no sense of cost-benefit analysis. Instead, we get bizarre policies that seem motivated primarily by virtue signalling.
And don’t forget green energy programs, which impose heavy costs on consumers and also are a combination of virtue signalling and cronyism.

No wonder many of us don’t trust the left on global warming, even if we recognize it may be a real issue.

P.S. There is at least one employee at the Environmental Protection Agency who deserves serious consideration for the Bureaucrat Hall of Fame.

Bruce Ames on Cancer Causing Chemicals


Where were the NYT stories about a secretive EPA under Obama?

By Jack Hellner August 13, 2017

On Saturday, the NYT had a front-page story about the EPA being run in secret.  Last week, the NYT ran a false story saying the Trump administration was refusing to publish a climate change report when it was actually public months ago.   Is this story just as fake?  The NYT seems to do little research.

Within the last few years under Obama, the EPA refused to give Congress or the public scientific data to support all of its regulations.  Why would that information be secret if it was so supportive of the "climate change caused by humans is settled" agenda?   I do not recall the NYT running front-page stories about the secretive EPA under Obama.  In fact, the Times went along with the agenda and never cared about the actual data..............Read more


NYT: But enough about nuclear incineration threats to Guam. Let's talk about global warming
By Monica Showalter August 12, 2017

In Guam, the civil defense instructions were clear and direct:.........Meanwhile, in San Diego, where I live, the local news stations have interviewed Guamanians living here, where there is a large community, and not surprisingly, the Guamanians say they are worried. They are even planning a Roman Catholic Mass to pray for the deliverance of their island from the nuclear threat it is facing now............The New York Times made a fool of itself Friday by, instead of focusing on Guam and its existential threat, using it as an opportunity to bring up global warming. Look at the idiocy of its headline: "North Korea Aside, Guam Faces Another Threat: Climate Change."........The bombs could be raining down on Guam or even Manhattan, and those guys would still be banging on the nonexistent drum of global warming. It's embarrassing .......Read more

Why Is This Not a Story?
Debra J. Saunders Posted: Aug 13, 2017

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman known in political circles as DWS, is knee-deep in a scandal that involves a laptop, money and possible foreign entanglements. Unlike the Trump Russian scandal, however, The Washington Post and New York Times have barely reported on the story, which has conservatives observing -- with President Donald Trump's Twitter account concurring -- that the mainstream media have a double standard. 

In February, the House sergeant-at-arms yanked House computer network access for five information technology staffers who worked as shared employees for some 30 House Democrats. Capitol Police told members that the five were under criminal investigation for possibly violating security policies -- and asked members to update their security settings. By March, most Democrats had fired the five, if only because they could no longer do their jobs......To Read More...