Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Myron talks through his hole

Why do people keep calling on this guy? He's not funny, yet what he says doesn't pass the laugh test. And he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about. This so-called energy expert used his high school knowledge to determin that methanol, a popular alternative fuel that Exxon happens not to manufacture in vast quantities, was too poisonous to use to drive cars. Like we're going to drink gasoline either. The radio show host, Chuck Harder, pointed that the substance is widely used in car races and model airplanes without any problem.

Then Ebell got on to the technology issue:
Ebell:You know, Amory Lovins, this energy guru, says they could produce cars to get 100 miles per gallon, or 500 miles per gallon, but they just won't do it. Well that's true. [And] the car would cost a couple million dollars. General Motors, Ford, and the Japanese, they have technologies that will get almost unlimited amount of miles out of a gallon of gas, but the question is how much does it cost to produce the automobile.

Harder: (long silence) The first [question] is... how much if they made a million?

Ebell: (pause) They made a million of them?

Harder: Yeah

Ebell: ...One of the things that Amory Lovins talks about is that we have all these ultra-light materials available, like titanium, which we use on jet fighters. But that stuff costs so much that there's no way that a car could be produced [which] anybody could afford to buy.
This is of course forgetting how the CEI has for years litigated and advised people to buy large, heavy, fuel-inefficient cars on the basis that the occupants of such vehicles are fractionally safer per mile driven.

No matter. It's a health issue. Apparently, encouraging people to drive less and walk more isn't.

There are measures that could be taken to build the capacity for the generation of other energy sources, but Ebell rightly says that they are more expensive now and require the mechanisms of subsidy and regulation, which is he against, in order to make them happen. The market, and the corporations which operate within it, are structurally incapable of preparing for the future, because prices are set by the lowest supplier, who can veto any investment. At the same time, the consumers have no say as to how the profits which they have generated are spent, especially when they get spent on things that are against their own interests, like on lying corporate front groups and political intervention.

All the consequences are utterly predictable. Yet we are not supposed to discuss it because the known cures to this disease, of which the CEI is a symptom, are not allowed on the table. The rich person's table. Playing roulette with the environment on which we depend is preferable to making any concessions on the way they make money. That is human nature, apparently.

Or so they tell us.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Exxon's pathetic attempt at a PR campaign

If you've watched TV over the past month, you'll have seen Exxon's latest efforts to explain itself to the public. This is to be welcomed, because it's more honest than sending money to Myron Ebell to lie on their behalf. When Exxon reports things about itself in its own name, the public is able to attribute the information with the proper degree of skepticism it deserves.

So they hired some sexy PR firm to tell the public about the good things they do for the environment. Problem is, it's a tough job, because they haven't done anything good for the environment. If they had, they might have come up with slightly better examples than:
"Two thousand years ago [the Romans] probably never imagined people would be going past [these ruins of their collapsed empire] at 50kph [on a fossil fuel burning vehicle], just like we can't predict what we will be driving in the future [(how about cars?)]. That's why we are developing thermoplastic car body parts that are... recyclable [as required by law], so we can keep things (pause) moving forward [to our own civilization's collapse]. I'm Marina Anglani, and I work for ExxonMobil [as a sexy actress in a red helmet]."
They have another ad about their low-sulpher diesel, which is also done because of environmental regulations and not, as Exxon would lead you to believe, because they are a good company who gives a pair of fetid dingoes kidneys for "the common good".

Under "minimizing out impact on the environment", their astonishing statement is:
"why not take wastes that woulod end up in landfills... and recycle them so they end up as roads"
It's called fly-tipping. Everyone knows you can get the benefits of toxic waste much quicker if you spread it on paths.

Exxon does have some pages on climate science, whose conclusions they claim -- falsely -- "rely on expert judgment rather than objective, reproducible statistical methods."

To show how earnestly this 450 billion dollar company contributes to science, they exhibit a list of 40 papers, including conference procedings between 1983 and 2005, every one of which was coauthored or "contributed to" by Kheshgi, H. S, or Flannery, B. P. There are no downloadable copies of these papers so we can check them out, and many are about CO2 sequestration and the manufacture of biofuels, with little of relevance to the existance of climate change. Since climate change can't make Exxon money, they can't support it. This flimsy page stands as a living proof from the most profitable company in the world that corporate funds will never be adequate for the conduct of science.

Finally I found the button marked: "Ask us a question", which took me to a page of 4000 words in a light gray font entitled:
This ought to be interesting. I'll bet no one else reads it; they just click the "I Accept" button at the very bottom, thus permiting idiotic lawyers to argue that everyone who has done so has read, understood, and is bound by every word of it. Even if it's an established cultural tradition not to have read it.

Most of the text is pointless because it restates the law, which you are bound by anyway, but it's there to put you off from asking any questions. There are some choice bits, however:
You agree that use of any information obtained via the Site or Services is at your own risk... ExxonMobil does not... warrant that the functions or Services contained in the Site will be... error-free, that defects will be corrected, or... [for its content's] correctness, accuracy, adequacy, usefulness, timeliness, reliability or otherwise.

ExxonMobil shall not be liable to you or any other party for any compensatory, punitive, special or consequential damages that result from the... contents on this Site... even if ExxonMobil has been advised of the possibility of such damages.
This means if the information is intended to hasten the end of civilization as we know it on this planet, that's fine with them. The conditions continue:
You may not link to this site without prior written permission from ExxonMobil...

And my favourite:
If you are dissatisfied with any portion of the Site or the Services or with any of these terms, your sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue using the Site and the Services.
No it isn't. I can also link to it and show people what a pile of crap it is. The Myron Ebell Climate doesn't have the resources to conduct such a campaign properly, but a good example of how it's done can be seen here.

Finally I got through to the feedback form and wrote my question
Dear Exxon,

What does Philip Cooney, the man who resigned from the White House in June 2005 after he was caught falsifying scientific climate reports, do and why was he hired by Exxon a day after he quit his job? Do you really think your PR campaigns can achieve anything until you start to account for the publically known allegations of dirty dealing in the field of climate change policy?
I don't suppose it matters to them that their PR campaign is a flop. They're making money and instructing the government not to move any policies that would diminish their profits. Nothing else matters.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

They laugh at our pain

Last week Mr Ebell gave an interview to a friendly radio station.
In every hearing that... was held in the Senate on Global Warming, there have been leading Democrats who start pounding the table and emphatically telling all of us: "This hearing is ridiculous, the time for talking is past, we need action, we should be marking up legislation today."

Well now, Barbara Boxer, the very radical Senator from California, is replacing Jim Inhofe... as chairman of the environment committee. She has said, "Well, you know, uh, we're going to have two global warming subcommittees, and a very long series of hearings." So they're going to keep talking about it (laughs)... So while the planet fries, the Democrats are going to keep talking (more laughter).
Look, we know the political system is dysfunctional and is good at denying reality for years on end until there is no one left alive. Mr Ebell is exactly the kind of person who is the source of the problem.

There was more giggling over in the White House when Bush was asked for a comment about his war of choice.
The President of the United States: It's bad in Iraq. Does that help? (laughs).
You wouldn't see him laughing if it was his own kids who had died. Presumably he cares more about them than any other United States citizen. It's very easy to imagine Mr Ebell laughing over the shut-down of the Gulf Stream. All that suffering and hunger that would result over in Europe just makes him chuckle.

Meanwhile, in the Supreme Court the case for whether excess CO2 is a threat to life, as the people who actually know about these things say, or plant food, as the CEI vegetables say, has been heard. The CEI filed a brief in an attempt to refute the scientific claims. Since no one at the CEI does any science, all they can do is rely on the work of scientists which, since it's almost all entirely unambiguous on the subject, they must willfully misstate.

One such scientist, Curt Covey, was quoted. He had a look at the CEI brief and wrote a letter explaining how they got it wrong. The CEI, being a body that has no interest in the truth, has of course not made any corrections or apologized for any errors. They never do. Their job is to lie and mislead the public. An apology wouldn't make sense.

Curt Covey observed that the CEI had cherry-picked one result of several multiple runs of the climate models covering different scenarios, saying that what they had selected was: possible future, but it's never been clear to me (or to anyone else I know besides Pat) why the other possibilities -- all of which involve more global warming -- should be ignored.
Well, it's a little irritating how the scientists are so gentle with these dipsticks, because it is absolutely clear why they always ignore certain facts. It's because they believe that their policies are more important than overwhelming reality. As such, they ought to have as much access to the Supreme Court or any other mechanisms in government as a wino from Prague. Just because they dress well and can speak coherently, doesn't mean they don't stink.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Kooky blogs in England

It's official. Myron Ebell loves global warming. That's the title of his article in Forbes, the magazine for the rich. He writes:
Researchers have warned us that a temperature rise of a few degrees will bring about plagues of jellyfish on our shores, more poison ivy in our gardens, maple syrup shortages, drowning polar bears, invasions by hordes of smaller and smaller ants, and a proliferation of new types of crime (at least in Australia). Dry areas will become deserts, wet places malarial swamps. Sea levels will rise faster and, worst of all, the effects will fall hardest on women, minorities, children and the poorest people in the poorest countries.
... whom Myron believes do not deserve to live because they do not provide any economic benefit to the likes of Exxon. If their crops fail it's not the drought, it's because there's not yet enough CO2 in the atmosphere to make them "grow more quickly, more vigorously and... be more resistant to things like drought." You bonehead!
[R]ising sea levels, if they happen, would be bad for a lot of people. But a warming trend would be good for other people... I'd like to suggest that the debate about climate change include, for once, a fair assessment of the benefits alongside the declamations of harm.
So, we see a shift here: he's finally accepting that everyone now believes in the well-founded scientific predictions, as opposed to the transparent fiction that he's given to us until now, and says that some of the consequences therein stated do not matter.
For example, cold winter storms kill a lot of people. More people die from blizzards and cold spells than from heat waves.
Here's a good bit.
Increased death rates usually persist for weeks after the unusually cold temperatures have passed, which suggests that the cold is killing people who would otherwise live into another season at least. Mortality rates during heat waves are just the reverse. The increase ends and often the rate drops below normal as soon as temperatures cool, which suggests that the higher temperatures are killing people who are likely to die soon anyway.
I have no idea how the logic works here. He's excels himself. Anyway, we move on:
So modest climatic improvement would be to have fewer and less severe big winter storms. Amazingly, that's exactly what we should get if global warming theory turns out to be true. The models say that much of the warming will occur in the upper latitudes and in the winter. At the risk of further ridicule in kooky blogs in England, where global warming alarmism is now a religion, that sounds pretty good to me. Fewer people will die from the cold... Life in many places [only in America] would become more pleasant. Instead of 20 below zero in January in Saskatoon, it might be only 10 below.
And now the punchline. Wait for it...
This promising scenario of milder winters in northern regions, which would become reality in the unlikely event that global warming turns out to be as considerable as predicted, comes with a catch, however. Air-conditioning is now considered a necessity... Air-conditioning takes a lot of energy. But to stop global warming, we're supposed to use much less energy. Given our obvious preference for living in warmer climates as long as we have air-conditioning, I doubt that we're going to go on the energy diet that the global warming doomsters urge us to undertake.
Coincidentally, above the article, was a banner ad which took you to Exxon's new PR campaign.
why not take wastes that would end up in landfills-- and recycle them so they end up as roads. That's travelling in the right direction!
Just what do they take us for? You can't even parody this nonsense. Did they actually pay good PR money for it? Why not take Myron's big book of no longer useful lies, and recycle them as school books?

How are his children doing so far anyway? Have they achieved anything for the Stop Myron Ebell campaign. Maybe they don't want to make a fuss because they need his money to get an education. What's the subject? Environmental sciences. Could be useful to know in a changing world. I hope it's not law school. Lawyers can tell you they own the world, but they will be first on the barbeque when the famine comes. All they're good for is meat.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

No friend of Fred

For all its extolling of the free market, supply-demand, and actually producing something which people want to buy for their own consumption, the CEI is not above rattling its begging bowl in people's faces. There's a letter from 2000 where the hairy old boss, Fred Smith, is begging for more money from RJ Reynolds Tobacco, saying:
Our work is important both for America generally, and RJ Reynolds specifically...
Would you please consider making a general support contribution towards our efforts? I know you have contributed between $20,000 and $50,000 over the years. I would truly appreciate it if you can consider your largest possible contribution to support our work. This would mean a lot to me personally and your contribution would come at a critical time for the CEI.
One would expect that this sort of humiliation goes on continuously. They've printed this stupid brochure detailing their "Giving Clubs", with a list of pathetic badges to collect from "Deregulators" (cost $100), through to "Friends of Fred", "Executives" and Entrepreneurs" ($10,000) for which you get treated to a VIP CEI dinner and special visits by Fred, whoever he is, which is something "Friends of Fred" aren't important enough to get. Do you think if I gave $10,000 he could go jump in a lake?

The brochure is worth a look, because it includes the best stuff they think they have ever done in the past two decades of their pitiful existance.

It includes their vanity-published so-called studies on nearly "200 policy issues". Then there are the lawsuits on such issues as Sarbanes-Oxley -- an accountancy law brought in after business as usual at Enron -- and the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, FDA drug regulation, and alcohol advertising restrictions, all on the sides of the Merchants of Death.

It goes on: "The Institute’s successful challenge to federal fuel economy
standards has been characterized as 'the principal case' on 'health-health tradeoffs.'"

It's worth reviewing their ridiculous argument that driving bigger cars is healthier in principle. It's an example of how a tactic for the individual becomes hell on a global scale. It goes like this: People who drive heavier cars have a lower mortality in road accidents, therefore larger cars are safer, and we would all be better off if everyone drove the biggest cars they could afford.

The statastics are marginal, and even questioned by the people who drew them together, but an analogy is that when lions fight, the one with the biggest claws is least likely to get hurt. Therefore, according to Myron Ebell's screwed-up logic, if they all had the biggest, most razor sharp talons they could possibly handle, none of them would get injured.

Well, what do you know: the CEI is just a PR company. That means it's not a conventional business that sells products to into the market place to people who want to buy them, and leaves everyone else in peace. Its products are lies, and you don't buy lies for yourself, you buy them for other people to enjoy the benefits of. Rather like bullets.

In keeping with its losing qualities, the brochure features complimentary quotes from defeated Republican Represenative Dick Pombo, defeated Republican Senator George Allen R-VA, and former Republican Senator Don Nickles. Not bad for a non-partisan think-tank.

The CEI also presides over awards in the name of Julian Simon, a dead economist who thought the world's resources were infinite, and Warren T. Brookes, a dead op-ed columnist who was the brains behind the Reagan revolution. Other featured projects include our own Myron Ebell's "Cooler Heads Coalition" which hasn't put out a newsletter for two years, and whose astroturf members have been disappearing like so many turds in the rain.

The Myron Ebell Climate looks forward to the demise of the CEI. We will not rest until this this depraved spawn of Exxon and tobacco money is buried deep within the strata of a nuclear waste dump. By then it will almost certainly be too late. We were doomed from the moment we invented money and used it to pay people to lie. Thanks, Friends of Fred. You have been willing tools of this disease. Money doesn't buy everything, but it can hasten the date of our extinction.