Thursday, February 26, 2009

Myron perks up over some Washington hearings

There is a message of hope. Myron Ebell crawls out of the dark and filthy coal mine to say:
Obama Scores Zero on Econ 101

...He then went on to advocate energy and global warming policies that will foster a perpetual recession. First, he promised that federal funding and mandates will make the United States the world leader in renewable energy technologies. As an article that might have been published in the Onion but actually appeared in the Los Angeles Times last week noted, the only thing holding renewable energy technologies back is a number of necessary technological breakthroughs that will make them work. Apparently, our President is too young to have learnt that the federal government has been throwing taxpayer money at renewables since the 1970s.
As usual, Myron knows the truth, and says the exact opposite because the federal government has not been throwing taxpayer money at renewables since the 1970s. In 1981 Ronald Reagan came to power. As reported:
The gutting of funds for environmental protection was another part of Reagan's legacy. "EPA budget cuts during Reagan's first term were worse than they are today," said Frank O'Donnell, director of Clean Air Trust, who reported on environmental policy for The Washington Monthly during the Reagan era. "The administration tried to cut EPA funding by more than 25 percent in its first budget proposal," he said. And massive cuts to Carter-era renewable-energy programs "set solar back a decade," said Phil Clapp, president of National Environmental Trust.
(Note how this article contains numerous detailed and specific references to people and serious incidents. Contrast it with the flimsy bullcrap of Ebell's writings. He'd include references if he could, but the facts are biased against him.)

Obviously we don't need to go into all the taxpayer money not spent on renewables during the last eight years. (It all went onto crappy missile programs.) There may have been something done during the Clinton adminstration with regards to occasionally spending taxpayer's money for the benefit of taxpayers' long-term interests, but it probably didn't amount to much, what with the Republican congress in power most of the time.

Myron continued:
Yes, renewable energy will become profitable, many jobs will be created, and we’ll have to settle for a significantly lower standard of living as a result. The sad fact is that the new Administration has some highly-regarded establishment Democratic economists in it, but is for some reason pursuing economically illiterate and consequently disastrous policies.
Presumably he equates "standard of living" to the number of miles driven by car, not the number of virtuous thoughts in the mind, for he had a lot of nasty thoughts that day. He wrote:
Testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee was Dr. James E. Hansen, whom the committee described as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He is of course also Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Interestingly... Hansen, an astronomer, talked mostly about economics... He inveighed against cap-and-trade as an ineffective scam designed to pay off big business. He instead endorsed a stiff carbon tax with 100% of revenues rebated to consumers.
Of course, James Hansen has been one of the world's leading climate scientists for the past 35 years, not just "an astronomer". You can see why Myron Ebell, who has no expertise in anything, is a bit jealous. Hansen's testimony included:
We must put a price on carbon emissions, a rising price. If we do this promptly we can stabilize the atmosphere and climate, with healthier air, improved agricultural productivity, clean water, an ocean providing fish that are safe to eat, with a reversal of the trend toward increased birth defects and other consequences of fossil fuel pollution in our air and water.

Fossil fuels are finite. We must find clean energies to replace them. Why not do that sooner, rather than digging for every scrap of carbon, and in the process destroying the future of our children and grandchildren?

The reason "why not" is this: the fossil fuel industry has enormous power over our governments, through their lobbying and "campaign" contributions. Yet you and other leaders are elected to represent the public. The public expects you to look out after their children, to preserve creation, our children’s heritage. Instead we are robbing money from our children’s pockets and piggybanks, borrowing money from our children to fund subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.
The Climate's opinion on cap-and-trade is that it is a system of taxation that redistrubutes the money around the corporate sector and, as such, is a straightforward gift. Unfortunately, the corporate sector has rejected it by paying Myron Ebell to lie about it, so this generous offer must be taken away because they clearly don't deserve it.

He continued:
When asked by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) about what would happen to North Dakota and its near-total reliance on brown coal for producing electricity, Hansen said that employment in the coal industry would go down, but that North Dakota had lots of potential for wind power and potentially for growing well-designed bio-fuels. He observed that these new industries might create more jobs than would be lost in the coal industry. That is true. One of the ways to create jobs is to make production and use of capital less efficient. For example, there would be tens of millions, probably even hundreds of millions, of new jobs in North Dakota and throughout rural America if mechanized agriculture were banned. Then the federal government could throw billions of dollars of taxpayer money into improving farming technology. Think of the breakthroughs that could be made with revolutionary new horse-drawn plows, etc.
In fact I can think of a breakthrough: intelligent genetically modified horses that can go out and plow the fields on their own. But we won't get this, because people like Myron are in love with dead-end technologically-backward death making activities such as digging up and burning brown coal that should have gone out of date in 1970.

The link to the Senate hearing is broken. Anyway, the whole Senate website is down. Myron reserved praise for its witnesses:
The Republican witnesses—Professor William Happer at the Senate hearing and Professor John Christy at the House hearing—were articulate, intelligent, and scientifically accurate. Christy made a strong case against energy poverty. Naturally, most Senators and Representatives were unimpressed and unhappy with them.
John Christy was the scientist responsible for correcting the earth-sensing satellite measurements until Myron couldn't use them (Data that supports Myron's bogus point of view was inevitably going to be bogus.) Christy explained:
From my analysis, the actions being considered to "stop global warming" will have an imperceptible impact on whatever the climate will do, while making energy more expensive, and thus have a negative impact on the economy as a whole. We have found that climate models and popular surface temperature data sets overstate the changes in the real atmosphere and that actual changes are not alarming. And, if the Congress deems it necessary to reduce CO2 emissions, the single most effective way to do so by a small, but at least detectable, amount is through the massive implementation of a nuclear power program. Other currently available alternatives simply cannot produce enough energy to be significantly noticed at a price and geographic scale that is affordable.
Note: he did not say "build more coal plants", which is the thing Myron keeps banging on about.

One can guess that it's because the coal lobby has written a cheque to the CEI, and the nuclear lobby hasn't. The nuclear lobby seems to be doing a great job promoting their industry at the moment (somehow managing to get us to forget about their abysmal track record), so they're not going to ruin it by being associated with this pack of losers!

Myron Ebell liked William Happer because he is a climate change denier from the first Bush administration. Among his "articulate, intelligent, and scientifically accurate" statements are:
"Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every time you exhale, you exhale air that has 4 percent carbon dioxide. To say that that's a pollutant just boggles my mind. What used to be science has turned into a cult."
I've an idea. Let's seal him into a glass box and see how long it takes to work out that carbon dioxide is in fact a toxic substance. Does it boggle his mind that shit is considered a pollutant too?

It's been established that carbon dioxide above a certain quantity in the global atmosphere presents a hazard to life, although not in the usual way of most pollutants. Maybe the argument is simpler than the danger from CFCs which destroyed ozone (a poisonous gas in the outer atmosphere) and let in harmful ultra-violet rays. It is unfortunate that the United States government suffers from such a profound legislative failure that it can't regulate directly, but there you go. With men like Ronald Reagan being respected for saying:
"Trees cause more pollution than automobiles do."
What do you expect?

We are so screwed!


Anonymous TomB said...

I've an idea. Let's seal him into a glass box and see how long it takes to work out that carbon dioxide is in fact a toxic substance.

Uh, I hate to break it to you sparky, but he wouldn't die from carbon dioxide toxicity, but from an eventual lack of oxygen. CO2 is dangerous because in sufficient quantities, it being heavier than oxygen, it can displace breathable air and suffocate you.

Only at exceedingly high concentrations, not normally found naturally, is CO2 toxic.

It's been established that carbon dioxide above a certain quantity in the global atmosphere presents a hazard to life, although not in the usual way of most pollutants.

Really? Link please?

3:14 PM, February 26, 2009 Permanent link to this entry  
Blogger goatchurch said...

Carbon dioxide toxicity is mildly narcotic at 2%, causes dizziness and confusion at 5%, and causes loss of consciousness at 8%.

So it is undoubtedly toxic and its concentrations in a factory would need to be regulated to avoid killing the workers who may be operating heavy machinery.

If it's dangerous to be drunk on the job, it's also dangerous to breath CO2 at 2%.

But, as I explained, there are other ways for substances discharged into the environment to be harmful to life, outside of their direct toxicity.

For example, non-toxic CFCs destroy ozone in the stratosphere so that the UV rays from the sun harms us.

And changes in CO2 concentrations alter the climate in predictable ways that threaten food and water security and ultimately the civilization we depend on.

You know this, but you think you can deny reality, which makes you part of the self-destructive process by which all human civilizations have collapsed in the past, and which this one will follow.

3:37 AM, March 03, 2009 Permanent link to this entry  

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