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!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Myron radio phone-in to young turks

Not much activity showing up from Myron Ebell of late, so I have dug up this unusually critical interview of him from 2006 where, for a change, they didn't give him a free ride to spout his outrageous lies:
Presenter: Should we even be trying to reduce our gasoline consumption?

Ebell: One of the things we have been working on for a long time is trying to produce more oil and gas in this country. We have tremendous reserves, but they're locked up because they're off-shore (which the government controls) or on federal land (which the government controls).

Presenter: Why, when I asked you that question about gasoline consumption, isn't it it every American's answer, "Yes, of course we should try"?

Ebell: No I don't think so, and it's very wrong to say that anybody else is trying. In Europe, since 1990, their emissions from transportation has gone up 26%, even when their price for gasoline is between 6 and 7 dollars per gallon.

Presenter: What's Europe got to do with it? If we are able to reduce our consumption of gasoline, is that not in some way a good thing?

Ebell: Well, we do reduce our consumption of gasoline whenever we have an economic recession. The problem with replacing consumption of gasoline is that every alternative is more expensive.

Presenter: What about cost to the environment?

Ebell: I don't see any of these alternative fuels as being better for the environment. Producing biofuels has huge environmental costs. Blah blah. Food costs. Blah.

Presenter: So if we stop using so much gasoline, the rest of the world will starve?

Ebell: No. If we go down this line of using biofuels, Lester Brown warns that the rest of the world may starve because we export so much food for them.

Presenter: What about fuel efficiency? You've said that higher fuel efficiency standards costs lives. That seems proposterous.

Ebell: The National Academy of Sciences report that the current standards cost between 1300 and 2600 lives per year in increased fatalities.

Presenter: How are those people dying?

Ebell: Because they're buying smaller and lighter cars than they would otherwise buy.

Presenter: But they're running into accidents with the enormous cars.

Ebell: If you look at what kills people in an accident, survival rate increases if you're in a larger and heavier car.

Presenter: I'd refocus that argument if I were you.

Ebell: Think about this, if the auto makers were intentionally not producing cars as safe as they could and were costing between 1300 and 2600 lives per year, Ralph Nader would sue them out of existance. Yet if it's a government regulation it's somehow okay.

Presenter: That's a ridiculous argument... You work for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. How much of your funding comes from big oil companies?

Ebell: Our budget is $4million a year, and we raise one third from corporations, one third from individuals, and one third from charitable foundations. Our corporate funding comes from across the board.

Presenter: But all people would say oil and gas, Myron, you can say it.

Ebell: No, actually, our funding is confidential.

Presenter: Is there one oil company in there? You don't have to name it.

Ebell: *Laughs*

Presenter: The new chairman in the senate environmental committee is Barbara Boxer. She replaces Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma, who is insane. Do you agree with my assessment?

Ebell: I think it's the other way around. I know both of them, and I know who the kook is.

Presenter: Jim Inhofe has referred to global warming as a lie, environmentalists as nazis, says it's all exagerated by the media and hollywood elites. But you think Boxer is the insane one?

Ebell: Yeah. She's not insane. She's just the typical California flakiness.

Presenter: You're talking to a couple of California flakes right here. Inhof says that global warming is a theory. You obviously agree with him.

Ebell: Right. The world temperature has been going up a little bit. The question beyond that is, so what?

Presenter: 900 peer reviewed studies say that humans are causing it, that it's a big concern. They're the leading scientists. Don't tell me they're a bunch of kooks.

Ebell: Those 900 peer reviewed studies don't say it's a big concern. Scientists typically don't make value judgments. Mike Colmos of the Tyndall Centre wrote an op-ed piece saying that climate alarmism has gone way too far. The science doesn't support saying global warming is a catastrophe, it says it's a problem.

Presenter: Should we try and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Ebell: Our view is what's called "no regress". If you have policies that reduce emissions that don't bankrupt the economy or make people energy poor, sure. But if you're going to raise the costs in the way that makes people really have to struggle, and if you consign parts of the world where hundreds of millions of people don't have access to electricity to never getting electricity, because the benefits of energy far outweigh the rather minor consequences of climate change.

Nothing new here that wasn't already covered in past posts on the M.E. Climate, including.

The heavy car report was dissected last January in A collision between a heavy Ebell and an SUV.

The other angle about how you can't reduce energy use because it would deny access to electricity by all the poor people in the world is a sick joke, given how little they care. The infomercial trying to put forward this theory was pulled from youtube following copyright violations of a cooperative power company who actually do something constructive and didn't much like the association with this bunch of shroud-waving cowboys.

This explains why they're now using the inferior service of which no one watches, so who cares? Why does anyone still donate to this "Institute"? Does Myron Ebell still have a job? Who knows? But there's plenty remaining of his toxic legacy to keep the Climate going for the next hundred years.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

This is getting scary

While he may now be nothing more than an irrelevant greaseball, Myron Ebell lives in the conscious heart of the forces pushing us towards the suicide of the human species.

On 12 November 2008, the most senior international diplomat in the world, the President of the United Nations General Assembly, addressed a meeting of scores of heads of state and said:
Our world is experiencing an extremely difficult period, the worst since the founding of the United Nations. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the future of humankind depends on our ability and willingness to take advantage of the lessons and opportunities presented by today's multiple and interrelated crises. It is a time of numerous bankruptcies, but the worst of these is the moral bankruptcy of humankind's self-proclaimed "more advanced societies", which has spread throughout the world. It is not only Wall Street that needs to be bailed out. We need to bail out all of humankind from its social insensitivity. From now on, solidarity must guide and direct all human activity. In other words, morals and ethics must be given the central place in our lives that they should occupy.

Based on scientific evidence, we are now aware of the accelerating destruction of the life-sustaining capacity of Earth and the real possibility of the disappearance of the human species. Both are attributable to irresponsible human behaviour and to the unbridled greed and irrational consumerism that characterize developed societies. We must choose between allowing these values to dominate our societies and taking the necessary steps to ensure that solidarity and social responsibility become the guiding principles of human activity, including in the economic and political spheres.

In the inaugural address I delivered two months ago, at the 1st plenary meeting, I attributed this critical state of affairs in our world to what I called insane and suicidal selfishness. But I also said then that this crisis could and should be turned into an opportunity to take the kind of courageous actions that are needed to ensure new levels of cooperation among humans and between people and nature, and thereby ensure a better world for present and future generations.

One of the most burning problems that we face today is the shameful reality that, despite the fact that we have the knowledge and the financial and technological resources to prevent it, half of the human population subsists at levels of hunger, malnutrition and poverty that are wholly incompatible with their inherent dignity and rights. This situation is not only shameful, but it is also, to use religious terminology, downright sinful.
There are times when the Myron Ebell Climate appears to go off the edge in terms of rhetoric. But words are not able to express the anger at the pitiful flaws in human nature, epitomized in the character of Myron Ebell, whose lying malevolent intentions have been allowed to become amplified in our wholly immoral political and newsmedia systems.

This is the tragedy of it -- that it is intellectually predictable. The inevitable ecological collapse will occur just as suddenly as the financial collapse has occurred. To some it will seem a surprise.

All those people who didn't care that the financial collapse was going to happen were able to silence all the people who knew it had to happen, because their wrecklessness lead them to make more money, which meant that the political and newsmedia system listened to them.

And so it is the same with the environment. Scientists with the data and mission to find the truth were silenced by the might of Exxon with all their money made from raping the environment and their willingness to lie through their agents like Myron Ebell.

But truth will out in the end. It'll just be too late. So sad. So sorry.