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From the Cooler Heads Digest, a summary of climate change-related news:
The House-passed Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill, H.R. 2454, sets specific federal housing standards $4,000 to $10,000 and price more than 1,000,000 people out of the market, according to Bill Killmer, a vice president of the National Association of Home Builders. In 2014 for new residential buildings and 2015 for new commercial buildings, a 50 percent increase in energy efficiency is required (relative to the baseline code), increasing each year thereafter. Waxman-Markey also adopts California’s portable lighting fixture standard as the national standard. And it mandates efficiency improvements for many new appliances, including spas, water dispensers, and dishwashers.
But the Senate’s Kerry-Boxer energy-rationing bill, S. 1733, goes much further; it gives an unelected federal official a regulatory blank check:
“The (EPA) Administrator, or such other agency head or heads as may be designated by the President, in consultation with the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, shall promulgate regulations establishing building code energy efficiency targets for the national average percentage improvement of buildings energy performance.” And, “The Administrator, or such other agency head or heads as may be designated by the President, shall promulgate regulations establishing national energy efficiency building codes for residential and commercial buildings.” Pp. 173-174
Federal building codes would be in the hands of the EPA.
Asks Lord Christopher Monckton, the man the Democrats refused to allow to testify at a Congressional hearing last spring. They did, however, find room for the Gorbaucle to spread his self-serving lies there.
An important excerpt from the speech:
Here is why the truth matters. It was all very well for jesting Pilate to ask that question and then not to tarry for an answer. But that question that he asked, “what is the truth?” is the question which underlies every question and in the end it is the only question that really matters. When you ask that question what you are really asking is “what is the truth about the matter?” And we are now going to see why it matters morally, socially, and politically, as well as economically and scientifically. That the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth should inform public policy on this question.
More at Michelle Malkin.
The trash police will keep track of who eats their vegetables, and who doesn’t: S.F. to impose fines for tossing food scraps
Trash collectors in San Francisco will soon be doing more than just gathering garbage: They’ll be keeping an eye out for people who toss food scraps out with their rubbish.
San Francisco this week passed a mandatory composting law that is believed to be the strictest such ordinance in the nation. Residents will be required to have three color-coded trash bins, including one for recycling, one for trash and a new one for compost — everything from banana peels to coffee grounds.
The purpose, they say, is to eventually eliminate waste at local landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
What punishment awaits environmental despoilers?
Waste collectors will not pick through anyone’s garbage, said Robert Reed, a spokesman for Sunset Scavenger Co., which handles the city’s recyclables. If the wrong kind of materials are noticed while a bin is being emptied, workers will leave what Reed called “a love note,” to let customers know they are not with the program.
“We’re not going to lock you up in jail if you don’t compost,” said Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom who proposed the measure that passed Tuesday. “We’re going to make it as easy as possible for San Franciscans to learn how to compost.”
A moratorium on imposing fines will end in 2010, after which repeat offenders like individuals and small businesses generating less than a cubic yard of refuse a week face fines of up to $100.
Businesses that don’t provide the proper containers face a $500 fine.
No word in the article about the costs and results of the future compost capital’s current and proposed recycling schemes.
Walls may have ears, but garbage cans having eyes just goes too far. San Franciscans ought to teach Mayor Newsom that.
A Memphis-based Burger King franchise owner is not shy about expressing global warming skepticism.
The Burger King corporation wants the signs taken down. The owner’s response:
McNelis added: “The [restaurant] management team can put the message up there if they want to. It is private property and here in the US we do have some rights. Notwithstanding a franchise agreement, I could load a Brinks vehicle with [rights] I’ve got so many of them. By the time the Burger King lawyers work out how to make that stick we’d be in the year 2020.”
He continued: “Burger King can bluster all they want about what they can tell the franchisee to do, but we have free-speech rights in this country so I don’t think there’s any concerns.”
The notion that using public transport instead of driving is better for the environment is also baloney:
…taking public transport may not be as green as you automatically think, says a new US study.
Its authors point out an array of factors that are often unknown to the public.
These are hidden or displaced emissions that ramp up the simple “tailpipe” tally, which is based on how much carbon is spewed out by the fossil fuels used to make a trip.
Environmental engineers Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath at the University of California at Davis say that when these costs are included, a more complex and challenging picture emerges.
In some circumstances, for instance, it could be more eco-friendly to drive into a city — even in an SUV, the bete noire of green groups — rather than take a suburban train. It depends on seat occupancy and the underlying carbon cost of the mode of transport.
From the legacy-media-ignored Third International Conference on Climate Change:
“How do you control the weather?” asked Bob Carter, an Australian scholar from James Cook University. “For us to assume we can somehow control nature and regulate weather patterns, when we cannot even predict them correctly, is patently absurd.”
Green Bay, WI, sets new low high temperature record, along with other parts of the state.
June snow in North Dakota.
The social tinkers in Washington have come up with another way to make you live a more environmentally-conscious life, and boost Obama Motors sales as well. Senate Poised to Pass ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Bill
Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., introduced an amendment Tuesday that would set up a program that allows consumers with older, less fuel efficient vehicles to trade in their “clunker” for a voucher worth up to $4,500 toward the purchase of a new car that must get at least 22 miles per gallon or an SUV or pickup that gets at least 18 mpg — clearly a focus on U.S. manufacturers.
The one-year program is expected to help sell 1 million vehicles, according to Stabenow and Brownback.
The definition of “clunker” is a vehicle that gets 18 mpg or less, and the voucher size varies. Owners who purchase a new passenger car that gets at least 4 mpg higher than their old “clunker” get a $3,500 voucher. If the mileage difference is more than 10 mpg, the consumer gets the full $4,500.
Buyers of small trucks and SUV’s fare better. If the new vehicle gets at least 2 mpg more than the “clunker,” a $3,500 voucher is issued; for new trucks or SUV’s getting more than 2 mpg, the new car owner gets $4,500.
The Foundry has some thoughts on unintended consequences:
…Secondly, brand new cars aren’t even a consideration for most consumers. They go straight to the used car market, especially in a recessionary environment. This program would largely distort the used car market in a number of ways. If the idea is to get older cars off the road, the supply of used cars will be reduced at a time when demand has been increasing. Economics 101 suggests this will raise the sticker prices of used cars for people who can barely afford them in the first place. Driving up the cost of older cars may be an intended consequence for policymakers to encourage people to buy new, but it’s a bad deal for consumers.
Again, because the idea is to get older, “inefficient” cars off the road, cash for clunkers distorts the used car part market. In a good Q&A the USA Today about the cash for clunkers program, one question reads, “What will the dealer do with my old car?” The answer: “Gives it to a salvage operator. The engine, transmission and some other parts must be destroyed so they can’t be reused. The idea is to cull fuel-thirsty, polluting drivetrains. Operators can resell other parts, however.”
Back to Econ101. Reduced supply drives up the price of used auto parts and these engines and transmissions would probably be more efficient than the ones sitting in real clunkers at junkyards now.
Germany has this kind of program. What has the result been?
It was a mere footnote in the German government’s latest €50bn fiscal stimulus. But a scrapping bonus aimed at encouraging new car purchases has become such a success that it has left Berlin facing up to three times the measure’s initial €1.5bn price tag.
The popularity of the bonus is causing headaches for the government and raising questions about the merits of the state seeking to influence consumers’ spending agendas.
…But there are also problems in Germany. Retailers, for instance, say the bonus is shifting spending patterns rather than creating demand. Higher February car sales coincided with falling turnover at consumer electronics stores. Stefan Genth, managing director of the HDE retailers’ federation, slammed the bonus last week, saying it was “sucking out spending” from the retail sector.
Initial cost to taxpayers?
The plan wouldn’t add to the federal deficit because it uses funds already set aside for stimulating the economy, said Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican. Preliminary estimates put the cost of the legislation at $3 billion to $4 billion, Stabenow said.
U.S. automakers including Ford Motor Co. are pushing Congress to approve such a measure after the success of a similar program in Germany. France and Italy also provide payments to scrap older vehicles.
Only a lefty would call increased government intrusion into the market and higher spending a success.
Everyone in the world should paint their roof white. Doesn’t paint or shingle production have a carbon footprint?
France may get a global-warming denier as super-minister of industry and research. Opponents are not thrilled:
Claude Allègre argues that global warming is not necessarily caused by human activity. Putting him in charge of scientific research would be tantamount to “giving the finger to scientists”, said Nicolas Hulot, France’s best-known environmental activist.
…One critic said that associating Mr Allègre with the government’s ambitious environmental policy was like putting “organic farming alongside Chernobyl”.
They really don’t like him.
The World Health organization says save the planet, not the children. A dead child every 30 sec vs. ????????
Climate warriors just want to have fun.
“We’ve been extremely busy. Politicians also need to relax after a long day,” says ‘Miss Dina’, herself a prostitute.
New York is banning the purchase of bottled water in the name of saving money and landfill space. The ban covers single bottles and the five-gallon jugs used for coolers.
But will it do either of those things? OpenMarket.org says no:
New York lawmakers are promising more than they can deliver. At least some of the water found in government agencies is delivered in large five-gallon plastic bottles, few of which ever enter the landfill. These bottles are reused on average, 35 to 50 times or more. Once these bottles are retired, they are recycled. They actually represent a private-sector environmental/recycling success story. Banning them in government agencies won’t save landfill space.
The replacement products—which demand the use of filters—will send waste to the landfill. It should also be noted that the water filtering devices require regular maintenance and repairs. And failure to change filters can produce quality problems with tap water too.
Finally, it is silly to claim that banning government purchases of them would matter significantly in terms of solid waste. Plastic water bottles amount to a measly 0.3 percent of trash nationally. In fact, absent bottled water as an option, many workers will likely bring their own or drink other bottled drinks. In fact, much of the increase in bottled water consumption over the past decades has replaced drinking of sugared or caffeine-containing drinks rather than tap water.
As usual, another feel-good gesture turns out to do more harm than good. Don’t politicians ever think things through? Help them enlighten themselves by signing a petition here.
At the local level. Keeping his eye on the prize, Kansas’s new Democrat governor approves coal-fired power plant:
TOPEKA-In a stunning reversal from his predecessor, Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday signed an agreement ending a two-year fight over plans to build coal-fired power plants in western Kansas.
The compromise allows Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build one 895-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Holcomb, instead of two 700-megawatt plants that were repeatedly blocked by Kathleen Sebelius when she was governor.
In exchange for the go-ahead, Sunflower will build more wind turbines and agree to more pollution controls and a greater investment in energy efficiency.
…Parkinson said he reached out to Sunflower soon after he was sworn in to replace Sebelius a week ago. He explained that he was frustrated by the political stalemate that saw the coal issue derailing efforts to encourage renewable energy. He said a little coal and a lot of environmental legislation was better than nothing.
Political calculation played a part:
O’Neal said Parkinson may have realized that lawmakers were close to overriding Sebelius’ veto of legislation to resurrect the plants.
“We felt like the momentum was finally moving in our direction,” he said.
Good for electricity consumers in Kansas and the environment, too.
Berkeley voters waking up to the costs of going green:
After two years of public outreach and debate on an ambitious and controversial plan to curb global warming, Berkeley’s city council this week was forced to water down the proposal — which initially required an energy audit of every home — after angry homeowners complained the plan could cost them tens of thousands of dollars.
Experts say Berkeley’s retreat may serve as a cautionary lesson to other cities and counties contemplating plans to fight global warming: Even residents of the nation’s most liberal jurisdictions may balk when it comes to paying the price of going green.
“I think we can expect to see episodes like the controversy over mandates in the plan more and more, because environmental and political leaders haven’t been responsible about the costs of climate stabilization,” said Michael O’Hare, professor of public policy at the University of California-Berkeley. ”If you don’t level with the public about the first part, it’s not surprising when people balk at climate policy that requires them to do some heavy lifting.”
Durango, Colorado, decides jobs are more important than using more expensive windpower:
For two years, the city of Durango, Colo., bought electricity for all its government buildings from wind farms. The City Council ended that program this year, reverting to electricity derived from coal-burning plants and saving the cash-strapped city about $45,000.
“It’s very hard for us to lay off an employee to justify green power,” City Manager Ron LeBlanc said. “Those are the tradeoffs you have to face.”
The Foundry spells it out in words of one syllable: “Cap and Trade Is a Tax: And It’s A Great Big One”
Cap and Trade Top Ten List
1. Cap and Trade Is a Massive Energy Tax
2. It Will Not Make A Substantive Impact on the Environment
3. It Will Kill Jobs
4. It Will Cause Electricity Bills and Gas Prices to Sharply Increase
5. It Will Outsource Manufacturing Jobs and Hurt Free Trade
6. It Will Make You Choose Between Energy, Groceries, Clothing or Haircuts.
7. It Will Be Highly Susceptible to Fraud and Corruption
8. It Will Hurt Senior Citizens, the Poor, and the Unemployed the Worst
9. It Will Cost American Families Over $3,000 a Year
10. President Obama Admitted “Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket” under a cap-and-trade program. (January 2008)
Much more at the link.
Our new EPA overlords are making their presence felt in New Mexico. EPA pulls the plug on Desert Rock coal-fired power plant
In a dramatic move yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) withdrew the air quality permit it issued last summer for the Desert Rock coal-fired power plant, which is slated to be built on the Navajo Nation in the Four Corners region just southwest of Farmington, New Mexico.
Proponents of the cancellation are delighted:
“The EPA was supposed to file their final brief today in opposition to our arguments, but had asked for an extension, so we were hopeful,” Cohen told NMI. “Today, in effect, they agreed with us that EPA had cut corners in issuing the permit last summer. It’s a huge victory for public health and the environment in New Mexico.”
Critics of the cancellation are not:
“I don’t think anyone ever imagined that the new team at EPA would seem to have such little regard for due process or basic notions of fairness,” Holmstead said. “Everyone understands that a new Administration has discretion to change rules and policies prospectively. But I’ve never seen any Administration try to change policies and rules retroactively.”
The people most affected by it:
Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley said in a statement the decision was further proof that the U.S. government isn’t “honest and truthful in its dealings with Native America.” Shirley said that the EPA withdrawal of the permit will harm the Navajo people.
“I have people dying every day because of poverty, alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, gangs, and the U.S. Government is not there to adequately fund the direct service programs that cater to these needs,” he said.
Shirley concluded by saying that the message from the EPA is that it will hold projects “on Navajo land to standards that may well be impossible to meet — and that wouldn’t be applicable elsewhere.”
I think he’s wrong about that last statement. Obama has said he wants to price coal-fired energy out of existence. New Mexico just happened to offer the first opportunity.