Category Archives: Environment

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Voice for Liberty Radio: Hydraulic fracturing: A conjured-up controversy?

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Dwight D. Keen at Wichita Pachyderm Club, August 8, 2014
Dwight D. Keen at Wichita Pachyderm Club, August 8, 2014
In this episode of Voice for Liberty Radio: Dwight D. Keen is former chairman of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association. He spoke to the Wichita Pachyderm Club on the topic “Hydraulic Fracturing: A Conjured-up Controversy” on August 8, 2014. In the shownotes for this episode you can find the link to the short video that was shown as part of his talk. Also, you will find links to the handouts he distributed.

Here’s Dwight Keen at the Wichita Pachyderm Club on August 8, 2014.

Shownotes

Link to video shown during the presentation: Hydraulic Fracturing
Handout: A fluid situation: Typical solution used in hydraulic facturing
Handout: Gasland debunked
Wichita Pachyderm Club

Misguided faith

Wind farm near Spearville, Kansas.
Wind farm near Spearville, Kansas.
A big “thank you” to Mike Smith for his rebuttal to an op-ed printed in today’s Wichita Eagle. In the commentary, which was signed by more than 60 members of the clergy from across the state, the writer states: “As people of faith, we believe it is our moral responsibility to care for all that has been entrusted to us.” I think the moral responsibility of people of faith is to refrain from telling lies. And while we’re at it, people of faith should stop using the coercive power of government to force others to conform to their prescriptions for life. God doesn’t do that, and neither should they.

Here’s what meteorologist Smith has to say:

Today’s Wichita Eagle has a terribly unfortunate editorial letter from the Kansas Interfaith Power & Light, an advocacy group on the subject of global warming. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, the quality of the science in the letter is dreadful. So, let’s compare the assertions to the science.

Continue reading at Misguided Faith.

polar-bear-400

Are you worried about global warming?

polar-bear-400To the extent that global temperatures are rising, and the extent that mankind is the cause, we should be concerned about global warming. Climate change I meant to say, please excuse me.

It’s no wonder that the term global warming has been replaced by climate change. As the following two charts show, the models that are in common use by climate scientists have predicted rising temperatures, but actual observations of temperatures have not conformed to predictions. Temperatures have been level in recent years.

Here’s a simplified chart of the temperatures predicted by climate scientists compared to actual temperatures. A more complicated version follows. Click on either chart for a larger version.

As you can see, actual temperatures have not risen as they should have, if only the Mother Earth would conform to the predictions of climate scientists. Despite this lack of predictive power, global warming alarmists (oops, I meant climate change alarmists) insist we should radically restructure our economy in order to accommodate the predictions of climate models that have been shown to be not very predictive — if we are concerned about accuracy.

Temperatures v Predictions 1976-2013

Temperatures v Predictions 1976-2013 b

Recycling debate short on reason

Responses to a news story on recycling indicate that the issue is driven more by emotion and misinformation than reason.

Children recycling

Recently I was interviewed by Carla Eckels of KMUW radio for a story titled Recycling: Is It Really Necessary? (Audio is available at that link.)

The story was based on my research and opinion that in some cases, recycling is an economically beneficial activity. But for the household setting, it is not.

(One point I meant to make, but forgot to, was that how wonderful it is that we have enough wealth that we don’t have to recycle household waste. We are free to recycle if we want, but also free to make a personal decision to spend time on activities other than recycling.)

Comments left to the story illustrate just how difficult it is to think about and debate issues of public policy. Here’s one example:

It takes absolutely no extra water to rinse cans for recycling. Just rinse them in your dishwater after washing your last dish. After all, if one is truly concerned about water conservation, handwashing uses less water than a dishwasher. As for the abundant landfill space, I suggest we open a landfill in Mr. Weeks’ backyard. Most people would object to a landfill next door, but apparently Mr. Weeks would welcome it.

This writer has a good idea — if you want to wash dishes by hand. For me, a dishwashing machine is a sign of tremendous progress by civilization, reducing drudgery and producing cleaner dishes. And, it’s a machine that nearly everyone can afford.

After that, the writer makes a ridiculous argument about landfill space. I note that this writer uses a profile name that is anonymous. While anonymous speech is important, it leads to people making patently ridiculous statements that they probably wouldn’t make if their friends and neighbors knew they said that.

Here’s another comment:

I would have to disagree with Mr Weeks. The benefits far outweigh the “costs” he was mentioning. It only take a moment to look up evidence that recycling is not only beneficial for our planet but also as a business model. Single stream recycling has made this process very easy.

A point I made in the article is that households have to pay for people to collect their recyclables. Using scare quotes around “costs” is inappropriate, as the costs are real and large. This is a clue as to the economic value of recycling, which is that it works in certain instances, but not for households.

Part of another comment is this:

And Mr. Weeks’ comments this morning on the air regarding having plenty of landfill space in places like Kansas just made me angry. Landfills the size of Sedgwick County? —- Seriously.

In the article, I mentioned that someone calculated that a landfill 100 yards tall and 30 miles on a side could hold all trash for the entire country for the next 1,000 years. How someone makes a leap from that to multiple landfills the size of Sedgwick County shows that people just aren’t thinking closely.

For Gasland 2, there will be no dissent allowed

The maker of FrackNation writes “Our mistake was to believe the Tribeca Film Festival’s claims to want diversity of opinion and people who are passionate about film.”

Natural gas

Documentary filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney made FrackNation in response to the errors and lies in the anti-fracking film Gasland. Now there is Gasland 2, and McAleer and a group of farmers tried to see the film. It didn’t go well.

In January, as FrackNation was being released, I interviewed McAleer. You can read my report at FrackNation to tell truth about fracking. I asked this question: “So why are progressives and liberals opposed to fracking?” Perhaps tellingly, McAleer replied “Fracking brings economic boom to rural America, and many people view rural America as a backdrop, as something to be used.” The elitists don’t really like farmers, he said. But they will gladly use them to make a political point. The idea that they would become independent from their largess is their concern.

Following is McAleer’s article as it appeared in the New York Post.

This was supposed to be a column about “Gasland 2,” the sequel to the anti-fracking documentary by activist Josh Fox, which premiered Sunday afternoon at the Tribeca Film Festival. Instead, it’s about my exclusion, along with maybe 20 farmers from upstate New York and Pennsylvania, from the screening despite having tickets for a theater with lots of empty seats.

Our mistake was to believe the Tribeca Film Festival’s claims to want diversity of opinion and people who are passionate about film.

As a journalist who made a documentary looking at the factual deficiencies in the first “Gasland,” I put some inconvenient questions to Josh Fox as he was speaking to the media on the red carpet.

The farmers milling around nearby decided to join in with pointed but respectful questions of their own. After all, they know their land better than anyone, and they felt aggrieved that their lives and communities had been misrepresented by the first “Gasland.”

They asked Fox if he now accepted that the water in Dimock, Pa., is clean. He’d claimed that Dimock was one of the most contaminated areas in the United States because of fracking. But state scientists and then the EPA investigated and found the water clean.

The farmers asked Fox if he’d accept the science and apologize for calling their community a wasteland. He didn’t reply.

There was silence also when they asked Fox if he’s going to withdraw his claim that fracking has caused a spike in breast cancer. That’s been debunked by the country’s top cancer experts, but Fox has remained silent, allowing the fears to linger.

Given that Josh Fox had misrepresented their lives so badly in the past, the farmers were interested in what was going to be in “Gasland 2.” Many got up at 4:30 a.m. to travel to New York.

Sherry Hart, a mother of three and the wife of a gas worker, was particularly excited to be there. She lives in Pennsylvania and had never been to New York City, but she felt that it was important to make the journey to see what was being said about her and her life.

But she was not to find out. As the red carpet cleared and the farmers went to take their seats, they and I were informed that we weren’t being allowed in. No amounts of appealing or complaining did any good.

It seems that inconvenient questions aren’t welcome at the Tribeca Film Festival.

It was devastating for the people who’d traveled so far. They were upset and bewildered.

Several hours after the media became interested in the exclusion, the Tribeca Film Festival issued a statement claiming that the screening was at capacity; the problem was simply a lack of seats.

But the farmers, like everyone else these days, have cameras, and they recorded film festival staff giving very different reasons for excluding them from the screening.

One staffer said they were not allowed in “because you’re making trouble.” Another was more honest: “We just don’t feel comfortable letting them into the movie,” she explained.

The festival organizers called the police just in case the farmers didn’t get the message that they weren’t welcome.

Julia Mineeva, a Russian journalist who’s covered the film festival for five years, thought she’d stumbled across a great story and started interviewing the various groups. When she went in to see the movie she was asked to leave, followed, put in handcuffs, arrested and charged with trespassing.

It seems that covering both sides of a story is an arrestable offense at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Festival founder Robert De Niro says he wants a festival that is controversial, but there was nobody more passionate than those farmers who made a round trip of hundreds of miles just to see a movie. But the message Sunday was that their passion was not welcome.

And at the first sign of real controversy from real people, the festival closed its doors and called the cops.

The message is clear: They want “controversy,” but only of the kind they agree with, and it can only come from people who look and sound like them.

The rest of America can just stay on the sidewalk.

FrackNation to tell truth about fracking

Documentary filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney have produced a feature film that will help America understand the truth about fracking.

Fracking — short for hydraulic fracturing — is a method of oil and gas production by injecting pressurized fluid into rock formations. Along with horizontal drilling, this technology has lead to a rise in the production of natural gas, leading to much lower prices for consumers, and to the possibility of U.S. exports.

FrackNation, the film that McAleer and McElhinney made, is set for premier on AXS TV on January 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm eastern.

I spoke to McAleer on the telephone last week. I asked is fracking really a big deal for America? He answered:”The word game changer is much overused, but this really is a game changer. It’s going to make America an energy producer. Natural gas is no longer tied to the price of oil. Anywhere there’s fracking in America, there’s no recession.”

“I’d almost go as far as to say fracking is maybe the reason President Obama was reelected. The reason he won Ohio because there’s a fracking boom going on there. People have money in their pockets. … If you live in a fracking area or near where there is going to be fracking you’re feeling good.”

So why are progressives and liberals opposed to fracking? “Fracking brings economic boom to rural America, and many people view rural America as a backdrop, as something to be used.”

The elitists don’t really like farmers, he said. But they will gladly use them to make a political point. The idea that they would become independent from their largess is their concern. He added that opposition to fracking is anti-fossil fuel, anti-progress, and anti-modernity, but above all it is anti-American.

Those opposed to fracking spread fear of environmental damage such as spilling the chemicals or polluting ground water. Is this fear real? McAleer said fracking has been going on since 1947. How long can you fear something that hasn’t happened, he asked.

On the new Matt Damon movie Promised Land, described by the New York Times as “an earnest attempt, sometimes effective, sometimes clumsy, to dramatize the central arguments about fracking and its impact,” I asked what’s wrong with that movie?

McAleer said “It’s not fair, I suppose, to fact check a work of fiction. Having said that, it is pretending to be in a real world situation. There are lots of allegations, lots of multimillion dollar lawsuits, but no scientific evidence. There’s no scientific evidence about what Matt Damon talks about in promised land. The biggest lie of all is that the fraudulent environmentalists — of which there are many — are somehow in the pay of oil and gas companies to smear environmentalists. That’s just ludicrous. Yes there are fraudulent environmentalists — many of them — but they work for the environmental movement, not for oil and gas.”

I mentioned an incident in an advertisement for the movie that shows a family receiving the results from testing their water. The tests showed that the water was clean and not dirty, like illustrated in a dirty brown milk jug. The reaction of the family was anger. McAleer explained that these people were suing the oil and gas companies. They demanded that the EPA come in and test their water, and the EPA said their water is safe. They watched their multimillion dollar lawsuit flushed down the drain, along with their celebrity status.

Your movie FrackNation that’s coming out in January: What will it tell Americans?

McAleer said the film will show there is absolutely no evidence that fracking has ever contaminated groundwater. But there is plenty of evidence that people have lied, exaggerated, and misrepresented fracking.

I asked about the famous example in the movie Gasland of a family being able to light their drinking water on fire, the implication being that this was possible due to methane gas leaking into their water supply, with fracking being the cause. McAller said that people have been able to like their water on fire for many years before fracking started. Native Americans called certain places “burning springs.” These are naturally occurring events. The director of Gasland knew that, but he told me he left it out because it wasn’t relevant. It’s unethical journalism.

Occupy Koch Town protestors ignore facts

Below, Paul Soutar of Kansas Watchdog provides more evidence that the campaign against Wichita-based Koch Industries regarding their alleged involvement in the Keystone XL pipeline is not based on facts. Besides this article, U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo of Wichita has also written on this issue in The Democrats continue unjustified attacks on taxpayers and job creators.

Another inconvenient fact is that if the Canadian oil is not sold to the U.S., it will be sold to and consumed in China. If we are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions leading to climate change, it should be noted that it doesn’t matter where the greenhouse gases are produced. The effect is worldwide. But as we know, the radical environmental movement cares nothing for facts in their war on capitalism and human progress.

Facts Refute Environmentalist Claims About Keystone XL Pipeline

By Paul Soutar. Originally published at Kansas Watchdog.

Protesters are gathering on the Wichita State University campus this weekend for a Sierra Club-sponsored Occupy Koch Town protest against the Keystone XL oil pipeline and Koch Industries, Inc. Koch and its subsidiaries are involved in a wide array of manufacturing, trading and investments including petroleum refining and distribution.

Many Keystone XL opponents have focused on Koch, claiming its Flint Hills Resources Canada subsidiary’s status as an intervener in the regulatory approval process in Canada proves Koch is a party to the pipeline project. Keystone XL would carry petroleum from Canadian oil sands to the U.S. Gulf coast.

In a Jan. 25 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, California U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-District 30, demanded that the Koch brothers, Charles and David, or a representative of Koch Industries appear before the committee to explain their involvement in the pipeline.

Philip Ellender, president of Koch Cos. Public Sector, which encompasses legal, communication, community relations and government relations, responded to Waxman on a Koch Industries website:

Koch has consistently and repeatedly stated (including here, here, here, and here) that we have no financial interest whatsoever in the Keystone pipeline. In addition, this fact has been verified by TransCanada’s CEO here.

Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, owner and builder of the Keystone pipelines, addressed criticism of the pipeline and supposed collusion with the Koch brothers in a Nov. 1 conference call to discuss TransCanada’s earnings. “I can tell you that Koch (Industries Inc.) isn’t a shipper and I’ve never met the Koch brothers before.”A March 2010 document from Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) approving the pipeline does not mention Koch or its subsidiary, Flint Hills Resources Canada, on any of its 168 pages.

The report does note that on June 16, 2009, TransCanada Corporation became the sole owner of the Keystone Pipeline System, acquiring ConocoPhillips’ interest in the pipeline.

A map of the existing Keystone and planned Keystone XL pipelines shows that Koch’s two refineries in the 48 contiguous states at Pine Bend, Minn., and Corpus Christi, Texas, are not on or near the pipeline routes. Koch also has a refinery in North Pole, Alaska.

Koch does have substantial interests in Canadian oil though, including the thick oil sands mined in Alberta. Those interests are precisely why Flint Hills Resources Canada requested intervener status in the pipeline approval process in 2009.

Flint Hills’ application to Canada’s National Energy Board for intervener status said, “Flint Hills Resources Canada LP is among Canada’s largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters, coordinating supply for its refinery in Pine Bend, Minnesota. Consequently, Flint Hills has a direct and substantial interest in the application.”

Critics have claimed that statement is a smoking gun proving Koch is a party to the pipeline or will benefit from its construction.

Greg Stringham, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) vice president of markets and oil sands, told KansasWatchdog, “Their intervention itself is not a trigger that says aha, they have a commercial interest or are a shipper on this pipeline.”

The US Legal, Inc. definitions website says an intervener is, “A party who does not have a substantial and direct interest but has clearly ascertainable interests and perspectives essential to a judicial determination and whose standing has been granted by the court for all or a portion of the proceedings.”

US Legal, Inc. provides free legal information, legal forms and help with finding an attorney for the stated purpose of breaking down barriers to legal information.

Stringham said anyone — business, organization or individual — can be an intervener in NEB regulatory proceedings as long as they can show some potential impact, good or bad, from the proposed action. “Then they make a decision whether they’re going to actively engage through evidence and cross examination or whether they’re just there for interest, to get materials and monitor the situation.”

Market interest

Like Koch, Stringham said CAPP is an intervener in the pipeline approval process, because the pipeline will have a direct impact on the Canadian oil market. Stringham said:

The fact that it’s an intervention for interest does not mean that there is a financial ownership or shipping interest. It’s really to make sure that they understand what’s going on in the process and that they have some connection to the project that can be either positive and beneficiary or potentially negative to them. That’s why I believe Koch has intervened in this process.

The Canadian pipeline company Enbridge, Inc.; Marathon Oil Corp. and Britain’s oil giant BP are also among the 29 interveners in the pipeline application. So is the environmental activist organization Sierra Club.

Keystone XL would compete with the Enbridge pipeline that carries the thick bitumen oil from Hardisty, Alberta, for delivery to Koch’s Pine Bend, Minn., refinery. If supplies prove insufficient for both pipelines, Stringham said, Koch could be at a competitive disadvantage since it is not a shipper on the Keystone pipelines.

The National Energy Board’s approval document noted:

Keystone XL shippers have indicated that they are seeking competitive alternatives, and by providing access to a new market, Keystone XL would be expanding shipper choice. The Board places considerable weight on the fact that Keystone XL shippers have made a market decision to enter into long-term shipping arrangements negotiated through a transparent competitive process. New pipelines connecting producing regions with consuming regions change market dynamics in ways that cannot easily be predicted.

Political motivation

On Feb.10, 2011 Reuters published an Inside Climate News article that started the Koch-Keystone explosion. The third paragraph put a political spin on the Koch claims.

What’s been left out of the ferocious debate over the pipeline, however, is the prospect that if President Obama allows a permit for the Keystone XL to be granted, he would be handing a big victory and great financial opportunity to Charles and David Koch, his bitterest political enemies and among the most powerful opponents of his clean economy agenda.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olsen, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, highlighted the political dimension of attacks on the Kochs and recent attempts to compel their testimony before Congress.

When Joseph McCarthy engaged in comparable bullying, oppression and slander from his powerful position in the Senate, he was censured by his colleagues and died in disgrace. “McCarthyism,” defined by Webster’s as the “use of unfair investigative and accusatory methods to suppress opposition,” will forever be synonymous with un-Americanism.

In this country, we regard the use of official power to oppress or intimidate private citizens as a despicable abuse of authority and entirely alien to our system of a government of laws. The architects of our Constitution meticulously erected a system of separated powers, and checks and balances, precisely in order to inhibit the exercise of tyrannical power by governmental officials.

Market and environmental realities

Canada produces about 2.7 million barrels of oil per day with about 1.6 million going to the United States. “About a million of that comes from the oil sands,” Stringham said. “All of that moves through the existing pipeline systems.”

Two Kansas refineries, the Holly Frontier refinery in El Dorado and National Cooperative Refinery Association’s facility in McPherson, refine Canadian oil, including from oil sands, delivered over existing pipelines.

With or without the Keystone XL, oil from Canada’s oil sands will continue to go to markets, according to Stringham. “We have been investigating a number of alternatives. Keystone XL clearly is the most direct route to get to the gulf coast and that’s why the market really spoke up and said this is what we want,” he said.

In a 2010 op-ed in the National Journal, Charles T. Drevna, president of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, presciently said, “Canada’s leaders have made clear that if the U.S. won’t buy their oil, they won’t abandon development of their oil sands. Instead, they have said they will ship Canadian oil across the Pacific to China and other Asian nations. That will result in America having to import more oil from other countries. Sending Canadian oil to Asia would actually increase global greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2010 study by Barr Engineering.”

The Barr study, Low Carbon Fuel Standard “Crude Shuffle” Greenhouse Gas Impacts Analysis (pdf), concluded that transporting oil to Asia for refining would mean not just a lost opportunity for the U.S., but increased greenhouse gas emissions because of transportation by ship instead of by pipeline and less stringent refinery emission standards.

TransCanada has said it will continue to seek approval of the Keystone XL and work is proceeding on alternatives to Keystone XL, Stringham said. “There are other pipeline routes being investigated by Enbridge and BP and a number of others as well to move this oil,” he said.

He said Canada’s oil market is looking at diverse opportunities beyond the United States. “We are looking to the West Coast, which could move it on to tankers. We looked at Asia, it is one of the options, but once it gets to the West Coast, it can also move to the California market,” he said.

Stringham said a proposal for Enbridge to build a pipeline carrying oil to the West Coast has more than 4,000 interveners.

Occupy Koch Town promotional materials say they’ll also protest against the Kansas Policy Institute. KPI helped launch KansasWatchdog.org in 2009 but is no longer affiliated with this site.

Fracking movie proposed

Americans are just starting to become aware of the tremendous potential of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a method of producing oil, and especially, natural gas. Kansas has recently seen a flurry of activity in this area, and fracking is expected to provide many thousands of jobs for Kansas, along with cheaper energy.

Filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer produced the 2009 film Not Evil Just Wrong that uncovered the myths and misinformation spread by radical environmental extremists.

Now the two have looked at fracking and hope to produce a documentary film on this topic. They hope to use a new method of financing the film — crowdfunding. Following is a press release announcing this effort. The link to the funding page is FrackNation: A documentary project in Los Angeles, CA by Ann and Phelim Media LLC.

Controversial filmmakers announce crowdfunding campaign for documentary to “expose the truth about fracking”

“FrackNation” investigates the alarming and apparently misleading claims made about fracking, and looks at the benefits the process can bring to some of the poorest communities in the U.S. and across the planet.

Los Angeles (February 8, 2012) — Controversial filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer announced a crowdfunding campaign today for their new documentary, FrackNation.

The feature-length film looks at the process of fracking for natural gas, demolishing much of the scaremongering surrounding the process and featuring the millions whose lives have been positively transformed by this emerging industry. FrackNation investigates the health claims surrounding the process, and reveals the startling lack of scientific evidence to substantiate them.

Controversially, McAleer and McElhinney are fundraising for FrackNation on Kickstarter.com.

“Normally, Kickstarter projects are pro-radical environmentalism,” said McAleer. “FrackNation will be the first documentary funded through Kickstarter to challenge the environmental establishment. It will appeal to the workers and small farmers who know the truth, but never see it represented in modern documentaries.”

In a unique fundraising move, McAleer and McElhinney, a husband and wife filmmaking team, have announced that everyone who helps pay for FrackNation will become an executive producer on the film. “This will be a documentary funded by the people for the people,” said McAleer.

FrackNation comes on the heels of a new anti-fracking film is due to be released by activist filmmaker Josh Fox. Fox made Gasland, an Oscar-nominated film, which propelled fears about fracking into the public arena. Fox is now planning a HBO-funded Gasland sequel. Fox has received $750,000 to make the new documentary.

“The Hollywood/environmental establishment has wheeled out big bucks to tell its story,” said Ann McElhinney. “We’re just asking for $150,000. Ours will be a grassroots film telling real stories about real people across America and the world.”

The filmmakers say the documentary was inspired when they encountered journalistic censorship. McAleer questioned Fox at a Q&A following a screening of the film, during which Fox admitted the people could light their tap water long before fracking was introduced. The “lighting water” scene is one of the most famous parts of Gasland, and led to many of the scares surrounding the process.

“I was shocked when Fox said he this had existed in these areas decades before fracking. However, I was doubly shocked when Fox’s lawyers contacted me to take down my video of our Q&A which I posted on YouTube,” said McAleer. “Fox was trying to censor another journalist and that got me interested: What was he trying to hide?”

McAleer and McElhinney have already filmed in Pennsylvania, New York, California, Poland, and the U.K.

FrackNation will feature small farmers, the working class and others who are benefiting from this economic boom. We will also look at the backgrounds and motives of those opposing fracking,” said McElhinney.

Contact: Mary Elizabeth Margolis
mary.margolis@storypartnersdc.com
(202) 706-7800

CSAPR not friendly, not a ghost

The following piece by Kansas Representative Dennis Hedke (district 99, Andover and parts of far east Wichita) illustrates another way in which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overreaches. Hedke is a geophysicist by training and profession.

Every citizen on the planet bears a responsibility toward stewardship of the environment. In the United States we have been blessed by much improved air and water quality over many decades of dedicated effort. There are, however, practical limits as to how far to push the envelope of “clean.”

The article presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Wichita Eagle on December 4, 2011 spoke to newly created rules placed on utilities, primarily targeted at coal-burning power plants. These new regulations fall within the “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule,” or CSAPR.

EPA claims it will “protect hundreds of million of Americans, providing up to $280 billion in benefits by preventing tens of thousands of premature deaths, asthma and heart attacks, and millions of lost days of school or work due to illness,” due to the cleanup of mercury, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, and other emissions.

Exactly where did the EPA come up with these incredible health benefits?

According to a Wall Street Journal citation on December 6, 2011, “… the EPA estimates that the benefits to society from mercury reductions in the utility rule max out at $6.1 million, total, while imposing $11 billion in compliance costs annually.”

Can the EPA cite for me, and the rest of Kansans who wish to know, evidence for any individual living within a 25 mile radius of the Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Mary’s, KS, who has experienced respiratory illness as a direct result of the emissions coming from that plant? Has there been a single lost day of school for any student in the St. Mary’s district due to the emissions coming from that plant? Has anyone lost a day of work as a direct result of emissions coming from that plant?

If and when EPA conducts an epidemiologic study to answer those questions, I predict the answers will be no, no, and no. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has confirmed that no such studies have been conducted anywhere in Kansas.

Yet, the EPA would have us believe that they will be protecting hundreds of millions of Americans from multiple hazardous substances being emitted, and carried ‘downwind’ to Chicago, Pittsburgh, and of course New York City and EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC. I submit they would love to have our air quality. There is something very wrong with this picture.

Jeffrey Energy Center (through Westar ratepayers) has invested in excess of $600 million within the past decade to retrofit and materially reduce sulfur oxides by 82% and nitrogen oxides by 48%, and other particulates that may be in some way challenging the health profiles of residents proximate to the plant. Not enough according to the EPA.

Behind the scenes, EPA claims their models conflict with models of other entities, and that rolling brownouts and blackouts won’t happen next summer, as a result of mandatory plant shutdowns. That’s not what has been publicly reported by Westar and many others.

I’ll go with Westar, and the others.

Casper, please lend us a hand.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on wind energy

Recently Kansas Governor Sam Brownback wrote an editorial praising the benefits of wind power. (Gov. Sam Brownback: Wind offers clean path to growth, September 11, 2011 Wichita Eagle) Brownback has also been supportive of another form of renewable energy, ethanol.

But not everyone agrees with the governor’s rosy assessment of wind power. Paul Chesser of American Tradition Institute offers a rebuttal of Brownback’s article, which first appeared in a Bloomberg publication.

Chesser writes: “Apparently Gov. Brownback has overlooked the horrid results of efforts in recent years to spur the economy and employment with government renewable energy ‘stimulation’ from taxpayer dollars. … The lessons of failure with government mandates in pursuit of a renewable energy economy are not hard to find.”

Chesser goes on to describe ATI’s study which illustrates the negative economic consequences of renewsable energy standards, which Brownback has supported. The study is The Effects of Federal Renewable Portfolio Standard Legislation on the U.S. Economy.

Following is Chesser’s response to Governor Brownback.

Kansas Gov., Former Sen. Brownback Incorrect on Promise, Economics of Renewable Energy

By Paul Chesser

American Tradition Institute today called attention to the many fallacies in a column written by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and published yesterday in the Bloomberg Government newsletter (subscription required), in which the former U.S. Senator touted the “long-term benefits” and “job creation” ability of renewable energy, predominantly with wind power.

Apparently Gov. Brownback has overlooked the horrid results of efforts in recent years to spur the economy and employment with government renewable energy “stimulation” from taxpayer dollars. He wrote for Bloomberg, “Experience has taught us that investments in the renewable energy economy is creating jobs across all employment sectors, including construction, engineering, operations, technology and professional services, in both rural and urban communities.”

“Unlike most of his fellow Republicans, it sounds like the governor continues to support President Obama’s failed initiatives to create ‘Green jobs’ in a hopeless attempt to save the U.S. economy,” said Paul Chesser, executive director of American Tradition Institute.

Continue reading at ATI Release: Kansas Gov., Former Sen. Brownback Incorrect on Promise, Economics of Renewable Energy.

Study looks at spending, strategy in cap and trade debate

While those who advocate cap and trade legislation charge that conservatives, particularly Charles and David Koch, have outspent them, a study finds the opposite.

According to American University Professor Matthew Nisbet, in 2009 environmental groups spent $394 million on climate change and energy policy efforts such as promoting cap and trade. Opposition groups spent $259 million. Information like this helps place the reports of conservative spending, including that of Charles and David Koch, in perspective. Without this, we’re left with the one-sided reports from Greenpeace and the New Yorker magazine, in which numbers are mentioned without — or with little — context.

Nesbit’s report is Climate Shift: Clear Vision for the Next Decade of Public Debate.

The report also looks at expenditures on lobbying. In this area, it’s less clear how much was spent lobbying for or against cap and trade legislation, as companies and organizations report their total spending on all lobbying activity, not the amount spent on specific bills. In this light, Nisbet reports that “environmental groups were able to forge a network of organizations that spent a combined $229 million on lobbying across all issues. In comparison, the network of prominent opponents of cap and trade legislation spent $272 million lobbying across all issues.”

Spending on elections is mixed. Considering contributions to members of Congress, proponents of cap and trade legislation outspent opponents. But in independent expenditures, the situation is reversed. But on Proposition 23 in California, environmental groups spent the most.

In conclusion to its chapter on spending, the report states: “… propelled by a wealthy donor base and key alliances with corporations and other organizations, the environmental movement appears to have closed the financial gap with its opponents among conservative groups and industry associations. Indeed, the effort to pass cap and trade legislation may have been the best-financed political cause in American history. The effort also demonstrates not only the vast revenue base and organizational capacity of the environmental movement, but also the movement’s enhanced ability to coordinate activities among its constituent members and to build partnerships.”

Climate Change Advocacy: Revenues, Spending, and Activities

By Matthew Nisbit

After the failure of the Senate cap and trade bill in August 2010, many commentators blamed the bill’s demise on the massive spending by fossil fuel companies, industry associations and their conservative allies. Others, however, noted that environmental groups—joined by dozens of leading companies and organizations—had devoted record amounts of financial resources in an effort to pass the bill. As an unnamed Obama administration official said about environmental groups, “They spent like $100 million and they weren’t able to get a single Republican convert on the bill.”

To better understand the influence of spending in the cap and trade debate, in this chapter I review the nature, composition and funding sources of the U.S. environmental movement and compare these factors to the opposing coalition of conservative think tanks and industry associations. Then, analyzing data compiled from tax returns, annual reports, and other sources, I systematically compare the revenue and forms of spending by both sides in the debate.

Though most environmental groups are limited in how much money they can devote to direct lobbying, in the debate over cap and trade, they were able to spend heavily on efforts to educate the public and policymakers on the need for a mandatory emissions cap, hiring the country’s top political consultants. They also invested in partnerships with corporations and other organizations in a strategy aimed at counter-balancing the amount spent on lobbying by opposing industry associations and companies.

As the analysis indicates, the environmental movement has made sizable gains in closing the spending gap with their conservative and industry opponents. Indeed, the effort to pass cap and trade legislation may have been the best-financed political cause in American history. The effort also demonstrates not only the vast revenue base and organizational capacity of the environmental movement, but also the movement’s enhanced ability to coordinate activities among its constituent members and to build alliances.

Continue reading from Chapter 1 of Climate Shift: Clear Vision for the Next Decade of Public Debate

More left-liberal environmental hypocrisy

This time it’s Robert Redford caught in a few “do as I say, not as I do” moments. He opposes environmentally-friendly development near a vineyard he owns, as reported in the New York Times: “Robert Redford, the actor and environmental superhero, is a vocal supporter of renewable power and sustainable growth — but it seems that doesn’t include a proposal for an ecofriendly housing development in his corner of the Napa Valley.”

But if you have $1,975,000 he’ll sell you a lot for a luxury vacation home.

He campaigns against the use of oil — while at the same time being paid by United Airlines to create advertisements encouraging flying.

Filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer have put together a short film that illustrates. View it below or in glorious high-definition at Robert Redford Hypocrite.

Global warming alarmism: the money motive

The motives of global warming alarmists, who insist that mankind must ratchet back economic progress in order to save the earth’s climate: Are these motives pure and scientific, or are there other forces in play?

Many have suspected that the global warming battle is more a war against capitalism than anything else. Now new information is revealed that reinforces these suspicions. As Investor’s Business Daily tells it: “Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change (say that twice), told the Neue Zurcher Zeitung last week: ‘The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.’ After all, redistributing global wealth is no small matter.”

The Climate Cash Cow

Investor’s Business Daily

Hoaxes: A high-ranking member of the U.N.’s Panel on Climate Change admits the group’s primary goal is the redistribution of wealth and not environmental protection or saving the Earth.

Money, they say, is the root of all evil. It’s also the motivating force behind what is left of the climate change movement after the devastating Climate-gate and IPCC scandals that saw the deliberate manipulation of scientific data to spur the world into taking draconian regulatory action.

Left for dead, global warm-mongers are busy planning their next move, which should occur at a climate conference in relatively balmy Cancun at month’s end. Certainly it should provide a more appropriate venue for discussing global warming than the site of the last failed climate conference — chilly Copenhagen.

Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change (say that twice), told the Neue Zurcher Zeitung last week: “The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.” After all, redistributing global wealth is no small matter.

Edenhofer let the environmental cat out of the bag when he said “climate policy is redistributing the world’s wealth” and that “it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization.”

Continue reading at Investor’s Business Daily.

Fifteen bad things with wind power — and three reasons why

Here’s an article full of important observations about the drive to produce more of our electricity from wind power. For example, promoters of wind (and solar) say we can use it to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But this article points out that only one percent of our electricity is generated from oil.

Another important observation has to do with the high cost of electricity generated by wind: “Along the way, yet another claim has been made: that wind energy is low cost. This is surprisingly bold considering that if that was really true, then why would any RES be necessary? For some reason all ‘calculations’ showing wind to be low cost conveniently ignore exorbitant subsidies, extra backup and balancing costs, additional transmission costs, etc.”

That’s a simple and brilliant observation: if electricity from wind is so cheap to produce, why do utilities have to be forced — and subsidized — to produce it?

Fifteen Bad Things with Windpower–and Three Reasons Why

By John Droz Jr.

Trying to pin down the arguments of wind promoters is a bit like trying to grab a greased balloon. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, it squirts away. Let’s take a quick highlight review of how things have evolved.

1 — Wind energy was abandoned well over a hundred years ago, as it was totally inconsistent with our burgeoning more modern needs of power, even in the late 1800s. When we throw the switch, we expect that the lights will go on — 100% of the time. It’s not possible for wind energy, by itself, to ever do this, which is one of the main reasons it was relegated to the dust bin of antiquated technologies (along with such other inadequate sources like horse power).

2 — Fast forward to several years ago. With politicians being convinced by lobbyists that Anthropological Global Warming (AGW) was an imminent threat, a campaign was begun to favor all things that would purportedly reduce CO2. Wind energy was thus resurrected, as its marketers pushed the fact that wind turbines did not produce CO2 in their generation of electricity.

Continue reading at MasterResource: A free-market energy blog

The Climategate Whitewash Continues

Last year’s disclosure of email correspondence between climate scientists was a wake-up call to the world. The emails showed leading climate scientists exhibiting “professional misconduct, data manipulation and jiggering of both the scientific literature and climatic data.”

Since then, there have been several reviews of this episode, each finding there was no untoward behavior by the scientists. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Patrick J. Michaels takes a look at these reviews and finds that their purported independence is not as advertised.

The Climategate Whitewash Continues

Global warming alarmists claim vindication after last year’s data manipulation scandal. Don’t believe the ‘independent’ reviews.

Last November there was a world-wide outcry when a trove of emails were released suggesting some of the world’s leading climate scientists engaged in professional misconduct, data manipulation and jiggering of both the scientific literature and climatic data to paint what scientist Keith Briffa called “a nice, tidy story” of climate history. The scandal became known as Climategate.

Now a supposedly independent review of the evidence says, in effect, “nothing to see here.” Last week “The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review,” commissioned and paid for by the University of East Anglia, exonerated the University of East Anglia. The review committee was chaired by Sir Muir Russell, former vice chancellor at the University of Glasgow.

Continue reading at the Wall Street Journal

Global warming to be topic at Wichita presentation

This Friday (June 11) the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Mike Smith, C.C.M. of WeatherData Services, Inc. as its guest presenter. His topic will be “An Atmospheric Scientist Looks at Global Warming.” I have seen this presentation, and it is very informative and should not be missed.

This special presentation will end at 1:15 pm instead of the usual 1:00 pm ending time.

All are welcome to attend Wichita Pachyderm Club meetings. The program costs $10, which includes a delicious buffet lunch including salad, soup, two main dishes, and ice tea and coffee. The meeting starts at noon, although it’s recommended to arrive fifteen minutes early to get your lunch before the program starts.

The Wichita Petroleum Club is on the ninth floor of the Bank of America Building at 100 N. Broadway (north side of Douglas between Topeka and Broadway) in Wichita, Kansas (click for a map and directions). You may park in the garage (enter west side of Broadway between Douglas and First Streets) and use the sky walk to enter the Bank of America building. The Petroleum Club will stamp your parking ticket and the fee will be only $1.00. Or, there is usually some metered and free street parking nearby.

Greenpeace climate change extremists are hot on the trail

Climate change — its reality (or not) and man’s response to it — is an important topic and deserves serious discussion. The actions of one of the most prominent and vocal groups promoting a radical global warming agenda, however, aren’t fostering greater understanding of the issue, much less an informed debate.

Last month’s attack on Koch Industries by Greenpeace used misleading information and exaggerated claims of uncovering purportedly “secret” information to advance its agenda.

As people become aware of the shaky foundation of the climate science promoted by groups like Greenpeace, we can expect more attacks like this recent report. Groups that promote an extremist view of climate science as does Greenpeace need to deflect attention from the facts. Personal attacks are one way to accomplish this.

Another example of this deflection using personal attacks, and one that does nothing to advance debate or discussion, came from Greenpeace yesterday. Greenpeace has labeled Charles and David Koch “climate criminals,” and has produced a video of an “investigator” sniffing around New York City trying to find David Koch. While productions like this can be amusing or funny — although this attempt fails in both regards — it does succeed in deflecting attention from the really important issues and facts.

Deflecting attention is one thing. Presenting false information is another matter, and far more serious. The video ends with an enactment of a crime scene of a dead polar bear, implying that man-made global warming is killing polar bears. The reality is just the opposite.

If Greenpeace was interested in facts rather than scoring quick and easy points through character assassination, it might note that Koch Industries has a good, and improving, environmental record. The Koch and the Environment page tells of Koch Industries’ commitment to the environment, and lists awards the company has received.

There are examples of specific, industry-leading improvements, too. At Flint Hills Resources, a Koch company engaged in oil refining and chemicals, refinery emissions have been reduced in recent years. The company ranks in the best ten companies in the industry, with emissions 85 percent less than that of companies in the bottom ten.

Facts like these don’t fit Greenpeace’s agenda, so we’re not likely to see them reported.

Greenpeace report on Koch Industries criticized

Last week’s report on Koch Industries by Greenpeace has sparked a bit of critical discussion beyond the usual news coverage.

At Reason.com, the underwhelming nature of the report’s revelations is noted: “The Greenpeace noise machine managed to persuade the Guardian to publish a ‘shocking’ article detailing the amazing fact that donors tend to support groups that advocate points of view with which they generally agree.”

The article also notes the tremendous amount of money given to causes purported to support environmental issues: “In 1999, individuals, companies and foundations gave an average of $9.6 million a day to environmental groups.”

To place that number in context, Greenpeace is creating an issue over Koch donations of $25 million given over three years.

A Scientific American article contains a statement from Cato Institute (an organization that receives Koch funding) founder and President Edward Crane that shows how Greenpeace is deflecting attention from the real issue:

“I’m concerned that Greenpeace appears to be more interested in our funding sources than in the accuracy of the research that is being funded,” he added. “Climategate (not to mention peer-reviewed publications) would vindicate that accuracy.”

Curiously, that article finds it necessary to use apologetic quotation marks when mentioning the term “free market,” as though this concept is something readers of that publication may not have been exposed to, or may not believe exists.

In the article Greenpeace Report : Koch brothers and Exxon deserve medals at Mens News Daily, we see that we ought to be offering thanks: “If Charles and David Koch and ExxonMobil are playing even a fraction of the part in public education as Greenpeace claims, then we owe them our thanks.”

In Global Warming: Who’s funding the fight?, Environmental Policy Examiner notes the Koch’s long-time support for free markets and institutions that support economic freedom: “The Greenpeace story doesn’t mention how long Koch (and Exxon, for that matter) have been funding organizations like this. That’s because their funding predates any controversy about global warming.”

In a later article on the same site, author Thomas Fuller looks at an example of the exaggerated claims made in the Greenpeace report:

Greenpeace calls the Manhattan Institute a “climate denialist” organization because they hosted Bjorn Lomborg twice in the last two years. So they are sliming Koch Industries for providing some funding to the Manhattan Institute, whose “climate crime” is hosting Bjorn Lomborg. They say Lomborg “challenges and attacks policy measures to address climate change.” …

Greenpeace appears to have lost its collective mind. Lomborg is not a denialist. He understands climate change and anthropogenic contributions to it. He supports actions to alleviate it. He just doesn’t agree with Greenpeace on specific policies. His real sin, in the eyes of Greenpeace, is that he wants us to remember the other problems facing this planet, such as poverty and disease. But it is absolutely straight jacket insane to call him a “denialist.”

Greenpeace attack on Koch Industries exaggerates, misleads

This week’s release of a report by the extremist environmental group Greenpeace on Wichita-based Koch Industries contains claims that exaggerate the nature of the information contained in the report. These over-hyped “findings” are used to advance Greenpeace’s global warming alarmist agenda, but should give us cause to examine Greenpeace and its agenda.

The title of the report — “Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine” is the first exhibit. The peculiar use of the term “climate denial” — used in the report’s title and repeated many times in the report — makes it look as though the organizations named in the report deny the existence of climate itself, which is, of course, nonsense. Even the term “climate science denial,” which is also used, is misleading. We’ve seen in recent years the shaky foundation on which modern climate science rests — at least the science cited by environmental extremists and global warming alarmists like Greenpeace.

The accusatory language used in the report and its accompanying promotional materials — “secretly funding,” “quietly funneled,” “expose the connections,” — is misleading in two ways. First, it accuses Koch Industries and Koch Family Foundations of attempting to hide connections to the organizations named in the report. But these connections are not hidden. Instead, they are widely known.

For example, David Koch’s biography on the Koch Industries website notes that he serves on the board of directors of the Cato Institute, and that he is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. The role of Charles Koch in the founding of the Cato Institute is widely known as a matter of history and is mentioned in documents on Cato’s website.

Second — and here’s where Greenpeace really exaggerates — the information the Greenpeace report characterizes as “uncovered” can be found by reading IRS form 990 documents. These are freely available at several locations such as Guidestar. They show how charitable foundations spend money, including contributions made to the organizations named in the Greenpeace report.

It’s not just the Greenpeace report itself that is way over-the-top in its sensationalism. Personal attacks are used too, as when a Greenpeace blog writes about the Kochs: “They are the dons of a massive climate crime family.” This type of demonization doesn’t help advance debate.

Then there’s the report’s accusation that a conservative “echo chamber” exists to spread misinformation about climate change — as though such things don’t exist among left-wing organizations like Greenpeace itself.

We must first recognize that the claims made in the Greenpeace report about climate science are far from settled, and that many scientists disagree with Greenpeace’s views. Many would say the report itself is full of misinformation about the state of climate science. For example, Greenpeace claims that the “ClimateGate” emails from last November casts no doubt on the scientific consensus regarding climate change.

As to charges of an echo chamber, the accompanying material to the report encourages the very type of “echoing” that the report denounces. It suggests a hashtag (a method of categorizing or tagging communications) to use on Twitter, for example. And it encourages linking the word “Koch” to the report: “Put up as many links as you can, everywhere and anywhere you can put up links. Help us make sure that when someone Googles ‘Koch,’ the top search result will be our report.”

This blatant push by Greenpeace to create the appearance of interest in the report is ironic when we realize the report accuses groups like Americans for Prosperity of “Astroturfing” — the alleged effort to create a false impression of grass roots interest in an issue or cause.

We have to wonder what Greenpeace is trying to accomplish with this report. The exaggerated claims of uncovering previously “hidden” information, the insistence that only Greenpeace’s radical global warming agenda is correct and everyone else is wrong, the character assassination of Charles and David Koch — all this should lead us to seriously question the credibility of Greenpeace.

Update: Greenpeace report on Koch Industries criticized.

Greenpeace report aims to stifle debate on climate science

Wichita’s Koch Industries has come under attack from an environmental extremist organization for its support of open debate and dialog about the science of climate change.

A report issued by Greenpeace uses inflammatory language and a one-sided view of the facts surrounding climate change in order to attack those it disagrees with. This comes at a time when scientists and the public are becoming increasingly skeptical of the claims of extremist organizations like Greenpeace — and with good reason, too.

Revelations such as the emails from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, for example, have peeled back the veneer and revealed extremists who have more than the pure pursuit of science as their agenda. This Greenpeace report is another example.

As an example of the way the report presents facts in an attempt to make its case, here is the report’s criticism of one public policy foundation that received Koch funding: “… [it] has hosted Bjorn Lomborg twice in the last two years. Lomborg is a prominent media spokesperson who challenges and attacks policy measures to address climate change.”

To thinking people who value open discussion of issues — rather than wholesale and uncritical acceptance of environmental extremism — providing a forum for Lomborg (author of The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World and Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming) is a good thing to have done. We need institutions such as Americans for Prosperity, The Cato Institute, and The Heritage Foundation to provide balance to mainstream media that has bought in — emphatically and largely uncritically — to global warming alarmism.

There are those who have broken free from groups like Greenpeace, and the remarks of one give us insight into the true nature of these groups. Patrick Moore, who at one time was President of Greenpeace Foundation in Canada, has said this on the environmental extremists’ need to continually invent disasters: “At the beginning, the environmental movement had reason to say that the end of the world is nigh, but most of the really serious problems have been dealt with. Now it’s almost as though the environmental movement has to invent doom and gloom scenarios.”

Moore shows that he totally understands the harm of radical environmental groups like Greenpeace: “The environmental movement has evolved into the strongest force there is for preventing development in the developing countries. I think it’s legitimate for me to call them anti-human.”

This reveals the true anti-human, anti-progress agenda of environmental extremist groups like Greenpeace. They deny the tremendous progress and benefit to humans that industrialization — propelled by capitalism wherever it is allowed to thrive — has produced. They don’t want to let the debate and discussion proceed.

Koch Industries has provided this response to the Greenpeace report:

In a consistent, principled effort for more than 50 years — long before climate change was a key policy issue — Koch companies and Koch foundations have worked to advance economic freedom and market-based policy solutions to challenges faced by society. These efforts are about creating more opportunity and prosperity for all, as it’s a historical fact that economic freedom best fosters innovation, environmental protection and improved quality of life in a society.

The Greenpeace report mischaracterizes these efforts and distorts the environmental record of our companies. Koch companies have long supported science-based inquiry and dialogue about climate change and proposed responses to it. Koch companies have put tremendous effort into discovering and adopting innovative practices that reduce energy use and emissions in the manufacture and distribution of our products.

We believe the political response to climate issues should be based on sound science. Both a free society and the scientific method require an open and honest airing of all sides, not demonizing and silencing those with whom you disagree. We’ve strived to encourage an intellectually honest debate on the scientific basis for claims of harm from greenhouse gases. We have tried to help bring out the facts of the potential effectiveness and costs of policies proposed to deal with climate, as it’s crucial to understand whether proposed initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases will achieve desired environmental goals and what effects they would likely have on the global economy.

Global Warming: Hoax or Reality?

Wichita geophysicist Dennis Hedke will appear at two forums at Johnson County Community College on February 3 that will explore the topic of climate change. The documentary film Not Evil Just Wrong — the antidote to Al Gore and global warming extremism — will be shown, too. My review of this film is at ‘Not Evil Just Wrong’ a powerful refutation of Al Gore, environmental extremism. Following is a press release announcing the event.

From 12 noon to 2:30 pm on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 , a forum will be conducted in the Craig Community Auditorium (GEB 233) regarding the controversial issue of Global Warming/Climate Change and the impact the outcome of this debate could have on future energy policy, legislation and costs. The same forum will be repeated again from 6:30 to 9:00 pm in GEB 233. The featured speaker will be Dennis Hedke who is a Partner in the firm Hedke-Saenger Geoscience, Ltd., based in Wichita, KS. He is engaged in consulting assignments both nationally and internationally. He has long been involved in research related to the earth’s climate, and the efficient delivery of energy. His research encompasses a broad range of issues across the geopolitical spectrum. Following his introductory comments, there will be a viewing of the documentary “Not Evil, Just Wrong” which addresses the numerous inaccuracies and misrepresentations contained in Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”. One of the Producers of the documentary, Ann McElhinney, will be available as part of a panel to take questions after the viewing. Mr. Hedke, radio talk show host Chris Stigall and members of an environmental group with an opposing point of view will also be on the panel.   For questions, contact Jerry Magliano at 913-530-1761.

Wall Street Journal guide to climate change

The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal is one of the most valuable resources for information on economics and politics. A while back the Journal launched The WSJ Guide to ObamaCare. Now there’s a guide to Journal editorials and op-eds on climate change available at The Wall Street Journal Guide to Climate Change.

Here are a few samples:

Writing about the hacked emails, Rigging a Climate ‘Consensus’ states: “The real issue is what the messages say about the way the much-ballyhooed scientific consensus on global warming was arrived at, and how a single view of warming and its causes is being enforced. The impression left by the correspondence among Messrs. Mann and Jones and others is that the climate-tracking game has been rigged from the start.”

In The Climate Change Climate Change: “Steve Fielding recently asked the Obama administration to reassure him on the science of man-made global warming. When the administration proved unhelpful, Mr. Fielding decided to vote against climate-change legislation. If you haven’t heard of this politician, it’s because he’s a member of the Australian Senate. As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to pass a climate-change bill, the Australian Parliament is preparing to kill its own country’s carbon-emissions scheme. Why? A growing number of Australian politicians, scientists and citizens once again doubt the science of human-caused global warming”

In Don’t Count on ‘Countless’ Green Jobs: “If the green-jobs claim sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is. There’s an unavoidable problem with renewable-energy technologies: From an economic standpoint, they’re big losers. Renewables simply cannot produce the large volumes of useful, reliable energy that our economy needs at attractive prices, which is exactly why government subsidizes them.”

In An Inconvenient Democracy: “With cap and trade blown apart in the Senate, the White House has chosen to impose taxes and regulation across the entire economy under clean-air laws that were written decades ago and were never meant to apply to carbon. With this doomsday machine activated, Mr. Obama hopes to accomplish what persuasion and debate among his own party manifestly cannot. This reckless ‘endangerment finding’ is a political ultimatum: The many Democrats wary of levelling huge new costs on their constituents must surrender, or else the EPA’s carbon police will inflict even worse consequences.”

Climate change information site launched by Wichita geophysicist

Wichita Geophysicist Dennis Hedke has compiled a great deal of useful information that he uses in making presentations on the science, economics, and politics of climate change and global warming alarmism.

Now he’s compiled his material and made it available on his new website HeadOnIssues.org.

Hedke says in the site’s introductory message to readers: “Most, if not virtually all of the data presented comes from very high quality outside sources. I have simply accessed it and in some cases ‘interpreted’ it, though much of it is self-explanatory. … And, yes this is a ‘poltical’ website. There has never been a time like the present to be involved in the political process, and I hope you will take the time and effort to become engaged, avoiding apathy.”

Don’t forfeit Kansas’ economic future to the United Nations

By Phil Kerpen and Derrick Sontag

The global warming debate is at a crossroads. With a skeptical American public already rising up against a cap-and-trade scheme that would send energy prices through the roof, a whistleblower at the influential Climate Research Unit revealing that the temperature data used to make the case for global warming was badly manipulated, predictions of yet another cold winter, and the fact it has been nearly a decade since global temperatures stopped rising.

India and China have suggested they might agree to increase their emissions at a slightly slower rate, but that’s it, and would still put the U.S. at a huge competitive disadvantage. Developing countries in the Third World are willing to get on board, but only if they get staggering wealth transfers from U.S. taxpayers.

In the face of all this, President Obama is expected to stop by the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen — on the way home from picking up his Noble Peace Prize in Norway — to commit the United States to a path of emissions reductions that will, in his own words, cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket,” as if nothing had changed at all and global warming remained the world’s most pressing problem.

The world is starting to come to grips with the limits of the American president’s rhetoric, but Obama has yet to face this reality. During his goodwill tour of Asia last month, Obama stood with Chinese President Hu Jintao and promised to “rally the world” toward a binding global agreement on global warming — a Kyoto II — in Copenhagen.

Obama followed up his Chinese appearance by announcing he would attend the conference in person. He plans to tell the world America is “politically committed” to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. Those happen to be the reduction levels in the cap-and-trade bill passed by the House, but surely the president knows from his brief stint in Congress that he can’t commit the country to doing such a thing without a vote in the Senate.

The more the American people learn about cap-and-trade — and what it will mean for their jobs, communities and family budgets — the less they like it. Here in Kansas, according to a study by the National Association of Manufacturers, it would mean the price of gasoline would increase 24 percent, electricity by 64 percent, and natural gas by 77 percent. We would stand to lose twenty-nine thousand Kansas jobs by 2030.

Obama, it seems, is more interested in pleasing adoring crowds in Europe than blocking a policy that would slam Kansans with huge costs. But these huge price impacts create problems abroad, too. Australia’s Senate rejected cap-and-trade last week. China and India can accept some efficiency measures, but certainly cannot risk disrupting economic growth. It looks increasingly clear that the most likely result from Copenhagen will be a lot of sweeping rhetoric about progress, a commitment to meet again next year in Mexico City, and no agreement of any substance.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t lessen the anger for the American people because the Obama administration is doing more than making promises abroad. They are actually taking active steps to circumvent the Senate and implement policies that outsource our economic future the United Nations. Under the direction of White House Climate Czar Carol Browner, the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to unleash on onslaught of greenhouse gas regulations through a twisted interpretation of the 1970 Clean Air Act, leaning on the United Nations climate reports that depend, in turn, on the now-discredited temperature data from the Climate Research Unit.

Americans for Prosperity will be there in Copenhagen to tell the real story of what is at stake: our country’s economic future, and whether this administration will get away with outsourcing it to bureaucrats at the United Nations and so-called scientists who are willing to obfuscate and manipulate. We can’t afford to lose this fight.

Phil Kerpen is director of policy and Derrick Sontag is Kansas state director for Americans for Prosperity, a national grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility and accountability. On the web at www.AmericansforProsperity.org.

Copenhagen to Wichita, lunch provided

A message from Americans For Prosperity:

As part AFP’s ongoing Hot Air Tour, we will be hosting a viewing party in Wichita at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and in Overland Park at the Doubletree Hotel of our Simulcast live from Copenhagen on the same day the President is there to make sure that the truth is told.

AFP President Tim Phillips and Director of Policy Phil Kerpen will be in Copenhagen hosting an event with Lord Monckton ( click here to join the 3.5 million people who have seen his video detailing how our nation could be threatened by international climate agreements) and other European free-market leaders who will detail the hypocrisy of this U.N. conference and explain how cap-and-trade has killed jobs and raised energy prices in their nations.

All this will be Simulcast live to AFP – Kansas’s own Hot Air Tour event at noon December 9th. Space is limited so RSVP today! Lunch will be provided.

Wichita Details:
Where: Hyatt Regency Wichita, 400 West Waterman, Wichita
Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. (lunch will be provided)
When: December 9, 2009
Click here to register for the Event

Here’s how to maybe solve global warming

One of the problems in the global warming debate is that the warmists advocate a solution that’s very painful: moving away from fossil fuels. Alternatives are not mentioned or considered.

A reason for this is that the war on fossil fuels is a thinly disguised war on capitalism and human economic freedom. That’s a big reason why environmental extremists don’t want to consider other solutions. If they can save the earth and kill capitalism and humanity at the same time, this false crisis has surely not been wasted.

If the earth is warming (it hasn’t recently), and if the warming is caused by human activity (there’s not persuasive evidence of that), it’s a problem that can be fixed over a long time horizon. During that time, technology may appear could easily and inexpensively fix the problem.

Bret Stephen’s recent Wall Street Journal column highlights such a possible solution. Its cost, he says, is that of a “single F-22 fighter jet.”

The details of this possible solution don’t really matter here. Here’s what does, according to Stephens: “… seemingly insurmountable problems often have cheap and simple solutions. Hence world hunger was largely conquered not by a massive effort at population control, but by the development of new and sturdier strains of wheat and rice. Hence infection and mortality rates in hospitals declined dramatically as doctors began to appreciate the need to wash their hands. Hence, too, it may well be that global warming is best tackled with a variety of cheap fixes …”

This approach, however, won’t sit well with those who want to control our lives. And that’s what Al Gore is really all about.

‘Not Evil Just Wrong’ a powerful refutation of Al Gore, environmental extremism

The new documentary film Not Evil Just Wrong will cause viewers to wonder why we pay global warming alarmists, particularly former vice-president Al Gore, any attention at all.

The answer, of course, is that many people believe the nonsense that Gore and others spread about the threat of climate change. They’re working hard to pass laws and policies that will harm our lives and our economies — and they’re doing this to confront a threat that doesn’t exist.

Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, despite its errors, is used by environmental extremists as evidence that rapid warming is occurring, and that humans must take extreme measures to combat it.

Now there is a persuasive and effective rebuttal.

The film takes on the science, economic, and personal sides of the controversy surrounding global warming or climate change, and what should be mankind’s response.

Scientifically, Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth is fundamentally flawed. In Britain, a parent sued because this film was being shown to schoolchildren, and the British High Court found that the film was politically partisan and contained errors. As the lawyer for the case describes:

The judge identified nine aspects of An Inconvenient Truth, nine core errors, where Al Gore either misstated the IPCC or prejudicially exaggerated what they found. For example in relation to the sea level rises which is perhaps the starkest error in Al Gore’s film arguably. Al Gore is giving an impression that the sea level is going to rise by 20 feet in a very near future. The IPCC talks about 20 feet sea level rises over millennia, over thousands of years, thousands and thousands of years. And sea level rises by a matter of inches by the end of the century. Now that is a very disturbing misstatement of the science.

In Not Evil Just Wrong, Irish schoolchildren are shown to be fearful of drowning from this rise in seas. It’s terribly sad that these children have been terrorized by the false claims of Al Gore and those who believe them.

Another piece of science the film takes on is the famous “hockey stick” graph of global temperature that Gore uses to make his case. The rapid rise in temperature, alleged by Gore to be caused by human activity, is based on false data.

The personal stories in the film illustrate how government policy affects the dreams, hopes, and very lives of people. In Uganda, Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes suffered the loss of her son to malaria. This disease, which can be safely and effectively controlled by DDT, has killed millions of children since DDT was banned in reaction to Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring. And what is the trade-off for these lives? The film lets us see the value choices that environmental extremists make, and lets us know where they place human life on their value scale.

While the story of DDT is not directly related to global warming alarmism, it’s told in Not Evil Just Wrong because of its connection to Al Gore. His praise for Carson — he wrote the introduction to a recent edition of her book — lets us know that global warming extremism is not the first issue Gore’s been on the wrong side of, and at the cost of millions of lives.

Another personal story is that of Tiffany McElhany and her family in Vevay, Indiana. She wonders what Al Gore has against her family: Why he is opposed to the life she and her husband are trying to provide for their family? Her story — especially the personal and direct action she takes — is heartwarming, and at the same time we can feel nothing but disgust and contempt for Gore.

As I watched Not Evil Just Wrong I became angry. Viewers of the film will leave the theater wondering just what Gore is trying to accomplish and why he ignores the mounting evidence that he is wrong.

For coverage of the filmmaker’s recent appearance in Wichita, see my article “Not Evil Just Wrong” filmmaker tells of harms of radical environmentalists and Kansas Watchdog’s “Not Evil, Just Wrong” Counters Environmental Extremism. The movie’s website is at NotEvilJustWrong.com. The movie’s trailer is below or watch it on YouTube by clicking on Not Evil Just Wrong trailer.

Also, “Not Evil Just Wrong” will be shown in Wichita on Sunday, October 18, as part of its nationwide premier. This free event will be at the CAC Theater at Wichita State University. It starts at 6:00 pm, with meteorologist Mike Smith presenting “An Atmospheric Scientist’s View of Global Warming” at 6:15. To RSVP for this event, email to info@afpks.org or call 316-269-4170.

Kansas should not repeat Europe’s mistakes

By Ann McElhinney

Not for the first time, the prosperity of thousands of Kansans rests in the hands of politicians more than 1,000 miles removed in Washington, D.C. In the next few weeks politicians will decide whether to embrace the hype about manmade “climate change” and impose a costly global warming tax to address it.

Some Americans believe the country needs to adopt more “European” policies such as “cap and trade” which would ration the use of fossil fuels and drastically push up energy prices. But many other Americans fear the legislation now before the Senate will spell an end to the American dream.

They are right to be nervous — and Kansans should be particularly nervous. Midwestern states generate most of their electricity from coal-fired power plants that would feel the brunt of cap-and-trade. Two studies released last month show just how destructive the cap-and-trade regime would be for Kansas. The Heritage Foundation predicted that House-passed bill could kill 16,000 jobs in 2012; the National Association of Manufacturers said the number could reach up to 29,000 by 2030. The Heritage study also found that electricity prices in the state would jump $928 a year, and gas would cost $1.31 more per gallon.

As a European, I can’t understand the contempt for coal and other fossil fuels in America. (Al Gore is campaigning to end their use within ten years.) This country is blessed with an abundance of natural resources that produce cheap energy and drive economic progress.

Jobs already are at stake in western Kansas, where global warming hysteria has delayed Sunflower Electric Power Corp.’s plans to construct a coal-fired generator. The project is essential to meeting Kansas’ power needs over the next 10 to 20 years, and it will keep energy rates lower for the state’s residents.

It also will boost the economy and create thousands of jobs in construction and during many many years of operation. That’s real money for real people — and income in the form of tax revenue for the state. Kansas is being deprived of the prosperity that will come from the Holcomb power plant because of environmentalists who use alarmism to win support for economically devastating rules.

There is no scientific basis for the current climate hysteria. Our new film soon to be released titled, Not Evil Just Wrong, shows how it has been warmer in the past — a past that had no SUVs or mass industry. The film also shows how it has not warmed in the past 13 years — despite the dire predictions of climate models.

Not Evil Just Wrong also details how the British High Court ruled that Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth had nine significant errors and exaggerations. Being from Ireland, I will admit that historically the British justice system has had its flaws but I urge you to read the judgment on our website www.noteviljustwrong.com. It is a devastating summary of the half-truths and misinformation that pass for science nowadays.

Because Not Evil Just Wrong reveals these untold stories, elites from New York to Hollywood want to stop you from learning the truth about this issue. So we are bypassing Hollywood to get the message out. We are having a “people’s premiere” at 8:00 pm on Sunday, October 18.

You can order a premiere pack through our website noteviljustwrong.com. We will send you a dvd, a movie poster for your home theater and a piece of red carpet for your home premiere. It will be a national movement with everyone not pressing PLAY until 8:00 pm eastern (7:00 pm for most of Kansas) on October 18.

It will be a world record largest ever simultaneous movie premiere — the first cinematic tea party.

Americans need to take a stand because environmentalists are pushing for cap-and-trade legislation that will increase energy costs and drive jobs out of America during one of the biggest recessions in living memory. It is nothing more than a stimulus bill for China, a country that will continue to emit carbon regardless.

Many environmentalists are desperate to suppress that news. But it paints the painful reality of America’s future.

Ann McElhinney is an Irish filmmaker and journalist. She is the director of Not Evil Just Wrong: The True Cost Of Global Warming Hysteria (www.noteviljustwrong.com). For coverage of her talk in Wichita, see ‘Not Evil Just Wrong’ filmmaker tells of harms of radical environmentalists. For my review of Not Evil Just Wrong, see “Not Evil Just Wrong” a powerful refutation of Al Gore, environmental extremism.

‘Not Evil Just Wrong’ filmmaker tells of harms of radical environmentalists

Update: for my review of the film, click on “Not Evil Just Wrong” a powerful refutation of Al Gore, environmental extremism.

Watching the film she made, I became angry. After talking with her, I feel better, but I’m still angry.

She’s Ann McElhinney. The film she made is Not Evil Just Wrong. It’s a very powerful antidote to former vice president Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth and the extremism it has generated.

McElhinney was in Wichita yesterday to speak to a civic group. I attended her talk, and then spoke with her afterwards.

So why am I angry? Over and over, Gore and other radical environmentalists disregard facts and science, while at the same time proclaiming that the scientific debate is over. And it’s not just an academic debate. As Not Evil Just Wrong illustrates, millions of lives are at stake, as well as our standard of living.

An important episode in the film isn’t directly related to the global warming debate, but it serves to illustrate the ways we’ve been wrong before, and it gives us insight into one of the most visible personalities driving global warming extremism.

“Who here has played in the fog behind DDT trucks,” McElhinney asked the audience in Wichita. The widespread use of DDT led to the eradication of malaria in America and large parts of the world. But then a book — Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring — made a connection between DDT and danger to animal and human life. A worldwide ban on DDT followed, and malaria returned, especially to parts of Africa. Millions have died of malaria since then. In Uganda alone, 370 children per day die from malaria. She asked: if this was happening in Kansas, wouldn’t we do anything to stop it?

Everyone believed Carson’s story about DDT. But it was based more on speculation than good science.

In 2006, the World Health Organization said that Carson was wrong. But Gore still defends Carson. He wrote the introduction to an edition of her book. He visited her homestead.

So when Gore says that carbon dioxide is going to ruin the planet, should we pay him much attention? His film An Inconvenient Truth has received a lot of attention, including winning an Oscar. But McElhinney played a clip from Not Evil Just Wrong that showed how the British High Court found that the film contains nine significant exaggerations or scientific errors.

One of these exaggerations is Gore’s claim that sea levels will rise by 20 feet in the near future. The IPCC says this might happen over thousands of years. But schoolchildren in Ireland still get Gore’s erroneous message, and they fear that they will drown.

McElhinney says that “it’s an extraordinary position for Al Gore to take — as a Nobel Laureate, Oscar winner, Emmy winner — to not go back and re-edit the film and take out the errors.”

One of the loudest things we hear from the left, McElhinney says, is that “the discussion is over.” Greens say that global warming is settled scientific fact, humans are at fault, and we have to change the way we live. Her film, she says, shows that this is not conclusive. The scientific method calls for continued checking and debate, and those who call for an end to the debate are anti-scientific.

Energy, especially inexpensive energy, is a wonderful thing, she said. “People in America are very lucky to have the energy that you have. … People get to live long, and get to do really exciting things and make loads of choices, and this doesn’t happen everywhere. … The freedom that people have in America is because of energy. The idea that we would take away energy is, that we would reduce the amount of energy is the most crazy thing I’ve ever heard.” She cautioned us to be careful not to throw away our advantage of inexpensive energy.

Responding to a question from the audience, McElhinney reminded the audience of the existence of radical environmentalists who are opposed to chemicals and pesticides because they want everything to be “natural.” But disease and short life, she said, is the natural state of man.

After her talk, I asked McElhinney about the motivations of people like Al Gore. Does he know the facts, that the famous hockey stick graph is wrong and that the DDT ban has cost millions of lives? Does he know these things and decides to ignore them, or is he just innocently mistaken? She said she thinks that he does know the truth, but he is ideologically driven. Those who are so ideologically blinkered have to stay with their story, even though the facts disagree with them.

Also, Greens (radical environmentalists) think that animals are more important then people. Being elitists, too, the harmful effects of a misplaced war on carbon dioxide won’t affect them on a personal level as it will the masses of people.

I’ve seen Not Evil Just Wrong, and it uses a powerful technique of putting a face, a person, on the issues. McElhinney said that while it’s hard to comprehend of millions of children dying of malaria, “it’s very easy to understand the death of one child.”

Responding to another question, she said that the war against carbon emissions also a war against capitalism, and is also anti-American, with many initiatives directed against America. The wealth generated by capitalism allows people to cultivate gardens, for example, instead of doing whatever is necessary — including damaging the environment — to stay alive.

Coverage from Kansas Watchdog is at “Not Evil, Just Wrong” Counters Environmental Extremism.

Not Evil Just Wrong will be shown in Wichita on Sunday, October 18, as part of its nationwide premier. This free event will be at the CAC Theater at Wichita State University. It starts at 6:00 pm, with meteorologist Mike Smith presenting “An Atmospheric Scientist’s View of Global Warming” at 6:15. The movie will start at 7:00 pm. It runs 85 minutes. I’ll have my review of the movie next week.

Cap-and-trade admitted to be tax

Thinking people have known this all along, and now we know that the Treasury Department believes that proposed cap-and-trade legislation — the Waxman-Markey bill — is really a tax in disguise.

A Washington Times article gives more detail. It’s based on the work of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank that’s done some great work on the issue of global warming alarmism.

The memo that CEI received indicates that a cap-and-trade program could generate revenues to the federal government of $100 to $200 billion annually.

The memo, captioned “Domestic Climate Policy” contains this sentence, referring to President Obama’s proposed cap-and-trade program: “While such a program can yield environmental benefits that justify its costs, it will raise energy prices and impose annual costs on the order of xxx dollars.”

“xxx” is a placeholder to represent a number that was redacted or withheld from the CEI — and by extension the American public — in this document that was obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act. We have to wonder why someone thinks it’s necessary to keep this number secret. I think this is an indication that such a program would be terribly expensive. At the same time, the program would produce negligible benefit, as far as reducing or slowing the growth of global temperatures.

Earlier this year, CEI uncovered evidence of science taking a back seat to politics in the global warming debate. Its site GlobalWarming.Org is a good place to keep up-to-date on the latest information in this field. Now CEI has launched Freedom Action, a site designed to help citizens take action by communication with elected officials.

Not all birds are equal, it seems

Recently ExxonMobil plead guilty to killing 85 birds. It paid $600,000 in fines and fees. An Oregon electric utility paid $1.4 million in fines for killing 232 eagles that had come into contact with poorly-designed power lines.

Wind energy producers, however, can kill with impunity. That’s the message of the story Windmills Are Killing Our Birds by Robert Bryce.

A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birds — nearly all protected by the migratory bird act — are being whacked every year at Altamont.

Altamont’s turbines, located about 30 miles east of Oakland, Calif., kill more than 100 times as many birds as Exxon’s tanks, and they do so every year. But the Altamont Pass wind farm does not face the same threat of prosecution, even though the bird kills at Altamont have been repeatedly documented by biologists since the mid-1990s.

Political correctness gone wild? Of course.

Waxman-Markey costly, ineffective

The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation that is working its way through Congress is ineffective in its stated goal, and will harm the American economy.

The goal of this bill is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, thereby reducing the threat of global warming. The amount of temperature reduction Waxman-Markey might produce is a matter of dispute, but most sources cite a decrease so small that it will be difficult to measure it. Its effect could easily be overwhelmed by something else over which we have no control.

As bad as this is, the economic effects of this bill are certain, and they are devastating. The Science Applications International Corporation, at the request of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF), has produced an analysis of the effects of this legislation on the United States as a whole, and on each state. The reports may be read by clicking on Economic Impact of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act.

At the national level, the economic effect of the Waxman-Markey bill would be to reduce employment by around two million jobs by 2030. Household income would go down, and energy prices would go up. From 2010 to 2030, the nation would lose from two to three trillion dollars of national income.

For Kansas, the report notes that transportation manufacturing will show decreases in output of 8.0% to 8.4% by 2030. That’s a larger decline that what general manufacturing will experience. Transportation manufacturing, of course, includes the aircraft industry that Wichita depends on.

This legislation is so bad that even global warming alarmists are necessarily fans of Waxman-Markey. The liberal magazine Mother Jones says this: “First, Waxman-Markey is a kludge of a bill. It’s possible that its cost-benefit is negative, and it’s almost certain that, by itself, its cost benefit is quite small even if it is positive. Second, W-M’s carbon caps by themselves will probably have only a tiny effect on rising temperatures. Third, global warming is a hopeless problem if we don’t get the rest of the world to address it too. If China and India and the rest of the developing world don’t play along, nothing the U.S. and Europe do by themselves will be enough to halt it.”

If this is recycling profit, let’s skip it

A letter-writer to the Wichita Eagle states “In Washington state, we participate in a nearly effortless, profitable and environmentally important recycling program.”

A paragraph later she writes “The cost of recycling is $5 a month on our refuse bill.”

I don’t know: Do these statements contradict each other?

The writer also states: “Most important, we take pride in knowing that our recycled items do not end up in some community dump.”

I say: “In Wichita, it’s nice that we aren’t yet required by government to spend our precious time handling dirty trash that has no profitable market just to save a little land in a state where we have more land than we know what to do with.”

The Cap and Tax Fiction

There’s been a lot of joy among the radical environmentalists lately since the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) came out with a report that seems to say that the costs of the pending cap and trade legislation — the Waxman-Markey bill — is small.

At a annual cost of $175 per household, that shouldn’t be much to worry about, should it?

Sure enough, the report does mention this figure, and if you’re willing to overlook some obvious facts, it’s good news. Here’s what the report states:

“On that basis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net annual economywide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion—or about $175 per household.”

That’s what radical environmentalists are gleefully reporting. As a recent Wall Street Journal editorial explains “The biggest doozy in the CBO analysis was its extraordinary decision to look only at the day-to-day costs of operating a trading program, rather than the wider consequences energy restriction would have on the economy. The CBO acknowledges this in a footnote.”

Here’s the footnote the Journal article refers to: “The resource cost does not indicate the potential decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) that could result from the cap. The reduction in GDP would also include indirect general equilibrium effects, such as changes in the labor supply resulting from reductions in real wages and potential reductions in the productivity of capital and labor.”

There’s some other problems with the bill, and the Journal piece reports on them: “The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars. Consumers will cut back on spending, which in turn will cut back on production, which results in fewer jobs created or higher unemployment. Some companies will instead move their operations overseas, with the same result.”

The piece reports that Democrats know that steep price increase in energy are coming: “Even as Democrats have promised that this cap-and-trade legislation won’t pinch wallets, behind the scenes they’ve acknowledged the energy price tsunami that is coming. During the brief few days in which the bill was debated in the House Energy Committee, Republicans offered three amendments: one to suspend the program if gas hit $5 a gallon; one to suspend the program if electricity prices rose 10% over 2009; and one to suspend the program if unemployment rates hit 15%. Democrats defeated all of them.”

Recently I attended a public information session regarding rate consolidation in Westar, the large electric utility in Kansas. Several speakers spoke of the hardship that higher electricity rates would case. Something tells me that some of the people are in favor of the Waxman-Markey bill and other “green” measures. Are they will to pay the higher energy costs associated with this bill?

Global warming testimony released

In May, Wichita geophysicist Dennis Hedke traveled to Arlington, Virginia to deliver testimony at a public hearing conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. In June he delivered written testimony as part of the procedure for collecting public comment. You can read this document in its entirety at the end of this article. Here are some highlights.

Regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, perhaps the main organization contributing to global warming alarmism, Hedke writes this:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as you know, actually has nothing whatsoever in place that would mimic actual “peer-reviewed” architecture. Instead, it operates in total vacuum, and when a real scientist actually raises a challenge, based on factual evidence, he or she is virtually shut out of the ongoing, ultimately published “findings.” … a multitude of highly regarded and internationally respected scientists have chosen to withdraw from the organization because they could no longer tolerate the ongoing wrongdoing that became ever so obvious.

A major section of the document deals with comparison between EPA findings and the actual data. Hedke presents evidence that “human-induced factors related to the greenhouse effect are minimal.” That’s contrary to the EPA’s findings.

What about the “hockey stick” graph made famous by Al Gore in his movie? Hedke writes:

As I’m sure you are aware, [graph creator] Mann’s filtering of the real data was caught by astute researchers Ross McKitrick and Steven McIntyre, both Canadians who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to actually critically review the “science” that the IPCC was only too anxious and willing to share with the world. The eventual removal of the highly fabricated graph by the IPCC was a major source of embarrassment to that political body, proving that it was, indeed, junk science.

One of the conclusions Hedke states is: “In the broadest sense, I would conclude that the political drivers behind the wheel of this “findings” vehicle have completely overwhelmed any sense of scientific support, or lack thereof, for the myriad of complex conclusions drawn and implied to “endanger” the citizens of this country.”

The document contains many charts and graphs, along with many references to the sources Hedke uses.

(This is a Scribd document. Click on the rectangle at the right of the document’s title bar to get a full-screen view.)

Global warming to be examined in Wichita

At this Friday’s meeting of the Wichita Pachyderm Club, Wichita geophysicist Dennis Hedke will present important information about the topics of global warming and climate change. His presentation includes information about the science behind these matters, and also about the politics. That’s important, as it appears now that the driving force behind the Obama administration’s energy and climate policy is politics as much as anything else.

All are welcome to attend Pachyderm meetings. Lunch is $10, or you may attend the meeting only for $3.

At Pachyderm meetings, there’s usually plenty of time for the speaker to take questions from the audience. The meeting starts at noon, although those wishing to order lunch are encouraged to arrive by 11:45. The location is Whiskey Creek Steakhouse at 233 N. Mosley in Old Town. You can view a map of this location by clicking on Google map of 233 N. Mosley.

In Obama administration, transparency and science take backseat to politics

President Barack Obama has promised to make transparency the standard for his administration. He also pledged to base decisions such as our nation’s energy policy on science.

As reported on this site, the Competitive Enterprise Institute uncovered a series of email messages within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that raise questions as to how seriously these goals are followed.

What happened is that an EPA analyst prepared a report that challenged the orthodoxy of global warming. His report was suppressed — until CEI uncovered the emails.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly A. Strassel explains all this very well in her article The EPA Silences a Climate Skeptic.

Kansans will be hurt by global warming bill

The Waxman-Markey climate bill, soon to be considered by Congress, will harm all Americans. Here’s a look at what it would cost Kansans. Two examples:

Higher cost for energy. “An average family could pay an additional $1,500 a year for energy.”

Fewer jobs: “For Kansas this could mean a loss of 22 thousand jobs just a few years from now. If those jobs were lost today it would increase Kansas’ unemployment rate from 6.1 percent to 7.6 percent.”

EPA suppresses internal global warming study

Is there any doubt that the crusade against global warming is motivated as much by politics as by anything else?

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has uncovered an effort within the Environmental Protection Agency to suppress “scientific analysis of climate change because of political pressure to support the Administration’s policy agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.”

Further: “The study the emails refer to, which ran counter to the administration’s views on carbon dioxide and climate change, was kept from circulating within the agency, was never disclosed to the public, and was not added to the body of materials relevant to EPA’s current ‘endangerment’ proceeding.”

A CEI official said this: “This suppression of valid science for political reasons is beyond belief. EPA’s conduct is even more outlandish because it flies in the face of the President’s widely-touted claim that ‘the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.’”

A Washington Post headline from March stated “Obama Aims to Shield Science From Politics.” I guess they didn’t read that at the EPA.

ABC News quoted Obama earlier this year as saying this: “Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources — it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology.”

You can read CEI’s testimony, complete with the emails that prove its assertion, by clicking on Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0171.

Earthjustice meddles in Kansas again

The radical environmentalist group Earthjustice is again meddling in Kansas energy policy. They’ve sent a “warning letter” to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. You can read it at Proposed Kansas Coal Plant Draws Warning Letter.

Earthjustice opposes the building of a coal-fired power plant in Kansas. Our former governor Kathleen Sebelius, because she opposed the plant, was a darling of Earthjustice. See Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius at Earthjustice.

Earthjustice is simply misinformed in many ways. For example, the press release states: “The truth is building a new, dirty coal plant really only serves the interest of a few while overlooking the virtually free wind energy resources of Western Kansas.”

Consider that the “virtually free” wind energy is supported by a federal subsidy with each spin of the turbine blades.

Consider that Westar’s investment in wind power plus the natural gas plants necessary to back up the unreliable wind has caused the utility to ask for several rate increases in the past few years.

What was that about “virtually free” again? The inexpensive energy a coal plant would produce is a benefit to all Kansans, especially low-income Kansans, as they can least afford the expensive energy produced by alternative sources.

Then, the press release states “The Holcomb coal plant will send most of its power out of state while leaving pollution all over Kansas.”

The writer doesn’t state specifically what type of pollution she means. But the plant was not refused a permit because of what we traditionally consider pollution: sulfur dioxide, mercury, etc. That’s because coal plants now are quite clean with regard to these pollutants.

So that leaves carbon dioxide as the “pollutant” in question. Which, of course, isn’t a pollutant at all. And if it’s a problem, it’s a problem on a global scale, not just “all over Kansas.”

Hopefully our governor will disregard the call of the leftists at Earthjustice and let Kansas get on with its business.

Environmental myths of the Left

One of the powerful stories radical environmentalists — or any environmentalists for that matter — tell is how the river in Cleveland caught on fire. Water burning: that’s a real environmental disaster. Government must step in and do something!

Today the Competitive Enterprise Institute tells the true story. It turns out that it was not capitalism gone wild that caused the fire, but too much government and lack of property rights.

Progressivism, Not Capitalism, to Blame for Cleveland River Fire

Washington, D.C., June 22, 2009 — Today is the 40th Anniversary of the famous Cuyahoga river fire in Cleveland, Ohio. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is celebrating the anniversary, because it “led to positive results, including creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and passage of major environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act in 1972 [which meant] we paid attention to how much pollution manufacturers were putting into waterways like the Cuyahoga. The legislation set limits on pollution, and gave EPA the power to fine industry for violating those limits.”

Yet this received wisdom mischaracterizes what happened in 1969 and the reaction to it. Thanks to the work of free-market environmental scholars like Prof. Jonathan Adler of Case Western University (a former CEI scholar), we know the truth about the Cuyahoga River, which includes facts like:

  • The fire of 1969 was not regarded as a big deal in Cleveland. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer covered it in 5 paragraphs on page 11 and firefighters were quoted as calling the blaze “unremarkable.”

  • The fire was under control within 30 minutes and no TV crews made it there on time. The images most people remember were stock images of an earlier fire in 1952.
  • Local industry had in fact been trying to get the river cleaned up for decades. A paper company had sued to prevent the city dumping sewage into the river as early as 1936. A real estate company actually won a victory in such an attempt in 1965, but this was overturned by the courts.
  • What prevented clean-up was government control. The City of Cleveland claimed a “prescriptive right” to use the river as a communal dumping ground. The State of Ohio operated a permit system that encouraged using the river that way.
  • Cleanup actually started after the 1952 fire, with fish reappearing in 1959, although this was delayed because of state and local government control over the river.

Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Iain Murray wrote about the Cuyahoga River Fire in his 2008 book, The Really Inconvenient Truths: Seven Environmental Catastrophes Liberals Don’t Want You to Know About-Because They Helped Cause Them. Murray said “the Cuyahoga River Fire of 1969 is an environmentalist myth. It is a myth because it was a minor incident, and it is a myth because it actually demonstrated government’s role in environmental degradation.”

Murray added that “real riparian property rights would have stopped the fires from ever happening. You don’t spit on your own doorstep. Instead, Cleveland declared common ownership and invited spitting.”