Category Archives: carbon

Silly Shirt Season

141114-silly-shirt-season

World leaders showed up at the APEC summit in China last week wearing silly shirts. It’s an annual tradition to distract us from the silly stuff they do.

China is filled with with smog. You can taste the PM 2.5 - little particles that go into your lungs to kill you. So what was the signing event of the week? A deal to reduce the carbon dioxide you exhale to cough those little buggers out. And the Chinese don’t even have to do it until 2030. If they’re still alive.

Silly Season

The agreement is for America to set the example by cutting co2 emissions right away. The really silly part is that it’s a deal about nothing. Carbon dioxide emissions in the United States have been falling due to increased use of natural gas and a decreased role for industrial production. We’re expected to reach the goals of  the agreement by doing nothing. China will reach peak population growth by 2030 and it’s co2 emissions are expected to fall naturally by then too.

The other big news of the week was the revelation that our governing elites lack a positive attitude toward us voters. They think we’re stupid. Ok, so maybe they’re right. It’s certainly not a problem shared by China – a situation much admired by Tom Friedman of the NYT.

Climate Shame

140829-climate-shameThe president is going it alone on a climate plan. Well, not exactly alone. He’s working it out with the UN. It’s just that Congress won’t be involved.

Name and Shame

The idea is to hammer out a plan for carbon reduction for the entire “international community”. But without Senate approval the agreement won’t have the force of law (see Kyota). If the plan isn’t legally binding what keeps it from being a toothless piece of paper? It will be a “politically binding” agreement. International Community members will be shamed into compliance.

Carbon Cuts

140610carbonPresident Obama made another end run around Congress in order to end the basis of all life on earth.

A 30% cut in carbon emissions from 2005 levels and must be achieved by 2030, or else.

Not a big deal says Robert Samuelson. Carbon emissions are already declining without EPA orders.

By 2012, CO2 emissions had already dropped to 2,023 million metric tons, a decline of 379 million metric tons. That’s 53 percent of the 2030 target. All of this has occurred without federal regulation of greenhouse gases.

The proposal’s real significance is that, if blessed by the courts, it would create a complex and costly regulatory apparatus that, in the future, might govern much of the U.S. economy.

China and India will more than make up for any U.S. cuts. But if you’re going to do it, Samuelson thinks the best way to reduce carbon emissions is to tax them.

If you want less of something, tax it… But there’s little public taste for this. Indeed, support for any anti-global warming legislation is weak. In 2009, when Democrats controlled the House and Senate, they could not pass a bill.

So Obama resorted to regulatory fiat: The EPA sets emission limits under the Clean Air Act. The proposal is hugely complex. Each state receives a target that can be met in many ways, subject to agency approval. This will be challenged in court and, if upheld, will strain the EPA’s administrative capacity. Winners and losers would be determined as much by political pressures as by market forces. It would be a bonanza for lawyers, lobbyists, economic consultants and public relations advisers. Whether it would affect the world’s climate is more questionable.

 

Krauthammer says the whole thing shows Obama is operating under his own constitution.

Coal Industry

140605-coal-industry

Candidate Obama said he would bankrupt the coal industry in 2008. In 2014 President Obama said he has a pen and a phone and when Congress won’t act he will. Well, Congress wouldn’t act on carbon cap and trade so Obama’s EPA just did.

War on Birds

140528-birds

The Atlantic reported in late April that a huge solar power plant in the California desert is scorching birds with 800 degree heat.

The Ivanpah  plant uses 300,000 mirrors to focus the sun on a water filled boiler. When birds fly through that beam the effect is the same as when you focused the sun through a magnifying glass to scorch an ant. Oh, you didn’t do that when you were a kid? Well, here’s what happens:

At times birds flew into the solar flux and ignited.

Not only that:

“It appears Ivanpah may act as a ‘mega-trap,’ attracting insects which in turn attract insect-eating birds, which are incapacitated by solar-flux injury, thus attracting predators and creating an entire food chain vulnerable to injury and death,” concluded scientists with the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in a report that investigated 233 bird deathsrepresenting 71 species at three Southern California solar power plants.

War on Birds

Bird immolation’s not your style?  Well, did you know windmills are licensed to behead bald eagles?:

A leading bird conservation organization—American Bird Conservancy (ABC)—has announced its intention to sue the Department of the Interior (DOI), charging DOI with multiple violations of federal law in connection with its December 9, 2013, final regulation that allows wind energy companies and others to obtain 30-year permits to kill eagles without prosecution by the federal government. The previous rule provided for a maximum duration of five years for each permit.

Hardly seems fair if you have malaria due to the ban on DDT in order to save bald eagles.