Study: Climate Change Skeptics More Eco-Friendly Than Believers

It’s usually assumed that climate change skeptics simply don’t care about the environment. If they did, as the reasoning goes, they would accept the science that climate change is primarily man-made and support government measures designed to curb it. 

But a recent study has found that climate change skeptics are actually more likely to engage in eco-friendly behaviors in their individual lives than those who claim to be “highly concerned” about climate change.     

As reported by Pacific Standard, a publication of The Social Justice Foundation:

“Participants in a year-long study who doubted the scientific consensus on the issue ‘opposed policy solutions,’ but at the same time, they ‘were most likely to report engaging in individual-level, pro-environmental behaviors,’ writes a research team led by University of Michigan psychologist Michael Hall.

Conversely, those who expressed the greatest belief in, and concern about, the warming environment ‘were most supportive of government climate policies, but least likely to report individual-level actions.’”

The study is yet one more reminder that there are two very different attitudes toward free will currently operative in America.

One attitude, represented by many climate change believers, holds that the primary job of the individual will is to give assent to the will of the collective, and that the collective will often trumps that of the individual will. This attitude assumes that the macro-level is where real change happens, and thus, where one’s energies should be directed. In the case of climate change, the majority (supposedly, 97% of scientists) has deemed that man-made climate change is a fact, and that the best way to curb it is through government policy interventions. The most important job of the individual is to simply support this conclusion through their votes and their rhetoric.

The other attitude, represented by many climate change skeptics, gives priority to the individual will, and is wary of attempts to provoke its hasty submission to the collective will. It tends to assume that lasting macro-level change ideally comes about as a result of changes at the micro-level of individuals and small communities. It believes that the individual will should first “be the change” it wants rather than waiting for a change to be imposed upon it from without. In regard to climate change, this attitude toward will often manifests itself in a suspicion toward expensive and burdensome government interventions, but in a welcoming of self-imposed, environmentally-friendly disciplines at the individual level.  

That’s a long way of saying that the study’s results are not in the least bit surprising to me.

This post Study: Climate Change Skeptics More Eco-Friendly Than Believers was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Daniel Lattier.

 

Climate Alarmists Admit They Want to Dismantle Our Free Enterprise System

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is warning that the dire costs of climate change are going to be here sooner than we think.

The planet is close to reaching its alleged 1.5-degree Celsius warming threshold, and civilization only has 11 years to fix it.

Oh, yeah, and the solution is to tear down the global free-enterprise system responsible for human flourishing and raising levels of prosperity for billions of people.

Don’t take my word for it.

A writer for the eco-friendly Grist tweeted, “The world’s top scientists just gave rigorous backing to systematically dismantle capitalism as a key requirement to maintaining civilization and a habitable planet.”

Eric Holthaus

@EricHolthaus

If you are wondering what you can do about climate change:

The world’s top scientists just gave rigorous backing to systematically dismantle capitalism as a key requirement to maintaining civilization and a habitable planet.

I mean, if you are looking for something to do.

Eric Holthaus

@EricHolthaus

The world’s top climate scientists are about to announce that—without radical coordinated action—the world has locked in warming of at least 1.5°C.

Heroic efforts are now necessary to save the world from catastrophic climate change.
Be a hero.
Watch live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12S3dKrxj7c 

View image on Twitter

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report itself warns: “There is no documented historical precedent” for the transformation (aka de-development) necessary to curb global warming.

The Associated Press reported:

A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.

Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program.

He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.

The year 2000? Oh, wait a minute. The AP article is from June 30, 1989. Scratch that last warning from nearly three decades ago.

The reality is that, though the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and proponents of dismantling the free-enterprise system have been shockingly honest in revealing their true intentions over the past few days, the sentiment is not new.

In fact, three years ago, U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres made similar remarks in a push for the Paris climate accord.

Figueres said, “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”

The current economic development model that reigns supreme does so for compelling reasons.

People that freely exchange ideas and products, that have protection from government coercion and that have well-defined and protected property rights because of a strong rule of law have done quite well for themselves.

Free, competitive energy markets drive innovation and provide the affordable, reliable energy that families and businesses need, and yield a cleaner environment.

Conversely, international efforts to combat climate change have been centrally planned boondoggles. They’ve resulted in wasted taxpayer money, higher energy prices, and handouts for preferred energy sources and technologies—all for no noticeable impact on climate.

Eighty percent of all energy consumed by Americans comes from conventional sources, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. About 80 percent of the world’s energy needs are met by these natural resources, which emit carbon dioxide when combusted.

Levying a price on carbon dioxide will directly raise the cost of electricity, gasoline, diesel fuel, and home-heating oil. But the economic pain does not stop there.

When considering the impact of a carbon tax on individuals, it is important to note that carbon is intertwined in all parts of life. Energy is a necessary component for just about all of the goods and services consumed, so Americans would pay more for food, health care, education, clothes—you name it.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggests policy proposals that would be economically cataclysmic.

It proposes a carbon tax of between $135 and $5,500 by 2030. A $5,500 carbon tax equates to a $50-per-gallon gas tax. An energy tax of that magnitude would bankrupt families and businesses, and undoubtedly catapult the world into economic despair.

Importantly, an extreme climate policy would also divert resources away from pressing environmental concerns, such as investing in more robust infrastructure to protect against natural disasters or new, innovative technologies that improve air and water quality.

Are those costs worth it? After all, having wealth, health, and affordable power don’t mean all that much if people don’t have a planet to live on. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates the climate costs could total $54 trillion without action.

But is there any new revelation in the scientific literature that makes climate doom imminent?

Not according to climatologist Judith Curry, a former chairwoman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Curry asserts that the main conclusion from the report is that “things would be a little better at 1.5C relative to 2C.”

Furthermore, she notes, “Over land, we have already blown through the 1.5C threshold if measured since 1890.

“Temperatures around 1820 were more than 2C cooler.  There has been a great deal of natural variability in temperatures prior to 1975, when human-caused global warming kicked in any meaningful way.”

Another critical point Curry highlights is the fact that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change largely disregards the lower thirds of likely climate sensitivity values between 1.5C and 4.5C.

Equilibrium climate sensitivity attempts to quantify the earth’s temperature response to carbon dioxide emissions, answering the question: How does the earth’s temperature change from a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?

There is a lot of scientific debate about equilibrium climate sensitivity within the climate literature, with a fair amount of uncertainty. And, as Curry mentions, “Much of this problem goes away if ECS is actually 1.5 to 2C.”

What about natural disasters? The University of Colorado’s Roger Pielke Jr., who specializes in analyzing extreme weather trends, emphasizes that “the IPCC once again reports that there is little basis for claiming that drought, floods, hurricanes [and] tornadoes have increased, much less increased due to [greenhouse gases].”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s politicization of policy actions presents another problem, and it is evident in the way the report treats nuclear energy.

Nuclear power provides nearly 60 percent of America’s carbon dioxide-free electricity, yet the climate panel engages in fearmongering about its expanded use. One would think that if climate change were an existential crisis, the world would need all the nuclear power it can get.

While the report acknowledges that any pathway to meeting carbon dioxide-reduction targets will include increased nuclear buildout, the report says more nuclear “can increase the risks of proliferation, have negative environmental effects (e.g., for water use), and have mixed effects for human health when replacing fossil fuels.”

Writing in Forbes, Michael Shellenberger documents the IPCC’s historic bias against nuclear power. Yet, the report unabashedly supports expanded wind and solar development and offers personal lifestyle changes to reduce the planet’s carbon footprint, such as air-drying laundry, eating less red meat, and biking to work.

Regardless of the cause, there are undoubted challenges from a changing climate.

Investing in coral reef protection or in preparation for extreme weather events can be worthwhile. However, the combination of fearmongering and offering solutions that would require a takeover of the global economy are unrealistic and counterproductive.

 

 

Commentary by Nicolas Loris. Originally published at The Daily Signal.

Investigation: US green groups illegally operating as agents of Chinese regime

Environmental advocacy groups that take the Defense Department to court appear to operate as foreign agents working to help China and undermine the U.S. Navy and America’s military readiness in the Asia-Pacific region, congressional leaders suggest.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee,  called on two environmental groups to submit documents that “identify any policies or procedures” the groups took to ensure compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Bishop and Westerman last month wrote the two groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity.

In a letter to Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the two Republican lawmakers expressed concern about China’s “extensive perception-management campaign” and the “NRDC’s role” in assisting these efforts.

The environmental group’s press releases and other written correspondence “consistently praise the Chinese government’s environmental initiatives and promote the image of China as a global environmental leader,” their letter says.

An aide to the House committee told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that there is “a significant level of engagement between the NRDC and Chinese government officials.”

And, the aide said, “the American people should know about the group’s relationship with foreign governments whether or not the connection is direct or indirect.”

The New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit advocacy group founded in 1970, has $306.2 million in net assets, according to tax records. The group’s website says it “works to safeguard the earth” and has more than 3 million members and “online activists.”

The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, based in Tucson, Arizona, was founded in 1989 and has $18.3 million in net assets, tax records show.  The group’s mission is “to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction,” and it has about 1.6 million members, according to its website.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires anyone who acts as an agent of foreign principals “in a political or quasi-political capacity” to disclose that relationship periodically, as well as all “activities, receipts, and disbursements in support of those activities,” according to the Justice Department.

The law, which predates World War II, is the subject of legislation from Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., that he says “corrects long-standing loopholes exploited by lobbyists of foreign entities to conceal their work to influence U.S. government activities.” The bill also clarifies reporting requirements, authorizes investigative tools, and establishes enforcement safeguards, according to Johnson’s office.

Both the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity complied with June deadlines set by Bishop’s House committee to submit information detailing compliance with the law.

Neither group is registered as a foreign agent, and both maintain they operate in America’s national interest despite their close ties to foreign governments and litigation against the U.S. military.

A second committee aide told The Daily Signal that up until now the requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act have not been as strictly enforced as they should be.

“Historically, the Justice Department has not utilized FARA, and there’s limited case law and a need for clarity,” the second aide said.

The House Judiciary Committee approved Johnson’s bill in January, but the full House has not taken it up. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced a companion bill.

Lawsuits Against Navy Draw Scrutiny

The political activism of the Natural Resources Defense Council continues to coincide with China’s geopolitical interests, while it regularly files lawsuits against the Pentagon aimed at constraining military exercises vital to national security, Bishop and Westerman say in their letter to the NRDC.

The organization “collaborates with Chinese government entities deeply involved in Chinese efforts to assert sovereignty over the South China Sea in contravention of international law,” the two Republicans say. It also works to “discredit those skeptical of China’s commitment to pollution reduction targets” who seek to report honestly on environmental data, their letter says:

When engaging on environmental issues concerning China, the NRDC appears to practice self-censorship, issue selection bias, and generally refrains from criticizing Chinese officials. … Of note, the NRDC collaborates with Chinese government entities that are deeply involved in Chinese efforts to assert sovereignty over the South China Sea in contravention of international law.

By contrast, the NRDC takes an adversarial approach to its advocacy practices in the United States. In fundraising materials, the NRDC claims to have ‘sued the [U.S. government] about once every 10 days’ since President Trump was inaugurated. Over the last two decades your organization has also sued the U.S. Navy multiple times to stop or drastically limited naval training exercises in the Pacific arguing that navy sonar and anti-submarine warfare drills harm marine life. We are unaware of the NRDC having made similar efforts to curtail naval exercises by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Although China is “actually the world’s top polluter,” the first committee aide told The Daily Signal, the NRDC goes to great lengths to avoid criticizing the Beijing government’s actual environmental record.

“The NRDC is totally in the tank for China, and they are the MSNBC news for China,” the aide said. “The NRDC is developing the notion that China is an environmental leader and promotes the idea that China can be trusted to reduce emissions. When you see the NRDC photos of China, they show how beautiful and clean China is, but they don’t say anything about all the pollution. Instead, we get this heavenly, angelic portrayal of China.”

The Republican lawmakers’ letter to Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, focuses on a lawsuit the group filed against the Defense Department in concert with a coalition of environmental groups in Japan and the U.S. The suit calls for halting the planned relocation of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less-populated part of the Japanese island of Okinawa.  

The Center for Biological Diversity “appears to have engaged in political activities within the United States on behalf of the government of the Japanese Prefecture of Okinawa and other foreign entities to influence plans regarding [Marine Corps Air Station] Futenma’s relocation,” the letter says.

Both the U.S. and the central government in Japan have made relocation of Futenma a priority, the letter explains.

“The committee seeks clarification about the nature of CBD’s close relationship with Okinawan government officials and foreign environmental groups,” the congressmen write.

Green Activists Deny Being Foreign Agents

In their letters to the two environmental groups, Bishop and Westerman make the point that the Foreign Agents Registration Act “is clear about registration requirements for a person or group acting in the political or public interests of a foreign entity, even when done through intermediaries.”

They also highlight the penalties attached to the law, which include fines that could reach as high as $10,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

The Daily Signal emailed both environmental groups to ask their response to the committee’s letters and seek comment on the allegations that they operate as foreign agents.

Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, released a statement lashing out at Bishop:

Rob Bishop is the one working against American interests, first by trashing our national monuments and now its democratic principles at the behest of the fossil fuel industry. He’s abusing his position, tarnishing the House of Representatives and making a fool of himself with these amateurish McCarthy tactics.

The green group also provided The Daily Signal with a copy of the letter it sent to the committee, disputing the allegations.

The letter focuses on the center’s efforts to conserve the Okinawa dugong, a sea creature closely related to the manatee. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the species as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.

The center’s efforts on behalf of the dugong are “controlled and directed” by its board of directors and executive director, not any foreign interest, the letter says. Thus its activities on Okinawa “are exempt” from the law, the letter argues.

“If Reps. Bishop and Westerman are truly confused about the center’s motivation and control, it is perhaps because they abuse their position of power so regularly, and are so deeply influenced by powerful corporate donors, that they are unable to conceive of people being motivated by empathy, public interest and respect for the rule of law and democracy.”

On its website, the Center for Biological Diversity describes how it has used “innovative legal tactics to secure new protections for the dugong,” which involves litigation against U.S. military operations.  

China’s Use of ‘Lawfare’

The Natural Resources Defense Council released two statements in response to the committee.

In the first, the NRDC says it works to advance American values, and that its activities in China are to ensure “a more sustainable future for everyone.”

In the second, the group addresses a June 13 letter Bishop and Westerman sent to Defense Secretary James Mattis asking for information about the impact of environmental litigation on military readiness.

The congressmen called Mattis’ attention to already-identified acts of Chinese espionage inside the U.S. They also pointed out that “China’s employment of lawfare is inherently more difficult to detect” because the Chinese can conceal political motives behind the actions of seemingly sympathetic causes such as environmentalism.

The Republican lawmakers suggested that China may be exploiting America’s legal system as part of a larger strategy to “erode” the U.S. military advantage in the Asia-Pacific region.

“For example, the impact of marine life from the U.S. Navy’s use of active sonar and underwater explosives has been the subject of several lawsuits led by the Natural Resources Defense Council dating back to the 1990s,” Bishop and Westerman wrote Mattis.

The congressmen also cited information from the Navy describing how environmental litigation “unreasonably restricted Navy training and testing activities.”

Although the Supreme Court has concluded there hasn’t been a “documented episode of harm to a marine mammal caused by naval sonar,” their letter to Mattis notes, lower courts continue to rule otherwise with decisions that restrict naval exercises.

‘Weaponization’ of Environmental Law

Green groups typically invoke the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 in legal actions against the U.S. military. That law requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impact before implementing projects.

The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing in April on what it called “Weaponization of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Implications of Environmental Lawfare.”

The committee defines lawfare as “an attempt to use the courts to damage or delegitimize projects that litigants oppose, or to distract time and resources that would otherwise go to implementing the project, or to win a public relations victory.”

The environmental law was “originally intended to increase awareness regarding the effects of federal actions on the environment,” a committee memo says, but its “vague and ambiguous language has exposed the federal government to excessive litigation and resulted in perverse outcomes for agencies, the environment and taxpayers.”

The last time reforms were made to the National Environmental Policy Act was in 1986, committee aides told The Daily Signal. Since serious national security implications are attached to environmental lawsuits against the military that cite the law, lawmakers can make a strong case for a new round of reforms, they said.

“It would be a good idea to link NEPA reform with national security, but the Department of Defense has not been helpful here,” the first aide said. “Defense Department officials won’t come right out and say NEPA is a terrible law, they will just say it’s a problem that they can work around.”

“But the Defense Department has a lot to gain from NEPA reforms, the aide added. “They would not be so bogged down in court.”

Report by Kevin Mooney. Originally published at The Daily Signal.

How ‘Green’ Energy Subsidies Transfer Wealth to the Rich

When the Golden State Warriors, who won three of the last four NBA championships, signed All-Star Demarcus Cousins, sports pundits across the country offered the same opinion: The rich just got richer.

In many respects, the same holds true for energy subsidies.

Federal energy programs promise ambiguous policy goals such as abating climate change, spurring innovation, or reducing dependence on foreign sources of energy. But they often lead to situations that help the rich at the expense of middle- and lower-income Americans. That’s because when the federal government gets involved in the energy business, it transfers billions of dollars to the production and consumption of politically preferred sources and technologies—and many of those involve the poor transferring money to the rich.

For instance, a recent study by the Pacific Research Institute found that more than 99 percent of subsidies for electrical vehicles go to households with incomes of $50,000 or higher, and nearly three-quarters go to households with an annual income of $100,000 or more.

Poorer Americans can’t access the $7,500 tax credits because of the high prices of electric vehicles, even after accounting for the generous subsidies, which means they help pay for the subsidies through their taxes but can’t themselves get eligible for the subsidies or other benefits, such as carpool lanes.

To make matters worse, some major car companies are forced to sell electric vehicles at a loss to comply with state mandates and regulations. As Wayne Winegarden of the Pacific Research Institute explains:

California, along with the nine states that have adopted California’s policy, mandates that zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) comprise a set percentage of the automobile market. The mandated minimum market share for ZEVs is currently scheduled to grow from 4.5 percent of sales in 2018, to 22 percent of the market by 2025; and Gov. Jerry Brown is even contemplating a complete ban on sales of cars with internal combustion engines after 2040.

Complying with these mandates requires companies to maintain ZEV credits that equal their share of the mandate, based on the company’s specific sales. Acquiring sufficient credits requires manufacturers that do not sell enough ZEVs to either sell ZEVs in California at a loss, purchase credits from companies whose ZEV sales exceed their credit requirements, or pay a $5,000 fine per credit that the company is short.

Consequently, the sales mandate has become a subsidy to companies, such as Tesla, that sell more ZEV-qualified vehicles than required by the mandate; and, a penalty on companies whose ZEV sales fall short of the required mandate. The $700 million earned by Tesla via these credit sales, which does not even account for all the credits Tesla has amassed, exemplifies that these subsidies and penalties can be substantial.

Energy subsidies benefit not only wealthy individuals, but also wealthy companies in the form of blatant corporate welfare. The federal government’s loan guarantee program is another subsidy program where government-backed loans have, time and again, gone to companies that simply don’t need any support from the taxpayer.

You don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to see that some of these projects have financial backing from giant tech firms, massive energy utilities, large investment banks, and other successful corporations.

The Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program granted more than $1 billion in loans for Nissan and Ford to retool their factories. This program is simply a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to these massive companies. These companies should have no trouble financing a project without government-backed loans if they find it is worth the investment.

Eliminating favoritism in markets will benefit all Americans—individuals and businesses alike—not just the privileged few.

Commentary by Nicolas Loris and Bryan Cosby. Originally published at The Daily Signal.

Top enviro groups’ ties to Communist regimes aim to hurt US national security

Environmental advocacy groups that take the Defense Department to court appear to operate as foreign agents working to help China and undermine the U.S. Navy and America’s military readiness in the Asia-Pacific region, congressional leaders suggest.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee,  called on two environmental groups to submit documents that “identify any policies or procedures” the groups took to ensure compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Bishop and Westerman last month wrote the two groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity.

In a letter to Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the two Republican lawmakers expressed concern about China’s “extensive perception-management campaign” and the “NRDC’s role” in assisting these efforts.

The environmental group’s press releases and other written correspondence “consistently praise the Chinese government’s environmental initiatives and promote the image of China as a global environmental leader,” their letter says.

An aide to the House committee told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that there is “a significant level of engagement between the NRDC and Chinese government officials.”

And, the aide said, “the American people should know about the group’s relationship with foreign governments whether or not the connection is direct or indirect.”

The New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit advocacy group founded in 1970, has $306.2 million in net assets, according to tax records. The group’s website says it “works to safeguard the earth” and has more than 3 million members and “online activists.”

The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, based in Tucson, Arizona, was founded in 1989 and has $18.3 million in net assets, tax records show.  The group’s mission is “to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction,” and it has about 1.6 million members, according to its website.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires anyone who acts as an agent of foreign principals “in a political or quasi-political capacity” to disclose that relationship periodically, as well as all “activities, receipts, and disbursements in support of those activities,” according to the Justice Department.

The law, which predates World War II, is the subject of legislation from Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., that he says “corrects long-standing loopholes exploited by lobbyists of foreign entities to conceal their work to influence U.S. government activities.” The bill also clarifies reporting requirements, authorizes investigative tools, and establishes enforcement safeguards, according to Johnson’s office.

Both the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity complied with June deadlines set by Bishop’s House committee to submit information detailing compliance with the law.

Neither group is registered as a foreign agent, and both maintain they operate in America’s national interest despite their close ties to foreign governments and litigation against the U.S. military.

A second committee aide told The Daily Signal that up until now the requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act have not been as strictly enforced as they should be.

“Historically, the Justice Department has not utilized FARA, and there’s limited case law and a need for clarity,” the second aide said.

The House Judiciary Committee approved Johnson’s bill in January, but the full House has not taken it up. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced a companion bill.

Lawsuits Against Navy Draw Scrutiny

The political activism of the Natural Resources Defense Council continues to coincide with China’s geopolitical interests, while it regularly files lawsuits against the Pentagon aimed at constraining military exercises vital to national security, Bishop and Westerman say in their letter to the NRDC.

The organization “collaborates with Chinese government entities deeply involved in Chinese efforts to assert sovereignty over the South China Sea in contravention of international law,” the two Republicans say. It also works to “discredit those skeptical of China’s commitment to pollution reduction targets” who seek to report honestly on environmental data, their letter says:

When engaging on environmental issues concerning China, the NRDC appears to practice self-censorship, issue selection bias, and generally refrains from criticizing Chinese officials. … Of note, the NRDC collaborates with Chinese government entities that are deeply involved in Chinese efforts to assert sovereignty over the South China Sea in contravention of international law.

By contrast, the NRDC takes an adversarial approach to its advocacy practices in the United States. In fundraising materials, the NRDC claims to have ‘sued the [U.S. government] about once every 10 days’ since President Trump was inaugurated. Over the last two decades your organization has also sued the U.S. Navy multiple times to stop or drastically limited naval training exercises in the Pacific arguing that navy sonar and anti-submarine warfare drills harm marine life. We are unaware of the NRDC having made similar efforts to curtail naval exercises by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy.

Although China is “actually the world’s top polluter,” the first committee aide told The Daily Signal, the NRDC goes to great lengths to avoid criticizing the Beijing government’s actual environmental record.

“The NRDC is totally in the tank for China, and they are the MSNBC news for China,” the aide said. “The NRDC is developing the notion that China is an environmental leader and promotes the idea that China can be trusted to reduce emissions. When you see the NRDC photos of China, they show how beautiful and clean China is, but they don’t say anything about all the pollution. Instead, we get this heavenly, angelic portrayal of China.”

The Republican lawmakers’ letter to Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, focuses on a lawsuit the group filed against the Defense Department in concert with a coalition of environmental groups in Japan and the U.S. The suit calls for halting the planned relocation of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to a less-populated part of the Japanese island of Okinawa.

The Center for Biological Diversity “appears to have engaged in political activities within the United States on behalf of the government of the Japanese Prefecture of Okinawa and other foreign entities to influence plans regarding [Marine Corps Air Station] Futenma’s relocation,” the letter says.

Both the U.S. and the central government in Japan have made relocation of Futenma a priority, the letter explains.

“The committee seeks clarification about the nature of CBD’s close relationship with Okinawan government officials and foreign environmental groups,” the congressmen write.

Green Activists Deny Being Foreign Agents

In their letters to the two environmental groups, Bishop and Westerman make the point that the Foreign Agents Registration Act “is clear about registration requirements for a person or group acting in the political or public interests of a foreign entity, even when done through intermediaries.”

They also highlight the penalties attached to the law, which include fines that could reach as high as $10,000 and imprisonment of up to five years.

The Daily Signal emailed both environmental groups to ask their response to the committee’s letters and seek comment on the allegations that they operate as foreign agents.

Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, released a statement lashing out at Bishop:

Rob Bishop is the one working against American interests, first by trashing our national monuments and now its democratic principles at the behest of the fossil fuel industry. He’s abusing his position, tarnishing the House of Representatives and making a fool of himself with these amateurish McCarthy tactics.

The green group also provided The Daily Signal with a copy of the letter it sent to the committee, disputing the allegations.

The letter focuses on the center’s efforts to conserve the Okinawa dugong, a sea creature closely related to the manatee. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the species as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act.

The center’s efforts on behalf of the dugong are “controlled and directed” by its board of directors and executive director, not any foreign interest, the letter says. Thus its activities on Okinawa “are exempt” from the law, the letter argues.

“If Reps. Bishop and Westerman are truly confused about the center’s motivation and control, it is perhaps because they abuse their position of power so regularly, and are so deeply influenced by powerful corporate donors, that they are unable to conceive of people being motivated by empathy, public interest and respect for the rule of law and democracy.”

On its website, the Center for Biological Diversity describes how it has used “innovative legal tactics to secure new protections for the dugong,” which involves litigation against U.S. military operations.

China’s Use of ‘Lawfare’

The Natural Resources Defense Council released two statements in response to the committee.

In the first, the NRDC says it works to advance American values, and that its activities in China are to ensure “a more sustainable future for everyone.”

In the second, the group addresses a June 13 letter Bishop and Westerman sent to Defense Secretary James Mattis asking for information about the impact of environmental litigation on military readiness.

The congressmen called Mattis’ attention to already-identified acts of Chinese espionage inside the U.S. They also pointed out that “China’s employment of lawfare is inherently more difficult to detect” because the Chinese can conceal political motives behind the actions of seemingly sympathetic causes such as environmentalism.

The Republican lawmakers suggested that China may be exploiting America’s legal system as part of a larger strategy to “erode” the U.S. military advantage in the Asia-Pacific region.

“For example, the impact of marine life from the U.S. Navy’s use of active sonar and underwater explosives has been the subject of several lawsuits led by the Natural Resources Defense Council dating back to the 1990s,” Bishop and Westerman wrote Mattis.

The congressmen also cited information from the Navy describing how environmental litigation “unreasonably restricted Navy training and testing activities.”

Although the Supreme Court has concluded there hasn’t been a “documented episode of harm to a marine mammal caused by naval sonar,” their letter to Mattis notes, lower courts continue to rule otherwise with decisions that restrict naval exercises.

‘Weaponization’ of Environmental Law

Green groups typically invoke the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 in legal actions against the U.S. military. That law requires federal agencies to assess the environmental impact before implementing projects.

The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing in April on what it called “Weaponization of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Implications of Environmental Lawfare.”

The committee defines lawfare as “an attempt to use the courts to damage or delegitimize projects that litigants oppose, or to distract time and resources that would otherwise go to implementing the project, or to win a public relations victory.”

The environmental law was “originally intended to increase awareness regarding the effects of federal actions on the environment,” a committee memo says, but its “vague and ambiguous language has exposed the federal government to excessive litigation and resulted in perverse outcomes for agencies, the environment and taxpayers.”

The last time reforms were made to the National Environmental Policy Act was in 1986, committee aides told The Daily Signal. Since serious national security implications are attached to environmental lawsuits against the military that cite the law, lawmakers can make a strong case for a new round of reforms, they said.

“It would be a good idea to link NEPA reform with national security, but the Department of Defense has not been helpful here,” the first aide said. “Defense Department officials won’t come right out and say NEPA is a terrible law, they will just say it’s a problem that they can work around.”

“But the Defense Department has a lot to gain from NEPA reforms, the aide added. “They would not be so bogged down in court.”

Report by Kevin Mooney. Originally published at The Daily Signal.

18 Spectacularly Wrong Predictions Made Around the Time of the First Earth Day In 1970. Expect More This Year.

Today (Sunday, April 22) is Earth Day 2018 and time for my annual Earth Day post…..

In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled “Earth Day, Then and Now” to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article. Well, it’s now the 48th anniversary of Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 18 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey. Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

1. Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

2. “We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation,” wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.

3. The day after the first Earth Day, the New York Times editorial page warned, “Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction.”

4. “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich confidently declared in the April 1970 issue of Mademoiselle. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

5. “Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born,” wrote Paul Ehrlich in a 1969 essay titled “Eco-Catastrophe! “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

6. Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the 1970 Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the “Great Die-Off.”

7. “It is already too late to avoid mass starvation,” declared Denis Hayes, the chief organizer for Earth Day, in the Spring 1970 issue of The Living Wilderness.

8. Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

9. In January 1970, Life reported, “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

10. Ecologist Kenneth Watt told Time that, “At the present rate of nitrogen buildup, it’s only a matter of time before light will be filtered out of the atmosphere and none of our land will be usable.”

11. Barry Commoner predicted that decaying organic pollutants would use up all of the oxygen in America’s rivers, causing freshwater fish to suffocate.

12. Paul Ehrlich chimed in, predicting in 1970 that “air pollution…is certainly going to take hundreds of thousands of lives in the next few years alone.” Ehrlich sketched a scenario in which 200,000 Americans would die in 1973 during “smog disasters” in New York and Los Angeles.

13. Paul Ehrlich warned in the May 1970 issue of Audubon that DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons “may have substantially reduced the life expectancy of people born since 1945.” Ehrlich warned that Americans born since 1946…now had a life expectancy of only 49 years, and he predicted that if current patterns continued this expectancy would reach 42 years by 1980, when it might level out. (Note: According to the most recent CDC report, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years).

14. Ecologist Kenneth Watt declared, “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

15. Harrison Brown, a scientist at the National Academy of Sciences, published a chart in Scientific American that looked at metal reserves and estimated the humanity would totally run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold, and silver would be gone before 1990.

16. Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look that, “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

17. In 1975, Paul Ehrlich predicted that “since more than nine-tenths of the original tropical rainforests will be removed in most areas within the next 30 years or so, it is expected that half of the organisms in these areas will vanish with it.”

18. Kenneth Watt warned about a pending Ice Age in a speech. “The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years,” he declared. “If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

MP: Let’s keep those spectacularly wrong predictions from the first Earth Day 1970 in mind when we’re bombarded in the next few days with media hype, and claims like this from the Earth Day website:

Global sea levels are rising at an alarmingly fast rate — 6.7 inches in the last century alone and going higher. Surface temperatures are setting new heat records about each year. The ice sheets continue to decline, glaciers are in retreat globally, and our oceans are more acidic than ever. We could go on…which is a whole other problem.

The majority of scientists are in agreement that human contributions to the greenhouse effect are the root cause. Essentially, gases in the atmosphere – such as methane and CO2 – trap heat and block it from escaping our planet.

So what happens next? More droughts and heat waves, which can have devastating effects on the poorest countries and communities. Hurricanes will intensify and occur more frequently. Sea levels could rise up to four feet by 2100 – and that’s a conservative estimate among experts.

Reality Check/Inconvenient Fact:

What you probably won’t hear about from the Earth Day supporters is the amazing “decarbonization” of the United States over the last decade or so, as the falling CO2 emissions in the chart above illustrate, even as CO2 emissions from energy consumption have been rising throughout most of the rest of the world. Energy-related carbon emissions in the US have been falling since the 2007 peak, and were at their lowest level last year in a quarter century, going back to 1992. And the environmentalists and the “Earth Day” movement really had very little to do with this amazing “greening” of America. Rather, it’s mostly because of hydraulic fracturing and the increasing substitution of natural gas for coal as a fuel source for electric power, see related CD post here.

Finally, think about this question, posed by Ronald Bailey in 2000: What will Earth look like when Earth Day 60 rolls around in 2030? Bailey predicts a much cleaner, and much richer future world, with less hunger and malnutrition, less poverty, and longer life expectancy, and with lower mineral and metal prices. But he makes one final prediction about Earth Day 2030: “There will be a disproportionately influential group of doomsters predicting that the future–and the present–never looked so bleak.” In other words, the hype, hysteria and spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions will continue, promoted by the virtue signalling ”environmental grievance hustlers.”

Reprinted from AEI.

Mark J. Perry


Mark J. Perry

Mark J. Perry is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

So-called clean energy is fueled by rape, arson and child labor

A new report reveals the dirty truth about so-called “clean energy.”

The toxic heavy metals used to build electric car batteries are mined by child slave labor, who are often raped and die agonizing early deaths.

The Daily Mail reports:

Dorsen, just eight, is one of 40,000 children working daily in the mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The terrible price they will pay for our clean air is ruined health and a likely early death.

Almost every big motor manufacturer striving to produce millions of electric vehicles buys its cobalt from the impoverished central African state. It is the world’s biggest producer, with 60 per cent of the planet’s reserves.

The cobalt is mined by unregulated labour and transported to Asia where battery manufacturers use it to make their products lighter, longer-lasting and rechargeable.

The planned switch to clean energy vehicles has led to an extraordinary surge in demand. While a smartphone battery uses no more than 10 grams of refined cobalt, an electric car needs 15kg (33lb)…

…Cobalt is such a health hazard that it has a respiratory disease named after it – cobalt lung, a form of pneumonia which causes coughing and leads to permanent incapacity and even death.

Even simply eating vegetables grown in local soil can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, thyroid damage and fatal lung diseases, while birds and fish cannot survive in the area.

No one knows quite how many children have died mining cobalt in the Katanga region in the south-east of the country. The UN estimates 80 a year, but many more deaths go unregistered, with the bodies buried in the rubble of collapsed tunnels. Others survive but with chronic diseases which destroy their young lives. Girls as young as ten in the mines are subjected to sexual attacks and many become pregnant.

And, as The New York Times once reported:

According to the company’s proposal to join a United Nations clean-air program, the settlers living in this area left in a “peaceful” and “voluntary” manner.

People here remember it quite differently.

“I heard people being beaten, so I ran outside,” said Emmanuel Cyicyima, 33. “The houses were being burnt down.”

Other villagers described gun-toting soldiers and an 8-year-old child burning to death when his home was set ablaze by security officers.

“They said if we hesitated they would shoot us,” said William Bakeshisha, adding that he hid in his coffee plantation, watching his house burn down. “Smoke and fire.”…

…the government and the company said the settlers were illegal and evicted for a good cause: to protect the environment and help fight global warming.

The case twists around an emerging multibillion-dollar market trading carbon-credits under the Kyoto Protocol, which contains mechanisms for outsourcing environmental protection to developing nations.

The company involved, New Forests Company, grows forests in African countries with the purpose of selling credits from the carbon-dioxide its trees soak up to polluters abroad.

Who will save the Earth from environmentalists?