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80 x 50 Hokum New Yorkers are footing the bill for Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio’s quixotic energy-efficiency plans.Robert Bryce

It’s important that we feel that we’re fighting this crisis like our lives depend on it, because in fact they do,” said New York mayor Bill de Blasio, announcing the city’s latest energy mandate, which will require about 14,000 buildings to upgrade their boilers, windows, roofs, and water heaters. Hyperbole on climate change is nothing new to de Blasio or to Governor Andrew Cuomo—and it’s necessary to help justify their claims that New York can cut its greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. Both leaders have signed on to the Under 2 MOU, an agreement between states, cities, and provinces worldwide that commits signatories to slash emissions by 80 percent, or to less than two tons per capita per year.

At his September news conference at Brooklyn Bridge Park, de Blasio made it clear that the new regulations on older buildings are just one part of his “80 x 50” plan. Cuts in carbon-dioxide emissions, he said, “would be achieved either by a voluntary action of the private sector or by mandate.” De Blasio likes mandates. The new ones—subject to city council approval—would require landlords to complete building retrofits by 2030 or face stiff fines.

Even if we stipulate that increased energy efficiency in New York buildings is a good thing, the emissions-reduction targets are financially burdensome and unrealistic. Cuomo’s appointees at the New York State Public Service Commission have mandated that buildings must slash their energy use by 600 trillion BTUs by 2030. But as economist Jonathan Lesser points out in a recent report for the Manhattan Institute, the New York Independent System Operator has projected that those energy savings will be about 51 trillion BTUs—or about one-twelfth the required amount.

Germany’s Green Energy Meltdown Voters promised a virtuous revolution get coal and high prices instead.

American climate-change activists point to Europe, and especially Germany, as the paragon of green energy virtue. But they ought to look closer at Angela Merkel’s political struggles as she tries to form a new government in Berlin amid the economic fallout from the Chancellor’s failing energy revolution.

Berlin last month conceded it will miss its 2020 carbon emissions-reduction goal, having cut emissions by just under 30% compared with 1990 instead of the 40% that Mrs. Merkel promised. The goal of 55% by 2030 is almost surely out of reach.

Mrs. Merkel’s failure comes despite astronomical costs. By one estimate, businesses and households paid an extra €125 billion in increased electricity bills between 2000 and 2015 to subsidize renewables, on top of billions more in other handouts. Germans join Danes in paying the highest household electricity rates in Europe, and German companies pay near the top among industrial users. This is a big reason Mrs. Merkel underperformed in September’s election.

Back to bolted down industries By Viv Forbes

Enviromentalists are pushing Australian industry back into the 19th century.

Once upon a time Australia was attractive to processing, refining, and manufacturing industries using our abundant mineral and food resources, our reliable low-cost coal-fired electricity and a workforce trained in technical skills.

No longer.

Australia used to have 11 oil refineries, spread around the country. There are just four left, all over fifty years old, and all in danger of closing down. Green barriers to oil exploration have forced most of them to rely on costly imported crude oil.

Now, for the first time in at least 60 years, Australia no longer produces motor vehicles.

China and India have about 430 coal power plants under construction, but Australia has not built a single coal-fired power station for seven years — some politicians even rejoice when they manage to close and demolish one.

Brisbane’s new trains are being made in India, Victa mowers are made in China and most coastal shipping died decades ago. Steel works and refineries producing aluminium, copper and zinc are under stress. All these industries are being pushed overseas by costly unreliable electricity and other government barriers and burdens.

Red-green policies being pushed by all major parties are making Australia more dependent on bolted-down industries such as mining and farming that can’t be sent overseas because their basic resources are here. And green opposition to nuclear power increases Aussie reliance on coal.

A century ago Australians relied on wool, wheat, gold, silver, copper, lead-zinc, butter, beef and timber — all products of bolted-down industries.

Red-green policies are pushing us back to those days. Politicians need to remember Newton’s Law of Bureaucracy — whenever the government tries to use the force of law to achieve economic goals the long-term results will be equal and opposite to those intended.

So in the long run, red-green energy and environmental policies will make us more dependent on the industries they now attack — mining, farming, forestry, and fishing.

The Suicidal Narrative of the Modern Environmental Left By Michael Walsh

Should you ever doubt the importance of the “narrative” to the modern Left, all you need to do is look around you. It’s the in the air we breathe, and the water in which we swim, attached to the products we buy and behind just about every news story we read or see. At every turn, we are admonished, hectored, harangued to get with the cultural-Marxist program.https://amgreatness.com/2017/11/16/the-suicidal-narrative-of-the-modern-environmental-left/

On a plane recently, the attendants handed out complimentary dark chocolates. The brand? Something called Endangered Species Chocolate, a company that bills its products as “the first ever chocolate bars made in America from Fairtrade certified West African cocoa beans that can be fully traced from farm to chocolate bar. ESC has committed that only fully traceable cocoa beans sustainably grown and harvested under Fairtrade standards will be used to make their chocolate.”

In case, like me, you had no idea fluffy chocolate bunnies were an endangered species, or that a guilty nibble at a Hershey bar could lay waste to vast stretches of the veldt, the company offers this helpful explanation:

The cocoa used by ESC is grown by West African farmers who follow rigorous standards for protection of workers’ rights and the environment. When a customer purchases ESC’s Fairtrade certified bars, West African farmers earn a fair price and an additional Fairtrade social premium to invest in business and community projects such as improving education and healthcare, protecting their environment and improving their economic well-being.

Who could be against that? Westerners from Dickens’ Mrs. Jellyby on have sought to improve the plight of sub-Saharan Africans, but this statement of virtue-signaling posits that West African farmers are currently not getting a fair price for their cocoa beans; in our mind’s eye, we picture some nasty Belgian—call him Mr. Kurtz—terrorizing the natives from his Congolese redoubt.

Similarly, on a recent trip to the health-food store I bought a bag of moringa, a currently voguish “superfood” of powdered plant protein. Yum. It’s made by Kuli Kuli (which, like Endangered Species Chocolate, sports a nurturing “green” logo). Here’s what the packaging has to say:

Once eaten by the ancient Greeks and Romans, moringa leaves have been used in traditional medicine for many centuries… our moringa is sustainably sourced from women’s cooperatives in West Africa, where we work to improve nutrition and livelihoods. Nourishing you, nourishing the world.

Sixty nails in climate alarmism’s coffin By Jerry Shenk

There are plenty of well-credentialed, objective, if little-publicized, climate skeptics, but few who are able to present their material in layman’s terms to an audience of curious, unschooled, but receptive climate truth-seekers.

A new resource provides a point-by-point review and response to each of the climate industry’s claims, citing the “normalcy” of much of their “alarming” data.

In an entertaining, easy-to-read, elegantly-written, meticulously-researched, well-documented and illustrated 143-page book (including citations) entitled “Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know,” geologist Gregory Wrightstone presents a clear picture of the climate alarmism that attracts cynical big-government advocates and grips much of the scientific community, complicit media and the gullible among us.

Wrightstone employs government sources, peer-reviewed publications and other scholarly works to reassure readers that our Earth has become healthier and more prosperous because of rising carbon dioxide and temperature levels, rather than in spite of them.

The book details sixty inconvenient facts. Considering the climate alarmists’ persistent clamor about “scientific consensus.” Arguably, Inconvenient Fact #31 should have appeared first: “Science is not consensus and consensus is not science.”

Wrightstone’s droll observation about the financial incentives driving many career-invested scientists to mislead or overstate the “catastrophic” potential of climate change, often without historical or even scientific context, is spot on: “Fund it and they will find it.”

The book documents as facts that global warming is not happening at anywhere near the rates predicted by climate doomsayers, and that forewarnings of abnormal extreme weather events related to climate change simply haven’t occurred. Wrightstone makes a persuasive case that the “settled science” of global warming — alternately, climate change, extreme weather (or pick the term du jour) — is neither settled nor, in many cases, even science.

Some highlights: Only a trace gas, carbon dioxide isn’t the primary greenhouse gas; CO2’s warming effect declines as its concentration increases; and CO2 is plant food, so more of it means moister soil, fewer droughts and forest fires, a greener Earth, more plant growth and more food for humans and animals.

Climate Song and Dance Two years after Paris, the UN enviro-crats continue their charade. Oren Cass

Good news is hard to find at this year’s United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany. Diplomats from nearly 200 countries have gathered to review progress made on the “historic” Paris climate accords, signed two years ago. But as the champagne-fueled self-congratulation of Paris recedes into memory, the agreement’s underlying fraud is becoming obvious.

In theory, international discussions, negotiations, and agreements on climate change aim to reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions and thus lessen the expected warming of the climate. In fact, the Paris accord does not even attempt to achieve this goal, except nominally. Instead, countries can pledge as much or as little climate action as they see fit, and no enforcement mechanism ensures that they deliver on their commitments. A country unhappy with its pledge can simply change it.

Operating in this framework, countries have pledged very little. Back in 2000, before all the clean-energy investments and cap-and-trade programs and carbon taxes and landmark international deals, the UN’s projection for emissions this century pointed toward a planetary warming of 3.4°C by 2100. On the eve of the Bonn summit, the UN acknowledged that, with all pledges, projected warming by 2100 still comes out to 3.2°C—and even that miniscule reduction in warming assumes compliance, which is in short supply. None of the major powers are on track to meet their pledges, and developing countries are failing to even get started. Angela Merkel, “climate chancellor” and host of this year’s conference, has been an outspoken critic of President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris accord, but her own nation’s emissions are rising. Germany’s environmental ministry believes that the country will miss its targets badly and warns of “a disaster for Germany’s international reputation as a climate leader.”

None of this should be surprising, given what the Paris agreement actually contains, as opposed to how it was advertised. “This agreement is ambitious, with every nation setting and committing to their own specific targets,” President Obama said in 2015. That was then. Now, the New York Times explains, “many of the Paris pledges remain fairly opaque, and most nations have been vague on what specific policies they will take to meet them. There is no official mechanism for quantifying progress.”

In 2015, leaders signing the agreement felt confident that the momentum and good feeling of Paris would surmount the gaps between rhetoric and reality. The agreement, Obama said, “sends a powerful signal that the world is firmly committed to a low-carbon future,” which would help “unleash investment and innovation in clean energy at a scale we have never seen before.” But investors could read the agreement, too. Global clean-energy investment fell by 18 percent in 2016, the worst performance on record; in developing countries, the decline was 27 percent. And First World investment in Third World countries, considered critical to global progress, fell 26 percent.

The Sacred Science 25,000 climate change evangelists jet to Bonn to tell the rest of the world how to live. By Irwin M. Stelzer

They have come to Bonn, Germany, some 25,000 diplomats, scientists, and lobbyists from some 200 nations to put flesh on the bare bones of the climate agreement signed two years ago. That’s when members of the congregation, gathered in Paris, pledged to limit further global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (a target few knowledgeable observers believe is attainable).

It was Fiji’s turn to play host, but the congregation had swollen to a size the small island-nation could not accommodate them all.

The meetings, budgeted to cost $136.3 million and scheduled to run until November 17, began on a high note: a new member was added to the flock. Bashar Assad’s Syria signed on to the non-enforceable agreement, presumably intending to honor his pledge much as he had once promised to abandon the use of chemical weapons. Syria has been prevented by international sanctions from sending representatives to these conferences, and has not yet filed its plans for reducing its emissions. But with Syria becoming an accepted member of the climate fraternity, “the U.S. is now so isolated”, announced Safa Al Jayoussi, executive director of Indyact, a Lebanon-based environmental organization “that works with Arab countries on climate change,” according to the New York Times.

All religions have their rituals, and the believers in global warming have theirs. To offset the enormous carbon footprint created by the jet-setting congregants, Germany’s Angela Merkel has issued bicycles to attendees who must travel from hotel to meeting rooms, and bottles in which to put tap water, thereby making the production of 500,000 plastic cups unnecessary.

Merkel, whose shutdown of her nuclear plants has forced Germany to rely more heavily on coal and lignite (the dirtiest sort of coal), prefers increasing—yes, increasing—her country’s emissions, rather than letting it go dark when the wind don’t blow and the sun don’t shine.

The Long, Strange History of Dieting Fads By Melissa Wdowik

“Of all the parasites that affect humanity I do not know of, nor can I imagine, any more distressing than that of Obesity.”

So started William Banting‘s “Letter on Corpulence,” likely the first diet book ever published. Banting, an overweight undertaker, published the book in 1864 to espouse his success after replacing an excessive intake of bread, sugar and potatoes with mostly meat, fish and vegetables.

Since then, fad diets have appeared in many forms. To what length will people go to achieve their desired figure? As a professor of nutrition and eating behaviors, my sense is the history of dieting shows vanity outweighs common sense.
Liquid-based diets

Let’s jump back to 1028, the year William the Conqueror was born. Healthy most of his life, he became so overweight in later years that he went on a liquid diet consisting of almost nothing but alcohol. He lost enough weight to resume riding his cherished horse, but a riding accident soon led to his untimely death.

We do know of one case in which consuming more alcohol than food allegedly led to longevity. In 1558, Italian nobleman Luigi Cornaro restricted himself daily to 12 ounces of food and 14 ounces of wine. Rumor has it he lived to a ripe 102 years of age, earning his approach the nickname The Immortality Diet.

Another alcohol-focused plan, The Drinking Man’s Diet, was introduced in the 1960s. This included so-called “manly” foods like steak and fish, along with as much alcohol as desired.

Poet Lord Byron credited his thin, pale look to vinegar and water. This practice reemerged in the 1950s as the popular Apple Cider Vinegar Diet, which instructs people to drink a mixture of equal parts honey and vinegar. The latest version, although not scientifically supported, claims that three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar before each meal will curb cravings and cut fat.

“Cleaner” liquid diets, cleanses and detoxes are designed to supposedly rid the body of toxins, despite our natural ability to do so.
A 1950 ad for ‘vitamin candy.’ nesster/flickr, CC BY

In 1941, alternative health enthusiast Stanley Burroughs created the Master Cleanse, or Lemonade Diet, to eliminate cravings for junk food, alcohol, tobacco and drugs. All you had to do was consume a mixture of lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, water and cayenne pepper six times a day for at least 10 days. Beyoncé made this popular again in 2006, saying she lost 20 pounds in two weeks.

TV physician Dr. Oz and others have since promoted their own versions, varying in length and foods allowed. Most include a daily laxative and copious amounts of water.

Tell a Big Lie and Keep Repeating It By Norman Rogers

If you want to tell a big lie, a good vehicle is “science.” Like a wolf hiding in a sheep’s skin, lies hide in lab coats worn by liars with Ph.Ds. We are gullible because science and scientists have a positive image. The positive image belongs to the science of the past, before the entrepreneurial idea of inventing fake catastrophes to attract vast sums of government money.

When a lie is backed by millions of government dollars, it is difficult for the truth to compete. The truth comes from scientists not corrupted by money, and from small organizations dependent on private donations. The truth is outgunned by government financed propaganda mills. The promoters of fake catastrophe depict themselves as disinterested idealists. The promoters of the truth are depicted as servants of evil industries, or as mentally disturbed crackpots.

Pravda was the official newspaper of the Soviet Union. Pravda means “official truth” in Russian. Pretty much everyone in Russia knew that there was very little truth in the pages of Pravda. But to publicly dispute the “official truth” was a very dangerous step. Often dissenters were sent to insane asylums. In the United States, as a climate skeptic, you may lose your job. Almost certainly you will be vilified as incompetent. But so far, you won’t go to prison or to an asylum, although there are calls to criminally prosecute “climate deniers.” There are also those who think that non-believers in the catastrophe are mentally ill. The obvious solution is to send the skeptics to prison or to an insane asylum. Why should we think that true believers in global warming, if they gain enough power, would be less totalitarian than communists?

Fake science prospers for a number of reasons. Investigative reporters are mostly ignorant concerning science. The average educated person is equally ignorant. Often those who do understand that something is fake don’t dare speak up because they work for bureaucracies that are promoting the fake science.

An Environmentalist Sues over an Academic Disagreement Meet Stanford’s $10 million man. By Robert Bryce

Leonardo di Caprio’s favorite renewable-energy promoter, Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson, has set a new record in thin-skinned-ness. Jacobson has filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Chris Clack, the lead author of a paper NAS published in June that roundly debunked a previous paper of Jacobson’s. The earlier paper had claimed it would be possible for the U.S. to run entirely on renewable energy by 2050.

Even when Jacobson implied in an email to Clack that he was going to sue, a development I noted here in July, I didn’t believe he would actually do it. Nevertheless, on September 29, he did. Jacobson’s 42-page lawsuit, filed in federal court, hinges on the fact that Clack — and the 20 co-authors of the paper, who are not named as defendants — refused to accept the Stanford professor’s numbers on the amount of hydropower available in the U.S.

Clack’s paper found that Jacobson had overstated hydropower’s potential by a factor of ten or so. The land-use requirements for wind power were equally cartoonish. Clack determined that Jacobson’s all-renewable scheme would require covering more than 190,000 square miles with turbines — an area larger than the state of California. Given the burgeoning coast-to-coast backlash against Big Wind, such a notion is absurd on its face.

Rather than admit any errors, Jacobson claims that Clack — a Ph.D. mathematician who has worked at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and taught at the University of Colorado, and now has a consulting firm — and the National Academy damaged his reputation and made him and his co-authors “look like poor, sloppy, incompetent, and clueless researchers.”

In an email, Clack told me that it’s “unfortunate” that Jacobson has “chosen to reargue his points in a court of law, rather than in the academic literature, where they belong.”

Despite the many flaws in his plan, Jacobson made himself the patron saint of America’s richest and most powerful green groups by claiming a fully renewable energy sector was possible. His papers, many of them peer-reviewed, lent a patina of credibility to the all-renewable-no-fossil-fuel-no-nuclear dogma that Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and other groups have been feeding their math-challenged disciples for decades. In 2013, Jacobson even appeared on David Letterman’s show.