Environmentalist Wacko Update

It's been a while since I've done one of these, so it's time to check in with our environmentalist wacko friends to see what they're doing.  Let the fun commence!

Something that is certain to bother the wackos is this:

A bird suspected to be extinct was reportedly photographed for the first time in the Philippines in January… Then sold at a poultry market and eaten.
A Worcester's buttonquail was known only through illustrations based on decades-old museum specimens until a television crew documented the live bird in the market before it was sold.

A rare quail from the Philippines was photographed for the first time before being sold as food at a poultry market and eaten. (National Geographic)

This brings to mind the suggestion that wacko environmentalism only occurs in societies with a lot of spare time on their hands.  Everyone else is more worried about silly things like food and shelter.  But hey, let's not let that kind of thing get in the way of a good cause.

Here's another sign of Obama's top notch crack policy team: did you know that Obama's energy Secretary doesn't even know that his office is in charge of oil policy?  Also, he doesn't seem to realize he's not actually part of Obama's administration.  No joke:

At a forum with reporters on Thursday, (Steven Chu) the head of the department that has traditionally taken the lead on global oil-market policy, was asked what message the Obama administration had for the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries at its meeting next month.

“I'm not the administration,” the Cabinet secretary replied. “I will be speaking and learning more about this in order to figure out what the U.S. position should be and what the president's position is.

…The day before, reporters asked him about OPEC output levels after a speech to a group of utility regulators. He responded that the issue was “not in my domain.”

Sweet.  This guy should be great for the country.

What's the end result if we stringently follow the whims of environmentalist wackos?  Well, here are two people who have done it:

By rejecting the benefits of modern society, anti-consumerist Australians Mark and Cathy Delaney (pic) have also achieved a strikingly small environmental footprint.

The college-educated couple claim they have freed themselves of money and possessions in a “radical detox” from consumer society.

What they don't say is that their masochistic lifestyle is arguably the result of a progressive value system, likely punctuated by self-loathing. Whereas virtually all of humanity wants to build better lives for their offspring, the Delaneys have done the exact opposite.

Mr. and Mrs. Delaney, along with two sons, live in a bedroom-sized home with no running water, no television, no refrigerator and no washing machine in a shanty town on the eastern outskirts of Delhi. A putrid canal near the Delaneys' front door carries away sewage.

Personal choices such as rejecting television and leading a simpler lifestyle are understandable. However, living without running water nor a functioning sanitary sewage system is over the top.

One has to wonder what exactly they learned while obtaining their college degrees. An education isn't required to move into an illegal squatter settlement with 60,000 neighbors packed into a square kilometer.

How's that sound to you?  Yeah, I think I'll pass, too.

Over the past few days, I've posted a couple times on the disastrous cap-and-trade policy that Obama is going to implement as part of his budget.  Here's more on the European collapse of that same policy:

A year ago European governments allocated a limited number of carbon emission permits to their big polluters. Businesses that reduce pollution are allowed to sell spare permits to ones that need more. As demand outstrips this capped supply, and the price of permits rises, an incentive grows to invest in green energy. Why buy costly permits to keep a coal plant running when you can put the cash into clean power instead?

All this only works as the carbon price lifts. As with 1924 Château Lafite or Damian Hirst’s diamond skulls, scarcity and speculation create the value. If permits are cheap, and everyone has lots, the green incentive crashes into reverse. As recession slashes output, companies pile up permits they don’t need and sell them on. The price falls, and anyone who wants to pollute can afford to do so. The result is a system that does nothing at all for climate change but a lot for the bottom lines of mega-polluters such as the steelmaker Corus: industrial assistance in camouflage.

“I don’t know why industrials would miss this opportunity,” said one trader last week. “They are using it to compensate for the tightening of credit and the slowdown, to pay for redundancies.”

It's the one law liberals always violate: the law of unintended consequences.  Of course, they generally violate the law of common sense, too, but that's because common sense is willingly subjugated to whims and feelings in the liberal mindset.  Here's Hot Air's conclusion, which really sums it up:

Part of this comes from the fact that the commodity being traded has no essential value anyway.  It’s air, the ultimate vaporware product.  There is no scarcity in carbon dioxide, and so markets for it will always be artificial and contrived.  Glover’s criticism about the amount of credits is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  The problem isn’t the credits, but the falsity of the entire operation.

But dammit, those chairs are going to be PERFECT!

And keep in mind, the entire premise of this cap-and-trade is to regulate and tax carbon dioxide!!!  You know, that gas that you and me and every other living creature on this planet exhales all day long?  And, you know, that gas that every plant on this planet requires in order to survive?  Yeah, that one.  That's what they think is so evil and needs to be controlled.

Remember, the point of cap-and-trade is not to help the environment, but to increase government control through burdensome taxation.  The Obama administration doesn't have a problem with high prices – Obama himself has admitted that his plan will create 'skyrocketing prices'.  His Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, said again just recently that “energy prices are too low”.  They don't care about you and me having to pay 'skyrocketing' prices for gas, heat, and energy in general.  They are counting on it, in fact.  Don't misunderstand the motivation here.

Speaking of perfection, scientists have grossly missed the mark for calculating the amount of sea ice in the Arctic:

A glitch in satellite sensors caused scientists to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), a California- size area, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said.

The error, due to a problem called “sensor drift,” began in early January and caused a slowly growing underestimation of sea ice extent until mid-February. That’s when “puzzled readers”[OMG, it's worse than we thought…ed] alerted the NSIDC about data showing ice-covered areas as stretches of open ocean, the Boulder, Colorado-based group said on its Web site.

Would someone remind me again why we're so determined to completely sell out our economy on an unproven theory — actually, it has been proven to fail — that these people insist is threatening our planet's very existence?

It appears they've switched tactics, now that the secret of non-global warming is out: redefine!  Of course, this is still standard liberal stuff, but let's look at the current incident.

The Earth won't have to warm up as much as had been thought to cause serious consequences of global warming, including more extreme weather and increasing threats to plants and animals, says an international team of climate experts.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated that the risk of increased severe weather would rise with a global average temperature increase of between 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit and 3.6 degrees above 1990 levels. The National Climatic Data Center currently reports that global temperatures have risen 0.22 degree since 1990.

Now, researchers report that “increases in drought, heat waves and floods are projected in many regions and would have adverse impacts, including increased water stress, wildfire frequency and flood risks starting at less than (1.8 degrees) of additional warming above 1990 levels.”

Indeed, “it is now more likely than not that human activity has contributed to observed increases in heat waves, intense precipitation events, and the intensity of tropical cyclones,” concluded the researchers led by Joel B. Smith of Stratus Consulting Inc., in Boulder, Colo.

So, what they're saying now is that the real evidence is so incontrovertible that global warming is not, in fact, happening anymore, that they have no choice but to suggest that the threshold for planetary destruction is far lower than previously thought.  Coincidentally, that threshold is now just about the same as the measured level of warming over the past 20 years.  Go figure.  They're simply moving the goalposts.  I wonder how long it'll be before they start talking about global cooling again.  I'd give it about 10-15 years, tops.

The other interesting thing here is that this proves the idea that catastrophic climate change is a religion.  Science, of course, is where you reach a conclusion based on the observed data.  Religion, for the most part, is one of those funny things where people generally (though not always) take the conclusion and interpret the data in light of the conclusion.  That is exactly what these environmentalist wackos are doing here.  Voila!  Bow down and worship, all you green zealots!

Some people get offended by my use of the phrase 'environmentalist wacko'.  I can kind of understand that, but I still use the term because I think it's accurate.  If all of the above examples do not illustrate the phrase, this one should do it:

Remember when Democrats painted themselves as the farmer’s best friend?  Here in Minnesota, the Democrats call themselves the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party as a reminder, and even through last year Democrats stumped heavily in the Midwest with their populist agenda.  I wonder whether farmers will still consider Democrats their friends when Barack Obama regulates farm dust — and penalizes them when the wind blows:

Nothing says summer in Iowa like a cloud of dust behind a combine.

But what may be a fact of life for farmers is a cause for concern to federal regulators, who are refusing to exempt growers from new environmental regulations.

It’s left some farmers feeling bemused and more than a little frustrated.

“It’s such a non-commonsense idea that you can keep dust within a property line when the wind blows,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee who still farms in northeast Iowa.

Under rules imposed in 2006, rural areas would be kept to the same standards as urban areas for what the Environmental Protection Agency calls “coarse particulate matter” in the air.

Why regulate farm dust?  As the American Farm Bureau Federation rightly points out, no one has ever proved that farm dust represents a health threat to any community.  The EPA had held off from enforcing the regulation in rural areas absent such a finding.  Now they want to impose the rule absent studies showing no harm, in effect telling the ag sector to prove a negative.

Now, farmers will be held accountable when their dust moves outside of their property lines and towards towns and villages.  That will impose extra cost on them depending on which way the wind blows, an excellent metaphor for Congress but a deadly imposition on a farm sector already struggling with an economic turndown and falling land prices.  The compliance costs to keep dust tamped down will be enormous, and will force out the smaller farmers who can least afford the mitigation costs.  It pushes the productive family farm even further into the anachronism category.

Not only that, but it will encourage more use of fresh water on farms, eating into another natural resource.  The best and cheapest way for farmers to keep dust in check is to overwater their fields and dirt roads.  The threat of EPA fines will almost certainly create a significant and needless use of water, which will create shortages in some areas.  Where water rationing already exists, it will press smaller farmers out of business in that way as well.

Dust.  DUST!!!  They're going to regulate AIR and DUST!!!

Thus: wacko.

There's my two cents.


I'm a gun-owning, Bible-thumping, bitter clinger conservative in the heartland. You can disagree with me if you want (you do, after all, have a right to be wrong)...just don't be rude or stupid and we'll get along just fine! :)

Posted in Environment, Leaning Left, Unintended Consequences

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