Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Delinquent Teenager

The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken for the World's Top Climate Expert
By Donna Laframboise

The book elucidates how the panel’s much-vaunted “peer review” amounts to a “circular, incestuous process. Scientists make decisions as journal editors about what qualifies as peer-reviewed literature. They then cite the same papers they themselves played midwife to while serving as IPCC authors.” IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri�s claim that all the “Climate Bible’s” science is peer reviewed is, in any case, bunk. With a body of volunteers, Ms. Laframboise went through the 2007 report and found that more than 5,000 references - over a third - were from less-than-reliable sources. The most egregious such “grey” reference led to the claim that the Himalayan glaciers were to disappear by 2035. This terrifying assertion was traced back to the top of a non-expert’s head.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Solar energy fiasco.

As failed solar panel manufacturer Solyndra rides through the investigative ringer in Congress, revelations of another politically-connected company that received what appears to be a less-than-virtuous $1.2 billion loan guarantee are surfacing. The company, SunPower, received its $1.2 billion loan guarantee in September, immediately before the program’s deadline. SunPower isn’t as financially sound as the public was led to believe when it secured a loan guarantee twice the size of Solyndra’s $535 million loan. Just this week — less than a month after taxpayers landed on the hook for SunPower’s $1.2 billion loan guarantee —
read more here

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Green money pit

Last week, the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) released a report on the amount of money that has been spent in the fight over Transcanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline, which would run 1,700 miles from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico, is opposed by environmentalists.

Unfortunately, CRP’s report portrays the fight as a battle between “Big Oil” and poor little environmental activist groups. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

The report quotes Eddie Scher, the senior communications strategist for the Sierra Club. Scher complains that environmental groups can’t compete with the “literally unlimited resources” of energy companies.

“There’s no question we’re up against big numbers of campaign dollars,” he said. “We’re up against the cream of the crop when it comes to K Street lobbyists. But we believe even well-financed insanity is trumped by democracy.”

But the Sierra Club - like other major environmental groups - is by no means poor. At the end of 2009, it had more than $170 million in assets between its activist wing and its education foundation. The Nature Conservancy ended last year with $5.65 billion in assets, after taking in $210.5 million in revenue. The World Wildlife Fund had $377.5 million in assets as of June 2010, after scraping together $177.7 million for the fiscal year. And the National Audubon Society had $305.9 million stashed away at the end of last year. The Environmental Defense Fund, Earthjustice, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and almost every other national “green” group you’ve ever heard of are similarly “impoverished.”

And then there are the foundations - dozens if not hundreds of them - that finance environmental activism. Among their benefactors: the Energy Foundation ($68.6 million in assets), the Joyce Foundation ($773.6 million), the Rockefeller Brothers Fund ($729 million), the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ($6.8 billion), the David and Lucile Packard Foundation ($5.7 billion), and Heinz Endowments ($1.2 billion).

Scher’s Sierra Club might not spend as much money on lobbying as energy companies do, but that’s by choice. The part of the Sierra Club that is organized under the 501(c)(4) section of the tax code - in other words, the part of the organization that isn’t limited by lobbying restrictions - had nearly $49 million in assets at its disposal at the end of 2009. According to its 2009 tax return, the group spent about $4.9 million on “lobbying and political expenditures.” Only $480,000 of that money was spent at the federal level. The other $4.4 million was spent lobbying at the state level or on political activities like advertisements.

But that’s because the Sierra Club has made a strategic decision to focus more on litigation than on lobbying. The group files, on average, one lawsuit per week.

Other groups with as much financial might, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, make similar tactical decisions about litigation, lobbying, and other activities. In fact, litigation involves more bullying than lobbying does. There are few things worse in life than dealing with lawsuits.

It’s time for the people at these well-heeled environmental groups to stop whining about how they “can’t compete” with energy companies.

Monday, October 10, 2011

new Orleans levees

We keep hearing "It is Was George Bush and the republicans" who blocked the levee construction in New Orleans. Think Again.
"My feeling was that saving human lives was more important than saving a percentage of shrimp and crab in Lake Pontchartrain," Towers told the Times. "I told my staff at the time that this judge had condemned the city. Some people said I was being a little dramatic."

read more here

Friday, October 7, 2011

The voice of science: let's agree to disagree

Real science depends for its progress on continual challenges to the current state of always-imperfect knowledge.”