Civil Defense Perspectives May 2013 Vol. 29 No. 4. [published January 2014]
On Jan 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty. Now, $20 trillion later, the poverty rate has barely budged, and welfare spending is up 375% in constant dollars.
In contrast, the war on prosperity is winnable. The U.S. government is waging this war against Americans on multiple fronts.
Indian Wars: Indian reservations contain almost 30% of the nation’s coal reserves west of the Mississippi, as well as significant deposits of oil, natural gas, and uranium—about $1.5 trillion of resources. Energy resources are largely untapped because the Bureau of Indian Affairs severely limits the tribes’ ability to use their own land. Drilling for oil outside the reservations requires only four permits, in contrast to 49 on tribal land. “The war on coal is a war on our families and our children,” states Crow tribal chairman Darrin Old Coyote. Unemployment on the Crow reservation is 50% (WSJ 10/11/13, http://tinyurl.com/l8kjym9).
The War on Farmers: Thousands of farmers are in jeopardy, largely because of costly government regulations. Many could be saved if they could profit from the recovery of oil and gas on their land by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The alliance of Big Green, Big Government, and Hollywood elites, as in the deceitful propaganda movie Gasland, is trying to stop fracking.
The War on CO2. This is a war on all living things as well as the economy. The Obama Administration claims that the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) is $40 per ton. This enables the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to claim a social benefit for each ton avoided. Not only is the cost over-estimated by at least 30% (more likely 100%), writes Larry Bell (Forbes 11/3/13, http://tinyurl.com/kxtp83v). It also fails to credit the positive benefits of adding CO2 (see p 2).
The War on Resource Use. “Rationing fire” is the latest campaign in the war on humanity, stated Robert Zubrin at the 2013 DDP meeting. Antihumanists claim that “while we have not run out of resources, we have run out of the right to use resources, in view of the alleged threat of global warming.” He notes that photographs taken from orbit since 1958 show a 14% increase in the rate of wild plant growth.
The War on “Clean Coal.” While promoting green-energy technology, new rules from the Obama Administration would wipe out the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. The rules make it so expensive that the coal industry cannot use it without putting itself out of business (Robert Duncan, WSJ 10/27/13, cited in TWTW 11/3/13, www.sepp.org). The rules are so extreme (<1,000 lb CO2/mWh vs 1,800 emitted by most efficient existing plants) that they would even stop research. In Norway, a $1 billion CCS test project was scrapped, after it went 50% over budget. More than 25 other such projects have also “hit a wall” (Science 9/27/13).
The War on Methanol. Breakthroughs in chemistry allow shale gas and CO2 to be converted directly into transportation fuel—methanol. With an octane rating of 100, it was used for decades to power race cars at the Indianapolis 500. It is significantly cheaper than gasoline, and unlike ethanol, does not raise food prices. In a modified diesel engine, it can be used in trucking and maritime transport. Federal ethanol subsidies, however, make methanol noncompetitive (George Olah and Chris Cox, WSJ 10/10/13, TWTW 10/12/13).
The Cost of the War
Since 1993, the U.S. has spent more than $165 billion on climate change, according to estimates by the Science and Environmental Policy Project based on reports from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congressional Research Service (CRS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (TWTW 11/2/13, 11/30/13, www.sepp.org).
Hard expenditures of $107 billion include outlays by government agencies, including expenditures under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or Stimulus bill) and about $32 billion on climate science.
Soft expenditures—tax incentives to selected industries and activities—include cash payments in lieu of tax credits. In FY 2013, these included more than $8 billion—which buys a lot of lobbying power for the wind and solar industries, notes SEPP.
Increased spending on “climate change” has not gone primarily to expanding knowledge. We still cannot answer the key question of how sensitive climate is to increased CO2. Rather, the money has gone primarily to special interest groups with a keen interest in promoting fear of global warming/climate change.
The new Obama EPA regulations alone will cost up to 2.5 million jobs, a decrease of $1,200 in average household income, and a 50% increase in the price of gasoline and electricity by 2030. The Heritage Foundation projects that greenhouse gas regulations will cost nearly $7 trillion (2008 dollars) by 2029 (Larr1y Bell, Forbes 10/10/13, http://tinyurl.com/k5fdf97).
War on the Rule of Law
Out of some 690 climate-related bills, only three proposed even baby steps toward the full-blown greenhouse-gas permitting system that EPA is implementing, writes Marlo Lewis (http://tinyurl.com/lndl3md). But if Congress fails to act, Obama just does it himself through Executive Order, as in empowering the EPA to regulate CO2 emissions by declaring that they endanger public health, when Congress declined to pass “cap and trade.”
The Obama Administration has used the “Sue and Settle” technique some 60 times in the past 4 years to impose tens of billions of dollars of costs on industry and landowners. A group such as WildEarth Guardians may file a petition to list a species as endangered, then green groups file a lawsuit the very same day, arguing that the regulatory process is too slow. The agency may then sign a consent decree, before affected industry groups are even heard. The federal government often pays legal fees of the groups that sued. This tactic is an “end run around the Administrative Procedures Act,” says Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruit. He and other AGs are suing the Administration for refusal to comply with the Freedom of Information Act.
After 50 years, poverty appears to be winning.
Fracking and Water
Hydraulic fracturing, some claim, is taking billions of gallons of fresh water out of the hydrologic cycle. Forced down into the well, it returns to the surface as brine, also contaminated with chemicals. A typical frack job may use 5 million gallons of water over 3 days—enabling decades of oil or gas production.
With new technology, fracking can use brackish water up to ten times as salty as seawater. This water can be brought up from aquifers far below the fresh water table. Instead of being trucked to distant disposal sites, the waste water can now be treated in mobile onsite systems, and either recycled for more fracking or turned into water suitable for irrigation or drinking—with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 200, well below the EPA standard of 500. The chemicals now used are all food-based: Gov Hickenlooper of Colorado and CNBC’s Jim Cramer have had a drink. Marita Noon is organizing a “great New Mexico fracktail party,” where legislators can fill their glasses from the fracfluid tank (Townhall.com 12/29/13, http://tinyurl.com/lpr6hf5).
The environmentalists’ claim that “fracking operations have used at least 250 billion gallons of water since 2005” sounds ominous without perspective. Car washes “used” more than 600 billion. The Law of Conservation of Matter still holds; the water is not destroyed. Water used for fracking is less than 0.1% of Colorado’s total water demand (http://tinyurl.com/la3mbmr).
CO2 Adds $3.5 Trillion of Crops, and Counting
In the 50 years from 1961-2011, CO2 added to the atmosphere by human activity increased crop production by about $3.5, according to Craig D. Idso, Ph.D., in The Positive Externalities of Carbon Dioxide (http://tinyurl.com/kyu7f38). It will likely bestow an additional $11.6 trillion between now and 2050. These are observationally deduced benefits, in contrast to the EPA’s speculation on negative externalities (the SCC), which are based on computer modeling of CO2-induced warming.
Idso notes that all 73 climate models predicted too much warming in the tropics—where 50% of the sun’s energy enters the climate system—during 1979-2012.
Green Bird Casualties
The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mohave Desert killed 52 birds in 1 month, owing to the intense heat generated by its mirrors, which apparently attract birds. Chris Clarke of California public broadcasting station KCET stated that solar-thermal projects “could well depress bird populations from the Arctic to the Panama Canal” (TWTW 11/30/13).
While hundreds of cases have been brought against oil and gas companies under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the case against a subsidiary of Duke Energy is the first for death by wind turbine. The company pleaded guilty and paid a $1 million fine for killing golden eagles and other protected birds (ibid.)
War on Dissent
Privately funded advocacy groups, such as Forecast the Facts, are calling for the de-certification and removal of television meteorologists who refuse to accept the global warming orthodoxy (TWTW 11/30/13).
What Is a “Social Cost”?
Calculating the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) is a “garbage in-garbage out exercise,” writes Robert Bradley. The Obama Administration hid a 60% increase in the SCC on p 409 of Appendix 16A of a technical support document for an Energy Dept. regulation on microwave ovens. “The whole calculation is an ivory tower plaything” that many economists scoff at. It is almost always politically motivated. The Administration refuses to release the relevant data. Industry groups are petitioning the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to explain how this complies with the Information Quality Act (Forbes 10/14/13).
“Climate Change” and Human Health
The New England Journal of Medicine has accepted the concept of the Anthopocene geologic epoch (see DDP Newsletter, July 2012). Global changes reflect a “syndrome” resulting from inter-related tensions, such as “an overly large world population.” It asserts that “the health effects of climate change will be predominantly adverse,” while admitting some possibly transient benefits such as fewer wintertime deaths. “The mitigation of climate change is a crucial first-order task for the world.” The “carbon footprint” needs to be limited. Meat production may need to be curtailed. Central planning is called for (NEJM 4/4/13).
War on Civilization
The war on “fossil fuels” such as oil and coal is a war not just on prosperity but on life and health in developing countries. Oil is an “addiction” in the same sense as food. It provides the raw materials for asphalt, plastics, chemicals, and fertilizers without which modern agriculture would collapse. “Oil is perhaps the only commodity used, in one way or another, by almost everyone on earth,” writes Vince Beiser (http://tinyurl.com/k8q7qn6).
Coal will soon supplant oil as the world’s top energy source. The World Resources Institute has identified 1,200 coal plants in the planning stages in 59 countries. For billions of people, coal is the only way out of the Dark Ages (Toronto Sun 3/10/13, cited by CCNet, GWPF, http://tinyurl.com/n3fnzao).
Br’er Rabbit in the Brier Patch Strategy
Larry Bell exposes details of the collusive “Sue and Settle” tactic responsible for the most controversial and burdensome EPA rules (Forbes 2/17/13, cited in TWTW 2/16/13). The EPA can say that “the Court made us do it.”
For example, the American Lung Association (ALA), which lobbies for regulations the EPA wants, received more than $20from EPA in the past 10 years, and runs campaigns against politicians who oppose its policies.
There is a revolving door between agencies and environmentalist groups. The Sierra Club hired disgraced EPA Region 6 administrator Al Armendariz, who said on videotape that his “philosophy of enforcement” was akin to random crucifixions used to keep subjects suitably respectful. He has pledged to continue to help Sierra fight the coal industry.
This process violates Separation of Powers, binding future elected officials, explain David Schoenbrod and Ross Sandler, authors of Democracy by Decree (http://tinyurl.com/l634dra).