We Have Been Doing Things Right For A While

The world is not going to end tomorrow because of fossil fuels. Man’s use of fossil fuels has not been proven to be the source of climate change. Climate change has happened since climate began. All of these statements are very logical and true, but somehow those pursuing ‘green energy’ work very hard to periodically convince all of us that if we use fossil fuel, we are all going to die next week (while flying around in their private jets). Green energy is in theory a great idea, but I can’t help thinking that the search for a totally green source of energy is somehow related to the search for the perpetual motion machine. It’s a great idea, but it defies the law of physics. At any rate, we are doing better at keeping the environment clean today than we were in the early 1900’s despite much greater energy usage.

WattsUpWithThat posted an article today about some observations from scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago.

The article includes the following picture:

The article explains:

Horned Larks are cute little songbirds with white bellies and yellow chins–at least, now they are. A hundred years ago, at the height of urban smoke pollution in the US, their pale feathers were stained dark gray by the soot in the atmosphere. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the discoloration of birds in museum collections can be used to trace the amount of black carbon in the air over time and the effects of environmental policy upon pollution.

“The soot on these birds’ feathers allowed us to trace the amount of black carbon in the air over time, and we found that the air at the turn of the century was even more polluted than scientists previously thought,” says Shane DuBay, a graduate student at The Field Museum and the University of Chicago and one of the authors of the study. He and co-author Carl Fuldner, also a graduate student at UChicago, analyzed over a thousand birds collected over the last 135 years to determine and quantify the effects of soot in the air over cities in the Rust Belt.

…Birds were also ideal candidates for the study because they molt and grow a new set of feathers every year, meaning that the soot on them had only been accumulating for the past year when they were collected. And there was an apparent trend: old birds were dirtier, and new birds were cleaner.

The article concludes:

DuBay notes that in addition to the environmental implications of the project, their work also shows the importance of museum collections like those they used from The Field Museum in Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, and the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology in Ann Arbor. “I hope this study exposes collections as a valuable resource to address present day environmental concerns,” says DuBay. “This paper shows the ways that natural history collections can be used, underlining the value in collections and in continuing to build collections, to help us improve our understanding of human impacts on the natural world.”

Fossil fuel is now abundantly available in America. We can use our scientific talents to make it as clean as possible. Like it or not, it is the basis of our economy.

The Supreme Court Stopped President Obama’s Agenda

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a Supreme Court ruling announced today. The Supreme Court ruled against Environmental Protection Agency pollution rules for power plants. These new regulations would have resulted in drastic increases in the amount of money Americans pay for electricity.

The article reports:

The EPA rules in question regulate hazardous air pollutants and mercury from coal- and oil-fired power plants, known as the MATS regulations. The regulations went into effect April 16. The utility industry had argued that the rules cost them billions of dollars to comply and that EPA ignored the cost issue in putting the regulations into effect.

“EPA must consider cost — including cost of compliance — before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary. It will be up to the agency to decide (as always, within the limits of reasonable interpretation) how to account for cost,” Scalia wrote in agreeing with the industry.

Because of this decision, the Obama Administration’s environmental agenda will also be looked at in terms of the cost of compliance. Unfortunately, the Court is not looking at the fact that laws are being put in place that have not been passed through Congress.

The article reports on the DC Circuit Court decision that brought the case before the Supreme Court:

The D.C. Circuit majority also agreed the EPA could focus solely on the utilities’ contribution to the pollutants of concern, rather than identifying any specific health hazards attributable only to utility emissions.

The EPA had argued that the rules are both appropriate and necessary regardless of the costs, and that it has the discretion under the law to act as it deems fit in regulating hazardous pollutants.

As I have previously stated, I don’t think anyone is in favor of pollution. There is a need for sensibility in making environmental rules. As previously stated, the EPA did not identify any specific health hazards attributable only to utility emissions.

The EPA has been the latest home for those people who want to control the cost and usage of electricity and other power sources by Americans. This has much more to do with government control than it does with the environment. Unfortunately, we can expect to see more attempted power grabs for government energy control in the waning days of the Obama Administration.

 

These People Have Way Too Much Time On Their Hands

Have you ever wondered about the country we will leave our children? They will never know the smell of burning leaves in autumn or the experience of walking to the corner store to get penny candy (penny candy causes obesity and one Maryland couple is being investigated for letting their two children walk home from the neighborhood park). Now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new target–backyard barbeque grills.

The Washington Examiner posted an article yesterday about the latest meddling by the EPA into our everyday lives.

The article reports:

The agency announced that it is funding a University of California project to limit emissions resulting in grease drippings with a special tray to catch them and a “catalytic” filtration system.

The $15,000 project has the “potential for global application,” said the school.

The school said that the technology they will study with the EPA grant is intended to reduce air pollution and cut the health hazards to BBQ “pit masters” from propane-fueled cookers.

Charged with keeping America‘s air, water and soil clean, the EPA has been increasingly looking at homeowners, especially their use of pollution emitting tools like lawn mowers.

I wonder how much the addition of a catalytic converter will add to the price of a barbeque grill, making cook outs a luxury only the rich can afford.

The article explains:

But, total capture isn’t “practical,” so a filter and fan are proposed for installation. “The secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method. This system can be powered by either an exterior electric motor with a chain-driven drive shaft, directly spinning the fan blade, or a hand-powered crank,” said the project write-up.

The grant is part of the EPA’s “National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2014).”

Good grief!

Happy Birthday, Mustang

This week Mustang turns 50. She looks pretty good for her age:

Yes, I know that’s a 2010, but that’s the picture I like!

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line about Mustang’s birthday (with a few comments on her history).

The article included the question, “Which gives off more air pollution, a 1969 Mustang parked in a driveway with the motor off or a  2013 Mustang, roaring down the road at 60 mph?”

The answer is surprising:

If you’re very clever (or keep up with Matt Ridley), you’ll know the answer is that the parked 1969 Mustang gives off more air pollution, in the form of unburned hydrocarbons evaporating through the old-school carbuerator and unsealed gas tank caps (among other places).  A good object lesson in the advancement of engine technology.  And the fact that the real heroes of environmental improvement were engineers with pocket protectors more than hippie environmentalists.

Amazing.

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One Way To Deal With A Shakedown By Extreme Environmentalists

Reuters is reporting today that China is banning its airlines from the European Union (EU) policy that charges a carbon fee for flights in and out of Europe. The carbon fee is essentially an additional tax and China has said that it simply will not pay the tax.

The article reports:

The EU plan is intended to curb rising greenhouse gas pollution from aviation and fight climate change. Globally, emissions from aviation comprise about two percent of mankind’s greenhouse gas pollution and this share is expected to grow.

“China hopes Europe will act in the light of the broader issues of responding to global climate change, the sustainable development of international aviation and Sino-European ties, strengthening communication and coordination to find an appropriate solution acceptable to both sides,” an unnamed official from China’s civil aviation authority said, according to the announcement.

The interesting fact in this little dust up is that China is included in the EU plan to reduce air pollution. One of the problems with the Kyoto Protocol of 2006 was that the restrictions on greenhouse gases were not extended to India and China.

The National Geographic Magazine reported in July of 2007:

Damaging air pollutants include sulfur dioxide, particulate matter—a mixture of extremely small particles and water droplets—ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. China accounts for roughly one-third of the global total for these pollutants, according to Krzyzanowski (Michal Krzyzanowski, an air quality adviser at the WHO Regional Office for Europe).

China is not willing to play the global warming game. As I have stated before, I do not support dirty air. However, I think we need to make sure that any climate change is man-caused before we cripple the major free economies of the world in the name of saving the planet. The current ‘solutions’ to global warming are nothing more than a global redistribution of wealth–the major polluters are not included in the restrictions. Evidently China does not like being included in the efforts to save the planet.

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