Nature Is Amazing

On February 6th, Fox News reported the following:

A type of black fungus that eats radiation was discovered inside the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

In 1991, the strange fungus was found growing up the walls of the reactor, which baffled scientists due to the extreme, radiation-heavy environment.

Researchers eventually realized that not only was the fungi impervious to the deadly radiation, it seemed to be attracted to it.

A decade later, researchers tested some of the fungi and determined that it had a large amount of the pigment melanin — which is also found, among other places, in the skin of humans.

The article concludes:

In a 2008 paper, Ekaterina Dadachova, then of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, noted that the fungi attracted to radiation are unlikely to be the first examples of their kind.

“Large quantities of highly melanized fungal spores have been found in early Cretaceous period deposits when many species of animals and plants died out. This period coincides with Earth’s crossing the “magnetic zero” resulting in the loss of its “shield” against cosmic radiation,” the paper’s introduction states.

The fungi indicate that there could be places in the cosmos — which we are unaware of — where organisms could live in radiation-filled environments.

Just amazing.

The 2020 Davos Economic Conference

The 2020 Davos Economic Conference will convene this month. The Conservative Treehouse posted an article yesterday announcing that President Trump has announced the Presidential Delegation that will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, from January 20 to January 24, 2020.

The article notes some interesting aspects of this conference:

As a result of the recent U.K. election, pending Brexit, a favorable $7.5 billion WTO ruling and USTR Lighthizer’s new $2.4 billion EU targeted tariff program, the administration has significant advantages going into a trade discussion with the EU in 2020.

Team USA has the world’s strongest economy, the largest market, legally bolstered tariff authority and a quiver full of powerful economic arrows.

Meanwhile Team EU has: (1) the UK leaving; (2) severe drops in German industrial manufacturing; (3) a shrinking French economy; (4) yellow-vests in the streets; and (5) demands for greater economic autonomy from many key member states.

Overlay Germany, France and Italy large economy challenges such as: their promise to meet NATO obligations – and their attachment to the strangling Paris Climate Treaty, and the EU’s collective economic position is precarious at best.

The article includes the list of delegates:

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury, will lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

1. The Honorable Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of the Treasury (Lead)
2. The Honorable Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce
3. The Honorable Eugene Scalia, Secretary of Labor
4. The Honorable Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation
5. The Honorable Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative
6. The Honorable Keith Krach, Under Secretary for Growth, Energy and the Environment, Department of State
7. The Honorable Ivanka Trump, Assistant to the President and Advisor to the President
8. The Honorable Jared Kushner, Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the President
9. The Honorable Christopher Liddell, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination.

The pictures included in the article are an indication of things to come:

Stay tuned.

This Is Truly Sad

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about a recent comment by former Vice-President Joe Biden.

The article reports:

2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden said miners need to find “jobs of the future” when talking about transitioning the economy away from fossil fuels.

“Anybody who can go down 300 to 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well,” Biden said Monday during a campaign event in New Hampshire. “Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for god’s sake!”

On Sunday, Biden also said he wanted to throw fossil fuel executives in prison for damaging the environment.

“Put them in jail,” he said. “I’m not joking about this.”

The comment came after the former vice president said that there would not be a single new coal plant made in the U.S. earlier this month. During the December Democratic debate, Biden said he was willing to end hundreds of thousands of jobs in the fossil fuel industry.

I can’t believe that anyone who listens to what he says would vote for this man.

Sometimes It’s The Little Things That Matter

President Trump has given us back the freedom to choose our light bulbs. American Thinker posted an article today stating:

Score another million votes for President Trump in the coming 2020 election.

The president has gotten rid of a despicable little micromanaging regulation left over from the Obama era, restoring the citizens’ right to buy the light bulbs that fit their preferences and needs. According to The Hill:

“Today the Trump Administration chose to protect consumer choice by ensuring that the American people do not pay the price for unnecessary overregulation from the federal government,” Brouillette said in a statement. “Innovation and technology are already driving progress, increasing the efficiency and affordability of light bulbs, without federal government intervention. The American people will continue to have a choice on how they light their homes.”

Blocking the standards flies in the face of congressional intent, critics say, citing a 2007 act signed into law by President George W. Bush that requires all everyday bulbs to use 65 percent less energy than regular incandescent bulbs, which currently constitute about half of the bulb market.

Where in the Constitution does it give the government power to tell us what kind of light bulbs we can buy?

The article continues:

Way back in 2011, when the Bush-era nanny-state measure was first enacted, Virginia Postrel, then at Bloomberg (she might still be) wrote this brilliant piece on how stupid and immoral the whole thing was. She began:

If you want to know why so many Americans feel alienated from their government, you need only go to Target and check out the light bulb aisle. Instead of the cheap commodities of yesteryear, you’ll find what looks like evidence of a flourishing, technology-driven economy.

There are “ultrasoft” bulbs promising “softer soft white longer life” light, domed halogens for “bright crisp light” and row upon row of Energy Smart bulbs — some curled in the by-now-familiar compact fluorescent form, some with translucent shells that reveal only hints of the twisting tubes within.

I can’t get the whole thing on Outline, but here was her money-quote:

… the activists offended by the public’s presumed wastefulness took a more direct approach. They joined forces with the big bulb producers, who had an interest in replacing low-margin commodities with high-margin specialty wares, and, with help from Congress and President George W. Bush, banned the bulbs people prefer.

It was an inside job. Neither ordinary consumers nor even organized interior designers had a say. Lawmakers buried the ban in the 300-plus pages of the 2007 energy bill, and very few talked about it in public. It was crony capitalism with a touch of green.

Now we have our freedom to choose light bulbs back. Let’s see how many other freedoms we can reclaim!

It’s Nearly Impossible To Kill A Government Program–Even When It Doesn’t Work

Hot Air posted an article today about ethanol in America. The article notes that when the ethanol program (Renewable Fuel Standard) was put in place, it was based on two basic assumptions. The first assumption was that we would be producing huge amounts of biodiesel from sources like palm oil and recycled cooking oil. The other was that we would be pumping out massive volumes of cellulosic ethanol, derived from plants like switchgrass, which grows naturally all across the country. Well, both of those assumptions proved to be false. Because America is now the number one energy producer in the world, it no longer makes sense to use ethanol. Ethanol is not as environmentally friendly as carbon-based fuels when you consider the carbon footprint of its manufacturing process. There are also serious questions about the impact of ethanol on car engines.

The article concludes:

Corn is the least environmentally friendly way to create ethanol. It’s also a very inefficient fuel compared to gasoline so you wind up having to burn more of it to produce the same amount of energy. In short, we’re defeating some of the primary motivations that led us to start down this path to begin with. And yet the program endures for nothing other than political reasons. Midwestern states like Iowa want the government to keep demanding more and more corn ethanol to bolster agricultural markets. Meanwhile, refineries are stuck trading on a corrupt, fake market for RIN credits, driving some of the smaller ones toward insolvency.

The dream of corn ethanol has failed everyone across the board. But like most government mandates, once it’s been summoned into existence, it proves nearly impossible to kill. It would take a tremendous amount of political will to get rid of the RFS now, and that strength clearly doesn’t exist in the Trump administration. You won’t find it among the Democrats, either. And so we keep paddling upstream against the same forces for the foreseeable future.

The closest thing to immortality is a government program.

 

I Guess There Just Isn’t Any Truth In Advertising These Days

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about a recent lawsuit against ice cream makers Ben & Jerry. Ben & Jerry’s owners are liberals who very openly support liberal causes. Their advertising claims that in harmony with their ideas about the humane treatment of animals ans the environment, their ice cream is made from milk from happy cows. I never really considered the emotional well being of the cows that supplied the milk for my ice cream, but I suppose it is a somewhat valid concern. Well, evidently all of the milk does not come from happy cows.

The article reports:

Since most of this week in Washington is already shaping up to be a festival of the ridiculous, we may as well toss a few more logs on the bonfire. Up in Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s, the famously liberal ice cream company, is being taken to court over fraudulent advertising, along with its parent company, Unilever. But this suit has nothing to do with the quality or safety of their product. An environmentalist is suing them because of their advertisements claiming that their creamy products are made from milk from “happy cows.” Not so, says the plaintiff! Apparently, many of the cows are simply miserable.

Ben & Jerry’s and parent company Unilever are being sued for false advertising by an environmental advocate who claims the milk and cream used to make flavors like Phish Food are deceptively marketed as coming from “happy cows.”

In a complaint filed Oct. 31 in federal court in Burlington, Vermont, where Ben & Jerry’s was founded, environmental advocate James Ehlers accuses the company and Unilever of deceiving consumers who buy the ice cream because of its pastoral and progessive image.

“During the past several years, Unilever has breached consumer trust by representing the Ben & Jerry’s Products as being made with milk and cream sourced exclusively from “happy cows” on Vermont dairies that participate in a special, humane “Caring Dairy” program,” the lawsuit claims.

The complaint alleges that less than half of the milk used is from the “Caring Dairy” program.

The article explains the program (and the problem):

USA Today looked into the question and found that the Caring Dairy program is indeed real. In order to qualify, farms have to follow certain regulations for how the cows are raised and what sort of environmental “carbon footprint” the operation has. But it’s not all that large, with only 65 farms in the Netherlands and the United States qualifying.

Even if Ben & Jerry’s had cornered the market on all of them, they probably wouldn’t produce enough milk to meet their needs. The company claims they “hope” to work with more farms like these going forward, but it certainly sounds as if they’re not using 100% “happy cow” milk. So maybe the plaintiff is correct.

I am strongly in favor of treating animals humanely. However, I also believe that animals are not people. What we need here is a sense of balance.

I Guess This Is One Way To Deal With The Problem Of Farting Cows

The environmentalist seem very concerned about the problem of farting cows. Somehow they fail to mention that the cow population has actually decreased since 2014 (article here). However, they are sincerely interested in taking away our steak dinners.

Breitbart posted an article yesterday about the latest plan to deal with farting cows.

The article reports:

Ermias Kebreab, an zoology professor at the University of California–Davis, led a team in producing a bovine meal regimen containing varying levels of Asparagopsis armata, a strain of red seaweed, and fed it to 12 dairy cows over a two-month period. In a mix containing just 1 percent seaweed, the cows’ methane emissions went down by a stunning 60 percent.

“In all the years that I’ve worked in this area, I’ve never seen anything that reduced it that much,” Kebreab said.

A 2012 United Nations report revealed that the earth’s cattle population produces more carbon dioxide than automobiles, planes, and all other forms of transport combined. Moreover, the cow pies they drop and the wind they break produce a third of the world’s methane emissions, which traps 84 times as much heat as carbon dioxide.

In the summer of 2016, EcoWatch published an article confirming that greenhouse gas emissions from livestock actually account for a higher percentage of total global emissions than the world’s 1.2 billion automobiles.

Kebreab’s cow experiment sought to replicate results from researchers at Australia’s James Cook University, who mixed bacteria from cows’ digestive systems with red seaweed and discovered a significant decrease in methane production. Their experiment suggested that tweaking a cow’s diet to include 2 percent seaweed could reduce its methane emissions by as much as 99 percent.

The article concludes:

According to Dobbins, seaweed farming may be a “triple win.” It furnishes a way to grow nutritious food for both cows and people, provides coastal jobs, and improves the marine environment.

“Everything you do in food production has pluses and minuses relative to the environment,” he has claimed. “Seaweed farming, if done correctly, actually comes out more on the plus side.”

While flatulence is an issue, studies have suggested that cow belching is a much bigger problem because of the methane produced in cows’ stomachs.

“Despite misconceptions, most cow methane comes from burps (90%) rather than farts (10%),” Michael Battaglia wrote in October, 2016, in the Conversation.

So now we have to start worrying about burping cows?

Good News For Impatient People Who Like Clean Dishes

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about dishwashers–the kind that are installed in with your kitchen cabinets and take forever to clean the dishes about as well as your average cat. I realize that does not apply to all dishwashers, but since the environmentalists got involved, it applies to a lot of them. Well, that is about to change.

The article reports:

Consumers outraged about slow dishwashers are staunchly backing an Energy Department move, over industry objections, to create a new category of products that feature a one-hour washing cycle.

Individual consumers have flooded the public comment docket in support of the Energy Department proposal, which grants a petition made by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank. The agency proposal would establish a separate product class for dishwashers that clean and dry dishes within one hour, an action that would exclude those appliances from current energy and water conservation standards until separate rules are crafted.

The Energy Department could finalize the proposal as soon as next year.

“A First World country deserves a dishwasher that can actually clean soiled dishes in an hour – as it used to have before this regulation was enacted to ‘save’ us energy and money. It doesn’t,” one individual consumer, Chad Anderson, wrote in a comment submitted this week.

The article concludes:

The Energy Department, though, in its proposal said data and customer complaints show many consumers would value “shorter cycle times to clean a normally-soiled load of dishes.” Watkins argued that no dishwasher models currently exist on the market that have a normal one-hour cycle for washing and drying.

Mauer said a number of factors, including consumer preferences for more efficient and quieter dishwashers, have impacted the cycle times.

And she said the lack of standards for the new product class also means the Energy Department’s move likely violates a provision in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which prohibits the agency from loosening the efficiency standards.

Appliance makers also say the product class isn’t necessary, and they say the Energy Department action creates new regulatory burdens that will cost manufacturers.

Creating a new product class would lead to stranded investments for companies, “as manufacturers would essentially be required to abandon” innovations in efficiency they’d made to comply with the previous standards, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers wrote in comments.

The group, which represents more than 150 companies, wrote it has raised concerns about dishwasher cycle times previously but stressed this wasn’t the venue to address them.

Watkins of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, however, argued appliance makers don’t want the Energy Department to change the current limits because it would open up the market to new companies that haven’t spent the money to comply with conservation limits.

“They now view the regulations in some way as a barrier to entry” into the market, Watkins said. He also suggested that creating a new product class could relieve some of the pressure manufacturers face from ever-tightening standards due to the law’s “one-way ratchet.”

Plus, it’s hard to argue with the overwhelming consumer support, Watkins said, pointing to a recent survey the group conducted of more than 1,000 customers showing a majority prefer dishwasher cycles of one hour or less.

“Where can I get a MDGA* hat? (*Make Dishwashers Great Again),” one consumer wrote in the comments.

What has happened to dishwashers in recent years is another example of the government deciding what is good for the consumer without giving the consumer a voice in the decision. The idea of a dishwasher that effectively cleans dishes in an hour is a winner. Government regulation and interference kept it from being a reality.

Is This A Winning Issue?

Andrew Yang is running for President in the Democrat primary. He is currently polling at about 3 percent. He has some interesting ideas on changing the American culture.

Hot Air posted an article today about some of those ideas.

The article reports:

MSNBC held their latest “climate crisis” event for 2020 Democratic hopefuls yesterday and when Andrew Yang took the stage he brought up one possibility that all the candidates should weigh in on. When asked by the host what the world would look like in 2050 after the everyone began dealing with climate change and carbon emissions, he suggested that the end of private car ownership was probably on the horizon.

…Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said the United States may have to eliminate private car ownership to combat climate change during MSNBC’s climate forum at Georgetown University Thursday morning.

He told MSNBC host Ali Velshi that “we might not own our own cars” by 2050 to wean the United States economy off of fossil fuels, describing private car ownership as “really inefficient and bad for the environment.” Privately owned cars would be replaced by a “constant roving fleet of electric cars.”

Somehow I don’t see this happening.

The article concludes:

There are two sides to this proposal, consisting of the practical and the political. Being as we are in the midst of a presidential race, the political may be more important in the short term. The fact is that the Democrats seem to keep coming up with ideas that may look good on paper at liberal cocktail parties but are not at all popular with the voters at large. Eliminating private car ownership is just such a proposal.

People love their cars. Nearly everyone realizes that they are expensive luxuries and account for too much pollution, but we still live in a car culture. It’s a status symbol and a totem of our freedom of movement. No matter how well-intentioned you may be, if you come along and say the government needs to take away all your cars, the public is going to be up on their hind legs. This is the way you lose elections.

On the practical side, I will grudgingly admit that Yang is probably at least partially correct about this. If he was saying there would be nothing but mass transit, that would be nuts. Mass transit simply isn’t practical for most of the country unless you live in a densely populated urban area. But he’s also picturing fleets of electric, driverless vehicles that anyone can summon when they need to go somewhere. Uber and Lyft are working on just such a plan right now and sooner or later it may become our new reality.

But having said that, electric vehicles still need to be powered. Until you answer the question of where you’re going to come up with all of the electricity needed to replace the power currently being generated by gasoline, you’re not going to be doing much for the climate. As I mentioned yesterday when talking about efforts in California to eliminate natural gas usage, the state derives roughly half of their electricity from natural gas plants. If all of the cars are suddenly running on electricity, they’re going to be burning a massively larger amount of natural gas to meet the demand.

Yet again, we’re seeing the Church of Climate Change forcing Democrats to toss out expensive, impractical ideas that most people will rebel against. And they can’t seem to help themselves.

There is a lot more to the relationship between Americans and their cars than transportation. Somehow I can’t see taking away our private cars as a winning idea. We also need to consider that American carbon emissions are only a part of the world’s carbon emissions. We are a small percentage of carbon pollution. Unless the countries that are not concerned about the environment cut their emissions, nothing we do will have much of an impact. Keep in mind that China and India, the world;s biggest polluters, we essentially exempt from the climate treaty for a number of years. Maybe the treaty wasn’t really about climate.

We’ve Heard This Song Before

Fox News posted an article today that details some of the dire predictions we have heard in the past regarding the future of the earth. The article is in response to some of the recent claims made by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other pseudo-scientists.

The article reports:

An Associated Press headline from 1989 read “Rising seas could obliterate nations: U.N. officials.” The article detailed a U.N. environmental official warning that entire nations would be eliminated if the world failed to reverse warming by 2000.

Then there were the fears that the world would experience a never-ending “cooling trend in the Northern Hemisphere.” That claim came from an “international team of specialists” cited by The New York Times in 1978.

.Just years prior, Time magazine echoed other media outlets in suggesting that “another ice age” was imminent. “Telltale signs are everywhere — from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest,” the magazine warned in 1974. The Guardian similarly warned in 1974 that “Space satellites show new Ice Age coming fast.”

In 1970, The Boston Globe ran the headline, “Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century.” The Washington Post, for its part, published a Columbia University scientist’s claim that the world could be “as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age.”

Some of the more dire predictions came from Paul Ehrlich, a biologist who famously urged population control to mitigate the impacts of humans on the environment. Ehrlich, in 1969, warned that “everybody” would “disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years,” The New York Times reported.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Ehrlich, warning of a “disastrous” famine,” urged placing “sterilizing agents into staple foods and drinking water.”

About the prediction of oceans rising and obliterating major cities–a science-oriented friend of mine pointed out that when ice melts in a glass of water, the water level stays the same–it doesn’t overflow the glass.

At any rate, the earth is in a warming stage. The earth periodically goes through warming stages. Warming stages have to do with sun spots, the earth’s orbit, and other natural occurrences. The earth went through warming stages before man even thought of burning carbon-based fuel. And last of all, man is simply not important enough to control the climate. However, the climate is important enough to be used by men to control a population that power-hungry politicians seek to control.

Do These Candidates Really Want Your Votes?

On Thursday, The Washington Examiner posted an article about one of the environmental policies recently espoused by one of the leading Democrat candidates for President.

The article quotes Bernie Sanders:

Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, took anti-human environmentalism a step further on Wednesday night. A schoolteacher rose at CNN’s climate town hall and brought up population control. Would Sanders have the “courage,” the teacher asked, to “make it a key feature of a plan to address climate catastrophe.”

Sanders said yes, and then he went straight to abortion — “especially in poor countries around the world.” He cursed America’s Mexico City policy, which prohibits international family planning funds from funding abortions. Again, all in the name of saving the planet.

Here, Sanders is dancing dangerously close to federally funded eugenics. To say that overpopulation is a problem, and then to immediately call for more funding of abortion in, say, Africa, is a rather startling position to take — maybe even “courageous,” in the sense that it is risky to appear so callous an cruel.

Sanders may have meant something else. He seemed to believe the Mexico City policy curtailed access to contraceptives. (It does not.) He spoke the language of autonomy. So maybe Sanders sees himself as just wanting to empower poor women to control their fertility. Even so, Western enthusiasm for reducing the number of African babies has always had racist and colonialist undertones.

The article notes:

“The battle to feed all of humanity is over,” Paul Ehrlich wrote just one generation ago. “In the 1970’s and 1980’s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

Ehrlich was dead wrong. Just as Martha and Bernie, Ehrlich saw humans as only hungry mouths and stomachs, not as useful, innovative hands and brains.

Human life is better today than it was 100 years ago, by far, and it had improved from 1000 years before that, and so on. What has improved mankind’s state? It wasn’t climate change. It wasn’t aliens. It was human ingenuity.

In other words, humans are a net positive. At least, that is so, if what you care about is human health and happiness. Too many environmentalists think people are a net drain. Or at least they think some people are.

Let’s back up a minute and note that Bernie Sanders is a socialist running to be the Democrat party candidate. I must admit that I never thought I would see a socialist as a serious candidate for President in America. That is a scary thought. America as a republic has been one of the most successful countries in the world–generally speaking we have fed our people and treated the environment kindly. There are some exceptions, but on the whole Americans are more prosperous than people in any other country in the world. Why would we consider moving from a successful business model (freedom and capitalism) to a failed business model (socialism)?

Not All Of What You Are Hearing Is True

Chicken Little is again running around yelling, “The sky is falling!” This time the attempt to induce panic in the general population is related to the fires burning in Brazil in the Amazon rain forest. The panicked extreme environmentalists cry, “The lungs of the earth.” The more rational environmentalists have a different perspective.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article that reports some facts and historical perspective on the fires.

The article reports:

It isn’t entirely a fraud–there are indeed fires in the vicinity of the Amazon rain forest. But the hysteria that has been induced by those fires, which occur every year at this time, is ridiculous. Wildly exaggerated claims have been repeated uncritically in the press, and celebrity ignoramuses and politicians have avidly circulated photos of pretty much every forest fire that has occurred anywhere in the world over the last 20 or 30 years, claiming they were taken yesterday in the Amazon region.

The controversy has reached the level of high diplomacy (or rather, low comedy) as European countries have leaned heavily on Brazil to do a better job of controlling fires, threatening among other things trade sanctions, while Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro declined European offers of aid, while pointing out that French president Marcon wasn’t even able to prevent a foreseeable fire at Notre Dame cathedral. Relations between Brazil and France spiraled downward to the point of a Facebook comment by Bolsonaro on the relative pulchritude of the countries’ first ladies.

Yesterday The Tennessee Star posted an article about the fires.

The Tennessee Star reports:

The origin of this Amazon fire crisis traces back to the beginning of August, when Bolsonaro sacked his Space Institute minister for publishing worrisome data about the 2019 fire season. The dry season in Brazil typically runs from August to November, as farmers use these months to burn dried-out timber previously cut during land clearing operations. Ranchers also prepare the land for cattle grazing.

An important point to remember about these fires, however, is that the rainforests themselves are not entirely or uncontrollably ablaze. Natural fire does not typically occur in these tropical forests due to suffocating humidity, wet dense foliage, and daily thunderstorms. What is burning right now is land near the forests where farmers and ranchers have cleared hundreds and hundreds of acres of trees. This is easily seen in satellite imagery, which scientists finally examined and compared to the past two decades.

The New York Times pumped the brakes on the misinformation and published a highly informative map showing the location of the fires on previously cleared land obviously related to farmers and ranchers.

The Brazilian state of Mato Grasso has been transformed into an “ocean of soybeans” the size of Iowa. On the periphery, the land is cleared at the rate of 2,500-square-miles annually.

This deforestation peaked in the 1990s but lessened significantly over the past 10 years. There is evidence, however, to suggest Bolsonaro’s government had cut back on enforcement measures against illegal fires and land-clearing activities. The initial reports about the beginning of fire season sent the international community into a panic, led by the Europeans.

The number of fires and cumulative area burned so far in 2019, on the other hand, is on par with previous years and described as “near average” by NASA.

The farmers are clearing their land for their soybean crops. According to a Reuters article from May 2019:

Soybean trading in Brazil has gained momentum in recent days, driven by a wave of Chinese demand, boosting prices and premiums paid at ports amid a weakening of the Brazilian currency, according to analysts.

An estimated 5.5 million tonnes of soybeans have traded over the past few days, and are slated to leave Brazilian ports in June, July and August, according to estimates by the Center for Advanced Studies in Applied Economics (Cepea) issued on Friday.

The boost in trading has been driven by the failure of the Washington and Beijing to resolve their longstanding trade dispute, which made China turn to Brazil for soybean supplies, the analysts said.

The fires are not extraordinary when viewed through the lens of history. The farmers are clearing their land in order to plant soybeans and graze cattle. The hysteria is unfounded and unproductive.

Ruining The Environment Because You Want To Win

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the Iowa Caucuses and the role that ethanol plays in them. In theory ethanol is a great idea. In practice it has not had the positive impact on the environment that was hoped for.

The article reports:

The summer before the Iowa caucuses is when politicians abandon whatever it is they believe in and instead pay homage to King Corn.

When Republicans are running, any belief in free enterprise is scuttled in favor the big government ethanol mandate.

Among Democrats, concern about smog and pollution evaporates in the heat of an Iowa summer.

The politicians who pledge to take on the special interests instead bow obediently before the ethanol lobby.

Al Gore, who admits federal support for ethanol was a mistake, explains his own advocacy of such policies thus: “I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”

It’s a dispiriting sight, but it’s as much a part of the Iowa caucus tradition as butter cows and fried Oreos.

The article explains some of the problems with ethanol:

Also, federally mandated use of ethanol wreaks havoc on the environment.

“Making corn into ethanol threatens surface and sub-surface waters in several ways,” the Freshwater Society states.

For starters, there are the spills, which occur every two days on average. Ethanol can’t be transported by pipeline, and so it rides trains and trucks from the heartland where it’s made to the coasts, where Uncle Sam forces refiners to buy it.

The added use of fertilizers in the extra corn-growing creates lots of runoff, which down the line deprives rivers of oxygen. Distilling ethanol requires four times as much water as does refining real gasoline — so the ethanol mandate depletes water supplies.

Ranchers pay the price as corn is shifted from feed to fuel. Drivers pay the price as they have to refuel more (ethanol has less energy per gallon than gasoline does). Bikers and boaters suffer more, as ethanol gunks up those smaller engines. Ethanol is also destroying your lawnmower this summer.

The article concludes:

Refiners, corn growers, and ethanol distillers all suffer from uncertainty and inconsistency. So, we’ve got a proposal for any 2020 Democrat who cares about taking on the special interests, protecting the air and the water, and moving beyond the inconstancy of the Trump administration.

Abolish the ethanol mandate altogether.

Maybe Cory Booker or Joe Biden can pick up the bill Ted Cruz pushed in 2015, which would wind the mandate down to zero gallons in five years. Cruz even won Iowa, in part because enough voters liked a man who stood on principle.

Do the Democrats have a man or a woman like that?

Stay tuned.

We Need To Find These People A Hobby

On August 9th, The New York Times posted an article with the following headline, “The Great American Lawn: How the Dream Was Manufactured.”

The article states:

America’s manicured front lawns represent the pride of homeownership, and the cultivation of community. But the ways we maintain them risk hurting the environment and contributing to climate change.

What? The article then goes on to provide a list of sources you can consult to show how evil your lawn is. Good grief.

The article concludes:

More Lawn Coverage from the Times

    • The Times’ “Climate Fwd:” newsletter published some tips on how to lessen your lawn care’s environmental impact.

    • Our Real Estate columnist Ronda Kaysen explained why she’s done mowing her lawn.

    • If you do mow your lawn, here’s a way to practice meditation as you go.

    • Finally, as mentioned in the video, here’s The Times’ coverage of former President Theodore Roosevelt mowing his lawn in 1914.

The implication here is that mowing your lawn is the problem. I suspect that the article also cites some of the lawn products people use to control weeds that are considered a problem.

Let’s talk about the good things a lawn provides–a place for the family to play. A well-maintained lawn is less likely to be a home for animals that are harmful to people. In the 1970’s there was a lot of concern about the ‘greenhouse effect.’ The basic theory was that because we have paved so many areas of the world, we were overheating the planet. The suggested cure for that was planting more grass and trees.

I wish these people would make up their minds.

A New Twist On Environmentalism

There is a lot of questionable science behind the push for ‘green energy.’ In some ways the quest is reminiscent of the quest for the elusive perpetual motion machine. One of the main reasons we have the wind and solar farms we have is that they are heavily subsidized by the government. Because the government has gotten involved, the free market has not invented the technology to make green energy truly effective. Why should they when competition is not a factor? Less than perfect technology has its challenges.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article with the following headline, “Wind Energy Collapsing In Germany.’

The article reports:

The expansion of wind power in the first half of this year collapsed to its lowest level since the introduction of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) in 2000. All in all, just 35 wind turbines were build with an output of 231 megawatts. “This corresponds to a decline of 82 percent compared to the already weak period of the previous year”, according to the German Wind Energy Association (BWE) in Berlin.

“This makes one nearly speechless,” said Matthias Zelinger at the presentation of the data. The managing director of the Power Systems division of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) spoke of a “blow to the guts of the energy turnaround”. This actual development doesn’t match “at all to the current climate protection debate”.

The article notes the cause of the decline:

The most important cause lies in the legal resistance of wildlife and forest conservationists fighting new wind farms. The BWE President referred to an industry survey of the onshore wind agency. According to its findings, more than 70 percent of the legal objections are based on species conservation, especially the threat to endangered bird species and bats.

The article concludes:

The conservationists have a point. One of the worst features of both wind and solar energy is that they are terrible for the environment. They use up an enormous amount of land that otherwise would be available for agriculture, development or recreation. They are eyesores. And they kill huge quantities of wildlife.

It isn’t the most important reason to oppose corrupt subsidies and mandates for “green” energy, but the fact that these energy sources are bad for the environment is one more nail in the coffin.

Somehow I don’t expect to see this news in the mainstream media.

Another Democrat Candidate

Recently Tom Steyer announced that he was running for President as a Democrat. The millionaire is running on a ‘5 Rights’ agenda. According to The Washington Times, the ‘5 Rights’ are:  “unencumbered access to voting, clean air and water, education, a living wage and healthcare to be constitutionally protected for every American.”

Tom Steyer portrays himself as an environmentalist who opposes the use of coal for energy, but his history tells another story.

Yesterday Breitbart posted the following:

Despite marketing himself as an “environmental justice” advocate combating “climate change,” billionaire Democrat presidential candidate Tom Steyer oversaw the funding of coal plants in Australia, China, and Indonesia during his tenure as CEO of hedge fund Farallon Capital Management.

Steyer also bought and sold coal stocks during the Obama administration’s “war on coal,” explained Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute and senior contributor at Breitbart News, in episode four of the Drill Down.

There is nothing wrong with funding coal plants, but the hypocrisy is another example of the ‘rules for thee, but not for me’ attitude held by so many in the political class.

The article concludes:

Steyer also circumvented conflict-of-interest regulations prohibiting American advisers from investing in countries they were assisting following the collapse of the Soviet Union and subsequent privatization of Russian industries. Larry Summers, former president of Harvard University and economics adviser to the Obama administration, was tasked with overseeing Russian industries’ presumed shift towards free market operations. Steyer worked with Summers’ wife, possibly gleaning insider information upon which to make investment decisions.

“It’s a classic maneuver of crony capitalism,” said Schweizer of Steyer’s evasion of the aforementioned conflict-of-interest regulations.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. Tom Steyer is not someone we want in the White House.

A Preview Of The New Green Deal

I have no problem with keeping the planet earth as clean as possible. America treats its waste water, generally cleans its parks, used to clean its streets (until some of them were taken over by tents), recycles, and attempts to limit pollution. Contrary to what some extreme environmentalists are preaching, civilization actually helps curb pollution–it does not create it. There are people in the world who cook on coal stoves; America cooks on gas or electricity. There are people in the world who do not have clean water due to a lack of infrastructure. The water around them is polluted, and they drink it because it is all they have. Generally speaking, as a civilization prospers, it is better able to protect the environment. Unfortunately, China and India have not followed this pattern, but most other countries have. Enter the extreme environmentalists that believe that in order to save the planet we need to ban fossil fuel. I wonder if they understand the consequences of their belief. New York City and Long Island are currently looking at those consequences.

On Wednesday The New York Post reported that National Grid will no longer be able to expand its natural gas services in Brooklyn, Queens or Long Island. Con Edison may also have to turn away customers. Since natural gas is one of the least polluting, reliable fuels available, that is unfortunate. So what happened to cause this?

The article reports:

Following moves by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to nix a pipeline that could deliver vital gas supplies to the city and Long Island, National Grid can no longer offer new gas hookups or additional service for current customers.

“If you’re looking to expand your natural gas service in Brooklyn, Queens or Long Island, we will not be able to meet your request,” unless both states reverse their decisions and OK the pipeline, the utility warns. Con Ed may have to turn away customers, too.

The govs nixed the pipelines in a pander to climate-change radicals. Yet the shortage won’t only hit well-off developers and businesses: It’ll also threaten projects meant for low- and middle-income New Yorkers.

A local group called Heartshare, which assists New York’s needy with heating costs, is nervous. Its vice president for energy programs, Joe Guarinello, says it’s written local congressmen in support of the pipeline.

“Right now, gas is the most inexpensive and the cleanest for heating homes in our area,” he notes. “We’d like to make sure that the people we assist, both the disabled and the economically stressed,” can continue to benefit from it.

The article concludes:

Don’t give up yet. The pipeline builder refiled its applications for permits. Sanity can yet prevail — but only if Cuomo and Murphy care about New York’s future.

So let’s look at this for a minute–the blocking of the pipeline hurts the disabled and the economically stressed. I hate to be cynical, but if a well-connected millionaire built a house in Brooklyn, Queens, or Long Island, do you think he could manage to get hooked up to a gas line? The problem with extreme environmentalism (which is essentially socialism) is that the people in charge have everything they want while the people who are supposed to be equal all equally have nothing. That’s the reason socialism always fails and results in riots, revolutions, and generally tyranny.

The Problem Is Underneath–Not Above

In August 2018 (yes, I know that was last year, but I missed this), The Climate Change Dispatch posted an article with the following headline, “Multiple NASA Studies Confirm Bedrock Heat Flow Behind Melting Polar Ice, Not Global Warming.” Wow. Who knew?

The article includes the following photo:

The article reports:

In what amounts to dissension from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) climate change policy, a series of just-released studies by working-level scientists prove that geological and not atmospheric forces are responsible for melting of Earth’s polar ice sheets.

NASA Antarctica Study October 30, 2015

This research study authored by NASA Glaciologist Jay Zwally concluded that Antarctica is gaining, not losing, ice mass and thereby challenging the conclusions of many previous studies, most importantly the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report (see the quote from the study below).

“A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

“The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

The article continues:

The conclusions of this NASA study were immediately challenged by numerous climate activist groups and biased media outlets (see here). These challenges have since been proven incorrect for several reasons.

Statements by NASA Glaciologist Jay Zwally concerning his soon-to-be-published Antarctic follow-up study reconfirm that Antarctica is gaining, not losing ice.

The results of this follow-up study are bolstered by two other NASA research studies.

The first, dated January 1, 2018, shows that East Antarctica has for many years been accumulating huge amounts of snow that compact into ice and increasing overall ice mass (see here).

The second NASA study released on July 19, 2018, showed that the atmosphere above the Antarctic Continent has been continuously cooling and not warming for many years (see here).

Obviously, it’s impossible to melt Antarctica’s glaciers via atmospheric warming when the atmosphere is not warming.

Lastly, a NASA study dated Feb. 20, 2018, concludes that outflow of East Antarctic glaciers into the ocean is stable and not increasing (see here). This is proof that East Antarctica’s ice mass is not being diminished by glacial outflow into adjacent oceans.

Bottom line, research by NASA scientists clearly shows that the well-documented ice loss in West Antarctica is more than accommodated by ice gains in East Antarctica. Contrary to hundreds of pro-melting articles, Antarctica’s ice mass is increasing!

When you read an article about man-made climate change, consider the following:

In March 2016, I posted an article with the following:

…Then listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

It’s really not about the climate.

First They Came For Our Hairspray…

I wish environmentalists would simply focus on the things we know–keeping water clean, recycling, proper trash disposal, picking up after our pets, putting out campfires, etc. They always seem to get into trouble when they wander into areas where the science is still being debated. Now they want to take away our air conditioning. I am willing to bet that the person who made that suggestion does not live below the Mason-Dixon Line.

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about the war on air conditioning.

The article reports:

Shortly before the Fourth of July, The New York Times published an op-ed attacking air conditioning as unnecessary, contributing to global warming, and oppressive. Taylor Lorenz, a staff writer at The Atlantic took up the call, calling air conditioning itself “unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist.” She called for a ban on air conditioning in general, and the internet rushed to defend the technology.

“Air-conditioning is unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist. I can’t explain how many times I’ve gotten sick over the summer b/c of overzealous AC in offices,” Lorenz tweeted, adding “ban A/C.”

The article includes many interesting defenses of air conditioning:

The New York Times‘s Penelope Green begins her article recounting the invention of air conditioning, lamenting, “And in that moment (well, within a few decades), entire industries and geographies were transformed, and new technologies made possible, including, terribly, the internet: Without cooling, there would be no server farms.”

She also connects the need for air conditioning to climate change. “On an overheated planet, air-conditioning becomes more and more desirable, solving in the short term the problem it helped create.”

As for the sexism claim, Green cites a Nature.com study finding that building temperatures were set to the comfort preferences of 1960s-era men in suits and disregards the “thermal comfort” of female staffers. Ironically, she also predicted Lorenz’s tweet. “Come summer, Twitter invariably lights up with charges that air-conditioning is sexist, an engine of the patriarchy, in threads that in turn fire up conservative commentators eager to prove the daftness of the opposition.”

It is true that offices keep air conditioning too strong for the comfort level of many women. Many men also complain that air conditioning is not strong enough. As Green notes, women often wear blankets or even use space heaters to counterbalance excessive air conditioning.

The article also notes that air conditioning saves lives:

National Review‘s Charles C.W. Cooke tweeted about the “Ban A/C” hashtag. “[Ban A/C]? I spent the summer of 2003 in France. There was a heatwave. I saw some of the consequences with my own eyes. Nearly 15,000 people died. per the NIH,” he tweeted.

Part of the problem was that the high temperatures were so unusual that people did not exercise the proper caution in dealing with the heat–staying hydrated, restricting physical activity, etc.

The article concludes:

Air conditioning is one of the great blessings of modern life, making extremely hot locations bearable for living and working. Many buildings may need to turn down the A/C, but opposing air conditioning in general as sexist and calling for “banning” it is little more than a demand to return to a Stone Age standard of living. Thankfully, it seems most of the people tweeting about this absurd idea already know that.

If air conditioning is sexist, is heat sexist?

Actions Have Consequences

Most Americans strive to preserve the environment, despite how the more radical environmentalists portray them. The problem occurs when there is a small risk to the environment but a benefit to people.  Anything civilization does will probably incur a small risk to the environment, but benefits and risks need to be weighed carefully. New York State is paying a price for the actions of some of its more radical environmentalists.

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about some consequences of recent environmental activist victories.

The article reports:

If you know anything about New York in the modern era (both the state and the Big Apple), you’re likely aware that it’s not exactly a friendly landscape for the oil and gas industry. The “Keep it in the ground” crowd has a lot of influence with the Democrats who control the government. That why, back in 2013, when the new Constitution Pipeline was proposed to carry natural gas from Pennsylvania’s rich shale oil fields to New York, activists were able to block the construction despite it already having been approved by federal regulators. Similarly, when National Grid (the local energy consortium) requested an extension to the Williams Co. Transco pipeline, they were also tied up because of the outcry from environmental activists.

Here comes the surprise that nobody could have possibly seen coming. The city and its surrounding downstate region are still expanding with new construction projects, but their energy suppliers have told them that they will not be able to supply natural gas to any new customers because they’re already at capacity.

The article concludes with some interesting irony:

The additional ironic twist to all of this is they don’t even need those long pipelines to begin with. Or at least they wouldn’t need them if they were thinking clearly. The southern section of upstate New York is sitting on some of the richest natural gas deposits in the country in the form of the Marcellus Shale deposits. It’s the same formation delivering all of that natural gas over the border in Pennsylvania. But Andrew Cuomo and his Democratic buddies pushed through a moratorium on any and all natural gas drilling and it’s still in place today.

The state could be producing its own natural gas and supplying New York City more cheaply, but they’re refusing to do it out of spite. And now they’ve outstripped their fuel supply. This entire situation would be hilarious if it weren’t creating such a massive SNAFU for the energy grid.

I guess if you live in New York, you’d better make sure you have a working fireplace that you can cook on. The environmentalists put questionable science over the practical needs of people.

What Is Going To Happen To Nathan’s?

The following video was posted at The Gateway Pundit today:

The video reports:

Part of the law requires New York City officials to teach New Yorkers how to make healthy, environmentally conscious food choices by banning “problematic” items such as hot dogs from city menus.

The NYC Green New Deal “will cut purchases of red meat by 50 percent in its city-controlled facilities such as hospitals, schools, and correctional facilities.”

The Green New Deal also looks to make New York City “car-free” by 2050.

When Mayor de Blasio signed New York City’s crazy Green New Deal into law, he reiterated Alexandria Ocasio Cortez’s outrageous and untrue claim that “we only have 12 years” left to save the world from permanent climate change.

Since the ban on hot dogs only applies to city-controlled facilities, I guess Nathan’s will still be able to stay in business. All kidding aside, the banning of hot dogs and red meat is just a smidgen of what radical environmentalists would do if they came into power on the federal level. Thank God Mayor de Blasio only has the power to mess up a city.

The Free Market Is Good For The Environment

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about air pollution in America.

The article cites the successes America has had in curbing air pollution in our country:

Over the last 50 years, harmful air pollution known as particulate matter has plummeted. Toxic pollutants like lead, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide are now nearly nonexistent in our air. Ozone is down dramatically. We’re the only highly populated nation in the world to meet the World Health Organization’s standards for particulate matter and by a long shot. In fact, our standards are among the strictest in the world.

These radical air quality gains occurred at the same time our population, energy consumption, vehicle miles traveled, and gross domestic product also grew dramatically.

Economic growth does not have to be crippled in order to create a clean environment–in fact, economic growth can be used as an engine to promote a clean environment.

The article explains:

Take the catalytic converter, which turns toxic exhaust into harmless gases, like water vapor, by catalyzing a chemical reaction. It was perfected for use in gasoline engines in the 1950s by Eugene Houdry, a French scientist who became a U.S. citizen in 1942, and was popularized in the 1970s as an efficient way to meet the Clean Air Act standards.

According to the EPA, which calls the catalytic converter “one of the greatest environmental inventions of all time,” modern cars, SUVs, trucks, and buses are 98-99% cleaner now than they were 50 years ago. Tailpipe pollutants have nearly been eliminated, meaning our cities are no longer stifled by smog. We’re free to take advantage of the independence, mobility, and economic opportunity personal vehicles offer without sacrificing environmental quality.

That’s good old American ingenuity at work. It continues to work today in technologies like baghouse dust collectors that eliminate pollution from commercial plants and renewable natural gas generation from methane captured from landfills or wastewater treatment plants. The limitless potential of the free market and innovation, not government mandates and taxes, have driven both our economy and environment to dramatic success.

All this is made possible by access to abundant, reliable, and affordable energy. Our energy resources have the power to improve our quality of life, power our economies, and lift people out of poverty both at home and abroad, all while improving the environment. Nothing is more powerful to drive human flourishing than energy.

We don’t have to ruin the American economy to prevent being wiped out in twelve years.

Anyone who believes that the radical agenda of the environmentalists is actually about the environment needs to consider the following quote from an Investor’s Business Daily article of March 29, 2016:

…listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

Wake up and listen to what the people who are pushing drastic environmental regulations are really supporting.

Accusations Vs Facts

Congressional hearings provide an opportunity for member of both parties to grandstand on behalf of their pet causes. It is no secret that Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is opposed to fossil fuel in general. However, she needs to get her facts straight before she makes her claims.

The Daily Caller reported yesterday on Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s latest gaffe:

The Daily Caller reported:

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blamed the Keystone XL pipeline for leaking about 5,000 barrels of oil in rural South Dakota about two years ago.

There’s just one problem: The Keystone XL pipeline has not been built yet.

During a House hearing Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that “Keystone XL, in particular, had one leak that leaked 210,000 gallons across South Dakota” while she questioned Wells Fargo president and CEO Timothy Sloan.

…The existing Keystone pipeline, however, was responsible for leaking up to 9,700 barrels in South Dakota in 2017. The initial estimate for the spill was about 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons of oil. Both Keystone and the planned XL line are operated by Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada.

TransCanada said it repaired the pipeline and cleaned-up the spill, Reuters reported in 2018, though the event has been used by environmental activists to gin up opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Ocasio-Cortez, who recently introduced the Green New Deal resolution, also took aim at Wells Fargo’s financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which sparked violent protests along the project’s planned route throughout 2016.

For those of you new to this site, I have previously posted the reason for some of the opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline during the Obama administration. In a 2014 article I stated:

If the Obama administration holds firm on blocking Keystone, the big loser will be TransCanada Corporation. But who will the big winners be? American railroads:

And of them, the biggest winner might just be the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Obama supporter and Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett. In December, the CEO of BNSF, Matthew Rose, said that his railroad was shipping about 500,000 barrels of oil per day out of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and that it was seeking a permit to send “crude by rail to the Pacific Northwest.” He also said the railroad expects to “eventually” be shipping 1 million barrels of oil per day.

…The freshman Democrat (Senator Kaine) has between $15,000 and $50,000 invested in Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, according to his most recent financial disclosure. Kinder Morgan is looking to build a pipeline that would directly compete with Keystone.

Kinder Morgan is considering expanding its Canadian pipeline infrastructure with an expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries oil sands crude from Alberta to refineries and export terminals on Canada’s west coast.

The expansion would boost Trans Mountain’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day. Keystone, a project of energy company TransCanada, is expected to carry about 830,000 barrels per day if fully constructed.

Observers have said a rejection of Keystone would be a boon for Kinder Morgan, since the Trans Mountain pipeline presents a viable alternative for exporting crude from Canadian oil sands.

The second scenario is a blatant example of how freshmen Congressmen arrive as middle-class Americans and leave as millionaires. The first example shows how environmental policy can be easily influenced by money.

Should The Government Control What We Eat?

Cory Booker is running for President (along with a lot of other Democrats). He is a vegetarian who believes that the vegetarian lifestyle should be the choice for everyone.

The following quote was posted at The Gateway Pundit yesterday:

Booker told the February issue of VegNews that he became a vegetarian in 1992 when, after a few days of trying the new lifestyle, he said, “Oh my gosh, I will never go back to eating meat.” He made the decision to go vegan in 2014…

The progressive senator doesn’t think veganism is just appropriate for his private life; he’d like everyone to embrace the diet because he believes the world can’t keep providing enough beef and pork to satisfy meat cravings.

“The tragic reality is this planet simply can’t sustain billions of people consuming industrially produced animal agriculture because of environmental impact. It’s just not possible, as China, as Africa move toward consuming meat the same way America does because we just don’t have enough land.”

In addition to convincing the masses to give up meat, Booker has other legislative goals that would interfere with America’s eating habits.

Where in the U.S. Constitution does the government have the right to tell us what to eat?

This Would Be Beneficial On A Number Of Levels

CBN News posted an article today about an innovative energy source that would be beneficial for both energy production and for the environment. The article hits close to home because it involves an issue North Carolina has been discussing for a number of years.

First of all, I need to say that I know very little about hog farming and hog waste. However, it does make sense that some of the by-products of hog farming might create an environmental problem. However, there seems to be an answer that will be profitable for everyone.

The article reports:

In fact, to Smithfield Foods and Dominion Energy, converting hog manure to natural gas for powering homes and businesses has a sweet smell of success.

“We think it’s a lot simpler, and we think it will change the face of how manure is handled and turned into energy going forward,” Kraig Westerbeek, senior director of Smithfield Renewables, told CBN News.

…So how does it work – turning this waste into energy? Often called biomethane, renewable natural gas is pipeline-quality gas that comes from organic matter like hog waste.

CBN News went to North Carolina to tour Circle K II Farms, a Smithfield pilot project.

“Manure actually is a positive thing,” said Westerbeek. “It creates value, and it helps fertilize crops; it helps produce energy. It’s not a bad thing. We view manure as an opportunity.”

Kraig Westerbeek explains how the process moves from the hog buildings to a huge covered lagoon called a “digester.”

“The product, natural gas, is actually a product of digestion of the solids by bacteria, so for that reason, it’s called digestion,” he said.

…The manure is funneled under the large plastic cover of the lagoon, and it’s mixed over and over. Bacteria break it down, producing what’s called biogas, which causes the cover to bubble up. That gas is 65 percent natural gas.

The biogas produced at farms then moves through gathering pipes to a gas-upgrading unit. That’s when Dominion Energy steps in.

“Where we come in – you see this plant back here – we’re gonna lend our engineering expertise to create a process that’s as efficient as possible in creating clean, renewable natural gas that customers can use,” Childress said.

At the gas upgrading system, the natural gas from the farm is refined. When it leaves there, it is 99.1 percent natural gas. It then enters a pipeline and is funneled to homes and businesses.

The article concludes:

This project involves partnering with local farmers like Dean Hilton, who’s been raising hogs for nearly 15 years. He calls it the “wave of the future.”

“After meeting with Kraig on the trial site, we realized that there’s a lot of opportunity in the fact that we can actually reduce our manure in our current lagoons, as well as turning the solids, the new solids into renewable energy,” Hilton said.

Westerbeek admits turning manure into renewable natural gas is “fairly expensive”.

“You have an investment in a digester like you see in the background, and then the gathering pipelines to gather the gas from different farms and bring it to a central location,” he explained.

“And then one of the more expensive parts of this is actually cleaning the gas from its form as biogas from this digester into pipeline-quality natural gas,” Westerbeek continued.

Both he and Childress along with their bosses believe it’s a worthy investment leading to clean energy, plus economic benefits for their companies, rural America and the general public.

This seems like a win-win situation. Now if we can just do the same thing with cows…