Political Climate
Jan 11, 2018
New York City mayor seeks billions from oil companies, blames them for climate change

By Valerie Richardson - Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A week after a brutal snowstorm froze New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered a one-two punch Wednesday in the name of climate change, announcing he will seek billions in damages from five major oil-and-gas companies while moving to divest from fossil fuels.

“It’s time for them to start paying for the damage they have done,” Mr. de Blasio said at a press conference at the Manhattan Youth Center. ‘’it’s time for Big Oil to take responsibility for the devastation they have wrought.’

The two-front attack was promptly pilloried by industry groups as a cynical political stunt, even as it put New York City at the forefront of the environmental movement’s campaign to recruit local governments as allies in the climate change fight.

Flanked by municipal leaders and top climate activists, the Democratic mayor said his goal is to divest the $189 billion public-pension funds from fossil fuels by 2022, which he said would make New York the first major U.S. city to do so.

Mr. de Blasio also announced that the city has filed a lawsuit against five top energy producers, blaming the companies for greenhouse-gas emissions that he said have produced disasters such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“I remember those days after Sandy in the Lower East Side. I remember how desperate it was. I remember how much fear and confusion there was,” said Mr. de Blasio. “And this was a tragedy that was wrought by the actions of the fossil-fuel companies. Let’s be clear: That’s where it came from.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified bill"ons from five companies - BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell - to fund a proposed $20 billion infrastructure project that would “build resilience against rising seas, more powerful storms, and hotter temperatures.”

“The City of New York is taking on these five giants because they are the central actors, they are the first ones responsible for this crisis, and they should not get away with it anymore,” said Mr. de Blasio.

Pushing back were oil-and-gas and industry representatives, who accused the mayor of doing more to curry favor with environmentalists than address human-caused global warming.

“This lawsuit is factually and legally meritless, and will do nothing to address the serious issue of climate change,” said Chevron spokesman Braden Reddall. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue that requires global engagement. Should this litigation proceed, it will only serve special interests at the expense of broader policy, regulatory and economic priorities.”

The legal action comes on the heels of lawsuits filed in the last six months by seven California localities, including Oakland and San Francisco, demanding billions from oil companies in order to build higher seawalls and other climate-driven infrastructure projects.

“Similar to recent lawsuits in California, this headline-seeking stunt is an absurd attempt to politicize natural disasters, rather than a good-faith effort at securing meaningful change,” said Linda Kelly, senior vice president and general counsel of the National Association of Manufacturers.

“De Blasio is showing where his priorities really are by choosing to make his announcement flanked by controversial environmental activists.” she said.
“Ironically, this attack on energy manufacturers comes at a time that New Yorkers have depended on natural gas and heating oil to carry them through the recent extreme cold.”

Those backing the mayor at the press conference included climate activist Naomi Klein, Greenpeace’s Naomi Ages and 350.org’s Bill McKibben, who called the event “one of the most important moments” in the 30-year-old climate-change movement.

“New York City got very, very real today,” said Mr. McKibben. “Today, the mightiest city on our planet takes on its most powerful industry, its richest and most powerful and most irresponsible industry.”

Companies countered that the courts are the wrong venue to decide public policy issues like climate change.

“Climate change is a complex societal challenge that should be addressed through sound government policy and cultural change to drive low-carbon choices for businesses and consumers, not by the courts,” said Shell spokeswoman Natalie Gunnell.

ExxonMobil spokesman Scott Silvestri said the firm “welcomes any well-meaning and good faith attempt to address the risks of climate change,” but that lawsuits :filed by trial attorneys against an industry that provides products we all rely upon to power the economy and enable our domestic life - simply do not do that.”

The theory championed by Mr. de Blasio - that climate change makes storms and other weather events worse - has been hotly contested in academic circles.

University of Colorado professor Roger A. Pielke Jr. released a chart Monday showing that global weather-related losses as a proportion of GDP actually declined from 1990 to 2017.

“The most important caveat: don’t use disasters to argue about trends in climate. Use climate data. Duh,” Mr. Pielke said in his post on Climate Fix.

What’s more, no hurricane made U.S. landfall from 2005-2016 during the so-called “hurricane drought,: the longest on record. Hurricane Sandy degraded to a post-tropical storm before hitting the eastern seaboard.

Debate over divestment

The fossil-fuel divestment campaign has faltered in recent years amid decisions by universities to retain their investments in the name of fiduciary responsibility, but New York City has a recent history of using its pension funds to make political statements.

In 2016, the city’s employee pension fund announced it would sell its holdings in three sporting-goods retailers that sell firearms.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said the city would submit a resolution Thursday on divestment and insisted that it could be accomplished without jeopardizing the pensions of police, teachers, firefighters and other public employees.

Divesting from fossil fuels would pull roughly $5 billion from the city’s five public pension funds, and would represent the largest municipal divestment in U.S. history, according to the mayor’s office.

“We’re going to crunch the numbers and make a plan so that we get New York City’s pension funds in the business of making our planet cleaner and greener with our investments, and we’re going to do it while maintaining our fiduciary responsibilities,” Mr. Stringer said.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed last month pulling fossil-fuel investments from the state’s retirement fund, prompting state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to reiterate that “there are no immediate plans to divest our energy holdings.”

Matt Dempsey, spokesman with the pro-industry group Divestment Facts described Wednesday’s announcement as a “prime example of ‘ready, fire, aim.’”

He said the process of divesting from co-mingled funds necessitates “extensive transaction fees and ongoing management fees,” which have the power to “rob endowment funds of as much as 12 percent of a fund’s total value of a 20-year time frame.”

“When pressed on the details of divestment, both officials ran into real trouble: In addition to being a costly and ineffective effort, divestment is also not something that happens overnight but a long and costly process resulting in little more than a feel-good headline,” said Mr. Dempsey.



Jan 05, 2018
Failed Amstrup polar bear predictions have climate change community in a panic

By Susan J. Crockford

Polar bear experts who falsely predicted that roughly 17,300 polar bears would be dead by now (given sea ice conditions since 2007) have realized their failure has not only kicked their own credibility to the curb, it has taken with it the reputations of their climate change colleagues. This has left many folks unhappy about the toppling of this important global warming icon but ironically, consensus polar bear experts and climate scientists (and their supporters) were the ones who set up the polar bear as a proxy for AGW in the first place.

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Cover image_Twenty Reasons_polarbearscience

I published my professional criticisms on the failed predictions of the polar bear conservation community in a professional online scientific preprint journal, which has now been downloaded almost 2,000 times (Crockford 2017; Crockford and Geist 2017).

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Crockford 2017_Slide 12 screencap

My paper demonstrates that the polar bear/sea ice decline hypothesis, particularly the one developed by Steven Amstrup, is a failure. I’m not the only one who thinks so, as emails obtained from the US Fish and Wildlife Service show. The argument the paper lays out and the facts it presents have not been challenged by any one of the consensus polar bear experts who object to it so strenuously. Instead, they have chosen to misrepresent my work, and publicly belittle my credentials and scientific integrity in the published literature (Harvey et al. 2017) and online.

Harvey and colleagues suggest in their paper that I and others use polar bears as a proxy for AGW as part of a deliberate plan to undermine the public’s confidence in global warming.

Harvey et al. state:

“...the main strategy of denier blogs is therefore to focus on topics that are showy and in which it is therefore easy to generate public interest. These topics are used as “proxies” for AGW in general; in other words, they represent keystone dominoes that are strategically placed in front of many hundreds of others, each representing a separate line of evidence for AGW. By appearing to knock over the keystone domino, audiences targeted by the communication may assume all other dominoes are toppled in a form of “dismissal by association.” [my bold]

I do not recall ever stating or implying that if polar bear predictions of doom were wrong, then general climate change models must also be wrong. But if any other bloggers have done so, they can hardly be blamed.

A bit of reflection shows it was the climate science community itself - in collaboration with Arctic researchers and the media - who by the year 2000 (below) set the polar bear up as an icon for catastrophic global warming. They made the polar bear a proxy for AGW.

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TIME Magazine Cover_ Arctic Meltdown September 2000

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polarbrs iceberg Daily Mail 010207_468x762
Al Gore used the polar bears on an ice flow image (above) to seal global warming icon status for the polar bear in his 2007 movie, An Inconvenient Truth (see National Post March 2007 article
here).

As Harvey et al. co-author Michael Mann said only a few years ago (24 March 2014):

“We are now the polar bear”.

A clear association was made between polar bear survival and AGW, time and time again, as recently as last February (2017):

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Stroeve 2017 we are all ice dependent species

So, when the polar bears failed to die by the thousands as polar bear models predicted, after years of lower summer ice than any sea ice models predicted (see graphic below), some people may have logically stated or implied that perhaps general climate models are similarly flawed.

In essence, Mann’s “we are now the polar bear” statement came back to bite him and his colleagues in the ass, Amstrup and Ian Stirling included.  Predictably, they would like to blame someone else for their failure and embarrassment, so they wrote a sloppy tandrum paper that pretends my polar bear/sea ice decline document doesn’t exist.

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Fig 3 Sea ice prediction vs reality 2012

I guess we all should have seen it coming.

Predicted sea ice changes (based on 2004 data) at 2020, 2050, and 2080 that were used in 2007 to predict a 67% decline in global polar bear numbers vs. an example of the sea ice extent reality experienced since 2007 (shown is 2012). See Crockford 2017 for details.

REFERENCES
Crockford, S.J. and Geist, V. 2018. Conservation Fiasco. Range Magazine, Winter 2017/2018, pg. 26-27. Pdf here.

Crockford, S.J. 2017. Testing the hypothesis that routine sea ice coverage of 3-5 mkm2 results in a greater than 30% decline in population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). PeerJ Preprints 2 March 2017. Doi: 10.7287/peerj.preprints.2737v3 Open access. h

Harvey, J.A., van den Berg, D., Ellers, J., Kampen, R., Crowther, T.W., Roessingh, P., Verheggen, B., Nuijten, R. J. M., Post, E., Lewandowsky, S., Stirling, I., Balgopal, M., Amstrup, S.C., and Mann, M.E. 2017. Internet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy. Bioscience. DOI: 10.1093/biosci/bix133



Dec 23, 2017
Delingpole: Christmas Is Here, Everyone! EPA Officials Are ‘Leaving in Droves’

by JAMES DELINGPOLE 22 Dec 20178,211

Environmental Protection Agency officials are “leaving in droves”, reports the New York Times.

More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration.

What marvelous news to ease us all into the festive Christmas spirit, eh readers?

Why, it’s like the final scene in A Christmas Carol where Scrooge repents of all his miserliness, his nephew Fred gets a big fat turkey, Bob Cratchit gets a pay rise and Tiny Tim declares “God bless us, every one!”

Not, of course, that this is quite the way the New York Times sees it. It wants us to believe that this is an attack on both science and the environment.

Within the agency, science in particular is taking a hard hit. More than 27 percent of those who left this year were scientists, including 34 biologists and microbiologists; 19 chemists; 81 environmental engineers and environmental scientists; and more than a dozen toxicologists, life scientists and geologists. Employees say the exodus has left the agency depleted of decades of knowledge about protecting the nation’s air and water. Many also said they saw the departures as part of a more worrisome trend of muting government scientists, cutting research budgets and making it more difficult for academic scientists to serve on advisory boards.

Actually, though, what it really is is #winning.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is achieving what President Trump appointed him to do. He is draining the swamp.

As I’ve argued before, the EPA has always had less to do with protecting the environment - Colorado gold mine, anyone? - than it does with killing business.

Essentially, it is a communist sleeper cell introduced to the heart of the U.S. government system by Richard Nixon in the mistaken belief that paying Danegeld to your enemies will make them leave you alone.

Previous Republican presidents - such as the Bushes - were far too squishy to dare reform it.

Democrat presidents, most notably Obama, used it as a way of bypassing Congress and imposing on the U.S. a United-Nations-driven globalist agenda almost entirely inimical to the interests of American citizens.

The most egregious example of this was the EPA’s Endangerment Finding, which declared carbon dioxide - and various other harmless trace gases - to be a threat to “the public health and welfare of current and future generations.”

This was a political decision, not a scientific one, forced through by Obama’s hatchetwoman Lisa Jackson.

As Dennis Ambler argued at the time in this Science and Public Policy paper:

The EPA is effectively no longer under the control of the US Congress; its allegiance is to the UN and implementation of the policies of Sustainable Development via Agenda 21. It has considerable involvement in the IPCC reports and claims the UN body as a peer reviewed authority, in pursuing ever more rigorous controls of “CO2 pollution”, to bring about the realisation of “environmental governance”.

Whilst Lisa Jackson is currently the face on the box at the EPA, she is simply carrying out the tasks expected of her by the globalist movement in setting the scene for more international control, under the leadership of the United Nations.

Most of the EPA authors of the Endangerment Technical Support Document were economists and environmental policy specialists with qualifications like Masters in International Affairs or Public Policy or Management. Those few that were scientists were bought and paid up members of the UN/IPCC establishment, with no interest in questioning the alarmist consensus.

The junk science of the Endangerment Finding was in turn responsible for Obama’s monumentally destructive Clean Power Plan, which drove up energy prices, hit U.S. economic competitiveness and killed jobs.

Anyone who thinks it’s sad that 700 EPA officials have lost their jobs should maybe consider the 50,000 workers in the U.S. coal industry alone who lost their jobs as a result the EPA-enforced Clean Power Plan.

Of all the many disastrous decisions made by the Obama administration, probably the most dishonest and damaging was the one whereby it branded the harmless trace gas which helps plants to grow as public enemy number one.

The EPA was an unaccountable agency promulgating a massive lie to the detriment of the American people, their freedoms and their livelihoods.

Donald Trump has given America a good many reasons to celebrate this Christmas. His defanging of the EPA might well be the greatest one of them all.



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