Taxes fund environmental suits - Environmental law firms reap billions in fees to fund lawsuits

By Mitch Lies, Capital Press, October 15, 2009 [here]

The federal government has paid out billions of dollars to environmental groups for attorney fees and costs, according to data assembled by a Cheyenne, Wyoming, lawyer.

Karen Budd-Falen of Budd-Falen Law Offices said the government between 2003 and 2007 paid more than $4.7 billion in taxpayer money to environmental law firms — and that’s just in the lawsuits she tracked.

The actual figure, she said, is far greater.

“I think we only found that the iceberg exists,” she said. “I don’t think we have any idea how much money is being spent. But I think it’s huge.”

In some cases, Budd-Falen said, intervening ranchers and farmers are paying for the defense of their farm and ranch practices and — through their taxes — paying for the opposing lawyers’ attorney fees.

“That money is not going into programs to protect people, wildlife, plants and animals,” Budd-Falen said, “but to fund more lawsuits.”

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20 Aug 2009, 1:38am
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Seven arrests in suspected £38m carbon credit fraud

Seven people have been arrested and 27 addresses raided over an suspected £38m fraud involving the trade of carbon credits to avoid paying value-added tax (VAT).

By Rowena Mason, Telegraph UK, 19 Aug 2009 [here]

Officers from HM Revenue & Customs searched both residential properties and offices in both Gravesend and London targeting an alleged network of organised crime.

Members are believed to have been trading large volumes of high-value carbon credits from overseas sources free of VAT.

Tax investigators believe these may then have been sold on to businesses in the UK charging VAT that is never paid to the authorities.

Officers said further arrests are likely, adding that the proceeds of this alleged crime have been “used to finance lavish lifestyles and the purchase of prestige vehicles”.

The Treasury removed VAT from carbon credits on July 31 as a temporary measure until the European Union works out a common policy to tackle fraudsters.

The tax dodge appears to be a variation of “carousel” VAT fraud. Carousel fraud, also known as “missing trader” fraud, typically involves goods such as mobile phones and computer chips imported VAT-free from EU member states. These are then sold in the UK, including a VAT charge, but the trader then going missing without paying the taxman.

Companies now need permits to emit carbon dioxide as part of the global fight against climate change and polluters are granted a certain number of emissions allowances that can be traded.

“The Government took decisive action to prevent this type of fraud recurring by zero rating carbon credits for VAT,” said Les Beaumont, deputy director of criminal investigation for HMRC.

Arctic Ice Rebounds — Summer Extent Greatest Since 2004

Summer Sea Ice Good News for Hudson Bay Polar Bears

By PR Newswire, Aug. 18, 2009 [here]

CHURCHILL, Canada — Scientists have confirmed what a Tundra Buggy(R) business in Churchill is witnessing: that due to colder-than-usual subarctic weather this year, healthier polar bears are being spotted along the west Hudson Bay coast.

“We are going to have a great opportunity this autumn to fulfill our Tundra Buggy Adventure guests’ expectations of snow, ice and healthy polar bears,” says John Gunter, General Manager of Frontiers North Adventures in Churchill. “The last couple weeks, as polar bears have been making their way from ice to land for the summer, we’ve seen from our Tundra Buggies numerous big, healthy polar bears in Manitoba Conservation’s Churchill Wildlife Management Area, east of Churchill.”

“This year there is more ice on average,” explains Dr. David Barber, a Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science and the director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science at the University of Manitoba. “Hudson Bay in particular has seen a very cold winter and essentially a late spring.” … [more]

Graph courtesy International Arctic Research Center in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

18 Aug 2009, 11:54pm
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Global Warming, a Mass Mania

by Walter Starck, Quadrant Magazine Ltd., August 11, 2009 [here]

Throughout history episodic eruptions of mass manias have swept societies. These outbreaks embody the dissatisfactions, fears and hopes of their times while offering a shining path to a bright new future. They are characterised by a millenarian nature, wherein threat of punishment for past sins is accompanied by promise of salvation through a new faith.

The power of mass manias is reinforced by severe disapproval of any questioning of their certain truth. Any doubt is seen not just as error needing correction but as conscious deliberate evil deserving expulsion or extermination. With adherents permitted only to support the established dogma, these movements tend to gather followers rapidly. But they also soon become afflicted with a growing disconnect from reality which they can neither acknowledge nor adjust for.

As no believer dares express anything other than certainty, social manias tend to persist for some time after their disconnect with reality has become obvious to all. In the face of such recalcitrant reality, leaders are forced to become ever more extreme in their proclamations. This then often leads to a zenith of zealotry and disconnect just before increasingly obvious reality finally forces them to make some small admission of error. The spell is then broken and the faith collapses.

Global Warming is the mania of our times. While there is good scientific evidence that atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing from the burning of fossil fuels, and that carbon dioxide does indeed absorb infa-red heat radiation of certain frequencies, it is purely speculation that this will cause a climate catastrophe. …

Unfortunately, the academics, activists, politicians and bureaucrats leading the push for carbon dioxide taxation and use of renewable energy are non-producers who are woefully ignorant of both the economic reality of productive activity and the practical limits of technology. They are techno-economic-illiterates with a cargo cult understanding of production. Their prescriptions amount to a ritualistic belief that admitting sin (GW) and making an appropriate sacrifice (carbon dioxide taxes) will in some undefined (magical) way bring forth all the right changes, discoveries and implementations that are needed to effect a bright new world of clean endlessly renewable energy with minimal inconvenience to anyone. … [more]

Agricultural Methods Of Early Civilizations May Have Altered Global Climate

ScienceDaily, Aug. 18, 2009, [here]

Massive burning of forests for agriculture thousands of years ago may have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide enough to alter global climate and usher in a warming trend that continues today, according to a new study that appears online Aug. 17 in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

Researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County say that today’s 6 billion people use about 90 percent less land per person for growing food than was used by far smaller populations early in the development of civilization. Those early societies likely relied on slash-and-burn techniques to clear large tracts of land for relatively small levels of food production.

“They used more land for farming because they had little incentive to maximize yield from less land, and because there was plenty of forest to burn,” said William Ruddiman, the lead author and a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. “They may have inadvertently altered the climate.”

Ruddiman is a climate scientist who specializes in investigating ocean-sediment and ice-core records. In recent years he has searched across scientific disciplines – anthropology, archaeology, population dynamics, climatology – to gain insight into how humans may have affected climate over the millennia.

He said that early populations likely used a land-clearing method that involved burning forests, then planting crop seed among the dead stumps in the enriched soil. They would use a large plot until the yield began to decline, and then would burn off another area of forest for planting.

They would continue this form of rotation farming, ever expanding the cleared areas as their populations grew. They possibly cleared five or more times more land than they actually farmed at any given time. It was only as populations grew much larger, and less land was available for farming or for laying fallow, that societies adopted more intensive farming techniques and slowly gained more food yield from less land.

Ruddiman notes that with the highly efficient and intensive farming of today, growing populations are using less land per capita for agriculture. Forests are returning in many parts of the world, including the northeastern United States, Europe, Canada, Russia and even parts of China. … [more]

Note: historical landscape geography studies indicate that vast areas of Amazonia were home to sedentary civilizations who farmed the same soils for hundreds or even thousands of years. This was not slash-and-burn but permanent agriculture. See Amazonian Dark Earths: Wim Sombroek’s Vision [here].

22 Jul 2009, 5:17pm
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Algore’s Hometown Experiences Big Chill

Coolest July 21 recorded in Nashville as cool wave continues in Tenn

By Associated Press, July 21, 2009 [here]

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Cool weather has broken a previous low temperature for July 21 in Nashville that was set when Rutherford B. Hayes was president.

When the temperature at the National Weather Service station dipped to 58 degrees at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday, it wiped out the previous record low for the date of 60 degrees, which was set in 1877.

NWS forecaster Bobby Boyd noted it was the third consecutive morning when Nashville either tied or broke a daily low temperature record.

Temperatures were cool, but did not break records at several Tennessee cities.

Knoxville dropped to 59 degrees Tuesday morning, Chattanooga had 60 degrees, Tri-Cities recorded 58 degrees and Memphis was 69 degrees.

17 Jul 2009, 10:41pm
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NOAA’s and GISS’s Hot Streaks Continue — Despite Satellite Sensed Cooling

By Joseph D’Aleo CCM, AMS Fellow, ICECAP, July 15, 2009 [here]

NOAA has as expected announced that June 2009 for the globe was the second warmest June in 130 years, falling just short of 2005. NASA GISS which starts with NCDC GHCN and then adds their own special touches had this June the second warmest on record just behind 1998.

In sharp contrast, NASA UAH MSU satellite assessment had June virtually normal (+0.001C or 15th coldest in 31 years) and RSS (+0.075C or 14th coldest in 31 years). This is becoming a habit.

NOAA proclaimed May 2009 to be the 4th warmest for the globe in 130 years of record keeping. Meanwhile NASA UAH MSU satellite assessment showed it was the 15th coldest May in the 31 years of its record. This divergence is not new and has been growing. Just a year ago, NOAA proclaimed June 2008 to be the 8th warmest for the globe in 129 years of record keeping. Meanwhile NASA satellites showed it was the 9th coldest June in the 30 years of its record. … [more]

17 Jul 2009, 10:40pm
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Why Waxman-Markey Is Not A Climate Bill

by Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource, June 29, 2009 [here]

The current debate has proven one thing very clearly. The U.S. climate debate is not about saving the climate. It is about regulation for its own sake in the name of “saving the climate.” This fact should give pause to everyone who really cares about human welfare. Cap-and-trade is at odds with the economic wealth needed to adapt to a future that cannot be centrally planned by politicos.

Saturday’s New York Times headline (print edition) read: “House Backs Bill, 219-212, to Curb Global Warming.” But if the 219 House members who voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454, aka the Waxman-Markey climate bill) thought they were casting a vote to “curb global warming,” they were sadly mistaken.

As I have shown, the climate impact of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions prescribed under Waxman-Markey is very small—best case it reduces projected global warming by less than one-tenth of a degree Fahrenheit by 2050 and only about one-third of a ºF by century’s end—a reduction that is scientifically meaningless. Many Representatives, in their pre-vote statements on the House floor, pointed this out, and perhaps many of the dissenting vote casters took this fact to heart.

However, while many of the opposition speakers mentioned the paucity of climate impacts from the emissions reduction measures, the great majority of the supporting speeches focused on energy security and domestic job creation (a contention vehemently challenged by the dissenters) and left the influence on the climate out of it! Undoubtedly, they knew full well that it would be inconsequential. … [more]

8 Jul 2009, 3:47pm
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Pickens calls off massive wind farm in Texas

By John Porretto, Ap Energy Writer, Yahoo News, July 7, 2009 [here]

HOUSTON – Plans for the world’s largest wind farm in the Texas Panhandle have been scrapped, energy baron T. Boone Pickens said Tuesday, and he’s looking for a home for 687 giant wind turbines.

Pickens has already ordered the turbines, which can stand 400 feet tall — taller than most 30-story buildings.

“When I start receiving those turbines, I’ve got to … like I said, my garage won’t hold them,” the legendary Texas oilman said. “They’ve got to go someplace.”

Pickens’ company Mesa Power ordered the turbines from General Electric Co. — a $2 billion investment — a little more than a year ago. Pickens said he has leases on about 200,000 acres in Texas that were planned for the project, and he might place some of the turbines there, but he’s also looking for smaller wind projects to participate in. He said he’s looking at potential sites in the Midwest and Canada.

In Texas, the problem lies in getting power from the proposed site in the Panhandle to a distribution system, Pickens said in an interview with The Associated Press in New York. He’d hoped to build his own transmission lines but he said there were technical problems.

Wind power is a big part of the “Pickens Plan,” which was announced a year ago Wednesday. Pickens has spent $60 million crisscrossing the country and buying advertising in an effort to reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign oil. …

Like most industries around the world, the recession has hurt wind turbine manufacturers and wind farm developers. Companies have shelved development plans and laid off workers. … [more]

7 Jul 2009, 12:18am
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U.S. Government Scientist’s Shock Admission: ‘Climate Model Software Doesn’t Meet the Best Standards Available’

Plus: Another Gov’t Scientist admits ‘chaotic component of climate system… is not predictable beyond two weeks, even theoretically’

By Marc Morano, Climate Depot, July 06, 2009 [here]


Two prominent U.S. Government scientists made two separate admissions questioning the reliability of climate models used to predict warming decades and hundreds of years into the future.

Gary Strand, a software engineer at the federally funded National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), admitted climate model software “doesn’t meet the best standards available” in a comment he posted on the website Climate Audit.

“As a software engineer, I know that climate model software doesn’t meet the best standards available. We’ve made quite a lot of progress, but we’ve still quite a ways to go,” Strand wrote on July 5, 2009, according to the website http://wattsupwiththat.com/.

Strand’s candid admission promoted Watts Up With That’s skeptical Meteorologist Anthony Watts to ask the following question:

Do we really want Congress to make trillion dollar tax decisions today based on ’software [that] doesn’t meet the best standards available?’”

Meteorologist Watts also critiqued the current climate models, noting, “NASA GISS model E written on some of the worst FORTRAN coding ever seen is a challenge to even get running. NASA GISTEMP is even worse. Yet our government has legislation under consideration significantly based on model output that Jim Hansen started. His 1988 speech to Congress was entirely based on model scenarios.

Another Government Scientist Admits Climate Model Shortcomings

Another government scientist — NASA climate modeler Gavin Schmidt — admitted last week that the “chaotic component of climate system…is not predictable beyond two weeks, even theoretically.”

Schmidt made his admission during a June 29, 2009 interview about the shortcomings of climate models. Schmidt noted that some climate models “suggest very strongly” that the American Southwest will dry in a warming world. But Schmidt also noted that “other models suggest the exact opposite.”

“With these two models, you have two estimates — one says it’s going to get wetter and one says it’s going to get drier. What do you do? Is there anything that you can say at all? That is a really difficult question,” Schmidt conceded.

“The problem with climate prediction and projections going out to 2030 and 2050 is that we don’t anticipate that they can be tested in the way you can test a weather forecast. It takes about 20 years to evaluate because there is so much unforced variability in the system which we can’t predict — the chaotic component of the climate system — which is not predictable beyond two weeks, even theoretically. That is something that we can’t really get a handle on,” Schmidt lamented. … [more]

Climate change is shrinking sheep

By Victoria Gill, Science reporter, BBC News, 2 July 2009 [here]

Climate change is causing a breed of wild sheep in Scotland to shrink, according to research.

Scientists say milder winters help smaller sheep to survive, resulting in this “paradoxical decrease in size”.

Classic evolutionary theory would predict that wild sheep gradually get bigger, as the stronger, larger animals survive into adulthood and reproduce.

Reporting in Science journal, the team says this shows the “subtle interplay” between evolution and the environment.

Scientists first began studying Soay sheep, on the island of Hirta in the St Kilda archipelago, in 1985.

Since then, the sheep have decreased in size by 5% - their legs getting steadily shorter and their body weight decreasing.

This strange phenomenon was first reported in 2007, but the reason for it remained under debate. … [more]

Note: more comic relief. Sheep have evolved since 1985? Darwin’s pocket sheep? Due to “climate change”? Science Mag has descended into buffoonery.

29 Jun 2009, 9:11pm
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Sen. Inhofe Calls for Inquiry Into Suppressed Climate Change Report

Republicans are raising questions about why the EPA apparently dismissed an analyst’s report questioning the science behind global warming.

By Judson Berger, FOXNews.com, June 29, 2009 [here]

A top Republican senator has ordered an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency’s alleged suppression of a report that questioned the science behind global warming.

The 98-page report, co-authored by EPA analyst Alan Carlin, pushed back on the prospect of regulating gases like carbon dioxide as a way to reduce global warming. Carlin’s report argued that the information the EPA was using was out of date, and that even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have increased, global temperatures have declined.

“He came out with the truth. They don’t want the truth at the EPA,” Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla, a global warming skeptic, told FOX News, saying he’s ordered an investigation. “We’re going to expose it.”

The controversy comes after the House of Representatives passed a landmark bill to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, one that Inhofe said will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate despite President Obama’s energy adviser voicing confidence in the measure.

more »

Ecopocalypse causes giant fish ears

First Vulcans, then Obama, now les poissons

By Rik Myslewski, The Register UK, 26th June 2009 [here]

Under the sea, fish are growing abnormally large ear bones - and it’s all our fault.

According to a study published Friday in the prestigious journal Science, boffins at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at San Diego’s University of California have discovered that rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the world’s oceans are causing sea bass to grow oversized otoliths - that’s boffinspeak for ear bones.

And what causes rising carbon dioxide levels? You guessed it: we humans.

A Scripps statement blames “human activities, particularly fossil fuel burning” for causing “both increased ocean CO2 and ocean acidification.”

For the aforementioned bass, big ear bones may be no laughing matter. “Otoliths serve a vital function in fish,” says Scripps, “by helping them sense orientation and acceleration.”

David Checkley, a Scripps professor and lead author of the study, admits that “At this point one doesn’t know what the effects are in terms of anything damaging to the behavior or the survival of the fish with larger otoliths.” He adds, however, that “The assumption is that anything that departs significantly from normality is an abnormality and abnormalities at least have the potential for having deleterious effects.”

The seafaring researchers plan further studies to determine if the same deformities are occurring in fish other than the sea bass and whether being otolithically big-boned affects a fish’s survival and behavior.

“If fish can do just fine or better with larger otoliths then there’s no great concern,” says Checkley. “But fish have evolved to have their bodies the way they are. The assumption is that if you tweak them in a certain way it’s going to change the dynamics of how the otolith helps the fish stay upright, navigate and survive.”

We can only hope that the ocean’s finned folk never learn of our complicity in their predicament. The briny deep is already a dangerous enough place without it being stocked with billions of enraged - if clumsy - smelt, scrod, grunts, and grunions.

28 Jun 2009, 8:19pm
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Mystic Met Office predicts neighbourhood Thermageddon

Modelling ‘totally inadequate’ last year - why trust it now?

By Tony Newbery, The Register UK, 24th June 2009 [here]

On Thursday, the Met Office launched its new report on global warming: UK Climate Projections 2009, otherwise known as UKCP09. This is based on the output of Hadley Centre climate models that predict temperature increases of up to 6°C with wetter winters, dryer summers, more heatwaves, rising sea levels, more floods and all the other catastrophes that one would expect from similar exercises in alarmism.

What makes this report different from any of its predecessors is the resolution of the predictions that the Met Office is making. They are not just presenting a general impression of what might happen globally during this century, or even how climate change could affect the UK as a whole. They are claiming that they can predict what will happen in individual regions of the country - down to a 25km square. You can enter your postcode and find out how your street will be affected by global warming in 2040 or 2080.

All this is rather unexpected. In May last year, I posted here and here about a world summit of climate modellers that took place at Reading University. On the agenda was one very important problem for them; even the most powerful super-computers that have been developed so far are not capable of running the kind of high resolution models that they claim would allow them to reduce the degree of uncertainty in their predictions, and also make detailed regional predictions that policy makers would like to have so that they can build climate change into infrastructure planning. … [more]

10 Jun 2009, 11:16pm
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Taxing Cows

By Alan Caruba, Facts Not Fantasy Blog, June 9, 2009 [here]

Just how crazed is the Environmental Protection Agency? When I say “crazed”, I mean just how far out of touch with reality, with science, with the economy, with common sense, and with the American people is the EPA?

Ever since the Supreme Court made one of the greatest blunders since the Dred Scott case, declaring carbon dioxide (CO2) a “pollutant” that could be regulated by the EPA, that deranged agency has been pushing a tax on CO2 emissions from cows, pigs, and other farm animals on which we depend for milk and meat at the local supermarket.

According to Encarta, in 2005 there were an estimated 95,848,000 cows in the United States. Presumably, there are comparable numbers of pigs, goats, and other critters that emit belches and farts sufficient to destroy the Earth with the CO2 they emit. Nor should we overlook the six pounds of CO2 that the 307 million Americans exhale daily.

Since there is NO global warming and the Earth has been cooling for the past decade, the proposal that these farm animals be taxed constitutes a criminal act, devoid of any justification.

Since CO2 plays virtually no role whatever in so-called “climate change”, taxing farm animals is a violation of the known science and an assault on the economy in the name of the greatest hoax of the modern age.

It is not, however, a matter of “saving the Earth” so far as the EPA and the rest of the Obama administration is concerned. It is MONEY. And money is POWER. … [here]

Note: Not to criticize Alan or anything, but we posted this tale of flatulence emanating from the gooberment last November, together with the requisite tanked cow pic [here], and it has been the most popular post ever at W.I.S.E. News. Not sure why that is, but it might be the sonorous title, EPA Proposes Cow Fart Tax, that has attracted web visitors like flies to… honey.

 
  
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