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The Truth

The truth is as hard to grasp as water in your hand. – Justin Bass, copyright June 5, 2015.

Google search for %22water EPA%22 on June 5, 2015

Google search for “water EPA” on June 5, 2015

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WARNING: Cancer in the Water

Carcinogens in oil-drilling wastewater pose a threat to California’s drinking water. That is why on July 1, 2015, the State Water Resources Control Board will craft its first groundwater-protection program. The final criteria will be based partly on input from the public in May and June. Unfortunately, the Water Board has no plan for a public-awareness campaign to let the people know about the public-comment period, other than the Water Board’s website.

Anyone can make suggestions to the Board’s headquarters in Sacramento by email, fax, standard mail or in person, until May 29. Then the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will make its recommendations available to the public on June 16. Public comment on the final draft of the groundwater model criteria will be open until June 29. If all goes according to schedule, the Board will finalize the groundwater plan July 1 and adopt it officially on July 7.

In contrast to New York’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), California decided to regulate all methods of well stimulation used by the oil companies. California is not only the 7th largest economy on the planet, it is also the 3rd largest oil-producing state in the country.

The black dots represent California’s active oil wells regulated by the state’s Department of Conservation (map procured from http://maps.conservation.ca.gov/doggr/index.html#close):

California's Active Oil Wells

This is the first time in the history of the state that California will regulate enhanced methods of oil extraction used by oil companies, since oil drilling started in the Golden State over 120 years ago. Long, metal straws, as oil-drilling pipes, pierce the groundwater on the way to the pools of fossil fuels thousands of feet below the surface. Any leak in the oil-drilling pipe could contaminate the groundwater. The oil companies also use injection wells to dispose of wastewater. Likewise, the injection wells stick through the groundwater, and any hole in the injection wells could pollute the groundwater.

California does not even know how much groundwater it has because nobody has ever bothered to measure and track it. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allowed oil companies to dump waste into certain areas of California’s groundwater because it was thought that the water was so deep and dirty it would never need to be used. Farmers who typically drilled to a depth of 500 feet to access drinking water now have to drill past 1,000 feet to reach the potable groundwater. Corporations, like Crystal Geyser, Coca-Cola and Nestlé, also drill for California’s groundwater to make as much bottled water as they want, and they do so legally because the state currently allows property owners to access the water under the land they own. Some parts of the state are sinking, or subsiding, because taking water out of the sediment is similar to letting air out of a tire.

Now in the fourth year of a debilitating drought, Governor Jerry Brown and the Water Board enacted a 25 percent reduction in urban water use. California farmers, who grow the overwhelming majority of fruits, nuts and vegetables for the rest of the country, have also agreed to a 25 percent reduction in water use. On top of that, the Metropolitan Water District, which supplies drinking water for most of the 22 million people living in Southern California, announced a 15 percent reduction in imported water from the Colorado River and Northern California. The panoply of water-rationing programs will go into effect on July 1.

There is less water to go around for California’s 38 million people and to grow the fresh produce shared with America’s 300 million-plus thirsty and hungry mouths. Yet oil companies continue to use well-stimulation techniques that could contaminate drinking and irrigation water. The state’s oil regulators admitted that oil companies have been illegally dumping drilling waste into underground sources of drinking water that were not exempted by the EPA. Recently 23 of the offending injection wells were shut down.

The U.S. Clean Water Act protects surface waters, such as lakes and rivers, from which California draws about 25 percent of its potable water. The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act protects the other 75 percent of the Golden State’s drinkable water, which comes in the form of groundwater. There is one exception to the SDWA: the Republican-majority Congress of 2005 exempted fracking fluids from federal regulation, thus leaving it up to the states to regulate fracking contamination of groundwater. Now California’s oil regulators are investigating all 50,000 injection wells in California, and they suspect approximately 2,500 injection wells may be operating in violation of the SDWA.

In addition, President Barack Obama will announce a new rule to protect all United States drinking water, surface water and groundwater, The New York Times reported on May 22, 2015.

“There are enough chemicals in oils that are carcinogens,” but when acid-mixes are used to stimulate the oil well and then injection wells shoot the hazardous materials underground “that’s even worse. That creates all the chlorinated hydrocarbons, which are all carcinogens. Like chloroform, that’s a carbonate. All the PCBs, all the polychlorinated biphenyls, are even more toxic,” said Dr. Robert Schiestl, who is a professor of Pathology, Environmental Health Science and Radiation Oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a member of the University’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. “Epidemiological studies lag behind 40 years because that’s how long it takes for the people to get cancer.”

Many times health professionals, like those at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for example, treat the symptoms of leukemia without anyone ever asking what caused the leukemia in the first place. A mother, who for many years has lived on the same block as a residential oil-drilling site in the City of LA, gave birth to a child with leukemia, her neighbor said. The baby died and the mother does not want to talk about it for public consumption, according to the neighbor, who did not want to be named. When asked if a woman could give birth to a child with leukemia as a result of drinking water with oil-drilling contaminants in it, Dr. Schiestl answered, “It is possible.”

Since January 1, 2014, oil companies operating in California are required by the law, known as Senate Bill 4, to inform neighbors of any well stimulation within 1,500 feet (or the length of five football fields), so that the neighbors can request tests of the local groundwater. The oil companies and their state regulators keep changing the definition of well stimulation. Therefore, the public is not notified and never knows its rights. Likewise, California’s first groundwater-monitoring program is supposed to be open for public comment, starting with a public workshop in Sacramento on May 19. Again, the majority of the public did not know about Tuesday’s open event and most people do not know about the problem of oil companies contaminating the public groundwater.

In March, Governor Brown staged a photo-op in front of a desiccated, Sierra Nevada mountainside, where there is historically a visible covering of white snow for scientists to measure. April storms provided enough snow for popular winter resorts in Mammoth Mountain and Tahoe to extend their ski seasons, but 2015 was the driest winter in California since the state started recordkeeping of droughts in the 1800s. California needs snow more than rain, because snow melts slowly and accumulates in underground aquifers whereas rain runs off into the gutters and out to the ocean before state and local agencies can collect it for drinking. Not only does the oil industry contaminate groundwater with its use of injection wells dumping into pristine aquifers, but the burning of oil creates warmer precipitation events and thus depletes California’s essential snowpack. The snowpack is the state’s slow-drip supply of drinking water. Snow we can hold in our hands, rain runs through our fingers.

Despite having a law to protect drinking water from oil-drilling contamination, the enforcement of the law is still up to the oil regulators at the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (under the aegis of the Department of Conservation), who are operating in the best interest of the oil companies’ profits and the $6 billion worth of annual taxes they produce for the state, rather than informing the public of potential well-stimulation contaminants in the groundwater, beneath their homes and near the oil drilling sites.

The $6 billion tax figure comes from a December 24, 2013 Op-Ed published in the Los Angeles Times by Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association. The WSPA lobbies for the oil industry in California and five other states. When the LA City Council voted to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city limits in 2014, the oil companies and their lobbyists threatened to sue the City. So there is no ban on hydraulic fracturing in the City of LA.

To date, California has conducted only one SB 4-related, water-quality test, and that test was for surface water not groundwater, according to Andrew DiLuccia, Public Information Officer at California’s Water Board. “The test results indicated no impacts associated with well stimulation,” he said about the lone water test near Fillmore, in Ventura County, California. None of the underground sources of drinking water polluted by the oil companies’ 23 illegal injection wells have been tested under SB 4 regulations. However, benzene, a known human carcinogen, was detected inside fracking wastewater at “levels thousands of times greater than state and federal agencies consider safe” in 2013, according to an article from the Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter, Julie Cart, of the Los Angeles Times.

“Benzene is the most toxic of the fuel components and can seriously affect the blood cells. Industrial workers exposed to high levels of benzene in the air were at higher risk of developing a type of anemia and of having a low white blood cell count than other unexposed workers,” reads a July 1997 report from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, titled Volatile Organic Compounds in Drinking Water. “Leukemia, a form of cancer of the white blood cells, was more likely to occur in industrial workers as compared to other workers. There is also limited evidence that benzene can injure the fetus or cause miscarriage.”

Statewide water rationing goes into effect this summer for all Californians, while the oil companies continue to use known carcinogens and stimulate oil wells with thousands of gallons of hydrochloric acid mixed with thousands of gallons of water. For instance, Breitburn Energy and Pacific Coast Energy operate dozens of active oil wells, called West Pico, at the corner of Pico Boulevard and Doheny Drive in the City of Los Angeles. The City is host to hundreds of active oil wells, many of which are in residential neighborhoods, where people in cars navigate the streets and pedestrians walk in the shade of tree-lined sidewalks.

The black dots represent the City of LA’s active oil wells:

LA's Active Oil Wells

The Department of Conservation’s public records show that on January 2, 2014, DOGGR’s engineer, John Huff, approved the West Pico 12 oil well to begin “stimulation of the Hauser Formation & new Repetto perforations with 15% HCl [Hydrochloric Acid],” in the Beverly Hills-adjacent neighborhood represented by LA City Councilmember, Paul Koretz. (Hauser and Repetto are millions-of-years-old geological formations.) This use of acid to stimulate the oil well is considered “maintenance” by the oil regulators, but it still creates wastewater that the oil company injects deep into the ground, in the same neighborhood as moms pushing baby strollers and dads pitching to bat-wielding kids in the front yards.

“DOGGR does not do an adequate job of regulation,” Koretz said.

Many of the local residents have no idea about the toxic chemicals being used down the block. “If we had known about the oil drilling, we never would’ve moved here,” said Lyndsey Vlaicu, who lives with her husband and their 2-year-old son within a stone’s throw of Pacific Coast Energy’s West Pico oil derrick, which is disguised behind a building-like façade and a fringe of trees. “I can smell gas four to five times a week.” Acrid fumes pervade the air more so when the workers show up with their trucks, Vlaicu added.

Full disclosure: I used to live on the same block as the West Pico oil wells, but moved away in March 2015. I did not know Mrs. Vlaicu until after I moved from the neighborhood and began reporting this story. Like many of the residents on the block, I was not notified about the productive oil derrick, which is located about the length of one football field away from my former apartment.

The black dots represent the active West Pico oil wells:

West Pico Active Oil Wells

In practice, the regulators at DOGGR determine what constitutes well stimulation, no matter what the text of SB 4 states. There is no agency other than DOGGR to enforce the law and there is no recourse for the people of California to challenge DOGGR’s authority. The EPA gave California “primacy” to regulate its oil drilling and groundwater, which the state ostensibly fulfills through DOGGR and the law, SB 4. The oil companies’ lobbyists helped to write the law and their regulators assist the oil companies to get around the required public disclosure of well stimulation.

“This is the well that we want to perforate the Repetto and do an acid job,” wrote Frank Smith of Breitburn Energy to Huff, the oil regulator at DOGGR, on January 27, 2014. “We believe that there is adequate protection of any USDW [Underground Source of Drinking Water]. Tom [McCollum of Pacific Coast Energy] and I would like to call you around 9:15 am this morning to discuss with you. Our West Pico rig is awaiting orders and not having to do a cement squeeze would save us about $100,000.”

West Pico 1

West Pico 2

West Pico 3

Breitburn got the approval for Pacific Coast Energy to go ahead with the acid job.

“To follow up on our phone conversation, based on the results of the cement bond log, no cement squeeze is necessary at this time,” wrote Huff, the oil regulator.

A cement bond log calculates the thickness and quality of the cement around the oil pipe.

Not only would it have added to the cost, but the cement squeeze at West Pico 12 would have also added an extra layer of protection between the groundwater and the toxic chemicals in the oil/acid mix running through the industrial piping. For a reference point, the inadequate cement job and the overdue cement bond log at the Deepwater Horizon oil drill in the Gulf of Mexico were largely to blame for the catastrophic ocean spill in 2010.

The cause of the massive oil spill in the California ocean water near Santa Barbara on May 19 is still unknown, as of this reporting.

It is important to note that solar-electric panels and plug-in cars never polluted the water in California. It’s time for all of us, as a civilization, to transition from using oil and other fossil fuels as soon as possible. We, the consumers, are causing our own problems by perpetuating the production and sale of dirty fossil fuels because almost all of us continue to use them in one way or another. We use oil and gas for our cars and we cook with natural gas flames. We heat our water with fire and we produce our electricity by burning fossils fuels. However, our cars, our cooking, our heated water and our electricity can all be energized by the Sun. If you want to point a finger at anyone for the problem of global warming, the prolonged drought and the scarcity of clean water in California, power down your computer or phone, extend your index finger toward the black screen and take a good, hard look at your reflection. What are you going to do? You can no longer plead ignorance. Now you know the problems and the solutions. So what are you going to do?

Here is the Water Board’s website:

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/groundwater/sb4/docs/notice_model_criteria.pdf

For Perspective:

Go to page 4 of the highlighted document below to see “well stimulation” at the West Pico 40 oil well, as the South Coast Air Quality Management District, or AQMD, defines it:

COM – R1148.2 Chemical Report – PB – 11-5-2013 – Event ID#868 – Fac ID; …-3

After receiving a public records request in April 2015, the AQMD, has delayed the release of 2014 and 2015 chemical reports at the West Pico facility, due to possible trade secrets, said Lisa Ramos, Public Records Coordinator at AQMD. SB 4 protects trade secrets as long as the oil company reports the chemicals to DOGGR and defines the use of them as “well stimulation.”

Neither Breitburn Energy executives nor Pacific Coast Energy executives returned calls and emails requesting a comment about their residential oil drilling and “well stimulation” that runs through neighborhood groundwater.

Read the public document cited in this article for yourself:

West Pico 12 – Well Stimulation in 2014 – 03720146_DATA_2015-04-28

After many attempts to interview the oil regulators in California, the Assistant Chief Counsel for the Department of Conservation, Justin Turner, replied via email, “The Department does not make field inspectors available to the press for interviews, as a rule.  An exception will not be made in this case.”

Multiple requests for an interview with Governor Jerry Brown went unanswered, including a hard-copy request mailed in an envelope to his office in Sacramento, as is the policy of his office. For the past two weeks, Governor Brown’s phone number responds with an answering machine stating that nobody can take a call and to try again later.

After more than a month of requesting an interview with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, his Communications Director and Senior Advisor, Rhys Williams, emailed back, “At this time, we’re unable to accommodate your request.”

* I submitted many different versions of this article to Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, The Orange County Register, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, National Public Radio stations 89.3 KPCC and 89.9 KCRW, as well as to local and national television news stations and many other news outlets. None of them decided to publish the article, so I am publishing it here because the information in this article is in the public interest.

Justin Bass is a freelance reporter and environmental advocate living in Los Angeles. He has a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University and previously reported on the financial markets in New York. He has worked for both SolarCity and Tesla Motors.

For lagniappe…

Head of California agency accused of favoring oil industry quits

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-head-of-oil-regulating-agency-quits-20150605-story.html

“Get more out of your solar power system by using water as a battery”

https://theconversation.com/get-more-out-of-your-solar-power-system-by-using-water-as-a-battery-37807

Fande = Fact & Evidence; Cande = Conjecture & Exaggeration

Bring your Fande, leave your Cande!

Everything Under the Sun by Justin Bass

October 19, 2012 Leave a comment

End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman

August 6, 2012 Leave a comment

EXCERPT from End This Depression Now! by Paul Krugman, pages 64-66; W.W. Norton & Company 2012:

 

“The Big Lie

 

I hear your complaints. Some of them are totally unfounded. It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. Now, I’m not saying I’m sure that was terrible policy, because a lot of those people who got homes still have them and they wouldn’t have gotten them without that.

But they were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will. They were the ones that pushed the banks because it’s one target, it’s easy to blame them and Congress certainly isn’t going to blame themselves. At the same time, Congress is trying to pressure banks to loosen their lending standards to make more loans. This is exactly the same speech they criticized them for.

–Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York, on the Occupy Wall Street protests

The story I have just told about complacency and deregulation is, in fact, what happened in the run-up to the crisis. But you may have heard a different story—the one told by Michael Bloomberg in the quotation above. According to this story, debt growth was caused by liberal do-gooders and government agencies, which forced banks to lend to minority homebuyers and subsidized dubious mortgages. This alternative story, which says that it’s all the government’s fault, is dogma on the right. From the point of view of most, indeed virtually all, Republicans, it’s an unquestioned truth.

It isn’t true, of course. The fund manager and blogger Barry Ritholtz, who isn’t especially political but has a keen eye for flimflam, calls it the Big Lie of the financial crisis.

How do we know that the Big Lie is, in fact, not true? There are two main kinds of evidence.

First, any explanation that blames the U.S. Congress, with its supposed desire to see low-income families own homes, for the explosion of credit must confront the awkward fact that the credit boom and the housing bubble were very widespread, including many markets and assets that had nothing to do with low-income borrowers. There were housing bubbles and credit booms in Europe; there was a price surge, followed by defaults and losses after the bubble popped, in commercial real estate; within the United States, the biggest booms and busts weren’t in inner-city areas but rather in suburbs and exurbs.

Second, the great bulk of risky lending was undertaken by private lenders—and loosely regulated private lenders, at that. In particular, subprime loans—mortgage loans to borrowers who didn’t qualify according to normal prudential standards—were overwhelmingly made by private firms that were neither covered by the Community Reinvestment Act, which was supposed to encourage loans to members of minority groups, nor supervised by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored agencies charged with encouraging home lending. In fact, during most of the housing bubble Fannie and Freddie were rapidly losing market share, because private lenders would take on borrowers the government-sponsored agencies wouldn’t. Freddie Mac did start buying subprime mortgages from loan originators late in the game, but it was clearly a follower, not a leader.

In an attempt to refute this latter point, analysts at right-wing think tanks—notably Edward Pinto at the American Enterprise Institute—have produced data showing Fannie and Freddie underwriting a lot of ‘subprime and other high risk’ mortgages, lumping loans to borrowers without stellar credit scores in with loans to borrowers who failed strict lending criteria in other ways. This leads readers who don’t know better to think that Fannie and Freddie were actually deeply involved in promoting subprime lending. But they weren’t, and the ‘other high risk’ stuff turns out, on examination, to have been not especially high-risk, with default rates far below those on subprime loans.

I could go on, but you get the point. The attempt to blame government for the financial crisis falls apart in the face of even a cursory look at the facts, and the attempts to get around those facts smack of deliberate deception. This raises a question: why do conservatives want so badly to believe, and to get other people to believe, that the government did it?

The immediate answer is obvious: to believe anything else would be to admit that your political movement has been on the wrong track for decades. Modern conservatism is dedicated to the proposition that unfettered markets and the unrestricted pursuit of profit and personal gain are the keys to prosperity—and that the much-expanded role of government that emerged from the Great Depression did nothing but harm. Yet what we actually see is a story in which conservatives gained power, set about dismantling many of those Depression-era protections—and the economy plunged into a second depression, not as bad as the first, but bad enough. Conservatives badly need to explain this awkward history away, to tell a story that makes government, not lack of government, the villain.

But this in a way only pushes the question back a step. How did conservative ideology, the belief that government is always the problem, never the solution, come to have such a firm grip on our political discourse? That’s a slightly harder question to answer than you might think.”

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* I highly recommend the book by Paul Krugman, “Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics.”

picture source: http://www.amazon.com/End-This-Depression-Paul-Krugman/dp/0393088774

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For lagniappe:

Minute 9:23…

Read more:

“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.”–Shakespeare, The Tempest

http://www.amazon.com/All-Devils-Are-Here-Financial/dp/1591843634

FAH-Q Me!

March 6, 2012 Leave a comment

FAH-Q = For All to Hear & Question. ; )

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Advance to minute 2:20 of The New York Times’ “TimesCast” to see an example of an Ignorant Conservative/Ignorant Republican voter in Columbus, Ohio by the name of Isaac Shupe, who is susceptible to the rhetoric of campaign commercials and repeats those talking points in place of his own reasoning.

Today on TimesCast
The Times’s Jeff Zeleny previews Super Tuesday | The changed perspective of a Republican voter in Ohio.

http://video.nytimes.com/video/playlist/timescast/1247467375115/index.html?hp

Could The New York Times’ reporter and the editors of the video have taken Isaac Shupe’s words out of context? Yes! We do not know what Isaac Shupe said off camera, we only know what he said on camera. That is why it is necessary to keep questioning the sources of our information: campaign commercials, TV/Radio/Internet/Print News reports, your neighbor, me, everybody. For All to Hear & Question…that goes for everybody.

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Can you feel your soul? I can feel mine. Wishing people dead is not good for my soul. I can feel it. I still hold on to the hope that Fact & Evidence, Reason & Sense will win out over the people who lie, cheat and steal…and that We, the People, will V-O-T-E for the best ideas and the best solutions that benefit the majority of Americans. Maybe there is hope of changing the greedy, self-serving demagogues and sophists, like the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney?

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Tesla Motors (TSLA) = an example of Competence and Caring

March 2, 2012 Leave a comment

The solution is a solar-electric system on every available roof and a plug-in electric car in every garage, which would eventually eliminate the need for oil to fuel our passenger vehicles.

* Click the Tesla Motors link and advance to minute 15:00 on the video to see the new Model X!

http://www.teslamotors.com/blog/tesla-unveils-model-x

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The Sun is a Nuclear Reactor in the Sky

March 19, 2011

Picture1

picture source: http://www.nextenergysolar.com/html/energy_efficiency.html

Illustration by Matt Clark

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Read more:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/02/19/automobiles/19future-slides.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/automobiles/electric-cars-future-models.html?_r=1&scp=7&sq=electric+car&st=cse

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IMPORTANT: ‎The self-serving 1% and their venal handmaids…Deniers of Global Warming (aka Climate Change) are paid $MONEY$ to do their denying

February 15, 2012 Leave a comment

Worth repeating…

FAH-Q Koch Brothers!



FAH-Q = For All to Hear & Question. ; )

Please read the rest of this post at your leisure. Pay attention to “Fred Singer” as an example of a person with a $Conflict of Interest$. 
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Click the link from The Guardian highlighted in pink to read the full article:

“Leak exposes how Heartland Institute works to undermine climate science

Libertarian thinktank keeps prominent sceptics on its payroll and relies on millions in funding from carbon industry, papers suggest”

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https://fandecande.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/global-warming-aka-climate-change/

Global Warming, aka Climate Change

July 5, 2010

http://climatechange.procon.org/

Without making any judgements, the ProCon page titled “Is human activity a substantial cause of global climate change?” presents both sides of the “Is Earth Getting Hotter Because Of Us?” debate.

Despite the almost even number of Pros and Cons (Pros won 14 to 13), there is a glaring question of credibility from both sides of the argument: Did scientists purposely play “fast and loose” with accepted practices of science data gathering and presentation? Do the oil companies fund the climate skeptics? Is Al Gore right? Is George W. Bush right? The climate skeptics don’t have a celebrity on their side, other than the President who was in charge of our country and its policies during the bulk of the hottest decade on Earth, 1999 to 2009, according to NASA’s Goddard Institute.

That was a decade in which we increased oil drilling operations and “Killed the Electric Car,” as well as started a false war in Iraq for access to its oil reserves. Bush may have accused us of being “Addicted to Oil” but he was pumping the gas the whole time, and hardly doing anything to wean us from our habit, as he made it seem. Our country runs on oil – a lot of money is at stake in this debate.  Global Warming is also an Economics issue, as well as one concerning the Environment.

The debate of “Whose Hot Planet Is It?” has become politicized. When in doubt, ask your local neighborhood climate scientist – and make sure he or she is a highly accredited source with fact & evidence to back up his/her claims.

NASA is one of the sources that believes “We Are Making The Earth Hotter.” The United Nations’ scientists insist with 90 percent certainty that human beings burning fossil fuels is the cause of Global Warming, also known as Global Climate Change.

The source of the argument is just as important as the argument itself. In journalism, we seek highly accredited named sources (3 or more per story, if possible). The Pro-side, or the“Humans = Hotter” polemic, comes with a pedigree of multiple, highly accredited sources—lots of recognizable names, or at least recognizable universities and institutions. To the contrary, the Con-side, or “The Earth Has A Fever” contingent, looks weak by comparison because it lacks highly accredited sources—other than long-time cynic of climate science models, MIT’s Professor of Meteorology, Richard Lindzen .

The “Background” section provides the actual text of the 1988 testimony from James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. However, ProCon does not provide the text of Lindzen’s criticism. In fact, on the web page, Lindzen serves only to introduce ideas of criticism without using fact & evidence to corroborate his contrarian position, as he does in the youtube video from the Heartland Institute, titled “Al Gore Snowjob.” That is to say, just because Professor Lindzen states (minute 3:00 of the video) “If it’s Greenhouse Warming you get more warming in the middle of the troposphere, the first 10-12 kilometers of the atmosphere, than you do at the surface” does not negate the fact that global temperature overall is rising – which can lead to disastrous effects for human civilization as we know it.

None of the climate scientist skeptics teach at top-rated universities, other than Lindzen. Other sources are not trustworthy because they have obvious conflicts of interest, like Fred Singer (the Former Director of the U.S. National Weather Service in the Heartland video) who runs the “Science and Environmental Policy Project” with some funding from the oil companies.

SOURCE:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hotpolitics/reports/skeptics.html

EXCERPT:

“Affiliations & Funding: Dr. Singer publicly denies receiving funding from energy industry sources, but he has acknowledged previously being a paid consultant for several oil companies. In addition, his organization — the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) — has received multiple grants from ExxonMobil, according to a review of Exxon’s own financial documents and Greenpeace’s Exxonsecrets.org. That site also shows that many of the other organizations with which Singer works — Frontiers of Freedom, the Cato Institute, National Center for Policy Analysis — have received large grants from Exxon as well.”

It’s a little trickier to dismiss Max Mayfield, the Director of the 2005 U.S. Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Although he is known as a hurricane expert, that doesn’t make him a climate scientist source for the overall warming of the Earth. His expertise is hurricanes – one effect of the Earth’s atmosphere. From what I have read, Mr. Mayfield is not regarded as a “climate scientist,” but is highly regarded as a hurricane expert (which does not make him an expert on the Earth’s “Climate”).  Mr. Mayfield also served in a politically appointed position in the Commerce Department during the presidency of George W. Bush – the antithesis of Al Gore.

Additionally, Chris Horner from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, also featured in the Heartland video, is not a scientist of any kind. His conflict of interest is Enterprise vs. Environment, $Green$Money$ or Green Earth. Maybe it’s not one or the other, but there is a definite conflict with Mr. Horner as a source.

Lindzen’s April 12, 2006 Wall Street Journal article, titled “Climate of Fear: Global-Warming Alarmists Intimidate Dissenting Scientists into Scilence,” could not be found on the internet, but the headline makes a claim of intimidation that has never been substantiated; and if this article appeared in the Op-Ed section of the WSJ then its content based on fact & evidence is suspect.  This questionable article possibly invalidates the evidence for Con #9: “Ocean acidity levels have risen over the 20th century, but they are not out of the ordinary considering the fluctuations of the past 7,000 years.” This claim is now dubious because it comes from a heavily biased source, possibly from the pages of an Opinion page known to espouse business friendly ideas and a scientist who has been publicly dissenting of Global Warming since the 1980s – before the hottest decade ever recorded in the 2000s.

* Ironically, it is in a WSJ Op-Ed that Lindzen refutes the so-called “experts” from the Heartland Institute video, by asserting that an increase in CO2 causes an increase in temperature, and not the other way around . “Temperature increases first and then CO2 increases”  is what the talking heads in the Heartland youtube clip would have us believe.

SOURCE:

The November 30, 2009 Wall Street Journal Opinion-Editorial written by Lindzen, titled “The Climate Science Isn’t Settled.”

In it Lindzen makes dogmatic claims, such as “It is generally accepted that a doubling of CO2 will only produce a change of about two degrees Fahrenheit if all else is held constant. This is unlikely to be much to worry about.” Instead of providing proof of his assertion, he contradicts himself in the very next sentence when he writes “Yet current climate models predict much higher sensitivities.” Well, then Lindzen’s claim of a temperature rise of only 2-degrees Fahrenheit being “generally accepted” doesn’t hold water because those “current climate models” predict an amplification of the warming effect due to water vapor and clouds. Therefore the generally accepted climate models from the consensus of climate scientists predicts global warming of more than 2-degrees Fahrenheit. And that outcome may be something to worry about for us, but not for Lindzen, evidently.

Furthermore, Lindzen opines that “positive feedback” – the name for clouds inducing heat – exists alongside “negative feedback” – the name for clouds decreasing CO2. Lindzen never corroborates the idea of “negative feedback” with fact & evidence. Rather than using named sources, he relies on “Some [who] have suggested” and “quite a few papers in the literature,” both of which also miss the definition of highly accredited sources. In fact, these flimsy references do not constitute sources in any way, shape or form.

So, we just experienced the hottest decade on Earth, according to NASA. And the United Nations’ top scientists from 130 countries just told us that human beings are (to a 90 percent certainty) causing this warming by burning fossil fuels. But a few climate skeptics from the United States and Canada, most of them not even climate scientists (or climate scientists from any university you’ve ever heard of), tell us that NASA and the global community of climate scientists have it all wrong. Who are we supposed to believe? I’ve got to go with NASA and the consensus of the scientists assembled by the United Nations.

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https://fandecande.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/just-say-no-to-koch/

Just say NO to KOCH

February 22, 2011

* These are the same Koch Brothers who, along with the oil companies Valero and Tesoro, tried to stop California from using renewable energy by pushing Proposition 23 in the last election.

Billionaire Brothers’ Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute

source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/us/22koch.html?_r=1

EXCERPTS:

Among the thousands of demonstrators who jammed the Wisconsin State Capitol grounds this weekend was a well-financed advocate from Washington who was there to voice praise for cutting state spending by slashing union benefits and bargaining rights.

The visitor, Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, told a large group of counterprotesters who had gathered Saturday at one edge of what otherwise was a mostly union crowd that the cuts were not only necessary, but they also represented the start of a much-needed nationwide move to slash public-sector union benefits.

“We are going to bring fiscal sanity back to this great nation,” he said.

What Mr. Phillips did not mention was that his Virginia-based nonprofit group, whose budget surged to $40 million in 2010 from $7 million three years ago, was created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch.

State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts.

Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.

State governments have gone into the red, he said, in part because of the excessively generous pay and benefits that unions have been able to negotiate for teachers, police, firefighters and other state and local employees.

“We thought it was important to do,” Mr. Phillips said, adding that his group is already working with activists and state officials in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to urge them to take similar steps to curtail union benefits or give public employees the power to opt out of unions entirely.

To union leaders and liberal activists in Washington, this intervention in Wisconsin is proof of the expanding role played by nonprofit groups with murky ties to wealthy corporate executives as they push a decidedly conservative agenda.

“The Koch brothers are the poster children of the effort by multinational corporate America to try to redefine the rights and values of American citizens,” said Representative Gwen Moore, Democrat of Wisconsin, who joined with others in the union protests.

A spokesman for Koch Industries, as well as Mr. Phillips, scoffed at that accusation. The companies owned by Koch (pronounced Coke) — which include the Georgia-Pacific Corporation and the Koch Pipeline Company — have no direct stake in the union debate, they said. The company has about 3,000 employees in Wisconsin, including workers at a toilet paper factory and gasoline supply terminals….

Political activism is high on the list of priorities for Charles Koch, who in a letter last September to other business leaders and conservatives explained that he saw no other choice.

“If not us, who? If not now, when?” said the letter, which invited other conservatives to a retreat in January in Rancho Mirage, Calif. “It is up to us to combat what is now the greatest assault on American freedom and prosperity in our lifetimes.”

Campaign finance records in Washington show that donations by Koch Industries and its employees climbed to a total of $2 million in the last election cycle, twice as much as a decade ago, with 92 percent of that money going to Republicans. Donations in state government races — like in Wisconsin — have also surged in recent years, records show.

But the most aggressive expansion of the Koch brothers’ effort to influence public policy has come through the Americans for Prosperity, which runs both a charitable foundation and a grass-roots-activists group. Mr. Phillips serves as president of both branches, and David Koch is chairman of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation.

The grass-roots-activists wing of the organization today has chapters in 32 states, including Wisconsin, and an e-mail list of 1.6 million supporters, said Mary Ellen Burke, a spokeswoman. She would not say how much of last year’s $40 million budget came from the Koch family, but nationwide donations have come in from 70,000 members, she said, offering it as proof that it has wide support.

The organization has taken up a range of topics, including combating the health care law, environmental regulations and spending by state and federal governments. The effort to impose limits on public labor unions has been a particular focus in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all states with Republican governors, Mr. Phillips said, adding that he expects new proposals to emerge soon in some of those states to limit union power.

To Bob Edgar, a former House Democrat who is now president of Common Cause, a liberal group that has been critical of what it sees as the rising influence of corporate interests in American politics, the Koch brothers are using their money to create a façade of grass-roots support for their favorite causes.

“This is a dangerous moment in America history,” Mr. Edgar said. “It is not that these folks don’t have a right to participate in politics. But they are moving democracy into the control of more wealthy corporate hands.”

During a demonstration outside the Wisconsin Capitol Monday, one protester made a similar point, holding a sign saying: “Gov. Walker: Kick the Koch Habit.”

But Mr. Phillips and members of his group and other conservative activists, not surprisingly, see it very differently.

Just as unions organize to fight for their priorities, conservatives are entitled to a voice of their own.

“This is a watershed moment in Wisconsin,” Mr. Phillips said. “For the last two decades, government unions have used their power to drive pensions and benefits and salaries well beyond anything that can be sustained. We are just trying to change that.”

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Read more: https://fandecande.wordpress.com/?s=koch

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