Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's carbon levels not the economy that's going to save us!

Congressional legislators who deny climate change typically focus on free market economics and fail to acknowledge the destructive impacts and associated costs that we experience now from climate driven extreme weather events.
They grouse about the Obama Administration’s request for a 2014 climate change budget of $11.6 billion and the expansion of government agencies to combat climate change. While realizing that the Republican party’s platform rests on smaller government and cutting government expenses to the bone, you can’t help wondering why their budget fetish ignores the fact that, according to The US Treasury Department, between 2011 and the first quarter of 2013 extreme weather events cost us $136,493 billion dollars and that doesn’t count the endless numbers of flood, sand storm, drought, and wild fire damages that happened since then.
They claim that while the President stated a willingness to work with Congress toward enacting a bipartisan, market-based scheme to reduce GHG emissions, the Administration has also taken steps to move ahead with Executive Branch actions to address climate change concerns without Congressional support. They express outrage that President Obama has advanced a series of unilateral regulations without appropriate legislative review – including a proper assessment of the cumulative influence, regional effects, and distributional impact of such actions on states and localities – would do more harm than good. Well, the Republican Party, while vehemently denying the existence of global warming, ditched every proposed climate bill leaving the President no other choice!

One congressmen complained, “On September 20, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft regulation to limit carbon pollution from new coal-fired power plants.  This proposed regulation – which has the potential to adversely affect the development of new plants in the U.S and discourage investment in and the development of innovative technologies – is unfortunately not a step in the right direction.  At a time when our economy is struggling to recover, increasing the cost of energy and cutting more American jobs is not the right way to move forward.”  

Here again, like so many people, these legislators fail to recognize the real issue because their only measure is money, revenues in particular.

The critical issue is: in the past 150 years humans increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere by 117 parts per million (PPM) by burning fossil fuels. For over 800,000 years before that CO2 levels hovered around 280 PPM. Now because we pump 90 million tons of CO2 up there every 24 hours, CO2 has risen to an average of 397 PPM and actually spiked into the 400 PPM level twice in early 2013. It won’t be long until that will become the average as it continues upward.

Burning fossil fuels has already raised the global temperature from preindustrial levels by 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and we are already experiencing sea level rise, extreme storms, droughts and wildfires around the planet. Even more alarming, 80 percent of the Arctic ice cap melted in the summer of 2012.
Scientist believe that we can’t allow the preindustrial global temperature to rise higher than 2 degrees Celsius or human survival will be very challenging. We are almost half way there now.
The oil, gas and coal industries and their paid henchmen like the Heartland Institute and bought politicians distract the public with red herring issues like claiming that switching to clean energy will hurt the economy, kill jobs, and cause energy shortages while overlooking the job creation that clean energy creates. 
What is tragically overlooked by them and the media is that if humans want to survive on this planet we have to stop burning fossil fuels as soon as possible. Scientists say that we can’t put much more than another 565 gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere without disastrous results. At this time, financial analysts calculate that there is already 2,795 gigatons of CO2 contained in readily available oil, gas and coal reserves. That’s five times more CO2 than we can afford to burn and expect to survive yet the plan remains drill baby drill; burn baby burn.
There is enough carbon just in the Canadian Tar Sands oil deposits to send the global temperature above the 2 degree limit. That is the reason environmentalists are protesting the Keystone XL Pipe Line. We just can’t afford to burn that carbon and expect to survive.
Again, the critical issue is carbon output. If we keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere jobs and the economy will be a moot point. What good will money be if we don’t live to spend it?  Our first step should be to tax all carbon at its source of extraction and give that money directly to our tax-paying citizens to cover the increase in price that fossil fuels will go through until we are 100% clean energy and stop burning them. This points to another blind spot. Legislators want to cut subsidies to clean energy but they vote in lock-step to support the $90 billion in tax subsidies that the oil companies get from taxpayers each year in the name of “leveling the playing field.”

 Again, the bottom line is, leave carbon in the ground or humans won’t be around!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Rep. Jim Geralch is truly Jim Gridlock. He was home when we were paying him to be in Washington doing his job.

September 25, 2013
Today, I ran into Representative Jim Gerlach in the parking lot at Victory Brewery in Downingtown at about 1:15 PM. Considering, that I have been asking his Office Manager in his District office in Lionville, Edward Schmidt, for a personal meeting with Gerlach for over 6 months and never have gotten one, I decided to take advantage of this opportunity to air my issues. It seems sometimes providence has a way of shining your way. J

My first question was why can’t I get a face-to-face meeting with you? He immediately got on his cell phone and “appeared” to be sending a text to Ed to set up a meeting with me. He’s either incredibly adept at texting or it was just another ploy to get me off his back. Then he said to me, “Didn’t you visit me in Washington a few weeks ago?” I said “no, first of all I couldn’t be there that day so I contributed a letter to you on my behalf, but you weren’t there when the others visited anyway.”

I told him I am incredibly disappointed on what is going on in Washington. Immediately he said it is all Obama’s fault. He said Obama is the worst leader ever in the presidency. I asked what about the fact that the House said they would vote against everything Obama proposes so that he would fail. He shot back that Obama has never reached across the aisle and has never once come to the House to talk to them. I responded that Obama invited the Republican’s to the White House and the Republicans didn’t come. He responded by saying, you don’t understand because you are not there. I’m there!

Then I asked him why the Republican House won’t support green energy legislation and he said some vague remarks about how we need a bill that will wean us from fossil fuels in the future. I told him about how CO2 levels hit 400 PPM twice last February and his response was, “well we haven’t had any big hurricanes yet this year.” My reply, do you know about the monsoon that is happening right now in Japan?” His response, these storms happen all the time and they have been happening throughout history.
So it’s obvious, he’s really not on the right page with global warming.

I guess my only satisfaction is, I caught him off guard and I found out where he really stands on global warming.
My last question to him was why are you here in Downingtown? Shouldn’t you be in Washington, after all I’m one of many who is paying your salary? He said, well I’m going down tonight.

So much for representation! I’d love to run against this guy, if the Democratic Party will support me better than they did Trivedi. He is very beatable in spite of his gerrymandered district.  How bad do the Democrats want to gain a seat in Congress?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

July 2013's average temperature in the United States

According to NOAA the US's average temperature for the month of July was 74.3 degrees F. which is .8 degrees higher that the 20th Century average temperatures.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Read the Declaration of Independence on the 4th of July

July 4, 1776, The middle of paragraph 2 of the Declaration of Independence reads: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers and the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
Well people, I think we are there now.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Heartland Institute a Demonic Organization

The Heartland Institute, a conservative free market Chicago based “think tank”, is probably more responsible than the Cato Institute or the George C. Marshall Institute for confusing the public about global warming and stalling congress from addressing its threat to humanity.
 In March 2013, in time for Earth Day, Heartland mailed a package of bogus information to, according to them, every school teacher, college professor, politician, and media contact in America attempting to vilify established peer reviewed science and legitimate scientists with their lies and misinformation. Heartland was also on a rampage trying to dissuade teachers from teaching science in America’s school rooms.
This package contained a book entitled, The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism. It also included a 10 minute DVD entitled Unstoppable Solar Cycles: The Real Story of Greenland, a general brochure of the Heartland Institute, and a postcard slamming Al Gore showing a bogus CO2 time line claiming to prove that the planet is cooling, a claim running totally against all legitimate scientific observations.
This mailing campaign is extremely audacious considering the immense damage they did to themselves during their 7th Annual Conference on Climate Change in Chicago when they posted an add on a billboard along the Eisenhower Expressway with a picture of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski saying, “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” They also planned to run follow-up billboards with Osama bin Laden, Charles Manson, and Fidel Castro.
Heartland’s justification for the ads, “Because what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the “mainstream” media, and liberal politicians say about global warming.”
It is well known that oil tycoons the Koch Brothers, EXXON, and other fossil related companies heavily finance the Heartland Institute.  But after the billboard debacle 22 smaller corporate donors pulled their support. Considering the diabolical intentions of the Heartland Institute it is amazing that AT&T, Microsoft, Comcast, and the US Chamber of Commerce still finance their shenanigans. Shame on them! 
Now, to conceal donor contributions they filter the money through organizations like the Philanthropy Roundtable, Donors Trust, and Donors Capital Fund. While the investigation is going on at the IRS for stalling Tea Party nonprofit applications, they should also investigate the Heartland Institutes IRS violations.
Heartland’s diabolical fame began with their alliance with the tobacco industry. They worked with Philip Morris to create doubt about the science linking second-hand smoke to health risks. Then they nefariously defended RJ Reynolds’ “Joe Camel” campaign targeting kids to start smoking by making it look cool to smoke Joe Camel Cigarettes.  They used their scientist Fred Singer to dispute that tobacco is a health risk and now they cart Singer out to dispute the peer reviewed science about climate change.   
In contrast to Heartland’s claims, a report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) about 2012 carbon dioxide emissions show that world CO2 concentrations rose 1.4 percent in 2012 to a record high of 31.6 billion tons. At this rate of increase the world is on track to push global temperatures up to between 6.5 and 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Climate scientists warn that to maintain a livable planet we cannot exceed a 3.6 degree Fahrenheit increase. This report is bad news - very bad news - and we haven’t even begun to deal with CO2 emissions yet. In fact, we pump 90 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every 24 hours by burning fossil fuels and CO2 concentration in the atmosphere averages 397 parts per million (PPM) and twice has spiked to over 400 PPM, the highest since humans have inhabited the planet.

Besides fossil fuel industry money, what drives people at the Heartland Institute to be so diabolical? They are profoundly responsible for delaying actions that would cut CO2 and limit the impacts of climate change. Their actions have condemned future generations, our children and grandchildren, to an unpredictable and perilous world.  

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Why we need a tax and dividend policy on fossil fuels

Here's a great article.
Environmentalists, understandably, have been loath to make the fossil-fuel industry their enemy -- respecting its political power and hoping instead to convince these giants that they should turn away from coal, oil and gas and transform themselves more broadly into "energy companies."
Sometimes that strategy appeared to be working - emphasis on appeared.
Around the turn of the century, for instance, BP made a brief attempt to restyle itself as "Beyond Petroleum," adapting a logo that looked like the sun and sticking solar panels on some of its gas stations. But its investments in alternative energy were never more than a tiny fraction of its budget for hydrocarbon exploration, and after a few years, many of those were wound down as new CEOs insisted on returning to the company's "core business." In December, BP finally closed its solar division. Shell shut down its solar and wind efforts in 2009. The five biggest oil companies have made more than $1 trillion in profits since the millennium - there's simply too much money to be made on oil and gas and coal to go chasing after zephyrs and sunbeams.
Much of that profit stems from a single historical accident: Alone among businesses, the fossil-fuel industry is allowed to dump its main waste, carbon dioxide, for free. Nobody else gets that break - if you own a restaurant, you have to pay someone to cart away your trash, since piling it in the street would breed rats. But the fossil-fuel industry is different, and for sound historical reasons:
Until a quarter-century ago, almost no one knew that CO2 was dangerous. But now that we understand that carbon is heating the planet and acidifying the oceans, its price becomes the central issue.
If you put a price on carbon, through a direct tax or other methods, it would enlist markets in the fight against global warming.
Once Exxon has to pay for the damage its carbon is doing to the atmosphere, the price of its products would rise.
Consumers would get a strong signal to use less fossil fuel - every time they stopped at the pump, they'd be reminded that you don't need a semi-military vehicle to go to the grocery store. The economic playing field would now be a level one for nonpolluting energy sources.
And you could do it all without bankrupting citizens - a so-called "fee-and-dividend" scheme would put a hefty tax on coal and gas and oil, then simply divide up the proceeds, sending everyone in the country a check each month for their share of the added costs of carbon.
By switching to cleaner energy sources, most people would actually come out ahead. There's only one problem: Putting a price on carbon would reduce the profitability of the fossil-fuel industry.
After all, the answer to the question "How high should the price of carbon be?" is "High enough to keep those carbon reserves that would take us past two degrees safely in the ground." The higher the price on carbon, the more of those reserves would be worthless.
The fight, in the end, is about whether the industry will succeed in its fight to keep its special pollution break alive past the point of climate catastrophe, or whether, in the economists' parlance, we'll make them internalize those externalities. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lets do the carbon tax the right way

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported atmospheric CO2 levels reached 395 parts per million (PPM) this year.  That’s 115 PPM higher than any time in at least 800,000 years, and it’s shocking!
 CO2 thickens the atmosphere trapping heat and moisture.  The more moisture trapped the worse droughts and storms become.  Humans pump 90 million tons of CO2 up there every 24 hours by burning fossil fuels.
Peer-reviewed science proving climate change is overwhelming.  The supposed disagreement among climate scientists about the reality of climate change is a manufactured myth created by fossil industry financed “think tanks” like the Heartland Institute and the Heritage Foundation and repeated by their brainwashed paranoid conspiratorial followers.
If “seeing is believing” losing 75% of the arctic sea ice last year should be enough to convince anyone that global warming is real. Since most people never see the arctic, shouldn’t witnessing terrible heat waves, droughts, wildfires, dust storms, and tornadoes; seeing super storms like Katrina and Sandy; seeing weird snowstorms and unusually strong consistent winds convince us?
Solar, wind, and geothermal are clean energy sources poised to replace fossil fuels. Right now, the playing field is stacked against clean energy. The US fossil industry in 2012 was subsidized to the tune of $4 Billion by taxpayers. They also are the most profitable industry on the planet which gives them unprecedented political influence and a mighty sledge hammer to stall clean energy development.
Amusingly, the paranoid conspirators that deny global warming are the first to accuse environmentalists of being socialist commies. Well, what’s more socialist than American tax payers subsidizing the fossil industry while they fleece our wallets? Perhaps Exxon should be renamed The People’s Oil Company of America!
What do we do about it? The most efficient way to stop addiction to fossil fuels is to impose a carbon tax on them.  Carbon tax legislation has been proposed a few times in congress resulting with the expected kneejerk reaction from the fossil industry, their paranoid harlequins, and fossil financed legislators.
The fossil financed government would have you believe that a carbon tax will ruin our economy, yet Alaska has had a carbon tax, or “dividend”, since 1982. This dividend is paid to Alaska’s citizens for the oil extracted from their state. Alaskan residents living there for at least one calendar year are eligible to receive the dividend. The lowest dividend paid out was $331.29 in 1984 and the highest was $2,069 in 2008.
A big concern is how a carbon tax would be managed. Dr. James Hansen, former Director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASSA proposes a fee on carbon at its source - a coal mine or an oil or gas well head. But unlike other proposals he wants the dividend to, “go directly to US citizens as a rebate on their tax bills; not one dime to make the government bigger.” That’s not much different than what has been going on in Alaska for 31 years. This dividend will offset the initial higher energy costs as the industry shifts from dirty carbon to clean energy. 
Hanson’s proposal is better than proposals that direct the dividend into government coffers where the public will probably never get it. An example is the Land &Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) that is also predicated on oil extraction. President Eisenhower initiated it in 1964. A miniscule percentage of off-shore oil drilling revenues amounting to around $900 million a year was to be set aside each year to fund conservation projects in all 50 states.  Well, LWCF was never declared a “dedicated” fund so congress rarely fully funds it. Instead they pilfer it every year to balance the general budget or to finance pork projects.  Even Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) isn’t safe from government pilfering. Alaska’s government is trying to pass bills to take that money to help balance their general budget.
We need a carbon tax to level the playing field between the fossil industry and the clean energy industry. The only proposed plan that will work is a fee/dividend plan. Anything that allows our inept government to get their greedy fingers on the dividend money will never help humanity survive the climate crisis. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lets Fix Congress

The 2012 Gallup poll found that 83 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job. Our government was created to be governed “by the people; for the people” but it has lost itself in an ideologically partisan quagmire governed “by the corporations; for the corporations and by the top one percent wealthiest people” at the expense of the rest of us.
Since Congress can’t govern anymore, it’s time “we the people” to take our government back. As a result, a non-partisan effort called No Labels is working to bring Congressional Republicans, Democrats and independents together to work on issues facing our country.  It’s chaired by Republican former Governor Jon Huntsman and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia.
No Labels is asking Congress to follow some specific principles: Fix the filibuster, no budget no pay, form a bipartisan leadership committee, bipartisan seating at congressional sessions, and an up or down vote on Presidential appointments to name a few. You can get the complete and comprehensive list at  
Twenty five members of Congress have already signed on, agreeing to become “problem solvers” and meet as a group once a month. Local signers include Republicans Charlie Dent of the Lehigh Valley area and Mike Fitzpatrick of Bucks County. You can see who the rest are here:
We, in Jim Gerlach’s district would like to see Representative Jim Gerlach on this list. We want Gerlach to end the gridlock in Congress.
No Labels hopes to enlist 75 members of Congress by the end of 2013. I have asked Representative, Jim Gerlach to sign on. I encourage you to ask your congressmen to do the same.  More information can be obtained at

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Great article about climate mitigation