Saturday, January 12, 2008

More on the Carbon Off-set Con Game

Scientists wary sprinkling iron into sea blunts carbon buildup

Margaret Munro
CanWest News Service
Thursday, January 10, 2008

It sounds so easy. Sprinkle iron dust on the ocean, plankton will bloom and suck massive amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and into the deep sea.

Geoengineering plans to fertilize the oceans with iron - including a proposal backed by Vancouver financier and former sports mogul Nelson Skalbania - are being sold as one of "the powerful, profitable and planet-friendly" tools in the battle against global warming.

Many scientists have serious doubts, saying there is little proof iron fertilization locks carbon into the deep ocean.

And in the latest salvo in the long-running controversy, leading oceanographers say it is "premature" for ocean fertilization companies to sell carbon offsets to investors or consumers looking to reduce their carbon footprint. (To Continue: Scientist Wary... )

My Comment: There is no proof that sprinkling iron dust in the ocean does any thing to reduce carbon in the atmosphere. This article states that recently in the journal Science, 16 oceanographers from the U.S., Europe, New Zealand and Japan, say there is, as yet, "no scientific basis" for issuing carbon credits for ocean iron fertilization. Despite any evidence that this process has any effect, several companies are doing it and using this process as the basis for the carbon off-sets that they sell. Not only that, this process my have “unintended biogeochemical and ecological impacts” say the scientist.

The next time some self-righteous celebrity excusses his private jet by claiming he purchases carbon off-sets keep this in mind.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Scrutiny Rises Over Carbon-Offset Sales Process

Wall Street Journal
January 9, 2008

The government is scrutinizing the market for global-warming-emission offsets, part of a backlash against the market that could increase industry's costs in complying with any new environmental rules.Offsets are pieces of paper said to represent global-warming emissions avoided somewhere else on the planet. The offsets are being bought by the likes of corporations that want to project an environmentally friendly image and consumers who want to make their airplane flights "carbon neutral."

Even though the U.S. hasn't imposed a limit on global-warming emissions, purchases of these voluntary offsets have soared over the past two years. So have questions about whether the money is funding real emission cuts or not.

The voluntary carbon offsets at issue in the U.S. differ from the pollution permits traded under the Kyoto Protocol, the international global-warming treaty. The legitimacy of those permits is regulated by a panel of United Nations-sanctioned officials. The market for voluntary credits has no mandatory oversight. (continue: Scrutiny Rises.. )

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

FTC asks if Carbon-offset Money Well-Spent

By Louise Story,

The New York Times, Story last modified Wed Jan 09 10:31:35 PST 2008

Corporations and shoppers in the United States spent more than $54 million last year on carbon offset credits toward tree planting, wind farms, solar plants and other projects to balance the emissions created by, say, using a laptop computer or flying on a jet.

But where exactly is that money going?

The Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising claims, raised the question Tuesday in its first hearing in a series on green marketing, this one focusing on carbon offsets.
As more companies use offset programs to create an environmental halo over their products, the commission said it was growing increasingly concerned that some green marketing assertions were not substantiated. Environmentalists have a word for such misleading advertising: "greenwashing." (To continue: FTC Asks .. )

My Comment: I am not philosophically opposed to the marketing of carbon offsets, despite the similarity to the selling of indulgences. If Al Gore wants to emit three times the amount of carbon in his Belle Meade mansion as the average Nashvillian, but he buys off-sets that result in the planting of carbon-eating trees and the net result is that Al Gore's net contribution to the production of carbon emissions is no greater that the average Nashvillian, that sounds reasonable to me. Money has its privileges. I accept that. If those who can consume more and emit lots of carbon, off-set their behaviour by causing someone else to emit less carbon; that is a good thing.

What has long concerned me however is the suspicion that off-sets do not really off set. People who want to ease their guilty conscience for contributing to global warming and have no way to judge the product they are purchasing are prime candidates to become victims of fraud and charlatans. How do you know that your purchase of an off-set really helped stop a rain forest from being cut down? Would the carbon reducing activity that the company sold carbon off-sets for, have happened anyway had you not purchased the off-set? Was the same off-set credit sold more than once? Was there over calculation of how much carbon would be consumed by the planting of a tree? Will the forest created by the purchase of off-sets be protected and maintained? Were those windmills going to be built anyway?

I would suspect that there is out and out fraud in the carbon off-set business. It would be surprising if there was not. When you must essentially have faith that the person you are sending your money to is honorable and when the product is an intangible, there will be people taking advantage of the gullible with a guilt complex. Just as we suspect that there are religious charlatans, we should suspect that there are environmentalist charlatans.

There does not necessarily have to be a government agency to monitor the carbon off-set business, but there needs to be a standard. Underwriters Laboratories insured we had safe electrical products for many years in the absence of government regulators. The American Medical Associations approval offered good consumer protection against medical chalatans. The Good housekeeping seal of approval gave consumers confidence in the products they purchased. The carbon off-set industry needs a stringent system for authentication and oversight before anyone takes it seriously. The FTC investigation should be welcomed by all.

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Bill Clinton Keys Obama's Car-NOT

In what political observers called a shocking display of anger from a former President of the United States, Bill Clinton today keyed the car of Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

Mr. Clinton's attacks on Senator Obama have become more scathing in recent days, but few Democratic insiders expected his rhetorical attacks to turn into outright vandalism.
That is precisely what happened, however, in the parking lot of a Dunkin' Donuts in Nashua, New Hampshire, where Mr. Obama and his aides had stopped for an early morning campaign appearance.

Spotting the Illinois senator's car in the lot, a wild-eyed Mr. Clinton pulled out his key ring and "started twirling it on his finger like a six-shooter," according to one eyewitness.
Saying he was "damned sick and tired" of everything going Mr. Obama's way, the former President dragged his keys across the length of the senator's car, creating a deep gash in the paint job that experts said would cost hundreds of dollars to repair.

As news of Mr. Clinton's attack on Mr. Obama's automobile spread like wildfire across New Hampshire, political insiders branded the former president's move as a tactical mistake that could turn off Democratic voters.

"Keying another candidate's car is really beneath the dignity of a former President of the United States," said Carol M. Foyler, a longtime media advisor to Democratic candidates. "That's the kind of thing you want surrogates to do."

For his part, Mr. Clinton was unrepentant, telling reporters "you ain't seen nothing yet."
"Where does he live?" Mr. Clinton shouted at the press corps. "I'ma go TP that bastard's house."
My Comment: This is all over the Internet on chat groups and blogs this morning without attribution. People are talking about it as if it is real. Unbelievable! IT IS A JOKE. It is satire. It is not true. It was written by Andy Borowitz is a comedian and writer whose work appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and at his award-winning humor site, You can check it out at The Huffington Post.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Richard Viguerie Says Huckabee Win is Bad News for GOP

MANASSAS, Va., Jan. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire

Richard A. Viguerie, the author of Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause (Bonus Books, 2006), issued the following statement regarding Mike Huckabee's victory in the Iowa caucuses: "Mike Huckabee's victory in the Iowa caucuses is bad news for the Republican Party.

"Mike Huckabee is a Christian socialist. He is a good man, but with a Big Government heart. He is the most liberal of all the Republican presidential candidates on economic issues. "Huckabee's approach to every problem or perceived problem is to pass a law and launch another government program. If you like President George W. Bush, you'll love Mike Huckabee. (To coninue: Viguerie Says.. )

My Comment: Richard Viguerie has been a leader in the conservative movement since the Goldwater days and is sometimes refereed to as the "funding father of modern conservatism." He is the man behind the mail order operations of numerous conservative organizations. He has been a severe critic of George W. Bush.

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Bill Clinton Calls 9/11 Truthers "nuts"

From NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli:
"Several Ron Paul supporters shadowed a much larger Clinton entourage as Bill Clinton greeted supporters downtown (Keene, NH). The former president later called them 'nuts.'

"During his third stop of the day, the former president posed for pictures and shook hands as he strolled down Main Street on this unseasonably warm Primary Eve day. Across the street, a few Paul supporters shouted his name."Eventually, Clinton stopped outside a bakery, offered some remarks, and took questions. As he was answering one on Iraq, one of the Paul backers interrupted and shouted that the Sept. 11 attacks were an inside job, and that the U.S. didn't need to be in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"When he dropped an F-bomb, the crowd booed. Clinton, who had tried to talk over the man, gave up."'You wanna know what I think?' Clinton said. 'You guys who think 9/11 was an inside job are crazy as hell. My wife was the senator from New York when that happened. I was down at Ground Zero. I saw the victims' families. You're nuts.'"

My Comment: Way to go Bill Clinton! The 9/11 truthers are fucking nuts! They are "crazy as hell." I'm glad you said it!

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Please, Stop Spreading Lies!

On the Internet, I routinely come across outlandish alarming stories. A few of them I research. Having found many untruths, when something sounds outlandish, I take it with a grain of salt and assume it is untrue. Some of these “urban myths” have been around since before the Internet, such as the story that Proctor and Gamble’s is a satanic corporation and the symbols of Satanism are included in their corporate loco.
IT IS NOT TRUE. Just today I read this in a Yahoo chat group:

For all you Coffee lovers,

Recently Marines in Iraq wrote to Starbucks because they wanted to let them
know how much they liked their coffees and to request that they send some of it
to the troops there. Starbucks replied, telling the marines thank you for their
support of their business, but that Starbucks does not support the war, nor
anyone in it, and that they would not send the troops their brand of coffee. So
as not to offend Starbucks, maybe we should not support them by buying any of
their products! I feel we should get this out in the open. I know this war might
not be very popular
with some folks, but that doesn't mean we don't support
the boys on the
ground fighting street-to-street and house-to-house. If you
feel the same as
I do then pass this along, or you an discard it and no one
will never know.

Thanks very much for your support. I know you'll all be there again when I
deploy once more.

Semper Fidelis. Sgt. Howard C. Wright

1st Force Recon Co

1st Plt PLT

THIS IS NOT TRUE. It is made up. (To read the truth behind this myth see the following link: Starbucks )

I have a relative who is a sweet person, a good Christian and is active in her church. I was recently included in group email she sent out. It read:

Subject: Removal of Joel Osteen and other pastors
Christians, stand up
and be counted. We cannot let this happen.

Dr. Dobson is going on
to urge every Christian to get involved. I hope you will sign and
forward to all
your family and friends:

An organization has been granted a Federal Hearing on the same subject by the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Washington , D.C. Their petition,
Number 2493, would ultimately pave the way to stop the reading of the gospel
our Lord and Savior, on the airwaves of America . They got 287,000
signatures to
back their stand! If this attempt is successful, all Sunday
worship services
being broadcast on the radio or by television will be
This group is
also campaigning to remove all Christmas programs
and Christmas carols from
public schools!

Fortunately for our First Amendment freedom and unfortunately for all the good people spreading this rumor, this is not true. Variations of this story have been floating around for years, and the FCC routinely get petitions on this topic. Here are the facts about this hoax in a nutshell, as reported in Urban Legend: In 1974, Jeremy Lansman and Lorenzo Milam petitioned the FCC to regulate the assignment of broadcasting licenses to religious groups for educational use. Their petition, number RM 2493, was heard and dismissed by the FCC in 1975. Nevertheless, rumors about it continue to circulate. Lansman and Milam's intentions have been misinterpreted as being against religious programming in general. Instead, they were concerned that radio and television licenses reserved for educational use would be hoarded and used by religious groups for non-educational purposes.

To their credit the NRB, a trade group which represents religious broadcasters, has also tried to kill the rumor and calls it a hoax on their web site. The rumor continues to circulate. (See: NRB)

Please do not believe everything you read. Be skeptical. Newspapers print untruths also, but at least they have fact checkers. Rumors fly like wildfire around the Internet. Please do not repeat rumors. I have listed several sites for fact-checking in the side bar to the left of this article (See: Just the facts, Ma’am). Before you sign a petition or send a frantic alert to your mailing list, make sure it is the truth.

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Who Wants Gas Tax

I do. As we face the issue of a how to combat global warming and energy dependency, there are many who say we must “do something” but offer no solutions. Some call for conservation or switching to ethanol or other fuel alternatives, but offer no explanation of how that should be achieved. There are essentially three method of achieving a reduction of greenhouse gases and reduced oil consumption: (1) a Carbon tax, (2) Cap and Trade, (3) Cajole and Control. The third option is a hodge-podge and includes everything from tighter CAFE standards to subsidizing alternative fuels to increase research and development and would be the least efficient and least effective method and the method that would take the longest time to show results. Some of the proposed Cajole and Control solutions may actually be detrimental to the environment and counterproductive to the goal of reducing green house emissions. While Cap and Trade is promising, by far the most efficient method of curtailing greenhouse emission and making alternative to carbon-based fuel affordable is a carbon tax. Below is a list of prominent people, across the political spectrum, who advocate a carbon tax or a gas tax. Some of these people have offered detailed explanations for their positions. In the list below, some of the names or publications have embedded links to articles where their position is stated. For those without embedded links, a quick goggle search combining the person or publication name and the words “Carbon Gas Tax” will result in finding the source materials.

Conservatives, Republicans, or Libertarians who Support a Carbon Tax or Gas Tax
Harvard economist Gregory Mankiw, former chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.
Economics Columnist Robert Samuelson: (Newsweek. Aug. 20-27, 2007 issue – Greenhouse Simplicities)
Columnist Charles Krauthammer
Columnist David Brooks
Theodore Roosevelt IV, Lehman Bros. executive
Former Bush (43) speechwriter David Frum
Libertarian Magazine Reason
Alan Greenspan, former chair, Federal Reserve
Andrew A Samwick, economist, Dartmouth; former chief economist, Council of Economic Advisors, Bush administration. (Raise the Gasoline Tax? Funny, It doesn’t sound Republican, New York Times, 10/8/06)
Weekly Standard contributing editor Irwin Stelzer
George P, Schultz, U.S. Secretary of Labor under Pres. Nixon (1969-70), Treasury Secretary under Presidents Nixon and Ford (1972-74), and Secretary of State under Pres. Reagan (1982- 89. How to Gain a Climate Consensus, Washington Post, Sept. 5, 2007

Liberals or Democrats Who Support a Carbon Tax or Gas Tax:
George Soros, Responsible Investor
Al Gore,
Andrew Sullivan of The New Republic,
Senator John Kerry
ABC’s Geroge Stephanopoulos advocates “Kind of Energy Tax You See in Europe”
Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker
Columnist Thomas Friedman
Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute:
Bill McKibben climate activist and author of The End of Nature
Columnist Nicholas Kristof
Columnist Paul Krugman
New York Observer Columnist Nicholas von Hoffman
John D. Dingell, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) New York Times, July 24, 2007
Leon Panetta, former congressman; former budget director, former chief of staff, Clinton Administration. (Talk of Raising Gas Tax Is Just That,” Washington Post, 10/18/06)

Mainstream Press and Prominent People of Unknown Political Persuasion who Support a Gas Tax:
William Clay Ford Jr., chairman, CEO Ford Motor Co.
Robert H Frank, economist, Cornell University New York Times. (Gas Taxes: Lesser Evil, Greater Good,” New York Times, 10/24/05)
James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies: New York Review of Books, July 13, 2006, The Threat to the Planet
Edward Snyder, dean of the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business
James M. Surowiecki. Business and finance journalist, The New Yorker. (“Pump Pressure,” Financial Times, 9/26/05)
Paul Anderson, Chairman and CEO, Duke Energy
Christopher Farrel, Sound Money.
Mike Jackson, CEO, AutoNation Inc (largest national chain of auto dealers).
Kenneth Rogoff, professor economics, Harvard; former chief economist, IMF.
William Clay Ford Jr., chairman, CEO Ford Motor Co.
Robert H Frank, economist, Cornell University
A majority of economists polled by the Wall Street Journal during Feb. 2-7
Los Angeles Times Time to Tax Carbon,
L.A. Times editorial, May 28, 2007
Washington Post (Sorry Record - Waiting for breakthrough technologies is not the way to reduce greenhouse gases, July 11, 2006)
Christian Science Monitor, July 5, 2007.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Politics of Resentment and Self-Pity.

By George Will
Sunday, January 6,

WASHINGTON -- Like Job after losing his camels and acquiring boils, the conservative movement is in distress. Mike Huckabee shreds the compact that has held the movement's two tendencies in sometimes uneasy equipoise. Social conservatives, many of whom share Huckabee's desire to "take back this nation for Christ," have collaborated with limited-government, market-oriented, capitalism-defending conservatives who want to take back the nation for James Madison. Under the doctrine that conservatives call "fusion," each faction has respected the other's agenda. Huckabee aggressively repudiates the Madisonians.
* * * * *
Huckabee says "only one explanation" fits his Iowa success "and it's not a human one. It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people." God so loves Huckabee's politics that He worked a Midwest miracle on his behalf? Should someone so delusional control nuclear weapons? (To Continue: The Tearing of the Conservative Fusion)

My Comment: Excellent article! I share Will’s concern about Huckabee’s believing he is God’s chosen. The larger point of the article is that both Edwards and Huckabee are populist who appeal to the worse instincts in people. As Will points out, the middle class is shrinking because so many middle class are becoming upper class. The politics of resentment and self-pity is dangerous to the Republic.

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McCain Defends the War on Iraq Even Absent Weapons Excuse.

Being interviewed on Meet the Press this morning, Senator John McCain was asked by host Tim Russert, “If you had known that Saddam Hussein had no biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons, would you still have supported the invasion?”

McCain replied unequivocally “yes”. He went on to say that Saddam was not a nice person and the problem with Iraq was not the invasion but the failure to invade with sufficient forces.

I like John McCain. He is an honorable person and I admire his service to our country. I admire his independence. I respect him for actually answering the question he was asked. However, I do not want John McCain to be President.

I cannot understand how anyone could justify the invasion of Iraq unless they actually believed at the time that the country had weapons of mass destruction. I am not a pacifist. I think wars are sometimes necessary. If we are attacked we cannot turn the other cheek. We have to be engaged in the world and sometimes that leads to honoring our commitments to our friends and stopping international bullies. If Iraq had attacked us, if Iraq had invaded a country with which we had a defense treaty, if Iraq had in fact had weapons of mass destruction, then I could have supported the war. I cannot not subscribe to the view that we can make war on any country we like without a valid reason. That is not the kind of country I want America to be.

I wish every candidate could be asked as bluntly the same question that Russert asked McCain. I would like to know with the same certainty who else I do not want to be President.

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