Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Urf Day Again

Well, it's a new year, and a new Urf Earth Day is upon us. What's the situation this year? Very, very different than last year. In fact, over the past 12 months, we've seen the entire global warming/climate change schtick go from a political juggernaut to a discredited scam. Some links to review if you haven't kept up:

Global warming hackery...proven!
As if the hoax wasn't proof enough...

Let's look again to the polls. The number of Americans who believe global warming is caused by man has continued to decline, over half of Americans reject the notion that the 'science is settled', and almost 2/3 of Americans think it's at least somewhat likely that scientists have falsified research data to support their own personal beliefs about global warming. All in all, Americans think that jobs and the economy are far more critical to address right now, and really want the government to step up efforts to produce more domestic energy production.

Of course, the Obama administration is doing just the opposite, and has been quite clear on the fact that its cap-n-trade tax plan will bankrupt the entire coal industry (which provides over 50% of America's energy) and cause energy prices to 'necessarily skyrocket'. Oh, and you can forget about expanding domestic energy production, too.

There are two ways that the Dems could move forward on this. First, the EPA has declared itself to be equal with God, and can thus regulate air without any Congressional input. This would, obviously, assume the authority to monitor, reduce, tax, and do whatever else they feel like to anyone and anything the sucks in or breathes out air. Hope that's not you, 'cause you might get screwed by this! Anyway, the second way is through the latest version of
cap-n-trade tax legislation, which is set to come before the Senate very soon. If you liked how the DemCare 'debate' went down, you'll love this, too:
the Senate plans to force sweeping, expensive, job-destroying changes to America’s energy policy in much the same way they forced ObamaCare upon unwilling Americans. Next week, Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) plan to unveil their plan aimed at combating global warming, an issue that Americans rank as the country’s least pressing priority. With gas prices already surpassing $3 per gallon in some locations, Americans will have little appetite for another energy tax proposal.

Unfortunately, liberal policymakers will not hesitate to move forward with unpopular and economically harmful policies – see ObamaCare. Would liberals dare move forward on Kerry-Graham-Lieberman, which may include a sector-by-sector (i.e., preferential industry treatment) cap-and-trade scheme and a hidden gas tax? Probably not, but they are positioning themselves to move swiftly on an equally destructive and innocuous sounding renewable electricity standard (RES).

How will this happen?

After Kerry, Graham and Lieberman unveil their plan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will begin working behind closed doors to craft a proposal he believes can win the support of 60 Senators. As part of that effort, he will jettison the cap-and-trade and gas tax provisions proposed by the trio of Senators. In its place, he will insert the RES approved by the Senate Energy Committee last year. And, as with ObamaCare, a lot of goodies will be doled out to special interests.

Along with these new proposals is likely to be new, even more stringent CAFE standards. Ironically, the standards that these radical Leftists want to institute is actually much, much more dangerous than the status quo:

Manipulating fuel efficiency standards has been a favored method of fulfilling environmental prerogatives for thirty years and more. Like most Green initiatives, it is essentially ritualistic. Rather than actually confront the problem at issue, it is instead intended to instill a sense of virtue (what economist Robert J. Samuelson calls "psychic benefits"), while at the same time acting as a punitive measure against those opposed to Green ideology. As is true of many environmentalist programs, it has the unintended side-effect of killing large numbers of unknowing individuals.

Like much else in the way of nonsense, mileage regulation was a product of the 1970s. The decade was marked by several "oil shortages," which media, government, and Green activists all attributed to resource depletion. In truth, they were triggered by Arab manipulation of oil prices in an attempt to undercut support for Israel, then amplified by U.S. government incompetence and public hysteria generated by the Greens.

Fuel standards are the longest-lived of an entirely futile array of attempts to address 1970s oil shortages. They first went into effect in the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program, better known as CAFE. Under the CAFE standards, domestic and foreign automobile manufacturers had to meet a certain mileage standard in their cars and light trucks. They were allowed a very short time to carry this out before fines were levied, so they met the challenge in the easiest way possible: by designing small engines that used less fuel while lowering the size and weight of new vehicles to preserve performance.

The new standards had no success in lowering fuel consumption. Quite the contrary -- since it now cost less to fill the tank, people drove more. Within a few years, this "rebound effect" doubled average fuel usage. As a result, oil imports increased from 35% of consumption in 1975 to 52% by the year 2000.

The new regulations did accomplish one thing -- they killed drivers and passengers in large numbers. By lightening cars and removing material, auto companies were inadvertently discarding the armor that protected motorists in the event of a crash. Similarly, the compressed new models lacked space for impact forces to attenuate before causing damage and injury. Drivers in lightweight cars were as much as twelve times more likely to die in a crash. It was once said about American autos that they were "built like tanks." Many of the new models from the late '70s onward more closely resembled go-carts -- and proved to be about as sturdy.

Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the fatal results of mileage regulations, starting in 1989 with the Brookings Institution (in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health), followed by USA Today in 1999, the National Academy of Sciences in 2001, and at last the federal government's own National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration in 2003. This formidable lineup of organizations all came to the same conclusion: Fuel standards kill.

How many deaths have resulted? Depending on which study you choose, the total ranges from 41,600 to 124,800. To that figure we can add between 352,000 and 624,000 people suffering serious injuries, including being crippled for life. In the past thirty years, fuel standards have become one of the major causes of death and misery in the United States -- and one almost completely attributable to human stupidity and shortsightedness. the case of fuel standards, the government itself is responsible -- and that's different. Governments get away with things that private companies can't. Even policies that enable deaths outnumbering those of all American wars of the past seventy years. Deaths that are unnecessary, deaths that can be avoided, deaths that are being encouraged in order to solve problems that can be overcome in any number of other ways. (Not to mention those problems -- such as global warming -- that can't even be demonstrated to exist.) Yet the topic doesn't even come up in debate. Did anyone involved in the health care "debate" ever mention how many people the British National Health Care system kills every year? That number is 95,000. The equivalent number for the U.S., adjusted for population, would be 450,000 a year. That's the "change" that's coming our way.

You just gotta' love unintended consequences! The bottom line is that they're continuing to govern against the will of the American people, and that's got to stop before America is pummeled past the point of recovery.

The greater problem remains that, on Earth Day 2010, the radical Leftist Democrats running the American government are going to bribe, buy, and steal votes in a thoroughly improper process to pass legislation that will increase energy costs across the board, destroy jobs, and endanger Americans' lives, all for an empty justification that has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt to be nothing more than a politically-driven hoax.

Happy Urf Day, courtesy of the Obama administration!

But I want to focus on more positive stuff for a moment. On this day, let's stop and think about the Earth: it is priceless in that it is literally life-sustaining. Let's also stop and think about how we are pretty insignificant in terms of our ability to understand or affect something as large and vastly complex as the planetary climate, but in terms of universal significance, humanity has been placed far above all else, including the Earth. As I've done in previous years, I want to share my views on the balance between people and the Earth, so here you go.

I love this planet, and I think its incredible beauty and insanely complex intricacy is a gift straight from God. Genesis lays it out:
1:27 And God made man in his image, in the image of God he made him: male and female he made them.
1:28 And God gave them his blessing and said to them, Be fertile and have increase, and make the earth full and be masters of it; be rulers over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing moving on the earth.
1:29 And God said, See, I have given you every plant producing seed, on the face of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit producing seed: they will be for your food:
1:30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air and every living thing moving on the face of the earth I have given every green plant for food: and it was so.
1:31 And God saw everything which he had made and it was very good.
I believe our role as the primary species on this planet -- the only one gifted with true awareness of self and higher intelligence -- is to be the caretakers of everything around us. We are meant to wisely use the resources we find here on Earth, not to squander them and rape the natural beauty of this planet. But, make no mistake, we are the masters here. If a question of priority comes up -- say, should we shut down the entire logging industry to save a blue-spotted tree grub -- my vote is in favor of humanity every time. People come first. Don't blame me, take it up with God. He's the one who called that arrangement 'very good'.

In our role as stewards of this planet, let us not forget that the people are the prize creation here. God made people different from all the other organisms on this planet, and gave us a higher purpose. We are the ones who set the agenda, and we are the ones who hold the trump card when the rubber meets the road. I pity those who don't see -- or remember -- that fact, and I am genuinely saddened at the kind of existence a person must live to believe that they are no more important than a blade of grass or a worm.

So, I believe in caring for the environment, and in doing all we can to preserve it. This world is a fantastically beautiful place, if we care to slow down and take a look around once in a while. If you haven't done so, I'd highly recommend getting your hands on the Discovery Channel's Planet Earth series. It will blow your mind.

As will this incredible creation called Earth. Enjoy it, especially today. We have many reasons to celebrate!

There's my two cents.

Related Reading:
Happy Earth Day!
Earth Day celebration, part 2
It's Earth Day again


The All Real Numbers Symbol said...

Thank you, 2cents. Not since I first heard MSNBC refered to as 'PMSNBC' has my volcabulary been screwed up this badly. All day today I've been saying "Happy Urf Day."

I hope this verbal tic isn't gonna permanent. -.-'

2Cents said...

TARNS - Hopefully it won't be permanent! Sorry... ;)