Desperate desert tortoise endangered by Jerry Brown

Help, Mr. Wizard!

Q.  When does destroying a creature’s natural habitat with human power-generation activities not matter?

A.  When Jerry Brown is governor of California, the creature is the desert tortoise, and the power-generation activity in question is the installation of a huge solar-power facility in the Mojave Desert.

It’s the, um, selective prioritization that warrants calling out here.  The issue of whether the desert tortoise will be fatally inconvenienced by the solar facility is no more clear-cut than it ever is in such cases.  Some environmentalists can always be found Continue reading “Desperate desert tortoise endangered by Jerry Brown”

Russia, China, India: Doing the jobs Americans won’t do


The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, lambasted her colleagues on the UN Security Council on Wednesday for failing to agree that climate change is a threat to international security and peace.

Due to objections from Russia, China, and India, the UNSC was unable to adopt even a non-binding Presidential Statement to this effect, settling instead for a much watered-down version.  Rice was beside herself (emphasis added): Continue reading “Russia, China, India: Doing the jobs Americans won’t do”

The summer of 1980

Hot times.

Where were you in the summer of 1980?  I was in Oklahoma City, working as a summer intern for one of the state agencies.  The summer of 1980 was the most persistently hot summer Oklahoma has seen since records have been kept; the summer of 2011 will have to go a considerable way to catch up with (much less surpass) it.

I mention this because on The Weather Channel this morning, a TWC reporter interviewed an Oklahoma City official who said the area has now seen the most days ever in which excessive heat advisories have been issued.  I have no doubt that the heat wave is miserable and seems never-ending to those in Oklahoma this summer Continue reading “The summer of 1980”

The EPA assault on Texas

Got energy? Not for long.

The necessary precondition for Texas’s unique economic success – a beacon in a deep recession – is energy.  And the EPA is closing in for the kill.

This would be one thing if Texas were an outlier among the 50 states in terms of dirty air or an otherwise demonstrably imperiled environment.  But the truth is closer to the opposite:  the air in Texas has been getting cleaner; in the urban areas, much cleaner.  And in spite of being by far the largest electric power producer of the 50 states, and heavily reliant on coal, Texas has been steadily reducing its emissions of the EPA’s least-favored compounds from coal combustion (e.g., sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide). Its emissions of NOx and SO2 are substantially lower than the national average; Texas is ranked the 11th lowest in NOx emissions (.098 lb/mmBtu in 2009, versus a national average of .159 lb/mmBtu), and 24th in SO2 (.309 lb/mmBtu in 2009, versus a national average of .458 lb/mmBtu).

But the EPA isn’t really making the argument that Texas is an environmental pigsty. Continue reading “The EPA assault on Texas”

California and the Ridiculous State of Law in America

Environmental inadequacy.

There’s reason to rejoice that a California state judge issued an injunction on Friday against the state cap-and-trade scheme (C&T) proposed in 2006.  For one thing, the case’s citation name is Association of Irritated Residents v. California Air Resources Board, and how often does that come along?  Irritated v. CARB would make an awesome name for a rock band.

The judge, Ernest Goldsmith, allowed the other elements of the 2006 law (AB 32) to proceed as planned, so small businesses and truck drivers and others who will be drastically affected by its emission-curbing requirements have no prospect of relief.  The important business of driving business out of California will proceed apace.

Of equal interest, however, is the basis for the judge’s decision to suspend the C&T plan. Continue reading “California and the Ridiculous State of Law in America”