Archive for November, 2010

If Al Gore’s Chicago Climate Exchange Suffers Total Failure, Does the MSM Make a Sound?

November 6, 2010

By Steve Milloy
November 6, 2010, PajamasMedia.com

Global warming-inspired cap and trade has been one of the most stridently debated public policy controversies of the past 15 years. But it is dying a quiet death. In a little reported move, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) announced on Oct. 21 that it will be ending carbon trading — the only purpose for which it was founded — this year.

Although the trading in carbon emissions credits was voluntary, the CCX was intended to be the hub of the mandatory carbon trading established by a cap-and-trade law, like the Waxman-Markey scheme passed by the House in June 2009.

At its founding in November 2000, it was estimated that the size of CCX’s carbon trading market could reach $500 billion. That estimate ballooned over the years to $10 trillion.

Al Capone tried to use Prohibition to muscle in on a piece of all the action in Chicago. The CCX’s backers wanted to use a new prohibition on carbon emissions to muscle in on a piece of, quite literally, all the action in the world.

The CCX was the brainchild of Northwestern University business professor Richard Sandor, who used $1.1 million in grants from the Chicago-based left-wing Joyce Foundation to launch the CCX. For his efforts, Time named Sandor as one of its Heroes of the Planet in 2002 and one of its Heroes of the Environment in 2007.

The CCX seemed to have a lock on success. Not only was a young Barack Obama a board member of the Joyce Foundation that funded the fledgling CCX, but over the years it attracted such big name climate investors as Goldman Sachs and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the CCX’s highly anticipated looting of taxpayers and consumers — cap-and-trade imploded following its high water mark of the House passage of the Waxman-Markey bill. With ongoing economic recession, Climategate, and the tea party movement, what once seemed like a certainty became anything but.

CCX’s panicked original investors bailed out this spring, unloading the dog and its across-the-pond cousin, the European Climate Exchange (ECX), for $600 million to the New York Stock Exchange-traded Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) — an electronic futures and derivatives platform based in Atlanta and London. (Luckier than the CCX, the ECX continues to exist thanks to the mandatory carbon caps of the Kyoto Protocol.)

The ECX may soon follow the CCX into oblivion, however — the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. No new international treaty is anywhere in sight.

While we don’t know how well Al Gore and Goldman Sachs fared on their investments in the CCX, we do know that there’s no reason to cry for Sandor. He received $98.5 million for his 16.5% stake in CCX when it was sold. Not bad for a failure that somebody else financed.

Incredibly (but not surprisingly), although thousands of news articles have been published about CCX by the lamestream media over the years, a Nexis search conducted a week after CCX’s announcement revealed no news articles published about its demise.

Outside of a report in Crain’s Chicago Business and a soft-pedaled article in a small trade publication, the media has entirely ignored the demise of the only U.S. effort at carbon trading. Even Glenn Beck, who has dedicated quite a bit of Fox News airtime to exposing the CCX, has yet to mention the news.

Despite ending carbon trading, the CCX isn’t vanishing altogether. It intends to transition into the murky world of dealing in carbon offsets. Once again, however, with the tide leaving on carbon regulation and increased concerns about fraudulent carbon offsets, the future of that market is quite uncertain.

With the demise of CCX carbon trading, only the still-pending Waxman-Markey bill is keeping cap and trade alive — technically, at least — in the U.S. According to JunkScience.com’s Cap-and-Trade Death Clock, however, Waxman-Markey only has about 60 days of life left before it, too, turns into a pumpkin.

Despite this good news, opponents of carbon regulation will need to remain vigilant. While radical greens and the rent-seeking “clean energy” industry are down, they are not out.

Though they will never again dare utter the term “cap and trade,” they will reformulate and rebrand carbon regulation in the form of a national “renewable electricity standard” (RES), a “carbon tax,” or perhaps something even more innocent and cuddly — like “free cotton candy for everyone (FCCE).”

The global warming mob will be back, with their old agenda and new deceit, in 2011. Given that Republican politicians have a long history of squishiness on environmental issues, the rest of us will need to be prepared to continue the battle against Marxist/socialist and economy-killing energy rationing and taxes.

Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.

Junk science machine attacks BPA

November 4, 2010

By Steve Milloy
November 4, 2010, GreenHellBlog.com

Radical environmentalists and unscrupulous profiteers have put together a perpetual junk science machine in hopes of driving the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) to extinction. That machine includes a gullible/sympathetic media that hopes to get away with telling the public only part of the story. Consider a Nov. 2 report by Science News’ Janet Raloff, “Skin is no barrier to BPA study shows; Finding suggests store receipts could be significant source of exposures.”

Raloff starts her story by quoting the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Frederick vom Saal (more on him later), who says that

“The new study [by Daniel Zalko et al. and published in Chemosphere] is now unequivocal in showing that yes, BPA can go through human skin.”

While no one disputes that some BPA can be absorbed through the skin, the question is how much and is this harmful?

As Zalko admits in his study, BPA is metabolized to highly water soluble metabolites that are known to be estrogen inactive. This downplayed fact is, of course, devastating to the underlying scare, which relies on the hypothesis that absorbed BPA acts like an estrogen.

To get around this problem, Raloff obliquely acknowledges it by stating,

“Though such transformations are often assumed to render a chemical nontoxic…”

She then offers a naked claim by Zalko in contradiction:

“’that would be a false assumption,’ Zalko says, ‘because any compound that has been conjugated can be deconjugated’.”

But while Zalko claims that these metabolites can be converted back into BPA in the body, this is pure speculation (wishful thinking?) on his part as there is no data to support the claim.

Raloff then tells us that,

The role of metabolites in BPA’s potential toxicity is complicated, vom Saal says, because the body can — and regularly does — conjugate and deconjugate compounds. “It’s well known,” for instance, “that the body is full of desulfating enzymes, which play a role regulating estrogen levels during pregnancy.”

There is no doubt that the body is full of many chemicals that have a variety of roles — but there remains no evidence that the body converts any non-estrogenic BPA metabolites back into BPA.

Raloff’s article then goes on to discuss another earlier Zalko study involving application of BPA to the ears of dead pigs. Zalko reports that after three days, more than half of the applied BPA diffused through the skins of the pig ears.

But who cares about how much BPA can be absorbed by the ears of dead pigs? We have data from real human beings. As pointed out on this blog earlier:

A June 2010 study published in the journal Annals of Bioanalysis and Chemistry by Swiss food regulators reported that a person repeatedly touching thermal printer paper for 10 hours/day, such as at a cash register, would absorb 42 times less BPA than permitted by current safety regulations, which already have a very significant margin of safety. No workers or consumers would normally be exposed to even such infinitesimal amounts.

A February 2010 study from the University of Zurich’s Centre for Xenobiotic Risk Research reported that, “Dermal absorption (that is, absorption through the skin), is therefore at most a secondary absorption route for bisphenol A. The primary absorption route is still dietary intake. For this route, daily total amounts of bisphenol A around 10,000 times higher are considered harmless for adults.”

Raloff relies heavily on vom Saal to validate Zalko’s claims and insinuations. But she omits mention of two salient facts about vom Saal:

  1. He is a long-time and reality-free advocate against BPA; and
  2. His scientific claims against BPA have not been replicated by independent scientists.

Raloff concludes her article by pointing out that Appleton Papers is poised to rush to market BPA-free receipt paper for the upcoming holiday season. No doubt Raloff’s Science News hatchet-job will accompany Appleton’s marketing pitches — a perfect accompaniment as it contains not a single skeptical or dissenting voice.

BPA may be targeted for extinction but here’s why the rest of us ought not let that happen.

BPA is the test case for the bogus theory of endocrine disrupters. If the radical greens get away with destroying BPA’s reputation based on that never-validated hypothesis, they will proceed to use that scam against a host of other chemicals. The battle for BPA is not really about BPA. It’s about whether we will use science or circuses to determine chemical safety.

For more on BPA, check out Debunkosaurus.com.

Re-educating Mitch McConnell on clean coal

November 3, 2010

While we shouldn’t expect our left-wing elitist of a President to understand last Tuesday’s electoral rejection of his “progressive” prescriptions for America, we should expect Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to get it.

But Sen. McConnell seems to have missed the message, at least when it comes to cap-and-trade — odd for a coal state politician. The day after the election, Sen. McConnell said:

“The president says he’s for nuclear power. Most of my members are for nuclear power. The president says he’s for clean coal technology. Most of my members are for clean coal technology. There are areas that we can make progress on for the country.”

Aside from the canard of President Obama sincerely supporting nuclear power and the fact that Republicans ought to avoid the loaded and already co-opted-by-the-left
word “progress,” so-called “clean coal” is a form of Obama-think — a discredited cap-and-trade concept that was more trap than sincere policy.

Some in the coal industry and some coal-burning electric utilities had been talked into supporting cap-and-trade, provided that taxpayers and ratepayers forked over billions (if not trillions) of dollars for so-called “carbon capture and sequestration” (CCS) — that is burying utility carbon dioxide emissions deep underground and hoping they stay there safely.

But to the extent that any so-called environmentalists paid any lip service to clean coal and CCS, it was only to lure coal and utility suckers into cap-and-trade. Does anyone really believe, after all, that the greens would allow utilities to inject underground billions of tons of highly pressurized carbon dioxide all over the nation? They fought tooth-and-nail, after all, to prevent the storage of a comparatively small number of sealed casks of spent nuclear fuel one mile underground in the Nevada desert.

But discussion of clean coal and CCS are academic since, as of January 3, 2011, cap-and-trade will be as dead as dead gets. This is because there is no cap-and-trade without CCS and you can bet that the 112th Congress — at least on the House side — will not appropriate the billions (trillions) of dollars necessary of for large-scale CCS. So clean coal is dead too — except in the minds of establishment zombies who slept through the election.

If all anyone is worried about with coal is carbon dioxide, then coal is already clean — and that’s what all Republican Senate candidates believed, except perhaps for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator-elect Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Radical environmentalists are trying to put out the post-election message that support for cap-and-trade wasn’t a big negative for House Democrats.

But as a former senior Senate staffer pointed out to me…

…one need look no further than the ten House Democrats who voted for the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill but who voted against the healthcare bill — i.e., Reps. John Adler (NJ), Rick Boucher (VA), Frank Kratovil (MD), Ike Skelton (MO), Zack Space (OH), Harry Teague (NM), Ben Chandler (KY), Dan Lipinski (IL), Stephen Lynch (MA), Collin Peterson (MN).

Of the ten, three were in noncompetitive seats (Peterson, Lynch, and Lipinski). Lynch and Lipinski, in fact, voted against healthcare because it didn’t go far enough. That leaves seven House members who voted against healthcare but supported Waxman-Markey, six of whom were defeated last night and the seventh, Chandler led by only 600 votes (out of 239,000 cast), but the race hasn’t been called yet (as of Nov. 4).

So Waxman-Markey seems to have figured prominently in all seven of these races, especially in Boucher’s, considering his role in helping to craft the bill. In the Teague race, returning Congressman Pearce cited the cap-and-trade vote as one of the primary reasons he decided to challenge Teague.

Sen. McConnell should wake up to the new reality in Washington, DC — a reality that does not include the discredited and lamebrain ideas of President Obama and the Pelosi-Reid 111th Congress. Many of yesterday’s Republican victors would probably just as soon have the tea party-esque and already-hip-to-the-new-reality Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) as their leader.

If Sen. McConnell keeps prattling about ”clean coal,” he may just one day find himself in the same scrap heap as all the Democrats who were smoked yesterday for their Waxman-Markey votes.

Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery 2009).

The Junkman goes to vote…

November 2, 2010

… behind the green curtain in the Peoples Republic of Maryland.

As I pulled into the garage at my polling place, the University of Maryland at Shady Grove, I was prevented from parking my Ford Expedition in the first convenient space because the best spaces were for:

Note that these spaces weren’t even for the handicapped or pregnant women. They for politically correct greenie-weenies who drive cars like this:

I hope the driver of that car never has the misfortune of running into anything larger than a Kleenex box.

So I was forced to park on the 4th level — I mean the “Recycling” level:

The sickness of it all became clear when I got off the elevator on the first level — I mean the “Earth” level:

Fully primed to vote, I completed my mission of voting against every sitting comrade in the PRM.

BTW, in the spirit of Alaskans-who-think-they-are-entitled-to-be-Senators, I wrote in Lisa Murkowski for Maryland Attorney General. The sitting comrade-AG had no other competition.