Aaron Copland’s 1942 concert piece “Fanfare for the Common Man” brings forth images of the nobility of the ordinary citizen. Recent actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and environmental extremists bring forth images of an “Energy Requiem for the Common Man.”
In the January 17, 2008 interview during the presidential campaign, Barack Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that he was not concerned to see the coal industry go bankrupt. Referencing a government-run, cap-and-trade emissions bargaining scheme he stated: “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted … Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
Although cap-and-trade failed to gain congressional approval, the war on coal was not over. It had just begun in earnest. During a November 3, 2010 press conference President Obama stated: “Cap and trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end. And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”
The “other means” has now become evident. On June 18, 2014, the EPA proposed regulations stating that: “Nationwide, by 2030, this rule would achieve CO2 emission reductions from the power sector of approximately 30 percent from CO2 emission levels in 2005.”
Reduction of carbon dioxide is specifically singled out and made the crown jewel of this EPA proposal. Radical environmentalists and those in the population control community targeted this natural component of the essential life cycle, which links plants and all human life, as a way to thwart continued human progress and growth.
Modern civilization and its abundance of technological and health benefits have come about through the discovery, development, and accessibility of increasingly cheaper and reliable energy. Abundant coal, natural gas, oil, hydroelectric power, and nuclear energy sources have raised living standards and life-spans worldwide.
The burning of fossil fuels results in carbon dioxide as a natural byproduct. Thus targeting carbon dioxide became the chosen proxy for the progressive elitists to control what they see as undesired population growth and human prosperity. Cheap energy of any source became the target of the anti–growth movement as epitomized by Paul Ehrlich: “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.” Thus is the measure of the elitist progressive distain for the ordinary citizen. “Progressives” are at heart “regressives.”
The Club of Rome set the tone with its 1990 publication entitled The First Global Revolution: “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome.
The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
Putting the result of this brainstorming idea into action fell to the United Nations and to political insider Maurice Strong, the founder of the U.N. Environment Programme: “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
At the 1992 Rio Conference (Earth Summit II) he stated that industrialized countries [Americans] have “developed and benefited from the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption which have produced our present dilemma. It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption pattern of the affluent middle class — involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and workplace air-conditioning, and suburban housing — are not sustainable.”
The current EPA proposal to curb CO2 production combines the U.N.’s computerized linkage of manmade CO2 to global temperature/climate change scenarios and President Obama’s war on coal. In addition, the EPA claims theoretical health benefits. These ancillary benefits are said to include the reduction of traditionally recognized toxic power plant byproducts such as mercury, arsenic, acid gas, nickel, selenium and cyanide, but the proposed regulations target only CO2 with a specific numerical reduction goal. The EPA proposal also claims health benefits secondary to “cleaner air.” Those who have rigorously studied such theoretical health claims related to small air particles (PM2.5) find them to be computer-based claims based on dubious statistical associations. One real world examination of hospital patient admissions in California by statistician S. Milloy found no such correlation between changes in ambient PM2.5 and “mortality from any cause of death.”
The recent attack by the EPA on carbon dioxide, as embodied in its June 2014 power plant proposal, continues the war on fossil fuels. The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) did an analysis of the potential impact on utility rates. Their result is embodied in the “SCC says EPA plan could raise power bills by $6B” report (Richmond Times-Dispatch October 16, 2014), and should come as no surprise to utility customers or taxpayers.
That same Times-Dispatch article reported that the Sierra Club’s Virginia Chapter director Glen Besa accused the Virginia SCC of “playing politics with climate change science” and “they’re bringing discredit on the commission.” Yet the Sierra Club has promoted its own political war on coal with its “Beyond Coal” campaign. The New York Times reported February 13, 2012: “The Sierra Club used the Chesapeake Energy money ($26 million) … 2007 to 2010, for its Beyond Coal campaign to block new coal-fired power plants and shutter old ones. Carl Pope, then the club’s executive director, promoted natural gas as a cleaner ‘bridge fuel’ to a low-carbon future.”
Caught in this odd financial alliance with a fossil fuel producer of natural gas, the Sierra Club next turned on natural gas and fracking with its current “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign. It appears that if an energy source is reliable, inexpensive, and available 24/7, the Sierra Club is against it.
Now the political activities of the Sierra Club itself have drawn legal scrutiny. The Energy & Environment Legal Institute and the Free Market Environmental Law Clinic sent a letter (October 14, 2014) to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins requesting an investigation into evidence of an improperly collusive relationship between the EPA and Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council concerning the agency improperly allowing these groups to direct and help write EPA regulatory policy, specifically EPA’s “war on coal.”
What about “climate change science”? The data from global satellites confirm that there has been no global warming for over eighteen years. Climate change is as age-old as our planet. Politicians, environmental radicals, and undiscerning media reporters all fail to define “climate change.” When, what, and where was this theoretical normal climate defined, and by whom? What are their proposed measures which would assure restoration of this climate Utopia?
What extreme weather events? What is the definition of extreme? No category 3 or larger hurricanes have struck the U.S. mainland for over 9 years. Sea level rates-of-rise have been steady to falling. Polar ice is at record levels. Tornados level F3 and larger have declined since the 1970s. Polar bear populations have increased five-fold since the 1960s. All this even as atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen about ten percent. There is no scientifically validated link between climate and manmade carbon dioxide.
The Club of Rome and U.N. attempts to demonize carbon dioxide and thereby throttle worldwide economic growth has been falsified by 18 years of real world records showing no such correlation. The made-to-order, “blame CO2” climate models (general circulation models) fail to correctly predict the effects of clouds and aerosols on global temperature. The giant elephant in the climate change hysteria newsroom is the fact that no one has definitively identified what is the normal range of natural, background climate variability. Edward Lorenz, the father of chaos theory, had illustrated the impossibility of long-term weather prediction decades ago.
The poor and disadvantaged, the “Common Man,” will bear the major portion of the financial burden of this ideological-based carbon scam, itself based on false science and computer fictions.
Charles Battig, M.D.
VA-Scientists and Engineers for Energy and Environment