Who really pays for cutting back rules limiting toxic emissions?

President Donald’s administrative minions, since day one, have been “reviewing” federal regulations they argue are so costly they curtail growth in American manufacturing, and worse, put American jobs at risk. Thus they are focusing on rules that govern environmental reviews in permitting processes and regulate impacts on worker health and safety.

Pollution Free ZoneIndustry groups oppose one particular regulation — the rule tightening ozone emissions under the Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

According to a Reuters story by David Lawder, “The National Association of Manufacturers said the EPA’s review requirements for new sources of emissions such as factories can add $100,000 in costs for modeling air quality to a new facility and delay factory expansions by 18 months.”

According to Lawder, “Several groups argu[ed] this would expose them to increased permitting hurdles for new facilities, raising costs.” [emphasis added]

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Tom Harris distorts the maturity of global warming science and imagines expertise where little exists

The science supporting global warming theory has a history going back almost 200 years, but readers of Tom Harris commentaries might come away thinking that it’s all brand new science.

Tom Harris, Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

Tom Harris, Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

For the other posts in this series, click here.

Starting in the middle of December, 2014 and continuing through February, 2015, Tom Harris, Executive Director of the industrial climate disruptionA denying International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), wrote at least eight nearly identical commentaries that appeared mostly in small local newspapers and websites around the English-speaking world. The stated purpose of the commentaries was to call for scholars and philosophers to engage in the public discussion about climate disruption (aka global warming or climate change), and Harris wrote that “philosophers and other intellectuals have an ethical obligation to speak out loudly when they see fundamental errors in thinking.6” S&R’s analysis found that Harris’ commentaries contained multiple examples of the very logical fallacies he was taking others to task for as well as disingenuous arguments and rhetorical boobytraps, all in an attempt to convince readers that the science of climate disruption is less certain than it actually is.

In Parts One through Three, S&R showed how Harris’ commentaries were filled with hypocrisy, illogical arguments, and misinformation and how he was making the bizarre and irrational argument that ignorance and inexperience should be considered equal to knowledge and expertise. Today S&R corrects Harris’ many misunderstandings about the present state of climate science and what makes someone a climate expert. Continue reading

Three new studies illustrate significant risks and complications with geoengineering climate (corrected)

Correction: Figure 3 below was originally Figure 3 from the Cao/Caldeira paper instead of the correct Figure 1 from the paper. This has been fixed.

In 1992, the National Academy of Sciences defined “geoengineering” as the “large-scale engineering of our environment in order to combat or counteract the effects of changes in atmospheric chemistry.” The most significant changes in atmospheric chemistry today are the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by human activities, especially but not limited to carbon dioxide (CO2). In recent years, climate scientists have begun to investigate whether or not geoengineering is practical as a means to give humanity the time it needs to adapt to climate disruption or, as some would prefer, a means to controlling the environment such that no changes in energy consumption patterns are even necessary. Continue reading

The greening of a high alpine lake

Earlier this week, for the first time in at least eight years, I revisited one of my favorite places on the Earth that I’ve yet experienced. It’s a snowmelt-filled, glacier-carved alpine lake just below treeline in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s surrounded by tall cliffs and you have to scramble over boulders to get to it (something that my wife didn’t exactly appreciate when I tried to show it to her). Sure, it’s close to one of the favorite places for tourists in the park, but most of the time I don’t mind a few other people so long as they’re being polite and not too noisy, and the people eating lunch around the lake were generally OK.

This lake and I go way back, back to when I abandoned my Catholicism in favor of a neo-paganism of my own creation. It helped me find myself and a new spirituality in a period of my life when so many things were changing that it felt like the best I could do is hang on. And I feel that it was this lake that saved my life one very, very strange night in a strange town in central Pennsylvania.

I feel a spiritual connection to this lake, like I can feel its presence with me when I concentrate.

When I arrived at the lake, though, I discovered something that saddens me. Eight years ago the lake looked like liquid glass it was so pristine and clear. But yesterday it was green. Continue reading