Category: Environment

Global Brightening and Hazy Predictions

By Harold Brown Global warming, simplified: Burning fossil fuels generates carbon dioxide into the air, trapping energy radiated from the globe. The earth is made warmer because this energy is prevented from escaping into outer space. But then there are air pollutants that reduce the radiant energy from the sun that reaches the earth. Reducing those pollutants that cool the earth would be expected to warm it. The main cooling pollutant is sulfur, mostly as sulfur dioxide (SO2), from burning wood and fossil fuels. Sulfur and other pollutants mixed in the air are referred to as aerosols, and they reflect the sun’s rays away from the earth. Water, as vapor and droplets in clouds, is a major component of these… View Article
By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation Every year around Earth Day (April 22), people everywhere are harshly reminded just how “unnatural” environmentalists consider humans.  Humans, they argue, are against nature, and nature is being destroyed by humans. It’s unfortunate. Creating this dichotomy of humans against nature not only confuses the environmental narrative, it claims a separation that doesn’t exist and disregards enough relationships to make it preposterous. A striking recent example is the oft-repeated claim that species are threatened with extinction by human activities. National Geographic, the Public Broadcasting System, the World Wildlife Foundation and others have repeated the theme that “Current rates of extinction are 1,000 to 10,000 times the background (before humans) rate… View Article
By Harold Brown Harold Brown  Global warming (climate change) is not just a scientific subject but also a technical-social-political scramble. Several recent episodes illustrate this; just one has been widely reported. First, most recent and receiving the greatest media attention: Just days after the appointment of Scott Pruitt as the new administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency came the reports on the court-ordered release this week of thousands of emails between Pruitt and “fossil fuel companies like Koch Industries and Devon Energy” when he was Oklahoma’s attorney general. The Associated Press, noting Pruitt’s office contacted the lobbyist for his utility (AEP) after his power went out, reported the emails reveal “cozy ties” between Pruitt “and those that profit… View Article

The Glacial Update of Georgia’s Water Plan

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Imagine a group project today where everyone must put their electronic devices in a basket and use a blackboard, notepad, pencil, slide rule or manual typewriter. Consider how many people still drive a 1955 or ‘65 Chevrolet on a daily basis. Then ask yourself if it makes sense to operate a state based on a 50-year-old water use plan. All of the above are ineffective, inefficient, illogical and outdated; much has changed over the decades.  Yet Alabama and Florida sought for decades to restrict Georgia to half-century-old water guidance, even as population, water use and demand have changed. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finally moved beyond the tristate blame game and accepted… View Article

Climate Change Déjà Vu

By Harold Brown Harold Brown, Senior Fellow, Georgia Public Policy Foundation This week in the U.S. Senate, Democrats took to the floor to attack national and state organizations that oppose their climate policies in what they called a “Web of Denial.” The Georgia Public Policy Foundation was among 22 signatories to a letter that denounced Democrats’ attack on free speech.   But what about the so-called Web of Denial?   Global warming is not new. In the middle of the 20th century, climate predictions, patterns and clues were similar to what we hear today, though not as loud and frequent. A Saturday Evening Post headline asked in 1950, “Is the World Getting Warmer? The article reported the first January melting… View Article

Urban Farms: Unlikely Oases in Food Deserts

By Harold Brown Harold Brown “Food desert” is the modern urban description of a supposed area of hunger amid plenty. But one would expect emaciation in a food desert, not obesity, which is caused by overconsumption and bad choices. The modern urban version is a social-cultural food desert. When these occur, they are likely caused by economic, social or regulatory rules. Food vendors go where the demand is, if local regulations allow.  Walmart withdrew its 2011 application for a store, including a supermarket, in downtown Athens, Ga., because of protests against this “urban curse”. The property is now being developed as mostly apartment/condominium units – no supermarket. This week, the Jackson (Ga.) Herald website reported Walmart has withdrawn its rezoning… View Article
Georgia Public Policy Foundation President and CEO Kelly McCutchen is one of nearly 50 leaders of organizations across the nation who signed a letter in support of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and opposing an attorney general’s subpoena that sought CEI’s communication on climate change. The letter is below. June 1, 2016 Kent Lassman President Competitive Enterprise Institute 1899 L Street, NW 12th Floor Washington, D.C. 20036 Dear Kent, On behalf of the undersigned groups, and the millions of Americans we represent, we write to you today to show our support for the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).  Last month, CEI received a subpoena from U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General (AG) Claude Walker. AG Walker is part of a group called “AG’s… View Article
The most climate-friendly reliable source of power is nuclear energy, yet environmental activists largely campaign against nuclear. Michael Shellenberger shares the fascinating history and motives of activists’ opposition in, “CLEAN ENERGY IS ON THE DECLINE — HERE’S WHY, AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT,” in Public Utilities Fortnightly. Shellenberger writes: Utilities that own nuclear power plants are in serious financial trouble. While it is tempting to blame low natural gas prices and misplaced post-Fukushima jitters, nuclear’s troubles are rooted in regulatory capture — a capture that finds its genesis in the origins of the U.S. environmental movement. This capture is now threatening to bring this climate-friendly energy source to the brink. … How then did environmentalists come to view… View Article

Flint’s Water Crisis Hides the Blessing

By Harold Brown Harold Brown President Obama has announced he is heading to Flint, Mich., on May 4th, another sign the Flint Water Crisis is the latest example of protesting too much. The good news is hidden; the crisis is being shouted. The Detroit Free Press announced, “President Obama declares emergency in Flint” and called it “a manmade catastrophe.” The Guardian newspaper headlined it, “Flint water crisis was ‘environmental injustice,’ governor’s taskforce finds.” The Flint waterworks switched its intake from the Detroit water system to the Flint River April 30, 2014. After the switch, Flint didn’t use a corrosion-control treatment to help prevent lead and copper from leaching from water lines. In February 2015, the city of Flint tested tap… View Article

It’s Earth Day: Hold On to Your Wallets!

By Benita M. Dodd BENITA DODD Before and since the first Earth Day in April 1970, this nation has made awe-inspiring improvements in its quality of air, water and life. Still, the eco-activists’ to-do list just gets longer. Expect more announcements of environmental “crises” today from agency officials and environmental groups as they once again try to justify their existence and your donations, voluntary or not. Once, your parents told you to clean your plate and, “Think of the starving children in India.” This Earth Day, “nanny government” gets literal at the Environmental Protection Agency, which takes on “food recovery” with tools for assessing wasted food. For the Department of Energy, the issue is climate change. The… View Article

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