Dr. Michael Mann – living in a glass house (with greenhouse gases)

As folks know, Dr. Michael Mann, the climatologist who’s best known for his climate change hockey stick graph, has sued the National Review and Mark Steyn for defamation for poking fun at Mann’s work as academic fraud.  So, here Mann is pressing his legal case, arguing that someone has legally injured him by knowingly spreading falsehoods.  You’d think Mann would understand the seriousness of defamation, and of course the legal elements to establish a defensable claim.  You’d think.  But this week, Mann couldn’t help himself, and tweeted out what appears to be libelous claims about Anthony Watts, whose blog, Watts Up With That, presents skeptical arguments about manmade climate change.

Mann_libel_koch Continue reading

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Frogs are Green – or at Least the Living Ones

Just like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, where canaries served as human sentinels in subterranean conditions, amphibians today are viewed by many as serving thatcropped-FrogsRG_header-2013 same role for the terranean landscape.  Because amphibians, such as frogs and salamanders, are sensitive to habitat loss and environmental pollution, they have become the biological sentinels of the environmentContinue reading

EPA Priorities in the Waning Hours of the Obama Administration

Toward the end of any administration, there’s always a mad dash by EPA to push through as much of its regulatory agenda as it can.  This past Friday, I was asked to pinch hit for Nancy Stoner, head of EPA’s Water Office, at the ABA’s annual environmental law conference in Baltimore.  Due to the partial government shutdown all EPA officials were threatened prohibited from making any public appearance to prognosticate on the agency’s priorities over the last three years of the Obama Administration.  Sorry, Nancy – we missed you.  But not to be overshadowed by the Air Office and the looming showdown on climate change regulations, I promised big things from you and your office (you’re welcome!), namely the “Big Three” rules, stormwater, waters of the U.S., and nutrients.  Continue reading

Happy National Ethical Investment Week

If you’re not familiar with it, it may sound a bit hoakie.  But it’s legit, and that’s what they are celebrating in the UK this week.  And although the UK is leading the charge on using private finance to leverage social good, the concept of ethical investing continues to gain greater traction here in the U.S..  Now, one might argue that the only social good a company need provide is a good job and decent rate of return for its investors.  And 30 years ago, you would have been right.  But these days, companies are being asked to deliver much much more.  Continue reading

Obduracy of Climate Politics Creates Real Risks

Michael Gerson, a conservative and former speech writer for Bush 43, has a very thoughtful article this week on the climate change debate.  I have grown increasingly frustrated by those voices within the Republican party who, for whatever reason, refuse to  consider the possibility that human activities are contributing to climate change.  Yes, I know, environmentalists have overplayed their hand, made predictions that haven’t materialized, and have exploited fear to leverage action.  The consequences have been greater cynism and, what I refer to as, a crisis of credibility.  However, this crisis of credibility doesn’t diminish the very real possibility that climate change, caused in part by human activity, is occurring.  However, as Gerson argues over in WashPo, politics is poorly suited to address global warming. Continue reading

Good Intentions Leading to Bad Policy – The Ethanol Quagmire

The American Petroleum Institute this week filed suit against EPA, seeking to overturn the agency’s renewable fuel standards that require 10% of gasoline to be blended with biofuel or ethanol, made from grass, wood chips, corn and other plant materials.  This is one of those requirements DCF 1.0with many detractors and odd bedfellows, that is opposed by not only oil and gas, but by conservative and environmental groups as well.  As John Upton over at Grist points out, only the ethanol lobby seems to like it.  While environmental groups oppose it on environmental grounds, CEI and Cato have long argued that federal subsidies for ethanol should be phased out, as ethanol harms fuel and food prices.  And there simply isn’t enough of it to provide a steady cost-effective supply to blenders.  The blended ethanol fuels, e.g., E10, are also causing havoc with drivers, whose engines may not tolerate the ethanol.  AAA has cautioned drivers about the potential for damage to vehicles and voided warranties. Continue reading

Beware of New Construction – Safety Hazard Ahead

I’m excited to report that this blog will soon be undergoing a redesign, with a vibrant new look and a more ecumenical theme.  Due to the volume of visitors and the desire to provide a greater variety of content and perspective, this blog will be moving toward a multi-contributor platform with a continued focus on the important topic of conservation and environmental stewardship from a philosophically conservative orientation.  I will also be inviting some of my not-so-conservative political friends to offer guest essays to add to the depth and richness of perspective, and to mix up the dialogue on occasion. I’m also very excited about showcasing the incredible nature photography of my cousin, Greg Clark, whose work, like this below, will adorn the front page.  So stay tuned.

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