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Climate Models Overlook Benefits of CO2 and ‘Lukewarming,’ Data Scientist Says

Rather than relying on climate change models that could be the basis of expansive and costly regulations, policymakers should instead question those models, focusing on the legitimacy of their underlying assumptions.

So says The Heritage Foundation’s chief statistician said at a recent climate change conference in Las Vegas that preceded the international summit in Glasgow, Scotland, that concludes today. 

While the Biden administration continues to pursue regulatory policies based on a concept known as the “social cost of carbon,” increased carbon dioxide emissions have led to a “greening of the planet,” Kevin Dayaratna, principal statistician and data scientist for The Heritage Foundation, said in his presentation at the Heartland Institute’s 14th international climate change conference. The nonprofit, Illinois-based free market think tank attracted dozens of scientists, economists, and academics from across the globe to the conference, which ran from Oct. 15 to 17. 

The Heartland Institute also hosted a Climate Reality Forum in Glasgow on Nov. 2 and 3 during the two-week United Nations climate change conference

The Heartland Institute is a co-sponsor of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, which has brought together scientists, researchers, and scholars from across the globe who dispute U.N. …read more

 

Taxpayers Take School Board to Court for Trying to Silence Parents’ Criticism

Four taxpayers in Pennsylvania have decided enough is enough after footing the bill for a school board attorney who told them that the school system could limit their First Amendment rights.

The taxpayers filed a free speech lawsuit in federal court that could set a precedent for invalidating policies that shield both school administrators and elected officials from public criticism. 

“Our lawsuit seeks case precedent to establish that citizens cannot be censored or intimidated by government officials for exercising their First Amendment rights at a school board meeting,” Simon Campbell, a former member of the Pennsbury School Board, told The Daily Signal.

In their suit, Campbell and three other taxpayers whose children are or were enrolled in Bucks County’s Pennsbury School District ask the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to strike down school board policies used to “censor” citizens who dissent. 

The Institute for Free Speech, a Washington-based nonprofit law firm, represents the four plaintiffs. Their suit names Pennsbury School Board officers and other members as well as the board’s lawyers and current and former district officials. 

Michael Clarke, an attorney for the Pennsbury School District who is among the defendants, is on record informing parents and other residents that …read more

 

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Move to Block Newly Cleared Climate Regulations

No sooner did a Pennsylvania state commission narrowly approve new climate regulations this week than state lawmakers advanced a resolution to prevent those rules from taking effect.

The five-member Independent Regulatory Review Commission voted 3-2 on Wednesday to approve “cap and trade” regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions, endorsed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, in an executive order in October 2019.

Republicans on the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee voted Thursday to approve a concurrent resolution to spike the regulations. They were joined by state Rep. Pam Snyder, a Democrat, whose district includes Greene, Fayette, and Washington counties.

The regulations would enable Pennsylvania to become part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate agreement to address climate change that includes 11 New England and mid-Atlantic states.

Government regulators in participating states compel electric utilities to purchase carbon allowances at quarterly auctions whenever the power companies surpass the cap on carbon dioxide emissions established by RGGI, as the pact is known.

During the Wednesday meeting, Commissioner John Soroko made a motion to disapprove of the regulations, which failed 3-2. Commissioner Murray Ufberg then made a motion to approve the regulations, which passed 3-2.

The Pennsylvania …read more

 

Climate Regulations Reach Critical Turning Point in Pennsylvania

If an independent panel votes down proposed regulations to limit carbon dioxide emissions in Pennsylvania, state lawmakers will have added leverage to prevent Gov. Tom Wolf from joining a multistate initiative to address climate change.

However, if the panel approves the regulations in a meeting Wednesday, Wolf’s executive agencies likely would gain latitude to move forward with plans to implement cap-and-trade rules in step with 11 other states in New England and the mid-Atlantic that are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Either way, September is shaping up to be a critical month for the future of carbon taxes and other anti-carbon measures that have drawn bipartisan opposition in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Since the commonwealth is No. 2 only to Texas in oil and gas production, according to government figures, the final decision on the cap-and-trade proposals will have significant ramifications across state lines.

Even if Pennsylvania’s five-member Independent Regulatory Review Commission votes yes on the carbon dioxide regulations, the state’s Office of Attorney General has 30 days to review their legality.

The General Assembly also could adopt a resolution opposing the regulations, despite the commission’s OK. Since legislative committees already have expressed disapproval of Wolf’s climate regulations, …read more

 

Big Salaries at Conservation Group Created by Congress Raise Eyebrows

While working to restore wildlife and plant habitats, a federally chartered conservation foundation pays lavish salaries to officers at the expense of environmental initiatives that are central to its mission, policy analysts and former employees say.

Compensation figures in Form 990 tax records prepared for the IRS ought to raise questions about the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s internal financial practices and the potential impact on conservation programs, a former employee told The Daily Signal in a phone interview.

Top officials, including Jeff Trandahl, the foundation’s executive director and CEO, receive annual compensation packages that appear to be “out of proportion” with those at other nonprofit conservation groups, said Alex Echols, who was the foundation’s deputy policy director from 1995 to 2000.

Trandahl received $1.29 million in annual compensation in 2018 alone, according to the most recent available Form 990 tax records. By comparison, CEOs with other nonprofit conservation groups fell well short of Trandahl’s salary in recent years.

In 2017, Sierra Club Executive Director Dan Chu was paid $238,000 and American Forest Foundation President and CEO Thomas D. Martin made $386,560. In 2018, then-Natural Resources Defense Council President Rhea Suh made $543,741 and then-National Audubon Society CEO David …read more

 

Demand After COVID-19 Sparks School Choice Proposals in Pennsylvania

Low-income families in Pennsylvania’s lowest-performing school districts could gain access to tuition assistance for private schools as part of a reform package.

Pending legislation would create education savings accounts, into which the state could deposit funds that parents may use to buy education products and services for their children. Such accounts can make private schooling options more affordable.

The proposal also would expand existing tax credit programs that provide students with tuition assistance in the form of scholarships.

“Once this bill moves forward and passes, Pennsylvania is going to be a model state for educational opportunity,” state Rep. Andrew Lewis, a Dauphin County Republican and lead House sponsor, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

“We’re going to ensure that every kid no matter what their family’s income, no matter what their socioeconomic background is, and no matter what school district they’re born into, they’re going to be able to access the economic dream through an excellent education,” Lewis said. “What we’re doing is shifting the focus from institutions to kids, and from institutions to families.”

The dollar amount for education opportunity accounts, or EOAs, would be based on average state funding per student, minus transportation costs. The most …read more

 

6 Goals in Black Lives Matter’s New ‘Impact Report’

Political activists who call for defunding police and ending what they call systemic racism used the banner of Black Lives Matter to raise tens of millions of dollars and launch a political action committee, according to the main organization’s “2020 Impact Report.”

The report declares victories in the election of two Democrats to the U.S. Senate in Georgia’s runoffs as well as three Democrats to the U.S. House from Texas, New York, and Missouri.

The report credits the new PAC for coordinating get-out-the-vote efforts. The main Black Lives Matter organization also entered the legislative fray for the first time while making generous grants to allied organizations.

In an introduction, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors says the radical organization believes that “white supremacy is currently sanctioned by our systems and even by some of our elected officials.”

Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, a fiscally sponsored project of the Tides Center, a left-leaning nonprofit, remains the main organization of the Black Lives Matter movement.

But the foundation now has what its leadership describes as a sister organization called Black Lives Matter Grassroots, which includes state chapters across the U.S. and Canada.

The “impact report,” while not detailing Black Lives Matter …read more

 

Scott Walker Takes Helm of Young America’s Foundation

Left-wing ideologues who attempt to suppress conservative ideas on college campuses and in legislative chambers don’t genuinely believe in either unity or diversity despite what they say, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said in an interview with The Daily Signal.

Walker, the new president of Young America’s Foundation, said such persons on the left mostly are interested in their own opinions.

“They profess diversity, but they’re not for diversity,” Walker told The Daily Signal in the interview just days before he took over the conservative youth organization Feb. 1. “What they’re for is their own opinion. They talk about unity, but what they mean is they want you to support what they believe and to affirm what they believe.”

Walker, 53, succeeds Ron Robinson, who served as president of the Young America’s Foundation for 43 years.

Under Robinson’s leadership, the Reston, Virginia-based foundation inaugurated student-oriented programming and seminars for high school- and college-age conservatives.

Robinson, now 70, also oversaw the 1998 purchase and preservation of former President Ronald Reagan’s Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara, California, and acquisition of the Reston-based National Journalism Center in 2001, which runs training programs for aspiring journalists. The Reagan Ranch Center opened in …read more

 

Pennsylvania Governor’s Climate Regulations Draw Bipartisan Opposition as Hearings Begin

Other elected officials in Pennsylvania continue to question the constitutionality of Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed carbon tax in the run-up to 10 public hearings that begin Tuesday on the disputed regulations to address climate change.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board has approved a “cap and trade” plan to cap carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

The plan, which the board OK’d in mid-September, would require power plants to obtain carbon dioxide allowances equal to the amount of the greenhouse gas they emit. Electric utilities that emit more than their assigned cap would have to purchase allowances at an auction to offset the excess.

Elected officials in both parties, however, say that Wolf is circumventing the Pennsylvania General Assembly in an effort to impose taxes that only the state lawmakers can approve or reject.

“I think we’ve kind of exhausted our options legislatively,” state Rep. James Struzzi, a Republican, said in an interview with The Daily Signal. “I think this will come down to the courts.”

Wolf’s secretary of environmental protection, Patrick McDonnell, is chairman of the 20-member Environmental Quality Board. With representatives from 11 state agencies, the board is charged with adopting the Department of Environmental Protection’s regulations.

Wolf, a Democrat, …read more

 

Soros-Funded Prosecutors Put ‘Social Justice’ Above Law and Order, Analysts Say

Self-styled progressive political activists who win election as district attorneys with financial support from wealthy donors have made “social justice” initiatives more important than public safety, legal analysts say.

George Soros, the Hungarian American billionaire investor, stands out as the big donor behind a super PAC that helped elect district attorneys who have overseen a dramatic increase in crime.

The Justice and Public Safety super PAC feeds into a larger network of local political action committees. Some of the district attorneys elected with its support have attracted media attention for their antipathy toward law enforcement.

“I refuse to call them progressives,” Charles “Cully” Stimson, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said in an interview with The Daily Signal, adding: “There’s nothing progressive about what they’re doing.”

In July, Fox News reported on St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who benefited during her 2016 campaign from advertising funded through Justice and Public Safety in her 2016 campaign.

Conservatives criticized Gardner for announcing her intention to pursue felony charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who stood outside their St. Louis home with firearms in June as Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched past after breaking through a …read more