The Fourth of July, a Day for Barbecues and – Global Warming?

Posted on Fri 07/08/2011 by

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By Peter Gadiel

Ah, the Fourth of July holiday! It has passed for this year, but the joys of it remain in our memories: burgers & steaks on the barbecue, the NY Times op-ed page, Harvard scholars, global warming. What more could one ask for to complete the day?

The connection to the Fourth of July of Harvard scholars, the NY Times and global warming may seem obscure, soon you will understand…sort of.

First topic: Barbecued burgers, global warming and the Fourth of July.

We are educated on the oneness of these topics by an op-ed piece in the NY Times. Now, it’s against my principles to read the NY Times (it just encourages them), but the blurb on the climate reality website ClimateDepot.com was so intriguing that I could not resist the urge to click the link, which brought me to: “Fire Up the Grill, Not the Atmosphere” by Brian Palmer in the Times’ June 29 edition.

Palmer assumes as fact that “global warming” is the result of human activity. (Note: Palmer is sufficiently up to date to know that global temperatures have stubbornly refused to rise in accordance with the demands of the Warmist crowd and that the Polar ice caps have not melted and drowned the globe. This has kinda taken the wind out of the sails of the global warming business so he adopts the au courant phrase “climate change” to cover all bets.)

He then tells that “a little creative thinking can reduce this year’s Fourth of July carbon emissions without gustatory sacrifice.” Accordingly, we should avoid potato salad because the potatoes have to be boiled first and “an overwhelming majority of the energy in boiling goes into heating the water rather than cooking the potatoes.” He recommends pan frying since this requires less than 1/3 the energy of boiling. He continues: “according to [his] math microwaving potatoes is about 40 percent more efficient than pan-frying them on an electric stove, but when I do it the potatoes come out rubbery, and that is too much sacrifice for a holiday.)”

We are then instructed on the “environmental disaster” that is beef, and the carbon profligacy of burning wood charcoal. Propane, Palmer notes is “three times as efficient as a lump of coal.” (Note to Obama: stop blocking gas drilling in the U.S.), but charcoal briquettes are not as bad as lump charcoal (i.e. natural wood charcoal).

Dessert, concludes Palmer, stinks.  Not literally but what because of what ovens do to the environment. So if you’re gonna insist on dessert, at least consider grilling fruit on the dying coals in the barbecue rather than baking a cake in the oven.

So, now you see the connection between global warming, the NY Times and the Fourth. (You already knew before reading this that the any relationship between the Times and the 4th of July would NOT be about patriotism.)

And the Harvard scholars?

David Yanagizawa-Drott, of the Kennedy School at Harvard has written a study entitled “Shaping the Nation: Estimating the Impact of Fourth of July Using a Natural Experiment.” (pdf document)

In the abstract of this May 2011 report Yanagizawa-Drott sums it up for us: “Using daily precipitation data to proxy for exogenous variation in participation on Fourth of July as a child, we examine the role of the celebrations for people born in 1920-1990. We find that days without rain on Fourth of July in childhood have lifelong effects.”

It’s impossible to convey the full flavor of this research; it will suffice to provide the following extracts. These quotes are copied from the report; they are not a spoof.

from page 10:

“Specifically, to investigate whether Fourth of July affects preferences and behavior, we use OLS to estimate the following specification yi,b,c,t = bRain f reeJuly4i,b,c,t + lc + tb + qt + ds _ t + gXi + #c,i, where yi,b,c,t is the outcome of interest (political party identification, voting behavior, and political participation) for individual i, born in year b, living in county c, and surveyed in election year t. In Panel B, Rain f reeJuly4i,b,c,t (hereafter Rain f reeJuly4) is a dummy variable equal to one if there was no rain in county c in election year t. In Panel A, Rain freeJuly4 is a continuous variable. . .”

from page 13:

“Panel A of Table 3 examines the main question of whether Fourth of July celebrations during childhood permanently shapes an individual’s political preferences. We first run the specificationwithout the controls and the state trend (column 1) and then add the covariates and the trend. The coefficients are similar across the three columns and show that Fourth of July celebrations during childhood affect the likelihood of identifying with the Republicans at age 40 (the sample mean).

The point estimate in column 3, 0.0076, is significant at the one percent level and implies that one more rain-free Fourth of July increases the likelihood of identifying with the Republicans by 2.1 percent (35.7 percent in the sample identify as Republicans).”

Co-author with David Yanagizawa-Drott, of the Kennedy School at Harvard is Andreas Madestam of the  Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research (IGIER) of Bocconi University in Italy.

IGIER’s website states that it is a collaborative project of the University, the CEPR and the NBER, and boasts that it has won awards from the National Science Foundation the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, among others.

In other words, your tax money through the IMF and World Bank are helping to pay for this research on what amounts to how many angels can dance on the head of a firecracker on the 4th of July.

It seems to me that in these economically troubled times we could save a great deal of effort by combining the work of Mess’rs. Palmer, Yanagizawa-Drott, Madestan, the NY Times, Harvard and IGIER. Thus yielding the following conclusion (money saving improvements are noted in red print. Language original to the Harvard report as published is in black):

“Specifically, to investigate whether consuming barbecued hamburger on the Fourth of July affects preferences and behavior, we use OLS to estimate the following specification yi,b,c,t = bRain f reeJuly4i,b,c,t + lc + tb + qt + ds _ t + gXi + #c,i, where yi,b,c,t is the outcome charcoal briquettes (political party identification, methane emissions, fertilizer, and bovine participation) for individual i, born in year b, living in county c, and surveyed in election year t. In Panel B, Rain f reeJuly4i,b,c,t (hereafter Rain f reeJuly4) is a dummy equal to one if there was no rain in county c in election year t. In Panel A, Rain freeJuly4 is a continuous variable. . .”

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to set aside for my next holiday ANYTHING but a study produced by the Kennedy School, the IGIER or the NY Times.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Peter Gadiel is the president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America and co-developer of Illegal Immigration; A Game.

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