Warmist crooks above: Keith "One tree" Briffa; Michael "Bristlecone" Mann; James "data distorter" Hansen; Phil "data destroyer" Jones -- Leading members in the cabal of climate quacks

The CO2 that is supposed to warm the earth is mostly in the upper atmosphere, where it is very cold. Yet that CO2 is said to warm the earth. How can heat flow from a cold body to a hot one? Strange thermodynamics!

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported for the entire 20th century by the United Nations (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows in fact that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

The blogspot version of this blog is HERE.
The Blogroll. My Home Page. Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Dissecting Leftism, Political Correctness Watch, Education Watch, Immigration Watch, Food & Health Skeptic, Gun Watch, Eye on Britain, Recipes, Tongue Tied and Australian Politics. For a list of backups viewable in China, see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing) See here or here for the archives of this site

30 April, 2011

Skeptics are demons to be exorcised: akin to racists, sexists, and homophobes

Abuse is all that the Green/Left are good at. MSNBC Panel calls Global Warming skeptics conspiracists but cites not one fact in support of its own belief in Warmism. It's part of a long Leftist tradition of "psychologizing" conservatives -- putting up psychological theories which routinely fail any attempt at rigorous testing. See e.g. here

NOTE: Skeptics DON'T believe in conspiracy theories. They would hardly be skeptics if they did. But they do believe in something much more powerful and influential than any conspiracy: Intellectual fashions

President Barack Obama released his long-form birth certificate on Wednesday, but not even that could put the birther myth to bed for The Nation magazine's Washington editor Chris Hayes.

Guest hosting the April 28 edition of "Last Word," Hayes seized the moment to equate those who believe the president was not born in America with those who exercise healthy skepticism about anthropogenic global warming.

"The issue of the president's origins is one thing," began Hayes. "The reality is global warming quite another. There seem to be the same dynamics at play in both."

Hayes brought two guests to flesh out his opening salvo: Chris Mooney, described as a "science and political journalist" for Mother Jones magazine, a left-wing publication, and Jonathan Kay, managing editor of Canada's National Post newspaper, who wrote a book about conspiracy theorists.

Responding to Hayes's attempt to compare birthers to global warming skeptics, Kay explained, "Well, ultimately, conspiracy theories are a way to reconcile people's ideology with reality. It's a bridge between the world they want to be and the world that exists."

Throughout the segment, Hayes probed Kay and Mooney about how the minds of conspiracy theorists operate, not-so-subtly suggesting global warming skeptics have some sort of neurological disorder.

"Are conspiracy theories a difference in kind or a difference in degree from regular belief formation?" asked Hayes, who cited the UN's Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change report as an example of such belief formation. "Is there something that delineates conspiracist belief formulations from sort of normal belief formation?"

Kay was eager to give Hayes the answer he was looking for: "It's a pathological way of thinking, which is utterly different from rational thought."

For his part, Mooney turned a discussion about ostensibly fact-driven scientific research into a partisan screed against Republicans that was devoid of fact and research.

"I think there's a reality gap between the parties," asserted Mooney. "Republicans and Democrats believe different things about a lot of issues and it turns out Republicans are more likely to wrong."

Wrapping up the lengthy segment, Hayes pressed Mooney and Kay to explain how to "combat" the "conspiracists" who don't blindly subscribe to global warming theories:

Because that strikes me, in the case of global warming particularly, which is a very, very high-stakes conspiracy theory, that a majority of Republicans out there share – John, what did you learn about how you break – you sort of break this kind of vicious cycle that conspiracists are under?

Kay went a step further than Hayes, not only likening birthers to global warming skeptics, but also conflating global warming skeptics with racists, sexists, and homophobes.

"We have taught ourselves to get around racism, for the most part," argued Kay. "We've taught ourselves to get around homophobia and sexism in some cases. We have to teach people that conspiracism is a way of thinking that is pathological, and you have to exercise your mental self discipline to try to get around it."


Little lady who believes in an "indisputable scientific consensus" thinks conservatives have a psychological problem!

She certainly puts her ignorance of science on display! Indisputable consensuses belong in religion only. Science is about CHANGING the existing understanding of anything. And she shows her faith in clauses like: "As documented by Greenpeace". Getting your information from political extremists is about as far away from science as one can imagine.

And her reference to a study in Sociological Quarterly is amusing. All that the study concerned actually showed is that Leftists tend to accept Global Warming while conservatives reject it -- which is hardly news

More disturbingly, she seems to imply that the Sociological Quarterly article supports her little rant about cognitive dissonance. It does not. The word "dissonance" is not even mentioned in it. So once again we see that the lady is no scholar, to put it politely

Just an excerpt from her little sermon below

On April 6, all but one of the Republican members of the US House of Representatives rejected a Democratic amendment that would have put the chamber on record backing the widely held scientific view that global warming is occurring and humans are a major cause. The following day the GOP-led House voted 255 to 172 to strip the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. It is remarkable that in 2011, a majority of Republicans in Congress reject the indisputable, scientific consensus that human activity is altering the climate.

Thus, the question remains: Why is the reality of climate change such a threat to the right? A new study published in the Spring 2011 issue of Sociological Quarterly delves into this very topic. The study finds that conservatives’ refusal to acknowledge the very real threat of climate change, has more to do with its implications rather than skepticism of scientific facts. It’s a classic case of cognitive dissonance!

Stanford University social psychologist Leon Festinger coined the theory of cognitive dissonance, based on a famous case study from the 1950s. Festinger and his colleagues infiltrated a cult that was awaiting what they believed would be the imminent end of the world on December 21, 1954. When the prediction failed, rather than recognize the error of their beliefs, the cult members’ faith grew stronger, so strong that they began to proselytize. People will go to great lengths to rationalize their deeply held beliefs, even more so when exposed to evidence that challenges their worldview.

Climate change poses a profound threat to many things that right-wing ideologues believe in. Conservatives tend to champion individual freedom, private property rights, small government, free markets, and above all else, unfettered industrial capitalism. Industrial capitalism is an economic system predicated on the accelerating extraction and consumption of fossil fuels for energy, which is driving the climate change we face today. To accept this basic premise, one is compelled to question the wisdom of capitalism itself, which is a terrifying notion for conservatives. And it doesn’t take long to recognize that conservative values are inherently antithetical to the desperately needed actions to tackle global climate change.

When we recognize the role of cognitive dissonance, it becomes clear that conservatives and Republicans are more likely to dispute or deny the scientific consensus and the claims of the environmental community, in order to defend the industrial capitalist system. It is far more simple to deny science, than to accept that one’s worldview is wrong.


Australia: Abuse in lieu of reason again -- from a Watermelon, of course

"Scepticism is bastardry", says head of ACF

THE president of the Australian Conservation Foundation has attacked the "scientific bastardry" of climate change sceptics amid weakening public consensus that humans are to blame.

Ian Lowe, who is also professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University, lamented the narrowing of the carbon tax debate.

He said it was "naive" to believe putting a price on carbon was the solution to the problem, arguing the carbon price would have to rise to "politically unrealistic" levels if it was to drive the transition away from coal-fired power.

He said other complementary measures would be needed to encourage renewable energy.

Addressing a conference in Melbourne organised by the academics' union, the National Tertiary Education Union, Professor Lowe called on scientists to become more active in promoting the scientific evidence of human-induced climate change.

"As a profession who are paid from the public purse, it is a fundamental part of our responsibility to the community to be engaged in the public debate about these issues," he said.

He said the evidence for human-induced climate change was backed by virtually all scientists. He described the views of climate change sceptics as "illegitimate arguments that you could call scientific bastardry".


Hottest Year Ever Brought Below Normal Tornadoes?

Hansen says that 2010 was the hottest year ever. The tornado count was just below the mean.

Black line is 2010; Green line is the average (mean)

Temperatures have plummeted since last spring, and we are having a very active tornado season.

Romm adds 2+2 and comes up with zero.


Germany between a rock and a hard place

The climate-policy goals of the German government are no longer attainable after the decision last month to phase out nuclear power plants, according to Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn, president of the Ifo Institute for Economic research at the University of Munich.

We wrote last week that fresh from a victory in forcing the German government to abandon its nuclear policy, NIMBYs (people afflicted with the Not In My Back Yard syndrome) are bracing to battle against the massive new power lines and wind turbines that are being built across the country as part of the green energy program.

Dealing with objections to the inconveniences of green energy is one big challenge and according to Prof. Sinn electrical power from the sun and wind can indeed replace the electricity that comes from nuclear power plants in Germany - - on paper at least - - since atomic energy only provides 4.6% of Germany’s final electricity supply, whereas electricity from wind and solar power amounts to 1.8%. He says the phase-out option is indeed in the realm of possibility, if one disregards the irregularity of the supply but the original hope that nuclear power would displace fossil fuels in order to curb global warming cannot be fulfilled with wind and solar power. Energy from fossil sources accounts for 84.7% of German final energy consumption.

Prof. Sinn says replacing nuclear electricity will be hard enough; replacing the electricity generated by fossil fuels on top of that is well nigh impossible. If the electricity supply in Germany, which amounts to 20.3% of final energy consumption, were to come from wind power, using present technology, a surface area the size of North-Rhine Westphalia would be needed, with turbines packed as closely together as technically feasible.

He says it is downright utopian to think that considerable portions of transportation, which consumes 26.1% of final energy, could also be driven by electrical motors fed with energy from the wind and sun. Should Germany yield to French pressure to increasingly electrify European transportation, the German strategy based on wind and solar power would not stand a chance against French nuclear power.

With bioenergy, which accounts for a good two-thirds of renewable energy, the energy calculation is more favourable. Here, however, there is the basic problem of competing with food crops. If bioenergy is restricted to biowaste, its potential would be correspondingly limited.

Since Germany is in the process of relinquishing the nuclear option for a gradual substitution of fossil energy sources, it will not be able to prevent persistently high CO2 emissions. The climate-policy goals of Chancellor Merkel will not be attainable.

Prof. Sinn says Germany can hope that its continued reliance on fossil energy sources will force the other European countries, via increasing prices in the European emissions trading system, to achieve the planned reductions in CO2 emissions themselves. But Germany cannot prevent other countries from attaining these savings by way of a further expansion of atomic energy.


ICE Core CO2 Records - Ancient Atmospheres Or Geophysical Artifacts?

It has always seemed quite mad to me to claim that air bubbles trapped in glaciers remain unchanged for tens of thousands of years. The article below lists many influences that could change their composition. Air bubble science is just as much a work of faith as is Warmism generally

Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica are sacred pillars of evidence, establishing benchmarks of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s prehistoric atmospheres. But can ice actually preserve atmospheric air (free of contamination or chemical alteration) for thousands, tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of years?

A fossil is a remnant or impression of something that existed in past geological ages – an ancient form preserved in its original appearance. An artifact is a product with an artificial character due to extraneous agency – an object that is left over from a sequence of creative events.

The question is: Do ice cores contain the fossils of Earth’s prehistoric atmospheres, or do ice cores contain artifacts of geophysical processes that continuously remix gases in glacial ice?

Jaworowski’s Objections

In 1992, a group of three otherwise respectable scientists answered this question with a 57-page article that went against the mainstream view [1]. These three dissenters (led by Zbigniew Jaworowski) subsequently endured professional contempt [2], career endangerment [3], and harsh criticism [4]. Between 1992 and 2007, Jaworowski produced three more notorious articles condemning ice core science [5], [6], [7].

Mainstream scientists argue convincingly against Jaworowski, and they continue to reject him today. A notable exception is Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry, Joel M. Kauffman, who uses Jaworowski’s case to help reexamine the highly controversial issue of human-caused climate change [8].

Jaworowski and his followers insist that ice cores are invalid media for determining CO2 concentrations in Earth’s prehistoric atmospheres, because:

* Ice sheets are NOT closed systems that trap gases mechanically and preserve them indefinitely. Instead, liquid saline water can exist in ice at temperatures below –70° C, within a permeable ice sheet where a capillary liquid network acts as a sieve to redistribute elements, isotopes and micro-particles.

* Air recovered from old ice is contaminated during field and laboratory operations.

* The widely accepted pre-industrial atmospheric CO2 level of 290 ppm rests on biased rejections of high CO2 readings in ice cores. Early studies on ice cores consistently showed a range of CO2 readings that were higher than later studies – in one case, a study by the same researcher on the same ice core showed different numbers in different years.

Raynaud’s Response

D. Raynaud and coauthors [9] admit that “several processes could cause the gas record measured in ice samples to be different from the original atmospheric composition.” They list the following processes:

* absorption of gases on the surface of snow and ice crystals,

* separation by gravity and molecular diffusion of the gases in the ice column,

* alteration of gas composition by formation of air hydrates at great depths in the ice sheet or by presence of drilling-induced fractures or thermal cracks in ice samples,

* alteration by chemical interaction between gases and ice on long time scales.

Raynaud assures us that researchers can test and calculate the effects of these interfering physical processes, citing papers by Ethridge and Neftel – two of the authors whom Jaworowski contests.

Critique Of Raynaud

In key sentences, Raynaud’s language is obscure and lacking in convincing detail – he appears to elevate strong statements of confidence above decisive descriptions of procedures that eliminate uncertainties in ice-core gas measurements. Raynaud easily dismisses ice-core CO2 testing methods before the 1980’s, claiming that these methods were inappropriate and that reliable results came only later. This argument (if true) overcomes Jaworoski’s objection of suspiciously higher CO2 measurements in ice cores prior to the 1980’s. A similar argument (used by Harro A. J. Meijer against Ernst-Georg Beck rules out much of the 19th century air measurements of CO2. Lack of knowledge, lack of skill, and lack of proper methodology all are mainstream arguments that reject CO2 measurements higher than 290 ppm before the year 1958.

Regarding the soundness of ice core science, Raynaud and coauthors conclude: “It is now firmly established that after selecting appropriate sampling sites, the ice core record of greenhouse gases provides the most direct evidence for past atmospheric change.”

Expanding on Raynaud’s confidence, Christopher Readinger [10] writes: “All of the modern analytical techniques used to extract these proxy records have been developed and honed over time, and with the assistance of better technology and new ideas, more accurate methods of ice core analyses are being developed.”

Looking at Readinger’s end list of limitations, however, a person could easily embrace the doubt that Jaworowski advises.

Digging through the literature, I stumbled upon a paper from year 2000 by Bernhard Stauffer and Jurg Tschumi [11] laying out problems that can vex ice core analysis. These authors acknowledge the reality of artifacts, even though they do not state outright that these artifacts disable reliable ice core analysis. Their presentation is terse and non-opinionated, yet their sentences speak clearly.

For example, in one sentence, they report, “Despite the relatively good agreement between the GRIP, the Dye 3 and the Camp Century record for the glacial part, it became obvious that the results do not represent a reliable record of the atmospheric CO2 concentrations.”

Later, they clarify: “We performed very detailed measurements along short sections of the GRIP core and observed large variations over distances of a few centimeters in sections which show high CO2 concentrations. … As mentioned above, such short-term variations cannot reflect variations of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, it has to be an artifact. Delmas [1993] suggested that the surplus CO2 is produced by an acid carbonate reaction in the ice. Another possibility to produce CO2 would be the oxidation of organic material in the ice.”

These authors do not convey the same confidence as Raynaud and Readinger, but by their association with the colloquium on ice core science in which their paper appeared, I can only assume that they support ice core science. To give a fuller flavor of their tone, I present Stauffer’s and Ischumi’s conclusions, exactly as written:

* CO2 can be produced and probably also depleted by chemical reactions occurring between impurities in glacier ice. For the production of CO2 oxidation reactions are as important as acid carbonate reactions.

* Antarctic ice core records compared to those from Greenland are generally less affected by such chemical reactions, due to the lower impurity concentrations in Antarctic ice.

* The most reliable results concerning reconstruction of ancient atmospheric CO2 concentrations are obtained with ice samples containing a low concentration of carbonates and H20 2.

* Measurements can be considered reliable only if a detailed high resolution record along a few annual layers shows that the scattering of the results is of the order as the analytical uncertainty.

* Measurements on ice where air is enclosed in clathrates show additional difficulties due to a fractionation of air components. This holds especially for the zone in which both air bubbles and clathrates coexist.

* It is very important to develop dry extraction methods, which allow for the extraction of gases with an efficiency close to 100 %. The sublimation technique is at present the one which IS most promising.”

The Real Picture

From this review so far, a more realistic picture of ice core science begins to emerge – a picture that might be more tolerant of Jaworowski, whose jobs have placed him in the trust of others as a contamination expert.

Jaworowski argues that mainstream researchers are dreaming if they think that they can extract reliable information from the conundrum of possible contamination problems in ice cores.

Mainstream researchers, on the other hand, claim that they know about these problems and have them under control. Brooks Hurd [12], an expert in purity of gases in the semiconductor and other industries, echoes Jaworowski’s doubt, when he writes, “concerns about loss and contamination of atmospheric components from sampling handling prior to analysis should be a major issue in deep ice core CO2 analyses.”

A Young Science

Analyzing ice cores is a relatively young science, compared to other established sciences [13] [14], but even in 1993, a researcher named Robert J. Delmas [15] cautiously discussed the presence of excess CO2 in Greenland ice samples. In a seemingly reluctant tone, he pointed out interactions between acid and alkaline impurities that could lead to this excess CO2. He admitted that the excess CO2 might form either in the ice sheet itself or during ice-core storage. Although he avoided questioning low published CO2 values (180 – 200ppm), he concluded: “The consequence of this carbonate decomposition is that rapid CO2 fluctuations associated with climate change could well NOT be an atmospheric reality, at least not as they are now reconstructed from Greenland ice core measurements.”

He was careful to emphasize, however, that his findings cast little doubt on Antarctic ice cores or on data about ice ages in both Polar Regions.

Gases In Ices

Ices of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, thus, remain the premier records of Earth’s ancient atmospheres. Gases trapped in these gigantic glaciers continue to stand as trust worthy fossils of prehistoric air.

Air fossils are certainly an intriguing idea, but how can air remain undisturbed for millennia, in a medium that melts and refreezes easily, flows and reforms plastically, and appears and disappears cyclically? To help assess this question, let us look briefly, at how gases interact with glacial ices.

In ice sheets, ice transforms through different stages, from snow on the surface to dense ice at great depths. New snow compresses steadily under the accumulating weight of more falling snow. Old snow compresses into granular ice called “firn”. Grains that make up firn squeeze together even tighter to form successively denser layers of ice. This process continues until it produces the densest glacial ice. Throughout the transformation from snow to firn to glacial ice, atmospheric air intermingles with the ice sheet in a progression of its own [16]:

Michael Bender [17] says, “Measured concentrations of gasses in ice cores and firn air need to be corrected for effects of gravitational fractionizaton and thermal fractionization.” He also points out, “there are substantial uncertainties associated with age [of ice and air] limiting our ability to interpret some records.” His discussion makes clear that researchers have to deconvolute air measurements according to ice flow models limited by basic unknowns and basic assumptions whose sanctity few people question.

Werner F. Kuhs [18] admits, “in several respects, a deeper understanding of the chemico-physical behavior of air in contact with ice is not yet obtained.”

Much more here


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


29 April, 2011

NOAA Scientist Rejects Global Warming Link to Tornadoes

A top official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rejected claims by environmental activists that the outbreak of tornadoes ravaging the American South is related to climate change brought on by global warming.

Greg Carbin, the warning coordination meteorologist at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said warming trends do create more of the fuel that tornadoes require, such as moisture, but that they also deprive tornadoes of another essential ingredient: wind shear.

“We know we have a warming going on,” Carbin told Fox News in an interview Thursday, but added: “There really is no scientific consensus or connection [between global warming and tornadic activity]….Jumping from a large-scale event like global warming to relatively small-scale events like tornadoes is a huge leap across a variety of scales.”

Asked if climate change should be “acquitted” in a jury trial where it stood charged with responsibility for tornadoes, Carbin replied: “I would say that is the right verdict, yes.” Because there is no direct connection as yet established between the two? “That’s correct,” Carbin replied.

Formerly the lead forecaster for NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, Carbin is a member of numerous relevant professional societies, including the National Weather Association, the American Meteorological Society, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the International Association of Emergency Managers. He has also served on the peer review committee for the evaluation of scientific papers submitted to publications like National Weather Digest and Weather and Forecasting.

This evaluation by a top NOAA official contradicted pronouncements by some leading global warming activists, who were swift to link this season’s carnage to man-made climate change.

“The earth is warming. Carbon emissions are increasing,” said Sarene Marshall, Managing Director for The Nature Conservancy's Global Climate Change Team. “And they both are connected to the increased intensity and severity of storms that we both are witnessing today, and are going to see more of in the coming decades.”

Bjorn Lomborg of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, an activist and author who believes industrialized societies expend too much money and energy combating global warming, instead of focusing on more immediate, and easily rectifiable, problems, doubted the tornadoes have any link to warming trends.

“We've seen a declining level of the severe tornadoes over the last half century in the U.S.,” Lomborg told Fox News.“So we need to be very careful not just to jump to the conclusion and say, ‘Oh, then it's because of global warming.’”

In fact, NOAA statistics show that the last 60 years have seen a dramatic increase in the reporting of weak tornadoes, but no change in the number of severe to violent ones.

For many, the high casualties of 2011 recalled the so-called “Super Outbreak" of April 1974, which killed more than 300 people. “You have to go back to 1974 to even see a tornado outbreak that approaches what we saw yesterday,” W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told Fox News.

Asked earlier, during a conference call with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley about the possibility that climate change is playing a role in the tornado outbreak, Fugate shot back: "Actually, what we're seeing is springtime. Unfortunately, many people think of the Oklahoma tornado alley and forget that the Southeast U.S. actually has a history of longer and more powerful tornadoes that stay on the ground longer -- and we are seeing that, obviously, in the last week and yesterday.”

SOURCE. See also here

Weather is Not Climate Unless People Die

Peter Gleick is only the most recent climate scientist to try to exploit extreme weather for political gain, writing at The Huffington Post:
Violent tornadoes throughout the southeastern U.S. must be a front-page reminder that no matter how successful climate deniers are in confusing the public or delaying action on climate change in Congress or globally, the science is clear: Our climate is worsening. . .

In the climate community, we call this "loading the dice." Rolling loaded dice weighted toward more extreme and energetic weather means more death and destruction.
You can see in the graph above that there is no upwards trend in US tornado deaths, 1940-2010 (PDF).  This year's very active season and tragic loss of life won't alter that conclusion.  Actually there is a sharp downwards trend during a period when US population grew a great deal (consider this graph from Harold Brooks for a longer term perspective).  There is obviously no evidence of "more death and destruction."  On the lack of trends in destruction see this paper.

On the significance of yesterday's tragic tornado outbreak, consider this perspective from NOAA:
What's the risk of another super-outbreak like April 3-4, 1974? It's rare; but we don't know how rare, because an outbreak like that has only happened once since tornado records have been kept. There is no way to know if the odds are one in every 50 years, 10 years or 1,000 years, since we just do not have the long climatology of reasonably accurate tornado numbers to use. So the bigger the outbreaks, the less we can reliably judge their potential to recur.
Gleick's column is all the more ironic for this statement:
Climate deniers who have stymied action in Congress and confused the public -- like the tobacco industry did before them -- need to be held accountable for their systematic misrepresentation of the science, their misuse and falsification of data, and their trickery.
Obviously, it is not just climate deniers who are engaged in misrepresentation and trickery. Here is what Gleick wrote just a few months ago:
While the public may not fully understand the difference between climate and weather, or understand how the world could be warming while it's cold outside, most well-known climate deniers fully understand these distinctions -- they just choose to ignore them in order to make false arguments to and score points with the public and gullible policymakers. Cherry-picking selected data that supports a particular point (i.e., it's cold today), while hiding or ignoring more data that points in exactly the opposite direction (i.e., global average temperatures are rising), is bad science and it leads to bad policy. Just last week Glenn Beck pointed to a snowstorm in Minneapolis as proof that global warming isn't happening. He knows better, but his audience may not.
Well said Peter.


EPA Blatantly Lying To Children

Ocean temperatures are below normal. Mountains have record snow. The 1880s-1910s had much worse forest fires. The US was hotter in the 1930s. There is no evidence that rain and snow patterns are outside of normal variability. There is no evidence that plant life cycles are outside the normal range of variability. Sea level has been rising for 18,000 years, and is currently rising very slowly around the US, if at all. Glaciers have been melting for 18,000 years. The worst hurricanes and tornadoes occurred more than 70 years ago. Severe tornadoes are on the decline. It has been almost 1,000 days since any hurricane hit the US. ………………………….


New study: IPCC predictions may be wrong

Pesky ocean current

The Agulhas Current which runs along the east coast of Africa may not be as well known as its counterpart in the Atlantic, the Gulf Stream. But now researchers are taking a closer look at this current and its "leakage" from the Indian Ocean into the Atlantic Ocean--and what that may mean for climate change

In results of a study published in this week's issue of the journal Nature, a team of scientists led by University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science Oceanographer Lisa Beal, suggests that Agulhas leakage could be a significant player in global climate variability.

The Agulhas Current transports warm and salty waters from the tropical Indian Ocean to the southern tip of Africa. There most of the water loops around to remain in the Indian Ocean (the Agulhas Retroflection), while some water leaks into the fresher Atlantic Ocean via giant Agulhas rings.

Once in the Atlantic, the salty Agulhas leakage waters eventually flow into the Northern Hemisphere and act to strengthen the Atlantic overturning circulation by enhancing deep-water formation.

Atlantic overturning circulation is technically known as Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC); it carries warm shallow water into northern latitudes and returns cold deep water southward across the equator.

Recent research points to an increase in Agulhas leakage over the last few decades, caused primarily by human-induced climate change.

The finding is profound, oceanographers say, because it suggests that increased Agulhas leakage could trigger a strengthening in Atlantic overturning circulation--at a time when warming and accelerated meltwater input in the North Atlantic has been predicted to weaken it.

"This could mean that current IPCC model predictions for the next century are wrong, and there will be no cooling in the North Atlantic to partially offset the effects of global climate change over North America and Europe," said Beal.

"Instead, increasing Agulhas leakage could stabilize the oceanic heat transport carried by the Atlantic overturning circulation."

There are also paleoceanographic data to suggest that dramatic peaks in Agulhas leakage over the past 500,000 years may have triggered the end of glacial cycles.

These data are further evidence that the Agulhas system and its leakage play an important role in the planet's climate, Beal and others say.

"This study shows that local changes in atmospheric and oceanic conditions in the Southern Hemisphere can affect the strength of the ocean circulation in unexpected ways," said Eric Itsweire, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s physical oceanography program, which funded the research.

"Under a warming climate," said Itsweire, "the Agulhas Current system near the tip of South Africa could bring more warm salty water from the Indian to the Atlantic Ocean and counteract opposing effects from the Arctic Ocean."

The study establishes the need for additional research in the region that focuses on Agulhas rings, as well as on the leakage, believes Beal.

Climate modeling experiments are critical, she said, and need to be supported by paleoceanographic data and sustained observations to firmly establish the role of the Agulhas system in a warming climate.

"Our goal now is to get more of the scientific community involved in research on the Agulhas system and its global effects," said Beal. "The emphasis has been too long in the North Atlantic."

The Agulhas Current Time-Series Experiment, or ACT, was launched in April 2010 to measure the variability of the Agulhas Current using a combination of current meter moorings and satellite data.

Beal, who serves as chief scientist, spent one month aboard the research vessel Knorr in the southwest Indian Ocean deploying oceanographic instruments.

The data gathered in situ, when combined with along-track satellite information, will help increase our understanding of how the Agulhas system is changing in a warming climate, Beal said.


The Big Warming Is Now 40 Years Away

How often have we been told catastrophe was only 10 years away?

The effect of additional CO2 decreases logarithmically, so we can expect an exponential increase in temperature after 2050.
You may be yearning for warmer days after what is shaping up to be one of the coldest Aprils in Western Washington’s history.

University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences Professor Cliff Mass told the Ross and Burbank Show the warming is coming. Global Warming, that is.

“The fact that we haven’t warmed up much doesn’t mean anything. The warming is coming, but it’s not going to be really significant until the second half of the century,” Mass said.

The professor said the warming trend is “sort of exponential; it starts slowly and then revs up at the end.”


Expert warns carbon tax is 'crazy'

Professor Bob Carter, speaking in Mackay, Australia, would rather see the government spend money on ‘climate reality’

QUEENSLAND’S resources sector and every day families would suffer for nothing if the Federal Government introduced a carbon tax, a Mackay forum heard last night.

Climate scientist Professor Bob Carter and Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) executive director John Roskam told the forum that a carbon tax would disproportionately impact Australia’s north and have a very negligible effect on reducing emissions.

Meanwhile, Mackay businesses reliant on the resources sector expressed concern that a carbon tax would eventually lead to mining companies looking overseas for exploration, resulting in a large downturn in the economy and local job losses.

Yesterday, Professor Bob Carter told the Daily Mercury that a carbon tax would cost Australia trillions of dollars and it would be better if the Federal Government spent money on dealing with “climate reality” by building cyclone and bushfire centres.

Prof Carter, who has studied ancient climate change, said there was no doubt human activity impacted global temperatures.

However, he said this was insignificant in the context of natural climate change and policy makers needed to abandon the “illusionary goal of preventing global warming by reducing carbon emissions”.

“Climate change always occurs.

"It is certain that humans have an affect on climate locally,” he said. “No scientist on the planet doubts that humans have an effect on temperature locally. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse and there is more in the atmosphere the extra amount of warming is so tiny we can’t measure it – so what’s the problem?”

Mr Roskin told the 120-odd people at last night’s forum that a carbon tax would have no real environmental benefit, but would hurt northern Australia’s “great economic potential”.

He said there was the real threat that mining companies would take investment elsewhere, resulting in widespread job losses.

The Federal Government plans to introduce a carbon price from July 1, 2012.

Yesterday, Treasurer Wayne Swan said setting a carbon price was a necessary move to low pollution economy and defended union claims it could wipe out industrial jobs. “For anyone to say that this transition doesn’t have to happen or should be put in the too-hard basket or should be delayed - what they are really saying is they have given up on jobs,” Mr Swan said.

However, the government has conceded that a carbon tax would impact on living costs. A treasury analysis has showed households may pay $863 a year more for food, petrol, gas and power.

Prof Carter said the cost of a carbon tax was “absolutely enormous” and described it as “crazy”.

He said the Federal Government would be better off focusing a policy which dealt with the reality of climate change and invest in disaster centres and more disaster equipment, such as firefighting helicopters.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


28 April, 2011

More proof of global cooling

Warmists and their disciples have long told us that the population of Antactic krill has DECREASED drastically in recent decades due to global warming (See e.g. here, here, here and here). So what conclusions do we draw from the recent report excerpted below?

With the "flexibility" that Warmists are renowned for, the authors below now say that an INCREASE in Krill proves global warming. We are apparently supposed to forget that they said the opposite for many years. Conclusion: We are listening to psychopaths, not scientists

Scientists have observed a "super-aggregation" of more than 300 humpback whales gorging on the largest swarm of Antarctic krill seen in more than 20 years in bays along the Western Antarctic Peninsula.

The sightings, made in waters still largely ice-free deep into austral autumn, suggest the previously little-studied bays are important late-season foraging grounds for the endangered whales. But they also highlight how rapid climate change is affecting the region.

The Duke University-led team tracked the super-aggregation of krill and whales during a six-week expedition to Wilhelmina Bay and surrounding waters in May 2009. They published their findings today (April 27) in the online science journal PLoS ONE.

"Such an incredibly dense aggregation of whales and krill has never been seen before in this area at this time of year," says Duke marine biologist Douglas Nowacek.

Antarctic krill are shrimp-like creatures that feed primarily on phytoplankton and live in large swarms in the Southern Ocean. Penguins, seals, seabirds and many whale species rely on the protein-rich, pinky-sized crustaceans as a source of food. Commercial fisheries are allowed to harvest up to 3 ½ tons of the krill a year as food for farm-raised salmon and for oil, rich in omega-3 acids, which is used in human dietary supplements.


A truly remarkable gaffe from Warmist Joe Romm

Romm has posted the following combination of temperature history and guesswork. Note that it clearly shows a DECLINING temperature since the Medieval Warm Period. And the top temperature of the year 2000 is in fact LOWER than the year 1000.

The guesswork can of course be disregarded -- not only because it is guesswork but also because it is unlike anything else in the temperature record. And the flattening out of global temperatures since the year 2000 is well-known anyway.

Is Romm trying to leave the Dark Side? Or is he just stupid?


New paper shows how natural ocean oscillations control climate

According to climate scientist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr., "A very important new paper has been accepted for publication in Climate Dynamics," titled Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation And Northern Hemisphere’s Climate Variability. The paper shows how the climate of the Northern Hemisphere can be explained by a combination of the natural ocean cycles called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), without incorporating greenhouse gases. The graph below, from a poster associated with the paper, shows how the Northern Hemisphere (NH) surface temperature "can be nearly perfectly represented as a weighted sum of the AMO and PDO" natural ocean oscillations. IPCC models do not incorporate ocean oscillations and are purposely programmed to instead attempt to "prove" CO2 controls climate rather than natural factors such as ocean oscillations and solar variability.

NHT (blue line) is Northern Hemisphere Temperature and tracks "nearly perfectly" a weighted sum of the AMO and PDO ocean oscillations (red dashed line)

Poster associated with the paper, click for pdf file
Related: more on the natural ~ 60 year climate cycle


The environmentalists need to stop crying wolf

A study released this week concludes that government “green-job” programs aren’t the yellow-brick road to happiness in Europe. “Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every job created,” write Kenneth P. Green and Ben Eisen in their paper for the Winnipeg-based think-tank, Frontier Centre, “while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create five new jobs in the general economy.”

Pity the Greens, here and around the globe. Things haven’t been going their way in the last couple of years, ever since those pesky e-mails surfaced in Britain — the ones showing that Green-tinged scientists at the climatic-research unit of the University of East Anglia got carried away with the nobility of their global-warming mantras. All in a good cause, of course, but still, “it’s no use pretending this isn’t a major blow,” as George Monbiot wrote in Britain’s The Guardian in the fall of 2009.

Actually, 2009 may have been the first year of serious reversal for the Green movement that has gone from triumph to triumph for the past 50 years. The astrologers and alchemists of ecology have been merrily reading tea leaves and crying wolf for almost half a century.

Like many millennial movements, the Greens started out as a mixed bag. They included concerned citizens, calculating statists and hysterical sentimentalists. Some were sober and practical enough, trying to identify genuine problems; others had a variety of issues and agendas, espousing or pretending to espouse the Earth’s cause with religious fervour. Masquerading as scientists, spouting scientific jargon and aping scientific methods, they caught the fancy of the zeitgeist, gradually advancing from the partisans of the Earth to its administrators and police.

In Europe, Greens became a direct political force, while in North America they piggybacked their politics, policies and rhetoric on the traditional political parties. Their influence extended across the spectrum. All parties mouthed their shibboleths, with the parties on the left — in Canada, the NDP — making the loudest noises.

The Frontier Centre’s paper quotes U.S. President Barack Obama still singing the praises of the greening of Spain in 2009 — “particularly around key issues like renewable energy and transportation, where Spain has been a worldwide leader” — just before a group of researchers headed by Gabriel Calzada Alvarez at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos released their findings about the actual cost of each “green job” created by Obama’s “worldwide leader.” It was a staggering three-quarters of a million dollars ($791,597, to be precise), indicating that the Middle East isn’t the only region where America’s Commander-in-Chief is sorely in need of a reality check.

Alvarez and his researchers also found that each “green” megawatt installed “destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy.” This week Green-Eisen conclude that “far from generating a new source of economic growth, job creation and government revenue, Spain has found its foray into renewable energy to be unsustainable.”

Italy and Germany, if anything, fare worse. “As with Spain, corruption runs rampant through the renewable-energy sector,” write Green-Eisen. “In Italy, however, rather than having numerous individuals defrauding the government, the Mafia is involved.” As for Germany, utilities are required by law to purchase solar energy at 59 cents per kWh. Conventional electricity costs range from a high of 10 cents to a low of three. Federal subsidies for electricity have risen 300%, and household costs on average by 7.5%. That’s in a country where the Greens are political heavyweights. In the United Kingdom, “for every job created in renewable energy, 3.7 jobs are lost.”

What price “green” energy? That price, and worse, assuming Green and other researchers are right, as I suspect they are. And what are we paying this price for? We’re not boiling the globe like a lobster, as they led us believe we were, so what are we paying it for? What are we paying it for if we’re not running out of fossil fuels, and our nuclear reactors aren’t melting us down all the way to China as we were told they might in the 1970s?

Are we paying for the paranoia, self-righteousness and dictatorial ambitions of a quasi-religious, pseudo-Luddite, bio-worshipping ideology? It seems like that and maybe it is — but I wonder. The Earth can sustain more than Al Gore, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Alberta Federation of Labor and their little green friends claim it can, but it can’t sustain everything. It may, for instance, not be able to sustain American levels of energy consumption by seven billion people.

The wolf isn’t at the door — but there is a wolf. There’s a whole pack of them out there. They’re hungry and they’ve big teeth.

The boy in the fable who cries wolf doesn’t do much damage when he sounds his false alarm. He’s just a nuisance — maybe a bloody nuisance, but that’s all. The damage comes when his alarm is real but nobody listens. I suspect this may yet become the story of the Green lobby.


Will A Lizard Stop West Texas Oil?

Species: After the harm done by the spotted owl and delta smelt, the listing of a tiny reptile as endangered may be the latest salvo in the war on domestic energy.

As Yogi Berra would say, it's deja vu all over again. If the dunes sagebrush lizard is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an endangered species, another key part of the American economy will fall prey to the eco-extremist mantra that every little critter's well-being trumps that of the American people and economy.

Last December, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the lizard, a three-inch-long reptile native to the American Southwest, "faces immediate and significant threats due to oil and gas activities and herbicide treatments" and initiated the process to get it listed under the Endangered Species Act.

In 2002, the Center for Biological Diversity first petitioned to have the lizard, originally considered a subspecies of the common sagebrush lizard, listed as endangered. The Bush administration delayed consideration for six years. Last year, the Obama administration put it back on the fast track.

And why not? This is an administration that has ignored a judge's order to remove restrictions on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and designated vast areas in and off Alaska as protected habitat for the caribou and the polar bears, species whose only problem is one of overpopulation.

As director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Steven Chu, Obama's secretary of energy, expressed a fondness for high European gas prices as a means of reducing consumption of fossil fuels. In a September 2008 newspaper interview, he said: "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." Gas prices in Europe then averaged about $8 a gallon.

As gas prices here soar toward $5 a gallon, Chu's friends at the Interior Department may help him and President Obama get the rest of the way toward their goal. If the dunes sagebrush lizard, now considered a separate species, is granted endangered status, oil and gas production in the Permian Basin in New Mexico and Texas may have to be shut down.

When Obama recently addressed the current energy crisis, he told Americans not to worry: "We've been down this road before." But we should worry — and for that very reason. We've seen the spotted owl kill logging and create ghost towns in the Northwest. The ESA's listing of the delta smelt created 40% unemployment in California's San Joaquin Valley and turned America's food basket into a dust bowl.

The Department of Energy says the Permian Basin has a quarter of the nation's proven reserves and 20% of the nation's daily production comes from there. It has a quarter of the nation's active oil and gas wells and is home to 21% of the rigs actively drilling in the U.S.

Gulf oil production is expected to be down 20% in 2011, meaning the loss of 375,000 jobs. But that's a drop in the barrel compared with the loss of production and jobs if America's biggest oilfield is shut down to make a lizard's life more comfortable.

So the day when you pump Secretary Chu's expensive gas, it won't be the fault of those big bad oil companies charged by President Obama with conspiring to boost oil prices by restricting supply. It'll be the administration restricting supply as part of its plan to make domestic energy prices "necessarily skyrocket" so that green energy looks more attractive and necessary.


Dodgy figures, wrong questions plague Australia's carbon debate

Gary Johns

AUSTRALIA has had two chances to make a dignified exit from the foolhardy proposition of carbon abatement.

The first was Tony Abbott's proposal to then opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull to pass then prime minister Kevin Rudd's emissions trading scheme, with the proviso that it not be invoked until there was an international scheme in place. An international scheme is a chimera. Second was Prime Minister Julia Gillard's promise to wait until Australians had achieved a consensus on pricing carbon: in other words, to talk it out until after yet another election. For the foreseeable future, these two options have been closed.

Having cost the political lives of one prime minister (Kevin Rudd) and two opposition leaders (Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull), Australia is now in the end game for pricing carbon. Pricing seemed like a good idea 10 years ago: it is now looking very sick.

Ask an economist the most cost-effective way to abate carbon and they will tell you market pricing. Right answer, wrong question. Ask an economist the most cost-effective way to prepare for the risk of climate change and you will get answers about priorities and adaptation. You hear about research and development, and spending money on things to make people (especially in developing countries) more able to cope with change: health infrastructure, skills, cheap energy.

Instead, the Gillard government walks headlong to its political death with its Climate Change Minister Greg Combet spruiking nonsense. For example, Combet is softening up the electorate for Labor's carbon tax by arguing China puts a higher price on carbon than Australia.

Combet, on ABC's Lateline this year, cited the Chinese and Australian implicit price for carbon from the 2010 Vivid Economics report for The Climate Institute: $8 per tonne for China and $2 per tonne for Australia. The idea is to tell Australians they are not pulling their weight. The Chinese must think Gillard a fool. Vivid Economics has been colourful with its analysis. They wildly overstate China's and wildly understate Australia's implicit carbon price. For a start, Chinese energy policies have not been developed with the aim of promoting greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The primary effort is to harness energy to create jobs and deliver improved living standards. The majority of renewable energy being built in China is large-scale hydro. Chinese power companies are interested in harnessing energy. Greenhouse gas abatement rarely rates a mention. Moreover, the Chinese subsidise coal fuel. As most new generation in China is coal, this implies that at the margin, China has a negative carbon price. Combet, the Climate Institute, and the Climate Change Department are knowingly feeding the electorate complete bunkum.

Australia's average carbon price is assessed by Vivid across a variety of programs, including feed-in tariffs, Renewable Energy Target (the old scheme), the Qld Gas scheme and the NSW GGAS scheme.

There is no assessment of the state government policies opposing coal-fired power stations that make gas the fuel of choice for non-renewable generators. At the margin this imposes a significant carbon price particularly in NSW and Queensland. Even in Victoria it implies a marginal cost of carbon in excess of $10 per tonne. Vivid ignores these policies. The current marginal cost of carbon in the generation sector would be well above $10 per tonne and for some parts of the sector (in particular RET) more than $40 per tonne.

Typically socialist, the development of small plant generation until very recently was largely promoted by Chinese government policies to dispatch all plants equally, that is, regardless of efficiency. Australia's efforts, which Vivid and Combet criticise, have always promoted efficient merit-order based dispatch. Australia has chased the best technology such that no small coal plant was installed here in the last two decades (with the possible exception of Western Australia).

That China is just now scheduling plants in merit order (from lowest cost to highest cost), which means that more competitive plants are built over conventional plants is simply the way it happens anyway in market-based economies in order to minimise the cost of production and maximise welfare. In essence, 94 per cent of the implied carbon price estimated for China is based on removing a mandate to dispatch plants inefficiently and then promote action to shutdown plants that would probably not have been built in the first place on efficiency grounds.

The Productivity Commission has been asked to report on the price of carbon production in other countries. Already, chairman Gary Banks has warned about the difficulties of comparison, and that proper comparison will not deliver the government the picture it wants.

The electorate is becoming less enamoured with the climate change cause. Once they sniff brumby figures, Gillard will be the fourth political life lost to carbon abatement.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


27 April, 2011


Based on Mr Puckerclust’s “physics-trumps-right-wing-ideology”:
“Global warming deniers know as much about climate science as they do about brain surgery. Would you let them tell your doctor what to do about that tumor? Why do I – a professional physicist and lifetime member of the American Physical Society – accept the reality of human-caused global warming? Because I accept the following top-ten list of physics facts, which have never been disputed in the scientific literature. This is also why the American Physical Society of 47,000 physicists says “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring”.”

Before we set the record straight about those ten supposed physics facts, let’s also set the record straight on some preliminary information that Mr Puckerclust would like us to believe.

(a) The APS statement on climate change was not drafted or confirmed by "47,000 physicists" of the APS, but by the APS council.

(b) Many members of the APS have criticized the statement, incl. Harold Lewis who resigned in protest. Lewis' analysis of the motivations behind the APS council position on climate change is better than anything we could come up with.

(c) Even APS editor Jeffrey Marque had to make the public admission ”There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.”

(d) Furthermore, even if there was "consensus" on AGW by APS or any other institution this wouldn't make the theory valid - unless Puckerclust is also willing to accept that the Sun had revolved around the Earth prior to 1543.

(e) The snide title of Puckerclust's essay implies that those on the political left could not possibly dispute his opinions. That alone is far from the truth.

(f) By the way, nobody is denying that global warming occurred during the last decade of the last century, it’s just that the emissions of carbon dioxide have nothing to do with it.

Now for our point by point response, not just one, but all ten.

PHYSICS FACT #1: The atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has increased rapidly since the beginning of the industrial revolution, after being nearly constant for thousands of years.

FACT: If the "beginning of the industrial revolution" is defined as mid-18th century, this is NOT true. There are published measurements of aerial concentration of CO2 above 400 ppmv in the 1800s. A further illustration of the variability of atmospheric carbon dioxide can be learnt from Ernst-Georg Beck’s accurate chemical analysis covering 180 years. A temperature spike is followed by a CO2 increase as ocean temperatures rise and the solubility of CO2 decreases.

See: Climate Change: Incorrect information on pre-industrial CO2; March 19, 2004; Statement of Prof. Zbigniew Jaworowski, Chairman, Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, Warsaw, Poland.

PHYSICS FACT #2: The surplus carbon dioxide has an isotope composition that can only come from fossil fuels. The increase in concentration is not natural; it comes from human activities. Now suddenly the reported increase is a “surplus”?

FACT: The whole idea of a definitive human isotope signal is based on one paper only, the Prentice Study, which was entirely an inside UN IPCC job, not peer-reviewed and containing a fatal error: Prentice wrongly assumed that human emissions of CO2 from burning hydrocarbon fuels are responsible for the claimed isotope depletion.

In fact, all plant carbon is similarly isotope depleted through natural decay, thus adding greatly to the total. As such the purported "human signature" is based upon a false premise and Prentice vastly exaggerated the contribution from humans.

As an aside, all C3-type plant carbon is equally C13-depleted as carbon from fossil fuels and C3-type plants make for 95% of all existing green plants; CO2 from plant decay is a magnitude greater than all human emissions. The "signature" of human emissions is completely lost in the noise of natural CO2 emissions. For further details see Carbon cycle modelling by Tom Segalstad.

As a corollary to the isotope change, the relatively low amount of C13-depleted carbon in the air points to a rather fast natural turnover rate, a residence time in the neighborhood of only 5 years, not the hundreds of years that is commonly supposed. This low-ball estimate of an anthropogenic impact is roughly consistent with IPCC/DOE figures which show a yearly human CO2 contribution of only about 3%, with Nature providing the other 97%.

Combustion alone cannot explain the (reported) 105 ppm increase of CO2 since 1850. The isotope record says different. Further information available upon request.

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

The paranoid Style in Climate Politics

"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" by Richard Hofstadter was written in the 60s as a rather imaginative denunciation of the American far-Right. It was misleading when written but now seem amazingly prophetic -- about Warmists. It would seem that Hofstadter was "projecting", as Leftists often do -- seeing his own thinking and motivations in others

A colleague reminds me of this 1964 essay in Harper's by historian Richard Hofstadter, which I recall having encountered in grad school. The essay was recently invoked by The Weekly Standard and according to Wikipedia, is frequently used in contemporary debates. Perhaps too frequently.

Even so, this excerpt reminded me of a style of argumentation that has become disturbingly prominent in contemporary climate debates:
The paranoid spokesman sees the fate of conspiracy in apocalyptic terms—he traffics in the birth and death of whole worlds, whole political orders, whole systems of human values. He is always manning the barricades of civilization. He constantly lives at a turning point. Like religious millenialists he expresses the anxiety of those who are living through the last days and he is sometimes disposed to set a date for the apocalypse. (“Time is running out,” said Welch in 1951. “Evidence is piling up on many sides and from many sources that October 1952 is the fatal month when Stalin will attack.”)

As a member of the avant-garde who is capable of perceiving the conspiracy before it is fully obvious to an as yet unaroused public, the paranoid is a militant leader. He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, what is necessary is not compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Since the enemy is thought of as being totally evil and totally unappeasable, he must be totally eliminated—if not from the world, at least from the theatre of operations to which the paranoid directs his attention. This demand for total triumph leads to the formulation of hopelessly unrealistic goals, and since these goals are not even remotely attainable, failure constantly heightens the paranoid’s sense of frustration. Even partial success leaves him with the same feeling of powerlessness with which he began, and this in turn only strengthens his awareness of the vast and terrifying quality of the enemy he opposes.

The enemy is clearly delineated: he is a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman—sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, luxury-loving. Unlike the rest of us, the enemy is not caught in the toils of the vast mechanism of history, himself a victim of his past, his desires, his limitations. He wills, indeed he manufactures, the mechanism of history, or tries to deflect the normal course of history in an evil way. He makes crises, starts runs on banks, causes depressions, manufactures disasters, and then enjoys and profits from the misery he has produced. The paranoid’s interpretation of history is distinctly personal: decisive events are not taken as part of the stream of history, but as the consequences of someone’s will. Very often the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; he has unlimited funds . . .


Record snowfall at North American resorts will keep the lifts open -- until Fourth of July!‏

Record snowfall at many North American resorts will keep a number hills operational past their usual shutdown dates. Last chair spinning for the 2010-2011 season could be Mammoth Mountain, where Fourth of July fireworks will mark closing day.

"We love people to ride as long as possible," says Mammoth spokesperson Daniel Hansen. "It varies every year, but we have the longest lift-served ski season in the U.S. The exception is Timberline [Ski Area in Oregon]."

Timberline's Palmer Glacier snowfield brings in skiers and riders throughout the summer, and is a traditional site of ski race and ski and snowboard freestyle camps. But at Mammoth, extending the season means prolonging the spring break atmosphere.


Michael Mann may have something to hide

Over the weekend on “The Score” radio show, we followed-up on the story of how Chris Horner, working with the American Tradition Institute, had filed a freedom of information request with the University of Virginia for emails and materials former UVA Prof. Michael Mann generated during his time at the school. What we learned from our interview with Horner is jaw-dropping.

When what Horner termed “a gaggle of pressure groups” got wind of people lurking around Mann’s emails, they descended on UVA stating, in effect “don’t you dare co-operate with law enforcement to release the records the taxpayer paid for in a fraud pre-investigation under a statute that passed unanimously [in the Virginia General Assembly],” that nowhere provides an exemption for academics.

Horner says that once these groups made their displeasure known, UVA “reversed course” and decided to fight, spending “$500,000 with [former U.S. Senator] John Warner’s law firm in Washington, D.C. to keep the taxpayer from seeing the records.”

He recounts how he discovered UVA had a FOIA compliance officer – the same office that was eager to turn over the emails of former university climate scientist Pat Michaels to Greenpeace (once the group paid the appropriate fee) – and decided to file his own FOIA request for Mann’s emails.

But we know all this. UVA and the interest groups have been in Mann’s corner, fighting Ken Cuccinelli’s request for documents for months. But it was that Greenpeace request of UVA for Pat Michaels’ work product that has legs. The environmental group filed similar requests with other institutions seeking the records of climate skeptics, and in a couple of cases, mounted campaigns to have those skeptics fired from their positions. Where were the voices of academic freedom of expression during those campaigns? Sitting on their hands.

Now, though, they have sprung into action because Michael Mann, who shares their climate change beliefs, is under what they deem to be attack. Horner says these groups are “a little bit late to the party,” because, as noted above, UVA has already said it’s willing to release an academic’s emails, “so long as he’s a climate skeptic.”

Horner noted that the first of several installments of Mann’s records were supposed to be delivered by now. But he is concerned that this latest intervention by Mann’s supporters will convince UVA’s leadership to decline to provide them. He views this as a disturbing possibility.

So why are they fighting so hard? Horner said, referring to UVA’s legal bill. “they’ve given us half a million reasons to believe there’s something [in Mann’s emails] to hide.” Horner has been told that Mann’s own lawyer has contacted UVA asking whether the school intended to release the records, indicating that he is worried about what they may reveal if they are made public.

We may know soon enough.


BMW North America CEO: Electric vehicles "won't work for most people"

Starting this fall, German automaker BMW will lease approximately 700 of its 1 Series-based ActiveE electric coupes for $499 a month. The lease is for 24 months, with $2,250 due at signing, and will be available in six markets in the U.S.: the New York metropolitan area, Boston, San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles. Reservations for the battery-powered Bimmer kick off this summer.

Despite that, BMW North America chairman and chief executive officer, Jim O'Donnell, told the Detroit News that he's "far more optimistic" about diesel vehicles boosting the automaker's U.S. market share than electric vehicles (EVs) and added that the U.S. government should cancel its $7,500 tax credit for electrified autos:
I believe in a free economy. I think we should abolish all tax credits. What they are doing is putting a bet on technology, which is not appropriate. As a taxpayer, I am not sure this is the right way to go.
But that's not all that O'Donnell had to say. The CEO continued on, reportedly telling the Detroit News that:
[EVs] won't work for most people. For at least 90 percent and maybe more of the population, [an EV] won't work [at the current battery range].
Ouch. Harsh words for sure. Does this mean that the i3, BMW's upcoming electric vehicle, is being set up to fail?


Australia: Carbon tax 'will clean out workers' wallets'

LABOR'S carbon tax will not clean up the environment but it will clean out workers' wallets, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Speaking from Whyalla in South Australia, Mr Abbott said 4000 local jobs dependent on the steel industry would be at risk under a carbon price. "It's very important that workers right around Australian understand that this carbon tax won't clean up the environment but it will clean out their wallets and it will wipe out jobs big time," the Liberal leader told the ABC.

Today is the first anniversary of former prime minister Kevin Rudd's decision to shelve his carbon pollution reduction scheme.

Mr Abbott said that course of action was backed by current Prime Minister Julia Gillard who was now saying a carbon tax was needed to save the world. "Kevin Rudd couldn't trust her then and the public can't trust her now," he said. "Australia should not try to save the world on its own."

But Mr Abbott went on to claim "all of us want to do the right thing by the environment". "The coalition has a strong and effective policy to reduce emissions by planting more trees, getting better soil and using smarter technology."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


26 April, 2011

EPA Shuts Down Drilling in Alaska

Shell announced today, for now, it must end a project to drill for oil off the coast of Northern Alaska, because of a decision made by an EPA appeals board to deny permits to acknowledge that Shell will meet air quality requirements. This is not part of ANWR.

Companies that drill for oil must go through extensive permitting processes and invest billions of dollars as payments for leasing the land, exploring for possible oil fields, equipment, etc. This is all done with the understanding that assuming they follow the letter of the law, there is a chance that this investment won’t be flushed down the toilet at the end of the tunnel. It appears that in this case Shell has followed procedure and that emissions will be below any standards required by the EPA:

The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling.

“What the modeling showed was in communities like Kaktovik, Shell’s drilling would increase air pollution levels close to air quality standards,” said Eric Grafe, Earthjustice’s lead attorney on the case. Earthjustice was joined by Center for Biological Diversity and the Alaska Wilderness League in challenging the air permits.

Talk about moving the goalposts. They must have been really desperate to cancel this project given that this was the best straight-faced excuse they could muster. Not only do you have to be below the legally required emission limits but you must also not even be “close” to the limits, as defined by unelected officials, one of whom is a former attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund.

Events like this are a prime example of why many in Congress want to strip authority from the EPA. Shell had reportedly invested over $4 billion in this project. When companies make investment decisions, consideration is given to whether or not bureaucrats can make arbitrary decisions to shut the project down halfway through a multi-year process. There are many other countries with natural resource reserves who do not subject economic activity to such unpredictable insanity, and in the eye of a corporation, after an event like this these locations begin to look preferable to dealing with the United States.


Birds versus windmills again: Birds win one

Long live the whooping crane and the piping plover!

A couple of major players in wind energy are tangling over the cancellation of a big project in North Dakota. Xcel Energy is pulling out of the wind farm, a step its partner, enXco said it will challenge.

The $400 million, 150-megawatt Merricourt Wind Project is supposed to be built this year in southeast North Dakota, but construction is in doubt now, after Xcel Energy announced that it's rescinded its agreement to be part of the project.

Xcel's only comments have been a prepared statement and a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the SEC filing, it said a major factor in the decision to pullout was the "adverse impact this project could have on endangered or threatened species." Jeff Towner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said there are two species in question -- "[t]he endangered whooping crane and the threatened piping plover."

Towner recommended in the summer of 2009 that the wind farm address the threat posed to the two bird species. Towner says he told the onsite developer, enXco, to request a federal permit for the project. If the permit were granted, it would allow a certain level of bird kill or injury of the rare species at the Merricourt Wind Project. "I was hopeful that they would follow through," said Towner.

The federal regulatory process can take months, sometimes more than a year. But Towner didn't see anything until last week. That's when enXco filed a draft plan on how the company would lessen the threat to birds at the wind farm. Towner says the company has indicated it is also working on the permit request, but so far nothing has been filed.

enXco said in a news release that it is still working on the bird questions, but refused MPR's request for an interview.

For its part, Xcel Energy hinted that it's not happy with its partner's handling of the federal bird issue. In the SEC filing, the company says there exists "uncertainty in the cost and timing in mitigating" the wind farm's impact on the two rare species. That impact could be expensive.

Towner said the owners of the wind farm could face up to a year in jail or a $200,000 fine if either the whooping crane or plover were injured or killed at the wind farm without federal approvals in place. "Any company needs to be diligent that that does not occur as part of their project construction or operations," said Towner.

The troubled project has provoked a lot of reaction. The American Bird Conservancy praised Xcel Energy's pullout. The group cited government estimates that almost half a million birds die each year through collisions with wind towers.

In North Dakota, though, wind energy supporters are unhappy. A member of the North Dakota Public Service Commission says he's going to ask enXco and Xcel Energy to explain what's going on.


What happens when the great fantasies, like wind power or European Union, collide with reality?

It might seem strange to link global warming and the futility of wind farms with the ongoing collapse of the euro. But in several directions at the moment we can see the unfolding of one of the hidden patterns shaping human affairs, which years ago I called “the fantasy cycle”. It is a pattern that recurs in personal lives, in politics, in history – and in storytelling.

When we embark on a course of action which is unconsciously driven by wishful thinking, all may seem to go well for a time, in what may be called the “dream stage”. But because this make-believe can never be reconciled with reality, it leads to a “frustration stage” as things start to go wrong, prompting a more determined effort to keep the fantasy in being. As reality presses in, it leads to a “nightmare stage” as everything goes wrong, culminating in an “explosion into reality”, when the fantasy finally falls apart.

Recent events show us two huge examples of this cycle moving to its final stages. One is the belief, which took hold 20 years ago, that the world was in the grip of runaway global warming, caused by our emissions of greenhouse gases. The planet could only be saved by abandoning fossil fuels and drawing our energy from wind and sun. For a while (the dream stage), all seemed to go according to the theory. As CO2 levels rose and the Earth continued to warm, our politicians started to propose every kind of drastic measure to reduce our emissions, such as building thousands of wind turbines. But in all sorts of ways, in the past few years, this dream and the theory behind it have begun colliding with reality.

Carbon dioxide levels continued to rise, but global temperatures failed to follow. Three times in the past 13 years – in 1998, 2006 and 2010 – they spiked upwards, thanks to periodic shifts in a major Pacific ocean current – the phenomenon known as “El Niño” – which brings warm water to the surface and boosts temperatures across the world. Each time it was trumpeted as “the hottest year ever”. But each time, as the ocean current reversed into “La Niña”, the spike was followed by an equally sharp cooling.

In 2007, temperatures fell by 0.75C, more than the entire net rise recorded through the whole of the 20th century. After they rose again to a new El Niño peak in 2010, we were told, only three months ago, by the compilers of the two chief surface-temperature records – the UK Met Office, in association with Phil Jones of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, and James Hansen of NASA – that 2010 was the “equal warmest” or “second warmest” year ever.

Last week, however, with a new La Niña, it was reported that global temperatures, as measured by satellites, had fallen by 0.65C since March 2010, making the world cooler now than its mean over the past 30 years. Yet again the computer models, predicting that, thanks to rising CO2, the world should have warmed in the past decade by 0.3C, have proved hopelessly wrong.

If it hasn’t looked too hot for the theory on which our politicians base their plans to change the world, then last week it looked equally dodgy for what has been one of the most grandiose of their responses to this supposed crisis. Two sets of figures exposed more than ever the degree of delusion which surrounds the wish of our governments, in Brussels and in Westminster, that the centrepiece of our energy policy must now be to build even more windmills.

The report that drew most media attention was that from a Scottish environmental charity which focused on the fact that last year, despite our building yet more turbines, the lack of wind meant that they operated, on average, at only 21 per cent of their capacity – the lowest percentage ever. Several times, when demand was at record levels, the contribution of wind to our electricity supply was virtually zero.

Less attention was given, however, to figures put out by the Department for Energy and Climate Change, showing that the 3,168 turbines we have built, at a cost of billions of pounds, contributed on average, if very irregularly, only 1,141 megawatts to the national grid last year – less than the output of a single large coal-fired power station. From the DECC figures it is possible to work out that, for this derisory contribution, we paid through our electricity bills a subsidy of nearly £1.2 billion, on top of the price of the electricity itself.

Thus, in return for less than 3 per cent of our electricity, nearly 7 per cent of our billls were made up of hidden subsidies to the wind developers, a percentage due to treble and quadruple in coming years as the Government strives to meet EU “renewables” target by building up to 10,000 more turbines, at a cost of £100 billion. The dream of using the wind to keep our lights on is being shown by reality to be one of the most absurd fantasies of our time.


The sustainable development hoax

Sustainable Development” (SD) is basically a slogan without a specific meaning. Linked to Earth Day (April 22), it masquerades as a call for clean air, green energy, and suggests a pristine bucolic existence for us and our progeny—forever. But in reality, it has become immensely useful to many groups who use the slogan to advance their own special agenda, whatever they may be.

The term itself was invented by Gro Harlem Bruntlandt, a Norwegian socialist politician and former prime minister. After her term there, she landed in Paris and, together with Club of Rome veteran Alexander King, began publicizing SD. Indeed, the concept is a successor to the neo-Malthusian theme of the Club of Rome, which began to take hold around 1970 and led to the notorious book Limits to Growth. In turn, the “Limits to Growth” concept was developed a few years earlier by U.S. geologists like Preston Cloud and King Hubbert. In a report published by a panel of the National Academy, they promoted the view that the world was running out of resources: food, fuels, and minerals. According to their views, and those of the Club of Rome and Limits to Growth, most important metals should have become unavailable before the end of the 20th century.

(King Hubbert, of course, is best known for the concept of “Peak Oil” which achieved wide-spread popularity in the past few years. Princeton geologist Kenneth Deffeyes gained fleeting fame for his book “Hubbert’s Peak,” which predicted that world oil production would peak in 2008. Of course, it must peak sometime, but the date will be set by economic and technological factors that are difficult to predict.)

In turn, these neo-Malthusian concerns were opposed by the so called “Cornucopians.” Their leading apostle was certainly the late Julian Simon, who went somewhat overboard in the other direction. Many will remember Julian Simon's famous bet with Paul Ehrlich, the noted Stanford University doomsday prophet, concerning the unavailability of minerals by 1990. Simon won the bet but he was certainly off-base in predicting that there would be no end to crude oil on this planet. Fossil fuels, of course, are essentially non-renewable. No matter how slowly they are used up, once used up, they are gone and not replenished over any reasonable time periods.

But in a certain sense this does not matter. Oil may become depleted—at least low-cost oil—but its essential function is to produce energy. And there we have a variety of ways to create energy for many millennia or even longer —based on nuclear fission.

The debate between neo-Malthusians and Cornucopians came to a head in a 1969 symposium of the AAAS, published as a book titled “Is there an optimal level of population?” Both sides recognized that population levels and growth rates are equally important in discussing the possible depletion of resources. Those proposing larger populations, like Julian Simon, seemed oblivious also to the environmental costs that would rise rapidly as the natural ability of the environment to absorb waste is exceeded.

But all this is history. SD lives on because it is useful in selling various policies. Some examples are:

1) Restrictions on the use of fossil fuels, under the guise of “saving the climate”

2) Transfers of resources to less developed nations—now justified for climate reasons (but of course, quite contrary to resource conservation)

3) Striving for world government and UN sovereignty—all for “sustainability”

4) Promoting a green energy future, using a solar and wind

5) Advocating negative population growth, etc.

Among the worst policies being pushed with the help of SD is a scheme called Contraction and Convergence (C & C). The idea is that every human is entitled to emit the same amount of CO2. This of course translates into every being on earth using the same amount of energy—and, by inference, having the same income. In other words, C & C is basically a policy for a giant global income redistribution.

Since the SD concept has been popularized, it has become a fashionable topic for research papers, especially in the social sciences. We may yet live to see the day when trendy universities establish programs to teach SD—and eventually even departments of SD and endowed academic chairs. Never underestimate the drive for expansion in the academic world.

For Earth Day 2011, the National Association of Scholars (NAS), composed mostly of conservative-leaning academics, released a Statement that critiques the campus sustainability movement. NAS president Peter Wood said:

“Sustainability sounds like a call for recycling and clean drinking water. But its proponents are much more ambitious. For them, a sustainable society is one that replaces the market economy with top-down regulation. They present students a frightening story in which the earth is on the brink of disaster and immediate action is needed. This is a tactic aimed at silencing critics, shutting down debate, and mobilizing students who never get the opportunity to hear opposing views.”

Here are some excerpts from the Statement itself:

“Sustainability” is one of the key words of our time. We are six years along in the United Nations’ “Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.” In the United States, 677 colleges and universities presidents have committed themselves to a sustainability-themed “Climate Commitment.” Sustainability is, by a large measure, the most popular social movement today in American higher education. It is, of course, not just a campus movement, but also a ubiquitous presence in the K-12 curriculum, and a staple of community groups, political platforms, appeals to consumers, and corporate policy.

The sustainability movement arrived on campuses mainly at the invitation of college presidents and administrative staff in areas such as student activities and residence life. That means that it largely escaped the scrutiny of faculty members and that it continues to enjoy a position of unearned authority. In many instances, the movement advances by administrative fiat, backed up by outside advocacy groups and students recruited for their zeal in promoting the cause.

Agenda-driven organizations-such as the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) —have taken advantage of academic sensibilities to turn sustainability into what is in many cases, a campus fetish. Sustainability also gets promoted by resort to pledges, games, competitions, and a whole variety of psychological gimmicks that bypass serious intellectual inquiry.

Some results are relatively trivial. For example, at certain institutions, cafeteria trays have been banned to save food, water, and energy, leaving students and staff to juggle dishes, cups, and utensils as they move between counters and tables. Many campuses have also banned the sale of disposable to reduce plastic waste. Yet however laughable, such petty annoyances have a sinister penumbra. They advertise a willingness to bully that creates a more generalized climate of intimidation, spilling over into other domains.

In practice, this means that sustainability is used as a means of promoting to students a view that capitalism and individualism are “unsustainable,” morally unworthy, and a present danger to the future of the planet.

Fascination with decline and ruin are nothing new in Western thought. The sustainability movement combines a bureaucratic and regulatory impulse with an updated version of the Romantics’ preoccupation with the end of civilization, and with hints of the Christian apocalyptic tradition.

These are the “end times” in the view of some sustainability advocates—or potentially so in the eyes of many others. The movement has its own versions of sin and redemption, and in many other respects has a quasi-religious character. For some of the adherents, the earth itself is treated as a sentient deity; others content themselves with the search for the transcendent in Nature.

As a creed among creeds, sustainability constitutes an upping of the ideological ante. Feminism, Afro-centrism, gay-liberation, and various other recent fads and doctrines, whatever else they were, were secular, speaking merely to politics and culture. The sustainability movement reaches beyond that, having nothing less than the preservation of life on earth at its heart.

The religious creeds of faculty members and students are their own business, but we have reason for concern when dogmatic beliefs are smuggled into the curriculum and made a basis for campus programs as though they were mere extensions of scientific facts.

The sustainability movement is, in a word, unsustainable. It runs too contrary to the abiding purposes of higher education; it is too rife with internal contradictions; and it is too contrary to the environmental, economic, and social facts to endure indefinitely.


Voodoo economics? How about voodoo climate science?

When will our greener friends at the UN learn that it's just not a good idea to make definite predictions about certain disasters?

This time they have been called out on their 2005 prediction that by now there would be 50 million "climate refugees" — people choosing to emigrate because of bad weather. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) even came up with a global map showing precisely where people would migrate from.

Pretty much every forecast about climate change or its effects should be viewed as a hypothesis rather than a fact. After all, as Firesign Theater once noted, "the future's not here yet". But the UN named a specific year (2010) which allows for an actual test of their prediction.

Census takers around the world have inadvertently adjudicated the UN's forecast. It was dead wrong. Pretty much every recent census reveals that populations are growing rapidly precisely where everyone was supposed to be migrating from. (And where is the story that global warming causes babies?).

Folks were supposed to be streaming away from low-lying tropical islands because of worse and more frequent hurricanes. The population of the Bahamas, which catches about as many tropical cyclones as any place on earth, is up 14% since 2000. The Solomons, up 20%. Sychelles: 9%.

Did I mention that global hurricane activity has recently sunk to its all time measured low, despite the UN's strident statements about more frequent and terrible storms? (Note that the hurricane data is only reliable for the last fifty years or so, hence the word "measured".)

Is this exaggeration of an affect of climate change by the UN an isolated incident? Hardly. Recent history reveals the UN to be a systematic engine of climate disinformation.

In 2007, the UN famously stated that, if warming continued at present rates (whatever that means — there hasn't been any since the mid-late 1990s), the massive Himalayan glaciers would disappear 23 years from now. While the source, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) proclaims itself the consensus of climate science, there's no credentialed climatologist on earth who believes that this ice cap, which is hundreds of feet thick, could possibly disappear so soon.

When the government of India, which knows something about the Himalayan glaciers that feed the great Ganges River, challenged the UN's forecast, the head of the IPCC, Rajenda Pachauri, labeled it "voodoo science".

It turns out that the UN was the voodoo practitioner. Dr. Murari Lal, who authored the statement, eventually admitted that it was in the UN climate report to spur the governments of India and China into reducing their carbon dioxide emissions, and that it was not based on anything in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

In the same report, the IPCC claimed that even a slight variation in tropical rainfall would cause a disastrous loss of the verdant rainforest — despite incoming satellite data that showed a remarkable resilience to an ongoing sharp drought.

Then it made the absurd claims that 55% of the Netherlands was below sea level, and that there has been no change in ice coverage in the southern hemisphere, where polar ice is indeed growing significantly.

The IPCC also stated that a mere nine years from now, tropical crop yields would be cut in half by a massive decline in annual rainfall. Even computer models that assume large scale drought reduce yields by about half of this.

Is all of this due to chance?

Scientists, as humans, make judgemental errors. But what is odd about the UN is that its gaffes are all in one direction. All are exaggeration of the effects of climate change. In each case, the IPCC was relying upon scientific literature that was not peer-reviewed in the traditional sense. No one has found analogous errors in the other direction (which would be an underestimation of climate change based upon the "grey" literature), and you can bet that people have been looking very hard in an effort to exonerate the UN.

In an unbiased world there should be an equal chance of either underestimating or overestimating the climate change and its effects, which allows us to test whether this string of errors is simply scientists behaving normally or being naughty.

What's the chance of throwing a coin six times and getting all heads (or tails)? It's .015. Most scientists consider the .050 level sufficient to warrant retention of a hypothesis, which in this case, is that the UN's climate science is biased.


Green Technology Needs Capitalism

Earth to Washington: The free market offers practical solutions for “going green.” Private entrepreneurs will literally fly to the moon to solve the U.S. technology crisis while government initiatives to support green technology fall flat.

The set of 17 rare elements known as “rare-earths” is integral to normal technology like iPads, fiber–optic cables and military equipment as well as “clean” technology like wind turbines, solar panels and electric batteries.

The U.S. used to lead the world in mining rare-earths through a California mine called Molycorp. However, environmental regulations sent this mine into extinction and the U.S. lost her competitive technology advantage. Today, years later, Molycorp is slowly re-building after meeting stricter U.S. environmental standards.

Since the U.S. stopped mining her own resources, China now calls the shots on rare-earths. The Chinese government and organized crime circles within China run pollution-hissing mines that churn out roughly 97 percent of the global rare-earth supply. High demand for rare-earths within the Chinese marketplace, environmental issues and political leverage are factors leading China to cut back on exports. Consequently, rare-earth prices are skyrocketing.

As hall of fame quarterback and former Minnesota Viking Fran Tarkenton told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Nov. 24, 2010, “In my life, when I tried to have a quick fix to something, it turned out worse than it was before.” Unfortunately, many U.S. politicians see government intervention in clean tech as the quick fix to energy independence, job creation, and a cleaner environment.

Government clean tech programs for solar panels, wind turbines and electric batteries ironically support China’s dirty rare-earth mining at unsustainable costs. A single “utility-scale” wind turbine requires 661 lb. of the element neodymium, GM’s Chevy Volt needs 7 lb. of magnets made from rare-earths and the price of the iPod-essential rare-earth called dysprosium has jumped from $6.50 to $130 per lb., according to TIME Magazine.

The New York Times reports that mining rare-earths is complicated by the fact that most elements are only produced as byproducts of mining something else, such as copper. Furthermore, extracting rare-earth elements releases significant amounts of low-level radioactive waste into the environment.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that wind and solar energy accounted for less than one percent of total U.S. energy consumption in 2009. Caithness Wind Farm Information Forum reports that wind turbines have killed wildlife, including protected species, and have been responsible for 35 fatalities in the U.S. from 1970 to 2010.

Despite these costs and risks, the Obama Administration wants to push clean tech to produce before its time by throwing out arbitrary and costly goals like “1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.” Minnesotans are being asked to be guinea pigs for a proposed tax on mileage. This tax would ask Americans who commute long distances in traditional cars to sacrifice twice by paying for elites to drive roller skates on rare-earth batteries.

With impeccable timing, a day before the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Administration announced that it had rushed through approval for the controversial and environmentally-intrusive Cape Wind Project. With 130 wind turbines in the project, I estimate it will take 85,930 lb. of the rare-earth neodymium to supply electricity to just 400,000 homes off Nantucket Sound.

Good thing China is only charging us an arm and a leg for this clean tech experiment that provides a sliver of the population with electricity while disrupting birds and the aquatic ecosystem.

I think we can solve the technology crisis and conserve the earth by implementing practical, free market ideas.

For example, the Empire State Building recently completed a $13 million dollar energy-saving retrofit that will reduce annual energy consumption by 38 percent. The retrofit implemented common sense techniques like recaulking limestone slabs and spraying foam insulation in walls. Project manager, Paul Rode, told TIME Magazine: “I can’t tell you how many people say, ‘Why not install solar cells or put a little windmill on the roof?’ Because it doesn’t make business sense. It makes much more sense to lower energy use.”

As I write this column, entrepreneurs at the private venture California company MoonEx are developing plans for robotic rovers to uncover a “gold mine” of rare elements and metals on the moon’s surface. My hope for the future is emboldened by free enterprise, not big government. The government got us into this mess by regulating California’s Molycorp mine out of business years ago. Free enterprise and innovation - not government-approved green programs - will dig us out.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


25 April, 2011

The Climate Tort Goes Down

Even liberal Justices can't abide this theory

How unconvincing is the green legal doctrine of the climate tort? So much so that not a single Justice seemed persuaded when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments last Tuesday-even some of the liberals questioned the theory with Scalia-like vigor.

In American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, a group of state attorneys general are suing five utilities, claiming their carbon emissions are a "nuisance" under common law. Boiled down, they're asking the Court to give judges the power to create climate policies-and weigh their costs and benefits-that would ordinarily be fashioned by the politically accountable branches.

But don't take our word for it. "I mean, even just reading that part of your complaint, it sounds like the paradigmatic thing that administrative agencies do rather than courts," Justice Elena Kagan told New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood. "Now what," chimed in Ruth Bader Ginsburg, "the relief you're seeking seems to me to set up a district judge, who does not have the resources, the expertise, as a kind of super-EPA."

Later, Justice Kagan, President Obama's second nominee to the High Court, asked, "General, do you think that you have a federal common law cause of action against anybody in the world?" After all, everyone contributes to global warming. "Obviously the greatest benefit to reduce global warming would be, of course, to shut down the power plants, right?" as Chief Justice John Roberts put it. Should the courts have that power too-but extended over the entire economy?

Or "can the courts set a tax?" wondered Stephen Breyer. Ms. Underwood claimed that such a policy wouldn't "abate the nuisance," to which Justice Breyer acidly replied, "Oh, this will. This is addressed to that. It says abate the nuisance, here's how you're going to do it. You're going to put a $20 a tax ton on carbon, and lo and behold, you will discover that nuisance will be abated."

It's heartening to see the Justices reaffirm their faith in the democratic process, especially after a 2006 case that the Obama Administration has used to justify its autocratic choice to impose carbon regulation via the Environmental Protection Agency. But even the proponents of the climate tort have been open about their bad faith. The point of this and other lawsuits has merely been to harass industry and coerce business into supporting a carbon crackdown, no matter what elected representatives decide.

While the Court could dismiss the judicial encroachment of the climate tort in a number of ways, the good news for the economy is that it appears to be toast.


CO2 gets a reprieve: Ozone hole dominates shifting S. Hemisphere climate

Maybe it does but it fluctuates wildly from year to year -- like the natural phenomenon it is -- so making any predictions from it would be ambitious.

The sudden emergence of an ARCTIC hole mentioned below is amusing. Stick that in your chlorofluorocarbons

Climate policymakers and scientists need to look beyond global warming emissions of carbon dioxide and take the loss of stratospheric ozone into account, researchers said on Thursday.

The stratospheric ozone layer, which shields Earth from solar ultra-violet radiation, has thinned over the South Pole over the last half-century.

This depletion of ozone has shifted the Southern Hemisphere's climate so that dry areas in the subtropics now see about 10 percent more precipitation in summer than they used to, scientists reported in the journal Science.

"Ozone is now widely believed to be the dominant agent of climate change in the Southern Hemisphere, so this actually means that the international agreements regulating climate change cannot be confined to dealing with carbon dioxide," said the study's lead author, Sarah Kang of Columbia University. "They also need to consider ozone," Kang said by telephone.

Carbon dioxide emissions from natural and human-made sources, notably the burning of fossil fuels, is the most frequently cited target of policymakers aiming to curb climate change caused by humans.

However, the depletion of ozone in the atmosphere due largely to commercial and industrial use of chemicals containing chlorofluorocarbons has a powerful impact on large swaths of the Southern Hemisphere, the researchers found.


The stratospheric ozone layer typically absorbs ultra-violet radiation, warming the air below. With the opening of the ozone hole over the South Pole due to chlorofluorocarbon pollution, there was severe cooling instead of warming, which eventually caused a southern shift in the winds that whip from west to east around Antarctica.

As this band of winds moved toward the pole, a corresponding dry belt in the subtropics also moved southward, the researchers showed. This left room nearer the equator for a band of increased summer precipitation.

Most of this change is driven by the ozone hole, with a smaller contribution from increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the study found.

Earlier this month, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization reported record loss of the protective ozone layer over the Arctic, which unlike that in the Antarctic, is not an annual occurrence.

The 40 percent loss of ozone over the Arctic came despite the "very successful" 1987 Montreal Protocol aimed at cutting production and consumption of ozone-destroying chemicals including chlorofluorocarbons and halons, WMO said on April 5.

The substances were once present in refrigerators, spray cans and fire extinguishers, but have been phased out. However, they can linger for decades in the atmosphere, so it will take several decades more before their concentrations drop to pre-1980 levels, WMO said.


Remember the scary "single most-important finding in climate science last year": "a sharp decline" in phytoplankton? Never mind

The MSM was awash with alarmist reports last year that global warming had caused "a sharp drop" in ocean phytoplankton since the 1950's, with one newspaper stating "the single most-important finding in climate science last year was a 40 percent decline in the ocean's phytoplankton caused by global warming." A new paper published in Nature finds that multiple data sets instead show an increase in ocean phytoplankton over the past eight decades. Don't hold your breath for any retractions of the alarmist claims in the MSM, nor any stories reporting the good news.
Is there a decline in marine phytoplankton?

By Abigail McQuatters-Gollop et al.

Arising from D. G. Boyce, M. R. Lewis & B. Worm Nature 466, 591-596 (2010); Boyce et al. reply

Phytoplankton account for approximately 50% of global primary production, form the trophic base of nearly all marine ecosystems, are fundamental in trophic energy transfer and have key roles in climate regulation, carbon sequestration and oxygen production.

Boyce et al. compiled a chlorophyll index by combining in situ chlorophyll and Secchi disk depth measurements that spanned a more than 100-year time period and showed a decrease in marine phytoplankton biomass of approximately 1% of the global median per year over the past century.

Eight decades of data on phytoplankton biomass collected in the North Atlantic by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey, however, show an increase in an index of chlorophyll (Phytoplankton Colour Index) in both the Northeast and Northwest Atlantic basins, and other long-term time series, including the Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT)8, the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series (BATS)8 and the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) also indicate increased phytoplankton biomass over the last 20-50 years.

These findings, which were not discussed by Boyce et al., are not in accordance with their conclusions and illustrate the importance of using consistent observations when estimating long-term trends

SOURCE. (See the original for links)

Models all wrong: East Antarctic Ice Sheet is getting thicker from the bottom up

Inclusion of these newly found processes is essential to produce robust predictions of future ice sheet change

Scientists have always thought that the vast majority of ice contained in the Antarctic ice cap was formed from frozen precipitation. Recent research has revealed that this is not totally correct. Over a large fraction of East Antarctica, the deepest part of the ice sheet contains ice that did not originate as surface snow but developed when subglacial meltwater was frozen onto the underside of the ice sheet. The amount of ice involved is much larger than the estimated volume of Antarctic subglacial lakes and may even exceed the volume of all glaciers on Earth outside of the two polar ice sheets. Current computer models predict that subglacial water escapes toward the ocean. These new findings indicate that water from areas of basal melting actually migrate to areas of basal freezing, something not accounted for by current ice sheet models. To scientists' surprise, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is getting thicker from the bottom up.

In a Science report published online March 3, 2011, Robin E. Bell et al. little is known about processes at the base of the ice sheets. In "Widespread Persistent Thickening of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet by Freezing from the Base," researchers report that, although the surface accumulation of snow remains the primary mechanism for ice sheet growth, beneath the research site known as Dome A, 24% of the base by area is frozen-on ice. In some places, up to half of the ice thickness has been added from below. The unexpected thickness of these bottom layers of ice was detected using radar imaging during the International Polar Year 2007-2009.

The exact mechanisms for the formation of this refrozen ice depends on the location. According to Bell et al., the freeze-on at valley heads is primarily the result of conductive cooling over static bodies of water. Along the valley walls, ice is primarily the result of the hydrologic potential forcing water up steep valley slopes. But these processes are not mutually exclusive: individual packages of frozen-on ice could well have been produced by a combination of the two mechanisms. The authors speculate that the creation of bottom ice is widespread and has been going on since the beginning of persistent glaciation more than 30 million years ago.

In East Antarctica, basal freeze-on has continued in the same locations through the last glacial-interglacial transition and has probably been a persistent process since East Antarctica became encased in a large ice sheet 32 million years ago. The simple geometry of the subglacial topography and the stable ice flow in the Dome A region have enabled us to image this process for the first time. Although the surface accumulation, surface slope, and bed morphology vary distinctly on the northern and southern sides of Dome A, throughout the area almost a quarter of the ice sheet base consists of ice freeze-on from the bottom. Widespread freeze-on can change the rheology and modify the flow of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Inclusion of these basal processes is essential to produce robust predictions of future ice sheet change.

The addition of hundreds of meters of ice to the base of an ice sheet deforms the overlying ice, causing uplifted sections on the glacier's surface. This changes ice sheet stratigraphy and may affect the surface accumulation by changing the slope of the surface. The thickest package of frozen-on ice the researchers found was 1110 m, located at the downflow end of a 20-km-long valley. The internal layers in the covering ice are deformed upward over 410 m at the valley head. The shape of the surface actually reflects the shape of the accreted ice body and not the underlying bedrock.

Aside from changing accumulation rates and ice-flow dynamics, this discovery has implications for those trying to extend the ice core record farther back into time.

"the widespread melt required to support the freeze-on process may have destroyed the ice containing the ancient paleoclimate records," Bell et al. state. "Without the inclusion of basal processes, simple models of ice sheet temperatures cannot accurately predict the location of the oldest ice." Knowledge gathered from the deepest ice cores may need revision.

The implications of the research are clear. Bell and colleagues summed the situation up this way: "Widespread freeze-on can change the rheology and modify the flow of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Inclusion of these basal processes is essential to produce robust predictions of future ice sheet change." Tulaczyk and Hossainzadeh are even more to the point:

The discovery of thick, widespread accreted ice layers changes in fundamental ways our understanding of the Antarctic ice sheet. Further mapping and modeling of these ice bodies is necessary to aid the ongoing search for the oldest ice on Earth. New models of subglacial water generation, flow, and freezing will have to be developed to account for this large internal mass and heat redistribution within the ice sheet

These scientists are saying that the new findings fundamentally change our understanding of ice sheets and their inclusion in new models is essential. Basically, this means all of the model predictions of how fast ice is melting and moving to the sea, in both Antarctica and Greenland, need to be revised. It turns out that all those model based predictions of an icy Armageddon, with glacial ice racing to the ocean at ever increasing rates, were not based on reality.

This discovery shows the danger of basing estimates of future conditions on model output, be it ice flow or climate change. As fodder for research models are fine, but as a foundation to base public policy on they are horrid. The public, media and politicians need to understand that models are not fact, they are at best imperfect representations of a poorly understood reality.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Lobbyists who cleared 'Climategate' academics funded by British taxpayers and the BBC

A shadowy lobby group which pushes the case that global warming is a real threat is being funded by the taxpayer and assisted by the BBC. The little-known not-for-profit company works behind the scenes at international conferences to further its aims.

One of its key supporters headed the official investigation into the so-called "Climategate emails", producing a report which cleared experts of deliberately attempting to skew scientific results to confirm that global warming was a real threat.

Another scientific expert linked to the group came forward to praise a second independent investigation into the Climategate affair which also exonerated researchers.

Set up with the backing of Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister, and run by a group of British MPs and peers the organisation, Globe International, started life as an All Party Group based in the House of Commons.

It is now run as an international climate change lobbying group flying its supporters and experts club class to international summits to push its agenda. Last year, it said, it spent around £500,000 flying its supporters to these meetings.

It has also paid out at least £75,000 on travel for prominent UK politicians, including for its former presidents Elliot Morley [corr], the ex-Labour environment minister now facing jail for expenses fraud, and Stephen Byers, the former Labour cabinet minister who was suspended from the Commons after he was filmed describing himself a "cab for hire" when offering to lobby his parliamentary contacts for cash.

Now Globe is planning a mass lobby of the United Nations Rio 2012 summit in Brazil, where world leaders will discuss climate change, by holding a World Summit of Legislators in the city to coincided with the event.

Next week the group's current President Lord Deben, the former Tory Cabinet Minister John Gummer, is due to launch a major report on climate change policy alongside Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary.

Globe has also recently held behind-closed-doors meetings with William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, and other senior Coalition ministers.

Last year two prominent experts linked to Globe were drawn into the controversy over emails leaked from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit.

Lord Oxburgh, the organisation's director, was called in to head an internal inquiry into the leaked emails which included one infamous message referring to a "trick" to "hide the decline" in global temperatures.

The peer's investigation cleared the scientists of malpractice. But critics claimed the report was a whitewash and Lord Oxburgh also failed to declare his involvement with Globe before he began his investigation.

Meanwhile Bob Ward, from the Grantham Institute, which works alongside Globe, praised a second inquiry by former civil servant Muir Russell, which also cleared the climate researchers. He said it had "lifted the cloud of suspicion" and demonstrated that "the integrity of climate science is intact."

Globe International's work is paid for with donations from multi-millionaire backers and through partnerships with other environmental groups.

Globe also confirmed last night that it received direct funding from the Department of Energy and the Department of International Development (DfID). including a grant of £91,240 provided by DfID since the Coalition came to power last year.

More cash from DfID is filtered through the Complus Alliance - a "sustainable development communications alliance" of broadcasters based in Costa Rica which is also supported by the BBC World Service Trust, the Corporation's independent charity. Complus, which was awarded DfID cash last year and in 2006, says it has an "ongoing relationship with Globe" helping it run "shadow negotiation" teams at international summits of world leaders.

A spokeswoman for Complus said: "The BBC is a founding member not a funding member. They can make in-kind contributions, like organising events, supporting logistics, sharing content." She added that Complus did not fund Globe but work with them on "convergent objectives".

Last night a DfID spokesman confirmed the department had given Complus £250,000 in total to provide research, advocacy and communications work on the impact of climate change.

Last night Globe's general secretary Adam Matthews said: "Globe is not a lobbying organisation. It is an international group of legislators. It was set up by the legislators themselves. "We facilitate them coming together to discuss environmental issues. Our members have multiple views - some quite sceptical on some aspects of the climate change debate." "We are funded by the World Bank, the EU, international parliaments and Governments, including the UK Government. The coalition Government contributes to our work through DFID."

Globe International, registered as a not-for-profit firm under the name The Global Legislators Organisation Ltd, makes minimal disclosures about its finances to Companies House. Last year it declared a £500,000 loss, but still managed to fly a number of key supporters to summits and international conferences.


Retired Anchorman Apologizes for Presenting Both Sides of Global Warming Debate

“For those of you who are confused [about global warming], you’re forgiven. It’s my fault.” So hysterically said retired Minneapolis anchorman Don Shelby during a speech at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, Tuesday:
After spending 32 years in front of the camera as an anchorman and investigative reporter for WCCO-TV in Minneapolis, Don Shelby wanted to apologize to people about climate change....

Shelby was speaking at the University of Minnesota Duluth on Tuesday on what he called “The most important story since journalism began — global climate change.” His speech served as the kick-off for a two-day sustainability fair sponsored by UMD’s Office of Sustainability.

The TV newsman’s mea culpa about having misreported climate change came after of years of treating the story the same as he would any other, requiring the views of two opposing parties, Shelby told the packed lecture hall of the chemistry building.

But, he said, climate change is not a pro or con issue; it’s a scientific fact. And journalists who work to “balance” a story present an inaccurate picture when they give equal weight to sources promulgating inaccurate facts.

“If I report a story on abuse of children, I don’t go out and interview an abuser on the up-side of child abuse,” he said as an example of how an effort to balance can go too far.

Yes, global temperatures rising by about one degree Celsius in the past 160 years as we came out of a solar minimum, radically increased the population, and replaced grasslands and forests with cities, skyscrapers, concrete and asphalt is akin to abusing a child.

There's therefore only one side to the story as to why the planet got hotter, and reporting the other far more logical one is like letting a child-abuser explain why beating kids is okay.

This is what passes as critical thinking in journalism today. And this man was speaking to a group of college students filling their minds with the same lack of objectivity.

Scarier still, for 32 years Shelby reported to the citizens of Minneapolis and St. Paul on television and radio. Makes you wonder what other biases the Emmy Award-winning "newsman" has been sharing all those years if he's willing to stand up in front of an audience and claim he was misrepresenting this issue.

Having never lived in Minnesota and therefore not the slightest bit familiar with Shelby, I have no idea what his political leanings are beyond this bizarre mea culpa concerning global warming.

For a clue, at his My Space page, Shelby lists one of his heroes as the perilously liberal Charles Kuralt, and claims the person he'd most like to interview is Osama bin Laden.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


24 April, 2011

Vicious persecution of environmental realist and his children

Confused visitors will be forgiven for thinking Oregon State University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Congressman Pete DeFazio and the “progressive-socialist” wing of the Democratic Party. Or for likening what’s going on there to political retribution as practiced in Third World thugocracies.

The idea that three outstanding students – PhD candidates at OSU – could face dismissal, and worse, shortly before receiving their degrees, is simply shocking. That this could be happening because their father had the temerity to challenge an entrenched 12-term Democratic congressman (and OSU earmark purveyor) could make people think the university is in Zimbabwe, not America. Dr. Art Robinson is president of the nonprofit Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, located on the family farm in southwestern Oregon, 180 miles from Corvallis. OISM focuses on biochemistry, diagnostic medicine, nutrition, preventive medicine and aging – and improving emergency preparedness and basic education.

After his wife died in 1988, Robinson raised and home-schooled his six children – all of whom became remarkable scholars, collaborating on research and a popular DVD series on math and science for home-schooled students and their parents. Five of the children have BS degrees in chemistry; one a degree in mathematics. Two earned doctorates in veterinary medicine; one a PhD in chemistry.

The three youngest are all at OSU, working on PhDs in nuclear engineering. They entered the field at a young age, helping their father write and publish the “pro-science, pro-technology, pro-free enterprise” newsletter, Access to Energy, which explains and advocates nuclear energy. Dr. Robinson is perhaps best known for the Oregon Petition Project, which states that “there is no convincing scientific evidence” that humans are causing “catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere” or disruption of its climate. It urges Congress to reject the 1997 Kyoto global warming agreement – and has been signed by more than 32,000 Americans with university degrees in physical sciences (including yours truly and over 9,000 PhDs).

The petition, and Robinson’s support for DDT in combating the malaria pandemic, drew anger and outrage from the political Left, climate chaos industry and “mainstream media,” giving him his first brush with the politics of personal destruction. But it did not prepare him for the lengths and depths his opponents would go to “discourage” his political activities.

With our nation drowning in debt, energy prices skyrocketing, and unaccountable pseudo-scientific agencies like EPA and Interior hobbling business and economic growth in endless delays and red tape, Dr. Robinson decided to run for Congress. He was a scientist, with proven math and budgetary skills, a thoughtful, conservative, Christian family man – who could bring much needed skills and perspectives to the House of Representatives.

He challenged DeFazio, who initially figured he would have a cakewalk against this political neophyte. But Robinson raised $1.3 million from over 5,000 individual donors (against DeFazio’s $1.5 million from special interests, and other contributors), gave numerous speeches and ran a highly effective campaign. With polls showing his lead narrowing, an increasingly desperate DeFazio struck back.

Bristling with a sense of entitlement, the congressman ran print, television and radio ads, painting Robinson as a nutcase who would promote racism, put radioactive wastes in drinking water, end Social Security and Medicare, close schools, repeal taxation of oil companies and destroy Oregon jobs. With help from Rachel Madow and MSNBC, DeFazio claimed Robinson lived off Social Security in a survivalist compound and was funding his campaign with cash from money launderers and drug dealers.

Despite the libelous attacks, Robinson garnered a very respectable 44% of the vote – and promptly announced that he would run for DeFazio’s seat again in 2012. If the soft-spoken family man thought DeFazio’s campaign had been in the sewers, what happened next beggared belief. Now the targets became Robinson’s three youngest children.

During the election campaign, OSU President Edward Ray and other faculty and administrators illegally used the campus to campaign for DeFazio and against Robinson. Almost immediately after the 2010 election, they launched a series of despicable and unprincipled actions designed to ensure that Joshua, Bethany, and Matthew never receive their degrees – regardless of their outstanding academics, examinations and research, or the thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars they had invested.

Even though they have been working on their PhDs for almost five years at OSU, and have about a year to go, Joshua has been forbidden access to the equipment he built for his PhD work, and Bethany has been told she will be dismissed from school. Matthew, who turned down a nearly “full ride” from MIT to go to OSU, has been there for two years – but now is waiting for the ax to fall on his work and his thesis professor, Dr. Jack Higginbotham, who came to the students’ defense.

Nuclear engineering professor Higginbotham has been at OSU 24 years and is president of the OSU Faculty Senate and director of a large NASA program on the campus. His inside knowledge of what the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics deans and certain faculty were doing to railroad the Robinson children made him Public Enemy Number One to the department Torquemadas who are trying to destroy his career and get him fired for his impertinence. Right now, Higginbotham’s salary and career hang by a thread, preserved only by attorneys he has hired to protect himself from OSU attacks. The Robinsons’ studies have been severely disrupted. Meanwhile, however, public outcry in favor of Higginbotham and the students has grown in intensity, especially in Oregon, and a group of prominent alumni donors has offered to pay for the student’s remaining PhD work and legal costs to settle the dispute.

Rather than being chastened, though, President Ray and his staff have refused even to speak with the alumni group. University administrators have become incensed that their actions are now public knowledge, and that alumni and other donors are vocally supporting Higginbotham and the children.

Ray and his entourage have circled the academic wagons and stonewalled public inquiries. They appear to think they “own” the university, and “academic freedom” means they are entitled to deny academic degrees to children of parents whose politics differ from their own. As more alumni join this effort, however, and the university’s reputation becomes increasingly radioactive, OSU appears to be wavering. Perhaps a dose of sanity may yet take center stage. Oregon State is a prime example of what happens when educational institutions fall under progressive-socialist control, and dependency on taxpayer handouts from political overseers in Washington. DeFazio and his fellow congressional Democrats gave OSU a reported $27 million in earmark funding during the last legislative cycle alone. That’s $9 million per Robinson student denied a PhD.

No wonder President Ray and the Nuclear Engineering deans have given new meaning to “payback,” while DeFazio smirks in silence in the congressional office that he seems convinced should be his for life.

In depressing testimony to how far America has strayed from its Constitution and founding principles, we have reached the point where congressmen can lavish key supporters with tax dollars – and in return get votes, campaign contributions, rallies and volunteers on our campuses … and be assured of vicious retribution against the families of anyone rash enough to run against them.


Soot Emerging As Main Driver Of Arctic Warming

Pierre and I have both written about the effects of soot on arctic and sub-arctic ice and glaciers, read here "Glaciers - The Dark Side and Half Of Arctic Warming Caused By Soot". Scientists are recognising that CO2 is becoming less of a factor and that black carbon soot instead is being recognised increasingly as the a driver of warming in the Arctic. Time to go back and revamp the models – again.

Researchers from the Arctic Council, representing the eight countries that border the Arctic, are now seriously studying the subject. See the Associated Press article here. The photo and caption from the article reads:
"This undated handout photo provided by NOAA-STAD, Soot Transport and Deposition Study, shows Trish Quinn of NOAA in a first snow pit. An international research team is in the land of snow and ice in search of soot. Though the Arctic is often pictured as a vast white wasteland, that can be deceiving. And carbon deposited there as a result of activities elsewhere can have a long-term impact on climate.

’The Arctic serves as the air conditioner of the planet,’ explained Patricia Quinn of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, one of the research participants. Heat from other parts of the Earth moves to the Arctic in the circulating air and ocean water, and at least some of that warmth can radiate into space.”

At the same time, some of the incoming heat from the sun that tends to be absorbed in other locations is reflected by the ice and snow, allowing the polar regions to serve as cooling agents for the planet.”

Of course they need to insert the obligatory nod to CO2.
Cutting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is the backbone of any effort to combat warming, both globally and within the Arctic, Quinn said.”

The group has not published yet, as the research will not end until the end of May, and to have any hope of getting their paper or papers past “peer review” they need to get CO2 into the mix. But this study is a few steps in the right direction.

SOURCE. (See the original for links)

Another Green/Left misanthrope

This guy was a bit player. He only murdered one person. Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot murdered millions. But the lack of respect for other people is the common theme

Ira Einhorn was on stage hosting the first Earth Day event at the Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on April 22, 1970. Seven years later, police raided his closet and found the "composted" body of his ex-girlfriend inside a trunk.

A self-proclaimed environmental activist, Einhorn made a name for himself among ecological groups during the 1960s and '70s by taking on the role of a tie-dye-wearing ecological guru and Philadelphia’s head hippie. With his long beard and gap-toothed smile, Einhorn — who nicknamed himself "Unicorn" because his German-Jewish last name translates to "one horn" —advocated flower power, peace and free love to his fellow students at the University of Pennsylvania. He also claimed to have helped found Earth Day.

But the charismatic spokesman who helped bring awareness to environmental issues and preached against the Vietnam War — and any violence — had a secret dark side. When his girlfriend of five years, Helen "Holly" Maddux, moved to New York and broke up with him, Einhorn threatened that he would throw her left-behind personal belongings onto the street if she didn't come back to pick them up.

And so on Sept. 9, 1977, Maddux went back to the apartment that she and Einhorn had shared in Philadelphia to collect her things, and was never seen again. When Philadelphia police questioned Einhorn about her mysterious disappearance several weeks later, he claimed that she had gone out to the neighborhood co-op to buy some tofu and sprouts and never returned.

It wasn't until 18 months later that investigators searched Einhorn's apartment after one of his neighbors complained that a reddish-brown, foul-smelling liquid was leaking from the ceiling directly below Einhorn's bedroom closet. Inside the closet, police found Maddux's beaten and partially mummified body stuffed into a trunk that had also been packed with Styrofoam, air fresheners and newspapers.

After his arrest, Einhorn jumped bail and spent decades evading authorities by hiding out in Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and France. After 23 years, he was finally extradited to the United States from France and put on trial. Taking the stand in his own defense, Einhorn claimed that his ex-girlfriend had been killed by CIA agents who framed him for the crime because he knew too much about the agency's paranormal military research. He was convicted of murdering Maddux and is currently serving a life sentence.

Although Einhorn was only the master of ceremonies at the first Earth Day event, he maintains that Earth Day was his idea and that he's responsible for launching it. Understandably, Earth Day's organizers have distanced themselves from his name, citing Gaylord Nelson, an environmental activist and former Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator who died in 2005, as Earth Day's official founder and organizer.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Sen. Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day in the spring of 1970 as a way to bring national awareness to the fact that, at the time, there were no legal or regulatory mechanisms in place to protect the environment. About 20 million participants at various Earth Day events across the U.S. made Earth Day a success, and in December of 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues — the EPA.


Sterilizing Those Pesky Humans: Earth Day with Paul Ehrlich

Every April 22 is Earth Day. As one who studies Soviet Russia, I can’t help but notice that the day coincides with the birthday of Vladimir Lenin. The inaugural Earth Day occurred April 22, 1970, no less than Lenin’s birth centennial.

This is most ironic. Lenin is a decaying symbol of central planning, which, regrettably, is the ideological preference of many of those filling the streets on Earth Day. Although Lenin was a collectivist, not an environmentalist, he is frequently recycled, as mortuary specialists from Russia’s health ministry regularly re-embalm him in his tomb.

Lenin had no respect for life. He declared certain people “harmful insects.” In Lenin’s deadly worldview, pesky humans were not precious, special, unrepeatable; they were disposable.

That brings me to a living symbol of Earth Day: Paul Ehrlich. Dr. Ehrlich’s explosive bestseller, The Population Bomb, inspired the freshman class that first Earth Day, embodying the wildest fears of apocalypse mongers. The great Johnny Carson was, sadly, one of Ehrlich’s dupes, giving him a platform on “The Tonight Show” dozens of times.

Much has been said about Ehrlich’s book. But as author John Berlau reports, one item has been conveniently sunk into a land-fill. “He [Ehrlich] flirted with a proposal to require adding contraceptive material to all food items in the United States,” writes Berlau in Eco-Freaks. “But Ehrlich’s most drastic—and contemptuous—measures were reserved for the third world. Ehrlich advocated that all men in India who had three or more children be forcibly sterilized.”

Really? That was something I needed to see for myself, certainly never learning this in my public education. So, I tracked down a September 1971 edition of The Population Bomb.

What Ehrlich wrote is jaw-dropping. Dealing first with pesky Americans, he wrote (pages 130-31):

"[T]he first task is population control at home. How do we go about it? Many of my colleagues feel that some sort of compulsory birth regulation would be necessary to achieve such control. One plan often mentioned involves the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired population size. Those of you who are appalled at such a suggestion can rest easy. The option isn’t even open to us, since no such substance exists. If the choice now is either such additives or catastrophe, we shall have catastrophe. It might be possible to develop such population control tools, although the task would not be simple. Either the additive would have to operate equally well and with minimum side effects against both sexes, or some way would have to be found to direct it only to one sex and shield the other."

As for pesky (non-white) folks in places like India, Ehrlich was less patient. On pages 151-52, he favored “sterilizing all Indian males with three or more children,” and with the direct help of the U.S. government. “We should have volunteered logistic support in the form of helicopters, vehicles, and surgical instruments,” advised Ehrlich. “We should have sent doctors to aid in the program by setting up centers for training para-medical personnel to do vasectomies.”

Was this “coercion?” asked Ehrlich. Of course, but it was “coercion in a good cause.”

Immediate action was imperative, assessed the professor. It was, after all, 1970, and the human race had precious little time. Ehrlich warned of humans metastasizing all over Mother Earth. He said stoically:

"I wish I could offer you some sugarcoated solutions, but I’m afraid the time for them is long gone. A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells…. Treating only the symptoms of cancer may make the victim more comfortable at first, but eventually he dies—often horribly…. We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions. The pain may be intense."

To borrow from other scaremonger imagery of the era, such as the hysterical propaganda film Soylent Green, it was only a matter of time before the helpless masses started consuming one another. Only government action by anointed elites could save us from Armageddon.

Today, Ehrlich remains an icon, holding a plum spot at Stanford as the Bing Professor of Population Studies. Because he’s a liberal, a “progressive,” the 78-year-old has gotten away with this, much like Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood matron, who ran a “Negro Project,” spoke at a KKK rally, labeled certain pesky people “human weeds” and “imbeciles” and “morons,” and preached “race improvement.”

For icons of the left, there’s no need to say “I’m sorry.” The sins of the fathers and mothers of the progressive left are buried with the trash, never to be recycled, especially at Earth Day.


On Earth Day, Thank a Hunter

‘In 1970, a Senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson raised his voice and called on every American to take action on behalf of the environment,” read President Obama’s Earth Day proclamation last year. “In the four decades since, millions of Americans have heeded that call and joined together to protect the planet we share.”

Well, I’ve got news for our President. Millions of Americans who had never heard of Gaylord Nelson “took action on behalf of the environment,” decades before the good Senator “raised his voice.” More newsworthy still, most of these belonged to those insufferable rustics who “cling to guns and bibles.” To wit:

The Pittman-Robertson Act (1937) imposed an excise tax of 10 per cent on all hunting gear. Then the Dingell-Johnson act (1950) did the same for fishing gear. The Wallop-Breaux amendment (1984) extended the tax to the fuel for boats. All of this lucre goes to “protect the environment” in the form of buying and maintaining National Wildlife Refuges, along with state programs for buying and maintaining various forms of wildlife habitat.

For the last couple of decades hunters and fishermen have contributed over $1.5 billion per year towards Senator Gaylord Nelson’s lofty goal. To date, hunters and fisherpersons have shelled out over $20 billion “on behalf of the environment.” A study by the National Shooting Sports Foundation found that for every taxpayer dollar invested in wildlife conservation, hunters and fishermen contribute nine.

So please note: to "preserve nature," they don’t tax Birkenstock hiking boots and Ying-Yang pendants – but do tax my shotgun. They don’t tax Yoga manuals and Tofu tid-bits wrapped in recycled paper – but do tax my 30.06 deer rifle. They don’t tax binoculars or birding Field Guides with cutesy photos of the red-cockaded woodpecker and spotted Owl – but do tax the shotgun shells I blast at Mallards before arraying on my grill as Duck-K-Bobs (cooked rare and lovingly basted with plenty of butter, Cajun seasoning and teriyaki sauce).

Going further, they don’t tax Kayaks and rock climbing picks and ropes – but do tax my compound bow and rifle scope. They don’t tax the plastic water bottles on Mountain bikes (or the mountain bike itself, come to think of it) or the cutesy spandex shorts these yo-yos wear – but do tax my duck decoys and camo pants. They don’t tax Yanni and Enya CDs – but do tax the arrows I fling at Bambi before he sizzles on my grill as Bambi-burger (lovingly draped with thick bacon slices that dribble their appetizing fat into the meat while cooking. Then a chunk of cheddar cheese melted on top.)

You talk about a "Cheeseburger in Paradise," Jimmy Buffet! Try one from Bambi!

Ten cents of every dollar I spent on my hunting and fishing toys (I'd cite the total but my wife might read this) funds Federal and State "conservation" programs. From my guns and ammo to my duck calls and decoys, from my rods and reels to my lures and gaffs, from my trolling motor to the very fuel for my outboard – ten cents of every dollar in this ghastly expenditure funds habitat for Spotted Owls, Red Cockaded Woodpeckers, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Manatees, Snail darters, Black-Footed Ferrets, California Condors, Florida Panthers and Sea Otters.

None of these creatures (from what I hear) make a decent Gumbo or even a passable Chili. I must be crazy. But I have no choice. And this avalanche of tax dollars comes on top of those I fork over for the stacks of licenses, and permits, and stamps I'm required to have before I set a foot afield or set my boat afloat. Last season these totaled $500. (But sweetie! There are huge fines for hunting and fishing without them!)

And all the above is on top of my voluntary dues and assorted donations to such as Ducks Unlimited. (But snookums! I thought you loved the duck print I brought home at 2: 45 AM from the DU Banquet/auction? And especially the picture of me with the nice Hooters girl who worked the keg in her camo bikini?) According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation these donations to such as DU, Pheasants Forever, etc. total $300 million a year.

As mentioned, just last year, hunters and fishermen (not birdwatchers, not rock-climbers, not kayakers, not nature-hikers) "contributed" $1.5 billion "big ones" “dollarinies,” “donuts” (to quote Steve Martin as The Jerk) to purchase and maintain places for greenie-weenies to frolic and nature-watch.

You'd think some thanks might be in order from these freeloaders – from the smarmy crowd not forced to buy any "Bird-Watching stamp" or "Hiking stamp," or "Kayaking stamp", or "Rock Climbing Stamp," or Yanni-Listening Stamp," or "Quartz-Crystal-Gazing-Stamp." You'd think Tofu-munchers might appreciate us hunters' funding habitat for their spotted owls, kangaroo rats, snail darters and louseworts, and bankrolling the scenery on their "nature trails" as they self-righteously plod along in their "earth-friendly" Birkenstocks and granola-flecked frocks., quartz crystals rattling in their pockets en route to a hillside Sunrise worship, crystal-gaze and Enya-listen.

We pay our way – in fact, we pay the hikers and bird-watchers way too. But rather than going afield as passive voyeurs, rather than regarding nature as a Disney cartoon, we accept nature's diktats. We revel in our role as full-fledged participants in her cycle of fang and claw (but add bullets, buckshot, broadheads, treble hooks and gaffs to the primal drama).

You'd think the voyeurs might throw us a bone every now and then? Well, think again. Here's the Sierra Club's official position: "Wild animals should not be valued principally in terms of whether they can serve as targets. As members of the family of life, we should respect the moral right of all creatures to exist, to be free of unnecessary predation, persecution, and cruel and unduly confining captivity."

Anyway, you’re quite welcome, Greenies!


EPA's Train Wreck Could Leave Many in the Dark

During a recent speech at Cleveland State University focused on small business in Ohio, President Obama described a goal of “knocking down barriers that stand in the way of your growth.” Unfortunately, his EPA couldn’t be more in the dark about how to translate that message into practice – with the agency poised to adopt more than 30 new, major regulations and over 170 major policy rules in the next several months.
Even with 14 million Americans out of work and an economy still searching for light at the end of the tunnel, the EPA is poised to enact a series of back-door mandates that will stifle economic growth. And with the speed that this runaway train is traveling, people in states like Ohio should be scared of the “Train Wreck” headed towards a town near you.

Unfortunately, everyday Americans may not realize the impact of the EPA’s “Train Wreck” of new regulations on jobs, the economy and price of essential energy until it’s too late. The truth is, even the EPA itself doesn’t quite know what these regulations might cost to implement – although various outside analysts seem to agree that, at minimum, the 10 major rules that the EPA issued in 2010 could cost the economy at least $23 billion and nearly one million jobs.

No one can say for sure how my home state,Ohio,will be impacted; we do know that Ohioans will not fare well. That’s because coal generates close to 90 percent of net electricity in Ohio and energy consumption in the state’s industrial sector ranks among the highest in the nation. Put another way, the EPA’s “Train Wreck” will destroy Ohio’s main electricity source.

According to analysts, this assault on Ohio’s coal-burning power plants transfers directly into at least 10 plant shutdowns and over 1,000 job losses. According to a report from the United Mine Workers of America, national job losses associated with the closure of EPA-targeted coal units could be significant, amounting to more than 50,000 jobs in the coal, utility and rail industries. With Ohio’s unemployment rate still above 9 percent, the EPA “Train Wreck” would clearly be a major blow to my state.

But the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. and the environmental groups’ intent on stopping the use of coal in America aren’t worried about these good-paying, blue collar jobs in Ohio. Unfortunately for us, they consider the EPA’s “Train Wreck” to be an effective means to an end. An end to coal for sure.

But with America being known as the Saudi Arabia of coal, it’s clear that our nation – and especially Ohio – will need to continue relying on our extraordinary, domestic reserves of coal as a source of low-cost electricity capable of stimulating and sustaining long-term recovery. So with industry analysts estimating that 22 percent of existing U.S. coal-fired power plants could be shut down, with about 75 gigawatts lost (read: enough electricity to power 56.3 million homes), it is understandable why there is a mounting fear about when this wreck will be coming around the bend.

Unfortunately for the Buckeye state, the EPA has shown that it will blindly push ahead its agenda without regard for potential job losses, electric reliability issues or increased costs for everyday Americans. While there is still time for Congress to limit EPA authority and to thwart this imminent wreck, the bad news is that the train has already left the station and has shown no sign of stopping since this rulemaking process began years ago.

Ohioans can only hope that their state and federal government officials can help spread the word nationally about the repercussions of the EPA “Train Wreck” in time to successfully stop this runaway train. If not, there will be a price to pay, it will be significant, and it will be borne by the working families of Ohio and other impacted states.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


23 April, 2011

Another Greenie reveals his dislike of people

His arguments are as hollow as they are old. We have hardly begun on the amount of food we could grow. An example: Sugar is a major nutrient and yet sugar supplies are almost continuously in glut (oversupply). Australia's sugar lands could double their production at the drop of a hat if it were profitable.

And consider this: China -- yes China -- is now a major food exporter. Capitalism works its wonders even in crowded China. Where do you think your supermarket gets its garlic these days? And, sacrilege of sacrileges, there are even Chinese truffles on the market now. And the list goes on....

And if Sir David likes less crowded places, let him move to the stunningly beautiful South Island of New Zealand. Instead he lives in crowded London. What does that tell you?

And if you then consider that it is only in poor countries where the birthrate is above replacement, you might arrive at yet another even more telling conclusion. Wouldn't it be simpler and more honest of him to say: "Keep Third World immigrants out of Britain"?

Sir David Attenborough has warned that population growth must be stopped in order to offer a ‘decent life’ for all. The wildlife broadcaster said people were shying away from accepting that the world’s resources cannot sustain current levels of population growth. ‘There cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed,’ he writes in the New Statesman.

‘The sooner we stabilise our numbers, the sooner we stop running up the down escalator – and we have some chance of reaching the top; that is to say, a decent life for all.’

Sir David, 84, said the global population is over six billion and will hit nine billion in 30 years, but ‘there seems to be some bizarre taboo around the subject’. He warned of a ‘perfect storm of population growth, climate change and peak oil production’, leading to ‘insecurity in the supply of food, water and energy’.

‘We now realise that the disasters that continue increasingly to afflict the natural world have one element that connects them all – the unprecedented increase in the number of human beings on the planet,' he added.

‘All these people, in this country and worldwide, rich or poor, need and deserve food, water, energy and space. Will they be able to get it? I don’t know.’

Sir David said there was a 'taboo' tackling the subject and that people shied away from stating the fact that a world’s resources cannot sustain current levels of population growth.

He said: ‘There seems to be some bizarre taboo around the subject. This taboo doesn’t just inhibit politicians and civil servants who attend the big conferences.

‘It even affects the environmental and developmental non-governmental organisations, the people who claim to care most passionately about a sustainable and prosperous future for our children.’

The 84-year-old praised controversial 18th century demographer Thomas Malthus, who argued that populations increase until they are halted by 'misery and vice'.

He added: ‘The population of the world is now growing by 80 million a year. One and a half million a week. A quarter of a million a day.

‘The government’s chief scientist and the last president of the Royal Society have both referred to the 'perfect storm' of population growth, climate change, and peak oil production, leading inexorably to more and more insecurity in the supply of food, water and energy.’

The global population is now in excess of six billion and is predicted to hit nine billion within 30 years.

Experts have predicted that the British population – which is currently around 62million – will increase to 70million by 2029.

A report by the sustainable development group Forum For The Future said Britain would struggle to handle such growth. The increase in population would be ‘catastrophic’ and put unsustainable pressure on housing, schools and hospitals as well as natural resources.

Current trends will see a city the size of Bristol added to the population of the UK every year for the next two decades.

Sir David’s comments follow a similar warning from BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham. The Springwatch presenter suggested offering Britons tax breaks to encourage them to have smaller families. He effectively endorsed China’s controversial one-child policy, which sees couples who adhere to the rule given a lump sum on retirement.

But he stopped short of suggesting people should be penalised for having too many children.

Packham, 49, who has no children of his own, told Radio Times: ‘By 2020, there are going to be 70million people in Britain. Let’s face it, that’s too many.’

He added: ‘There’s no point bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we’re not addressing the one single factor that’s putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other – namely the ever-increasing size of the world’s population.’

Packham suggested offering couples a financial incentive as ‘a carrot’ to persuade them to have fewer – or no – children.

He said: ‘I would offer them tax breaks for having small families: say, 10 per cent off your tax bill if you decide to stick with just one child. And an even bigger financial incentive if you choose not to have a family at all.’

‘I question the way, for example, people have two children with one partner, then split up and have two with their next partner, just to even up the score.

‘Fact is, we all eat food, breathe air and require space, and the more of us there are, the less of those commodities there are for other people and, of course, for the animals.’


Earth Day retrospective

Remember when the Gaia worship got under way when we were young? The first Earth Day in 1970 came at a time the green radicals were feeling their oats, which hadn’t yet been considered as subsidized crops for ethanol.

There’s a snarky book on the shelves these days that we don’t necessarily endorse. (We don’t care for snarky comments much, unless we’re making them.) This book, 365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy, actually has a delightful entry for Earth Day.

Today is a day to remind the left-minded and green-obsessed that back in 1970, well, we’ll summarize:

* Newsweek predicted we were on the verge of a new Ice Age

* A world “eleven degrees colder by the year 2000″ was predicted by Kenneth Watt

* Life Magazine said that by 1985 air pollution to reduce the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half

* By 1995 75 to 85 percent of all species would be extinct, according to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson

* There would be mass starvation, according to Earth Day organizer Denis Hayes

We’re sure there are plenty more in the archives that have been mercifully forgotten. (You know how we feel about false prophets.) But not to learn from history is to be condemned to repeat it, as they say.

Anyone up for dangerously rising sea levels?


Is Earth Day Passé?

I just checked the Web sites of eight leading eco-activist groups, curious as to how prominently the organizations are featuring Earth Day messages and activities.

Surprisingly, seven of the groups — Center for Biological Diversity, EarthJustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council — say nary a word about Earth Day.

Sierra Club is the sole partial exception — they’re offering a $15 gift if you join the organization on Earth Day. It’s almost as if green pressure groups are as sheepish about Earth Day as their congressional allies are about the policy that dare not speak its name – cap-and-trade.

So if they’re not advertising Earth Day, what are they talking about? Six of the eight groups’ Web sites feature strikingly similar photos and messages about the April 2010 BP oil spill:

* Center for Biological Diversity – “Gulf Disaster One Year Later”

* EarthJustice – “One Year After the Gulf Oil Spill”

* Environmental Defense Fund – “One Year After BP Disaster, Congress Lags Its Response”

* Greenpeace – “Deep Water Horizon One Year On”

* National Wildlife Federation – “Status of the Gulf: Wildlife and

* Wetlands One Year after the Gulf Oil Disaster”

* Natural Resources Defense Council – “Disaster in Gulf Lives On”

Groupthink (“We are Borg . . .”) can afflict partisans of any agenda, but it is endemic to ideologies demanding ever-greater political control over economic decisions.


Confession means you can keep on doing it -- it seems

Though I'm not too clear on the rules of Warmism. The catechism seems to change a lot

Hey, look, I’m Catholic — so I know a few things about confessions. The nice thing about Catholic confessions is that we celebrate that sacrament in private. The religious practice of Mother Gaia apparently dictates public shaming as a way to appease the deity for Earth Day, which is at least a little more entertaining than sacrificing a goat, and more economical than sacrificing T.J. Holmes’ SUV. This CNN clip posted by Newbusters reminds me more of the background programming in the film 1984 with John Hurt, which had people on television confessing to thoughtcrime on a 24/7 basis, but then again, I’m not exactly up on the Gaia magisterium these days anyway:

T.J. HOLMES, CNN anchor: Well, in today’s “XYZ,” I’d like confess my sins. I drive a Chevy Tahoe. It gets 15 miles to the gallon in the city. While some people have SUVs to haul their large families around, it’s just me driving by myself to work every day. I have a number of TVs in my high house and leave them on just about all day, every day. I often turn the water on in the shower, then I walk downstairs to maybe grab breakfast, leave the water running, then I go back upstairs to take a shower.

I buy 24 packs of bottled water at a time. Then I throw those bottles away without recycling. In the winter I crank the heat up to 75 or 76. All the light bulbs in my house are still the old school, less efficient incandescent bulbs.

Those are my eco-sins. I’m confessing them to you because tomorrow is Earth Day. It often goes ignored by many of us, including me. Not going to ignore this year. Why? Well, maybe it was an awakening. Maybe I was scolded recently by an environmentalist. Maybe I’m tired of wasting my own money. Whatever my reasons, whatever yours, happy Earth Day.

Er … say five Rachel Carsons and sing three Bob Dylan songs, my fellow planetary traveler, and go thee out and sin no more.

Let’s not pretend that religion has left the public square. Let’s just recognize that it has changed denominations. And in that vein, allow me to wish my fellow Christians a happy Good Friday and blessed upcoming Easter, and my Jewish friends belated greetings for Passover.


Crazy Greenie logic in Britain

Major energy companies have been given free carbon allowances worth more than £100m this year for closed or mothballed power stations – despite the fact that the plants are producing little or no emissions.

Centrica, GDF Suez/International Power and Scottish & Southern Energy are among the UK companies to have reduced or switched off capacity at older plants.

And despite ceasing to produce electricity, the energy companies still receive the carbon credits which they can trade on international markets – giving substantial windfalls.

All the named companies announced temporary or permanent shut-downs in recent weeks – just after this year's carbon allowances were handed out by February 28.

Centrica has put four plants – Barry, Brigg, Peterborough and Kings Lynn – into "preservation mode", which means they are not producing but ready to be switched on.

Meanwhile, GDF Suez has reduced output at its Teesside plant to almost nothing – with the station expected to produce just 45 megawatts out of its 1875 megawatt capacity.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: "If an installation permanently closes then it will retain the full allocation for the year in which it closed down. "It will receive no further allowances for future years of the European Union emissions trading scheme.

For temporary and partial closure the installation carries on as normal. "There are no adjustments to its allocation. It will be the decision of the regulator to decide if a closure is temporary or partial. However, installations can appeal a regulator decision."

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said if there is operating activity during the year, companies are entitled to retain their allocation of free allowances. "The rules do not allow us to take allocations away," he said.

It is understood that officials at the Department of Energy and Climate Change are not happy about the situation and are trying to work out a way for them to be reclaimed.

Centrica declined to comment, while Scottish & Southern and International Power confirmed they had received its allowances for their non-producing stations. A source close to one of the companies said: "We don't yet know the answer to [whether we'll be able to keep allowances]. The arbiter of this decision will be the European Union emissions trading group at the Environment Agency and we have been told that they will issue guidance on this later in the year."

It is not the first time that partial closure of plants has caused controversy in relation to unused carbon credits.

Last year, Ian Swales, now the Lib Dem MP for Redcar, called for clarification over what would happen to the 7m carbon allowances awarded for the year to Corus, before the plant was mothballed.

A Corus spokesman at the time insisted: "Any allegation that Corus has been motivated by the desire to profit from the mothballing via the emissions trading scheme is totally without foundation and insults the efforts of all those who have spent the past eight months desperately searching for a long-term viable future for the plant."


Earth Has Rights!

John Henry Briggs goes to the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at CUNY Graduate Center, where he witnessed the event “Nature Has Rights”, in which a panel asks questions like, “Does a river have a right to flow?” Happy Earth Day!

I arrived at the CUNY Graduate Center in midtown Manhattan five minutes early. I found my way to the auditorium where about 200 people were already sitting, idly chatting. In one conversation from the group in front of me, I caught the words “Republican”, “recount” and “election.”

The white-bearded David Harvey, a professor at CUNY, and this evening’s moderator begins introductions. First up, Shannon Biggs, a chipper looking lady with glasses and red-black hair. She works with an NGO called Global Exchange, their motto is “Building people-to-people ties”.

Second, a man in a garish shirt named Cormic Cullinan, a South African Environmental lawyer who just published his book “Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice” which is available on the table outside for just $5.

Thirdly, Vandana Shiva, a self-described ecofeminist and environmental activist dressed in traditional Indian garb.

Next up, a very nondescript Maude Barlow, who holds the position of Chairperson to the Council of Canadians and is the Senior Advisor to the President of the 63rd UN General Assembly.

Last, but not least is Pablo Solón, the Bolivian ambassador to the UN.

Mr. Harvey puts the first question to his panelists: “What do we mean by rights of Nature? And why is it significant?” Each member ignored this and instead said what they came there to say. Biggs gets the ball started and complains that, “Nature can be owned, nature is property—like a slave.” Not missing a beat, she turns to the BP spill, complaining that only people could sue BP, but Nature could not. If Nature had rights, then Nature herself could get her cut from BP as well.

Continuing along the same vein, Cullinan stresses that, “We’ve become autistic to the natural world.” He insists in three different ways that there is an order to nature we must adhere to.

Shiva is the audience favorite. She is passionate and she ignores all questions. She begins ranting about the agriculture company Monstano and their genetic modification of plants. The audience bursts into applause when she said corporations should be punished for putting “toxic” in their plants. She then goes on to recount proudly the many things she’s protested against and ends saying that to be disconnected from nature is a psychiatric disease.

In contrast, Maude Barlow is dull, and only mentions some scary statistics that predict that demand for water is going to be 40% more than the supply in some-thirty years time. She recommends Al Gore’s idea of a “green economy”, the her idea that nature is worth $72 trillion is met with warm chuckles. She reiterates that she’s not saying bugs will should have the same rights as humans, but we can’t push them to extinction.

Ambassador Solón said that on the 28th of July there will be an event at the UN named, “From the human right to water to the rights of water.” Which we gather will be exactly what it sounds like (i.e., water has “rights”). He said that human growth should be limited “Only to satisfy our basic needs.” He signs off with a bombshell that brings down the house, “To fight for nature we have to fight against capitalism.”

The moderator then began his monologue, in which he mentions how silly the idea is of giving rights to something “fictional” like corporations similar to humans. But giving rights to Nature isn’t. He anticipates critics and said that the idea of giving rights to nature “Isn’t that weird.” He went on to mock his colleagues who consult for corporations, insinuating corporations “Willfully want to destroy the environment.” Somewhere in his rambling speech, he blamed world poverty on corporations and on capitalism.

At this point, Shiva comes to the happy realization, “There’s no debate here, everyone agrees with one another!” All smiled.

Cullinan, agreed and stated that the environmental movement is the, “Largest social movement ever.” He likened to the debate over the environment to the Galileo and Copernicus affair, repeating the myth that before these scientists humanity held the view that the universe revolves around humans. He said that, “If we don’t do something now, sometime in the future we may become extinct.” He claimed that, “Our offspring our less likely to survive” than us.

Shiva came back to the microphone and offered this conclusion: “We’ve been made to believe for humanity to succeed we need to destroy nature.” She also blamed India’s problem on capitalism and especially corporations.

As the panelists reiterated themselves for the dozenth time, they finally ended and then invited questions, which prompted the people with the strongest opinions to jump up to the mics and me to leave.


Australia's proposed carbon tax is between a rock and a hard place

Are these the signs that Labor's climate change policy is heading for a second disaster? Big unions and big business are in revolt as the mining boom's strong dollar squeezes the rest of the trade-exposed economy. Households are up in arms over surging power bills.

And since the shambles of the late 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, Labor hasn't doused worries that its carbon tax would put Australia in front of the world, a critical risk for a carbon-intensive economy.

This treble of jobs, cost of living and international competitiveness engulfs Julia Gillard and Greg Combet as they attempt to reverse Kevin Rudd's humiliating 2010 retreat on his emissions trading scheme. It is replete with political and policy failures, some of which are only now becoming evident.

Facing a revolt among steel industry members, Australian Workers Union secretary Paul Howes last week vowed to oppose Labor's carbon tax if it cost just "a single job", even with unemployment below 5 per cent. Remember this is Wayne Swan's union, which was mostly responsible for replacing Rudd with Gillard. Helped by a $US1.07 Aussie dollar, Tony Abbott has hammered a wedge between the blue-collar AWU and Labor's Green alliance, echoing what John Howard did to Mark Latham over Tasmanian forests.

Big business this week joined the rebellion, including a terse return fire of letters with Gillard. Business Council of Australia president Graham Bradley objected to Combet's April 13 National Press Club promise to quarantine more than half the carbon tax money to overcompensate mostly low-income households.

Business fears that Combet's vow to "put households first" will leave a cash-strapped minority government with less to protect industries threatened by the carbon tax, particularly compared with Rudd's 2009 emissions trading scheme deal with Malcolm Turnbull.

Yet the Labor-Greens carbon tax design looks costlier and more uncertain for business than the Rudd-Turnbull plan, for instance by ruling out industry access to international emissions permits that would eat into Canberra's carbon tax revenue.

And the Greens rejected the Rudd-Turnbull deal in part because they reckoned it was too generous to big carbon "polluters".

As well, Gillard needs to hand over more to households because electricity price cost-of-living pressures have worsened. Since late 2006, capital city average household power bills have jumped 52 per cent, or 35 per cent more than the consumer price index. While still a small share of family income, the power bill hikes send out a jolt of sticker shock.

This is before any general carbon price. And it is not happening in other developed economies. Labor's climate change adviser Ross Garnaut figures that real electricity prices in the seven big advanced nations rose only 5 per cent between 2006 and 2009.

This Australian peculiarity is a material change since 2007, when Howard proposed his own emissions trading scheme for an economy that generates 80 per cent of its electricity by burning coal.

Already since then, the power bill shock helped force Rudd's February 2010 backdown and was embodied in Abbott's August 2010 election campaign slogan against a great big new tax on everything. And it is ongoing, bewildering for voters and largely self-inflicted.

NSW households will be slugged with a further 17.6 per cent hike in electricity bills from July 1 following last week's ruling by the state's Independent Pricing and Regulatory Authority. In the coming financial year, NSW households on average will pay between $228 and $316 more for power.

Of this 18 per cent jump, 10 percentage points will come from higher "network" costs and six percentage points from recent changes to the federal government's own renewable energy target, says IPART chairman and adviser to Labor's multiparty climate change committee, Rod Sims.

Sims and Garnaut suggest this reflects two critical policy failures.

The first is the $39 billion five-year electricity network investment surge by mostly state government-owned transmission and distribution monopolies such as Ausgrid (NSW), Energex and Ergon (Queensland) and Aurora (Tasmania).

The high-voltage metal towers that connect generators to substations and the lower-voltage wires and poles that send the power from substations to customers account for about half of retail electricity bills.

As some point out, the electricity network infrastructure boom is almost as big as Labor's contentious National Broadband Network.

Yet Sims and Garnaut suggest that the national energy market regime that regulates these network monopolies encourages excess investment and even "gold plating" under the cover of replacing ageing assets, insuring against a repeat of storm damage blackouts in NSW and Queensland and coping with the sharper peaks in demand.

Under these rules, the regulator can't reject the network monopolies' investment plans unless it can prove they are not "reasonable". The monopolies can cherry-pick specific points to appeal. These rules are more monopoly-friendly than in Britain, where appeals are rare.

The implication is that state treasuries ensured that the Australian Energy Regulator rules protected strong dividend flows from their network monopolies. That is, the rules support generous risk-free regulated rates of return on excess capital spending. These regulated network costs then flow to separately regulated retail prices. As a policy issue, it has slipped under the radar until now.

The second failure is Labor's Renewable Energy Target, which requires 20 per cent of energy to be generated from renewables such as wind and solar by 2020.

Garnaut notes that Labor's RET originally was estimated to add 4 per cent to electricity prices between 2010 and 2015, or less than 1 per cent a year. Yet Sims's IPART ruling says the splitting of the RET into large-scale and small-scale renewable energy early this year alone will increase NSW electricity bills by 6 per cent.

"Green schemes have emerged as a new driver of price increases," warns IPART.

It's the result of federal and NSW incentives for households to install solar panels on their roofs. The bigger than expected take-up has overtones of Labor's disastrous home insulation program. It serves the yearning by higher-income environmentally aware consumers to save the planet by acting locally while getting other consumers to subsidise their power bills.

Sims slams the combination of federal and NSW solar panel incentives as "an expensive, cost-ineffective way of reducing carbon emissions". "Its cost will be borne either by consumers or taxpayers for many years to come," the IPART ruling says. Of course, the whole point of a carbon tax is to eliminate the need for such high-cost abatement. Yet the power price increases fuelled by high-cost green schemes are inflaming the catch-22 backlash against a lower-cost carbon price.

The pre-carbon tax power price surge also is aggravating the cost and hence jobs squeeze on carbon-intensive industries - including steel, aluminium and motor vehicles - exposed to the strengthening exchange rate. Imposing a carbon tax on top of a mining boom means a double hit for manufacturing and processing industries.

Swan this week made the business case by blaming the strong dollar for reducing non-mining company profits in 2010 and, in turn, hitting his budget tax revenues. The dollar averaged US78c in the mining boom mark I before the financial crisis hit. The day after Swan's pre-budget speech, it broke up through $US1.07.

This two-speed economy tension also is provoking claims that Labor is putting Australia in front of global climate change efforts. The notion that Australia should act in tandem with the rest of the world remains central to the nation's climate change policy. While Australia is a heavy per capita emitter, it accounts for only 1.5 per cent of global emissions. Getting out in front may only shift carbon-intensive industries and their pollution offshore.

This risk has been brewing since Rudd's self-inflated hopes of helping to broker a post-Kyoto global climate change deal collapsed at Copenhagen. Recall his private remarks about being "rat f . . ked" by the Chinese.

Combet's suggestion that countries such as China, the US and India are in front of Australia is not yet convincing and is undercut by Productivity Commission analysis. Labor is setting expectations of an initial $20 to $26 per tonne carbon tax before the Productivity Commission has reported on the effective carbon price in other key countries, as required by the country independents' deal with Labor.

In one of his two letters to Gillard, Bradley said Australia "must recognise this reality" that a meaningful cut to global greenhouse gas levels required "international action led by major emitting nations".

He warned that a unilateral carbon price penalty on trade-exposed manufacturing. agricultural and resource sectors would "damage Australian businesses with no net benefit to the world environment". And a carbon price that hit the asset values of coal-fired power generators would require higher rates of return for future generation investment and so lead to higher electricity prices that would undermine productivity across the economy.

In quick reply, Gillard demanded to know whether the Business Council still supported Australia's bipartisan target for reducing emissions by 5 per cent by 2020 and whether it still preferred "using a market mechanism by putting a price on carbon".

Gillard appears to have figured that Rudd's big mistake was to have abandoned his emissions trading scheme, even if it was at her own urging. With the Greens due to get the power balance in the Senate, reviving a carbon price became a political key to her 2011 year of minority government decisiveness.

Yet doing this with the Greens also required her to break her election promise not to introduce a carbon tax.

Labor's disaster scenario now is that the political climate for a carbon price has deteriorated, rather than brightened, since the 2010 federal election. Last month's NSW election wipeout included big Labor losses in its Illawarra and Hunter Valley industrial heartlands and setbacks for the Greens. And the mood may darken further after Swan's budget belt-tightening in two weeks.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


22 April, 2011

If the environmental movement has a high holiday, Earth Day is it

Earth day today and the above heading appeared on the Reuters article below. Carefully unmentioned is the fact that Apr. 22 is also Lenin's birthday. There is no reason to believe that we are looking at a coincidence there. Note the following:
"When I planned the first Earth Day, only one major corporation contributed to our national effort and that one corporation was Arm and Hammer," stated Senator Gaylord Nelson. Armand Hammer (1898 - 1990) owned stock in Arm and Hammer and served on its board of directors. Armand Hammer remains a controversial person because of his close ties to the former Soviet Union and because he won the Order of Lenin once! The Arm and Hammer is also the symbol of the Socialist Labor Party of America (SLP).

And the ideology of a small elite controlling all the "fools" is both Communist and Green. So the judgment that Earth say is THE Greenie high holiday is both telling and welcome

I might note how one Leftist deals with that "coincidence". Comedian and "infiltrator" Harmon Leon seems quite serious when he starts out describing the mass-murdering Lenin as "the man who developed the pragmatic Russian application of Marxism". No mention of Lenin's murderous rise to power and his scorn for democracy, of course. Harmon Leon is apparently one of the "San Francisco brights" but his history is obviously very clouded by ideology.

Leon then notes two conservative comments on Earth day:
It's appropriate that the two are celebrated on the same day, because there is no relevant difference between the socialist and environmentalist agendas in this country. Saving the environment is simply a euphemism for eviscerating the rights of property owners and creating a dictatorship.

For many political Leftists, environmentalism is merely a pretext through which private property and capitalism can be regulated, strangled, and finally replaced with totalitarian government ownership of everything. How could they criticize Marxist dictatorships, since their prescription for "healing the world" is socialist dictatorship?

Leon proceeds to ridicule both comments without managing to give a single fact or line of reasoning about why they are wrong. His is thus a very good example of Green/Left reasoning -- i.e. no reasoning at all, just emotional spasms. In conveying conservative critiques to a wider audience, however, he probably does us all a good service.

The annual effort to raise public awareness about the environment and inspire actions to clean it up marks its 41st anniversary on Friday, coinciding with the Christian Good Friday and Judaism's celebration of Passover.

In an effort dubbed "A Billion Acts of Green," organizers are encouraging people to observe Earth Day 2011 by pledging online at to do something small but sustainable in their own lives to improve the planet's health -- from switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs to reducing the use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

"Millions of people doing small, individual acts can add up to real change," said Chad Chitwood, a spokesman for the umbrella group coordinating efforts.

There will be hundreds of rallies, workshops and other events around the United States, where Earth Day was born, and hundreds more overseas, where it is now celebrated in 192 countries.

In the United States the activities range from the premiere of the new film from the director of "Who Killed the Electric Car?" (it's called "Revenge of the Electric Car") at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York to a discussion about creating a green economy in 12 cities along the Gulf Coast, where this time last year residents were reeling from the effects of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the years since the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 the environmentalist movement made great strides with passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and other groundbreaking laws.

But the bipartisanship that marked the birth of Earth Day -- it was sponsored in Congress by a Wisconsin Democrat named Gaylord Nelson and a California Republican named Pete McCloskey -- is often missing in discussions about environmental policy today.

Efforts to fight climate change by regulating greenhouse gases, for instance, face fierce resistance from many Republicans and members of the business community, who dispute the science supporting global warming and warn new rules to regulate emissions will kill jobs and raise energy costs.


An Australian clergyman who should stick to themes he knows something about

"God's vision is threatened by climate change"? Is this guy a Christian at all? He doesn't seem to have much faith in his God. But the "Uniters" are very wishy washy these days. They had real faith when they were Methodists but their gospel these days appears to be a purely social and political one.

My old Presbyterian church stayed out of the "Uniters" and when Anne and I attended there this morning it was the Gospel of salvation only that I heard. To preach anything else on Good Friday is very peculiar Christianity indeed. And it was the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland that we had preaching

THE crippling of Japan, the devastation of Christchurch and the floods that ravaged Queensland were not the work of God, church leaders said. But the leader of one of Sydney's three main Christian denominations blamed man for some disasters that caused human suffering.

The Moderator of the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT, the Reverend Niall Reid, said in his Easter message that climate change was the result of "unsustainable, unfettered and unthinking addiction to economic growth", and those who could not entertain a less destructive path were like those who sent Jesus to the Cross for expediency's sake.

Rising sea levels and more ferocious storms, floods and fires caused by climate change had the potential to threaten food security, exacerbate poverty and create an environment ripe for war, he said.

"God is found in the lives of those who seek remedies and work towards God's vision of a reconciled and renewed creation," he said. "Surely in our time [God's] vision is most threatened by climate change, which the science seems to be telling us is caused by human activity."


Three More Attacks on Civilization

Thank goodness we've got a global marketplace where banned and nearly banned products can be purchased with a click. This is how I obtained a box of Savogran Trisodium Phosphate, which sounds like an explosive but is really just a cleanser that was in every dish-washing soap until last year. It is made of phosphorous, an element from bone ash or urine that was discovered in Germany in the 17th century. It is also the reason that dishwashers once cleaned dishes perfectly, leaving no residue or spots.

Remember the old Calgon commercial that showed food falling off plates and glasses left gleaming at the end of a wash? That was phosphorous at work.

It is still a must in commercial establishments like restaurants and hotels. But 17 states have already banned the product for consumers, causing most all makers of the detergent to remove it from their products, which vastly degraded their value. The detergent makers saw the writing on the wall and this time decided to get out in front of the regulatory machine, anticipating a federal ban before it actually takes place.

Most consumers are clueless as to how sometime in the last year, their dishwashers stopped working properly. They call in the repairman, who fiddles with things and announces a fix. But it is not fixed. The glasses are gritty and the plates often need to be rinsed again after washing. Many households have bought new machines or resorted to just running the dishes through twice.

The creation of phosphorous-free detergent is the real reason. As Jonathan Last explains in the Weekly Standard, the antiphosphate frenzy began in Washington State, which was attempting to comply with a Clean Air Act mandate that a certain river be swimmable and fishable. This was a problem because tests found inordinate amounts of phosphate in the river. As part of the effort to comply, the state banned phosphates from detergents. That was in 2008, but the way politics works these days, the banning spread to state after state - again with the backing of federal law.

Now, it is clear that the law's proponents knew exactly what the results would be. It would increase dishwasher use and even end up leading people to abandon dishwashers altogether, and either solution leads to much more water and energy use. In other words, even by the goofy environmentalists' own standards, this is no savings. It might end up in the reverse.

Studies since the ban have even shown that phosphorous reduction in the Washington State river is entirely due to a new filtering system and, further, that it turns out that the phosphorous in the river was not even a problem in the first place!

Of course the facts don't matter. Our conveniences, like clean plates and the machines that make them so, must be sacrificed to the false gods of environmentalism. One of the great innovations in human history must be reverted because governments are enthralled by the witch doctors of Mother Earth. Thus must mankind take yet another step back on the path of social progress. And to heck with your fetish for clean things!

A similar impulse is driving the new attack on ice makers. Jeffrey Kluger writes in Time Magazine a typically hectoring piece that claims that one way to save the earth is to

buy a couple of ice trays. To the long list of human inventions that are wrecking global climate - the internal combustion engine, the industrial era factory - add the automatic ice maker.
Of course we don't use ice makers for completely arbitrary reasons. It is because it is a pain in the neck to carry a full tray across the room, spill a bit here and there, and then balance it carefully in the freezer. And then when you take it out, your fingers stick to the trays and you have to break the tray and dump the cubes into something and refreeze what you do not use, and then the cubes stick together and so on. That's why we use ice makers.

"Puritans and paranoids work with bureaucrats to unravel all the gains that markets have made for civilization."
But, still, the Department of Energy hates them. And so it has warned all makers of freezers that it will lower the energy-compliance rating of any freezer that keeps them. Or, another way to make a freezer with an ice maker is to degrade the refrigerator and freezer itself, leaving most of the energy use for the ice maker.

This whole model forgets a perfectly obvious point: having an ice maker often means that you have an ice dispenser on the outside of the fridge, meaning that you do not have to open the door to get your ice. This is surely an energy saver. Having to open the freezer far more often only ends up wasting energy, which is another reason for the ice maker in the first place (saves on electrical bills).

Here again, facts don't matter. If there is something you like, something that makes your life better, you can bet that some bureaucrat somewhere has targeted it for destruction. Saving the planet is the most convenient excuse around. Time Magazine would contribute more to "saving the planet" by putting an end to its print publication.

We can see where this is headed. Just as people hoard old toilet tanks and old washing machines that actually use water to wash clothes, so too people will now have to hoard their old refrigerators because they work. We are becoming like the Cubans with their 1950s-model cars, holding on to them for dear life if only to preserve some elements of civilization in the face of government attacks.

Now let's talk drain openers. Everyone knows that the best chemical drain opener is lye, or sodium hydroxide. It is wicked stuff that cuts through grease, hair, or just about anything else. It will burn right through human flesh and leave terrible scarring. But for drains, nothing else compares.

Now that less and less water is flowing through our homes (thanks to regulatory attacks on water use), and the water we use is ever more tepid (thanks to regulatory attacks on hot-water heaters), it is no surprise that clogged drains are ever more common, thus making lye an essential household chemical.

If you can get it. The mainstream hardware stores have stopped carrying the stuff. So have the grocery stores. When I asked around, I thought I would hear stories involving liability for injuries, but no: instead, the excuse is the drug war. It turns out that this stuff is an ingredient in the making of methamphetamine, and hence it too is on the regulatory hit list.

Fortunately you can still buy it through Amazon, but how many people know this? How many people are buying liquid drain openers only to discover that they don't actually work? Surely millions are doing this. So far as I can tell, there is nothing but hush-hush about the strange disappearance of lye-based crystal drain openers from our shelves.

So there we go: we must also live with clogged drains, so that not even the pathetic drizzles of tepid water that come out of our faucets can flow down the drain, and we must stand in pools of bacteria-breeding water as we take our short, cold showers. It's back to the 19th century for all of us!

In these three examples, we can see the model at work: Puritans and paranoids work with bureaucrats to unravel all the gains that markets have made for civilization. And they do this not with persuasion or an attempt to convert us to their primitive faith. Instead, they do it by force, driving us back to the compost pile, the river for cleaning, and, eventually, having to hunt and gather for food that we take back to our caves, which serve as domestic environs for those lucky enough to survive their regime of coerced poverty.


Health and Human Services and that evil Styrene

In late 2009, recently inaugurated President Obama stayed in campaign mode, making trips across the country to promote his $800 billion plus economic stimulus package. The president made one town in particular his ground zero for the economic recovery: Elkhart, Indiana. At the time, Elkhart had the nation's highest unemployment rate, in the neighborhood of 15 percent. Obama visited the town to make a major speech on the stimulus bill and continued to reference the dire situation the town faced as the debate over the stimulus raged, speaking of how the infusion of federal spending would save the town from the brink.

Now, over a year and a half later, Elkhart faces a new crisis driven by the policies of the Obama administration that could wipe out any progress made in the town.
Elkhart is a city that is essentially fueled by a single industry and that industry is the recreational vehicle or RV manufacturing industry. Naturally, this particular area of the commodity market took a beating during the economic down-turn, causing massive layoffs in the town that is home the "RV Hall of Fame" and some of the largest motor home manufacturers in the world.

The newest challenge facing this recovering industry now stems not from rising fuel prices and a flagging economy, but from a regulation proposed by the National Toxicology Program, a program of the Department of Health and Human Services. The issue centers around the chemical called styrene being listed as a candidate for the 12th ROC, or Report on Carcinogens issued by the department. So what does this have to do with RVs?

Modern RVs are made extensively with styrene based composite material parts. Much of the side paneling and other parts, including the various fixtures, such as tub/showers, are made with styrene based composites like resin and fiberglass. These composite parts and materials absolutely require the use of the styrene to be cost effective in their production. Without styrene, these parts could not be made and modern, fuel efficient, RVs would be impossible to produce.

Composite parts are not exclusive to the RV industry. Many industries including the boat/watercraft, tub/shower, construction and infrastructure, and even the wind mill industry depend on styrene based composite parts. The massive wind mill blades advertised in green energy and job stimulation initiatives are almost entirely made of composites that require the use of styrene.

Despite these facts, Obama-appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius is proposing to sign new regulations that would label styrene as a carcinogen, creating incredibly burdensome regulations surrounding the sale and use of the chemical itself and products containing it. This would dramatically increase the cost of U.S. based production of RVs, windmills, and all other products containing composites. These increased costs will likely drive even more windmill production overseas where most of it already exists and would certainly wipe out the only industry that keeps Elkhart alive.

Additionally, an overwhelming majority of the lab studies on the effects of styrene as a cancer causing carcinogen have come back as inconclusive or negative. In fact a lab study on lab rats and mice, found on the National Toxicology Program's own website shows tests of styrene's "Levels of Evidence of Carcinogenicity" as completely non-existent or negative in a majority of categories, and inconclusive in the rest.

Obama has staked much of his rhetoric and policy in the success of green energy initiatives like wind farms, and massive federal spending influxes designed to save single industry towns like Elkhart. Yet the administration continues its aggressive pursuit of new regulations - through HHS, the EPA, and the rest of the bureaucracy - that stifle economic growth. Styrene is essential in producing the composite products that the president has touted as the keys to economic recovery, yet his administration is ready to create a storm of burdensome regulations surrounding a chemical that has never proven to be dangerous; regulations that will surely cost thousands and thousands of American jobs across dozens of industries and all across the country. This is simply another case of bureaucrats and the president getting a little "bureaucrazy".


Natural Scientists and Economics

Don Boudreaux replies to someone who does not like an economically sophisticated paper by Indur Goklany that began: "Despite claims that global warming will reduce human well-being in developing countries, there is no evidence that this is actually happening"

Commenting on this post, Notalawyer writes that he (or she) is seriously concerned about global warming especially because:

"many natural scientists consider this to be a serious and existential problem. Its [sic] entirely possible that global warming could open up more space for human habitation, crop growth etc. But most scientists believe it will have large detrimental effects"

While no one has more respect for the natural sciences than I do, I am not persuaded by Notalawyer's reasoning. Meteorologists, biologists, horticulturists, zoologists, physicists, entomologists, physicians, and other natural scientists are not economists.

While there are some exceptions - Indur Goklany, for example - of natural scientists who understand economics, far too many of them see the world as posing physics or engineering problems rather than as posing economic ones. The two problems are very different from each other.

And the economic way of thinking - studying economic history; pondering the role of entrepreneurship; reflecting on creative destruction; being attuned to the fact that so many social phenomena are the results of human action but not of human design; understanding the fact that market-determined prices both signal important information about resource availabilities and give consumers and producers incentives to change their actions in accordance with changes in resource availabilities - gives economists a different perspective from that of natural scientists on the range of likely economic consequences of climate change. One manifestation of this different perspective offered by economics is that the prospect and possibilities of productive human creativity seem to be more readily grasped by the typical economist than by the typical natural scientist.

Natural-scientists' track record on predicting the economic impact of environmental changes is poor - at least, this is my off-the-cuff sense. Most famously, the scientist Paul Ehrlich has been consistently and magnificently mistaken about the effects of economic and population growth on human well-being. Likewise, Jared Diamond, for all of his undoubted brilliance, fundamentally misconstrues the most basic features of globalization. (See also here.) So, too, the great E.O. Wilson (whose 1994 autobiography Naturalist, I enthusiastically add, is among the most enjoyable of that genre that I've ever read).

Albert Einstein - no slouch when it comes to science - was a terrible economist. [He was in fact a Marxist -- JR]

I don't blame natural scientists for their frequent failures to grasp even basic economics. Each of these scientists is a specialist in his or her own field. It would be as out of place for me to criticize, say, a scientist who specializes in the study of ants for his poor grasp of economics as it would be for the ant-specialist scientist to criticize me for my poor grasp of the biology and behavior of ants. The difference is that I don't fancy that my expertise in economics equips me to speak with any authority at all on ant science or on other natural-science matters....

Here's what my colleague Jim Buchanan wrote in December 1976:

"The principle that exposure to economics should convey is that of the spontaneous coordination which the market achieves..

I recently talked with a prominent economist who mentioned that one of his colleagues had reported having several conversations with the then presidential candidate Jimmy Carter. This colleague passed along his view that Carter was a "good systems analyst," and my friend added, more or less as an afterthought, and "hence, a good economist." I very quickly and very emphatically put him straight, saying that nothing could be further from "the economic point of view," properly interpreted, than that of the systems analyst. Indeed, this is precisely my own fear about Carter, that he is, in fact, a good systems analyst without the remotest understanding of the principle of spontaneous order."


Trying to Avoid Greenie Regulations? The Department of Energy is Not Amused

Last month, the Department of Energy issued a "Showerhead Enforcement Guidance" related to flow standards through consumer showerheads. You see, it turns out that "efficiency standards" tend to upset people, as it usually leads to products being outlawed that people really like.

What happened was that certain showerhead manufacturers were taking a bit of creative license in interpreting the definition of a "showerhead," and selling showerheads that (by the DOE's standards) exceeded the maximum allowable 2.5 gallons per minute.

Sound familiar? The tragedy of low-flow showerheads was brought to light on Seinfeld way back in 1996 (the original regulations were put in place in 1992). Sorry, Kramer, but the Department of Energy is going to force you to keep going to the black market for your high-powered showerhead needs.


I am rather glad that we have no showerhead mandates in Australia but one of the comments from an American reader gave a sane response: "In many "low flow" shower heads, there is a "restrictor" that can easily be removed. If not, judicious use of a drill can be used to increase the flow. Increased flow means less waiting for hot water and subsequently a quicker shower" -- JR

If Warmists were doctors ....

"Step up on the scale, Mr. Naughton."

"Sure, Doctor. I'm looking forward to seeing this myself."

"Let's see... slide this over a bit... hmm, pretty bad. Your weight is up again."

"Uh... Doctor, you mind getting your foot off the scale?"

"Oh, okay."

"So... you want to weigh me again now?"

"Sorry, I've already recorded the results. You can step down now."


"Just as I predicted. Man-made body enlarging. I told you to stop consuming so much animal fat."

"There's nothing wrong with eating-"

"If this keeps up, you'll weigh 650 pounds by the year 2030. It's a looming disaster."

"Doctor, excuse me, but there's no way I'm gaining weight. Look at me. I had to buy a smaller belt last month."

"That's a temporary anomaly. I'm more interested in the long-term trend."

"I've been shrinking for two years now. I've also been eating more animal fat. So it can't be making me fatter. Your theory doesn't hold up."

"Do you weigh more than you did 40 years ago?"

"Yes, I was a skinny runt 40 years ago."

"And did your fat consumption go up during the past 40 years?"

"I was 11 years old 40 years ago! Of course I eat more now."

"Aha! So you agree there's a long-term trend in your body enlargement."

"Those are natural forces at work. I'm pretty sure that's been happening forever."

"But the rate of the enlargement has accelerated. Look at your weight chart. See there? All nice and even for two decades, then it shoots up here at the end. It looks like a hockey stick."

"That chart is bull@#$%!"

"It can't be. I showed it to a bunch of doctors who are friends of mine and they agreed: it looks like a hockey stick. We even wrote a paper about it."

"Look, Doctor, I went through a period in my thirties when I was fatter than I am today, and I wasn't eating animal fat because I was a vegetarian. Now I'm experiencing a thinning trend, even though I eat a lot of fat. So obviously, fat isn't the problem, and that chart is bull."

"I see. So you're a denialist."


"I suppose you don't believe the Holocaust happened either?"

"No! I mean, yes, I believe it happened. There's evidence it happened. But there's no evidence that I'm gaining weight!"

"Who's paying you to say this? The dairy industry? The cattle ranchers?"

"Nobody's paying me! Just use your senses! I'm smaller!"

"This is the worst case of denial I've ever seen. I'm afraid we're going to have to institute a fat-and-trade system. Every time you consume fat, you'll need to pay me a stiff fine. Or you can buy a fat credit from another tubbo who's willing to go without butter for a week. It's the only way to stop you from getting larger."


"Yes, you are. It says so right here in my computer data."

"Let me see that."

"No. I will not have you second-guessing my data. I don't have to show you anything."

"Yes, you do, Doctor. And if you don't, I'll call my lawyer and have him file the papers."

"Damn! I was hoping you didn't know about that law. Now I have to destroy the data."


"Nothing. I didn't say anything."

"Give me that book!"

"Hey! Give that back!"

"Back off, Doctor, or I'll smack you. Let's see . Hey, what's with all the emails and notes?"

"Nothing. Just doctor's notes."

"Nothing, my @##. Look at this: `James - I figured out how to apply Mike's trick of mixing belt-ring data with actual weight measurements to hide Mr. Naughton's mid-thirties fattening period.' What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"It doesn't mean anything! `Trick' is a common term in medical research. Give me that back!"

"And here's a coding comment from the guy who designed your computer program. What does he mean, he's having a hard time writing code that produces the results you want?"

"You know . just programmer lingo. That's how they talk."

"And this one: `James - Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues to boycott medical journals that publish articles by doctors who have seen people lose weight on high-fat diets. By the way, please delete this after reading.' And you printed it out? What are you, an idiot?"

"Oh, I see. Already reduced to resorting to attacks on my character, huh?"

"And what's up with this one: `James. The fact is that we cannot account for Mr. Naughton's failure to gain weight in recent years, and it's a travesty that we can't.'"

"Well, uh, you see, the theory is still correct, because uh, I mean it's not like we have anything to hide!"

"Let me get this straight... you wouldn't give me your data, you threatened to destroy your data so I wouldn't see it, your programmer was upset because he was having a hard time producing the data you wanted, you applied `tricks' to your data, and in spite of all that, your colleague thinks it's a travesty that you can't explain why I'm not actually gaining weight. I'd say you were hiding something, Doctor."

"But the theory is still correct! I'm sure of it! To hell with your annoying weight loss."

"No, to hell with you, to hell with your theory, and to hell with your fat-and-trade fines. I'm leaving."

"Don't go outside while you're angry, Mr. Naughton! You'll get heat exhaustion!"

"It's snowing, you moron."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


21 April, 2011

One prophecy that has come true

Late last year I added to my sidebar a prophecy that nitrogen would become a Greenie boogeyman. It now has. See below

Nitrogen pollution is costing every person in Europe up to £650 a year in damage to water, climate, health and wildlife, a study warns. Scientists behind the research said nitrogen was needed as fertiliser to help feed a growing world population – but suggested that eating less meat could reduce the amount of pollution caused by agriculture.

The report for the European Nitrogen Assessment (ENA) also suggests with 60% of costs of the nitrogen damage stemming from fossil fuels burned for energy generation and transport, more energy-efficient homes and less long-distance travel could help. More efficient use of fertilisers in food production is also needed, the report said. However, the researchers stopped short of calling for a fertiliser tax to reduce the use of nitrogen in agriculture.

Professor Bob Watson, chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, welcomed the first assessment of the Europe-wide impact of nitrogen, but warned that higher costs as a result of a tax would be passed on to consumers.

The report by 200 experts from 21 countries in Europe, puts the annual cost of nitrogen pollution on air, soils, water, increased greenhouse gases and damage to wildlife at €70bn-€320bn (£62bn-£282bn). The cost works out at between £130 and £650 a year for everyone in Europe.

Nitrogen contributes to air pollution that causes respiratory problems, such as asthma and cancers, and reduces life expectancy by six months across much of Europe. Nitrates in water are bad for human health and damage wildlife including fish stocks. Nitrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas.

The environmental effects of nitrogen were estimated at €25bn to €145bn (£22bn-£128bn), compared with the €25bn to €130bn (£22bn-£115bn) benefits to agriculture that fertilisers deliver.

Much of the nitrogen pollution from agricultural production is linked to meat and dairy farming, as the crops needed to feed them are grown with the help of fertilisers. Dr Mark Sutton, of the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, said: "The amount of livestock we choose to have is critical in determining the scale of impacts. The amount of animal protein we choose to eat is critical." He said the environmental impact of livestock was not limited to greenhouse gases from cows, with nitrogen used to grow crops to feed animals also having an impact.

In Europe, he said people were currently eating 70% more meat and dairy products than they needed for a healthy diet. He added that the report was not suggesting people become vegetarian, but they could cut down on meat – a "demitarian" diet – and that the conference to launch the study this week in Edinburgh would be serving half portions of meat.

Prof Watson said of the report: "Nitrogen is absolutely essential for human well-being. The challenge is how do we capture the benefits of nitrogen and minimise the impacts." He said that in the UK nitrous oxides had been reduced by 60% since 1990 and there had been a reduction in the use of nitrogen fertilisers of nearly a fifth since 1998. "Things are going in the right direction, but we do need to move faster to avoid this environmental damage," he warned.

The researchers said that the cost of putting in measures to tackle the problems of nitrogen pollution would be outweighed by the financial benefits the solutions would reap.


Justices skeptical of states’ global warming lawsuit

The Supreme Court appeared ready to rule that federal judges cannot set limits on greenhouse gas emissions, after a majority of justices suggested Tuesday that such disputes over global warming are better left to Congress and federal regulators.

Five power companies, including American Electric Power, are appealing a lower court decision that would permit a group of six states and the city of New York to sue under federal "public nuisance" law and claim the plants' emissions intensify global warming.

During a spirited session of oral arguments, the justices voiced doubt that judges have the authority or expertise to handle the complex emissions dilemma that is international in scope and that the government says is being addressed by the Environmental Protection Agency. A ruling would determine whether states can seek remedies in court for harm caused by carbon dioxide emissions and whether utilities would be subject to new litigation and possible caps on emissions.

"Asking a court to set standards for emissions," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, "sounds like the kind of thing that EPA does. Congress set up the EPA to promulgate standards for emissions."
"How does a district judge decide what is reasonable and cost-effective?" Justice Samuel Alito asked. "This is not a situation in which the emission of greenhouse gases can be totally prohibited."

Justice Elena Kagan added that pollution lawsuits usually are local affairs: "One factory emitting discharge into one stream. They don't involve these kinds of national/international policy issues of the kind that this case does."


VT: Nuke plant sues to stay open

Owners of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant filed a federal lawsuit yesterday to prevent state lawmakers from shutting the plant down when its 40-year license expires next year.

The Entergy Corp. lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Burlington, Vt., is expected to force a legal showdown over whether state governments can claim a role in the oversight of nuclear power plants, which are regulated by the federal government. What the courts ultimately decide is likely to have significance for some of the nation’s 103 other operating reactors, especially those in states that have similar concerns about their safety.

If the Supreme Court were to reject Entergy’s suit, other states could be empowered to pass legislation, as Vermont did in 2006, granting lawmakers the authority to approve or deny a plant’s license extension, according to legal scholars. Vermont is the only state in the country that has such veto power, and last year the Senate voted overwhelmingly to shutter the plant in Vernon near the Massachusetts line.

“Despite the fact that Vermont Yankee is important to the reliability of the New England electric transmission grid, emits virtually no greenhouse gases, and provides more than $100 million in annual economic benefits to the state of Vermont, it has been made clear that state officials are singularly focused on shutting down the plant,’’ said Richard Smith, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities. “That has left us with no other choice but to seek relief in the court system.’’

The move comes just weeks after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted Vermont Yankee approval to operate through March 2032 and in the midst of controversy about its age and design. The plant has the same basic design as the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility in Japan that has had widespread radiation releases following a massive earthquake and tsunami there last month.

The Entergy lawsuit argues in large part that federal, not state, law governs licensing and operation of nuclear power plants, as well as radiological safety.

Vermont officials said they were legally justified in passing the 2006 law and argued that while the federal government oversees some portions of nuclear power plants, states also have a role to play. They contend the plant is too dangerous and old to continue operating and that Entergy did not object to the law that gave the Vermont House and Senate a final say in the plant’s future operation.

“Entergy’s lobbyists, executives, and lawyers all participated in that process,’’ Governor Peter Shumlin said. “Indeed, Entergy expressed its support of that law at the time. Entergy is now attempting to rewrite history, breaking its own promises and its own support of Vermont law.’’


Energy saving light bulbs "contain cancer causing chemicals"

Fears have been reignited about the safety of energy saving light bulbs after a group of scientists warned that they contain cancer causing chemicals. Their report advises that the bulbs should not be left on for extended periods, particularly near someone’s head, as they emit poisonous materials when switched on.

Peter Braun, who carried out the tests at the Berlin's Alab Laboratory, said: “For such carcinogenic substances it is important they are kept as far away as possible from the human environment.”

The bulbs are already widely used in the UK following EU direction to phase out traditional incandescent lighting by the end of this year. But the German scientists claimed that several carcinogenic chemicals and toxins were released when the environmentally-friendly compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) were switched on, including phenol, naphthalene and styrene.

Andreas Kirchner, of the Federation of German Engineers, said: “Electrical smog develops around these lamps. “I, therefore, use them only very economically. They should not be used in unventilated areas and definitely not in the proximity of the head.”

British experts insisted that more research was needed and urged consumers not to panic.

Dr Michelle Bloor, senior lecturer in Environmental Science at Portsmouth University, told the Daily Express: “Further independent studies would need to be undertaken to back up the presented German research.”

The Department for the Environment insists the bulbs are safe, despite the fact that they contain small amounts of mercury which would leak out if the glass was broken.

Advice on its website states: “Energy efficient light bulbs are not a danger to the public. “Although they contain mercury, limited at 5mg per lamp, it cannot escape from a lamp that is intact. “In any case, the very small amount contained in an energy efficient bulb is unlikely to cause harm even if the lamp should be broken.”

The latest report follows claims by Abraham Haim, a professor of biology at Haifa University in Israel, that the bulbs could result in higher breast cancer rates if used late at night.

He said that the bluer light that CFLs emitted closely mimicked daylight, disrupting the body's production of the hormone melatonin more than older-style filament bulbs, which cast a yellower light.

The Migraine Action Association has warned that they could trigger migraines and skin care specialists have claimed that their intense light could exacerbate a range of existing skin problems.


Do you have 'global warming fatigue'? Just 25% of Britons think climate change is the most important environmental issue

Britons are suffering from 'global warming fatigue', according to a new poll which shows they care less about climate change than most other nationalities. The survey of 1,000 British adults found that just 25 per cent rate man-made climate change as the most pressing environmental problem.

In contrast, half say energy security is the biggest green issue - while 48 per cent are more concerned about their rubbish collections.

Out of 24 countries polled, Britain comes in at third bottom in terms of concern about climate change, the Ipsos Mori survey found. Americans, Australians, French and Japanese are all more bothered about global warming than Britons.

Edward Langley, Ipsos MORI’s Head of Environment Research, said: 'The public are cautious about climate change. They feel there is a lack of consensus on whether it is man-made and the degree to which it will impact their lives.

'In contrast, our dependency on fossil fuels is a more immediate and tangible risk that they can get their heads around, and one where they see an obvious need to take action to maintain living standards.'

Around 48 per cent of Japanese - who were surveyed after last month's earthquake and tsunami - rated climate change as the key environmental issue. Some 40 per cent of Canadians, 38 per cent of Germans, 30 per cent of Australians and 29 per cent of French feel the same.

Concern about man-made climate change fell after two cold winters and the failure of the UN global warming talks. The University of East Anglia leaked email scandal - which showed climate scientists plotting to ignore freedom of information requests about their work - has also affected public opinion.


10 big errors in Warmist speech by Australia's Federal Climate mimister

by Bob Carter, David Evans, Stewart Franks & Bill Kininmonth. (Bob Carter is a geologist, David Evans a mathematician and computer modeller, Stewart Franks a hydrologist and engineer, and Bill Kininmonth a meterologist and former Director of the National Climate Centre.)

Climate Minister Greg Combet delivered a major speech at the National Press Club on April 13th entitled "Tackling Climate change in the National Interest".

The earlier part of Minister Combet's speech traversed various scientific issues, which we analyse below, putting his statements in italics, and our commentary in ordinary type.

1. The evidence of atmospheric warming is very strong, and the potential for dangerous climate impacts is high. The scientific advice is that carbon (sic) pollution (sic) is the cause.

Atmospheric warming and cooling happen the whole time naturally, and global temperature has been level or cooling gently for the last ten years; and that despite the fact that a quarter of all human emissions of carbon dioxide, over all of history, have occurred since 1998.

No empirical evidence has been provided, and especially not by the IPCC or Professor Steffen, that a significant part of the late 20th century warming was caused by human carbon dioxide emissions. Instead, warming alarmist arguments rely upon computer modelling and assumptions about positive feedback from moist air and clouds.

Neither has any evidence been provided that the number or intensity of dangerous climatic events has in the near past fallen outside of normal natural variation.

The term "carbon pollution" is a pejorative term that displays ignorance by those who use it. In reality, the public debate is about the magnitude of the warming effect exercised by human carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide from whatever source is an environmental benefice that sustains most of the ecosystems on planet Earth.

2. Globally, 2010 was the warmest year on record, with 2001 to 2010 the warmest decade. 2010 is the 34th consecutive year with global temperatures above the 20th-century average.

Were this true, so what? The world has been in a warming trend since 1680, the depth of the Little Ice Age, so of course later years tend to be warmer. Human carbon emissions were insignificant before 1850 and tiny before WWII, so human-sourced emissions are obviously not the sole cause of warming.

But in fact it isn't true. Amongst the major records of global temperature, only one shows 2010 as the warmest year since global thermometer records began (about 1850). That record is the NASA GISS index compiled by James Hansen, and its limitations and inaccuracies are well known. The temperature record used by the IPCC is the U.K. Hadley Centre's HadCRUT thermometer plot, and the most accurate record of all is that measured from satellites (which covers nearly the whole planet, not mainly airports and carparks). These two records show that the 2010 global temperature was 0.2 and 0.1 deg. C below the warm peak attained during the 1998 El Nino year, respectively.

More generally, all versions of the 20th century thermometer temperature record on which the Minister places his reliance are of limited accuracy and also encompass a warming bias. Representing, as they do, only 3 climate data points, they are a completely inadequate basis on which to make grand statements about climate change.

Judged against climate records of adequate length, the temperature has been declining gently for the last 10,000 years (since the Holocene post-glacial climatic optimum) and increasing for about the last 330 years (since the depth of the cold Little Ice Age around 1680). So it is no surprise (i) that overall warming occurred during the 20th century; and (ii) that 2001-2010 was a relatively warm decade, for the same reason that most of the warmer days each year cluster around mid-summer's day - in both cases, the grouping of warm temperatures is because of position within a known climatic cycle.

3. In Australia, each decade since the 1940s has been warmer than the preceding decade. With rising temperatures we can expect to see more extreme weather events, including more frequent and intense droughts, floods and bushfires.

In some places, each successive decade of the last 50 years may indeed have been warmer than its predecessor, for the same reasons explained under Point 2; the Earth is currently still recovering from a Little Ice Age.

But Australian temperatures, and those in other regions, do not move in perfect synchronisation with global temperatures, because of regional scale circulations and responses to multi-decadal climate oscillations. So whereas southeastern Australia (and offshore waters) started warming around 1950, after nearly a half century of flat temperatures, they have (along with global temperature) also stabilised over the last decade. But, in any case, it is global temperatures that are the point at issue, not Australian ones.

In the early 1970s, some climate scientists were full of talk about global cooling and the looming possibility of a new ice age -- they based their alarm on the fact that the global thermometer record had been falling for the previous three decades. These scientists also cited models that showed that a new ice age might indeed occur (their models, like the current ones, were loaded with too much positive feedback). Minister Combet is now apparently claiming that the 1945-1975 cooling didn't occur in Australia. Perhaps he is relying upon a temperature graph that has been revised in retrospect?

The accompanying statement that extreme weather events have increased with warmer temperatures is contradicted by the available empirical evidence - and that they will increase or become more extreme in the future should warming resume is derived from speculative, unvalidated and invalidated computer climate models.

4. The environmental consequences translate readily into economic costs - as well as potential negative impacts on water security, coastal development, infrastructure, agriculture, and health.

Natural climate events and change do indeed impose economic and social costs, as the bushfires, floods and cyclones of the last few years in Australia readily show. There is no evidence whatever that these costs have been greater in recent years because of human influences on global climate.

5. Professor Will Steffen, a leading expert in the climate science, has advised the Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change that there is 100% certainty that the earth is warming, and that there is a very high level of certainty it will continue to warm unless efforts are made to reduce the levels of carbon (sic) pollution (sic) being sent into the atmosphere.

Professor Steffen is spectacularly wrong. The earth is NOT currently warming, and hasn't been for the last 10 years, and perhaps longer. That this lack of warming has been accompanied by increasing carbon dioxide levels proves that carbon dioxide is not the predominant controlling influence on global temperature.

Neither Professor Steffen nor any other scientist can state with certainty whether global temperature in ten years time will be warmer or cooler than today. But given the currently quiet sun, and acknowledging the importance of multi-decadal climatic oscillations such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, many scientists currently hypothesize that cooling is more likely than warming over the next two decades.

6. It is in our national interest to take action on climate change. The national interest case is clear.

It is indeed, and the climate events and change that the Minister should be paying attention to are those KNOWN hazards of natural origin. Because the government instead is focused upon the entirely HYPOTHETICAL risks of dangerous warming caused by human-related carbon-dioxide emissions, it has taken its eye off the main game. The national interest case for better preparation for natural climate events and change is clear, and it is past time that the Minister focused on it.

7. Climate change is an environmental problem with an economic solution.

This is an absurd statement, which should read "Climate events and change cause environmental and social damage, and are therefore an economic cost".

For natural climate events and change are obviously hazards with attendant economic costs, and they are more costly the less prepared that we are - as the Victorian bushfires and Brisbane floods have clearly shown.

Perhaps "climate change" (as the Minister intends the term to be understood) is an invented problem to justify a desired and particular political "solution"? Be that as it may, whatever the Minister is referring to here is certainly not based upon science as we have learned to practice it over the last two centuries.

8. Just as the 1980s reforms laid down the bedrock of our current prosperity, pricing carbon (sic) will ensure that the Australian economy of the 21st century remains globally competitive.

Competitive with whom? Australia will be way out in front in leading de-industrialisation and economic decline, for no other countries are proposing to handicap themselves nearly as much on a per capita basis.

Putting a rising tax on carbon dioxide will have one, and only one, result, which is to render the Australian economy more and more uncompetitive against its overseas competitors, with a concomitant inexorable rise in the cost of living.

At the same time, a tax on carbon dioxide will do nothing to effect global temperature in a measurable way.

9. Intergenerational equity is a key determinant of long-term economic policy making. Our obligation is to leave the world a better place, not to pass on the problems we found too difficult to deal with to our grandchildren and to their grandchildren.

The government's Climate Commissioner, Professor Tim Flannery, has indicated that some computer models that he favours project that a period of 1,000 years or more will be required before any cuts in Australian carbon dioxide emissions take effect.

The intergenerational equity that the Minister speaks of is therefore like King Canute being held responsible for the living standards of present day Australians. It is astonishing that such fantasies are now being introduced into public discourse by government ministers who, King Canute-like in their turn, appear to believe that they can "stop climate change".

In any case, there never has been intergenerational equity. The gross inequities that exist across both geography and generations are caused by contrasting access and lack of access to cheap energy. It is estimated that 1.5 billion persons today lack adequate sanitation, clean drinking water and basic health care and education. Such poverty kills innumerable persons in developing countries each and every year.

There is no equity in restricting access to cheap energy, and future restrictions on cheap sources of energy such as coal will condemn millions to future poverty or death.

10. Australia is one of the world's top 20 polluters and we release more pollution per person than any other country in the developed world - more than the US. Not only is it in our national interest to act, we have a responsibility to do so.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but an environmental benefit.

Even according to the IPCC's faulty models, if Australia stopped all emissions of carbon dioxide from tomorrow, the total effect on the temperature in 2050 would be to theoretically lower it by 0.0154 øC.

Regarding real air pollutants, Australia has good controls on industrial emissions through clean air legislation, and it is unlikely that our pollutant emissions are significantly higher than other western countries with similar controls.

Which is not to say that further improvements to air quality might not be effected, especially in metropolitan areas. Indeed, expenditure of public money on that (to demonstrable effect) would be a far preferable course of action to squandering money on cuts in carbon dioxide emissions that will have no effect on either pollution or future climate.

Final remarks

The later part of the Minister Combet's speech is concerned with political and policy matters which we do not analyse in detail. We note, however, that the relevance of these issues depends entirely upon whether there is a dangerous global warming problem to deal with in the first place.

Minister Combet provides no evidence whatever that there is.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


20 April, 2011

A very long "rebound"

In the paper below, Hansen blames the absence of global warming in recent years on a "rebound" effect from the Mt Pinatubo volcano of 1991 -- 20 years ago. He admits that the aerosols resultant from the eruption settled out within two years. But says that they so cooled the ocean while they were up there that the ocean has taken 20 years to warm up again.

Rate of warming and rate of cooling are not exactly the same with water but a divergence like that is unknown. Cooling that took place over 2 years should have taken around 2 years to reverse, not 20. The effects of the Pinatubo eruption are long gone. I have read the whole paper but can see no evidence to the contrary, just the usual "models"
Earth's Energy Imbalance and Implications

James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha


Improving observations of ocean temperature confirm that Earth is absorbing more energy from the sun than it is radiating to space as heat, even during the recent solar minimum. This energy imbalance provides fundamental verification of the dominant role of the human-made greenhouse effect in driving global climate change. Observed surface temperature change and ocean heat gain constrain the net climate forcing and ocean mixing rates. We conclude that most climate models mix heat too efficiently into the deep ocean and as a result underestimate the negative forcing by human-made aerosols. Aerosol climate forcing today is inferred to be ?1.6 ± 0.3 W/m 2 , implying substantial aerosol indirect climate forcing via cloud changes. Continued failure to quantify the specific origins of this large forcing is untenable, as knowledge of changing aerosol effects is needed to understand future climate change. A recent decrease in ocean heat uptake was caused by a delayed rebound effect from Mount Pinatubo aerosols and a deep prolonged solar minimum. Observed sea level rise during the Argo float era can readily be accounted for by thermal expansion of the ocean and ice melt, but the ascendency of ice melt leads us to anticipate a near-term acceleration in the rate of sea level rise


Leading warmist admits he was bamboozled by fear-mongers - on nuclear power

The original moonbat, George Monbiot, columnist for the left wing UK Guardian, now admits that he was bamboozled by fearmongers whipping up anti-nuclear fears.
Over the last fortnight I've made a deeply troubling discovery. The anti-nuclear movement to which I once belonged has misled the world about the impacts of radiation on human health. The claims we have made areungrounded in science, unsupportable when challenged, and wildly wrong. We have done other people, and ourselves, a terrible disservice.

I began to see the extent of the problem after a debate last week with Helen Caldicott [nee Broinowski]. Dr Caldicott is the world's foremost anti-nuclear campaigner. She has received 21 honorary degrees and scores of awards, and was nominated for a Nobel peace prize. Like other greens, I was in awe of her. In the debate she made some striking statements about the dangers of radiation. So I did what anyone faced with questionable scientific claims should do: I asked for the sources. Caldicott's response has profoundly shaken me.

Well, it's a start. Dr. Caldicott has been virtually sainted by the anti-nuclear movement, yet when Monbiot investigated her sources, he discovered that they were:
...nine documents: newspaper articles, press releases and an advertisement. None were scientific publications; none contained sources for the claims she had made. But one of the press releases referred to a report by theUS National Academy of Sciences, which she urged me to read. I have now done so - all 423 pages. It supports none of the statements I questioned; in fact it strongly contradicts her claims about the health effects of radiation.

Monbiot remains one of the most hysterical wamrists, calling for "drastic action needed now" to combat the alleged dangers posed to our survival. The very same concerns expressed by thinkers like Charles Manson.

Now that Monbiot's eyes have been opened to the machinations fraudsters, perhaps he would examine the hysterical and false predictions of climate refugees and other nonexistent dangers advanced by the charlatans pushing warmist doctrine, as well as the efforts to "hide the decline."


Climate can drive seismic shifts: study

But it takes millions of years! Many media reports glide over that bit

Scientists have for the first time shown a link between intensifying climate events and tectonic plate movement in findings that could provide a valuable insight into why huge tremors occur.

Understanding why plates change direction and speed is key to unlocking huge seismic events such as last month's Japan earthquake, which shifted the Earth's axis by several inches, or February's New Zealand quake.

An Australian-led team of researchers from France and Germany found that the strengthening Indian monsoon had accelerated movement of the Indian plate over the past 10 million years by a factor of about 20 percent.

Lead researcher Giampiero Iaffaldano said on Wednesday that although scientists have long known that tectonic movements influence climate by creating new mountains and sea trenches, his study was the first to show the reverse.

"The closure or opening of new ocean basins or the build of large mountain bands like the Andes or Tibet itself, those are geological processes that affect the pattern of climate," said Iaffaldano, an earth scientist with the Australian National University.

"We are showing for the first time that the opposite also is true, that the pattern of climate is then able to affect back in a feedback mechanism the motion of tectonic plates."

Iaffaldano stressed that his study did not mean that global warming would translate to stronger earthquakes happening more often, with the relevant patterns developing over "the order of millions of years."

"Of course earthquakes do occur at the boundaries between plates because of plate motions, but our work doesn't imply at all that we will see an increase in these types of events," he told AFP.

Iaffaldano collaborated with Universite de Rennes geoscientist Laurent Husson and Hans-Peter Bunge from Munich's LMU university on the study, which was recently published in the Earth and Planetary Science Letters journal.

The team plans to build on the study by probing whether climate events have had a similar impact in other regions.

"For example, I can imagine that there might be a signature of climate in the Andes for example or in the Rocky Mountains," said Iaffaldano.

"This is something that we should look at in the future."


EPA, eco groups at odds in climate change case

The Obama administration and environmental interests generally agree that global warming is a threat that must be dealt with. But they're on opposite sides of a Supreme Court case over the ability of states and groups such as the Audubon Society that want to sue large electric utilities and force power plants in 20 states to cut their emissions.

The administration is siding with American Electric Power Co. and three other companies in urging the high court to throw out the lawsuit on grounds the Environmental Protection Agency, not a federal court, is the proper authority to make rules about climate change. The justices will hear arguments in the case Tuesday.

The court is taking up a climate change case for the second time in four years. In 2007, the court declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. By a 5-4 vote, the justices said the EPA has the authority to regulate those emissions from new cars and trucks under that landmark law. The same reasoning applies to power plants.

The administration says one reason to end the current suit is that the EPA is considering rules that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But the administration also acknowledges that it is not certain that limits will be imposed.

At the same time, Republicans in Congress are leading an effort to strip the EPA of its power to regulate greenhouse gases.

When the suit was filed in 2004, it looked like the only way to force action on global warming. The Bush administration and the Republicans in charge of Congress doubted the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases.

Federal courts long have been active in disputes over pollution. But those cases typically have involved a power plant or sewage treatment plant that was causing some identifiable harm to people, and property downwind or downstream of the polluting plant. Global warming, by its very name, suggests a more complex problem. The power companies argue that any solution must be comprehensive. No court-ordered change alone would have any effect on climate change, the companies say.

"This is an issue that is of worldwide nature and causation. It's the result of hundreds of years of emissions all over the world," said Ed Comer, vice president and general counsel of the Edison Electric Institute, an industry trade group.

Eight states initially banded together to sue. They were California, Connecticut, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin. But in a sign of the enduring role of partisan politics in this issue, New Jersey and Wisconsin withdrew this year after Republican replaced Democrats in their governor's offices.

Another complication is that the administration and the companies may be on the same side at the Supreme Court, but the power industry is strongly opposing climate change regulation. The Southern Co. is a vocal supporter of GOP legislation to block the EPA from acting.

"It's two-faced for them (the companies) to come into court and say everything is well in hand because EPA is going to act," said Doniger, the NRDC lawyer.

Comer said the key point is that judges should not make environmental policy. "This has important implications for jobs. If you raise energy costs in the U.S., does that lead industry jobs to go elsewhere and if it does, do you get the same emissions, just from another country?" Comer said. "These judgments are properly made by elected officials."


Supreme Court should reject climate change nuisance suit

On April 19, the Supreme Court will hear argument in American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, an unprecedented “public nuisance” lawsuit brought against several of the nation’s largest coal-fired utilities that allegedly contribute to global warming. The dispute is part of a fundamental debate over whether to combat climate change with government policies or lawsuits.

The case has the attention of business and environmental interests – and should concern the broader public – because the plaintiffs ask judges, rather than elected officials or executive branch appointees, to set economic, energy, and environmental policy.

American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut arrived at the Supreme Court last year after the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit allowed a coalition of eight states, environmental groups, and New York City to proceed with a lawsuit attempting to force American Electric Power Co. Inc., Duke Energy Corp., Southern Co., Xcel Energy Inc., and the Tennessee Valley Authority to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

This case is novel, and far more aggressive and disruptive than the global warming case the Court previously permitted. In a 2007 decision, Massachusetts v. EPA, a closely divided Court agreed with 12 states and several cities that the Environmental Protection Agency has authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Though that case dealt with a narrow claim to enforce a federal statute, the Court’s decision emboldened what had already become a cottage industry of lawsuits designed to slow global warming by asking federal courts to enact what interest groups have been unable to secure through the democratic process: carbon caps and other limits on the way energy is produced in this country.

Under the guise of “public nuisance,” the plaintiffs in these suits seek to impose enormous damages and binding emissions caps on energy companies. The plaintiffs have acknowledged that their goal is a veritable sea change in the way energy is produced, sold, and used in this country. Incredibly, they assert that these companies can make major changes to lower emissions – such as the adoption of wind and solar alternatives – “without significantly increasing the cost of electricity.” But never before has the “public nuisance” doctrine been used to set national economic and energy policy. While litigation may be therapeutic for those frustrated by political inaction, this case is at odds with this country’s legal tradition.

The energy companies – joined by supporters including the Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business, members of Congress, and more than 20 other States – argue that this and similar cases should not be allowed to proceed. Such cases exceed the institutional competence and constitutional authority of the federal judiciary, which has the task of interpreting laws that arise from the political branches’ resolution of policy disputes. Federal judges should not be in the practice of creating energy and environmental policies out of whole cloth, as trial judges confronting these public-nuisance climate change cases in New York, California, and Mississippi have readily concluded in dismissing them.

American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut is not fit for resolution by judges because it lacks what the Supreme Court calls “judicially discoverable and manageable standards.” As the states and their environmental supporters have candidly acknowledged, there is no federal statute or regulation that limits greenhouse gas emissions by these companies. By asking for judicial carbon caps, the plaintiffs are seeking precisely the policy outcome that Congress and the EPA have been unwilling to adopt. Frustrated, state attorneys general have answered calls from activists and professors for what they characterize as “heroic litigation,” because “[d]esperate times call for desperate measures.”

These suits’ political purpose is plain: Connecticut suggests that the case be returned to the trial court and stayed until the EPA “addresses the nuisance.” In other words, unless and until the EPA issues the desired regulations, plaintiffs can hold defendants hostage through litigation that threatens to impose standardless liability for emitting carbon dioxide, something done daily by billions of people and businesses around the world.

By asking federal courts to fashion novel remedies to a policy challenge as controversial as climate change, the plaintiffs push the judiciary beyond what the Supreme Court has called “the proper – and properly limited – role of the courts in a democratic society.” The Obama Administration, in a Justice Department brief on behalf of the TVA agrees, arguing that “Plaintiffs’ common-law nuisance claims are quintessentially fit for political or regulatory – not judicial – resolution....”

In deciding this case, the Supreme Court should explain the limits of its decision in Massachusetts v. EPA and halt the plaintiffs’ unjustified expansion of public-nuisance doctrine. Failure to do so will invite suits against any entity alleged to “contribute to” climate change and ensure American economic policy is increasingly made by judges. As one judge in Massachusetts aptly explained in a different context, the more courts become involved in policymaking, “the more we allow the Legislature to avoid difficult questions, and the more our citizens get accustomed to turning to the courts for solutions rather than to their elected officials.”


UN to decide: Does “Mother Earth” have “human rights?”

United Nations diplomats on Wednesday will set aside pressing issues of international peace and security to devote an entire day debating the rights of “Mother Earth.”

A bloc of mostly socialist governments lead by Bolivia have put the issue on the General Assembly agenda to discuss the creation of a U.N. treaty that would grant the same rights found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to Mother Nature.

Treaty supporters want the establishment of legal systems to maintain balance between human rights and what they perceive as the inalienable rights of other members of the Earth community -- plants, animals, and terrain.

Communities and environmental activists would be given more legal power to monitor and control industries and development to ensure harmony between humans and nature. Though the United States and other Western governments are supportive of sustainable development, some see the upcoming event, “Harmony with Nature,” as political grandstanding -- an attempt to blame environmental degradation and climate change on capitalism.

“The concept ‘Mother Earth’ is not universally accepted,” said a spokesman from the British Mission to the U.N. about Bolivia’s proposal. “In general, our view is that we should focus on tackling important sustainable development issues through existing channels and processes.”

The General Assembly two years ago passed a Bolivia-led resolution proclaiming April 22 as “International Mother Earth Day.” The measure was endorsed by all 192 member states. But Bolivian President Evo Morales envisioned much more, vowing in a speech to U.N. delegates that a global movement had begun to lay “out a Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.”

Morales, who repeatedly says “the central enemy of Mother Earth is capitalism,” called for creating a charter that defends the right to life for all living things. Morales, who was named World Hero of Mother Earth by the General Assembly, has since made great strides in his campaign.

In January, Bolivia became the world’s first nation to grant the natural environment equal rights to humans. Bolivia’s Law of Mother Earth is heavily influenced by the spiritual indigenous Andean world outlook that revolves around the earth deity Pachamama, roughly translated to Mother Earth.....

It is not clear if Bolivia’s new tough environmental laws will actually go as far as to protect life forms like insects, but the legislation does include all living creatures.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


19 April, 2011

Snow kicks off Earth Week

God has a sense of humor. Earth Week kicked off in the Midwest with temperatures plunging 20 degrees below normal, record snowfalls in Chicago and two to four inches here in Metro Detroit.

While their reporters shivered through “winter is back” reports, MSM outlets from NBC (“Green Week”) to the Detroit Free Press (“Green Leaders Awards”) launched a week of green propaganda leading up to Earth Day on Friday with scare stores about melting snow, drought, and tips for how to live a moral green life and prevent Armageddon.

Local Detroit communities scrambled to send out salt trucks while warning that carbon-spewing trucks are destroying the planet, and local schools prepared to scare the kiddies with the movie Carbon Nation — assuming schools didn’t have a snow day.

Temperatures are expected to remain below normal this week — as is enthusiasm for the Left’s plans to remake the economy to prevent catastrophic warming.


A Decrease in Floods Around the World?

A new analysis of floods around the world has been called to my attention. The new analysis is contrary to conventional wisdom but consistent with the scientific literature on global trends in peak streamflows. Is it possible that floods are not increasing or even in decline while most people have come to believe the opposite?

Bouziotas et al. presented a paper at the EGU a few weeks ago (PDF) and concluded: "Analysis of trends and of aggregated time series on climatic (30-year) scale does not indicate consistent trends worldwide. Despite common perception, in general, the detected trends are more negative (less intense floods in most recent years) than positive. Similarly, Svensson et al. (2005) and Di Baldassarre et al. (2010) did not find systematical change neither in flood increasing or decreasing numbers nor change in flood magnitudes in their analysis."

This finding is largely consistent with Kundzewicz et al. (2005) who find: "Out of more than a thousand long time series made available by the Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) in Koblenz, Germany, a worldwide data set consisting of 195 long series of daily mean flow records was selected, based on such criteria as length of series, currency, lack of gaps and missing values, adequate geographical distribution, and priority to smaller catchments. The analysis of annual maximum flows does not support the hypothesis of ubiquitous growth of high flows. Although 27 cases of strong, statistically significant increase were identified by the Mann-Kendall test, there are 31 decreases as well, and most (137) time series do not show any significant changes (at the 10% level). Caution is advised in interpreting these results as flooding is a complex phenomenon, caused by a number of factors that can be associated with local, regional, and hemispheric climatic processes. Moreover, river flow has strong natural variability and exhibits long-term persistence which can confound the results of trend and significance tests."

They conclude (emphasis added): "Destructive floods observed in the last decade all over the world have led to record high material damage. The conventional belief is that the increasing cost of floods is associated with increasing human development on flood plains (Pielke & Downton, 2000). However, the question remains as to whether or not the frequency and/or magnitude of flooding is also increasing and, if so, whether it is in response to climate variability and change. Several scenarios of future climate indicate a likelihood of increased intense precipitation and flood hazard. However, observations to date provide no conclusive and general proof as to how climate change affects flood behaviour."

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Defending nature via property rights

Elizabeth Brubaker describes why the institutions of private property are needed to defend nature, and why modern control policies that undermine them contribute to pollution and environmental destruction.

Our policy task today is to discover, legitimize and extend those private property institutions that can achieve and heighten environmental progress and expand environmental amenities. Today’s policies, in contrast, demean and abandon those essential institutions and traditions, and make enemies out of those who otherwise would be enlisted in the goals of ecological improvement. The entire book Property Rights in the Defence of Nature is available online.


Hansen Discusses The Magical Properties Of CO2

Hansen demonstrates that his stance on CO2 is irrational, and that climate science peer-review is complete crap. How does this garbage get published?

Hansen 2003 :

"The soot albedo effect operates in concert with regional warming in most of the world, hindering empirical distinction of climate and soot contributions. However, there has been little warming in China, including Tibet, over the past 120 years (Fig. 3), yet glaciers there are retreating rapidly"

Hansen 2009 :

“Tibet’s glaciers are retreating at an alarming rate,” said James Hansen, coauthor of the study and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City. “Black soot is probably responsible for as much as half of the glacial melt, and greenhouse gases are responsible for the rest.”

If Hansen believes that there has been little warming in Tibet, how exactly is CO2 responsible for half the melt? His stance is completely irrational.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Debunking the Greenhouse Gas Theory in Three Simple Steps

John O'Sullivan

A group of international scientists find that carbon dioxide is a coolant, the calculations in the greenhouse gas theory are wrong and humans are not killing the planet.

It may have taken the Climategate controversy to prompt a growing band of specialist scientists to come forward and work together to help climatologists get themselves out of an almighty mess. But at last we know for sure that the doomsaying equations behind the man-made global warming new research shows the numbers were fudged, the physics was misapplied and group thinking perpetuated gross errors.

Yes, the greenhouse effect has now been proven to be a fabrication. That mythical concept called ‘back radiation’ whereby heat was supposed to be recycled in the atmosphere and worsened by the dreaded burning of fossil fuels is contradicted. In reality it’s now been shown that the atmosphere acts like a coolant of Earth’s surface, which, otherwise, would have a temperature of 121 Degrees Celsius, or 394 Kelvin (K).

A team of dedicated international experts, known as the ‘Slayers,’ all highly qualified in their respective fields, spent the past year deliberating over the deep-rooted errors in the calculations employed in the greenhouse gas theory. Their findings are devastating to all those who claim carbon dioxide and the ‘greenhouse effect’ heats our atmosphere.

The standard argument of a clique of climatologists associated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is as follows:

* A warm body (the earth) radiates heat to a cool body (the atmosphere)

* The cool body “back-radiates” (IPCC term) heat to the warm body.

* This process continues perpetually, with heat flowing round and round in a continuous cycle.

* The result of this perpetual process is that the warm body becomes warmer.

This is the so-called greenhouse effect (GHE) examined closely by a team of professors of physics, mathematics, astrophysics, chemistry and biology who joined forces to put the numbers under a fresh microscope.

This group of 20+ specialist scientists has given the infant (and generalist) science of climatology a much-need shake up. Indeed, the ‘Slayers’ say a monumental paradigm shift is now very much under way.

Below, in simplified form, we examine in three parts how their brilliant analysis has eviscerated one of the most costly and mistaken theories of modern science, man made global warming.

Part One: Coolant Carbon Dioxide

In a recent ground breaking paper Professor Nasif Nahle proved that carbon dioxide (CO2) actually works as a coolant when it interacts with water vapor in the atmosphere to induce the air temperature to cool not a warm.

Physicist, Joe Postma, in this epic debunk further describes the correct application of the laws of thermodynamics to address how the thermal capacity (or conductivity) works with the ‘coolant’ CO2. As Postma tells us,

“Carbon dioxide and other atmospheric gases merely serve to make the atmosphere cooler in daytime, warmer at nighttime. This is what empirical evidence tells us. ”

He asks us to think of how this interpretation differs from what the uneducated and pseudo scientists say that is "the greenhouse effect makes the planet warmer than it should be.” But we know that in truth what we actually observe is somewhat entirely different.

In the future, says Joe, people will declare: "The atmosphere keeps the planet from getting too hot in the daytime, and too cold at night time".

Just that simple realization alone kills the so-called ‘blanket’ analogy of greenhouse gas theorists stone dead.


We can't afford to kill off reactors

Bjorn Lomborg

WHEN parts of Japan were devastated recently by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami, news of the human toll was quickly overshadowed by global fears of radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The concern was understandable: radiation is very frightening. I grew up in Denmark when fear of nuclear power was pervasive.

But our latest nuclear fears have broader implications, especially for energy supply and our desire to shift away from reliance on fossil fuels.

It is difficult to step back at the time of a natural disaster to gain a broader perspective; even attempting to do so can feel crass. But there are some facts we should not overlook.

During the round-the-clock coverage of the nuclear drama, the spectre of Chernobyl has been raised repeatedly. It is worth noting that the worst nuclear disaster in history directly caused only 31 fatalities. The World Health Organisation estimates that 4000 deaths could be linked to the disaster in 70 years, whereas the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development projects a range of 9000 to 33,000 deaths during this period.

That is substantial. But consider that, according to the OECD, every year nearly one million people die from fine-particle outdoor air pollution. Yet this death toll provokes no discernible fear in the developed world.

Of course, every country with nuclear power facilities should revise its safety measures in light of the Japanese disaster, which raised obvious questions about the sites chosen for such facilities. Clearly, plants located near tsunami-prone areas need to be reconsidered, and some countries have power plants in disturbingly close proximity to seismic faults and to large cities.

But while the US's commitment to nuclear power was quickly reaffirmed by Barack Obama, some European governments took the knee-jerk decision to freeze all new nuclear-energy projects immediately and, in the case of Germany, not to extend the life of existing reactors. This will leave a gap Germany cannot fill with alternative energy sources, leaving it little choice but to rely further on coal power.

We see coal as a polluting but reasonably safe energy source compared with nuclear energy. Yet, in China alone, coalmining accidents kill more than 2000 people each year and coal is a leading cause of smog, acid rain, global warming and air toxicity.

As a result of Germany's decision, its annual carbon emissions are expected to rise by as much as 10 per cent when European Union emissions are rising as the continent shakes off the effects of the financial crisis.

Germany doesn't have a low-carbon alternative if it shutters its nuclear plants and the same is true of most other countries. Alternative energy sources are too expensive and not reliable enough to replace fossil fuels.

Although safety concerns are paramount right now, the construction of new nuclear plants faces another hurdle: they are very expensive. New nuclear power plants have high upfront costs (which can be politically challenging), including a very complicated, slow and fraught planning process. When completed, the total cost of nuclear power is significantly higher than the cheapest fossil-fuel source.

And society must bear additional costs in terms of the risks of spent-fuel storage and large-scale accidents. Moreover, in most parts of the world where energy consumption is expanding, nuclear proliferation is an issue.

Then there is the question of maintaining existing plants. Decommissioning nuclear reactors may make us feel safer, but we should acknowledge that this will often mean compensating for the lost output with more reliance on coal, meaning more emissions that contribute to global warming, and more deaths, both from coal extraction and air pollution.

Moreover, given that the plants are already paid for, waste facilities are already in place and the high decommissioning cost will have to be paid regardless of timing, the actual operating costs are very low: half or lower per kilowatt-hour than the cost of the cheapest fossil fuels.

The answer is more research and development, not only into next-generation, safer nuclear energy but also into energy sources such as solar and wind, which provide well below 1 per cent of the planet's energy. Alarmingly, this research has fallen off during the past three decades.

At protests calling on politicians to respond to climate change, a cry has rung out: "No coal, no gas, no nukes, no kidding!" The harsh reality is that we do not yet have the luxury of dumping coal, gas and nuclear power. Until we can find an alternative, reducing reliance on one of them means that another must take its place.


Australia: Huge opposition to a carbon tax

Will destroy industrial cities

THE state's two key industrial cities will be "wiped off the map" by a carbon tax, a major union warns. The tax would strip thousands of jobs from Whyalla and Port Pirie, the Australian Workers Union state secretary Wayne Hanson said.

The internal revolt from Labor's industrial heartland threatens not just the reform but the Government's survival.

Mr Hanson yesterday stepped up his union's opposition to the tax, claiming the future of both cities would be in serious doubt because both had economies based on the high-emission production of steel, iron ore and zinc. "Goodbye. They will be off the map," he said.

His opposition to the tax appears to be a calculated manoeuvre by the AWU and follows last week's surprise about-face by the union's national secretary, Paul Howes, who declared the AWU's support would be conditional on absolutely no jobs being put at risk in the steel sector.

The Gillard Government's support base now appears to be fracturing, threatening the future of the Prime Minister's signature reform for this term.

With Whyalla's main employer, OneSteel, and fellow steelmaker BlueScope in Canberra today for talks with the Federal Government over the proposed tax, the fact that such an important union has broken ranks and is openly campaigning against the Government is highly significant.

The AWU, the oldest and most influential union in the ALP, is demanding either an outright exemption for the steel industry or a 100 per cent compensation package.

An estimated 3000 to 4000 jobs are dependent on OneSteel's Whyalla operations alone. The company produces some 1.3 million tonnes of steel per year from its operation there, accounting for around 20 per cent of the national industry.

Adding to Ms Gillard's woes, food manufacturers are now also seeking special treatment. "We don't oppose a price on carbon, but industry is opposed to a tax that will increase the cost of food and grocery manufacturing in Australia, which is already under intense pressure," the Australian Food and Grocery Council's Kate Carnell said in a statement yesterday. "Whatever decision is made, the Government must ensure that Australian-manufactured food and groceries will not be made less competitive."

The Government now faces a wall of opponents as groups across the political spectrum from employers and industry bodies, to unions and the welfare sector, seek exemptions or more compensation.

The unpopular tax, which the Government is struggling to sell - not least because it has not designed it yet - is also a factor driving Labor's support into the basement. The latest Neilsen poll showed Labor at its lowest level in 15 years.

Mr Hanson said union members at Whyalla's OneSteel plant, and at Nyrstar's lead and zinc smelter at Port Pirie were rightly worried. "It's ridiculous to consider (a carbon tax) when you don't have other countries that are prepared to adopt a common approach," he said. "To allow your steel industry to disintegrate is just reckless. Should we be the trail-blazer?"

That argument appears to be straight out of Tony Abbott's anti-carbon tax playbook after he called for a people's revolt on the tax on the grounds it would destroy jobs and send investment off-shore.

However, the state Labor MP for Giles, Lyn Breuer, said the Federal Government understood what was at stake. "Why would the Federal Government send an industry broke, put in jeopardy the jobs of thousands of workers, particularly in my area in Whyalla? ... I'm confident that we'll be able to make some sort of arrangement that will satisfy everyone," she said before acknowledging: "without the steel making operations at OneSteel, the town (Whyalla) would not have a future."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


18 April, 2011

Another blow to Warmist theory: Decreasing radiation from greenhouse gases

It's not clear to me how they pick out "bounced" IR radiation from the flood of IR radiation coming from the sun but they are clearly operating within the Warmist frame of reference so one would think this to be a direct disproof of Warmism: CO2 just isn't doing what Warmists say it does. But Warmists will ignore it, of course. I guess it's not part of "The Science" -- JR

The anthropogenic global warming theory is based upon the notion that increasing 'greenhouse gases' will increase infrared 'back-radiation' to the earth to [supposedly] warm the planet. The theory also claims that increases in the minor 'greenhouse gas' carbon dioxide will cause increases in the major 'greenhouse gas' water vapor to amplify the infrared 'back-radiation' and global warming. A study published online yesterday in The Journal of Climate, however, finds that contrary to the global warming theory, infrared 'back-radiation' from greenhouse gases has declined over the past 14 years in the US Southern Great Plains in winter, summer, and autumn. If the anthropogenic global warming theory was correct, the infrared 'back-radiation' should have instead increased year-round over the past 14 years along with the steady rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Journal of Climate 2011

Long-Term Trends in Downwelling Spectral Infrared Radiance over the U.S. Southern Great Plains

P. Jonathan Gero & David D. Turner


A trend analysis was applied to a 14-year time series of downwelling spectral infrared radiance observations from the Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) located at the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) site in the U.S. Southern Great Plains. The highly accurate calibration of the AERI instrument, performed every 10 minutes, ensures that any statistically significant trend in the observed data over this time can be attributed to changes in the atmospheric properties and composition, and not to changes in the sensitivity or responsivity of the instrument.

The measured infrared spectra, numbering over 800,000, were classified as clear-sky, thin cloud, and thick cloud scenes using a neural network method. The AERI data record demonstrates that the downwelling infrared radiance is decreasing over this 14-year time period in the winter, summer, and autumn seasons but is increasing in the spring; these trends are statistically significant and are primarily due to long-term change in the cloudiness above the site.

The AERI data also show many statistically significant trends on annual, seasonal, and diurnal time scales, with different trend signatures identified in the separate scene classifications. Given the decadal time span of the dataset, effects from natural variability should be considered in drawing broader conclusions.

Nevertheless, this data set has high value due to the ability to infer possible mechanisms for any trends from the observations themselves, and to test the performance of climate models.


A rather sweeping admission of ignorance

"The measurement of emissions has huge errors". Is that how the science got to be "settled"?

A better monitoring network for greenhouses gases is needed to warn of significant changes and to keep countries that have agreed to cut their emissions honest, scientists said in papers published Monday.

"What we're hoping to do is see if the warming is feeding the warming, particularly in the Arctic," said Euan Nisbet, a specialist in methane emissions at the University of London. "Our monitoring network is very, very limited. We feel more observation is needed."

Such measurement could warn of possible climate tipping points, scientists said in papers published by Britain's science academy, the Royal Society.

The data also could be used to verify countries' reporting of greenhouse gas emissions against targets under the present Kyoto Protocol and a possible successor after 2012.

The Earth's climate in the past has changed in a relatively short period of time, warming rapidly about 12,000 years ago at the end of the most recent glacial period.

Scientists are not sure why that happened, and have warned of possible climate tipping points from manmade emissions. They are concerned, for example, that as Arctic permafrost melts it would allow plant matter to rot and vent methane, a greenhouse gas which could trigger more warming.

Nisbet said the earth last came out of a glacial period "in a matter of a decade or so," referring to rapid warming followed by a more prolonged ice melt, and warned of serious consequences if that were to be repeated now.

A retreat of Arctic summer ice warming has been observed in recent years against a 30-year satellite record, shrinking to its lowest level in 2007 and coinciding with a spike in methane. "In 2007 the Arctic methane emissions appeared to increase very sharply, and then stabilized a bit later. The question is what were the causes of that," Nisbet said.


An extra benefit of wider measurement would be an independent test of national reporting of greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Kyoto Protocol, nearly 40 industrialized countries report their emissions against targets from 2008-2012.

A particularly thorny issue in negotiations to agree a successor pact from 2013 is how far international inspectors might oversee emissions reporting. A network of stations may provide a technical answer. "We're trying to verify the greenhouse gas emissions that are declared by the various countries," Nisbet said. "The measurement of emissions has huge errors."

One way to cross-check national reporting is to count all the sources of greenhouse gas emissions, from cars through power plant to cows. Another is to use an improved network of climate stations to measure greenhouse gases in the air and use prevailing winds to calculate where they come from.

Nisbet's paper was one of more than 15 published in a special issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Monday, setting out key research questions to better understand the impact of greenhouse gases on the climate.

A replacement satellite is planned for 2013 after the previous "orbiting carbon observatory" crashed on launch in 2009.


Volcanoes Have Little Impact On Atmospheric CO2 – And Also A Huge Impact

The volcano/CO2 story flip-flops depending on what the agenda for the day is. Some days it is convenient to blame past climate change on volcanic CO2.
Multiple phases of carbon cycle disturbance from large igneous province formation at the Triassic-Jurassic transition

M. Ruhl and W.M. Kurschner, Palaeoecology, Laboratory of Palaeobotany and Palynology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 4, NL-3584 CD Utrecht, Netherlands; doi: 10.1130/G31680.1.

The end-Triassic mass extinction event (~200 million years ago) is one of the Big Five mass extinction events in earth history. It is marked by global extinction of up to 50% of all species living in the oceans and by large changes in ecosystems on the continents. The cause for the extinction event is related to strongly intensified volcanic activity and deposition of the largest basalt deposit on Earth, the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. Recent studies show that the end-Triassic mass extinction event directly coincided with the onset of this volcanic period that lasted for ~600,000 years.

The release of massive amounts of carbon dioxide from volcanism triggered a strong change in the global carbon cycle and likely had a strong impact on global climate. M. Ruhl and W.M. Kurschner of Utrecht University show, however, that a strong increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide of up to 1000 parts per million (today’s values are ~350 parts per million) and a strong change in the global carbon cycle already occurred ~100,000 years before the onset of intense volcanism. This suggests that large amounts of carbon dioxide were already released by the thermal heating of organic-rich sediments by intrusion of magma bodies from the mantle on their way to Earth’s surface.

On other days, they want to prove that volcanoes aren’t major contributors of CO2.
The burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use results in the emission into the atmosphere of approximately 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year worldwide, according to the EIA. The fossil fuels emissions numbers are about 100 times bigger than even the maximum estimated volcanic CO2 fluxes. Our understanding of volcanic discharges would have to be shown to be very mistaken before volcanic CO2 discharges could be considered anything but a bit player in contributing to the recent changes observed in the concentration of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Preachy Germany’s Black Coal Consumption Skyrockets 15.4% in 2010 – Due To Cold!

Face it, Germany’s elitst leaders think that by righteously adopting positions of “protecting the climate” and the “responsible” use of energy, they’ll be able to assume the role as the world’s moral leaders.

The pious, like Chancellor Angela Merkel and all the leaders of all other parties, media, etc., all insist they have truly learned the lessons of history and are now ready to take on moral leadership of the world and exercise the authority to admonish the rest of the world for its wasteful energy use.

Almost daily does the German public hear of a new energy-savings plan announced by these annoyingly pious and wise leaders on how to be even more responsible, and demands to make even more energy sacrifices, e.g. like shutting down power plants, installing more solar and wind farms, eliminating light bulbs, imposing tougher auto emissions standards, mandating ethanol, regulating people’s fireplaces, plans to increase tax on energy, and even master plans for the great transformation of world society. The list is endless.

Readers here would think that Germany surely will soon be a carbon-free paradise, an island of nature and morality. Well, think again. According to the Swiss online ee-news, Germany’s primary energy consumption spiked 4.6% in 2010 - due to the “economic rebound and cooler weather“. EE-News writes:

"The higher energy consumption led to an increase in energy-dependent CO2 emissions. According to the calculations of the AG Energy Management, there were very little changes in the energy mix as a whole and about two thirds of the energy increase came from carbon-based energy sources. The increase in energy-dependent CO2 emissions was at about 4%.”

While Germany’s leaders demand other countries reduce their carbon footprints and be more responsible with the use of energy, they have no qualms about their own growing consumption. Especially burning anthracite coal, which James Hansen compared to death trains, shot up 15.4%. The use of anthracite coal increased even much more than the “booming” renewable energies, which increased only a relatively weak 9.9%.

Yet, let’s not blame the average citizen’s desire to stay warm, and to work and use more energy to fill customer orders. I say be happy they are burning more and not less. German products are solutions that make other people’s lives easier all over the world. So hopefully Germans will consume even more in the future, and so continue producing more technology, machinery and solutions to fulfill human needs for comfort and dignity. Indeed, using more energy to help others is arguably a moral obligation.

Here are some of consumption increase statistics (%):

Petroleum: +1.3%
Natural gas: + 4.2%
Anthracite coal: + 15.4%
Brown coal: +0.2
Renewables: + 9.9%


GOP: EPA ‘evaporating’ from hearings

House Republicans aren’t happy that top EPA officials are skipping hearings on efforts to roll back the agency’s regulations. “We could call them the Evaporating Personnel Administration, I guess,” Texas Republican Rep. Joe Barton said Friday. “They don’t seem to ever show up and be accountable.”

Of three Energy and Commerce Committee hearings held this week on controversial EPA rules, the agency sent an administration witness to just one.

Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the top Democrat on the panel, sent a letter Tuesday to top committee Republicans saying the EPA couldn’t make it because the majority didn’t give either the EPA or the Democrats enough advance notice. He asked Republicans to make “greater efforts in the future to ensure that the committee is able to hear from administration witnesses by providing adequate notice.”

But Barton said EPA chief Lisa Jackson should have cleared her schedule for Friday’s hearing on air toxics standards, or so-called “MACT” rules. “I do find it troubling once again that Lisa Jackson once again is a no show at a very important hearing that she’s had every opportunity to be in attendance,” Barton said. “The MACT truck is about to run us over all and she’s not even here to comment on those regulations.”

Rep. Ed Whitfield, chairman of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, said the committee is planning another hearing on air toxics rules after the congressional recess so EPA can attend. “It’s imperative that we have testimony from EPA,” he said.

EPA air chief Gina McCarthy wrote a letter to Whitfield Thursday saying she regretted her absence. "Unfortunately I have long standing obligations that I was unable to change on such short notice," McCarthy said. "I assure you that I am not taking this invitation or any invitation to testify before Congress lightly." She's giving two speeches Friday in California, according to her public schedule.

The flap comes a little more than two months after E&C Democrats complained they “had to kick and scream and scratch” to get Jackson invited to testify at a February hearing on EPA’s climate regulations.

For Friday’s hearing, “There was agreement from both sides that EPA should be invited, but the Republicans did not invite them until well after the hearings were publicly noticed,” a spokeswoman for the E&C Democrats wrote to POLITICO.



Three current articles below

Carbon guilt trip just won't wash

Julia Thornton

FROM time to time, when governments realise they're not getting anywhere with us, they turn to the politics of guilt to get us to support their pet projects or policies. The latest is the carbon tax.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet addressed the National Press Club this week and gave six key arguments that summarise the Gillard Government's response to the climate change challenge.

The first one was Australia is one of the world's top 20 polluters and we release more pollution per person than any other country in the developed world, more than the United States even.

I used to think Americans had the monopoly on big cars and icemakers, but apparently we are worse. This explains why so many Hummer drivers have been tailgating me lately.

The first thing that came to mind is we must have a garbage island similar to that of the great toxic plastic garbage island the Americans have floating in the Pacific between Hawaii and Japan. Apparently it's twice the size of Texas.

But I know we don't have a great big toxic garbage island and being told that, as an Australian, I produce more pollution than an American annoys me.

Australia emits per capita the most carbon emissions because of our mining industry. The mere fact we open the ground up and take stuff out of it creates carbon emissions. The use of the coal in electricity produces carbon emissions.

And these are factoids which go into the statistic which says Australia is one of the world's top 20 polluters and we're worse than the Americans.

It hasn't bothered me that the Government has used guilt from time to time to get us to toe the line. We've reduced deaths on the road by reducing the incidence of drink driving and speeding, for example. But now it's getting very personal.

For all those people who have conscientiously recycled and composted, it's a statistic which doesn't do them justice. There is enough anecdotal and actual evidence in the media and on opinion pages to show Australians are highly aware of their waste and their pollution and they want to do their bit to reduce it.

Shortly after the carbon tax was announced by Prime Minister Gillard, Mr Combet offered us advice as to how to reduce the cost of a carbon tax. He suggested we avoid using airconditioning and change our high-energy lightbulbs to low-energy ones.

Minister Combet is a Victorian who spends a lot of time in Canberra. He doesn't really get Queensland, does he? Those of us who were not in the thick of flood clean-up or in the middle of a cyclone, were experiencing the usual late summer temperatures which make airconditioning not so much a luxury, but a cool relief.

Telling us we're more wasteful than Americans isn't fair. And it isn't right. Just as an example, if you've ever been to a restaurant in America, you'll be given a frosted glass full of ice with a little bit of water. At the turn of the 1900s, New York went through a heatwave unlike any before. Ice became a sign of prosperity and it remains a habit. Visit any American hotel and they have ice makers in the hallways and an ice bucket in the room.

Here in Brisbane, in high summer, I've asked for a glass of water and got a tiny little glass with a dying ice cube. And that's ok, because I am an Australian with sensitive teeth.

We need the full facts on how a carbon price will affect us and how much it will cost. We don't need the politics of guilt on this one.


Greens' wilting appeal

Miranda Devine

NOW we know that the meddling ideological extremism of the Greens cost them the inner-city seat of Marrickville in the NSW election last month. What should have been a shoo-in in one of the most barmy left electorates in the country resulted in more than one-in-three voters rejecting the Greens because of Marrickville Council's Israel boycott, according to a poll by a Jewish group.

This is a boycott that, by the Green-controlled council's own figures, will cost it as much as $4 million to stop using Israeli-linked products such as Hewlett-Packard computers (apparently used at Israeli checkpoints) and Motorola telephones.

The voters were first to show some backbone, after abiding years of Green dabbling in Middle East politics. But last week Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd slammed the boycott as "nuts" and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell threatened to sack the council if it doesn't reverse its stance.

Sensing the end of his dream run, even the Greens' supreme leader, Bob Brown, rejected the boycott and distanced himself from his failed state candidate, Marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne, although he can't help offloading blame onto what he calls the "hate media" for costing his party the seat. But he should look a little closer to home for the culprit.

Jake, a 55-year-old Jewish health professional with friends in Marrickville, was so incensed by the council's Israel boycott that he took three weeks off work to wage a guerrilla campaign against the Greens, plastering the suburb with posters late at night, accusing them of homophobia for boycotting gay-friendly Israel.

"I felt so angry," says Jake, who wants to remain anonymous. "I couldn't sleep at night, so I organised the posters, hired some utes and ladders" and enlisted the help of his son and his friends. Greens supporters harassed them, ripped down the posters, called police, and tried to intimidate Jake's young helpers, posting footage of them on YouTube.

Two nights before the election, a "black sports car with neon high beams and a pseudo photographer kept flashing his camera right up on our eyes . . . It slowed us right down."

Another night "cowboy" greenies in a Toyota Camry started following them home, until Jake confronted the driver at a roundabout. "It was like something out of a movie".

On election day, Jake and his son organised 10 friends wearing T-shirts with "Boycott the Greens" logos to visit polling booths, prompting "Zionist pigs" abuse from greenies.

"The Greens knew we were the enemy, but the Labor people all nodded and smiled and gave us the thumbs up. Anthony Albanese [whose wife Carmel Tebbutt was ALP candidate] shook my hand and thanked me. We must have had quite an effect.

"On Sunday I took the boys out to dinner. It's not often in life a private citizen can make a difference." And make a difference he did. The Greens lost to Labor by fewer than 700 votes, in a seat they were favourites to snare.

The backlash was quite a shock to the Greens, whose extremist ideological baggage is at last costing them votes.

After all, as Jake points out, if they actually cared about the environment or human rights they would realise Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only country in the region where people can be openly and proudly gay. Israel's neighbours, meantime, routinely stone homosexuals to death.

Israel is also the Middle East's Eden, having greened the desert with millions of trees, eco friendly exports, and superior water conservation.

And if anti-Israel Greens are so concerned about children in the Middle East why haven't they lamented the fate of the Fogel children of Samaria -- 11-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas, murdered in their beds by Palestinian terrorists just two weeks before the NSW election.

The Middle East conflict is not a game. Yet it has somehow become a vehicle for moral preening half a world way and a badge of belonging for lazy leftists whose talents are best suited to fixing potholes, which, by the way, abound in Marrickville.


Coldest March On Record In Australia, says BOM

Is this why we need a carbon tax?

Maximum temperatures nationally were the coldest on record with a national anomaly of -2.19°C. Most of Australia recorded below average mean maxima with parts of the north and south of the country recording their coldest March on record.

This was partly due to increased cloudiness across most of the country associated with the above average rainfall recorded throughout the month. March 2011 included some contrasts between the majority of Australia and the west and east coasts, which were the only areas that experienced above average daytime temperatures.

Temperatures were coolest in the central part of Australia where rainfall was most abnormal, with maximum temperatures more than 3°C below average Similarly, drier conditions matched up with areas of above-normal maxima in western WA.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


17 April, 2011

Alexander Cockburn dumps on nuke loving greens and man made global warming

Acclaimed leftist journalist Alexander Cockburn at his home in Humboldt County, CA. I have been reading HotCock on and off for years but I did not realize what a posh English accent he has. He went to Oxford U so that is no mystery. Such an accent is quite close to an educated Australian accent so I found it very easy to follow. I hope American readers do too -- JR

An angry weather report from Georgia

It winds up

Windmills superfluous in Northwest

A useless "investment"

The Bonneville Power Administration wants to shut down Northwest wind farms this spring when hydroelectric dams are generating plenty of electricity as a huge mountain snowpack melts.

The Portland-based BPA may have to limit production from wind farms to free space in the regional power grid.

CO2 Drives Convection In The Earth’s Mantle

The oceanic crust is about six miles thick, and floats on top of gigantic convective cells originating over a thousand miles down in the mantle. The movement of these convective cells is what causes plate tectonics and earthquakes like the Japanese quake last month. Relative to the size of the sphere it sits on, the crust is thinner than an apple skin.

By some amazing new climate science principle, an increase of 0.0001 atmospheric CO2 concentration over the crust is affecting the speed of convection in the mantle thousands of miles below it.

(And they wonder why we think that climate science is the chosen profession among morons.)


Where the US Should Follow Europe's Lead

President Obama and environmentalists often say America should follow Europe’s lead on energy, climate and economic matters. Recent events suggest that we should listen more attentively to the Europeans.

Two brutal winters have awakened Europe to the fact that global temperatures stopped rising in 1998 – and that frigid days and nights pose far graver dangers to the elderly and poor than warm weather and moderate global warming.

Germany and the Netherlands were gripped by near-record lows this past winter. People suffered frostbite and some froze to death in Poland and Russia.

Barely twelve months after its Meteorological Office said the 2009-10 winter was the coldest in three decades, Britain endured its coldest December-January since 1683. Because the United Kingdom’s ultra green energy policies have driven heating costs into the stratosphere, British pensioners rode buses or spent all day in libraries to stay warm, then shivered all night in their apartments. Tens of thousands risked hypothermia, trying to control costs by bundling up and turning the heat down or off. Many died.

In Wales, a third of all children live in low-income households, and a quarter of all households were in “fuel poverty” – forced to spend at least 10% of their income on heating. Many parents had to choose between keeping their children warm and providing them with nourishing meals, welfare workers said. Many Welsh children couldn’t sleep at night because of the cold, damaging their health and grades.

This isn’t proof that the world is entering a global cooling cycle. But the absence of sunspots is the most prolonged in a century, and scientists say the reduced solar activity is reminiscent of the Maunder Minimum, between 1645 and 1715, when the Northern Hemisphere suffered through the coldest weather, worst storms and shortest growing seasons of the Little Ice Age.

The frigid weather, freezing families, record budget deficits, soaring unemployment – and complete failure of global warming computer models to predict anything other than “a warmer than normal winter” – have caused a meltdown in Europe’s longstanding climate and energy policies.

In fact, many Europeans increasingly recognize that businesses, hospitals and especially poor families absolutely need reliable, affordable energy – which wind and solar cannot provide.

The British government is looking into cutting subsidies, feed-in tariffs and other incentives for solar projects, to prevent the boom-and-bust seen in Spain and predicted for the Czech Republic. Wind turbines, small hydroelectric plants and biomass projects are also on the block, as the government attempts to revive the UK economy, raise its competitiveness, radically reduce rising debt burdens, and chart a more economically and politically realistic course.

United Kingdom manufacturers say “green energy” policies and increased penalties for using fossil fuels are raising their costs to intolerable levels, especially for energy-intensive industries. Manufacturing is “reaching a tipping point,” they say, “where companies that are internationally mobile will say ‘enough is enough,’” and simply move to Asia. Millions of jobs are on the line.

The Netherlands is likewise reducing its renewable energy targets and slashing wind and solar subsidies. More shocking, even in the wake of Fukushima, the Dutch are talking of approving their first new nuclear power plant in 40 years, because they can no longer afford to pay exorbitant fees for minimal amounts of renewable electricity (that is well below theoretically “rated” or “capacity” output).

Poland is racing to develop shale gas, using hydraulic fracturing methods developed by American companies to unlock trillions of cubic feet of methane for its homes and factories. Exploratory drilling is also underway, or about to begin, in Britain, Germany and other countries, as engineers evaluate the extent and economics of developing their own vast shale gas deposits.

In Slovakia, the government stopped issuing solar licenses barely six months after launching its program. After unaffordable subsidies were sharply reduced, new solar installations in the Czech Republic fell 76% (from 2800 MW in 2009 to 400 MW in 2010); in Spain they plummeted 98% (from 2800 MW to 69 MW between 2008 and 2009). Private investments in these government-supported programs also cratered.

France and other countries are taking similar steps, while also expanding coal-based electricity, to replace nuclear. “Austerity-whacked Europe is rolling back subsidies for renewable energy, as economic sanity makes a tentative comeback,” London Globe and Mail columnist Eric Reguly observed. “Green energy is becoming unaffordable and may cost as many jobs as it creates.” Or worse.

A new report from Scotland found that renewable energy kills 3.7 traditional jobs for every “green” job it creates. Wind power mandates also cost British energy consumers an extra $1.8 billion in higher electricity costs in 2009-2010. Rebellion is in the air, and belief in dangerous manmade global warming has plummeted.

European Energy Commissioner Gunter Oettinger put it bluntly. “If we go alone to 30% [renewable energy],” he said, “you will have a faster process of de-industrialization in Europe. We need industry, and industry means CO2 emissions.” Tougher climate and renewable targets will force industries to move to Asia, he added, and steel will likely be one of the first casualties. Europe can no longer afford to “prop up” renewable energy industries.

However, despite these changes in the Europe he extols so often, President Obama says this is America’s “Sputnik moment.” He wants the United States to “invest” in “the Apollo projects of our time” – spending countless billions of additional taxpayer dollars to “stimulate” renewable energy, high-speed rail, climate change “prevention” and other projects. His April 13 budget speech reiterated this commitment.

This is precisely the kind of business-as-usual our nation can no longer afford: politicians and bureaucrats deciding which energy technologies, industries and companies win – and which ones lose – on the basis of politics, rather than science, economics or technology.

It is time to follow Europe’s lead. We may not be able to do anything about the weather or climate. But we can, and must, implement policies that ensure we have the technology and money to adapt to whatever climate and weather changes might come.

Developing America’s vast domestic oil, natural gas, coal and shale gas deposits will generate millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in critically needed royalty and tax revenue. We must ensure that our energy policies generate revenues and create jobs – instead of requiring constant taxpayer subsidies and destroying two to four traditional jobs for every “green” job that government “creates.”

We need to do that, and can do it without hurting the environmental values we all cherish.

Any policies that shackle our ability to follow this new Europe-advised course will severely harm our nation’s future – and shackle blue-collar jobs, poor families and minority opportunities worst of all.


Bill Gates backs GM crops

EFFORTS to use genetically modified crops to fight malnutrition in Africa and Asia will receive a major vote of confidence from Bill Gates. The founder of Microsoft will today announce a huge investment in the development of improved varieties of rice and cassava.

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he will offer grants worth pound stg. 11.4 million ($17.7m) to projects that will enhance the staple crops, which are eaten by hundreds of millions of people, with critical micronutrients, some of which can be added only through genetic engineering.

An award of pound stg. 6.3m to the Philippine Rice Research Institute and the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute will allow them to develop strains of GM "golden rice", which is suitable for small-scale farmers. Golden rice is genetically engineered to produce beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A.

More than 90 million children in Southeast Asia alone suffer from vitamin A deficiency. It causes 670,000 deaths and 350,000 cases of blindness among children worldwide each year. The funding will also support the nutritional, environmental and safety tests.

A second grant of pound stg. 5.1m will back the BioCassava Plus project in Nigeria and Kenya. It aims to add beta-carotene, iron and protein to cassava, a staple crop eaten by more than 250 million people in Africa. While cassava is a rich source of calories, it contains very few essential micronutrients, leaving people at risk of malnutrition.



Three current articles below

Federal solar scheme hits the poor

Inequity spurs grant rethink

SOLAR panel rebates could be slashed again after the Government confirmed it was still concerned the scheme was driving up electricity prices for the poor.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said he was deeply concemed about the equity of the program that some experts estimated was already costing families that couldn’t afford panels about $100 a year. That’s because the cost of the uncapped solar credits scheme that offers grants of about $6000 is passed on to consumers by electricity retailers, rather than being a cash grant in the Federal Budget. Electricity users pay again when a feed-in tariff scheme “pays” the solar householders who produce more electricity than they use.

Mr Combet has already said the rebates will be slashed from about $6000 to $5000 from July 1, prompting a stampede of customers. "It is a program that we inherited from the Howard government. And it was a thoroughly poorly designed, inequitable program,” he said. “We’ve progressively wound back the levels of assistance. I announced before Christmas a fluther wind»back to take effect from July 1.

“In the meantime, I’ve been watching closely the levels of demand that are still being created by this scheme. The thing that's appropriate for me is watch it very closely, to take steps to reduce the levels of subsidy, which I am doing

Mr Combet said the surging demand for solar roof panels was “not purely a function of a federal govemment level of assistance". “Various state govemments have what’s called a feed-in tariff. The NSW feed-in tariff led to a complete explosion in demand. “They’ve both contributed to very high levels of demand. As well as the high dollar, because it means that the solar panels being imported from China are relatively cheaper. So I am very mindful of that and I am watching it very closely, because I have been particularly concerned about the equity of that program. Because it is effectively a subsidy that is paid through electricity prices.”

For families who can afford it, the generous scheme can reduce the cost of installing solar panels from $10,000 to just $4000

The above article by Samantha Maiden appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on 17 April

Government attacks fantasy environmental problems while real environment problems are virtually ignored

Senator Barnaby Joyce

I relax by taking a walk behind Red Hill onto the ridge that overlooks the city; the lights of our nation’s capital lay below with all their troubles resting before the next day’s frenetic activity. As you fly in, the Brindabella’s are sometimes dusted with winter snow that can be seen amongst the snow gums, ribbon gums, stringy barks, acacias, banksias and callistemon. If you are interested in botany or even if you are not, there are interesting walks around Parliament.

A local builder, Joel, took me for a walk out near Mt Stromlo to the top of Camel’s Hump. I could have been a million miles from work as we sat and had a couple of beers on what was a pretty cold afternoon, but a spectacular view.

It is very hard to go bushwalking in Canberra, or in Australia for that matter, and not be near a member of the Myrtaceae family. The ubiquitous eucalypt, angophora with its masses of white honey scented blossoms, the massive tallow woods which form part of the Corymbias, paper barked Melaleucas on your creeks, rivers and coasts, for the more inquiring, the leptospermums and for the smarty pants, the Metrosideros.

An introduced fungus has now placed our arboreal heritage at risk. The carbon sequestered by these plants will be severely hampered by what appears as a yellow fungus, yet this issue does not rate a mention in the carbon debate.

Uredo Rangelii is spreading from the initial sighting at Gosford in last year across the Myrtle (Myrtaceae) family of Eastern Australia. Myrtle rust as it is commonly known is part of the Guava Rust (Puccinia psidii) complex and both are similar in their DNA.

Guava rust was discovered in Brazil in 1884 and causes severe damage to Australian plants of the Myrtle family. The introduction of this fungus was not planned but that amounts for nought now that it is here.

The Federal Government’s concern for what could be a devastating environmental problem amounts to $1.4 million. I am sure they have stopped work at ANU to line up for that!

Do we have to hope and pray for a Dr Jean Macnamara coincidence, who while researching poliomyelitis in the US bumped into Dr Richard Shope researching Myxomatosis on rabbits?

Obviously we are hoping that a fluke of associated research like this by somebody else will bring a solution. While living carbon in trees dies the government says it is essential to sequestrate carbon.

The Government’s attention thus far is culpable. Whether you are a bush walker or a logger, a gardener or just conscientious this is an issue for you.

If we were clever we would be inspiring the acumen of diligent minds and motivated researchers to deal with a problem that is within our capabilities to fix. If our Government had started earlier we could have isolated this disease.

On a similar environmental front we now could isolate the great threat to apiarists and native honey bees from the Asian honey bee, another introduced pest marauding its way across our nation.

The Government is outraged by 400 head of cattle in the Alpine National Park but does nothing about the hundreds of thousands of deer, tens of thousands of pigs or thousands of brumbies.

Multiple billions of dollars are to be spent on something we cannot possibly affect, the temperature of the planet, while these other afflictions that we could deal with are running rampant. If we cannot stop a fungus in Australia it is highly unlikely that we have the acumen to change the temperature of planet earth. If a bee is beyond our control, is it then rather a large step to convince the globe that atmospheric recalibration is within Australia’s grasp. What is bad about a cow that is good about a feral pig?

If we see one day great swathes of our local environment effected by Myrtle Rust, then concerns about insolvable problems and the money expended chasing rainbows whilst a raging fire was burning at our back door will leave us all negligent.

We should target our research to tackling solvable problems at home, such as Myrtle Rust, rather than be lured into an absurd Wizard of Oz type multiple billion dollar carbon frolic.


Official meteorologists can (and do) forecast global warming but even amateurs can forecast local weather better

AN AMATEUR weather buff predicted what trained meteorologists did not, a flash flood that threatened lives in the Lockyer Valley, 90 minutes before it struck. Neil Pennell, a medical sonographer who monitors the weather as a hobby, told the Queensland Floods Commission he feels "considerable guilt" that he did not do more to warn people of the impending disaster.

Seventeen people died and 150 homes were damaged or destroyed when a wall of water rushed through the Lockyer Valley on January 10.

Mr Pennell, who lived in the nearby Fassifern Valley for most of his life, was watching the weather develop that day. At 1.10pm, under the username Buster, he posted on the Weatherzone online forum. "Those rain rates between Esk, Crows Nest and Toowoomba are truly frightening. I fear that there could be a dangerous flash flood very soon, particularly in Grantham. Am I overreacting?"

Half an hour later, Mr Pennell posted again: "I live in an area that is equally not used to being so saturated and equally not used to falls of that nature … I just know that 56mm in an hour right now here would produce a flood of frightening proportions and one likely to put lives at risk … I repeat my question … Does someone in Esk, Grantham, Toogoolawah need to know what's possible? Who do we tell?" Some time between 2.30pm and 3pm, the "inland tsunami" swept through Grantham.

In his submission to the commission, Mr Pennell said he is "carrying a burden for the shattered lives in the Lockyer Valley". He blames himself for not contacting the Bureau of Meteorology or the local police that day, believing they could have given locals at least 45 minutes' warning of the deluge.

Mr Pennell wants the commission to thoroughly investigate why "someone with my limited formal meteorology/hydrology experience could be made to sound like Nostradamus while the Bureau of Meteorology remained silent about the impending danger in the Lockyer Valley".

He argues that the fact the catchment was saturated and the upper Lockyer creek was already at minor flood levels meant it did not take much rain to cause the disaster.

The commission's first week of hearings focused on whether Wivenhoe Dam could have been managed better to prevent the city flooding. But Mr Pennell, whose own house in the Brisbane suburb of Rocklea was flooded, believes concern about the dam should be a "distant second" to the loss of life in the Lockyer Valley. "Grantham needs to be the number one focus of the inquiry. Things are one thing, people are another."

Mr Pennell was reluctant to discuss his experience. "I'm just a bit of a nobody," he said. "The only reason I [made a submission] is because what happened in Grantham is just beyond the pale. Those people weren't doing anything. They were just at home living their lives and the flood came to them."

The Floods Commission will hold public hearings in Toowoomba tomorrow and Tuesday.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


16 April, 2011

A ludicrous disregard for sampling by a Warmist

Dick Lindzen recently observed, as he often has, that there is no obvious trend in Arctic or Antarctic ice cover. This provoked a shriek of vituperative rage from a Warmist site -- a site which in its header quotes Leonardo Di Caprio as an authority on climate. Ya gotta laugh: An eminent climatologist is wrong about the climate but a Hollywood actor is right! You couldn't make it up. The reality contact of these guys is so poor that they obviously don't realize how mad they sound to all but true believers.

Unlike a lot of Warmist writing, this diatribe did however quote one piece of evidence that Lindzen is wrong -- which is most refreshing. A Warmist article with more than abuse and vague generalizations about "the science" is rare.

So I thought that I would have a look at the research paper cited. The paper could however be a textbook case of how NOT to extract generalizations. It covers two unbelievably short time periods, which is exceedingly uninformative. Any student of statistics knows that in a random sequence you do get "runs". In a series of coin tosses, for instance, you may get a series of "heads" for a short period. But if you extend your series you find that you get runs of tails too -- so that overall there is no trend. You need a long series before you can extract reliable generalizations.

And the article abstracted below is clearly in the "ungeneralizable" category. The author compares, for instance, 2002–2003 with 2007–2009. And to add insult to injury, the trend is not the same in the two periods concerned! So which do you generalize from? What a crock!

Rather saddeningly, however, the article appeared in a prestigious academic journal. As we have often seen before, the pox of Warmism destroys intellectual standards.
Increasing rates of ice mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets revealed by GRACE

By I. Velicogna

We use monthly measurements of time-variable gravity from the GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellite gravity mission to determine the ice mass-loss for the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets during the period between April 2002 and February 2009. We find that during this time period the mass loss of the ice sheets is not a constant, but accelerating with time, i.e., that the GRACE observations are better represented by a quadratic trend than by a linear one, implying that the ice sheets contribution to sea level becomes larger with time.

In Greenland, the mass loss increased from 137 Gt/yr in 2002–2003 to 286 Gt/yr in 2007–2009, i.e., an acceleration of −30 ± 11 Gt/yr2 in 2002–2009.

In Antarctica the mass loss increased from 104 Gt/yr in 2002–2006 to 246 Gt/yr in 2006–2009, i.e., an acceleration of −26 ± 14 Gt/yr2 in 2002–2009. The observed acceleration in ice sheet mass loss helps reconcile GRACE ice mass estimates obtained for different time periods.


California 2011: With Only 3 Months Gone By, Already 69 Companies Flee Its Green Regulation Hell

Read here. California politicians and bureaucrats are committed to driving businesses out of California with onerous green regulations. As it turns out, companies are literally responding by fleeing to other states.

There are states that still welcome businesses without the constant politically correct harassment and regulatory overkill. Hmmm....Texas is one state that comes to mind for some reason.

Why is California now easily the least attractive state in terms of operating a business? Watch this video and it becomes very obvious that fanatical green regulators are literally destroying the business environment.


UN Caught Scrubbing Embarrassing Climate Refugee Prediction

You might remember the other day I pointed out how the UN predicted 50 million climate refugees by 2010, a prediction that came up laughably short of the mark by only around 50 million. Well, if you go to that post and click on the link to the UN page making that claim… something funny happens. You get this:

Of course the great thing about the UN is that even though they are a dishonest-to-evil club for dictators they are also clumsy. Apparently no one at the U.N. knew there was such a thing as a google cache.

As Charles Johnson can tell you, it is very hard to truly make something disappear down the memory hole.

I will be putting up screen shots of the google cache (and the full “page not found” screen cap) under the fold, in case someone at the U.N. grows a brain.


British government solar project cancelled

An ambitious plan to put solar panels on schools, hospitals and other public buildings has been cancelled in an embarrassing climb-down for the Government.

Buying solutions, the Government quango responsible for taking forward major new projects, wanted to install solar panels on the roof of town halls, army bases and other land or buildings owned by the public. The scheme was considered value for money because the Feed in Tariff (FIT), that pays those who install panels to generate electricity, offered a good return.

However following changes to FIT, which mean larger solar installations will not earn so much money, the project was pulled.
Solar companies say the Government have ‘shot themselves in the foot’ by reducing the green subsidy for medium sized projects like schools and hospitals.

An ongoing consultation proposes reducing subsidies for any solar panel project more than 50 kilowatts, the equivalent of panels on 20 houses.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change insist that FITs had to be reduced to stop large solar farms taking all the money before households could cash in. But solar companies claim medium-sized projects on schools, hospitals and community centres are also losing out.

Katie Moore, co-founder of the Solar Club, a community whose members are planning to invest in a solar project, said she was in contact with the Government last year after proposing to put panels on a navy base. However following the review of FITs she was told that the solar project was no longer going ahead. She suspects the reduction in tariffs for medium-sized projects was the cause.

“The Government were withdrawing from their own project,” she said. “If the government estate can’t do it – and they know more than us – then how are other medium-sized projects expected to make money?”

A spokeswoman for the Cabinet Office admitted that Buying Solutions was looking at the possibility of installing solar panels across the government estate. However the idea was never taken up. “They realised it was not going to work,” she said. “It turned out it was not viable.”


"The end of fish": Another false prophecy

THIS Lent, many ecologically conscious Americans might feel a twinge of guilt as they dig into the fish on their Friday dinner plates. They shouldn’t.

Over the last decade the public has been bombarded by apocalyptic predictions about the future of fish stocks — in 2006, for instance, an article in the journal Science projected that all fish stocks could be gone by 2048.

Subsequent research, including a paper I co-wrote in Science in 2009 with Boris Worm, the lead author of the 2006 paper, has shown that such warnings were exaggerated. Much of the earlier research pointed to declines in catches and concluded that therefore fish stocks must be in trouble. But there is little correlation between how many fish are caught and how many actually exist; over the past decade, for example, fish catches in the United States have dropped because regulators have lowered the allowable catch. On average, fish stocks worldwide appear to be stable, and in the United States they are rebuilding, in many cases at a rapid rate.

The overall record of American fisheries management since the mid-1990s is one of improvement, not of decline. Perhaps the most spectacular recovery is that of bottom fish in New England, especially haddock and redfish; their abundance has grown sixfold from 1994 to 2007. Few if any fish species in the United States are now being harvested at too high a rate, and only 24 percent remain below their desired abundance.

Much of the success is a result of the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act, which was signed into law 35 years ago this week. It banned foreign fishing within 200 miles of the United States shoreline and established a system of management councils to regulate federal fisheries. In the past 15 years, those councils, along with federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations and commercial and sport fishing groups, have helped assure the sustainability of the nation’s fishing stocks.

Some experts, like Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Center, who warns of “the end of fish,” fault the systems used to regulate fisheries worldwide. But that condemnation is too sweeping, and his prescription — closing much of the world’s oceans to fishing — would leave people hungry unnecessarily.


'Eco-friendly' biofuels may do more harm than good

The comments below are not unusual but the fact that they come from a mass-circulation British newspaper seems significant -- particularly as the NYT has recently said much the same. Methinks I see a fad dying

The drive for ‘eco-friendly’ biofuels has backfired and may be contributing to climate change, says a report. Plant-based fuels have pushed up food prices, increased deforestation and threatened endangered animals, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics found.

The think-tank said their spread has led to ‘near slavery conditions’ on sugar plantations in the developing world and may have increased greenhouse gas emissions. Its report branded the UK’s biofuel policies ‘unethical’ and called for guidelines to ensure future ‘green’ fuels do more good than harm.

Most green biofuels come from maize, sugarcane, palm oil and rapeseed oil. By law, at least 5 per cent of petrol and diesel sold on British forecourts must be biofuel by 2013 compared with 3 per cent now.

Switching to biofuels was supposed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels and prevent man-made climate change. But the report shows their speedy introduction has been a disaster. Clearing rainforests for biofuel crops in Brazil, Malaysia and Indonesia has forced people off their land and threatened orangutans. Ploughing has released carbon dioxide that would otherwise have been locked away in the soil.

In the U.S., turning farmland over to maize for fuel has cut supply of other crops and raised food prices.


Australia's proposed carbon tax dead on its feet

The Prime Minister's political judgment is woeful. Conservatives get the steelworkers on their side

THE Gillard government's plans to put a price on carbon have suffered a body blow, with key unions demanding exemptions for industry that are unacceptable to the Greens. With his own job under threat from a hostile membership, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, Paul Howes, demanded yesterday that the steel industry be given a complete exemption from the carbon scheme and that there be generous compensation for the aluminium, cement and glass sectors.

Mr Howes issued the demand after a fiery crisis meeting with nine union branch secretaries from across Australia. It is understood Mr Howes, who is up for re-election before the next federal election, faced being dumped if he did not issue the demands. The AWU is influential in the Right faction of the ALP and was instrumental in Julia Gillard's coup against Kevin Rudd last year.

Immediately after Mr Howes's announcement, he was backed by the powerful Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, which influences the party's Left. The loss of support from the industrial wing of the party leaves the government stuck between the unions and the Greens, whose support is critical.

The government is negotiating with the Greens to put a price on carbon and one key sticking point is the level of compensation for trade-exposed industries. The other is the starting price for a tonne of carbon. As a starting point, the government was proposing the same generous levels of industry assistance devised under the emissions trading scheme negotiated with Malcolm Turnbull. The Greens derided this as "backroom deals for rent seekers" and want less compensation this time.

As well as exempting steel altogether, Mr Howes wants the compensation for aluminium, cement and glass to be "at least" as generous as that negotiated under the old scheme.

If the Greens vote for this, they would be signing on to a weaker scheme than the one they blocked in 2009 because, in part, they felt the compensation was too generous.

The Greens climate change spokeswoman, Christine Milne, was unhappy with the unions' backdown but said she would confine her negotiations to the multi-party climate change committee which meets again next week. "Conducting negotiations is not well served by threats to withdraw support if you don't get your way," she said. "Paul Howes should follow the example of many of his colleagues in the union movement who, like us, see the tremendous jobs potential in building a new clean economy."

The unions stuck with the Rudd government during the original ETS process and, until yesterday, had been rock solid with the Gillard government. But the steel sector, which is a big exporter, has been crying foul for weeks, saying it is already under pressure from the high Australian dollar and high input costs caused by rising prices for ore and coking coal.

This week the Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, challenged the industry, saying a carbon price of $20 would add just $2.60 to the price of a tonne of steel.

But Mr Howes sided with the steel makers yesterday. "We think there is a special case to be made for steel," he said. "Steel is going through a hard time at the moment, not because of carbon pricing. "When the dollar sits at 1.05, all export-based industries are under a huge amount of pressure. But there is no solid argument we shouldn't be making steel in this country."

Tony Maher, from the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, said Mr Howes has "got a very good argument and I would urge the government to consider it". "The economic circumstances of today are not those of two years ago."

Mr Combet refused to exempt steel. He said current economic circumstances were already being factored in and steel would again be in line for generous compensation. "A very significant level of assistance has been proposed," he said. "This assistance will be designed to stop 'carbon leakage' of jobs overseas and is the subject of continuing discussion with the steel industry and other industries."

One source said the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, had undermined Mr Howes by whipping up worker resentment during recent visits to BlueScope at Port Kembla, and OneSteel in Victoria. Mr Abbott welcomed Mr Howes's stance yesterday.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


15 April, 2011

Biggest Drop in U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2009, greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. experienced their biggest drop since the U.S. Energy Information Administration began tracking them during the 1990-2009 timeframe.

The EIA’s latest numbers on greenhouse gas emissions can be found in their just released report “Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2009.” The EIA starts out with this summary:
Total U.S. anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 were 5.8 percent below the 2008 total. The decline in total emissions—from 6,983 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) in 2008 to 6,576 MMTCO2e in 2009—was the largest since emissions have been tracked over the 1990-2009 time frame. It was largely the result of a 419-MMTCO2e drop in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (7.1 percent).

Why, pray tell, did such a large emission drop occur in 2009? According to the EIA:
The decrease in U.S. CO2 emissions in 2009 resulted primarily from three factors: an economy in recession, a particularly hard-hit energy-intensive industries sector, and a large drop in the price of natural gas that caused fuel switching away from coal to natural gas in the electric power sector.

In Figure 1 we show the history of carbon dioxide emissions—primary among the greenhouse gases—in the U.S. from 1990-2009. We also include the emissions history from China, for comparative purposes.

Figure 1. Annual carbon dioxide emissions from the United States (blue) and China (red), 1990-2009 (data source, EIA).

Notice several things:

* U.S. CO2 emissions in 2009 were the lowest since 1995.
* The trend in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions has been downward since 1999.
* China’s CO2 emissions have increased by about 175% since 1999.
* In 2009, China’s emissions were 42% greater than ours.

The trend in China’s CO2 emissions since 1999 is 508mmtCO2/yr—a value equal to about 1/10th of the U.S. total annual emissions. Think about this for a minute.
The plans that are kicked around in Congress from time to time (although certainly less so this year), typically call for a reduction in U.S. CO2 emissions roughly on this schedule: 20% in 2020, 40% in 2030, and 80% by 2050.

Now, consider that currently China adds to its total CO2 emissions an equivalent of 10% of the U.S. baseline emissions each year. So, if everything went according to plan, as the U.S. worked to reduce its emissions by 20% by 2020, China meanwhile will have increased their total by about quadruple that amount. And the numbers get worse from there.

So you can see the inherent silliness in using “climate change” as a reason for pushing for reductions in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, U.S. politicians who are thinking that their first responsibility should be towards improving the situation for Americans here and now, ought to be seeking out ways to get the U.S. CO2 emissions heading upwards again.

We say this because two the three reasons given by the EIA for the recent drop in U.S. CO2 emissions have to do with the poor economic times. Turn around the economy and you will turn around emissions. What about the third reason—increased electricity production from natural gas?

Burning natural gas does actually reduce CO2 emissions per unit energy produced, but, in terms keeping the trend of total U.S. CO2 emissions in the negative territory, this effect is probably trumped by the hard economy. Further, there is a hot-off-the-presses new study that suggests that the carbon dioxide savings from natural gas acquired through hydraulic fracturing (a fast-growing technique to recover loads of natural gas domestically) may actually be (more than) offset by the by-product release of methane during the extraction process (Howarth et al., 2011). So the climate benefits of switching to natural gas (from coal) to produce electricity are perhaps not as great as they are being touted. We’re sure we’ll be hearing more about this—in fact, stay tuned to these pages because we are working through the Howarth et al. article and will post our findings soon!

So, what’s in store for 2010? Probably more of the same—that is, a relatively low level of carbon dioxide emission from the U.S.—as the circumstances that led to the low value in 2009 were pretty much the same as the situation in 2010. Hopefully, for all our sakes, the trend won’t stay negative for too much longer—at least not for the current reasons.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

High Prices, Debt Crisis May Doom Obama's Green Energy Plans

As Congress and President Obama spar over spending cuts for the next year and beyond, new questions are being raised over whether the U.S. can afford the clean energy subsidies that the president has championed in several appearances this year and in his budget for fiscal year 2012.

Obama is asking taxpayers to cough up $8 billion in clean energy subsidies next year -- $3.2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, $300 million in credit subsidies to promote those projects, and another $550 million dollars to support "game-changing clean energy technologies."

"We say to the utilities, you've got to get this much energy from renewable sources, and then wind is competing with solar, which is competing with natural gas. And there's a healthy competition out there," the president said at a recent town hall meeting at a wind turbine plant run by Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, Pa.

But critics question whether there really is healthy competition among old fossil and new clean technologies when subsidies are taken out of the equation. "When companies come to Congress or to the federal trough for their renewable project, it usually means that they have failed in the private sector," said Marc Morano, of Climate Depot, a website devoted to debunking the theory of man-made climate change.

He says an increasing number of studies point to deep inefficiencies of many so-called clean energies. "In Europe, it's actually costing more to heat the windmills than the windmills are producing in the winter in the United Kingdom. I mean they're just not energy efficient," Morano said.

But supporters of the clean energy subsidies counter that fossil fuel production has long been subsidized. "Clearly there's a double standard," said Kevin Smith of Solar Reserve, a company that builds utility scale solar arrays in the Southwest U.S. "If you look at what's happened with natural gas, oil and coal subsidies over the last 50 years, those industries have received billions and billions of dollars. They've built profitable industries that are now very successful."

Even Morano suggests that as the technologies evolve, renewable energies may one day prove to be more competitive. But that day may be a long way off.

Indeed, a recent article in the Las Vegas Sun which examines a heavily subsidized solar array project outside of Boulder City, Nev., supports much of what Morano claims. The piece profiles a huge 775,000 solar panel array built and operated by Sempra Generation. Taxpayers fronted $42 million in tax credits for the array -- fully a third of it's total cost. While the project created about 350 construction jobs at a time of near record high unemployment, it now employs only five full time workers and provides no electricity to Nevada.

A spokesman for Sempra Generation told Fox News that the project, built last year, has now become a net revenue generator for taxpayers, and produces enough electricity for about 14,000 homes. The company mostly sells it's electricity to utilities in California.

For some, the larger question is whether the Obama administration, in the present climate of belt-tightening will allow carbon-based energies to truly compete with renewables on a level playing field -- a subsidy-free playing field.

Days before his confirmation as secretary of energy, Steven Chu told an interviewer that the United States needed to get gasoline prices up to European levels, where current prices are hovering around $8 a gallon. More than two years later, that hope is approaching reality -- a result of increasing world demand, instability in key oil producing regions of the world and the Obama administration's resistance to freeing up domestic federal lands and waters to oil and natural gas drilling as well as coal mining.

The limit of a fragile economy's tolerance for high energy prices may be tested in the months to come, as will the president's hopes for a clean energy future.


“Sustainability” isn’t sustainable

Not even in your dreams

A number of college and universities have introduced “Sustainability Studies.” Of course, “sustainability” is just another term for environmentalism, but it exposes the mentality of the environmental movement very well. The idea is that unless we are forced use fewer resources, we will not be able to sustain our life on earth and humanity will disappear or at best face massive disaster.

So we have to introduce a number of things into our daily lives that will help us to “live green.” It all sounds good at the various rallies and “living green” meetings that are held regularly not only at our campus, but also at campuses all over the country. Students and others are told that they have to stop “wasting energy” and lower their “impact” by eating foods that pass political muster, and purchase goods that have the “sustainability” seal of approval.

What sounds good, however, often is not, and “sustainability” has become yet another scam – yes, scam – the statists have foisted on people in the name of saving humanity and planet earth. I will go even further: What is called “sustainability” is not even sustainable, not by a long shot. The irony is that the very implementation of “sustainable” policies will needlessly make life more difficult for everyone.

We are not even speaking about future events. The “food for fuel” mandates that are coming from governments around the world in the name of “sustainability” have helped drive up food prices and have worked real hardships on poor people. Moreover, food-based fuels, such as ethanol made from corn, are heavily subsidized and are imposed by government mandate.

Government is forcing individuals to do what they never would want to do on their own: pour a version of whiskey into their cars instead of drinking it.

Political Support

Not surprisingly, food-based fuels have a large constituency (although that constituency does not happen to include consumers of those fuels), and associated groups make political contributions and welcome rhetoric from politicians. For example, Newt Gingrich, who sounds like he’s running for the next year’s Republican presidential nomination, recently called for the government to mandate that all cars built in the United States be “flex-fuel,” enabling them to use ethanol.

Forcing consumers to purchase cars that they refuse to buy now only furthers our understanding of the intellectual bankruptcy and economic illiteracy that people like Gingrich promote. (Gingrich claimed that such a mandate would allow the ethanol industry to “stand on its own,” as though forcing Americans to use costly, inferior fuel would revitalize the U.S. economy, as he and others claim.)

The other darling of the sustainability movement is the building of thousands of electricity-generating windmills. Ironically, many environmentalists oppose these supposed “clean-energy” contraptions because they kill birds and change the landscape. Of course these projects also are heavily subsidized by government. But as electricity producers, they hardly are panaceas.

In 2009 President Barack Obama told Congress he would use “clean energy” to help “rebuild the economy.” Given that all the clean-energy pet projects seem to be subsidized, Obama was claiming that his government could bring about a recovery by giving huge subsidies to politically favored industries.

Economically, that is impossible. What Obama was saying was that he could rebuild a moribund economy by cannibalizing those still-healthy industries and transferring resources to those portions of the economy that never could stand on their own without government coercion.

Not only is that idea delusional, it also puts the government on an economic path that is unsustainable. Government can no more save the economy by destroying than the U.S. armed forces could save Vietnam by bombing it into the Stone Age.

While “sustainability” is little more than rhetoric, it is harmful rhetoric, as it carries the appeal to outright government coercion. Economically speaking, sustainability cannot sustain itself. Instead, it promotes a parasitic state that drains an economy – and its people – of energy and vitality.


The green jobs myth

One gets the sense from the rhetoric coming out of the Obama administration that the main road to recovery and future economic growth will be paved by an energetic federal commitment to renewable energy (often referred to as "green" energy). Such a state-directed campaign, they tell us, will create millions of new jobs and cement America's global economic leadership in the 21st century. If they really believe this, we're in a lot of trouble.

On its face, the argument that green energy is more labor intensive than "brown" (fossil fuel and nuclear) energy is dubious. After all, once the wind turbines or photovoltaic panels are put in place, there's no need to mine the earth for fuel and, unless the windmills or panels break down a lot, there's little call for large numbers of workers to keep the generators running.

This is the first clue that something is amiss in the ubiquitous "green jobs" studies that are constantly forwarded to support green energy mandates and subsidies. Careful examination reveals that those studies don't even bother to tally the number of brown energy jobs that might be lost in the transition. Hence, there's no evidence at all that a green energy future would yield more energy jobs than the status quo.

Even if we could find evidence that green energy is more labor intensive than its brown counterpart, that's an argument against green energy because one does not go about creating wealth by maximizing the inputs associated with production. Were that the case, one might suggest that future green energy facilities (and brown, for that matter) be built without any mechanized construction equipment whatsoever — only hand tools allowed!

Nor do we find any consideration in these reports of the economic impact of higher electricity prices. President Obama's own Energy Information Administration estimates, for instance, that for new facilities coming on-line in 2016, biomass will cost 34% more than electricity produced by combined cycle, natural gas-fired power plants; geothermal will cost 39% more; onshore wind will cost 80% more, offshore wind 2.3 times as much, thermal solar 3.1 times as much, and photovoltaic solar a whopping 4.8 times as much.

More money spent on green energy job creation means less money spent on everything else. How many jobs might be lost to that dynamic alone? Again, these reports don't say. The implicit answer seems to be, "none." This strikes us as unlikely. Economist Gabriel Calzada examined green energy mandates in Spain and found that 2.2 jobs were lost for every green job that was created in that country.

Even though renewable sources cost more, some claim that subsidized renewable supply will result in lower electricity prices because of overall increased supply — a phenomenon known as "price suppression" in the literature. This is plausible but misleading. The savings enjoyed by consumers because of additional supply (lower prices multiplied by quantity consumed) can be less than the cost of the renewable power subsidies, but overlooked in such an analysis is the reduction in revenue to existing conventional fuel generation displaced by the new renewable supply.

This wealth transfer from existing non-renewable energy producers to consumers is the source of the reduced prices rather than an overall improvement in economic efficiency. Moreover, mandates and subsidies that serve to substitute green energy for brown will not increase the overall supply of energy and thus will not produce price suppression.

Three other rather straight-forward problems arise in the reports marshaled to justify the administration's green jobs campaign. First, new government employees hired to oversee this green energy shift are counted as "new jobs created." Second, existing jobs are recategorized from brown to green if employers meet some bureaucratically dictated definitional shift to "greenness," and those jobs are misleadingly tallied as "new jobs created." Third, most new manufacturing jobs created to build the equipment necessary for new green power plants are assumed to come from U.S. manufacturers, a highly unlikely prospect given that most of the manufacturers at issue are overseas. Hence, the tallies of job creation from policies designed to promote green energy are about as reliable as Enron balance sheets.

The political obsession with green jobs is particularly odd given that it comes while the nation is experiencing a real — not hypothesized — revolution in "brown" energy in the form of hydraulic fracking, a technology that allows access to natural gas in previously difficult to exploit substrata. Economist Timothy Considine employed the same economic model used by the Pennsylvania Dept. of Labor to estimate the number of policy-created green jobs (ostensibly, the third-highest state total of green jobs in the nation) to estimate the number of jobs created in that same state by fracking.

The model suggests that, in 2009, 44,000 new jobs were created by fracking compared with 35,000 created by government green energy programs. In 2010 89,000 fracking-related jobs were created relative to 40,000 green jobs. And in 2011 another 111,000 new jobs will likely be created by fracking compared with 41,000 green jobs. And remember, that's only if we don't consider the jobs lost from the higher energy costs associated with green energy. In short, if the economy is going to hitch itself to a domestic energy sector to maintain growth in the 21st century, it ought to hitch itself to natural gas, not to the wind or sun.

The arrogant conceit that we can induce economic growth by forcing people to by costly, subsidized energy is absurd in practice as it is in theory. The sooner we realize that, the better.


It’s official: Environmentalism IS the new religion

Robert Nelson, in the Independent Institute’s recent book, The New Holy Wars, points out that environmental religion owes its moral activism, ascetic discipline, reverence for nature, and fallen view of man to the Protestant theology of John Calvin.

Manhattan’s new Church of Earthalujah is perhaps the most striking—though hardly rare—expression of this new religion. Its leader, the Rev. Billy, outlined the church’s purpose and practices in this recent interview.

Asked about influences in his life, Rev. Billy reminisced on the importance of his high school creative writing teacher: "I moved to the East Coast with his family for a bit to get out of a tough Midwestern Calvinist situation."

The tenets of the Church of Earthalujah are based on the view that: "…these freak storms and tsunamis and flocks of blackbirds are not a coincidence—it’s the Earth talking to us. The Earth’s physical systems are in revolt."

Their faith is practiced both in church: "Every Sunday we have a devil and a saint, and the holy writ is the Earth. We have sermons and songs. Scientists give talks."

And on the street: "Friends give us soil from mountains that have been strip-mined and we go into bank lobbies like Chase and Union Bank as if we’ve been invited by an art curator and we sculpt dirt peaks and sing, then exorcise the demon out of the ATMs."

One might be tempted to laugh off such “performance art,” were it not that so many apparently find such tactics absolutely mesmerizing: "…we talked to many middle managers in the lobby at JP Morgan, and now that bank is in negotiations with Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco over their environmental policies."

When corporate policy—not to mention international economic and public policy—is based on faith over fact, may Heaven help us all.



Three current articles below

Friends and foes flay carbon tax

THERE is now a common view among the Gillard government's friends and foes about the additional costs to industry of a carbon tax.

That is, it could be the straw that breaks the camel's back in relation to future investment, the survival of some of the manufacturing sector and the full recovery of a still fragile, patchwork economy.

Company chiefs and shop-floor workers find they are now on the same side. There is also a common view among employers and employees that the government's process and timetable are flawed, short on detail, politically motivated and not guaranteed of success.

Such sentiments may have been shared by some of those same people during the Rudd government's negotiations of the failed carbon pollution reduction scheme, but there have been dramatic changes to the economy, industry, jobs and the body politic since 2009.

Not least among those is the fact the Gillard government is now a minority one dependent on independents and the Greens to get its agenda passed.

Perhaps the biggest difficulty the government faces is that workers' concern for their jobs, whether based on the real impact of the carbon tax or not, is so deep the previous goodwill on climate change, faith in Labor looking after Australian workers and suspicion of Tony Abbott are evaporating. Labor's working heartland is rebelling because of concern for job security and not because they are climate change deniers or extremists. Chief executives of big companies and welders on the shop floor are seeing eye-to-eye on the threats from a carbon tax and the government appears to be losing the argument badly on compensation for want of detail since Julia Gillard announced the carbon tax on February 24.

These changes and difficulties are not just about more complicated and delicate negotiations with MPs on the cross benches but go to the heart of the challenges faced by the government: a lack of authority, a sense of growing cabinet and leadership tension, emboldened critics, community scepticism towards reassurances and a growing list of sections of industry and the community angry with government policies.

A negotiated government born without electoral momentum is sinking as its friends question its ability to get things done and its foes press home an advantage.

Not least among those foes is the Leader of the Opposition, who has played up industry and business concerns on the effect of the tax on investment and development, harped on increased prices for food, petrol and electricity, and argued that the tax will not cut greenhouse emissions.

What's more, Abbott has not only attacked Gillard's integrity about going back on her promise about a carbon tax and run a highly successful negative campaign, he also has started to split Labor from its formal allies in the Greens and labour movement.

Three weeks ago Climate Change Minister Greg Combet told industry leaders the compensation for business for the carbon tax would not go beyond the compensation earmarked for the CPRS in 2009-10 under Kevin Rudd's prime ministership. He told the coal industry not to expect any compensation for coalminers and exporters beyond 2009.

Industry and unions want it to be the starting point.

Combet was told oil refinery investment in Australia was threatened by a carbon tax, help for the natural gas sector had to be revisited and a range of exporting industries were threatened. Shell and Caltex expressed concerns about the future of oil refinery investment in Australia because a series of taxes and costs were accumulating and the carbon tax represented the fatal straw.

Since then the liquefied natural gas industry has sought an exclusion from the tax, at least a rise in free permits to emit greenhouse gases to 94.5 per cent, because of fundamental changes in the industry and as it ponders investments in the near future of $130 billion. Shell has signalled the closure of its Clyde oil refinery in Sydney with the possible loss of 500 jobs and Ford has announced a downsizing of 240 jobs. To cap it off, Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes has declared he is facing a workers' revolt on the tax and that if one job were to be lost then the union's in-principle support would also be lost.

Howes has been forced into the open by Abbott's dual campaign against Gillard and the tax and against the union leadership for not addressing members' concerns. Since the announcement of the tax Abbott has visited at least 16 workplaces, including a steel works and a cement plant, to campaign against it. At the OneSteel rolling mill at Laverton in Gillard's electorate of Lalor in Melbourne, Abbott observed the growing opposition of workers and drove a wedge between union officials and their members.

"The steel market is highly competitive. They're under a great deal of competitive pressure, particularly from imports, and that's why Julia Gillard's carbon tax is a dagger aimed at the heart of manufacturing in this country . . . it will cost jobs big time," Abbott said. "Most of the workers here are members of the Australian Workers Union and I think if Paul Howes was doing the right thing by his workers he would be talking to the Prime Minister and saying: 'Think again, if we want manufacturing jobs in this country, think again about this bad tax.' "

Don Voelte, chief executive of the biggest Australian-owned LNG company, Woodside Petroleum, argued that while existing projects would not be affected future investment could be directed elsewhere in the world and "carbon leakage" meant China's contribution to global carbon emissions would increase at the cost of Australian LNG exports.

On the face of all this, Combet tried to turn the public discourse back in the government's favour this week by releasing a compensation package for households. It had a guarantee that more than 50 per cent of the revenue raised would be used for permanent compensation to households.

But the package, like all the others, lacked the detail that would enable those fighting for a carbon price to actually have something to use in an argument rather than assurances and moral arguments. As well, the basic concern being felt on the shop floor, worry about keeping your job, wasn't addressed at all by reassurances of compensation for rising costs. When Howes and Voelte agree that workers are worried about the same thing the debate's not favouring the government.


"Green" senator from a distinguished Communist background unrepentant in her hatred of Israel

Her parents were both lifelong members of the Communist Party of Australia and her own views are Trotskyite. Trotsky was the chief murderer of Russia's Red revolution

INCOMING Greens senator Lee Rhiannon says she will support a controversial boycott of Israel right up until she enters Federal Parliament. She will continue to speak out for the sanctions against Israel even though it clashes with the policies of federal Greens leader Bob Brown.

And Ms Rhiannon insisted the stance, part of the Greens' New South Wales platform, is not anti-Israel. She told Sky News the aim was to "bring forward policies that will work for Palestinians because at the moment Palestinians just don't have a lot of the human rights we take for granted".

"I said that yes, we have that position in NSW and I'll support the NSW position. But it's not something we're taking to the Federal Parliament," she said.

Mr Brown suggested Labor should share some of the flak over Marrickville Council's decision to ban Israeli products.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd earlier today slammed the boycott as "nuts" but Senator Brown said that it was not just the NSW Greens that had voted for it. "It was four Labor councillors that made that policy possible," he told reporters in Canberra. "Kevin Rudd's Labor party is as every bit responsible for the outcome ... as the Greens were. "So he might address that issue."

The federal coalition has already called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to distance herself from the Labor councillors who voted for the boycott in December. More than 20 ALP-affiliated unions have also backed banning trade links with Israel.

Ms Rhiannon said the boycott was part of a global movement. She said: "My own position is that its not an anti-Israel position at all. "It is about a boycott to bring forward policies that will work for Palestinians because at the moment Palestinians just don't have a lot of the human rights we take for granted, they cant move easily around their country, there's not equity in jobs and education, they cant be confident their house isn't going to be blown up."

The NSW Greens were strong contenders for the state seat of Marrickville until its candidate, the local mayor Fiona Byrne, was targeted by a media campaign over her inconsistent position on the boycott to isolate Israel.

The move has drawn the ire of politicians, business leaders and the Jewish community.

The Greens controlled council continues to back sanctions, even though its own business papers have revealed it could cost it $4 million. Ms Byrne issued a statement yesterday saying the sanctions would be implemented in such a way as to not financially disadvantage residents and businesses.

New Premier Barry O'Farrell has written to Marrickville mayor Fiona Byrne threatening to sack the council unless it drops the boycott within 28 days. "We're happy to take whatever action is required to get Marrickville Council back focused on the needs of its ratepayers, not trying to engage in foreign affairs," he told Macquarie Radio today.

He advised Ms Byrne to leave the council and run for federal parliament if she wanted to pursue the boycott.


Solar panel boondoggle

It's an object lesson in how not to run government policy. Solar roof panels on domestic houses deliver relatively little greenhouse gas abatement at a very high cost that is borne disproportionately by the poor.

An economy-wide carbon price delivers a lot of abatement at about one-tenth of the cost and can fund compensation to make sure the heaviest cost falls on the people who can afford to pay.

IPART, the pricing regulator, is warning that the former scheme is eroding the willingness of the public to consider the latter.

Yesterday's report reveals NSW homes are already going to be paying about $100 a year more in annual electricity bills to cover the benefits flowing to people who can afford to put solar panels on their roofs. And there's no compensation to pensioners or low-income earners for that.

The concern is that people are now likely to be less willing to pay $140 to $200 a year more on their annual household bills to cover the cost of the carbon tax, even though low and middle income earners will get compensation for that impost.

How did we get into this back-to-front position? Governments didn't think the policy through.

After spending more than $1 billion on direct rebates for solar photovoltaic cells, continued cost blowouts forced the cancellation of the federal scheme in 2009. It was subsumed into the renewable energy target - a policy actually designed to help large-scale renewables attain a viable market share in the lead-in to a full carbon price.

But the small-scale rooftop incentives swamped the market and rendered the big projects unviable, so the government hived them off into their own scheme - requiring electricity generators to buy all the renewable certificates they generated and giving four extra certificates for every certificate actually earned. The retailers warned from the get-go that the new scheme could also blow out.

On top of this incentive, state governments offered households feed-in tariffs to sell the electricity they generated back into the grid.

Both the federal and former NSW government have already tried to wind back their lucrative incentives, but the message from IPART is that they are not doing it fast enough.

The result is the risk that a bad policy cruels the chances of a potentially efficient one.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


14 April, 2011


Who was James Delingpole quoting when he said (in yesterday's posts): "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

I recognized the source immediately but I am a literary bod too. Delingpole read English Literature at Christ Church, Oxford, so it is rather amazing the diverse backgrounds that we skeptics come from. I abandoned my literary career (but not my literary interests) shortly after I gained the highest mark (out of about 1,000 students) in the poetry paper of my first-year English exam at the University of Queensland, one of Australia's "sandstone" universities (not quite "Russell group" or "Ivy League" but top tier in Australia anyway).

Because most journalists seem to come from some sort of literary background, I constantly recognize allusions in what I read. But I wonder how many others do? Given how dumbed-down education is these days, I think that allusions should always be followed or preceded by something along the lines of: "As xyx put it". Who for instance these days recognizes references to "the wine-dark sea" and "cloud cuckoo land"? (Homer and Aristophanes). Much culture has been lost now that Leftists run education.

The Comments facility awaits

Incidentally, Delingpole conveys quite a lot of youthful exuberance in his writings. Now that he is in his mid-40s, do we thing that he should have more "bottom"?

What Happened To The Climate Refugees?

In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme predicted that climate change would create 50 million climate refugees by 2010. These people, it was said, would flee a range of disasters including sea level rise, increases in the numbers and severity of hurricanes, and disruption to food production.

The UNEP even provided a handy map. The map shows us the places most at risk including the very sensitive low lying islands of the Pacific and Caribbean.

It so happens that just a few of these islands and other places most at risk have since had censuses, so it should be possible for us now to get some idea of the devastating impact climate change is having on their populations. Let’s have a look at the evidence:


Nassau, The Bahamas – The 2010 national statistics recorded that the population growth increased to 353,658 persons in The Bahamas. The population change figure increased by 50,047 persons during the last 10 years.

St Lucia:

The island-nation of Saint Lucia recorded an overall household population increase of 5 percent from May 2001 to May 2010 based on estimates derived from a complete enumeration of the population of Saint Lucia during the conduct of the recently completed 2010 Population and Housing Census.


Population 2002, 81755

Population 2010, 88311

Solomon Islands:

The latest Solomon Islands population has surpassed half a million – that’s according to the latest census results.

It’s been a decade since the last census report, and in that time the population has leaped 100-thousand.

Meanwhile, far from being places where people are fleeing, no fewer than the top six of the very fastest growing cities in China, Shenzzen, Dongguan, Foshan, Zhuhai, Puning and Jinjiang, are absolutely smack bang within the shaded areas identified as being likely sources of climate refugees.

Similarly, many of the fastest growing cities in the United States also appear within or close to the areas identified by the UNEP as at risk of having climate refugees.

More censuses are due to come in this year, and we await the results for Bangladesh and the Maldives - said to be places most at risk - with interest.

However, a very cursory look at the first available evidence seems to show that the places identified by the UNEP as most at risk of having climate refugees are not only not losing people, they are actually among the fastest growing regions in the world.


Climate models go cold

David Evans

The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. Watching this issue unfold has been amusing but, lately, worrying. This issue is tearing society apart, making fools out of our politicians.

Let's set a few things straight. The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

Let's be perfectly clear. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and other things being equal, the more carbon dioxide in the air, the warmer the planet. Every bit of carbon dioxide that we emit warms the planet. But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.

Most scientists, on both sides, also agree on how much a given increase in the level of carbon dioxide raises the planet's temperature, if just the extra carbon dioxide is considered. These calculations come from laboratory experiments; the basic physics have been well known for a century.

The disagreement comes about what happens next.

The planet reacts to that extra carbon dioxide, which changes everything. Most critically, the extra warmth causes more water to evaporate from the oceans. But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere, or does it simply create more clouds and rain? Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started, no one knew. The alarmists guessed that it would increase the height of moist air around the planet, which would warm the planet even further, because the moist air is also a greenhouse gas.

This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three -so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.

That's the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.

Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, '80s and '90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.

This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.

At this point, official "climate science" stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory -that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.

There are now several independent pieces of evidence showing that the earth responds to the warming due to extra carbon dioxide by dampening the warming. Every long-lived natural system behaves this way, counteracting any disturbance. Otherwise the system would be unstable. The climate system is no exception, and now we can prove it.

But the alarmists say the exact opposite, that the climate system amplifies any warming due to extra carbon dioxide, and is potentially unstable. It is no surprise that their predictions of planetary temperature made in 1988 to the U.S. Congress, and again in 1990, 1995, and 2001, have all proved much higher than reality.

They keep lowering the temperature increases they expect, from 0.30C per decade in 1990, to 0.20C per decade in 2001, and now 0.15C per decade -yet they have the gall to tell us "it's worse than expected." These people are not scientists. They overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide, selectively deny evidence, and now they conceal the truth.

One way they conceal is in the way they measure temperature.

The official thermometers are often located in the warm exhaust of air conditioning outlets, over hot tarmac at airports where they get blasts of hot air from jet engines, at waste-water plants where they get warmth from decomposing sewage, or in hot cities choked with cars and buildings. Global warming is measured in 10ths of a degree, so any extra heating nudge is important. In the United States, nearly 90% of official thermometers surveyed by volunteers violate official siting requirements that they not be too close to an artificial heating source.

Global temperature is also measured by satellites, which measure nearly the whole planet 24/7 without bias. The satellites say the hottest recent year was 1998, and that since 2001 the global temperature has levelled off. Why does official science track only the surface thermometer results and not mention the satellite results?

The Earth has been in a warming trend since the depth of the Little Ice Age around 1680. Human emissions of carbon dioxide were negligible before 1850 and have nearly all come after the Second World War, so human carbon dioxide cannot possibly have caused the trend. Within the trend, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation causes alternating global warming and cooling for 25 to 30 years at a go in each direction. We have just finished a warming phase, so expect mild global cooling for the next two decades.

We are now at an extraordinary juncture. Official climate science, which is funded and directed entirely by government, promotes a theory that is based on a guess about moist air that is now a known falsehood. Governments gleefully accept their advice, because the only ways to curb emissions are to impose taxes and extend government control over all energy use. And to curb emissions on a world scale might even lead to world government -how exciting for the political class!

Even if we stopped emitting all carbon dioxide tomorrow, completely shut up shop and went back to the Stone Age, according to the official government climate models it would be cooler in 2050 by about 0.015 degrees. But their models exaggerate 10-fold -in fact our sacrifices would make the planet in 2050 a mere 0.0015 degrees cooler!

Finally, to those who still believe the planet is in danger from our carbon dioxide emissions: Sorry, but you've been had. Yes, carbon dioxide is a cause of global warming, but it's so minor it's not worth doing much about.


Wind on the Water: Climate models shown to be wrong

The world's oceans represent the major source of stored heat energy that helps to mediate Earth's climate. The ocean surface boundary layer, where the ocean and atmosphere meet, heat is exchanged, as are gasses like CO2. The rate at which these exchanges take place has major implications for the mechanisms controlling climate change. A soon to be published paper in the journal Science documents a new study of the ocean surface boundary layer and, to the investigators' surprise, reveals that the rate of energy dissipation within the boundary layer to be enhanced by 10 to 20 times. This indicates that the atmosphere does not supply the energy for the boundary turbulence, the ocean does. This contradicts the prevailing scientific wisdom and shows once again that computer climate models are constructed using false assumptions.

In the classical paradigm and in current climate models, turbulence at the ocean surface boundary layer is driven by atmospheric forcing. Using observations from a 1-km-wide front within the Kuroshio, a strong western boundary current in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, Eric D’Asaro et al. found the rate of energy dissipation within the boundary layer to be enhanced by 10-20 times. According to their paper, “Enhanced Turbulence and Energy Dissipation at Ocean Fronts,” this suggests that the front not the atmospheric forcing supplied the energy for the turbulence. The authors describe the situation in the paper's introduction:
Although the basic characteristics of the ocean circulation have been well known for many decades, a detailed understanding of its energetics has only emerged recently. The energy sources are well understood: wind stress acting on surface currents or “wind-work,” particularly in the Southern Ocean, is the dominant energy source, with little net input from heating/cooling or precipitation/evaporation. The energy sinks, however, are less well understood. Energy dissipation necessarily requires a cascade of energy through 9 orders of magnitude, from the size of the ocean to the centimeter scales of viscous dissipation. A cascade of processes supports this flux. Instabilities of the large-scale circulation lead to the generation of a rich field of eddies with typical scales of 100 km at mid-latitudes. The dynamics of these eddies is highly constrained by the Earth’s rotation such that their currents are nearly geostrophic (i.e., the flow is governed by a balance between Coriolis and horizontal pressure forces). A turbulent, geostrophic eddy field tends to flux energy to larger, rather than smaller scales, thus providing no obvious path to dissipation. Recent simulations with very high-resolution models suggest a new path from the eddy field toward dissipation through the formation of “submesocale” fronts, regions of strong lateral gradient in the upper ocean, with horizontal scales of 1-10 km. Instabilities of these fronts could then cascade energy from the frontal scale to dissipation.

The paper then goes on to explain that the boundary layer is stratified, not mixed, and deepens by the action of turbulent motions. These motions get at least part of their energy from the frontal circulation as opposed to atmospheric forcing, as commonly thought. “This is a shift from the classical paradigm of a surface boundary layer driven by the atmosphere, with implications for climate dynamics,” the authors state.

The surface boundary layer is the mediator for air-sea interaction and greatly influences “processes that play an integral role in the climate system such as the oceanic sequestration of carbon and the subduction, or transfer, of heat, salt, and dissolved gasses from the ocean’s surface to its interior.” Furthermore, sequestration of carbon and subduction occurs to a large degree in the proximity of the ocean’s main currents: the Gulf Stream, Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and Kuroshio, the subject of this study. This could, in part, help explain why ocean uptake of CO2 is not shrinking as predicted.

Diagram showing the forces affecting boundary layer turbulence.

The study found that a number of previously unexpected mechanisms were at work moving energy among layers in the ocean. These have significant, previously unsuspected impact on the upper ocean boundary layer. The authors conclude: “The observations presented here break from this paradigm by suggesting that lateral density gradients and their geostrophic currents can also play a role in boundary layer dynamics by supplying energy to turbulence at the expense of the circulation and permitting stratification and turbulence to coexist.”

While this finding is of interest for oceanographers there are wider implications for those trying to predict Earth's future climate. Modelers will say that the total amount of energy transferred to and from the Earth system isn't altered by these findings. Perhaps not, but having the transfer mechanism wrong means any prediction of change in that system cannot be relied upon to be accurate. And the Science paper claims that current estimates are off by a factor of 10 or 20 fold. Here are the authors' final conclusions:
[T]hese results are consistent with recent theory on submesoscale processes and thus encourage incorporation of this theory into boundary layer models. Such physics is not accounted for in present-day climate models. Fronts associated with the Kuroshio, Gulf Stream, and Antarctic Circumpolar Current are key players in the ocean-atmosphere climate system. Inaccurate representation of the boundary layer and flow energetics in frontal regions could thus significantly affect the predictive skill of climate models.

That is science speak for the models are wrong—they do not represent an accurate picture of how nature works. This means that the models' predictions are suspect. The study's findings affect both energy transfer and the sequestration and release of CO2, the climate lobby's favorite smoking gun. This bears repeating because, despite many such revelations, climate change catastrophists and ecological prophets of doom continue to base their case on outdated, disproven models. This is just the latest in a number of such findings, highlighting the inadequacy of climate models. Science moves on, the climate alarmists have not.


The Political Insanity Of Climate Change

A definition of political insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Based on that, politicians supporting the so-called "solutions" to man-made global warming -- Kyoto accord, cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, renewable energy -- are insane.

That's because none of these things has worked in the real world -- assuming the goal is to lower man-made carbon dioxide emissions -- and yet they keep promoting them.

The UN's Kyoto accord is a fiasco, falsely billed as a global treaty to combat global warming.

In fact, Kyoto was ratified by a few dozen industrialized countries who are a small part of the problem -- including (under Jean Chretien) Canada, with 2% of global emissions.

The accord places no demands on China, the world's largest emitter, or on the entire developing world, where emissions are now rising the fastest.

It doesn't impact the U.S., the world's second-largest emitter, which never ratified Kyoto.

Since China and the U.S. are responsible for 40% of global emissions, Kyoto, or any successor treaty which doesn't include them, obviously won't work.

Cap-and-trade, now recklessly advocated by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff even in the absence of a bilateral agreement with the U.S., is another fiasco.

Europe's had cap-and-trade since 2005. From its inception, the Emissions Trading Scheme failed to lower emissions -- in fact, they rose -- until 2008, when the global recession, not carbon trading, cut them.

Instead, the ETS drove up prices for such necessities as electricity and provided windfall profits to utility companies and speculators.

The international carbon credit system on which the ETS is built, is riddled with multi-billion-dollar frauds.

As for a carbon tax, advocated by former Liberal leader Stephane Dion in 2008, Norway's had one since 1991. In 2002, Statistics Norway concluded it had little impact on emissions.

Real-world experience with renewable energy -- such as utility-scale wind turbines and solar panels -- has shown that not only are these technologies impractical at present without huge public subsidies, they also fail to deliver promised emission reductions.

Meanwhile, they create other environmental problems due to the large amount of land they require and some of the materials needed to manufacture them.

But what if the purpose of these failed policies isn't to lower emissions, but something else?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who, sadly, no longer talks as honestly about these matters as he once did, was attacked in opposition for describing Kyoto as a "socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations."

But an official of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said much the same thing last year, prior to a major climate meeting in Cancun, albeit more positively.

As German economist Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of the IPCC's Working Group III, explained:

"Basically, it's a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization. The climate summit in Cancun is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War, one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy."

To Edenhofer, this was desirable because developed countries "having basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community" would now use a portion of the wealth this generated to assist developing countries in growing their economies in environmentally responsible ways.

Of course, if none of these programs reduce emissions, then the exercise simply becomes a permanent "sin tax" imposed on developed countries like Canada for using fossil fuels to produce energy, a portion of which will be paid in perpetuity to the developing world.

If that's the goal -- plus providing governments in the developed world with a massive new revenue stream paid for by ordinary citizens -- then all these failed policies make perfect sense.



Four current articles below

Carbon tax may never happen, says key independent

He has rightly twigged that it "does nothing"

ONE of the independents Julia Gillard will rely on to get her carbon tax across the line has warned it may never become a reality.

New England MP Tony Windsor today said he would not vote for a package of climate change measures “that does nothing”. “There is no carbon tax, there may not be a carbon tax,” Mr Windsor told ABC radio this morning.

Mr Windsor said people in his rural NSW electorate were concerned about the lack of detail around the proposed carbon tax.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet released more details of the government's proposed carbon price yesterday, pledging more than 50 per cent of revenue from the tax would be returned to millions of households and reassuring businesses on the impact of the scheme.

The Prime Minister played down Mr Windsor's comments this morning, describing them as “perfectly consistent with everything he has ever said about pricing carbon”. “He has said consistently, and I very much respect this, that he would wait to the end and judge the full package,” she said.

Ahead of a visit to his electorate by the government's chief climate change adviser Ross Garnaut today, Mr Windsor said he was happy to work with other members of the multi-party climate change committee, but wouldn't guarantee his support for the carbon tax. “The Prime Minister doesn't have the numbers as I understand it,” he said. “When things get into the parliament people have a vote; I have a vote, others do as well. You can never get anything until it gets through a minority parliament,” he said.

“I'm not inclined to vote for something that does nothing if we can get something that does something I'm more than happy to vote for it.”

Ms Gillard said consultations with business, community and environment groups and unions would ensure a balanced package, which the government would present to parliament in the second half of this year.

“What Tony Windsor has said to me and said publicly is that he does believe climate change is real and that we need to tackle it, he does believe that pricing carbon is the best way, an important way of tackling climate change,” she said. “But for an individual legislative package he's going to look at the package and wait to the end and then judge.”


Working families to pay for the gesture

By Senator Barnaby Joyce

Minister Combet’s announcement that they are going to compensate working families for the cost of carbon tax should confirm one thing; a carbon tax is going to cost working families.

The fundamental issue here is that a carbon tax is not going to change the temperature of the globe or change the climate in any shape or form. It is merely a gesture. A gesture that means that those who are already finding it extremely difficult to get by are going to have that difficulty exacerbated by a pointless tax with a deceitful inference that it will the change global climatic conditions.

What is the point of taking money off people, spinning it around a bureaucracy and giving people back a bit of their own money and expecting be thanked for it? Why don’t you just let people keep their own money and go away?

In the meantime you put up the price of the fundamental mechanism of commerce, power, so what is now our competitive advantage? Obviously we don’t want lower wages so ultimately there will be fewer jobs.

Is Australia going to be reduced to a country that digs up red rocks and black rocks, iron and coal and sends them over to where they don’t have a carbon tax so they can produce the things we used to produce?

Doesn’t the government get it? The people don’t want this tax and surely the have some right in being respected on this decision.

Even on the CFMEU website, the majority of the workers don’t want a carbon tax. I’m sure that this is not a National Party stronghold, so my advice to the Labor party is, listen to your own people otherwise it will end up in tears, like the NSW election.


Marrickville council to boycott HP, others at $3.7m cost

Independent Marrickville councillor Victor Macri described the boycott as ludicrous. Picture: Jane Dempster Source: The Australian
A MOVE by a Greens-controlled council in Sydney's inner west to boycott goods and services from Israel will cost ratepayers at least $3.7 million and force the council to abandon Holden cars and Hewlett-Packard computers, among many other disruptions.

The stark warning on the cost of the council's decision to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign earlier this year is contained in a paper by the council's manager of services, Gary Moore, which is due for discussion next week and has been obtained by The Australian.

Marrickville, the only council in Australia that has approved an Israel boycott, has been a hotbed of political controversy since its Greens Mayor Fiona Byrne said she would push for a statewide version of the Israel boycott if elected to the NSW lower house at last month's election.

During the election campaign, Ms Byrne made contradictory remarks about the boycott, which was a factor in her failure to wrest the seat of Marrickville from Labor MP and former deputy premier Carmel Tebbutt.

Ms Byrne could have the casting vote next Tuesday on whether to continue with the campaign and slug ratepayers with the added cost, when a motion to repeal the boycott is put forward.

Mr Moore's paper details goods and services the council would have to forgo in order to comply with its directive, such as Hewlett Packard computers, Holden and Volvo cars, telephones and other equipment from Motorola and concrete from Fulton Hogan.

These companies, according to the council's original motion to join the global BDS movement, "support or profit from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine".

The report estimates the cost of replacing certain IT assets at $3.5m, and the annual cost of using a different concrete supplier at $250,000. It does not attempt to estimate the cost of replacing vehicles, and says changing waste-disposal service providers may not even be possible.

Mr Moore's paper admits staff have been unable to fully research ties between companies providing goods to the council and Israel and have largely relied on - an anti-Israel website.

Independent councillor Victor Macri described the boycott plan as ludicrous. "We weren't elected to do this; we were elected to look after the streets and trees and pick up garbage," Mr Macri said.

"People vote federally to direct foreign policy. A boycott of Israel will hurt Marrickville ratepayers far more than it will Israel."

The costs will likely be exacerbated after Randwick council in Sydney's east passed a motion last month that excluded Marrickville from collective purchasing agreements because its boycott would limit other councils' ability to negotiate for the best price.

Mr Moore's report found the boycott measure would lead to "substantial" impacts on council's operations. "Significant change would have to be planned for and managed to enable council operations to be maintained whilst new sets of providers of computer hardware, concrete, waste services, some vehicles and some other construction materials and consumables are obtained and existing contracts are completed/suspended," the report said.

It noted the council might need to spend $5000 to $10,000 in legal fees just to determine whether the original motion on the boycott was lawful under anti-discrimination laws. A council source said a "conservative approach" had been used in determining the cost of implementing a boycott.

"It's fair to say that the report is measured - built around realistically what the council is able to look at replacing," the source said. For example, the costs of breaking existing contracts or finding a replacement water supply to the Kurnell desalination plant, which is operated by Veolia, another company on the global BDS blacklist, are not included.

Mr Macri said if a complete divestment campaign were implemented, the council might as well "shut its doors".

Spread over Marrickville's roughly 40,000 homes, the costs estimated work out at about $100 a household. The council has an annual budget of about $72m.

Mr Macri said contrary to council policy, the BDS motion was not attended by detailed costings when passed in December.

Mr Moore's report described the cheaper option of phasing out goods and services as they expired, rather than divesting them completely, but found such a decision would "still have significant impacts on council's operations".

A council source told The Australian the cheaper option would cost at least $1m. Labor councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias said the costs associated with both options were "outrageous".

Mr Tsardoulias, who initially supported the boycott but later changed his mind, said he and others had had hundreds of complaints since the council's motion began getting attention.

Council is said to have received a petition of 4600 signatures.

Of Marrickville's 12 councillors, four Labor and two independents are expected to support Tuesday's motion to repeal the boycott; one independent is set to side with the five Greens in opposing the motion, although The Australian understands one Green is having second thoughts.


Commission slams desal plants

More Greenie waste of resources. Greenies hate dams

PROLONGED water restrictions and expensive desalination plants are the least efficient way of providing water security, the government's key economic advisory body has found.

In a scathing draft report, the Productivity Commission yesterday called for an urgent overhaul of the urban water sector, declaring consumers were paying more than necessary for their water as a result of poor government decision-making.

The 600-page report is highly critical of decisions by state governments across the country to overinvest in expensive and inefficient desalination plants, with economic modelling indicating desalination plants in Melbourne and Perth alone could cost consumers between $3.1 billion and $4.2bn more than cheaper water-saving measures over 20 years.

The commission also criticised the federal government for "distorting investment decisions" by offering generous subsidies for the construction of desalination plants. But a spokesman for Parliamentary Secretary for Urban Water Don Farrell last night hit back, saying the federal government contributed to only two of the six major desalination plants in Australia, and this made up "only a portion" of the $1.5bn the government had spent on urban water security.

In a recommendation that will probably draw criticism, the commission also declared state governments and water bodies should be open to returning highly treated recycled wastewater to waterways for drinking.

The report says governments have been too quick to discount recycled wastewater for political, rather than economic, reasons: "Negative community perceptions have become entrenched in the absence of good evidence about the costs and benefits."

The Productivity Commission is the latest in a chorus of voices calling for the urgent reform of Australia's urban water sector, with the National Water Initiative last week declaring new consideration needed to be given to the use of recycled water, as well as the construction of new dams.

The commission wants to open up the market for urban water trading and remove all remaining bans on trading between urban and rural areas that would allow water to be purchased at its highest value. It also recommends that state and territory governments should move away from setting water prices to monitoring how utilities price water and whether they abuse their market power.

The Productivity Commission found water restrictions imposed by state governments were likely to cost the nation about a $1bn in lost production, and governments would be better off charging consumers extra for different tiers of water packages and allow the market to regulate water use.

A spokesman for Senator Farrell said the government welcomed the draft report, including the recommendation that recycled wastewater should be considered as a more effective way to manage water shortages.

Opposition water spokesman Barnaby Joyce said the Productivity Commission was correct to criticise investment in desalination plants, saying they should be any government's "absolutely last-ditch alternative".



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


13 April, 2011

Warmists lose; skeptic wins

James Delingpole

I wasn’t going to crow, really I wasn’t. But I’m afraid I can’t resist, especially since it’s my last blog post for a while and this is an event of some significance. I’m talking about the Press Complaints Commission’s ruling on a complaint brought against this blog by our old friends at the University of East Anglia. They lost. We won. (And I do mean we: I’m hugely grateful to my legal advisers, as well as to experts including Steve McIntyre, Andrew Montford, Richard North and Christopher Booker.)

Because I’m about to dash off to Devon for some vital surfing R & R, I’ve only time to sketch in why this matters so much. Basically the UEA were trying to use the PCC as a way of gagging this blog from speaking unpalatable truths about the shoddy goings-on in its notorious Climatic Research Unit.

To its enormous credit the PCC stuck up for fair comment and freedom of speech. This is a massive victory not just for me and Telegraph blogs, but for bloggers everywhere – especially those doughty souls around the world who are battling against Establishment lies, bullying and cover ups to try to reveal the truth about the corrupt, mendacious Climate Change industry.

If it sounds like I’m overdoing it, consider this: the PCC’s ruling must be among the first by any quasi-official body anywhere in the world to take the side of a Climate Change sceptic rather than that of the Warmist establishment. This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Now that ruling in full:
Commission’s decision in the case of
University of East Anglia v The Daily Telegraph

The complainants, acting on behalf of the University of East Anglia (UEA), complained that three blog posts by James Delingpole were inaccurate and misleading and contained distorted information in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code. In particular, the complainants were concerned that the blog posts described Professor Phil Jones as “disgraced, FOI-breaching, email-deleting, scientific-method abusing”. They explained that Professor Phil Jones had been exonerated of any dishonesty or scientific malpractice by a series of reviews. They were concerned that a second blog post repeated accusations that had been demonstrated as untrue, concluding that the University’s scientists were “untrustworthy, unreliable and entirely unfit to write the kind of reports on which governments around the world make their economic and environmental decisions”, and a third blog post referred to the scientists’ work as “shoddy” and “mendacious”.

The Commission emphasised that the articles in question were blog posts and were clearly identifiable as such to readers generally, as they were posited in the ‘Telegraph Blogs’ section of the website and written under the columnist’s prominent by-line. The Commission was satisfied that readers would be aware that the comments therein represented the columnist’s own robust views of the matters in question. Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code permits the publication of such comment provided it is clearly distinguished from fact and does not contain significantly inaccurate, misleading or distorted information. The Commission has previously ruled [North v The Guardian] that “In the realm of blogging (especially in cases touching upon controversial topics such as climate change), there is likely to be strong and fervent disagreement, with writers making use of emotive terms and strident rhetoric. This is a necessary consequence of free speech. The Commission felt that it should be slow to intervene in this, unless there is evidence of factual inaccuracy or misleading statement.”

Through its correspondence the newspaper had provided some evidence in support of the statements under dispute, and the columnist had included some of this evidence in the second blog post under discussion. In relation to the columnist’s description of Professor Jones as “FOI-breaching, email-deleting”, the newspaper had provided extracts from an email from Professor Jones in which he had written “If they ever hear there is a Freedom of Information Act now in the UK, I think I’ll delete the file rather than send to anyone”, and another email in which he had written “Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?”. With respect to the columnist’s assertion that Professor Jones was “scientific method-abusing”, the newspaper had provided an extract from an email from Professor Jones in which he had written “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline”. In view of this, the Commission considered that there were some grounds for the columnist’s opinion – which readers would recognise was subjective – on these points.

The complainants emphasised that Professor Phil Jones and the other scientists discussed in the blog post had been cleared by a number of independent reviews. The Commission noted that the columnist had referred to these reviews, and that readers would therefore have been aware that they had taken place. In the first blog post complained of the columnist had referred to “unconvincing attempts to clear the Climategate scientists”, and noted that one scientist, Mike Hulme, had “managed to emerge from the Climategate scandal smelling of violets”. He had also noted in the first blog post that Professor Jones had granted interviews “presenting himself as a man far more sinned against than sinning”. The columnist in the second blog post complained of had expanded on his comments and made clear that the scientists had “apparently… been ‘exonerated and cleared of all malpractice by a series of independent reviews’”, although he made clear that he did not consider these reviews to have been “independent”, citing a report by Andrew Montford which was critical of the reviews. While the complainants had expressed concern that the Montford report was “partisan”, the Commission considered that the columnist was entitled to agree with the report.

The Commission was satisfied that readers would be aware of the context of the columnist’s robust views – clearly recognisable as his subjective opinion – that the scientists were “untrustworthy, unreliable and entirely unfit to write the kind of reports on which governments around the world make their economic and environmental decisions”, and that their work was “shoddy” and “mendacious”. In the circumstances, it did not consider that there had been a breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code.

The Commission noted that the newspaper had offered the complainants an opportunity to respond on the blog post. It considered that this would inform readers of the full context of the dispute and the complainants’ position. The Commission welcomed this offer, and hoped it would remain open to the complainants.


"Green" ideas not good for business

Leslie Dach, former senior aide to Al Gore, was the impetus behind Wal-Mart's failed shift to "green," upscale items that fit the progressive agenda for what Americans should be buying.

After suffering seven straight quarters of losses, today the merchandise giant Wal-Mart will announce that it is “going back to basics,” ending its era of high-end organic foods, going “green,” and the remainder of its appeal to the upscale market. Next month the company will launch an “It’s Back” campaign to woo the millions of customers who have fled the store. They will be bringing back “heritage” products, like inexpensive jeans and sweatpants.

Few may recognize it as such, but this episode should be seen as a cautionary tale about “progressives” and social engineering experiments on low-income Americans. This morning’s Wall Street Journal article is blunt:

That strategy failed, and the Bentonville, Ark., retail giant now is pursuing a back-to-basics strategy to reverse the company’s fortunes.

The failure, in large part, can be pinned to Leslie Dach: a well-known progressive and former senior aide to Vice President Al Gore. In July 2006, Dach was installed as the public relations chief for Wal-Mart. He drafted a number of other progressives into the company, seeking to change the company’s way of doing business: its culture, its politics, and most importantly its products.

Out went drab, inexpensive merchandise so dear to low-income Americans. In came upscale organic foods, “green” products, trendy jeans, and political correctness. In other words, Dach sought to expose poor working Americans to the “good life” of the wealthy, environmentally conscious Prius driver.

Dach’s failure should be a cautionary tale for President Obama: last week he scolded a blue collar man in Pennsylvania for driving an SUV, and he has previously admonished Americans to get out of their gas-guzzlers and into electric cars. Dach’s failure should also put Michelle Obama on notice; she has been pushing her White House organic vegetable garden as a model for working Americans.

Like other real-world experiments, the Wal-Mart story exposes the failure of progressivism in the marketplace, as the Dach strategy has been a fiasco: the merchandising turned off low-income (and largely Democratic-leaning) customers. Says former Wal-Mart executive Jimmy Wright: "The basic Wal-Mart customer didn’t leave Wal-Mart. What happened is that Wal-Mart left the customer."

Dach convinced the company to steer away from founder Sam Walton’s core values. At the core of Dach’s campaign was to prove that Wal-Mart was “going green.” He brought in Vice President Gore to speak about environmental issues: they actually screened his global warming film, An Inconvenient Truth, at a quarterly meeting of Wal-Mart employees and invited environmental groups. Expensive organic foods were showcased in their produce section. Trendy and pricey environmentally safe products were put on the shelves.

Richard Edelman of Edelman Public Relations — who had once hired Dach — noted that Dach constantly pushed Democratic Party health care and environmental agendas inside the giant company. Writes the New Yorker: "Richard Edelman suggested that he is seeing Dach’s influence on the company. Edelman called Dach an “idealist” who has carried to Wal-Mart his fervor for such traditional Democratic causes as universal health care and environmentalism."

The Sierra Club’s Carl Pope seemed pleased that Dach was inside the enemy camp, confiding to the New Yorker: "One of the remarkable things about the environmental movement is how rarely people from our side end up on the other side, and Leslie is on the other side."

But Dach’s fervor only sunk the company. Andy Barron, a Wal-Mart executive vice president, told an investor meeting: "Clearly, we’ve lost some of our focus on what I would call the core customer. … You might say, in short, that we were trying to be something that maybe we’re not."

George Siemon, CEO of Organic Valley — the nation’s largest organics cooperative — said to the WSJ: "Is the Wal-Mart customer ready to embrace a full set of organics products? The answer is no, not yet."

This is probably not what Michelle Obama wants to hear.

For leading the failed experiment, Dach was awarded three million dollars in stock and a hundred and sixty-eight thousand stock options, in addition to an undisclosed base salary.

Summing up the mess, mechanic Mike Craig told the WSJ: "Wal-Mart just went and broke it."


More EPA regulation? Voodoo is better

The agency’s push to stifle greenhouse gas emissions would cost more but do little else

One way or the other, the powers that be are determined to do something big, bold and dumb to try to stop supposedly catastrophic global warming, and here's my suggestion.: a nationwide voodoo dance.

It's true that tens of millions hopping crazily about in the streets would accomplish nothing, but neither will the far more mischievous plot in which the Environmental Protection Agency will do the hopping, going from source to source to stifle greenhouse gas emissions. Ask advocates, and they will argue that science validates the scheme. Ask J. Scott Armstrong, and he will tell you differently.

Armstrong is a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and someone alarmed about alarmists. With two other students of forecasting, he has observed that apocalypse predictors have been repeatedly wide of the mark, 23 times persuading the government to jump in with regulatory rigor to halt horrors that weren't horrors, doing no good in any of the cases and harm in 20.

In testimony before Congress, he said the global warming scare was the same vaporous worrying all over again. At the least, he said, any intervention should be preceded by evidence demonstrating a long-term, serious warming danger that the government could repel. No such evidence has been produced. Forecasts have been riddled with error. A United Nations warning flunked on 81 percent of the 89 procedures science demands for credibility, he said.

For the unconvinced, the EPA itself provides data showing its intrusiveness would be fruitless. Citing an EPA report, James M. Taylor of the Heartland Institute writes in a article that while carbon dioxide emissions have been declining in this country, China is more than taking up the slack.

He noted that China now produces some 24 percent of worldwide emissions (seven percent more than we do), and is adding to that total lickety-split. If the United States and Europe converted to hunter-gatherer societies next week, it wouldn't matter. In 10 years, China would be producing enough carbon dioxide to make up for our industrial absence.

Still, it might be argued, we should do our part, hoping that some day China and its carbon-contributing neighbor India might come on board. Know this: The cost would be huge. As a candidate in 2008, President Barack Obama himself said capping emission sources would "necessarily" make electricity rates "skyrocket," and Taylor looks to the Congressional Budget Office to assess the likely hit on the middle class. An emission reduction of 15 percent would cost an average family at least $1,400 a year, the congressional agency says.

That's hardly the end of the story. You think oil prices are high now? Wait until the EPA gets going. A Heritage Foundation analysis says in addition to gasoline and electricity, consumers can expect to pay more for diesel fuel and home heating oil. The writer adds that this more expensive energy will boost business costs that will be part of the higher prices consumers pay for just about everything.

Instead of wrecking the economy, how about waiting until we learn more about the atmosphere from studies still under way while also adapting to warming as needed, conserving reasonably, looking more to natural gas (which emits less carbon dioxide than coal and oil) and nuclear power (still a more reliable route despite the recent Japanese accident) and understanding that free-market technological rescues are in fact more than likely if some of the worst really should come to pass?

Sadly, Senate Democrats blocked a House bill that would have thwarted EPA's ambitions, but the House should try, try, try again, using its budgetary heft as necessary, and if it does succeed and there's no Obama veto, and if the warming alarmists are still unhappy, let's give them the voodoo dance, which should be cheap and do no harm.


NEW BOOK: Climate Coup: Global Warmings Invasion of Our Government and Our Lives

Despite convincing evidence that observed climate changes do not portend a calamitous future, global warming alarmism is invading nearly every aspect of our society. Children are flooded with apocalyptic visions and ideas in our schools. Poor countries shake down rich ones in the name of climate justice. Lawmakers try to impose tariffs and sanctions on nations that don't agree with their environmental preconceptions. Even the military uses climate change as an excuse to enlarge its budget.

Edited by leading climatologist Patrick Michaels, widely acknowledged by climate alarmists as today's most effective advocate of the non-apocalyptic view of climate change. Michaels has gathered a team of first-rate experts on health, education, religion, defense, development, law, trade, and academic publication to produce this comprehensive documentation of the pervasive influence of global warming alarmism on almost every aspect of society.


Cannabis use increases CO2 emissions

"equivalent to that of 3 million average American cars"

On occasion, previously unrecognized spheres of energy use come to light. Important examples include the pervasive air leakage from ductwork in homes, the bourgeoning energy intensity of computer datacenters, and the electricity “leaking” from millions of small power supplies and other equipment. Intensive periods of investigation, technology R&D, and policy development gradually ensue in the wake of these discoveries. The emergent industry of indoor Cannabis production appears to have joined the list.

This report presents a model of the modern-day production process—based on public sources and equipment vendor data—and provides national scoping estimates of the energy use, costs, and greenhouse-gas emissions associated with this activity in the United States.

Large-scale industrialized and highly energy-intensive indoor cultivation of Cannabis is a relatively new phenomenon, driven by criminalization, pursuit of security, and the desire for greater process control and yields. The practice occurs in every state, and the 415,000 indoor plants eradicated in 2009 5 represent only the tip of the iceberg. Aside from sporadic news reports, policymakers and consumers possess little information on the energy implications of this practice.

Substantially higher electricity demand growth is observed in areas reputed to have extensive indoor Cannabis cultivation. For example, following the legalization of cultivation for medical purposes in California in 1996, Humboldt County experienced a 50% rise in per-capita residential electricity use compared to other areas.

Cultivation is today legal in 17 states, albeit not federally sanctioned. In California, 400,000 individuals are authorized to grow Cannabis for personal medical use, or sale to 2,100 dispensaries. Official estimates of total U.S. production varied from 10,000 to 24,000 metric tons per year in 2001, making it the nation’s largest crop by value.

As of 2006, one third of national indoor production was estimated to occur in California. Based on a rising number of consumers (6.6% of U.S. population above the age of 12), national production in 2011 is estimated for the purposes of this study at 17,000 metric tons, one-third occurring indoors.

Driving the large energy requirements of indoor production facilities are lighting levels matching those found in hospital operating rooms (500-times greater than recommended for reading) and 30 hourly air changes (6-times the rate in high-tech laboratories, and 60- times the rate in a modern home).

Resulting electricity intensities are 200 watts per square foot, which is on a par with modern datacenters. Indoor carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are often raised to four-times natural levels in order to boost plant growth. Specific energy uses include high-intensity lighting, dehumidification to remove water vapor, space heating during non-illuminated periods and drying, irrigation water preheating, generation of CO2 by burning fossil fuel, and ventilation and air-conditioning to remove waste heat. Substantial energy inefficiencies arise from air cleaning, noise and odor suppression, and inefficient electric generators used to avoid conspicuous utility bills.

Based on these operational factors, the energy requirements to operate a standard production module—a 4x4x8 foot chamber—are approximately 13,000 kWh/year of electricity and 1.5 x 10 6 BTU/year of fossil fuel. A single grow house can contain 10 or more such modules. Power use scales to about 20 TWh/year nationally (including off-grid production and power theft), equivalent to that of 2 million average U.S. homes. This corresponds to 1% of national electricity consumption or 2% of that in households—or the output of 7 large electric power plants.

This energy, plus transportation fuel, is valued at $5 billion annually, with associated emissions of 17 million metric tons of CO2— equivalent to that of 3 million average American cars.

Much more HERE (See the original for references)

Rare fish saved from "anticipated" warming

One wishes the fish well and the new caution in that word "anticipated" is welcome too. I guess even the Brits have noticed that their winters are in fact colder than they were

The endangered vendace, that has been in Britain since the Ice Age, is in danger of dying out as lakes and rivers warm up because of man made global warming.

To ensure the species survival, the UK's environmental watchdog took eggs from Derwentwater in Cumbria, thought to be the only remaining site where the fish are found in England and Wales. They then took 25,000 young fish from the hatchery to a cooler lake higher up the mountains of the Lake District, Sprinkler Tarn, to establish a new 'refuge' population that is more likely to survive warming temperatures.

Because the route to the lake is so rocky and uneven, it was impossible to use conventional transport like a 4x4 motorbike or landrover. So, the fish were given a ride during part of the two-hour trek by sure-footed llamas from a local charity. The journey was finished by fisheries officers on foot to ensure none of the smarts were spilt.

Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said British species have to be protected from climate change. "In addition to the anticipated warming of lakes and rivers, we may also see an increase in the occurrence of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and heatwaves.

"All of these could have an impact on much of the native wildlife in England, especially aquatic species such as the rare and specialised vendace, so we are taking action now to conserve the existing populations."

Andy Gowans, fisheries technical specialist for the Environment Agency, said the fish are now safe from global warming. "By introducing these vendace into Sprinkling Tarn, where water temperatures will be lower, it will provide an additional element of safeguarding for this endangered species," he said. "The fish will be closely monitored, in the hope that a self-sustaining population will be established."


There is a more comprehensive article on the matter here in which bets are also hedged


For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


12 April, 2011

A trivial piece from Mr Trivelpiece

He claims that young penguins are dying due to lack of food and the lack of food is due to global warming. Since there has been NO warming (more a cooling) in the Antarctic, his claims fall at the first hurdle. See the graph of Antarctic temperatures that I put up yesterday. Even the trivial one's own work suggests that penguin populations wax and wane naturally

Young penguins in the Antarctic may be dying because they are having a tougher time finding food, as melting sea ice cuts back on the tiny fish they eat, US researchers suggested on Monday. Only about 10 percent of baby penguins tagged by researchers are coming back in two to four years to breed, down from 40-50 percent in the 1970s, said the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"It is a dramatic change," lead researcher Wayne Trivelpiece, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division, told AFP. "There are still two to three million chinstrap pairs in this region but there were seven to eight million two decades ago," he said.

"There is some concern now. We need to follow these animals and track them."

Trivelpiece was a co-author on a study published in 1992 that suggested penguin populations were surging and subsiding according to changes in sea ice -- with the chinstrap doing better in warm years and the Adelie thriving in cold years. Chinstrap penguins eat and make their nests away from the snow and ice and so are considered ice-avoiding animals, unlike their Adelie counterparts who feed in icy habitats and are seen as more vulnerable when there is less ice.

However, Trivelpiece and his co-authors now believe that krill are the real culprit for the disappearing penguin populations, and the damage affects both types of penguins.

Krill needs ice to survive, and as climate change causes more polar sea ice to melt, the tiny sea creatures cannot breed or feast on phytoplankton in the ice and their numbers fall, taking away an important source of nourishment for penguins. "Under a scenario of global warming and increasing temperature we had prophesized that Adelies and ice-loving animals like Adelies should decline while chinstraps and ice-avoiding animals should increase," Trivelpiece said.

But shortly after the team's paper was published in the early 90s, the data began to change. "From that point shortly thereafter onward, we lost those large fluxes and both species started behaving the same way and both started declining dramatically," he said.


A Disturbing View Of Climate Sensitivity

CO2 has gone way up over the last century, while temperature has done almost nothing (a little over half a degree.) This indicates climate sensitivity close to zero. But why let actual observation supersede the unverified output of a grossly deficient computer model?


Routed Greens Retreat

Climate change is real. Climate change is manmade. Manmade climate change has happened within the last twenty-four months.

Leaders in the climate change debate have controlled the message for forty years since the adoption of the Clean Air Act. They have “approached climate change politics with an air of disdain,” according to Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund (established in 1967).

Krupp addressed the changing political climate at Fortune Magazine’s Brainstorm Green Conference in early April and admitted that there is a “newfound hostility to climate policy.” He advised the environmental community to be “more humble” and “less arrogant.” He acknowledged the failure of a comprehensive energy and/or cap and trade policy.

Krupp is correct. With the falsification of climate records exposed—known as Climategate, the American people now see climate change as merely hysteria. Polls show they do not view it as a real problem that we need to address now.

At the same conference, Jim Rogers, CEO of Duke Energy, agreed. He said, “Cap and trade cannot be sold and must be reinvented,” adding that it was going to be hard to “resurrect cap and trade.”

Climate change legislation has been the holy grail of the environmental movement—but the climate has changed. Now the green movement is playing defense.

This change of climate is not from carbon emissions—though it is manmade. At the same conference, former green jobs czar, Van Jones, didn’t “blame the environmentalists or the policy concept itself.” What brought about the change? How’d the debate get reframed and cause the death of cap and trade? Something, Jones pointed out, no one in the room had heard of twenty-four months ago—“a right-wing populace movement” that the carbon emission supporters failed to take seriously: “the tea party.”

Man changed the political climate in just two years. After forty years, environmentalists are now on the defense because of some under-estimated “upstarts.”

This change of climate was evident during the recent legislative battles over the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to use the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon emissions—which environmentalists believe causes climate change.

In late March/early April four bills were introduced in the Senate—each designed to limit the EPA’s authority. Not surprisingly, none passed in the Democrat-held Senate. However, the change of climate can be seen in the numbers. In the vote on April 6, the bills with the least restrictions on the EPA’s authority were trounced (Baucus Amendment 7-yes, 93-no; Rockefeller 12-yes, 88-no; Stabenow 7-yes, 93-no) while the strongest, the McConnell Amendment, came close to passing at 50-yes, 50-no. A similar plan passed the House 255 to 172.

While the climate has changed, the fight is not over. The battle continues. Following the Senate’s EPA skirmish, the New York Times said “Efforts to handcuff the environmental agency are not likely to end here.”

Admitting defeat on climate change legislation, Krupp encouraged the environmental movement to try “other approaches.”

As soon as Krupp’s suggestion surfaced, “other approaches” appeared. The next day (April 6) Senators Tom and Mark Udall (NM and CO, respectively) introduced legislation that retiring Senator Bingaman (NM) has been heralding for several years: The Renewable Energy Standard (RES). Simmering on the sidelines, the RES was ready and awaiting its moment. With the admitted death of cap and trade and animosity toward the EPA growing, it was time for something, as Krupp stated, “that might capture a bipartisan center.” The cousins Udall were all too happy to oblige with a bill that would set a federal RES of 6% renewable energy (wind, solar and “other renewable sources”) by 2013, reaching 25% by 2025. Both New Mexico and Colorado currently have state renewable energy standards—as do 27 others.

The Udall’s efforts, in this changed political climate, have so little chance of success, major news outlets ignored their announcement. The Colorado Independent said, “While the bill may be able to make it out of the Senate—although even that isn’t a certainty—it has almost no chance in the Republican controlled House.”

The RES should be seen as the “reinvention” of cap and trade—another approach. According to the New Mexico Independent, “The plan would allow energy suppliers to buy credits from other producers who produce renewable energy and allow producers to ‘bank’ the credits for up to four years and borrow credits for up to three years into the future.”

The RES would essentially achieve the same carbon emission reductions as a cap and trade plan by forcing the public to use more-expensive renewable energy—thus reducing energy consumption. (Generally states with a renewable energy standard have higher electricity rates.) Americans understand that when developing countries refuse to cut their energy use because it will hurt their economy, we shouldn’t be forced to cut ours either.

Despite the near certain failure of the Udall’s approach, don’t make the same mistake the White House made. Take these repeated “resurrections” seriously by keeping the green movement on the defense. They’ve been trying to make us replace economic energy that works for electricity that is expensive, intermittent, and ineffective. But America noticed. We woke up, showed up, stood up and spoke up.

You have changed the climate!


Still chilly in Canada

Re: "Planting season delayed weeks by late snow, frost," April 6.

Unlike global warming, which extends growing seasons, global cooling, which started in 2002, will shorten growing seasons for at least the next two decades.

This delayed planting season is a warning for Canadians to prepare for what is to come, but instead of addressing the real threat from global cooling, Canada is still attempting to meet the ludicrous commitments of the Kyoto accord to address the fabricated crisis of human-caused global warming.

The Liberals ratified Kyoto in 2002 without doing the independent scientific verification that would have demonstrated that global warming resulted from changes in solar activity and not from greenhouse gas emissions, since satellites clearly showed that the enhanced greenhouse effect never occurred.

Stephen Harper, the Alliance party leader at the time, was the only political leader who demanded open scientific debate before adopting Kyoto, but the NDP, Green party and Bloc all supported Jean Chretien in ratifying Kyoto and legislating Canada's Kyoto commitments. They blindly followed fraudulent IPCC dogma and violated their obligation to the public for proper due diligence.

Today, with looming food shortages from global cooling, Canada produces two billion litres of ethanol as "biofuel commitments" to Kyoto, removing enough wheat and corn from the global food supply to feed more than 33 million people.


Snow arrives two months early in Australia

Global cooling!

The wet weather which lashed southern Victoria overnight has also reached the high country, with Mt Buller, Falls Creek and Mt Hotham all reporting good snowfalls since the weekend.

With the official start to the ski season still two months away, the snow continues to fall across Mt Buller today after temperatures fell below zero last night. At 9.30am the temperature had climbed back to minus 0.2 degrees after plunging to minus 1.6 degrees. About 10cm had fallen at Mt Buller by 9am.

"Early snow is always exciting to see and it gets everyone into thinking about the season ahead," said Laurie Blampied, general manager of Buller Ski Lifts.

He said that although snow was not unusual for April, 10 centimetres was a "significant amount for this time of year".

"It's still two months until the official opening of the snow season but we love to see the temperatures dropping and snow coming to the mountain."

The snow season will officially open on the Queen's Birthday long weekend - June 11.

Falls Creek and Mt Hotham also reported snow, but Terry Ryan of the weather bureau said it was likely to melt in coming days.

"The ground is still a bit too warm for it to last," he said.

"You really need it to fall in late May to early June for it to hang around. We'll get warmer days up there by late this week and it will melt the snow which has already fallen."


The latest Greenie attack on other people's lives

Nitrogen compounds are now the enemy. So we must stop eating meat!

Nitrogen pollution from farms, vehicles, industry and waste treatment is costing the EU up to £280bn (320bn euros) a year, a report says.

The study by 200 European experts says reactive nitrogen contributes to air pollution, fuels climate change and is estimated to shorten the life of the average resident by six months. Livestock farming is one of the biggest causes of nitrogen pollution, it adds. It calls for changes in farming and more controls on vehicles and industry.

The problem would be greatly helped if less meat was consumed, the report says.

Nitrogen is the most common element in the atmosphere and is harmless. It is the reactive form - mainly produced by human activity - that causes a web of related problems.

The 600-page report relies on experts from 21 countries and 89 organisations. It estimates the annual cost of damage caused by nitrogen across Europe as being £55-£280bn.

Dr Sutton said nitrogen pollution was a serious issue not just in Europe but also N America, China and India.

Reactive nitrogen emissions from agriculture are the most intractable as they come from many diffuse sources.

The report says Europe needs nitrogen fertilisers for its own food security but blames many farmers for applying fertiliser carelessly to crops, so that excess nitrogen runs off to pollute water supplies.

Run-off from animal manure also fouls watercourses, and the release of nitrous oxides from uncovered dung heaps pollutes the air. Agriculture produces 70% of the nitrous oxide emissions in Europe.

New rules reducing nitrogen emissions from farms are introduced next year, but there are questions over whether these will be strict enough or properly enforced.

The report says more careful application of fertiliser will benefit farmers by saving money. It will benefit the climate by avoiding the energy used to create the fertiliser.

Lead editor, Mark Sutton from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology near Edinburgh, told BBC News that 80% of the nitrogen in crops feeds livestock, not people.

"It's much more efficient to obtain protein by eating plants rather than animals," he said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


11 April, 2011

Global Warming rampant: Floods and hurricanes in Connecticut

In 1955

The Connecticut Flood Recovery Committee's final report declared, "Connecticut was the hardest hit victim of the worst flood in the history of the eastern United States." 1 The state endured Nature's fury in two major floods, one on August 19 and the second on October 16. Both were results of torrential rains.

On August 13 Hurricane Connie dropped four to six inches of rain on Connecticut. Five days later, another hurricane, Diane, dropped an additional fourteen inches of rain in a thirty-hour period between Thursday morning and Friday noon. The floods came on the 19th. The greatest loss of life and destruction to property occurred along the Mad and Still Rivers in Winsted, the Naugatuck, the Farmington, and the Quinebaug in the Putnam-Killingly region.

Governor Abraham Ribicoff personally visited the scenes of destruction. President Dwight Eisenhower declared Connecticut a disaster area. The survivors, however, hardly had time to recover when the second flood took place. From October 14 through the 16th, heavy rains once more saturated the state. Gale winds and high tides resulted in new destruction along the shore in towns such as Norwalk. Again Governor Ribicoff visited sites of destruction, and the President issued a second declaration designating Connecticut as a disaster area.2

On March 19, 1956, Governor Ribicoff made the following statement before the United States Senate Appropriations Committee listing "what the 1955 floods cost Connecticut:"

"91 persons dead and 12 others missing and presumed dead.

86,000 persons unemployed.

More than 1,100 families left homeless.

Another 2,300 families were at least temporarily without shelter.

Nearly 20,000 families suffered flood damage.

Sixty-seven of our 169 towns were affected by the floods.

The damage to individual property, to business, to industry, and to State and municipal facilities has been estimated at almost half a billion dollars."


Global warming in 1932


False claim of Antarctic heating

In 2004, NASA showed Antarctica in a long-term cooling trend. But Gavin Schmidt forecast the future:

"Antarctic cooling, global warming? …. the continent and in the interior appear to have cooled slightly …… we fully expect Antarctica to warm up in the future"

Sure enough, in 2007 NASA flipped the long-term trend from cooling to warming.

Did Antarctica suddenly heat up between 2004 and 2007? Not according to the satellite data:


German Researcher says Antarctic Ice Intact

And cooling, if anything. Part of an interview below

Q. Let’s begin with a key concern: What is your opinion about the Antarctic ice melting due to global warming and the threat it would pose in coming years.

A. I would the say the situation is not as critical as it is made out. But, at some places in the Antarctica, we do find the ice breaking away and falling but its only in isolated spots. At the German base, we don’t really see any rise in temperature, in fact, it might be the other way round. So at this base we don’t see any global warming effect at all. But, this is a big discussion because you never know how accurate the measurements taken much earlier were because technology was not as advanced as it is now. It’s too easy to say that Antarctica is warmed by 1-2 degrees but, I’d infer, that is not really true.”

Q. What was your mission at Antarctica?

I stayed for 14 months at the German research station, called Neumayer station after a German scientist. During the past thirty years a lot of research has been done at this station like ozone measurements, geophysics observations, etc. which are very important for climate research which has to be carried out over a long period of time. Every year, new teams with scientific backgrounds and technical skills are sent there to continue collecting data for a data collection series. I went to work at an air chemistry laboratory there to sample Antarctic air, which is very very clean. But, what you measure there is seen against a global background, like recording any increase/decrease in Co2 in the atmosphere.


The State of the IPCC’s Leadership

I’ve been blogging about the fact that Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), habitually links the good name of that organization to activist endeavours of various descriptions (see here, here, and here).

In one instance, he wrote an enthusiastic foreword to the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2009 report prior to delivering the keynote address at an event celebrating the release of that publication. This means that the IPCC, a body we’re told exists to provide an objective view of climate science, is now inextricably associated with an overtly activist screed.

What does this publication say, exactly? The first lines appearing on the Acknowledgments page are these:
In the 20 years since the historic testimony by Goddard Institute scientist James Hansen, the science of climate change has come a long way…Hansen’s work and courage has been a major inspiration in compiling this twenty-sixth edition of State of the World. [bold added; p. vii]

When Frontline interviewed Timothy Wirth, the man who orchestrated Hansen’s 1988 Congressional testimony, he described the sequence of events this way:
We knew there was this scientist at NASA, you know, who had really identified the human impact before anybody else had done so and was very certain about it. So we called him up and asked him if he would testify. [bold added]

One scientist. Who felt certain about his own theories. That’s what triggered the global warming frenzy. Hansen’s testimony transformed him into a media darling, a scientific superstar. So where, precisely, does courage come into it?

Hansen has hardly been toiling away in obscurity – or poverty. For decades he has been a senior, presumably well-paid, employee at NASA. In 2001 he was the recipient of a $250,000 Heinz Award. In 2007 Time magazine designated him a Hero of the Environment. That same year he pocketed one-third of a $1 million Dan David Prize. In 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science presented him with its Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. In 2010 he landed a $100,000 Sophie Prize.

Hansen is the promoter of theories about our climate that, with the passage of time, may or may not be borne out. Rather than being persecuted for these theories, he has been fêted and financially rewarded. His prize money alone amounts to $683,000.

It ‘s not clear what part of this story the Worldwatch folks find so inspiring. What’s unmistakable is that they’re the sort of drama queens who believe we’re on the verge of an apocalypse. Here are some tidbits from the earliest pages of the book (bold added by me):
It is New Year’s Day, 2101. Somehow, humanity survived the worst of global warming…What did humanity do…to snatch a threatened world from the jaws of climate change catastrophe? (p. 3)

[This book] provides hope amidst the grim certainty that we are living in the early years of a vast unplanned change in the planet’s climate. (p. 3)

…we are privileged to live in a brief window of time when human beings can act decisively to stop the warming before its impacts become impossible to reverse or to tolerate. (p. 3)

It is now virtually certain that children born today will find their lives preoccupied with a host of hardships created by an inexorably warming world. (p. 5)

This would all be more stirring if it weren’t for a rather inconvenient fact. Over the past few hundred years there has been a parade of people who were all convinced the world had reached a tipping point and that they, too, were the anointed generation called upon to transform society and save us from disaster (see Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist and Dan Gardner’s Future Babble).

What cure do the Worldwatch folks propose for the disease they believe afflicts us? Small, pinched lives in which travel to foreign countries is no longer an opportunity enjoyed by the masses. Worldwatch, you see, has determined that travel isn’t a necessity. Moreover, these people think they’re entitled to decide what makes the rest of us happy:
Lifestyle changes will be needed, some of which seem unattractive today. But in the end, the things we may need to learn to live without – oversized cars and houses, status-based consumption, easy and cheap world travel, meat with every meal, disposable everything – are not necessities or in most cases what makes people happy. (p. 10)

They also appear to have a dubious fixation with bigger government and more taxation:
…it is not hard to imagine the climate problem driving a political evolution toward global governance over the long term…New institutions and new funds will be needed… (p. 10)

When these sentiments are added to their certainty that:
The global economy fundamentally drives climate change, and economic strategies will need to be revised if the climate is ever to be stabilized… (p. 12)

and their declaration that “an accurate examination of climate change” must include an “analysis of gender relations” (p.61) we end up with a full slate of readily-identifiable left-wing hobby horses.

The attention of these people isn’t focused on fixing one particular problem. Instead, they’re eager to redesign the economy, to re-jig the world’s political system, and to tell us how much meat we’re allowed to consume.

But instead of doing the hard work of selling each of those measures to the public on its own merits, the Worldwatch Institute is trying to sneak them in through the back door – by presenting them as necessary responses to human-caused climate change.

The problem with this argument is that lefty eco activists were pushing those same solutions long before global warming became the cause du jour. A while ago I wrote a blog post titled Global Disaster Is So 1976. I pointed out that people were talking about worldwide catastrophe back then, too. I noted that the answers being proposed included lifestyle changes such as eating less meat.

The bottom line? Rajendra Pachauri, as chairman of what is supposed to be a respectable science body, has – with deliberation and forethought – publicly linked that body to left-wing political analysis and activism.

In doing so he has single-handedly made it impossible for anyone who cares about scientific integrity, scholarly impartiality, or old-fashioned propriety to take the IPCC seriously.


A carbon illusion Australia can't afford

By Sinclair Davidson, a professor of economics

IN implementing its carbon tax the Gillard government is involved in a massive campaign of misinformation.

First there is the fiscal illusion. It is creating confusion about who will pay the tax in order to disguise the full cost of the policy.

Andrew Leigh -- first-term ALP backbencher and former professor of economics at the Australian National University -- recently said that the policy consisted of big polluters being taxed and money given to households, while the Coalition policy consisted of households being taxed and the money being given to polluters.

On the ABC's Insiders yesterday, Finance Minister Penny Wong said: "This is not a tax that people pay; this is a tax that polluters pay." That sounds all very reassuring, until we remember that Treasury thinks that household expenditure will go up by $860 per year for a $30 a tonne carbon tax.

What many people don't know is that the carbon tax will have to be much more than $30 a tonne to be effective.

As both Leigh and Wong know the argument that only the big polluters will pay is nonsense, some might say dishonest. There are two points to remember. It is household demand for goods and services that gives rise to carbon pollution. In any event big polluters will simply pass on the cost to their customers. So we know the carbon tax will be paid out of the household budget through higher prices and in some cases job losses.

The reality is that while big polluters will have to pay money to government , the burden will fall on people.

Then there is the notion that households will be compensated. Not all households, mind you; only low and middle-income households.

People should be worried that the government won't define what middle-income households are until late in the piece. Many households are going to be unpleasantly surprised.

The idea is to overcompensate low-income households. This will simply lead to them consuming more carbon intensive goods and services paid for by those higher in the income stakes.

How this would contribute to lowering total carbon emissions remains to be explained.

All sorts of anomalies and confusions are going to arise and this government hasn't shown itself capable of clear communication and explanation.

It is going to be very difficult to compensate households while also protecting trade-exposed industries. Wong knows this too. In Shitstorm, their excellent account of the Rudd government, Lenore Taylor and David Uren recount that Wong "had reached the conclusion the business executives filing through her office were not making ambit claims but were genuinely worried about the potential impact of the plan".

The government is hoping the introduction of the carbon tax will be similar to the introduction of the GST. When the GST was introduced there were compensating tax cuts and increased welfare payments. This compensation has been permanent. True, the GST raises more revenue than expected, but a whole raft of inefficiencies were eliminated and replaced by a more efficient revenue system.

Consumers very quickly got used to the GST and there is broad acceptance that the GST was a worthwhile and valuable reform. It is unlikely something similar will happen this time around. The GST is a tax designed to raise revenue. The carbon tax is designed to change behaviour: revenue is a secondary and, if the policy is successful, a temporary consideration.

Yet most of the discussion has revolved around how to spend the revenue.

The policy objective is to cause a substitution from low-cost but dirty energy production to higher-cost but cleaner energy production. In plain language the policy objective should lead to a permanent increase in household prices and fewer carbon emissions. But if successful, the revenue will decline, meaning there will be no money to pay compensation. There just isn't enough money to finance this scheme.

The government is planning to allocate revenue from a windfall gain to permanent spending. This is a recipe for structural deficits and fiscal irresponsibility. In the short run this policy isn't revenue neutral and in the long run it isn't budget neutral either. So rather than being reminiscent of the GST reforms, the notion of carbon tax compensation is more like Paul Keating's L-A-W reform. It is just not affordable.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


10 April, 2011

Lies, lies and more lies

This story is being spread around the Internet:
Can the cherry blossom tell us anything about climate change?

Yes, says Dr. Yasuyuki Aono of the Osaka Prefecture University. Since the mid-1990s, Aono and his colleague Yukio Omoto have been unearthing records of cherry blossom festivals in the former capital of Kyoto and nearby towns going back to the 9th century. Using the dates of the festival given in the records, and an equation that calculated the temperature in March of a given year based on when the cherry blossoms flowered, Aono was able to estimate March temperatures in the Kyoto area for the past 1200 years, a full thousand years farther back than most temperature data is available for.

The findings would not please climate change deniers: Aono found that recent flowering days are earlier than any in the past 1200 years.

Here is the abstract of Aono’s most recent paper, which says the exact opposite.

[His work even includes yet another finding of that pesky Medieval Warming Period, which was only a localized "North Atlantic" phenomenon, according to the Warmists. Pity Japan is in the Pacific!]
We investigated documents and diaries from the ninth to the fourteenth centuries to supplement the phenological data series of the flowering of Japanese cherry (Prunus jamasakura) in Kyoto, Japan, to improve and fill gaps in temperature estimates based on previously reported phenological data. We then reconstructed a nearly continuous series of March mean temperatures based on 224 years of cherry flowering data, including 51 years of previously unused data, to clarify springtime climate changes. We also attempted to estimate cherry full-flowering dates from phenological records of other deciduous species, adding further data for 6 years in the tenth and eleventh centuries by using the flowering phenology of Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda). The reconstructed tenth century March mean temperatures were around 7°C, indicating warmer conditions than at present. Temperatures then fell until the 1180s, recovered gradually until the 1310s, and then declined again in the mid-fourteenth century.

Even worse is the fact that Aono blames recent warming in the cities on the Urban Heat Island effect.

Not a hint of truth being presented by the MSM.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Some odd physics in the global warming theory

We have all been subjected to one of the most elaborate con jobs in the history of science by the IPCC and their supporters.

It all began with the only indisputable fact about our climate: that all of our energy comes to us from the sun by means of radiation.

Somebody had the brilliant idea that if all other manifestations of energy were marginalized or suppressed and everything about the climate was due to radiation, then it would be much easier to manipulate our entire energy system to claim that it was controlled by the minor atmospheric gas that can absorb radiation, carbon dioxide, provided you can get rid of the major gas, water vapour, which is about 650 times the concentration of carbon dioxide.

It is amazing how they have got away with it. The idea that water vapour is a mere "feedback" to carbon dioxide has been accepted without a murmur and all forms of energy flow except radiation are ignored. So most of us who wish to dispute the outrageous consequences of this deception spend our energies worrying about carbon dioxide and global temperature instead of the real issues that affect the climate.

They tell us that the earth would be much colder if it were not for the "greenhouse" gases but they do not mention what it might be like if we had no atmosphere at all. Yet there is an obvious way of finding out. Our satellite, the moon, is approximately the same distance from the sun as we are, so it gets the same input of the sun's radiation per unit area as ourselves, but it has almost no atmosphere.

Since it has no energy input at night, and if it were insulated you would expect the moon to cool to absolute zero at night.

The mean night temperature of the moon is -147ºC. with a minimum temperature of -233ºC with craters as low as -249ºC; not far off absolute zero. The reason it is not colder than this is that the moon does not have an insulated surface, so there is some residual hear from daytime which warms it at night.

By day the average temperature on the moon is 107ºC with a maximum of 123ºC. So there is a mean difference between day and night of 254ºC .

Mean day and night temperatures on earth seem not to be available, so we must assume rough figures of 25ºC by day and -10ºC by night (average of 15ºC)

So why is it that there is so much difference (254 ºC) between day and night on the moon, and only 35ºC on the earth?

The answer has to be that the earth has an atmosphere, and that it must play the major role in the earth's climate, cooling the earth by day and warming it by night.

The IPCC have cleverly concealed this major role by its emphasis on radiation. They have also done it by using models which cover up the important difference between day and night, together with a whole array of other absurd assumptions.

Any schoolboy will know that there are four means of transfer of energy: conduction, convection, latent hest and radiation. The first three are all but ignored by the IPCC

But not quite completely. The two "Global Energy Budgets" by Kiehl and Trenberth (1997) and Trenberth, Fasullo and Kiehl (2009), the diagrams from which were attached to Newsletter No 264, mention two items that cool the earth (on average), "Latent Heat"and "Thermals" and they give values of 78 to 90 W/sqm for Latent Heat and 15 to 19 W/msq for the "Thermals" Each of these quantities are admitted to be highly uncertain; indeed the "Thermals" are obtained by difference between other quantities.

It is immediately obvious that these two effects. including their uncertainties and possible "trends" are overwhelmingly more important than the claimed 0.9W/msq supposed to have resulted from the increases in human induced greenhouse gases since the year 1700

The heat absorbed (cooling) by evaporation of water varies with temperature (104kJ/kg at 25ºC, 209kJ/kg at 60ºC) and it happens manly during the day, but its return as liquid water or snow is probably not much different between day and night, so its cooling effect is mainly by day

"Thermals" refer to the cooling of the earth's surface by convection in the atmosphere. The surface that is heated by the sun transfers heat by conduction and since the hot air is lighter it rises and is replaced by more. The system generates winds and even hurricanes and tornados with different patterns which form the basis for weather forecasting. As the air mixes with upper layers the atmosphere cools with height which peters out at the tropopause. The heated air radiates its energy, half upwards and half back down.

This happens only when the sun shines, By night, when there is no input from the sun, the surface cools by radiation, but the atmosphere that has been warmed by day transfers some heat back to the surface. It is more effective with wind intensity, so there is a cooler surface on still nights.

This mechanism operates in exactly the same way in a greenhouse. The only difference is that the amount of air available in a greenhouse is much smaller, so it is able to maintain a higher temperature inside than outside. The fact that the air in the greenhouse cools the sun-heated ground by day is not generally appreciated, nor the fact that it keeps the ground warm at night

These mechanisms, which cool the earth and even out night and day temperatures, are little understood and there is very inaccurate knowledge of the actual quantities of heat transferred by either mechanism or how they vary in time and place.. Both of them are certainly affected by human activity but there are no attempts being made to find out their extent. Every activity we have with water affects its evaporation. Every activity affects the degree of convection. These are the true "anthropogenic" effects on the climate. The amounts are certainly far greater than the miserable 0.9W/msq which is claimed to have resulted from emissions of carbon dioxide since the year 1700.


More evidence of a much warmer past

By studying fossilized seashells from 3.5 million years ago, scientists from the University of California in Los Angeles have constructed an ancient climate record for Ellesmere Island.

Their research shows that, during this period, temperatures were considerably higher in the High Arctic than today. Three to four million years ago, temperatures from May to September were 11 to 16 C warmer there than the present-day average temperatures of −1.6 to 1.3 C.

From studying fossil seashells and plants gathered around Ellesmere Island’s Strathcona Fiord, scientists determined that the average growing-season temperature on Ellesmere Island reached about 11 C.

Shells collected from Beaver Pond in Strathcona Fiord provided the materials scientists looked at for this recent study.

Named for the numerous branches discovered with beaver teeth marks, which have lasted for millions of years, Beaver Pond contains many plant and animal specimens which are well-preserved within a peat layer encased in ice.

By measuring the oxygen in a combination of fossilized shells and plant samples, it was possible to determine the temperature at which the specimens originally formed, said Aradhna Tripati, from ULCA’s department of earth and space sciences, in an April 7 news release.


The original of the article above included some speculation about how CO2 might cause something similar but that is just a diversion. It is not about the findings above

Rush to Use Crops as Fuel Raises Food Prices and Hunger Fears

There is not much new in the article below but the fact that it comes from the NYT is interesting. Are biofuels now yet another dead fad?

Farmers in Thailand face a surging demand for cassava, a fairly new crop for biofuel production. The starchy cassava root has long been an important ingredient in everything from tapioca pudding and ice cream to paper and animal feed.

But last year, 98 percent of cassava chips exported from Thailand, the world's largest cassava exporter, went to just one place and almost all for one purpose: to China to make biofuel. Driven by new demand, Thai exports of cassava chips have increased nearly fourfold since 2008, and the price of cassava has roughly doubled.

Each year, an ever larger portion of the world's crops - cassava and corn, sugar and palm oil - is being diverted for biofuels as developed countries pass laws mandating greater use of nonfossil fuels and as emerging powerhouses like China seek new sources of energy to keep their cars and industries running. Cassava is a relatively new entrant in the biofuel stream.

But with food prices rising sharply in recent months, many experts are calling on countries to scale back their headlong rush into green fuel development, arguing that the combination of ambitious biofuel targets and mediocre harvests of some crucial crops is contributing to high prices, hunger and political instability.

This year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that its index of food prices was the highest in its more than 20 years of existence. Prices rose 15 percent from October to January alone, potentially "throwing an additional 44 million people in low- and middle-income countries into poverty," the World Bank said.

Soaring food prices have caused riots or contributed to political turmoil in a host of poor countries in recent months, including Algeria, Egypt and Bangladesh, where palm oil, a common biofuel ingredient, provides crucial nutrition to a desperately poor populace. During the second half of 2010, the price of corn rose steeply - 73 percent in the United States - an increase that the United Nations World Food Program attributed in part to the greater use of American corn for bioethanol.

"The fact that cassava is being used for biofuel in China, rapeseed is being used in Europe, and sugar cane elsewhere is definitely creating a shift in demand curves," said Timothy D. Searchinger, a research scholar at Princeton University who studies the topic. "Biofuels are contributing to higher prices and tighter markets."

In the United States, Congress has mandated that biofuel use must reach 36 billion gallons annually by 2022. The European Union stipulates that 10 percent of transportation fuel must come from renewable sources like biofuel or wind power by 2020. Countries like China, India, Indonesia and Thailand have adopted biofuel targets as well.....

More here

Climate Morons Discuss Mounting Primary Challenges And Collecting Scalps

By William Teach

Apparently, Grist writer David Roberts (who's going for the Commander Ricker look) missed the memo on the "new tone": Nothing will change until greens mount some primary challenges and collect some scalps
So, and 1Sky are uniting. Interesting news! I was particularly struck by this bit from Bill McKibben and Betsy Taylor's post:

We have learned over time that you can't win simply by explaining the crisis to political leaders; they may intellectually understand that they're facing the end of the world, but what they really fear is the end of their political careers. We need to build a movement that can reward and punish politicians. Since we'll never have the money to match the fossil-fuel front groups, we're going to need a different currency: bodies, creativity, passion.

Got that? They have to build a movement based on.....all things not-science! It's almost like the climate change hoax is a....political movement or something. David goes on to write
I agree -- a thousand times over! -- about the dire need for the climate hawk movement to focus on political power. Facts and science are inert unless they're backed by a constituency that has the power and willingness to reward its political allies and punish politicians who cross it. Right now greens aren't doing that. Nobody in D.C., with the possible exception of coastal liberal pols like Barbara Boxer, has any reason at all to fear the wrath of green groups. In fact, green group wrath -- expressed in grumpy TV adds, PR releases, and internet petitions -- generally serves as a badge of pride in districts to the right of, say, Bernie Sanders'. It makes a pol look "moderate."

So, putting up rational, adult, scientific information that substantiates their belief that mankind is mostly or solely responsible for global warming is old and busted....well, really, hasn't been tried. The Warmists immediately jumped to the conclusion that Man is bad, we must put in vast personal and economic controls, and tax everything. But, David does disagree with the notion about them not having enough money
The problem is that greens have been playing the top-down game badly. And it's not from lack of money -- depending on how you tally it up, they spent between $200 million and $300 million just in the last year or so on the climate-bill battle. That's more than enough money to do some damage, if it's spent well.

So, they've spent between $200 and $300 million in the last year or so, and accomplished nothing? In fact, they've accomplished turning even more people off from their cult. And these are the people that want to be in charge of tax policy and controlling people? They can't even accomplish their own goals with massive amounts of money.

And, think what they could have done with that money to help the environment instead of policy advocacy and agitation. How many species they could have protected. But, again, the anthropogenic global warming movement is not about protecting the planet, saving nature, it's about power and control.


Environment? What environment? Federal inaction at Mt. Morgan is brewing a toxic disaster

A mine tailings dam about to fail is a REAL environmental problem but is not "sexy" enough to attract the attention of the grand people of Australia's Green/Left government, apparently -- but it could be a disaster for a lot of people.

Well we do not have a problem as long as the 7,000 mega litres of water held back by the tailings wall does not break. In total there is 11,500 mega litres in the Mount Morgan Mine pit laced with cadmium and other heavy metals which would flow into the Dee River, then into the Don River, into the Dawson River and down into the city of Rockhampton's water supply on the Fitzroy. To understand the scale Lake Burley Griffin holds 33,000 mega litres.

They say that the cyanide that was used in processing is now inert but it is the acid rock drainage (ARD) that is the real problem. The water has a ph between 2.8 to 3.5. Understandably those downstream are a little anxious as the water is pouring through the tailings wall.

Because of the wet weather it would have been a good idea if the water course leading into the mine could be properly diverted around it.

The Government management could be described as a kiss it better job on a train crash. The State Environment Minister, Kate Jones, is almost pathological in her defence of bats. Maybe we could tell her that bats go to the river on the weekend. The locals are scratching their heads as to whether Kate has even visited the site. If she did it was low key.

Stirling Hinchcliffe, the Mines Minister, said how I dare impugn Kate's portfolio. Good-o. Well Stirling, apt name for a minister responsible for a mine which extracted 247,000kg of gold, 360,000 tonnes of copper and also 40,000kg of silver, what are you going to do apart from saying in a "yes minister" like form, nothing to see here, move on please.

When a ship the Shen Neng 1, ran onto a reef near Gladstone creating approximately one kilometre of damage, an aerial circus of everyone including Kevin Rudd, Bob Brown, Peter Garrett and Anna Bligh flew back and forth over the site crying tears of blood all over the cabin of the plane. It was a shame the planes with pollies instead of flying east to sea did not fly north west to Mt Morgan.

Later, cyclone Yasi knocked out, on a conservative estimate, 20,000 sq km of reef virtually shutting down sections of the much maligned fishing industry. An act of nature, sure, but there were no tears for the fisherman, apparently.

I do not recollect if we had spent all of Mr Garrett's, sorry your, $2.5 billion at that stage on ceiling insulation. If we had kept back $120 million of that we could have treated the water, emptied the pit, filled it in and covered it up.

Now, instead of a solution we are catching the water in dams that spills out and pumping it back in so it can spill back out again. Let me assure you that the little boy who stuck his finger in the dyke to save Holland had far more effect than the remedial work at Mt Morgan Mine. They have constructed a treatment works for 650 mega litres a year. Pathetic when compared to the enormity of the task at hand.

The locals down stream say they are looking up the hill to one of the greatest potential environmental disasters in Australia. The Dee River is already the most polluted in Queensland. The wealth of the mine was critical in the formation of BP and on a benevolent note, the Walter and Eliza Hall Trust. Unfortunately, it is becoming Australia's version of the former gold mines of Montanna and the environmental disaster they have bequeathed on the Bitter Root River. The Zortman-Landusky Mine was one of the first in the USA to attempt large scale cyanide heap leach extraction of low grade gold ores, unfortunately the water got out.

Where it really, counts the Labor party have deserted the environment. If the Labor Party, Mr Hinchliffe, Mr Garret or Ms Jones, who champions cleaning up our rivers, don't want to do it for the farmers or the people of Rockhampton, then possibly they may want to do it for the bats or the Barrier Reef. But wherever their motivation is, they should please do something more.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


9 April, 2011

EPA regulations not dead yet

As votes continue in Congress this week on the Environmental Protection Agency's regulations, the Senate was unable to reach the 60 votes that were needed to break through and put a stop to the regulations. This means that for now the EPA's energy taxes and regulations will continue to cripple business in the United States.

Most of the backlash against the EPA in the early stages of 2011 has involved the Clean Air Act and their use of the act as a way to levy taxes against businesses and factories. The mandates from the EPA would be potentially harmful to the US economy, putting a hold on many of these businesses and not allowing them the proper job growth as well.

Throughout recent times, the EPA has continued to use the Clean Air Act as a vehicle to push through with a number of political stances and repeated levies of complex and expensive regulations. The EPA's desire to regulate greenhouse gas emissions is a major problem for many members of the GOP and business leaders. They see the regulation of emissions as completely unnecessary and even worse as a major strain on business and job growth.

With the high number of taxes and regulations, it's hard to find the end result in the actions of the EPA. They would do better to focus their efforts on real environmentally related problems like soil erosion and land degradation.

Luckily, the GOP have been adamant in introducing budget proposals and bills in the early months of 2011 that are aimed at cutting down the EPA's unneeded reign of power over businesses. A budget cut of around a third to the 2010 slate for the EPA was proposed and would do wonders to cut down on some of the power they have been wielding through taxes and regulations.

James Inhofe, a senator from Oklahoma, has helped introduce the Energy Tax Prevention Act. This would serve to put an end to the EPA's cap and trade agenda, in turn taking away the regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. Inhofe was clear on his goal to take power away from the EPA by saying "The Energy Tax Prevention Act also imposes accountability.ÿ It takes power away from unelected bureaucrats and puts it where it belongs: in Congress, where the people can and should decide the nation's climate change policy."

The GOP will most likely turn to Congress for help with the process of de-funding some of the EPA's regulations. This seems to be one of the last lines of defense against the EPA.

Hopefully with the introduction of the Energy Tax Prevention Act and the current budget proposals, combined with the fight of senators like Inhofe, the reign of the EPA over business will lessen in the coming months.

Received by email from Scott Portman []

Sea Level Rise: Still Slowing Down

Back in the summer of 2009, we ran a piece titled "Sea Level Rise: An Update Shows a Slowdown" in which we showed that the much ballyhooed "faster rate of sea level rise during the satellite era" was actually slowing down. We suggested that this observation would help the IPCC to adjudicate an issue that it raised in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report:
"Whether the faster rate [of sea level rise] for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer term trend is unclear."

In Figure 1 (below) reproduced from our 2009 WCR article, we superimposed the moving 10-yr rate of sea level rise as measured by satellites since 1993 upon the 10-yr rate of sea level rise measured from a collection of tide gauges from around the world since the early 20th century (as compiled by Simon Holgate, 2007).

Clearly, the behavior as measured by satellites since 1993 fit right in with the long-term behavior as measured by tide gauges. Such a result suggested that "decadal variability" had a strong hand in explaining why the (short-term) satellite measured rate of sea level rise was greater than the (long-term) tide gauge measured average.

Figure 1. Decadal rate of sea level rise from satellites (red curve) appended to the decadal rate of global sea level rise as determined from a 9-station tide gauge network for the period 1904-2003 (blue curve) and from a 177-station tide gauge network for the period 1948-2002 (magenta) (modified from Holgate, 2007).

At the time of our article, the available satellite data ran through early 2009. Since then, more data has become available. And an update to our Figure 1 recently found its way into the scientific literature in a paper by James Houston (Director Emeritus of the Engineer Research and Development Center of the Army Corps of Engineers) and Robert Dean (Professor Emeritus in the Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering at the University of Florida) and published in the Journal of Coastal Research. In their paper, "Sea-level acceleration based on U.S. tide gauges and extension of previous global-gauge analyses," Houston and Dean incorporated satellite data through April 2010, and produced the rather familiar-looking (although not as colorful) figure below (Figure 2).

Figure 2. The 10-year moving averages of trends as measured by the altimeters (represented by black dots) plotted vs. Holgate's data. The trend from 1993 to 2003 is represented by a dot at 1998, the trend from 1994 to 2004 by another dot at 1999, and so on with the final dot at 2005, representing the trend from 2000 to 2010 (from Houston and Dean, 2011).

Notice that the satellite-derived 10-yr average rate of sea level rise continues to fall. This is how Houston and Dean describe their take on the situation:
When viewed in this historical perspective, the [satellite] altimeter measurements appear similar to several decadal oscillations over the past 100 years, and it is not possible to determine if the increased trend measured by the altimeters is the leading edge of acceleration or merely a typical decadal oscillation; however, the decreasing average suggests an oscillation. [emphasis added]

And since one good deed deserves another, we thought we'd take the opportunity to bring the Houston and Dean figure even more up to date by adding in the satellite altimeter data through September 2010-the most recent data available (see here for data source) (Figure 3)–and even more data should be available soon.

Figure 3. Update: Decadal rate of sea level rise from satellites (light red curve) appended to the decadal rate of global sea level rise as determined from a 9-station tide gauge network for the period 1904-2003 (blue curve) and from a 177-station tide gauge network for the period 1948-2002 (magenta). The satellite data runs through September 2010. The update to our previous update is shown (dark red) at the end of the satellite record. (modified from Holgate, 2007)

By now, this should come as no surprise-the rate of sea level rise continues to slow. The rate during the most recent 10-yr period is 2.32 mm/yr (or about 9 inches per century). This is not much above the 20th century average rate of 1.8mm/yr (7 inches per century), and FAR below the average rate of 10 mm/yr required to raise global average sea level by 1 meter (3.25 feet) by 2100-the new in vogue value for what the IPCC should have projected (rather then the ~15 inches that they did project) (see, for example, Grinsted et al, 2009; Vermeer and Rahmstorf, 2009).

So, in the time since the publication of the IPCC report in 2007, the observed rate of sea level rise has declined and all the while there has been a general clamor (from the more "concerned" among us) that the IPCC projections for sea level rise should be increased.
Go figure.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Pachauri’s Pal – the Worldwatch Institute

If scaremongering were an Olympic sport, Lester Brown would be a multi-gold-medalist. As founder of the Worldwatch Institute, he has released annual State of the World reports since 1983. Translated into dozens of languages, they have been used as textbooks in hundreds of college courses and have influenced generations of eco-activists.

Here, for example, is a snapshot from the index of David Suzuki’s 1990 It’s A Matter of Survival:

In his own 1993 book, Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of Ecological Apocalypse, Ronald Bailey handily demolishes Brown in a manner that is worth quoting at length (from pages 45-49):
The career of Lester Brown closely parallels [Paul] Ehrlich’s. In the 1960s, Brown hit upon an arresting public relations formula when he joined claims of environmental degradation to fears of imminent global famine…He is now the president of the notoriously gloomy Worldwatch Institute…

Predictably the “state of the world” [according to Brown] is always just terrible and rapidly getting much worse.

…Brown’s divinatory powers have proven to be no better than Ehrlich’s, however. In each of the last three decades he proclaimed that world food production had peaked and food per capita would henceforth decline, leading to inevitable widespread famines…His record remains unbroken; he has been wrong every time – world food supplies continue to grow while prices steadily decline.

…Brown jumped on the resource depletion bandwagon in the early 1970s, praising The Limits to Growth as a “remarkable achievement.” In the late 1970s, Brown coauthored a book, Running on Empty, which predicted that oil supplies would soon diminish sharply “with production peaking around 1990.”

…He prominently featured global warming and ozone-layer thinning in State of the World 1989

Please note: State of the World 1989 would have been written and published in 1988. That’s the same year the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was founded – and two decades prior to its less-than-clear-cut declaration in 2007 that human actions are very likely responsible for most of the warming during the past 50 years.

Yet Brown’s Worldwatch Institute saw no need to wait for the IPCC to conduct its assessments. Back in 1988 it was already telling the world that most scientists agreed that global warming was caused by fossil fuels, that policies were required to stabilize the climate, and that carbon taxes were the answer.

Here are some quotes from State of the World 1989 (the entire report is available as a 271-page PDF here; bolding added by me):
The warming of the earth’s climate is an environmental catastrophe on a new scale… (p. 23)
Most scientists agree that a global warming is under way, caused by the accumulation of “greenhouse gases” due primarily to fossil fuel use in industrial countries. The uncertainties lie in just how much higher the earth’s average temperature will go, and how quickly the increase will take place.

Industrial nations, heavily reliant on the burning of fossil fuels over the past century, must assume the primary responsibility for global warming and its consequences. (p. 90)

Avoiding destructive climate change will require a fundamental reordering of national energy priorities within the next decade. (p. 190)

If policymakers do not grasp the link between energy efficiency, renewable energy, and global warming, climate stabilization will not be possible. (p. 193)

The United States, for example, could raise $100 billion annually by hiking its gasoline taxes by $1 per gallon to the European average tax of about $1.50 per gallon. In addition, governments could levy a “carbon tax” on fossil fuels, with the tax corresponding to the amount of carbon in each fuel. This would hit coal appropriately hard… (p. 193)

To slow global warming significantly, hundreds of billions of dollars of investments in improved energy efficiency will ultimately be required. (p. 194)

If the climate is to be stabilized, [global warming] must become the cornerstone of national energy policies. (p. 195)

Bailey points out that, in November 1989 (20+ years ago), Lester Brown told Rolling Stone that the environmental situation was desperate:
We don’t have time for the traditional approach to education – training new generations of teachers to train new generations of students – because we don’t have generations, we have years. [bold added, page 169]

(The full citation for the Rolling Stone article may be found at the bottom of page 93 of this 108-page PDF.)

If the IPCC’s first assessment report, which appeared in 1990 – or even its second, which appeared in 1995 – had definitively declared that humans are responsible for global warming that would be one thing. But it’s surely a bit awkward for the chairman of what is supposed to be the final scientific word on global warming to be fraternizing with an institute that, back in 1988, regarded the IPCC process as superfluous. The fact that Worldwatch uttered stronger statements about global warming in the 1980s than those the IPCC itself issued in 2007 surely indicates that Worldwatch bases its reports on something other than sound science.

Yet IPCC Rajendra Pachauri is concerned about none of this. Indeed, he authored the foreword to State of the World 2009, identifying himself as IPCC chair in the process. He begins his remarks this way:
The Worldwatch Institute's State of the World reports have evolved into a remarkable source of intellectual wealth…

Referring to the 2009 report by name no less than seven times, Pachauri is fulsome in his praise:
State of the World 2009 has been structured logically into chapters that clearly explain the sequence that must guide our understanding of the problem and help set directions for taking action. Particularly relevant is the explanation of what would constitute a safe level of concentration of [greenhouse gases].

What Pachauri neglects to mention is that this particularly relevant explanation was written by Bill Hare, a Greenpeace “legend” and IPCC insider (see this press release and this one where he is identified as W.L. Hare). Moreover, apparently unaware that Worldwatch has been singing this tune for more than two decades, Pachauri says:
The strongest message from State of the World 2009 is this: if the world does not take action early and in adequate measure, the impacts of climate change could prove extremely harmful and overwhelm our capacity to adapt.

If Pachauri’s sense of propriety saw nothing wrong with authoring this foreword, perhaps it isn’t surprising that he went further still by delivering the keynote address at a symposium celebrating the release of State of the World 2009.

Among those who also participated in that event were Bill Hare and a Worldwatch staffer named Janet Sawin. If you click on this link and go to the final box on the final page, you’ll discover that Sawin served as a coordinating lead author (the most senior rank of IPCC author) for a 2009 IPCC special report on renewable energy (see here, as well).

Evidently this is a cozy little world, where there are few standards of decorum, no conflict-of-interest protocols, and absolutely no consequences when poor judgment is exhibited. Thus Pachauri – who heads an organization that claims to be “policy-neutral, never policy-prescriptive” – used the opportunity of his speech to advocate a particular policy response on the part of US president Barack Obama. This is how the press release issued by Worldwatch began:
The head of the world’s preeminent organization of climate scientists said yesterday that incoming U.S. President Barack Obama’s stated emissions targets need to be strengthened to deal with the climate threat.

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said, “President-elect Obama’s goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 falls short of the response needed by world leaders to meet the challenge of reducing emissions to levels that will actually spare us the worst effects of climate change.”

Where, oh where, has the world’s media been on this file? I mean, this is high school grade behaviour. The head of an influential scientific body has been conducting himself in a manner that is so far from being circumspect, professional, and confidence-inspiring it takes my breath away.


Global warming disaster just ahead, well, maybe a little later than that

Global warming is a lot like everything else. There are pretty easy ways to tell when you're being conned or at least whether the ones making claims know what they are talking about. For example, one way to know whether a prophet is a real prophet is that his prophecies come true.

One way to detect a fraud is that when his prophecies don't come true he says, "I meant to say." The BBC has a delightful story of the global warming alarmists saying, "I meant to say."

"Scientists who predicted a few years ago that Arctic summers could be ice-free by 2013 now say summer sea ice will probably be gone in this decade."

At least they didn't wait until 2013 to be proven wrong.

"The original prediction, made in 2007, gained Wieslaw Maslowski's team a deal of criticism from some of their peers," reports the BBC. "Now they are working with a new computer model - compiled partly in response to those criticisms - that produces a `best guess' date of 2016."

We also like the idea that now they admit to guessing. But we also think James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal may have predicted something that will come true.

Says Taranto: ".our best guess is that in 2015 they'll have a new best guess of 2020; in 2019 it'll be 2024, etc."

Yeah, we believe in this particular, Taranto will be proven to be a true prophet. Unlike the warming alarmists.


Global cooling hits California

Maybe they overdid all the anti-warming legislation?

Overnight low temperature hovers close to Sacramento record

Sacramento flirted with a record low temperature this morning as winter returned on the heels of a cold low pressure system.

The low pressure center that brought snow to the Sierra and hailstorms to some locations has moved south. But the coldest temperatures of the week remain in the Central Valley.
The morning low hovered around 35 degrees in Sacramento suburbs and dipped to 38 degrees downtown. At Sacramento's Executive Airport the temperature dropped to 34 degrees.

The record low for downtown Sacramento is 34 degrees, a mark set in 1953.

Other low temperatures this morning: Blue Canyon, 21 degrees, Colfax 26, Grass Valley, 28, Pollock Pines, 24, Woodland 31, Auburn Municipal Airport, 32.


Australia: The usual Green/Left double standard

They actually have no standards. In a typically psychopathic fashion, they just say what seems convenient at the time

GREENS leader Bob Brown has been accused of double standards after declaring it "undemocratic" to judge politicians on the company they keep at rallies and other public forums.

Opposition frontbencher Andrew Robb yesterday accused Senator Brown of "hypocrisy writ large" over his attack on Tony Abbott's appearance at an anti-carbon tax rally last month, where placards portrayed Julia Gillard as a "witch", a "bitch" and a "frump".

Senator Brown on Thursday defended the actions of Greens senators Sarah Hanson-Young and Scott Ludlam for appearing at rallies in 2009 and last year, respectively, where protesters called on Australia to sever ties with Israel. "If you're saying there that members of parliament should not take the stage or be on a rostrum or be at a rally or go on (television program) Q&A if you are going to be judged by the people you are there with, then we're getting to a very undemocratic path, aren't we," Senator Brown told ABC radio.

Mr Robb yesterday contrasted the comments with Senator Brown's demands last month that Mr Abbott apologise for appearing alongside offensive placards at the March 23 carbon tax rally.

Mr Robb, who is in Jerusalem on a trade mission with the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce, said the Greens disliked being exposed to the same level of scrutiny as the major political parties. "We all remember Bob Brown giving sanctimonious lectures and demanding apologies from Tony Abbott just a week or so ago because he addressed a very legitimate demonstration against the carbon tax," Mr Robb said.

"When the boot is on the other foot he gets all defensive about his own senators Hanson-Young and Ludlam addressing protests. "Bob Brown doesn't like being exposed to the same level of scrutiny as the major parties. They do have extreme views on many things and they are pure political opportunists."

The opposition's attack came as environmental lobby groups defended the Greens from criticisms by two of the party's founding fathers, who said it had lost the plot by moving away from its core business of environment.

Cam Walker, from Friends of the Earth, said while the minor party had broadened its focus and strongly pursued other social issues, he did not believe this was being done at the expense of their environmental agenda. "I just don't see that there is any issue there, they work in their core issues and their strong social agenda -- and that is probably what you'd expect from a Greens party," he said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


8 April, 2011

If Al Gore Can Outgrow the Ethanol Fad, Why Can’t Conservatives?

The Senate is expected to vote on S. 520, a bill to repeal the 45 cents per gallon volumetric ethanol excise tax credit (VEETC). The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.). Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Jim Web (D-Va.) have also introduced S. 530, which would limit the VEETC to “advanced biofuels,” thus ending the subsidy for conventional corn ethanol. S. 530 would also scale back the 54 cents per gallon ethanol import tariff commensurately with the reduction in the tax credit.

The VEETC adds about $6 billion annually to the federal deficit. Unlike many other tax credits that reduce a household’s or a business’s tax liability, the VEETC is a “refundable” tax credit. That means the VEETC is literally paid for out of the U.S. general fund with checks written by the Treasury Department. The protective tariff, for its part, prevents lower-priced Brazilian ethanol from competing in U.S. markets. It increases the price of motor fuel at the pump.

Now, you would think supporting S. 520 and S. 530 would be a no-brainer for conservative lawmakers. But some are reportedly getting cold feet. To remind them of their duty to put the general interest of consumers and taxpayers ahead of the special interest of King Corn, I offer the following observations.

(1) The market for ethanol is propped up by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a Soviet-style production quota. Conservatives should be appalled by this reversion to Stalin-era central planning. Should taxpayers have to subsidize ethanol too?

(2) The Ethanol Troika – RFS, VEETC, Protective Tariff – increases consumers’ pain at the pump. Because the supply of ethanol, ramped up by the Troika, exceeds demand, ethanol today is cheaper than gasoline by volume. However, ethanol has one-third less energy than an equivalent volume of gasoline. Thus, consumers have to spend more for ethanol than gasoline to drive the same number of miles. The American Automobile Association’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report makes this crystal clear by publishing the mileage-adjusted price of E-85 (motor fuel blended with 85% ethanol).......

(5) As climate policy, the VEETC is a complete bust.

Again, the VEETC and tariff support only a small and declining fraction of total production. Consequently, any incremental greenhouse gas reduction attributable to those policies has an unreasonably high price tag. CBO estimates that the VEETC costs taxpayers $750 to $1700 for every ton of greenhouse gases avoided — many times the estimated price of emission permits under the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, which the Senate did not see fit to pass.

Ironically, the corn rush may increase net greenhouse gas emissions, as Tim Searchinger of Princeton University and Joe Fargione of the Nature Conservancy found in separate studies. A gallon of ethanol emits less carbon dioxide (CO2) than a gallon of gasoline when combusted. However, CO2-emitting fossil fuels are used to make fertilizer, operate farm equipment, power ethanol distilleries, and transport the ethanol to market. In addition, when farmers plow grasslands and clear forests to expand corn acreage, or to grow food crops displaced elsewhere by energy crop production, they release carbon previously locked up in soils and trees. For several decades, such land use changes can generate more CO2 than is avoided by substituting ethanol for gasoline.
Unsurprisingly, many environmental groups and even Al Gore have disavowed their previous support for corn ethanol. Isn’t it time for conservatives to outgrow this obsolete environmental fad?


Another one of the endless climate pow-wows gets nowhere

The first UN climate talks for the year entered their final day on Friday with negotiators still trying to hammer out a deal after familiar feuds between rich and poor nations flared.

The four days of talks had an apparently modest main goal of sorting out an agenda for the rest of the year's negotiations that would lay the foundations for agreements at an annual UN climate summit in South Africa in November.

But delegates said the agenda had still not been decided by Friday morning, with one key point of dispute an insistence by many poorer countries for a greater focus on actions developed countries must take to fight global warming. "Nothing has been decided. It's not a very good signal," said one European negotiator.

Delegates said a compromise could still be reached by the end of the talks on Friday evening. But they said the spirit of co-operation between developed and developing countries that led to breakthroughs at the last annual summit in the Mexican resort city of Cancun in December was not nearly as strong in Bangkok.

The talks began on Tuesday with poor nations demanding that rich ones agree to a second round of legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments under an updated Kyoto Protocol.

The first round of commitments are due to expire at the end of 2012, but many richer countries have said they do not want to sign up to a second phase because major polluters the United States and China will not.

The US never ratified the Kyoto Protocol and its climate envoys have repeated this week that the country has no intention of signing on.

Developing countries, including China, did not have to commit to cutting emissions as part of the Kyoto Protocol and most of them maintain this should remain the case.

Throughout the Bangkok talks, many of the richer countries have pushed to have the focus for this year's negotiations primarily on pushing forward the agreements achieved in Cancun last year.

However poorer nations say that if only the Cancun agreements are put into action by the end of 2012, rich nations will not have to agree on legally binding emission cuts and the Kyoto Protocol will have largely fizzled out.


"Renewable" power INCREASES CO2 emissions

More and more "renewable" power sources are coming online (at huge expense) but CO2 emissions from power generation are continuing to rise. Why?

For this month, it is again patently obvious that when electrical power is needed the most, during the cold weather of Winter, those renewable power plants again show that they are not only incapable of delivering that increase in power, they in fact supply less power, while every other sector increases the power they supply for all consumers.

When looked at over the whole 12 month period, again it is obvious that when power is required, it is only those traditional suppliers can actually deliver that power.

Even with the increase in numbers of those renewable power plants, especially the almost exponential increase in construction of wind towers, CO2 emissions are rising, and rising by large amounts.

Again, why is that? Those renewable power plants cannot deliver power for when it is needed. 65% of all electrical power is required ABSOLUTELY, for 24/7/365, and not one of those renewable plants can deliver power on that basis.

The remaining power is consumed during specific times, and this is referred to as Peaking Power. This is required for a couple of hours in the early mornings 6AM to 9AM, and from 4PM until Midnight. It is required exactly for those times.

Again, those renewable plants cannot deliver that power for specifically when it is needed.

So, while those renewable plants actually do provide power to the grids, actual power consumption is required for specific periods. Because of that, those Natural Gas fired plants especially are required to work for longer periods of time, because if renewable power was relied upon solely to provide that power, then as soon as the wind failed, or the Sun set, then power drops dramatically, and if those renewables are an integral part of that mix, then the result will be brown outs and blackouts as the grid for that area crashes. So, to cover every contingency, then those Natural Gas fired plants especially have to work harder and longer so that power is always available at the grid to cover actual consumption by all users.

So, while it may actually ‘seem’ that renewables are increasing at an almost exponential rate, and at enormous expense, that money is in fact being wasted on a technology that not only does not deliver power, but is leading to an increase in CO2 emissions, exactly the opposite of what we are being told it will do.

Much more HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

A lot of hot air: Wind farms 'working at just 21% of capacity'

Britain's wind farms produce far less electricity than their supporters claim – and cannot be relied upon to keep the lights on, a study from a conservation charity showed yesterday.

A damning report from the John Muir Trust found the UK’s heavily subsidised wind farms were working at just 21 per cent of capacity last year. Yet the renewable energy industry claims their turbines work at 28 to 30 per cent efficiency on average.

The Trust also found that for extended periods all the UK’s wind turbines linked to the National Grid muster less than 20 megawatts of energy at a given point, enough power for fewer than 7,000 households to boil their kettles.

Stuart Young, author of the report, said: ‘Over the two-year period studied, the wind farms in the UK consistently generated far less energy than wind proponents claim is typical. ‘Sadly, wind power is not what it’s cracked up to be and cannot contribute greatly to energy security in the UK.’

The UK has more than 3,100 working wind turbines. According to the wind industry, they are capable of generating more than 5.2 gigawatts of electricity – enough for nearly three million homes. Another 10,000 are planned for the next decade to meet EU climate change targets.

The report covered the output of around half of the UK’s turbines. The rest supply local grids and their output is not included in day by day figures.

Industry body RenewableUK said the report was incomplete. It said onshore wind farms worked at 27.6 per cent capacity between 2006 and 2009 and offshore at 31.1 per cent.


What really threatens our future?

Energy sustainability is not about resource availability and pollution. Capitalism and human ingenuity have already addressed “sustainability” in these regards, if the statistics are to be believed.

The real sustainability challenge and threat concerns government intervention in the name of “sustainability,” because it is political and bureaucratic intervention that reduces the availability, reliability and affordability of energy. The real sustainability challenge is also about overcoming the forces of nature, via with ever stronger energy infrastructure around the world. That is a job for capitalism, not central planning.

Consider these examples.

Japan’s earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident have brought rolling blackouts, as authorities strive to meet electricity demands with reduced supplies and crippled transmission lines.

However, power cuts and inadequate power are routine in developing countries like India. For them, going without electricity for hours or even days is the norm, not the exception.

But now, the UK’s power grid CEO is warning Brits that their days of reliable electricity are numbered. Because of climate change and renewable energy policies, families, schools, offices, shops, hospitals and factories will just have to “get used to” consuming electricity “when it’s available,” not necessarily when they want it or need it.

UN IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri justifies this absurd situation by sermonizing, “Unless we live in harmony with nature, unless we are able to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and adopt renewable energy sources, and until we change our lifestyles, the world will increasingly become unfit for human habitation.”

Thus, people in poor countries who never had access to reliable electricity may be denied it even longer, while people in rich countries could soon face new electricity shortages.

Citizens of the world’s poor and emerging economies: Beware of claims that the greatest threat we face is from manmade climate change. They are wrong. The real threat is from energy starvation policies implemented in the name of preventing climate change.

Everywhere one looks, people are enjoying modern technologies, improving their lives, realizing their dreams. Other people want the same opportunities for themselves and their children — and they should have them. Every citizen of the world should someday enjoy access to similar levels of energy that people in developed countries enjoy today.

The technologies, trade and transportation networks, the legal, property rights, economic and banking systems have all been developed. If countries and communities take advantage of them, a better future will require only one more thing: energy.

Energy is the Master Resource, the key to everything else. Only our Ultimate Resource — our creative intellect — is more important. People who have abundant, reliable, affordable energy — and the freedom to use it — can turn dreams and ideas into reality.

Those who must rely on human and animal muscle, or open fires, remain poor. Certainly, wind turbines and solar panels are far better than primitive energy. They can bless remote villages with electricity. But they are nothing compared to reliable electricity from hydrocarbon, hydroelectric and nuclear power.

However, policies based on false claims that we can control Earth’s climate restrict access to energy and increase its cost. They perpetuate poverty, and prevent people from building better homes, having comfortable lighting and heating, using computers and modern conveniences, preserving food and medicines, and even surviving natural disasters and adapting to climate change.

Using computer models, thousands of scientists say human carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for recent warming. But thousands of other scientists say the sun and other natural forces still control our complex, unpredictable climate.

Earth’s climate has changed repeatedly throughout history. Its temperature rose slightly during the last century, as our planet recovered from the Little Ice Age, but not in a straight line. It went up 1900-1940, then cooled until 1975, warmed again until 1995, and has been steady since then — all while global CO2 levels were rising. Flood, drought, hurricane and other weather patterns also change periodically.

Earth’s climate is influenced by far more factors: solar, planetary, atmospheric, oceanic and terrestrial. Climate models are useless, even harmful, for setting energy policy.

But even if carbon dioxide does affect climate, China, India and Brazil are building power plants and automobiles at a record pace. Their people are rapidly climbing out of poverty, using coal, oil, natural gas and hydroelectric power to achieve their dreams.

Leaders of these countries are not going to tell their still-poor people that they cannot enjoy the benefits that plentiful, affordable, dependable energy can provide.

Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States became modern economic powerhouses by using fossil fuels. They gave people wondrous technologies, improved their health and living standards, and doubled their life expectancies — using hydroelectric and hydrocarbon power.

Some people in rich countries talk about ending their fossil fuel use. But they have not done so — and cannot afford to. They talk about switching to wind and solar power. But they can no longer afford massive renewable energy subsidies that destroy two jobs in other sectors of their economy for every “green” job they create.

People in rich countries will not give up their modern living standards, electricity, automobiles, airplanes, hospitals, factories and food. Mr. Pachauri certainly will not. Why, should people in poor countries give up their dreams?

During the Cancun climate summit, rich nations said they would give poor countries $100-billion annually in “climate change reparation and adaptation” money. But these are empty promises, made by nations that can no longer afford such unsustainable spending.

Poor countries that expect this money will end up fighting over table scraps — and whatever funds do flow will end up in the overseas bank accounts of ruling elites. The poor will see little or none of it.

For awhile longer, rich countries will continue supporting global warming research and conferences. Researchers, bureaucrats and politicians will continue issuing dire warnings of imminent catastrophes, while they enjoy the benefits of modern energy, traveling on airplanes, attending talk fests at fancy hotels in exotic locations — all powered by coal and petroleum.

They may continue telling the world’s poor how important and admirable it is that we keep living traditional, sustainable, environment-friendly lifestyles; getting by on small amounts of intermittent, unreliable, expensive electricity from wind turbines and solar panels; and giving up our dreams of a better, healthier, more prosperous life.

Ultimately, the climate change debate is really over just two things.

Whether we, the world’s poor, must give up our hopes and dreams. And whether we will determine our own futures – or the decisions will be made for us, by politicians who use climate change to justify restricting our access to reliable, affordable energy.

Which should we fear most? Climate change that some say might happen 50 or 100 years from now? Or an energy-deprived life of continued poverty, misery, disease, and forgotten hopes and dreams?

Our future is in our hands.


Australia: The Greens are now "concerned with everything except the environment", say Greenie elders

Norm Sanders, environmentalist and retired senator, near his home in northern NSW, believes the Greens have lost their way. Picture: Jack Tran Source: The Australian
TWO founding fathers of the Greens say the split between the old-school environmentalists and the new generation of ideologically driven urban activists now swelling the parliamentary ranks could destabilise the party and alienate voters.

The man who gave up his seat in the Tasmanian parliament 29 years ago to launch Bob Brown's political career, Norm Sanders, said the Greens had "lost the plot" by shifting away from their core business of the environment.

And Queenslander Drew Hutton, who co-founded the party in 1992 with Senator Brown, hit out at the "ludicrous" decision by the NSW division of the Greens to thumb its nose at federal policy and back an international trade boycott of Israel in the recent state election campaign.

"I just shake my head in wonder at why a state-based party would go into an election pushing out front of a federal issue that the state party has no reason to be concerned with," said Mr Hutton, 64. "Why would you be profiling issues above environmental issues at this particular time? . . . I don't think it helps to alienate significant groups inside the NSW voting public."

Mr Sanders, 78, said scathingly that the Greens were now "concerned with everything except the environment".

"You hear them going on about the tax system, same-sex marriage, adoption, all these social equity issues, but they don't talk about the environment much," he said. The concerns of two such experienced and respected figures in the green movement will intensify the values debate that was kicked off by the actions of NSW Greens figures Fiona Byrne, a suburban mayor in Sydney who stood unsuccessfully at last month's state election, and senator-elect Lee Rhiannon in backing the campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

While Senator Brown, the party's veteran leader, has tried to distance himself and the federal Greens from the BDS push, yesterday he supported West Australian senator Scott Ludlam in advocating a ban on any arms sales to Israel, as part of a halt to Australian military exports.

The Australian revealed yesterday that Senator Ludlam and South Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young had previously supported calls for Australian sanctions against Israel, widening the party's exposure on the issue.

They will be joined in parliament from July 1 by four senators elected at last year's federal ballot, taking the Greens' numbers to nine in the upper house and securing the balance of power there. Adam Bandt, who became the first Greens MP to be elected to the House of Representatives at a general election, will push the Greens partyroom into double figures.

Mr Sanders was elected to the Tasmanian parliament in 1980 and resigned in 1982 to make way for the future senator Brown, giving him his start in politics.

Mr Sanders said Senator Hanson-Young, 29, a former campaign manager for human rights group Amnesty International, who challenged Christine Milne for the Greens deputy leadership after the federal election in August, personified the contemporary Greens. "That Sarah Hanson-Young, she's on television and radio all the time, but I've never heard her talking about the environment," Mr Sanders said, speaking from his home near Byron Bay in northern NSW.

"All those social issues they're on about, that's what the ALP's for. Even the Liberal Party can handle some of them. The Greens have lost the plot, and who's looking after the environment?"

Brisbane-based Mr Hutton is still on the front line of environmental activism, having been arrested recently while protesting against coal-seam mining on the Darling Downs, west of the Queensland capital. He stood unsuccessfully for the Senate three times and is now an organiser for the environment group Friends of the Earth.

Mr Hutton said there had always been "tension in the Greens between those who come from a Left background, and those who come from a green background". Describing the furore over the BDS as "mildly destabilising", he said the key role of the Greens

was to address environmental issues "in a way that none of the other parties is prepared to do".

"I would be the last person to say non-environmental issues aren't important, because for the past 40 years I have been involved in a whole lot of issues - the democratic movement in the Joh Bjelke-Petersen days, Aboriginal issues and so on - so I am not just a pure greenie," Mr Hutton said. "But there is no doubt in my mind that the key issues today, and the reason we formed a green party, was that we've reached a time when if we don't take determined and far-sighted decisions on the environment, then the whole planet is going to be in trouble."

But he said the tensions with the "hard Left" of the Greens would subside. "In time, that strong left-wing element will diminish, because the people coming in are wanting us to be in government and they are wanting us to be in policymaking positions," Mr Hutton said.

Both veterans praised Senator Brown's leadership. "Bob and Christine are the only ones who've been on the barricades," Mr Sanders said. "They're the only activists in the Greens. I don't know where the rest come from."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


7 April, 2011

Arctic ozone levels in never-before-seen plunge

That doesn't say much for the effectiveness of the ban on CFCs, does it? But it's nonsense anyway. The "hole" varies wildly from year to year. And if the present hole is unprecdented, that only means that records don't go back far enough. And guess what they are blaming the hole on now? COOLING! Ya gotta laugh

Long a consideration in the Antarctic, ozone levels in the Arctic are now a cause for concern. The ozone layer has seen unprecedented damage in the Arctic this winter due to cold weather in the upper atmosphere. By the end of March, 40% of the ozone in the stratosphere had been destroyed, against a previous record of 30%.

The ozone layer protects against skin cancer, but the gas is destroyed by reactions with industrial chemicals. These chemicals are restricted by the UN's Montreal Protocol, but they last so long in the atmosphere that damage is expected to continue for decades.

"The Montreal Protocol actually works, and the amount of ozone-depleting gases is on the way down, but quite slowly," said Geir Braathen, a senior scientist with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which co-ordinates ozone data globally. "In the meantime, we have some winters that get much colder than before and also the cold periods last longer, into the spring," he told BBC News.

"So it's really a combination of the gases still there and low temperatures and then sunshine, and then you get ozone loss."

Dr Braathen was one of a number of scientists presenting the findings at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) annual meeting in Vienna.

This winter, while the Arctic was unusually warm at ground level, temperatures 15-20km above the Earth's surface plummeted and stayed low. "The low temperatures were not that different from some other years, but extended much further into March and April - in fact it's still going on now," said Farahnaz Khosrawi, an ozone specialist at the Meteorological Institute at Stockholm University, Sweden.

Another, Dr Florence Goutail from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), put the 2010/11 winter in context. "Usually in cold winters we observe that about 25% of the ozone disappears, but this winter was really a record - 40% of the column has disappeared," she said.

The longer and colder Antarctic winters often see 55% of the ozone depleted. However, this has hardly any impact on human health, as the region is largely uninhabited - only the southern tip of South America sometimes comes under the ozone hole.

But in the Arctic, the situation is different. Over the last month, severe ozone depletion has been seen over Scandinavia, Greenland, and parts of Canada and Russia.

The WMO is advising people in Scandinavian countries and Greenland to look out for information on daily conditions in order to prevent any damage to their health.

Loss of ozone allows more of the Sun's harmful ultraviolet-B rays to penetrate through the atmosphere. This has been linked to increased rates of skin cancer, cataracts and immune system damage. "With no ozone layer, you would have 70 times more UV than we do now - so you can say the ozone layer is a sunscreen of factor 70," said Dr Braathen.

Ozone depletion is often viewed as an environmental problem that has been solved. The Montreal Protocol, established in 1987, and its successor agreements have phased out many ozone-depleting chemicals such as the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that used to be in widespread use as refrigerants.


Did the ozone hole PRECEDE CFCs?

Brazilian geologist Geraldo Lino [] draws attention to two old papers that show that the hole goes back a long way. The papers are:

R. Penndorf, “The annual variation of the amount of ozone over northern Norway”, Annales de géophysique, tome 6, fasc. 1, 1950, pp. 4-9.

P. Rigaud and B. Leroy, “Presumptive evidence for a low value of the total ozone content above Antarctica in September, 1958”, Annales Geophysicae, 1990, 8(11), pp. 791-94.

Lino says:

Both papers, one from 1950 and the other from 1990, suggest that such extreme rarefactions of the stratospheric ozone concentrations (below 150 dobson units) that became later known as the "ozone hole" were quite common over Northern Norway and also Antarctica, even before the CFCs were largely used (or invented, in the Norwegian case, inasmuch as the measurements there started three years before the invention of the CFCs by Thomas Midgley in 1929).

One of the authors, American meteorologist Randolph Penndorf, even uses the term "holes" to explain such low ozone readings. For me it's enough evidence that this is another natural phenomenon

Received via email

The false prophecies keep coming

All-time record harvest in India - and a flashback to 2010

The Tribune in Chandigarh brings us this excellent news:

India expects to reap record harvest

India is estimated to harvest an all-time record output of 235.88 million tonne (MT) of foodgrains in the 2010-11 crop year (ending June), courtesy the highest-ever production of wheat and pulses.
Addressing the Kharif Conference here, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said the third advance estimate figures available with him showed an all-time record production of foodgrains of 235.88 MT.

“Wheat at 84.27 MT and pulses at 17.29 MT are also the highest recorded production ever,” said Pawar. He indicated that record grain output during the period might prompt the government to lift the ban on the overseas sale of wheat by the world’s second-largest producer to ease pressure on limited storage capacity in its godowns [warehouses]. ---

Experts say higher grain output forecast will make the decision on wheat export a lot easier for the government.
More foodgrains, however, mean added storage issue, a fact conceded by Pawar who said that the government had to take a serious thought on storage and allocation to states. India’s foodgrain output comprises wheat, rice, pulses and coarse cereals.


Almost exactly a year ago Bloomberg Business Week brough us this, not quite as good news:

Global Warming Reduces Grain Output in Inflation-Ridden India
April 19 (Bloomberg) -- Rising temperatures and inadequate rainfall in India is stagnating grain output, threatening food security in the world’s second-most populous country, according to a weather scientist.

In the past decade, average temperatures have increased by 0.25 degree Celsius when the monsoon crops are sown in June, and by 0.6 degree Celsius when winter crops are planted in October, said Krishna Kumar, a senior scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, a state-owned researcher.

“Warmer nights affect rice output while day temperatures hurt wheat production,” Kumar said in an interview on April 16 in the western city of Pune. “Night temperatures are increasing more rapidly than day temperatures since the late 1980s” due to rising human greenhouse-gas emissions, he said. ---

“The projected warming over the water-limited tropics is likely to further depress yields and exacerbate water scarcity, constraining attempts to increase grain production,” Cristina Milesi, a scientist at the California State University and at NASA Ames Research Center, said in a report last month.
‘Leading Example’

India’s population and the largest water-limited tropics croplands, makes it a “leading example of the observed declines in food grain production,” she said.

Don´t expect Kumar or Milesi to retract. On the contrary, their "scientific" explanation will almost certainly be that the record harvest is just a temporary aberration because of climate change - but soon the harvests are really heading for a catastrophic decline, also due to global warming!

SOURCE (See the original for links)

And another one -- from 2007


The hysterical Suzuki

Salesmen do sometimes get to the point where they believe their own spiel

Dr. David Suzuki: I do despair. My wife and I huddle at night and weep for our helplessness. We are losing big-time and I’m enough of a scientist to see we are heading right down the tube. Judging by the past twenty years, we are going backward. I understand why people like Jim Lovelock and Clive Hamilton believe it’s too late. But, if one says it’s too late, then I tell them “Please shut up and go away” because it does no good to say it’s too late.

I think it’s too late to avoid catastrophic climate change, but must we continue to add to it?


Australia: Greens can't hide their hatred of Israel

No hiding the fact that they are watermelons

TWO Greens senators have publicly supported calls for Australian sanctions against Israel over the Middle East conflict, putting them at odds with party policy and their leader Bob Brown.

West Australian senator Scott Ludlam last year demanded an arms embargo on Israel, which he described as "a rogue state", while South Australian colleague Sarah Hanson-Young addressed a rally where protesters called on Australia to sever ties with the Jewish state.

The stance by the two senators conflicts with Senator Brown's assurance last week that his federal party was not anti-Israel and did not support the NSW branch of the party advocating sanctions against Israel.

The Coalition last night labelled the Greens "reds", while the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council called on Senator Hanson-Young to visit Israel before jumping to conclusions.

Senator Brown yesterday refused to comment on the activities of his senators and directed The Australian to his party's policy on Israel, which clearly advocated a peaceful two-state solution.

The Greens have been criticised for having an anti-Israel position since several of its candidates in the NSW election advocated a trade embargo on the Jewish nation.

Senator Brown last week distanced himself from the policy, saying the federal Greens opposed a trade embargo and favoured a peaceful two-state solution to the decades-old conflict.

Nationals senator Ron Boswell yesterday produced photographs of Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Ludlam addressing rallies organised by the Friends of Palestine organisation. According to its website, the organisation promotes the rights of Palestinians. The West Australian branch website also calls for "sanctions to be imposed on the state of Israel by the Australian government until the occupation of Palestinian territories is ended in accordance with UN resolutions".

In a YouTube recording of Senator Ludlam's speech to a West Australian rally last June, he called for an end to Australian sales of weapons to Israel, particularly a $41 million contract for the sale of body armour. "It's time for an arms embargo," Senator Ludlam said. "If Israel chooses to behave like a rogue state, then it's going to be treated as one."

An Australian Associated Press report of the rally said Senator Ludlam had called for an embargo on Israel as he addressed a group of protesters shouting anti-Israeli slogans and waving Turkish and Palestinian flags.

The photograph of Senator Hanson-Young at an Adelaide rally in 2009 shows her surrounded by placards demanding Australia "Cut ties with apartheid Israel".

Senator Boswell yesterday described the Greens, who will assume sole control of the balance of power in the Senate from July 1, as dangerous and extreme and demanded Julia Gillard condemn the party's policies.

"The Greens are setting a dangerous agenda for this country and (are) allowed free rein to do so by their Labor joint venture partners," he said. "The Greens have morphed back into reds. They sell themselves as environmentalists but are really just a rebranded socialist alliance party. There's nothing cuddly about them."

The Australian sent Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Ludlam questions about their involvement in the rallies.

Senator Hanson-Young reiterated through a spokesman her support for the Greens' federal policy for a peaceful two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. The spokesman said the senator had never visited Israel. Senator Ludlam did not respond to The Australian's questions.

Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein hit back at the Greens' involvement in the protests, saying they should visit Israel before making statements against it.

An organiser of the rally attended by Senator Hanson-Young, Jeanie Lucas, of the Australian Friends of Palestine group, said the Greens senator had been invited to attend. She said a number of people had spoken at the rally, which was a protest against the Israeli bombing of the Gaza strip at the time. "I can't recall her words exactly at the time . . . except to say that it was outrageous that Israel was perpetrating action on innocent people," she said.

The organisers of the protest attended by Senator Ludlam, Friends of Palestine WA, did not return The Australian's calls.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


6 April, 2011

Why Are Global Sea Surface Temperatures Falling Short Of IPCC Projections?

The paper by Bob Tisdale below is thoroughly technical but I have reproduced the first part of it to give an idea of what it shows. He looks at the temperature of the oceans since 1980. That is roughly the period that the Warmists love for its time of "global warming" so the ocean should have really got a fever over that period, right? Wrong! Tisdale shows that once you remove the effects of volcanoes and changes in ocean currents, the Eastern Pacific (one third of the earth's ocean) shows no warming at all and the rest shows only the tiniest warming


In this post I illustrate and discuss the relatively small rise in the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies (SST) of the East Pacific (from pole to pole) since November 1981 (the start of the Reynolds OI.v2 dataset) and the very obvious upward shifts in the Sea Surface Temperature anomalies of the Rest of The World, which is made up of the Atlantic, Indian and West Pacific Oceans, a subset that represents approximately 66% of the surface area of the global oceans. I've illustrated the shifts in this subset in an earlier post, but in that post, I corrected the data for volcanic aerosols and smoothed the data with a 13-month running-average filter. I now present the data without the volcano adjustments or smoothing to assure you that these adjustments have not created the effects.

This post also presents the differences between the Reynolds OI.v2 SST data and the IPCC Climate Model Hindcasts/Projections for the satellite-era. The comparisons are for the East Pacific SST anomalies and the SST anomalies of the Atlantic-Indian-West Pacific Oceans.


I've recently added two graphs to my monthly Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomaly updates. (February 2011 SST Anomaly Update) I first presented the reason for these additions in the post Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies - East Pacific Versus The Rest Of The World. The first of the datasets to be discussed is the East Pacific Ocean from pole to pole (90S-90N, 180-80W), so it also includes the portions of the Arctic and Southern Oceans encompassed by those coordinates. As shown in Figure 1, its SST anomalies mimic NINO3.4 SST anomalies, a commonly used El Ni¤o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) proxy. Keep in mind when viewing the variations in SST anomalies in that graph that the East Pacific data represents approximately 33% of the global oceans. (The percentage is based on the NCEP/DOE Reanalysis-2 "Land Mask" data available through the KNMI Climate Explorer).

Figure 1

The second is the Rest of the World, from pole to pole (90S-90N, 80W-180), which is made up of the Atlantic, Indian, and West Pacific Oceans (and corresponding portions of the Arctic and Southern Oceans). The SST anomalies for this portion of the globe have risen in steps in response to the significant El Ni¤o events of 1987/88 and 1997/98. What differentiates these ENSO events from others is that both were significant El Ni¤o events that were followed by major La Ni¤a events. They also were not counteracted by an explosive volcanic eruption, which happened in 1982 when the eruption of El Chichon suppressed the global response to the 1982/83 El Ni¤o event. In Figure 2, I've added period average data to highlight the upward steps in the data. Note also that it appears this portion of the globe is preparing to make another upward step in response to the 2009/10 El Ni¤o and 2010/11 La Ni¤a.

Figure 2

But as you will note in the title blocks of those two graphs, the data has been adjusted for volcanic aerosols and it has been smoothed with 13-month running-average filters.

Much more HERE

Obama's pet Warmist admits that tipping points are highly speculative and improbable

But he loves them all the same. As long as the model output is alarmist he doesn't mind about whether it is right or not!

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says that climate models that don't include the impact of "tipping points," aren't measuring all the risks posed by climate change.

What is a tipping point? In climate change it is the point that will lead to cascading events, positive feedback loops, such as rising temperatures that result in the melting of the Greenland ice, leading to higher sea levels and who knows what else.

Chu spoke Thursday night at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It was a talk, by this Nobel Prize winner in physics, that had some parallels to the problem of measuring risk in IT.

There will be certain risks and damages that might occur if the world temperature goes up three degrees centigrade, said Chu. "The question you should ask yourself if it goes up six degrees centigrade would it be four times worse, would it be two times worse, or will it be a whole lot worse," he said.

Most climate scientists don't want to put these tipping points in their models because of the huge uncertainties, said Chu, but that means the models don't show the full risk.

"To be sure, if you start to model the tipping points you put in much larger uncertainties, but there is a difference between uncertainty and inaccuracy," said Chu.

The "long tail of the damage tail is out there," said Chu, who urged climate researchers to include tipping points in their models.

If scientists are averse to pushing their models, the reasons are understandable. Creating models for anything that include worse-case scenarios and positive feedback loops are potential targets of ridicule.


When do Warmists use the favourite word of the skeptics?

They say that the effects of melting Arctic ice as revealed by their models are "unpredictable", a rare word for Warmists to use in public pronouncements. But why use such a naughty word? Because their models actually predict COOLING!

A vast expanse of freshwater in the midst of the Arctic Ocean is set to wreak unpredictable changes on the climate in Europe and North America, new scientific analysis has shown.

The water - comprising meltwater from the ice cap and run off from rivers - is at least twice the volume of Lake Victoria in Africa, and is continuing to grow. At some point huge quantities of this water are likely to flush out of the Arctic Ocean and into the Atlantic, which could have significant impacts on the climate. Scientists say they cannot predict when this will happen though.

"This could have an influence on ocean circulation," said Benjamin Rabe of the Alfred Wengener Institute. "It could have an influence on the Gulf Stream."

At present, the freshwater acts as a "lid", preventing the warmer salty water below from meeting the ice, which would melt if the two mixed, according to Rabe. But while it is currently stable, this situation is likely to change as atmospheric circulation patterns shift, and as greater quantities of meltwater spill into the "lake". There were signs of an atmospheric change in 2009 that could have precipitated such an outflow, but that episode did not last.

Laura de Steur, an oceanographer at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, said: "The volume of water discharged into the Arctic Ocean, largely from Canadian and Siberian rivers, is higher than usual due to warmer temperatures in the north causing ice to melt. Sea ice is also melting quickly - another new record low for ocean area covered was recently documented by the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, adding even more freshwater to the relatively calm Arctic Ocean."

She added: "Sea ice that is thinner is more mobile and could exit the Arctic faster. In the worst case, these Arctic outflow surges can significantly change the densities of marine surface waters in the extreme North Atlantic. What happens then is hard to predict."

Such an outflow would probably have a measurable impact on the "conveyor belt" or thermohaline circulation, a system of deep ocean and wind-driven currents, including the Gulf Stream, which carries heat from the tropics, said Rabe. An influx of dense, cold freshwater could slow the conveyor belt. If the effect were marked, it would be felt in the form of a change of weather in Europe and America, he said. Europe could find itself cooling, particularly around the Western edges, as the circulations tend to bring warmer air to the continent.

But, he said, it was impossible yet to say whether any such effect would be dramatic or slight. Some climate models predict a 20% weakening of the current by the century's end.

Detlef Quadfasel, of Hamburg University's climate centre, warned that there was a chance changes in the system could be abrupt, occurring over a decade or two, but that more gradual change would be expected.

The findings are part of Project Clamer, a collaboration of 17 institutes in 10 European countries that is synthesising research from nearly 300 EU-funded projects over the past 13 years that concern climate change and Europe's waters, and the Baltic and Black Seas.


Save the planet by having fewer babies, says BBC presenter

The old Zero Population Growth nonsense lives on

BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham has warned the only way to protect the future of the planet is to curb population growth. The Springwatch presenter suggested offering Britons tax breaks to encourage them to have smaller families. He effectively endorsed China's controversial one-child policy, which sees couples who adhere to the rule given a lump sum on retirement.

But he stopped short of suggesting people should be penalised for having too many children.

Packham, 49, who has no children of his own, told Radio Times: `By 2020, there are going to be 70million people in Britain. Let's face it, that's too many.' He added: `There's no point bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and tigers when we're not addressing the one single factor that's putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other - namely the ever-increasing size of the world's population.'

Packham suggested offering couples a financial incentive as `a carrot' to persuade them to have fewer - or no - children. He said: `I would offer them tax breaks for having small families: say, 10 per cent off your tax bill if you decide to stick with just one child. And an even bigger financial incentive if you choose not to have a family at all.

`I question the way, for example, people have two children with one partner, then split up and have two with their next partner, just to even up the score. Fact is, we all eat food, breathe air and require space, and the more of us there are, the less of those commodities there are for other people and, of course, for the animals.'

Although Packham does not have children of his own, he is helping an ex-girlfriend raise her 16-year-old daughter. He said: `I consider it one of the great privileges of my life to play a part in her upbringing, and would happily throw myself in front of a train to protect her. `It doesn't bother me one bit that she doesn't share my genes. `In fact, I do not now (have) - and never have had - any desire whatsoever to reproduce myself.'

Experts have predicted that the British population - which is currently around 62million - will increase to 70million by 2029. A report by the sustainable development group Forum For The Future said Britain would struggle to handle such growth. The increase in population would be `catastrophic' and put unsustainable pressure on housing, schools and hospitals as well as natural resources. Current trends will see a city the size of Bristol added to the population of the UK every year for the next two decades.

Packham, who presents new BBC2 show The Animal's Guide To British Wildlife, was also critical of the nation's reliance on cheap supermarket produce and fast food. `The public expect cheap food as a right, and we aren't prepared to pay the prices farmers need in order to provide quality food. `We should insist on buying locally grown food and be prepared to pay for it.

`As for the hard-pressed mum who says she's not got the time or money, I'm sorry, but making her children good, nutritious food should be her priority. `Everyone knows we've got the most obese kids in the world. `Besides which, giving them fast food actually works out more expensive than cooking them a proper meal.'


Despite The Scary Warnings, U.S. Not Running Low On Oil

With Japan's nuclear crisis and a wave of instability crossing the Middle East, pols and pundits are turning again to the question of our energy future. Will civil war and strife disrupt access to oil and our way of life? Can the United States change its century-old pattern of relying heavily upon petroleum?

People will reach different answers to these questions and draw different conclusions about what to do. It would be helpful, however, if everyone could get the factual premises right.

Unfortunately, one thing all too many observers have in common is an erroneous understanding of what the term "proven oil reserves" means. The myths surrounding this oft-cited figure are pervasive. And there's no way to have a realistic conversation about energy without getting facts and definitions straight.

Republicans for Environmental Protection is just one of many so-called expert groups that gets it wrong.

"The notion that the U.S., which sits atop less than 3% of the world's proven oil reserves, can drill enough oil to drive down prices if the flow is interrupted from a region with 64% of the world's reserves is a pipe dream," David Jenkins, a vice president, recently wrote.

He argued that supporters of drilling "all neglect to mention that the U.S. is already disproportionately depleting its scant 3% reserves to produce 8% of current global production."

Jenkins paints a frightening picture of the future. But whatever good arguments there might be for keeping tight restrictions on drilling, his isn't one of them. That's because the size of any nation's proven reserves depends not only upon how much oil is contained in its borders, but also upon its government's drilling policies.

Here's how the Society of Petroleum Engineers defines it: "Proved reserves are those quantities of petroleum which, by analysis of geological and engineering data, can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be commercially recoverable, from a given date forward, from known reservoirs and under current economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations."

That last phrase is key. Our proven reserves are much lower than our actual reserves because government has blocked access, onshore and offshore. It's silly to argue that there is no point to easing restrictions on drilling because "proven reserves" aren't there.

There'd be a lot more proven reserves if the restrictions were eased. Just in the past few years, we've started the process to extract a century-long supply of clean-burning natural gas we didn't even realize existed.


Secrecy hides taxpayer dollars used in Big Green lawsuits

For thousands of farming and ranching families with leases and grazing rights on public lands in the West, having a good lawyer on call is more than a routine cost of doing business. It's an absolute necessity to protect a way of life that has often been handed down for generations.

But that's far from the worst of it because not only do these hard-working, taxpaying men and women have to pay their own attorneys, they also frequently end up having to help pay the attorneys' fees and other legal costs for Big Green environmental groups that file lawsuits seeking to force the federal government to do their bidding. Usually, the individual ranchers and farmers aren't even defendants, they're just innocent bystanders who need attorneys to protect their interests because their livelihoods depend on the outcome of such litigation.

This unjust situation is a result of the Big Green environmental movement's discovery several decades ago that there was indeed "gold in them thar hills," thanks to an obscure federal law known as the Equal Access to Justice Act. Sunday's Examiner editorial detailed how a law intended to help small businesses get their day in court has been perverted into an unaccountable, tax-paid, cash cow worth hundreds of millions of dollars to groups like the Sierra Club, Center for Biodiversity, Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council.

Payments under EAJA are made by the U.S. Treasury to its Judgment Fund, which is funded by a permanent congressional appropriation. The fund is not audited, agencies aren't required to account in their budgets for payments mandated by court decisions in their areas of jurisdiction, and courts often seal settlements to prevent public examination. It's an open invitation for Big Green groups to file suits, knowing that win or lose, most if not all of their legal expenses will be paid by the government. Best of all for them, it's all but impossible to track who gets how much from the taxpayers from these suits.

But there is enough evidence available to remove any doubt that Big Green litigators have hit the jackpot. Wyoming attorney Karen Fallen has spent many hours poring over court records to compile what she concedes is an incomplete list that includes 647 cases, including 299 in which nearly $18 million was paid under the EAJA to lawyers for 10 Big Green groups. If that amount seems insignificant, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, estimate that at least $4.7 billion has been paid out of the Judgment Fund under the EAJA since 2003, with much of it going to Big Green groups. Vitter and Bishop have introduced legislation to cap such payments and to mandate proper accounting of them. Such actions would be good first steps toward restoring balance to federal litigation costs and ensuring justice for Western farmers and ranchers.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


5 April, 2011

Australia: Warmists admit to pervasive uncertainties

So their hedging is well underway. They feel sure that there is SOME warming but not sure how much. And one of their scenarios envisages a temperature rise of around one degree Celsius -- which even skeptics would be comfortable with. Such a rise would be trivial in its effects -- as it was in the 20th century

It was a long way from picture postcard blue skies in Cairns yesterday as the nation's top 450 climate scientists gathered to take stock of global warming.

The tropical rainstorm may pale alongside the political cyclone that has been unleashed by the federal government's talk about a carbon tax. But the continued wet weather may prove relevant to this week's scientific discussions, which are expected to have a heavy focus on how much there is still to understand about climate change.

For Australia, whether the north can expect to get more or less rainfall because of global warming remains one of the great unknowns.

The Cairns meeting is Australia's peak biannual conference at which climate scientists meet to discuss the state of research. And while organisers of Greenhouse 2011 say participants represent a broad church, the uniform view is undeniably one of a warmer future for the planet.

Beyond that, everything from atmospheric carbon, feedback cycles, ocean temperatures, sea levels, carbon sinks, mitigation and adaptation are on the table for discussion.

Delegates will even be told how emotional responses to climate change represent a missing link to behaviour, with those who accept man-made climate change motivated to act by fear. Others who believe the climate is changing naturally are likelier to feel irritation and refuse to engage or respond.

CSIRO principal research scientist Kevin Hennessy says understanding the causes, both natural and human, of climate change is central to the conference agenda, as is consideration of future projections of climate change globally and regionally.

Surprisingly, a key theme through the conference will be the state of scientific uncertainty. This does not mean that sceptics have crashed the CSIRO-sponsored climate change party, however. "These are the real uncertainties as opposed to the uncertainties that some of the sceptics might claim are important," Hennessy says.

The uncertainties include things such as the various causes of regional climate change and extreme weather events, uncertainty about the future level of greenhouse gas emissions, the rate of global warming, the rate of future sea level rises and the scale and impact of future extreme weather events.

"When we are talking about global warming it is not about whether there will be global warming but about the rate of change," Hennessy says.

The approach reflects a new approach by the climate science community after the issue lost significant momentum in the lead-up to the 2009 Copenhagen conference following claims of exaggerated research claims.

The new caution was reflected in an updated statement issued by Britain's Royal Society last year summarising the scientific evidence on climate change and its drivers. The statement highlighted the areas where the science is well established, where there is still some debate and where substantial uncertainties remain. The Royal Society even held a two-day discussion meeting in March last year on handling uncertainty in science.

The Australian conference agenda reflects the new approach has been taking place elsewhere ahead of the release of a new data from global modelling that will form the basis of the International Panel of Climate Changes update due in 2013.....

Penny Whetton, a senior scientist with the CSIRO's Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, says there are two ways to deal with the uncertainty. "One is trying to reduce it," she says. "The other is working with uncertainty and communicating it because we have to decide how to deal with the climate change issue while the information is somewhat uncertain.

"There are some things we know with great certainty in our climate change understanding and some things we know with less certainty, and we really need to make that clear in our communications as well. "The best example is that we are expecting increasing temperatures in future and the only uncertainty associated with that is how much and exactly how rapid it will be.

"If you move to another variable such as rainfall change, although we are reasonably certain about decreased rainfall in southern Australia we don't actually know the direction of rainfall change in northern Australia.

"As we go forward, some of that growth in knowledge creates new uncertainties while clarifying the certainties we have been previously working with." ....

Clarification is also needed on what global warming means for rainfall in the tropical north. "I will be particularly interested to see what the new crop of models are showing for rainfall in northern Australia because that has been a major source of uncertainty," Whetton says.

"Many lines of evidence over many years have pointed towards decreases in rain in southern Australia. "But it has been more uncertain about how precipitation will change in the north, with some models showing decrease and some showing increase," she says.... Research is still under way to establish what role, if any, climate change has had on the most recent extreme rainfall events in Queensland.

Climate scientists generally say it is not possible to identify a climate change signal in any particular weather event. And the higher than average rainfall in eastern Australia last year is consistent with the La Nina weather pattern.

But the question of whether the La Nina system was strengthened by associated climate change phenomena is contested, just as there is global discussion about the extent to which natural feedback mechanisms, such as cloud and air-borne particulate matter, complicate the task of modelling effectively.

One of the reasons global climate models differ from one another on how much warming they show relates to different feedback processes operating in those models. Water vapour feedback is well understood as a positive feedback, reinforcing warming. Aerosols tend to have a cooling effect, but the amount of aerosol in the atmosphere is expected to decrease, limiting their beneficial effect.

While high cloud is understood to reinforce warming, there is uncertainty about the extent to which low cloud has a cooling effect.


Warmist technology reporter Andrew Leonard suggests that Marc Morano is "gibbering mad" for not believing that trace amounts of CO2 are overheating the planet


"Last Friday's post on scorned climate skeptics generated some heat from Watts Up With That?, the website that, (outside of Marc Morano's gibbering mad Climate Depot) is the most angry about Berkeley scientist Richard Muller's surprising testimony before a House panel last week on global warming temperatures."


Morano may not be worrying too much about comments from an abusive, tofu-eating, bicycle riding, bigot from Berkeley

Ocean life can handle radioactive water

Even Woods Hole says so

RELEASES of radioactive water into the ocean near Japan's stricken nuclear complex shouldn't pose a widespread danger to sea animals or people who might eat them, experts say.

That's basically because of dilution. "It's a very large ocean," noted William Burnett of Florida State University.

Very close to the nuclear plant - less than 800 metres or so - sea creatures might be in danger of problems like genetic mutations if the dumping goes on a long time, he said. But there shouldn't be any serious hazard farther away "unless this escalates into something much, much larger than it has so far", he said.

Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, said readings for radioactive iodine and cesium show a thousand-fold drop from the shore to monitors about 30km offshore.

He said radioactive doses in seafood may turn out to be detectable but probably won't be a significant health hazard. They'd probably be less of a concern than what people could get from land-based sources like drinking water or eating produce, he said.

No fishing is allowed in the vicinity of the complex.

Radioactive water has been seeping into the Pacific Ocean from the nuclear plant, and on Monday plant operators began releasing more than 11.3 million litres of tainted water to make room at a storage site for water that's even more radioactive.

Igor Linkov, an adjunct professor of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, also said he did not expect any major impact on ocean wildlife or people who eat seafood.

He agreed that animals near the plant may be affected. It's not clear in what way, because the level of radiation isn't well known, he said. In any case, fish would probably escape such an effect because unlike immobile species such as oysters, they move around and so would not get a continuous exposure, he said.


Neville Nicholls on Australia's Extreme Rainfall

Neville Nicholls is one of Australia's leading climate scientists. He is also a long-time participant in the IPCC and current president of the Australian Meteorological & Oceanographic Society. I first met Neville in the mid 1990s (at a meeting in Vietnam I think) and I have had nothing but great respect for him ever since. In his latest "AMOS - President's Column" he asks, "What caused the eastern Australia heavy rains and floods of 2010/11?"

He begins his answer by pointing to the strength of the current record La Niña event and the relationship of the SOI (Southern Oscillation Index, a measure of the strength of La Niña and El Niño events) and Australian rainfall (see his figure above). He concludes: "Given the well-known relationship between the SOI and heavy rains in eastern Australia (eg., McBride and Nicholls, 1983) we can conclude that the fundamental cause of the heavy rains this past six months was indeed this record La Niña event. Other heavy rain years (1917/18, 1950/51, 1973/74, 1975/76) were also the result of strong La Niña events. The relationship between rainfall and the SOI is very strong, with a correlation coefficient of 0.66. So, the heavy rains were not caused by global warming, but by a record la Niña event – a natural fluctuation of the climate system."

But he doesn't stop there. He next asks: "But perhaps 2010/11 was a record La Niña because of global warming?" His answer: "There has not been any trend in the SOI over the past 111 years, despite the warming of global mean temperature of about 0.75°C over that period. Nor do climate models consistently predict increased strength of La Niña events from enhanced atmospheric content of greenhouse gases (eg., Vecchi and Wittenberg, 2010). So there is no reason, at this moment, for us to suspect that global warming is increasing the frequency or intensity of La Niña events.

He doesn't stop there either, and next asks, "But was the impact of the 2010/11 La Niña on Australian rainfall stronger because of the record warm sea surface temperatures around northern Australia in 2010?" His answer: "These waters have increased substantially over the last century and are now about a degree warmer than early in the 20th century. If these warmer waters were enhancing the impact of La Niña on Australian rainfall we might expect to be seeing heavier rains in recent decades, relative to the rains that accompanied earlier strong La Niña events. There is some evidence of this (eg., Nicholls et al 1996), and there has been a weak tendency towards increased rainfall since 1900, independent of the influence from the El Niño – Southern Oscillation. Perhaps this trend towards increased rainfall might be related to the warmer sea surface temperatures – but much more work is needed to test this. The effect, if there is one, does not look very strong."

He concludes: "The record La Niña event was the fundamental cause of the heavy rains and floods, ie it was a natural fluctuation of the climate system. There may be a global warming signal enhancing this natural variability, but if so then this effect has been quite subtle, at least thus far."


What Could We Have Done To Stop The Horrific Weather Of 1900?

Climate scientists tell us that humans control the climate, and probably have since the dawn of time. It is time that we take this huge responsibility seriously.

1900 was an extreme weather year. Forest fires burned up huge areas of the Pacific Northwest, the upper midwest, New England and elsewhere. Australia was having a disastrous drought. A hurricane destroyed Galveston, killing most of the people who lived there. We should have been able to prevent all this.

CO2 levels in 1900 were very low at 296 ppm, so mitigating CO2 wouldn’t have helped. Raising taxes might have fixed the problem, or they could have taken it one step further and started mass human sacrifice – the solution top Aztec scientists came up with.


Ructions in Australia's Green/Left coalition

GREENS leader Bob Brown has labelled Julia Gillard's claim his party is out of touch as "obnoxious, quite insulting and unacceptable" and demanded a face-to-face meeting to settle the row.

Mr Brown slammed the Prime Minister's claim in a speech last Thursday that the Greens would never embrace "Labor's delight" at sharing the values of average Australians who led "purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation".

He said her comments, whilst delivering the Gough Whitlam Oration, had been a "huge mistake" and accused her of "very clearly turning both barrels on her supporters in government".

"The tone of those words, carefully weighted, I would say, that 1.5 million Australian voters who backed the Greens at the last election weren't people who would love their family or love their country or who would want to do the right thing was obnoxious, quite insulting and not acceptable," Mr Brown told ABC's Lateline. He did temper his remarks, however, saying the stoush would not undermine his party's alliance with the minority Labor government.

His comments come as a liberal MP and gay rights advocate also rejected Ms Gillard's as "desperate" and warned it could leave her open to the suspicion she was homophobic.

And the Prime Minister faced a fresh attack from former Labor leader Mark Latham, who has accused her of lacking empathy because of her decision not to have children and to focus instead on her career.

Coalition MP Warren Entsch, who represents the Queensland seat of Leichhardt, said Ms Gillard's comments were like saying only the Greens cared for the environment or that only Labor cared for social justice.

Mr Entsch said no politician had the right to make comment on another politician's love of their family.

"If I was a Greens supporter, I would be highly offended by that," said Mr Entsch, who campaigned hard in the Howard government for equal legal rights for same-sex couples. "I don't agree with a lot of the stuff that he (Senator Brown) does, either, but I don't say that he doesn't love his mum or love his family or anyone else."

Ms Gillard made clear she stood by her speech. She said through a spokesman late yesterday that some suggestions about the speech and her views which had appeared in the media were "absurd".

Carol Johnson, a professor of politics at the University of Adelaide, said Ms Gillard might have been deliberately provocative.

"I think Labor is currently sandwiched and is losing votes to the Liberals and votes to Greens and they are desperately trying to differentiate themselves from both to regain support," she said.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


4 April, 2011

The geoengineers have their tongues hanging out at the thought of getting some of those lovely government research grants

Research is such fun! An interesting follow-up below to my comments about geoengineer Muller yesterday

To the quiet green solitude of an English country estate they retreated, to think the unthinkable.

Scientists of earth, sea and sky, scholars of law, politics and philosophy: In three intense days cloistered behind Chicheley Hall's old brick walls, four dozen thinkers pondered the planet's fate as it grows warmer, weighed the idea of reflecting the sun to cool the atmosphere and debated the question of who would make the decision to interfere with nature to try to save the planet.

The unknown risks of "geoengineering" — in this case, tweaking Earth's climate by dimming the skies — left many uneasy.

"If we could experiment with the atmosphere and literally play God, it's very tempting to a scientist," said Kenyan earth scientist Richard Odingo. "But I worry."

Arrayed against that worry is the worry that global warming — in 20 years? 50 years? — may abruptly upend the world we know, by melting much of Greenland into the sea, by shifting India's life-giving monsoon, by killing off marine life.

If climate engineering research isn't done now, climatologists say, the world will face grim choices in an emergency. "If we don't understand the implications and we reach a crisis point and deploy geoengineering with only a modicum of information, we really will be playing Russian roulette," said Steven Hamburg, a U.S. Environmental Defence Fund scientist.

The question's urgency has grown as countries have failed, in years of talks, to agree on a binding long-term deal to rein in their carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions blamed for global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations-sponsored science network, foresees temperatures rising as much as 6.4 degrees Celsius by 2100, swelling the seas and disrupting the climate patterns that nurtured human civilization.

Science committees of the British Parliament and the U.S. Congress urged their governments last year to look at immediately undertaking climate engineering research — to have a "Plan B" ready, as the British panel put it, in case the diplomatic logjam persists.

Britain's national science academy, the Royal Society, subsequently organized the Chicheley Hall conference with Hamburg's EDF and the association of developing-world science academies. From six continents, they invited a blue-ribbon cross-section of atmospheric physicists, oceanographers, geochemists, environmentalists, international lawyers, psychologists, policy experts and others, to discuss how the world should oversee such unprecedented — and unsettling — research.


Corals Evolved With CO2 20X Higher – And Temperatures 10C Warmer

A nasty one for the coral reef alarmists

Corals are a very old group of organisms, originating in the Cambrian Period more than 500 million years ago. The rugose corals are common in rocks from Ordovician through Permian age. These particular horn corals come from the Middle Devonian (397 to 385 million years ago) limestones of the Skaneateles Formation, in the classic geologic sections of the Finger Lakes country of upstate New York.


The Budget’s green dreams will leave Britain powerless

The Government's obsession with its babyish green dreamworld will force the closure of power stations, increase our electricity bills and damage vital industries, warns Christopher Booker

We are fast approaching that long overdue moment when the country wakes up to the scale of the disaster we are being led into by the absurdly unreal, global-warming-obsessed energy policy of our “greenest ever government”. Yet another disturbing instance of this was the announcement tucked away in George Osborne’s Budget that he will impose a “£16 a ton floor price for carbon”, a measure seemingly so arcane that no one has really bothered to spell out its implications.

What it means is that for every ton of CO2 emitted by British industry, and by our electricity companies in particular, we shall all indirectly have to pay what is in effect a hidden tax of £16, rising over the next nine years to £30.

Last year, the coal-fired power stations which supply nearly a third of our electricity used 40 million tons of coal, each emitting up to 2.9 tons of CO2. For this 116 million tons, we shall see nearly £2 billion added to our electricity bills.

The same tax on gas will add a further £1 billion to our bills, thus increasing them by a total of £3 billion a year, rising to £5 billion by 2020. This will add more than 25 per cent to the price we presently pay for electricity, or £200 a year for every household.

This is on top of the price we will have to pay for all the Government’s other “green” dreams, such as the £100 billion it wants spent on 10,000 giant wind turbines, plus another £40 billion to hook them up to the grid. The 100 per cent subsidies for onshore wind power and 200 per cent subsidies for offshore will add further billions to our bills, in return for what will still be only a fraction of the electricity we need.
Related Articles

Already we have seen one estimate, from analysts at Matrix Group, that Mr Osborne’s new “carbon tax” will so skew the economics of coal-fired electricity that four of our larger French- and Spanish-owned power stations at Kingsnorth, Didcot, Tilbury and Cockenzie will have to shut down by 2013, even earlier than their forced closure under the EU’s Large Combustion Plants Directive. This will knock such a hole in our generating capacity that we can look forward to the first of those long-predicted power cuts and blackouts.

What has also shocked British industry is that we will be the only country in the world that has to pay this new tax, thus eroding our competitiveness still further. It is not only electricity which will take the brunt of the tax, but all major CO2 emitters, such as what remains of Britain’s steel industry. Among those already hinting that Osborne’s tax could lead to plant closures and the loss of thousands of jobs have been Welsh MPs, conscious that one of South Wales’s biggest employers is Tata Steel, with 7,500 workers. Tata itself has warned that Osborne’s tax will cost its British operations £20 million a year by 2020, representing a “potentially severe blow to the sustainability of UK steelmaking”.

David Cameron’s response to this is that, on the contrary, he is “hugely heartened by the fact that Tata is putting more investment into the UK”. But what is the main proclaimed purpose of that investment? To make the blades for those useless windmills. Alas, Mr Cameron could not begin to understand what this tells us about the babyish little green dreamworld in which he and his Government live.


Pie in the sky from Obama

Where do I get my energy? None of the holes I’ve dug in the backyard have produced anything, so I buy gasoline for my car from federally-regulated oil companies and my natural gas and electricity from publicly-regulated monopoly utilities.

And sometimes I swing by Starbucks and pick up a shot of personal get-up-and-go.

Last week President Barack Obama addressed energy issues in front of students at Georgetown University, releasing a new Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future. Our fearless leader intends to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Moreover, Mr. Obama told students, “I want to announce a new goal . . . By a little more than a decade from now, we will have . . . cut our oil dependence by a third.”

Obama noted that presidents going back to Richard Nixon “have promised energy independence,” he said, “but that promise has so far gone unmet.” What the president doesn’t understand is why previous presidents were, as he is, just spouting words.

Americans are wisely skeptical of big oil and monopoly utility companies, but at least these outfits actually find, extract, refine, produce and sell energy resources to heat and air condition our homes and run our cars. Presidents bring only money to the issue — ours.

The two essential elements of the Obama energy blueprint are “first, finding and producing more oil at home; second, reducing our overall dependence on oil with cleaner alternative fuels and greater efficiency.”

Finding and producing more oil sounds an awful lot like the “Drill, Baby, Drill” idea the president mocked at the beginning of his Georgetown address — even as he claimed credit for the highest domestic oil production since 2003. Someday the commander-in-chief will decide whether more production is a silly goal or a worthwhile accomplishment. For now, it’s both.

But Obama’s claims of actively promoting energy production are flatly contradicted my folks trying to make a living in the energy business, including Randy Stilley, the CEO of now bankrupt Seahawk Drilling. His hard-hitting recent Washington Post op-ed laid the blame for his company’s demise at the foot of the “U.S. Government” and the “drastic slowdown in the issuance of permits for shallow-water drilling operations. . . .”

The President also dittos the perennial notions, like training all 300 million of us to inflate our automobile tires properly, or mandating car companies to produce more fuel efficient cars. But even Obama and friends admit these aren’t serious methods of reaching his long-off goal of slicing dependence on foreign oil by one-third.

When it comes to replacing oil with new technological breakthroughs made possible by massive government investment and regulation of the economy, the Administration seems utterly earnest.

“I want to make this point,” Obama told the students, “Government funding will be critical.”

The Obama Administration wants to fund electric car battery research, increase demand for hybrid vehicles by mandating that the federal government purchase only hybrids, and fund solar, biofuel and other new “clean” energy technology. In short, the Obama Administration wants to take charge of the semi-private energy industry and subsidize the way to an entirely new system.

No matter how desperate the fiscal crunch, the president went on record last week absolutely opposed to “sacrificing these investments in research and development, in supporting clean energy technologies,” arguing it “would weaken our energy economy and make us more dependent on oil. That’s not a game plan to win the future.”

As the Obama Administration aims to win the energy future, by what measure can we judge their efforts to change the energy make-up of the world economy?

Already, the president gives his administration high marks: “I’m proud of the historic progress that we’ve made over the last two years.”

I hadn’t noticed a thing. (Seamless change, perhaps.)

But when the goal was announced to cut foreign oil imports by one-third, I couldn’t help but detect that the timeline isn’t limited to Mr. Obama’s current term or even to the end of a possible second term. No, the goal is for a third less foreign dependence by 2025 — nearly a decade after he would leave office. (Presumably.)

Come to think of it, the administration passed a “Better Buildings Initiative” to make commercial buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2020. An Executive Order directs federal agencies to design all new buildings to require zero net energy by 2020. And best of all, Obama promises to have 80 percent of the nation’s energy coming from a bevy of “clean” sources . . . by 2035.

There seems little if any mention of how much progress might occur closer to the here and now, i.e. while school kids can still remember Obama’s name.

Perhaps it was a mistake that Obama’s goal of having a million electric vehicles on the road was set to fall when he might still be in office — by 2015. It seems the only goal Obama might have to address before leaving office.

Sure, I know that some things such as going to the Moon — or George W. Bush’s inane goal of going to Mars — take time to accomplish. But leaders should still focus on what part of the goal they can actually accomplish.

That might produce Washington’s rarest and most valuable substance of all: accountability.

If I ever run for president (don't hold your breath), maybe I’ll promise that in ten years all the problems will be solved and perfect happiness provided free of charge to everyone. Just give me eight years, two terms, and a really good successor.


German Climate Science – Reduced To A Travelling Circus Of Charlatanism And The Peddling Of “Masterplans”

German science used to be, and is in many areas, still highly regarded worldwide. But in the area of climate science, it has been reduced to charlatanism and masterplanning.

Sadly, Germany’s “leading climate scientists” are far more preoccupied with transforming society and spreading panic among the population then doing science. Spreading panic is a favourite practice of Stefan Rahmstorf who, like his director Hans Schellnhuber, is a “scientist” at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (PIK).

Rahmstorf is featured in a story at the online Märkische Zeitung, written by Alexandra Amling, who writes how Rahmstorf recently gave a presentation to school students. The Märkische Zeitung writes: "Only when mankind switches over only to renewable energies will we be able to avert the consequences of climate change, Stefan Rahmstorf made clear on Thursday evening in a presentation to school students and interested individuals at the Goethe School.”

Maybe the Märkische newspaper (Ms Amling) confused it, but here it is claimed that using renewables will stop the consequences of climate change, but not climate change itself. I’m having trouble making sense of this. If we use only renewable energy, the climate will change anyway, but the consequences of that change will be averted? Abracadabra.

The Märkische Zeitung then added, quoting Rahmstorf: "If extraterrestial life existed and little green men observed us, then they would see a dramatic disappearance of ice in the Arctic and would wonder, shaking their heads, if the earth is so little worth to us,’ said the oceanographer with admonishing tones."

More contempt for humans- all consistent with the Schellnhuber’s “masterplan” mentality, which views humans as too stupid to run the planet democratically, and so authoritarian means are warranted. The stench of contempt here is so strong that I’m forced to open the window.

According to Märkische Zeitung, Rahmstorf drives no car and has equipped his house with solar technology, and so we should all do the same. Because if we don’t we might drown – at least that’s what Rahmstorf’s last slide of his presentation, a doctored photo, implies: "At the end he showed a photo that will certainly remain in our minds: A wall of a house with the writing: ‘I don’t believe in global warning’. However the second line is hardly legible because it is drowning in floodwater."

Here Rahmstorf is saying that anyone who doesn’t believe his horror scenarios is a fool. Yet ironically, when one looks at the data, Rahmstorf is exposed as the real fool.

In the event that Ms Amling is interested in facts, then she should consider the following:

FACT: Sea level rise is decelerating.

FACT: Global temperature has not risen at all in the last 10 years.

FACT: Tropical storm activity has been falling since the 1980s.

FACT: A huge number of scientists completely disagree with Rahmstorf.

FACT: Rahmstorf’s sea level projection is an extreme outlier, way out of the mainstream.

We’d be more than happy to point Ms Amling to the data behind these facts, and other facts. I would even appear in front of these children with my own presentation in order to undo the educational damage that has been inflicted by Rahmstorf.

After looking at the data, Ms Ameling might consider Rahmstorf as just a charlatan who is irresponsibly inserting fear into vulnerable young minds and doing a disservice to his country.


Big Green: "Nearly $200 million was spent by environmental, progressive, and business groups in 2009 and 2010 to sell a climate bill."

"Downplaying or remaining silent about climate change was and is a blunder for progressives" says the Warmist site "Climate Progress". A longer excerpt:

"Nearly $200 million was spent by environmental, progressive, and business groups in 2009 and 2010 to sell a climate bill. The vast majority (but not all) of that messaging was built around ignoring the climate message and instead talking about clean energy jobs, energy security, and the threat from China. Worse, the progressive political leadership (again with exceptions, such as Sen. John Kerry) also generally either refused to talk about climate change or they seriously downplayed the subject. That includes, most importantly, President Obama and the entire White House communications team [see "The unbearable lameness of being (Rahm and Axelrod)"].

Even worse, as I’ve reported before, multiple sources confirm that the WH comms team shut down an effort by the office of the president’s science adviser, John Holdren, to mount a strong defense of climate science after the Climategate emails were hacked in late 2009."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


3 April, 2011

Untangling Prof. Muller

Dr Muller of the Berkley Earth Surface Group is a tangle of contradictions. He knows all the faults of Warmist "science" and dissects them ably. Yet he goes on to say that he believes in Warmism despite all that. And he does not say why. What the heck is going on?

If we follow the old advice "Follow the money", however, we have an answer. He is the front man for a geoengineering organization. And they want to say that theirs is the only means of controlling the earth's temperature. So they employ Dr. Muller to rubbish all the carbon control proposals -- which he ably does.

Skeptics Corner gives chapter and verse of the matter so I will just post below an excerpt from their extensive analysis

This Berkley Earth Surface Group is part of the Novim Group. It appears based on a quick review of their literature that they are very much into Geo-Engineering....

The contradictions in Dr Muller's public positions on the science of global warming is obvious. On the one hand he says that virtually all the science flowing from the IPCC and the various proponent individuals and organizations is shoddy yet he believes that the science that underpins it which is the product of those same indviduals and organizations is accurate.

Nowhere is this contradiction more obvious than in the next section of his lecture when the good doctor goes after the "Hockey Stick" and "climategate". This is what made Dr Muller an instant hero in the realist community. This portion of the lecture went viral though it only represents 5 minutes of a 52 minute presentation.

He basically destroys the reputation and research of most of climate science's most notable super stars and yet he believes the science they promote is sound, amazing.

Obviously Dr Muller believes that man made global warming is a threat and that the solutions put forward to date will not suffice to address that threat. He maintains this in spite of his many criticisms of the science underlying global warming. This an extremely contradictory position to maintain and it leads one to question why an obviously brilliant man would hold these contradictory views. I mean really how can someone spend an hour in a point by point discussion on the distortions, inaccuracies, and potential corruption by an entire field of science then say that their conclusion is valid. Does that make sense?

Putting aside the whole contradiction of Dr Muller's beliefs, let's look at the possible solutions if in fact he believes what he just presented. The presentation of energy options which Dr Muller gives is really nothing new, all of it has been gone over in other forums by other people. It is well presented and the challenges against implementing them well defined but again really nothing new. In fact a summary of the presentation would be

*The science behind global warming is shoddy

* Global warming is a threat to our future

*For society to advance we will probably exacerbate the global warming problem

*The current alternatives will probably not solve the problem.

So what are we to do? Left unsaid in all this is the group behind BEST, Novim. And what has Novim's emphasis been on, geo-engineering.

It is not as if anyone actually has to follow through with a geo-engineering solution, particularly not now, when the problem is "in the future". But it might behoove policy makers to consider preparing for such options by doing R&D on geo-engineering should the eventuality arise.

After all the United States did not defeat the Soviet Union by actually nuking them but we certainly did have the capacity to do so by building a strategic defense system second to none.

If you were convinced that global warming was a real possibility but that there was no economically viable way to achieve a reduction in emmision via the Al Gore camp model, what would your only option be?

Prepare to nuke global warming, I know that recently the idea of actually using nuclear bombs to cool the Earth has been presented, but I am speaking figuratively not literally. Nuking global warming in the geo-engineering sense would be all the silly ideas that have been outlined by various people and organizations....such as the Novim Group.

Boy what an out too! Not only do governments not have to destroy their economies, the Greens can still push all their little schemes for alternative energy and we can create an entirely new military geo-engineering industrial complex to defeat the red peril of our time, global warming...well the future global warming. Can you imagine all the cool sulfur dioxide spewing boats that could be built and deployed around the world, just in case the UN ever decided the time had come to save the world.

The current agenda has been discredited, both the scientific institutional entities such as the IPCC, NASA, NOAA etc as well as the solution agenda centered around cap and trade and the degradation of Western Economies as promoted by Al Gore, James Hansen etc.

Time for a new set of players with a new set of tools. BEST and supposedly independent organizations to substantiate the threat and new, less oppressive tools to fight that threat such as geo-engineering.

I really see no reason why companies and institutions such as i4 energy, Muller and Associates, the Novim Group and a never ending shadow group of organizations, individuals and entities should not lead the way into a better future for planet Earth and you?


Australia: Lighthouse light dimmed to protect muttonbirds

This is criminal. People could die from failing to notice a lighthouse. And there is no way that muttonbirds are "endangered"

A Tasmanian bird conservation group has praised efforts to protect muttonbirds that are being killed by a lighthouse in north-east Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council raised concerns that thousands of muttonbirds are killed each year after flying into the Eddystone Point light.

The historic main light at the lighthouse has now been switched off and replaced with a lower intensity light.

Eric Woehler of Birds Tasmania says the Eddystone Lighthouse has killed many birds over several years. "We're talking about not just the shearwaters or the muttonbirds that are killed by lighthouses but a very high number of species are killed by flying into lighthouses." "So any measure that we can argue to improve the conservation of birds we'd certainly propose that," Mr Woehler said.


The Climate War Should Be Declared Over

Whether you know it or not the industrialized world is at war, a climate war. The industrialized world didn’t ask for it, it has being forced upon us. The fossil fuel burning world is being attacked by factions that want to extract the wealth of the prosperous nations to pay for a remaking of the world and “save it” from the industrialized nations crime of releasing carbon dioxide into the air.

However, as one of the Australian climate commissioners recently revealed, these governments, environmental groups and the United Nations have no answers as to what specific climate benefit would result from their victory. This is what makes the climate war so dangerous. Without a specific, targeted temperature drop figure somewhere in the future as a goal the entire transformation from fossil fuels to “renewables” lacks any true objective. The attempt to re-make energy production on a global scale will likely be prohibitively expensive and yield a temperature reduction that can only be guessed at! History has proven over and over again that stumbling into war without a specified, targeted objective, results in billions or trillions of wasted dollars and the pointless loss of human life.

Every once in a great while when our moon’s orbit takes it closer to Earth something quite remarkable can happen, a government official tells the truth. Apparently the increased gravitational force of the closer moon wrenches the truth from the unwitting official’s mouth. Before you know it he or she has blurted out something that in a moment, changes the entire landscape. With the last full moon being closer to earth since 1993 just such a thing happened in Australia.

In March, around the time of the moon’s closer proximity a reporter named Andrew Bolt, writing for Melbourne’s Herald Sun, happened to be interviewing Australia’s leading Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery. Bolt was looking to get a figure as to how much the earth’s temperature would drop if Australia reduced its carbon dioxide emissions 5% by 2020. At first Flannery was unwilling to give an answer, probably because he didn’t have one. Bolt pressed him for an actual number, something he could get his arms around. Flannery responded with “look it will be a very, very small increment.” Bolt continued to ask Flannery for an actual number.

Apparently at this point the moon’s stronger gravity effect kicked in. Upon further questioning Flannery blurted out “If we cut emissions today, global temperatures are not likely to drop for about a thousand years.” The first time I read this I had to go back and read it again, I was that stunned. Bolt was not satisfied with this answer. He was simply looking for an actual number, not a vague statement of generalities. He pressed Flannery to give a number like the cost of buying a car. He said you need to know the price of the car before you spend real money to buy it right? Flannery agreed.

Bolt then used a different approach. He gave Flannery a set of temperature numbers that he could pick from. This would help Flannery give the amount of temperature drop benefit Australia would achieve by reducing carbon dioxide emissions 5% by 2020. The closer moon’s proximity and increased gravity was now pulling harder on the earth than it had in 18 years. Flannery responded with this remarkable admission. “Just let me finish and say this. If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow the average temperature of the planet is not going to drop in several hundred years, perhaps as much as a thousand years”. After reading this I was glad I was sitting down.

This eye popping remark comes not from some everyday politician but from a climate commissioner of Australia. He is saying that if we shut down every coal, gas or oil burning electric utility, eliminate every car, bus, train and ground all planes, shut all factories that make things and stop using fossil fuels entirely everywhere in the world it would have no effect on earth’s temperature for hundreds of years, perhaps a thousand years. Amazingly, even after that tectonic plate shifting admission Flannery still had no actual number as to how much the temperature would drop if Australia shut everything off today. He could only offer “it’s going to be slight.”

What is “slight” Is it a tenth of a degree? A hundredth of a degree? A thousandths of a degree? Flannery had no answer. That’s because he doesn’t know what the number is. It’s like saying the car is going to cost you money to buy. Well ok but how much? Well, we really don’t have a number for you but trust us it does have a price. Well then, I’m not going to buy it if I don’t know the price. What’s scary and dangerous about the climate war is that governments will force you to buy that car no matter what it costs.

And that is the whole issue. What price are we supposed to pay to revolutionize the way the industrial world makes energy and what temperature benefit will result? This climate commissioner of Australia has no answer as to what the temperature drop would be. I strongly suspect he has no idea what the cost will be to achieve the temperature drop either. It took 200 years to achieve the amount of energy production we have in the world today. You can bet it will take trillions of dollars to re-engineer it into something else. Even if such a thing were possible there is no guarantee it would have any significant effect on earth’s average temperature. According to the Australian climate commissioner the end result, whatever that might be, would take up to one thousand years to take effect.

There is hope. Mr. Flannery has basically admitted there is no need for the climate war to continue. By revealing that the temperature drop would not be realized for perhaps a thousand years there simply is no pressing need to transform the way we make energy today, tomorrow or twenty years from now. The collateral damage resulting from such a forced and rapid transformation would likely far, far exceed any guessed at benefit of unknown magnitude hundreds of years in the future. To risk the prosperity and safety of billions of people on such tenuous assumptions is reckless and irresponsible to the extreme. The climate war should be declared over.


Greenie people hatred pops its head up again

Only "the good" (as defined by ecofascists) should survive

“Currently, one could argue that the most significant form of global pollution is human population growth.” So says Mr Jack Trevors, Editor-in-Chief of Water, Air, & Soil Pollution (WASP), “an international, interdisciplinary journal on all aspects of pollution and solutions to pollution in the biosphere. This includes chemical, physical and biological processes affecting flora, fauna, water, air and soil in relation to environmental pollution.”

WASP insists on rigorous peer review: “Articles should not be submitted that are of local interest only and do not advance international knowledge in environmental pollution and solutions to pollution. Articles that simply replicate known knowledge or techniques while researching a local pollution problem will normally be rejected without review.”

So what are we to make of the peer-reviewed article “A Vaccine Against Ignorance?” by Trevors and Associate Editor Mr Milton Saier?

It begins by echoing d’Holbach: “One of the greatest challenges facing humanity is ignorance.” This keystone of Enlightenment philosophy promises that once man is properly educated he will live in paradise. However, it is with sadness that I report that this discovery, of obvious monumental importance, has the bloody empirical corollary, “If a man refuses education he must be extirpated lest he spread the cancer of ignorance.”

What can Trevors and Saier teach mankind?
[T]he capitalistic systems of economy follow the one principal rule: the rule of profit making. All else must bow down to this rule…The current USA is an example of a failed capitalistic state in which essential long-term goals such as prevention of climate change and limitation of human population growth are subjugated to the short-term profit motive and the principle of economic growth.

The word “failed” is curious until we hear their lamentation that “many people in the USA” are “confused” about the unbearable “truth of human-caused Global Warming.” Confused is comforting because confusion can be repaired by education. And nowhere is there more misunderstanding than about global warming whose “theoretical basis was established over 50 years ago!” 50! If only we could educate the befuddled, the rise of the oceans would begin to slow, the planet would begin to heal.

Alas, the ignorant “are likely to prefer a fairy tale to reality; it’s so much nicer (for a while) to think that no serious problems exist. Such people just continue to live in a fantasy world that will dissolve when reality becomes oppressive, just as does a dream fades [sic] away after one wakes.” But by then it will “be too late to correct the problems that were propagated by ignorance” (this tortuous metaphor appears to argue that the citizenry should remain aslumber1).

Only the panacea Education can cause the ignorant to develop “a deep feeling of compassion and responsibility towards all, a feeling of dedication to the welfare of humans and other beings on the planet.” We must not yield “to the greedy interests of profiteers! Unless the impediments that prevent people from gaining the educations they desire are overcome, we will remain intellectual barbarians.”

Wait: how can the ignorant desire the education they lack? Are they not asleep? Are they not wallowing in their greed and self-centeredness? Never mind: education is what counts, education is all. Education cures “insecure” urges to “spend excessively on military”.

This isn’t some random non sequitur, no sir! See, every dollar a country spends on “weapons of destruction” is one they could have invested on “means to limit their population”. The educated know that people are the cause of misery; therefore, limiting people reduces misery.

What’s needed is obvious: more education. But coupled with “restrictions on people, agencies, and corporations determined to follow the profit motive, and in so doing, undermine the intelligence of the populace.” And you thought Steve Jobs, head of Apple corporation, was benign. Cut out the cancer!

With the steel-handed education championed by our authors, “ignorance would fade into the background, and discrimination, racism, intolerance, terrorism, crime, and fraud would be countered by the larger more rational segments of the human population.” Trevors and Saier are not, they are certainly not, “suggesting the resurrection of a utopian wish.” Yet something approaching bliss can be had when “inferior ideas and thoughts in ignorant human minds are eliminated from the equation and replaced with superior ideas resulting from a sound education.” Eliminated!

Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, let us “submerge our selfish desires for the betterment of humanity and the planet.” Can I get an amen?


Our caring pair also have published “We do not have a spare Earth ” in the science journal Environmentalist, in which they take great pains to say, repeatedly and with scintillating emphasis, “We do not have a spare Earth.” More science: “The living organisms including humans in our common biosphere follow a simple set of rules. Some organisms live and reproduce, some live and do not reproduce and some die before they reproduce.” Because of their glamorous and demanding careers, many statisticians fall into that last category.


Media interest falls to record low

In 2007 the average number of google hits for a news search for “global warming” was around 20,000 stories. It then steadily declined until just before climategate it was around the 10,000+ news articles.

When climategate hit, of course it jumped up again, but not to the 20,000 but for a short time closer to 15,000 stories. At which point I started considering tracking Google news hits – and even considered putting online an up to date graph, until that is we discovered that Google itself was not beyond altering its search engine to promote global warming alarmism. So, I’ve never before publicly tabulated the results.

But slowly, creaking and groaning … slowly … well I can only describe it as a race watching a slug which constantly gets distracted by silly news events, only to get on the track back to oblivion, but slowly slowly I watched the figure drop first through the 9000 barrier, then 8000, then I was amazed to see it drop to 7000s then it was regularly in the 7000s, then it would go annoyingly back up to the 8000s, then back and back up and down.

Then today, I got up early to do some real work, and as usual turned to WUWT, where nothing in particular took my fancy – mainly because the video of a windmill breaking down is years old (sorry Anthony). So, I turned to that old resort of trying to find something interesting about global warming that hasn’t been said before.

Nothing! And then I spotted it…. "global warming" newscount 2000-2011"

I’d jumped the gun a few days ago; But there it was 6600 hits! Not 7600, not 8600, not even the 15,000 during climategate, but 6600.

Now, I could be criticised in all manner of ways for my methodology. Shouldn’t I also count “climate change” or “climate weirding” or whatever is the latest fad name for this doomsday cult? Unfortunately “climate change” now seems to pick more stories on the economic climate, than global warming.

So no, I stuck to “global warming” and for all these past years I have kept a personal tab on the number of global warming stories and 6600 really now is the dross at the bottom of the barrel: eco-lunatics whose idea of a perfect world is one without anyone else in it; tired out-of-date journalists who still think it is fashionable to go on about “global warming”; young wet-behind-the-ears journalists who heard about climate “science” at school and still believe their teachers, and yes … the boring old sods who go on about global warming being an utter load of twaddle!


Power for the People

In a scene reminiscent of Colonial Williamsburg, for 16 years Thabo Molubi and his partner had made furniture in South Africa’s outback, known locally as the “veld,” using nothing but hand and foot power. When an electrical line finally reached the area, they installed lights, power saws and drills. Their productivity increased fourfold, and they hired local workers to make, sell and ship far more tables and chairs of much higher quality, thereby also commanding higher prices.

Living standards soared, and local families were able to buy and enjoy lights, refrigerators, televisions, computers and other technologies that Americans and Europeans often take for granted. They could even charge their cell phones at home! The area was propelled into the modern era, entrepreneurial spirits were unleashed, new businesses opened, and hundreds of newly employed workers joined the global economy.

People benefited even on the very edge of the newly electrified area. Bheki Vilakazi opened a small shop where people could charge their cell phones before heading into the veld, where instant communication can mean life or death in the event of an accident, automobile breakdown or encounter with wild animals.

Thousands of other African communities want the same opportunities. But for now they must continue to live without electricity, or have it only sporadically and unpredictably a few hours each week. Over 700 million Africans – and some two billion people worldwide – still lack regular, reliable electricity and must rely on toxic wood and dung fires for most or all of their heating and cooking needs.

Mothers with babies strapped on their backs must bend over open fires, breathing poisonous fumes and being struck down by debilitating, often fatal lung diseases. Homes, schools, shops and clinics lack the most rudimentary electrical necessities. Impoverished families must live in mud-and-thatch or cinderblock houses that allow mosquitoes to fly in, feast on human blood and infect victims with malaria. And parents and children must carry and drink untreated water that swarms with bacteria and parasites which cause cholera, diarrhea and river blindness. When the sun goes down, their lives shut down.

The environmental costs are equally high. In Rwanda gorilla habitats are being turned into charcoal, to fuel cooking fires. In Zambia, entrepreneurs harvest trees by the thousands along highways, selling them to motorists heading back to their non-electrified homes in rural areas and even parts of cities. As quickly as First World charities hold plant-a-tree days, Africans cut trees for essential cooking.

If eco-activists have their way, it will be like this for decades to come.

In his DotEarth blog for the New York Times, columnist Andrew Revkin lamented this intolerable situation. “Access to the benefits that come with ample energy trumps concerns about their tiny contribution of greenhouse gas emissions,” he wrote. But despite agreeing with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow on this central issue, Revkin took issue on several items.

CFACT’s “Stop energy poverty” slogan is clever, he wrote. But where are its “substantive proposals for getting affordable energy” to those who don’t have it? Africa sits on vast deposits of natural gas and liquid condensates. Perhaps CFACT could find a business model that can lead to capturing, instead of flaring, those “orphan fuels,” Revkin suggested, while wondering why the Committee offers solar ovens to a Yucatan village and uses its slogan in part to challenge global warming scares.

Converting orphan fuels to productive uses is a terrific idea. That’s why CFACT opposes restrictions on using these fuels and wants to help find investors and build local support for gas-fired power plants that can electrify and modernize homes and businesses, create jobs, improve health and living standards, purify water, and launch companies that can build modern homes. Non-orphan deposits of oil, “tight oil,” natural gas, shale gas and coal could do likewise.

Unconventional US shale gas reserves alone are now estimated at about 57 trillion cubic meters (2000 trillion cubic feet) – enough for 100 years at current US consumption rates, on top of conventional reserves. Africa almost certainly has large gas, oil, coal and uranium deposits of its own, lying untapped beneath numerous poor countries, waiting to fuel an economic boom – if environmentalists, self-interested companies and government agencies would stop using global warming and other scares to justify their opposition to large-scale generating plants.

Until then, the Committee will continue providing interim measures – solar ovens, used laptops and small solar-powered charging systems – while also training people in computer and business skills, and assisting Yucatan and Ugandan villagers with tree farm and other projects.

All these are akin to the help that first responders provide, before getting disaster victims to hospitals. They are important steps toward individual and community empowerment that comes from having property rights, free enterprise, and full access to modern technologies that improve, enhance and safeguard lives. But none of this is possible without reliable, affordable energy to power those technologies.

“If abundant, affordable, clean energy and water were readily available to everyone, all the other problems would become much easier to solve,” Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley observed. Of course, “clean” does not have to mean non-carbon dioxide emitting, though Mr. Revkin seems reluctant to support energy that comes from fossil fuels, notes CFACT executive director Craig Rucker. “However, you cannot champion the poor, while supporting policies that perpetuate poverty,” Rucker emphasizes.

Modern coal-fired power plants are far cleaner than their predecessors, posing few environmental or health problems, except in the minds and propaganda of eco-activists. They are infinitely cleaner than the open fires that provide pitiful, polluting, often deadly energy for the barest necessities. Gas-fired plants are cleaner still, and safe, modern nuclear plants could also support major economic booms.

To suggest that impoverished nations must worry more about CO2 than about tuberculosis, cholera or malaria is absurd. To tell them their energy options must be limited to expensive, unreliable, insufficient wind and solar power is immoral. To impose anti-hydrocarbon restrictions on poor countries ensures that they will remain poor and diseased, with life expectancies in the low forties.

As Dambisa Moyo and others suggest, it is time for rich Western nations to provide less aid, fewer restrictions – and much more trade, investment and banking expertise and opportunity; business, agricultural and property rights know-how; and energy technologies that will harness and utilize abundant, reliable, affordable hydrocarbon energy. They also need to stop propagating scare stories and imposing restrictions on the use of hybrid and genetically modified seeds to reduce malnutrition, and insecticides to reduce disease.

CFACT’s goal is simple, says Rucker. “Give poor families, communities and nations the same opportunities we had, the same freedoms to chart their destinies, the same rights to create and manage their own wealth, develop their own free and healthy institutions, solve their own environmental and health challenges – and even make their own mistakes along the way.”

Brazil, China, India and Indonesia are not about to stop building new coal-fired power plants; nor are developed countries going to tear their plants down or abandon their fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Africa and other poor regions need to adopt the same attitude – and also seek investors and trade opportunities, rather than just more aid that is often merely life support for corrupt dictators and bureaucrats.

CFACT’s plan is also simple, Rucker adds. Help now with solar ovens, laptops and other first aid. Challenge and change harmful, immoral, lethal policies that limit access to energy and other modern technologies, hobble job creation, impair health and kill millions. And help persuade investors and Third World communities to provide the energy technologies that will make health and prosperity happen.

“We hope Andrew Revkin and millions of other caring people will join us in supporting a global energy quest that advances human progress, while limiting actual environmental risks.”



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


2 April, 2011

The green energy economy reconsidered

"Green" energy such as wind, solar and biomass presently constitute only 3.6% of fuel used to generate electricity in the U.S. But if another "I Have a Dream" speech were given at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, it would undoubtedly urge us on to a promised land where renewable energy completely replaced fossil fuels and nuclear power.

How much will this particular dream cost? Energy expert Vaclav Smil calculates that achieving that goal in a decade — former Vice President Al Gore's proposal — would incur building costs and write-downs on the order of $4 trillion. Taking a bit more time to reach this promised land would help reduce that price tag a bit, but simply building the requisite generators would cost $2.5 trillion alone.

Let's assume, however, that we could afford that. Have we ever seen such a "green economy"? Yes we have; in the 13th century.

Renewable energy is quite literally the energy of yesterday. Few seem to realize that we abandoned "green" energy centuries ago for five very good reasons.

First, green energy is diffuse, and it takes a tremendous amount of land and material to harness even a little bit of energy. Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment and senior research associate at Rockefeller University, calculates, for instance, that the entire state of Connecticut (that is, if Connecticut were as windy as the southeastern Colorado plains) would need to be devoted to wind turbines to power the city of New York.

Second, it is extremely costly. In 2016 President Obama's own Energy Information Administration estimates that onshore wind (the least expensive of these green energies) will be 80% more expensive than combined cycle, gas-fired electricity. And that doesn't account for the costs associated with the hundreds of billions of dollars worth of new transmission systems that would be necessary to get wind and solar energy — which is generally produced far from where consumers happen to live — to ratepayers.

Third, it is unreliable. The wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine when the energy is needed. We account for that today by having a lot of coal and natural gas generation on "standby" to fire-up when renewables can't produce. Incidentally, the cost of maintaining this backup generation is likewise never fully accounted for in the cost estimates associated with green energy. But in a world where fossil fuels are a thing of the past, we would be forced — like the peasants of the Dark Age — to rely upon the vagaries of the weather.

Fourth, it is scarce. While wind and sunlight are obviously not scarce, the real estate where those energies are reliably continuous and in economic proximity to ratepayers is scarce.

Finally, once the electricity is produced by the sun or wind, it cannot be stored because battery technology is not currently up to the task. Hence, we must immediately "use it or lose it."

Fossil fuels are everything that green energy is not. Approximately 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas (which cost approximately $4.00) can generate the same amount of electricity as running an average rooftop solar system for 131 days. It is comparatively cheap. It is reliable; it will burn and produce energy whenever you want it. It is plentiful (we use only a tiny bit of oil in the electricity sector). And you can store fossil fuels until you need them.

Proponents of green energy argue that if the government can put a man on the moon, it can certainly make green energy economically attractive. Well, notice that government was not trying to get a man to the moon profitably, which is more akin to the challenge here. Even before the Obama presidency began, about half the production costs of wind and solar energy were underwritten by the taxpayer to no commercial avail. There's little reason to think that a more sustained, multi-decade commitment to subsidy would play out any differently. After all, the federal government once promised that nuclear energy was on the cusp of being "too cheap to meter." That was in the 1950s. Sixty-one billion dollars of subsidies and impossible-to-price regulatory preferences later, it's still the most expensive source of conventional energy on the grid.

The fundamental question that green energy proponents must answer is this: if green energy is so inevitable and such a great investment, why do we need to subsidize it? If and when renewable energy makes economic sense, profit-hungry investors will build all that we need for us without government needing to lift a finger. But if it doesn't make economic sense, all of the subsidies in the world won't change that fact.


Will a UCLA Prof Lose His Job For Sticking to Science Over Politics?

Dwayne Whitney owns a trucking business. He started it decades with only one truck. Since then, his company has grown. Now he has 18 trucks and 20 employees. But that growth may soon be stunted by the state of California. “The State of California says my trucks are killing people,” Whitney told ReasonTV. “What do you say to that?”

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) said this: that the pollution emitted from buses and trucks contributes to 2,000 deaths a year in California.

Rubbish! says UCLA’s Dr. James Enstrom. That number is probably closer to zero, he says. While CARB wants to render Whitney’s trucks illegal, Enstrom has research that could keep Whitney’s fleet on the road.

Enstrom was a member of UCLA’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences and he authored a 2005 study–the largest, most detailed study on the matter to date–on the relationship between diesel particulates and premature deaths. Diesel particulates are a type of pollutant emitted from trucks. The study found no relationship at all between those pollutants and premature deaths.

Was Enstrom rewarded for his groundbreaking research? No. CARB ignored his report and UCLA told him that after 34 years at the school, he was out of a job. So much for academic freedom. “I have felt very intimidated by this process,” Enstrom says.

Adam Kissel of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) observes that ”The environmental regulation machine in powerful in California….When Dr. Enstrom went up against that machine he was retaliated against.”

Twelve members of California‘s state legislature caught wind of Enstrom’s story and have come to his defense as well. The twelve legislators may “promptly hold a hearing in Sacramento on this matter,“ arguing that ”the integrity of the University of California requires that faculty have the freedom to publish research findings, without fear of potential retribution from those in higher positions.”

Kissel explains over at FIRE’s website:
Twelve members of the California State Legislature have written UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block and Provost Scott Waugh a letter decrying UCLA’s treatment of longtime Department of Environmental Health Sciences faculty member James E. Enstrom. Professor Enstrom was let go from UCLA after some 34 years under circumstances detailed by FIRE and described in a video released yesterday from

Led by Chief Republican Whip Dan Logue, Assemblymember, Third District, the legislators write that they “remain deeply troubled by the University’s inability to provide credible cause for Dr. Enstrom’s dismissal, and the appearance of political interference in the University’s academic discourse.”

They also raise concerns “as to the integrity of this process,” since UCLA‘s allegation that Enstrom failed to meet his department’s “minimum requirements” appears to have been based on a document dating back to 1995 that Enstrom had never seen and which might not be at all applicable to Enstrom’s position. (I wrote about this document a couple of weeks ago.) The legislators write that “this policy of minimum requirements has neither been enforced with the Department, nor has the document been provided to Dr. Enstrom despite his specific request. This seems arbitrary and capricious and undermines the legitimacy of the Department’s reasons for dismissal.”

Kissel says, “If Dr. Enstrom loses his job because he expressed his academic freedom, then it‘s a message to other researchers that you’d better not rock the boat because you might be next.”


Beware the Plastic Apocalypse!!!

Greenies see Armageddon In Every Plastic Bag

We are told the oceans are covered with floating plastic debris, clogging the ocean food chains and destroying free-swimming wildlife. But solid evidence of this eco-catastrophe is quite thin. And ever since a Canadian high-schooler (and another in Taiwan) in 2009 discovered species of microbes that thrive on eating plastic, most informed observers have been somewhat less concerned.

Since then, scientists in Ireland have begun to put microbes to work digesting waste plastics, and UK scientists have discovered plastic-eating microbes in ocean waters.

The latest story in the long-running ocean apocalypse saga, involves scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts. Woods Hole scientists explored the Sargasso Sea, in search of plastic-eating bacteria.
Mincer and his colleagues examined bits of fishing line, a plastic bag and a plastic nurdle (a pre-production plastic pellet) fished out of the Sargasso Sea, an area of the North Atlantic where currents cause debris to accumulate. The region as a whole contains more than 1,100 tonnes of plastic1.

...Plastic-eating bacteria might help explain why the amount of debris in the ocean has levelled off, despite continued pollution. But researchers don't yet know whether the digestion produces harmless by-products, or whether it might introduce toxins into the food chain.

...Genetic analysis shows that the bacteria on the plastic differ from those in the surrounding seawater or on nearby seaweed, says microbiologist Linda Amaral-Zettler of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole. So far, the DNA sequences obtained by her lab show that almost 25% of the bacteria on one polyethylene surface were vibrios, bacteria from the same group as the cholera bacterium.

...Amaral-Zettler and Mincer also found genetic and microscope evidence of eukaryotes — organisms with more complicated cells than bacteria — on the plastic. What she calls the "plastisphere" might contain complex living communities. "It may be a little world that we've created, for better or worse."

It is fascinating that particular ocean bacteria have adapted to using plastics as a food source. This is all quite reminiscent of the bacteria that have adapted to eating crude oil and methane gas around oil spills and and natural hydrocarbon seeps in the ocean floor.

To the bacteria, our discarded plastics are a feast and a windfall, allowing them to feed and reproduce to their microbial hearts' content. Of course the same phenomena occurs on land, except with a much wider range of microbes -- both prokaryotic and eukaryotic -- partaking of the cornucopian repast.

Environmentalists are concerned that the microbes may be releasing toxins into the seawater which will pollute larger sea creatures and perhaps get into the human food chain. A plastic apocalypse on the prowl, don't you see? And yet, in the middle of the ocean, nothing is wasted. If something can be seen as food, it will be used as food by something. That includes anything which humans may perceive as toxic.

Here is the amusing thing in all this: Waste plastics are increasingly being seen as valuable feedstocks in the production of synthetic fuels, chemicals, and other high-value substances. Gasification of solid wastes for production of power, process heat, and chemical/fuel feedstock is just getting started in the developed world. In the future, the only plastic wastes the oceans will see will be coming from places too primitive to know how to unlock their intrinsic value.

And no doubt there will be plenty of plastic-eating ocean microbes to take care of those remnants. Otherwise we will need to raise our seawalls quite high, to avoid the ocean plastic tsunamis that may come from Neptune, with a crashing vengeance.

Beware the plastic apocalypse.


Chevy Volt Sales Slump badly, GM Asks for Government Handout

Recent reports find that General Motors (GM) is lobbying for the passage of legislation by Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow that would turn a $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit into a rebate that will be available to all consumers at the point of sale. It’s been dubbed “Cash for Clunkers II”.

Right now, the $7,500 tax credit can only be redeemed at the end of the year when taxes are filed, and are applicable to purchases of the Chevrolet Volt. Apparently, Chevy is not pleased with its sales — 321 units sold in January and 281 in February — out of 30,000 cars made for 2011, and a planned 45,000 to be made in 2012.

At that rate, just 3,600 of the cars will be sold this year, 12 percent of the supply. Will the additional 45,000 even run off the assembly line?

The asking price of $41,000 for the Volt, or $33,500 even with the tax credit is the likely culprit for the poor sales. Plus the fact that the car can only go 100 miles before needing to be recharged hardly makes it an attractive investment. Put simply, consumers are being asked to pay more for something that is of less quality.

That alone might explain why GM thinks the current tax credit is insufficient. But it’s only half the story.

Since GM’s initial public offering in November, the government sponsored automaker has been desperate to boost overall sales on a monthly basis. As such, GM boosted buyer incentives for the past four months. GM’s incentive spending averaged about $3,663 per vehicle in January, and $3,732 in February, more than $1,100 over the industry average.

According to the, “That’s increased GM’s market share — albeit at the expense of image, resale value, and even company profits — oddly, at a time when most other automakers have admitted that such a strategy doesn’t make long-term business sense.”

So, in March the additional spending incentives came to an end, with GM announcing that it would be returning buyer incentives to the industry average. Unfortunately, according to MSNBC’s Dan Carney, “the word in the industry is that sales slumped in March once the incentives expired.”

That does not bode well for GM. Apparently, the only thing keeping sales figures up has been massive buyer incentives — which, considering the U.S. Treasury’s 33 percent stake in the company, are effectively another form of government subsidy.

So, they can’t keep giving the incentives out because they are destroying what it left of the GM brands and it is becoming increasingly hard to hide the fact that they are losing on each car because they are, in effect, rebating back their profits to consumers in order to move the metal.

So, they have had to cut the incentives, tank the sales and now are throwing the ball back into Barack Obama and Congress’ court with Cash for Clunkers II to boost sales of the Volt. They are hoping that Uncle Sam cutting a $7,500 check at the point of sale will make a difference.

Whether it would or not, this just another bailout for GM — better known as Government Motors — and the UAW that helped to bring the company to its knees in the first place. If the Chevy Volt cannot be sold on its own in a profitable manner in the marketplace, then taxpayers should be under no obligation to give GM corporate subsidies for an inferior vehicle.


Fast train to nowhere

Experts agree that the most successful rail corridors in Europe and Japan are those linking major cities 100 miles to 400 miles apart. What many studies neglect to mention, however, is that those cities are highly concentrated, with major fractions of their jobs in a traditional "central business district," unlike the large majority of decentralized U.S. metro areas. So most people there do want to go downtown-to-downtown, whereas most Americans need to travel suburb-to-suburb.

Countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Japan are also more attractive for high-speed rail because the cost of driving there is so much higher. Not only are gas taxes three to five times higher, but most of their intercity highways are toll roads. In addition, America has the world's most competitive airline markets, so our cost of flying is also lower.

Measured against international criteria, only a handful of U.S. corridors — Boston-NYC-Washington and maybe Los Angeles-San Francisco — are potentially good candidates for high-speed rail. But even here we must question the value proposition.

Amtrak estimates it would cost $117 billion to build true high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor. Yet its own numbers show an annual operating loss of more than $350 per passenger if annualized capital costs are included.

The California project is now estimated to cost $66 billion — about twice what Warren Buffett paid for the (profitable) Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad. Reviews of projected ridership in California suggest the project would not even cover its operating costs, let alone the enormous construction cost.

But shouldn't the federal government do for high-speed rail what it previously did for highways, airports and seaports — i.e., pay for and build the infrastructure and let private parties operate it? Those making this argument forget that our intercity highways, airports and seaports are self-funded. User taxes and user fees (tolls) cover both the capital and operating costs of these major transportation infrastructures.

By contrast, high-speed rail is like urban rail projects in which general taxpayers, not users, are asked to cough up the hundreds of billions in capital costs needed to make these uneconomic "investments."

At a time when federal and state governments are living beyond our means, they should not be pouring taxpayer money into high-speed rail.



Four articles below:

Carbon pricing could add $860 to annual household bills, Treasury documents show

THE carbon tax Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised never to introduce will cost average families $860 a year, Federal Government modelling has revealed.

Based on a carbon price of $30 a tonne, families would pay up to $218 more for electricity, $114 for gas, $187 for petrol and $88 for food, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Treasury documents, released under FOI, revealed households would pay the fixed price for between three and five years (before moving to an emissions trading scheme), leaving families with a bill between $2589 and $4315 over that time.Heavily censored documents claim price rises would "drive household behaviour change, with households substituting to less carbon intensive goods over time".

But it was acknowledged in a Treasury executive minute last October that low-income families would suffer the most because they spend more on things like electricity and are least able to afford low emissions technology.Treasury also raised fears the tax would reduce people's wealth.

"A carbon price will also affect wealth as the change in prices flows through to the value of financial assets, including shares, and reduces the real value of savings," the minute states.

It also shows the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme proposed in 2009 by former PM Kevin Rudd would have raised electricity prices by a maximum $120 a year and gas by $52 - half the cost of the Treasury estimates now.

"This just demonstrates that the Government has known all along that its carbon tax won't clean up the environment but it will clean out your wallet," Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said.

Treasurer Wayne Swan hit back yesterday, claiming the figures were preliminary numbers and he said he could not nominate how much assistance families would be given by way of compensation.

"Until the final design and modelling have been settled, anyone who uses these figures to scare families about prices is engaging in a scare campaign," he said.

The Government is reportedly considering tax and welfare breaks of between $600 and $1500 a year.

It comes as an exclusive survey by The Daily Telegraph reveals why voters are so angry about the proposal. A quarter of the 2500 households surveyed said they were already struggling to make ends meet and almost 9 per cent said they didn't have enough money to pay bills.

"I think it might be an unnecessary tax, I could probably do better with the money in my pocket and make a concerted effort to reduce my carbon emissions, rather than be taxed," Greg Hudson, 32, from Neutral Bay, said yesterday.


Labor at war with climate adviser Ross Garnaut

ENERGY Minister Martin Ferguson has slapped down the government's chief climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, flatly rejecting calls for more regulation on electricity markets and warning that mandatory renewable energy targets are pushing up power prices.

Mr Ferguson rejected Professor Garnaut's claims that electricity price rises were a result of "gouging" by electricity generators.

The senior cabinet minister said electricity prices had risen because of costs in replacing ageing plants and he warned that prices would rise by 30per cent in the next three years because of investment costs, a carbon price and the mandatory target for renewable energy generation.

Mr Ferguson and the Australian Energy Market Commission both warned that the government's compulsory target of 20 per cent electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020 was coming at a "cost to the community" and could "challenge" the national electricity grid.

Professor Garnaut this week recommended coal-fired power electricity generators not be compensated for a carbon tax and that a new energy regulator be formed.

At an energy conference in Melbourne yesterday, Mr Ferguson said Professor Garnaut had a role in advising the multi-party climate change committee, which includes the Greens, but he "does not speak for the government, nor for the Ministerial Council on Energy", which represents every government.

Mr Ferguson's comments come as the Labor government fights with the Greens over "extreme" policies.

It has also indicated that compensation for industries for a carbon tax will be the same as that offered in 2009, a policy the Greens voted against on the grounds it was too generous.

Mr Ferguson said: "The regulatory framework for Australia's energy sector is leading edge, and as such the Ministerial Council on Energy and the energy market bodies often review different aspects of our regulatory environment to ensure it delivers optimal outcomes for the community.

"Residential electricity prices have increased by about 40 per cent over the last three years and are forecast to increase in the order of 30 per cent in the three years to June 2013. As those who study these issues will know, there is no quick fix to rising prices.

"Prices reflect the cost of investment to maintain and replace ageing assets to ensure the community gets the reliability it has come to expect. We must ensure investment occurs to reduce emissions and meet demand, while importantly, maintaining sufficient competition and avoiding concentration in the sector."

Professor Garnaut this week released his final report on climate change for the government and said the owners of the transmission and distribution networks were overinvesting in their assets to increase their returns.

Calling for an urgent inquiry into power sector regulatory arrangements, Professor Garnaut said the current arrangements had allowed too high a rate of return for power companies, which "increases electricity prices that (are) just passed right on to the consumer".

He put the cost of a carbon tax on electricity prices at $4 to $5 a week for the average household and called for an urgent inquiry into what he believes is a "prima facie" case of excessive increases caused by electricity regulation in Australia.

Professor Garnaut conceded there might have to be commonwealth loan guarantees to keep high carbon emitting generators operating if they failed financially under the proposed carbon tax from July 1 next year.

Mr Ferguson said the nation's energy ministers tried to keep "away from the spotlight of the daily media cycle". "It is not in the public interest to trivialise these matters in a high level public debate over the network regulatory regime," the Energy Minister said.

"The market bodies and institutions already exist and have responsibility for finding the appropriate balance between reliability and value to the community.

"Trying to suppress prices ultimately leads to pain in the future when catch-up is required, as some jurisdictions are now finding."

Mr Ferguson said that, as Australia moved towards a price on carbon, "we have to be very mindful" of damaging asset values of power generators because these financial considerations can have "real energy security and market stability implications". "I am also conscious of the imminent refinancing requirements of the generation sector, with an estimated $6.4bn needed to be refinanced prior to the end of 2012.

"The expanded Renewable Energy Target, through supporting wind capacity, has delivered significant new investment over the last 15 months.

"The expanded Renewable Energy Target is effective in displacing generation investment that would otherwise come from non-renewable technologies; however, it is doing this at a cost to the community," Mr Ferguson warned.

"The fact remains that if we are hoping to achieve abatement from the electricity sector we will need to see significant investment in new generation capacity in the years ahead. At some point in the future we will need additional investment in baseload capacity."


Background on an Australian "Green" senator

Being Green is the way to get on in politics for a far Leftist. She's a Trot so the fact that she disowns Stalinism means nothing. The Trots and Stalin never did get on. Before Stalin rose to power, however, Trotsky led the Red army and murdered hundreds of thousands

AS the child of Australian communists and a former member of the Socialist Party, Greens senator-elect Lee Rhiannon insists she's been unfairly tagged as a hardline left-winger or "watermelon" -- green on the outside but red inside.

She says her parents were among many Australians who became disillusioned with Moscow after Soviet tanks crushed Czechoslovakia's move towards "socialism with a human face" in 1968.

That was when the Communist Party of Australia formally split from the Russian communists.

Ms Rhiannon is the daughter of women's rights activist Freda Yetta Brown and Bill Brown, who were both CPA members.

She has insisted that her parents joined the CPA because of their deep commitment to social justice and equal rights and not for any subversive reason.

But the association was enough to have her feature in an ASIO file when she was just seven years old.

During last year's election campaign, Ms Rhiannon insisted that she would support Bob Brown's pragmatic approach to politics, and said she had no wish to lead the party.

"I am not a communist," Ms Rhiannon told The Weekend Australian in August. "I and Greens members condemn the crimes committed under Stalin."

She strongly denied then that she wanted to steer the Greens towards a more radical agenda and said dealing with climate change was her priority.

Ms Rhiannon, 59, was elected last year to one of the six NSW seats and will join the Senate in July. She joined the Greens in 1991 and was elected to the NSW Upper House in 1999.

Among her priorities in the Legislative Council were better public transport and a ban on the building of any new motorways.

In the 1970s she was arrested during anti-apartheid protests and in the 1980s she helped organise the peace camp outside the joint US-Australian intelligence facility at Pine Gap in central Australia.


Eight myths of a carbon tax

Even a Warmist (below) can see that the arguments for an Australian carbon tax don't stack up

1. The greatest myth is that if we lead the world in carbon pricing the rest of the world will follow. We produce 1.5 per cent of the world's CO2; China and America account for 40 per cent. A 5 per cent reduction in Australia's emissions would be cancelled out by as little as a 0.3 per cent increase in China's emissions.

2. Another myth is that we have to lead the world because we are a carbon-based economy and will be more affected when and if the world introduces carbon pricing. Our carbon-based economy is one of our main competitive advantages. To lead on a carbon tax puts our industry at a serious disadvantage against our competitors.

Eighty per cent of power is generated from coal. This low-cost power has underpinned our standard of living by encouraging manufacture and giving low-cost electricity to consumers.

A carbon tax on imports from countries without CO2 pricing is unworkable. We would need to significantly increase the Customs Department and we would still be at risk. Such a move would undo the hard won reforms of the 1990s.

3. Another myth says if we introduce the tax now it will give industry time to adapt. Industry needs years to make the investment to meet the new environment. Planning approval alone can take four or more years. The logic of starting a carbon tax in barely 12 months' time has not been thought through; five years would barely be enough.

It would be better to advise industry that CO2 will be taxed at about $50/$60 a tonne in 10 years' time when our trading partners also start to price carbon and industry should start to adjust its long term capital plans and debt financing accordingly.

The rise in the cost of fossil fuels is already affecting local prices. We must be careful not to hit the domestic and business consumer with a double whammy. If the domestic price for gas continues to rise the price for CO2 will have to rise further to force the change from coal to gas generation.

4. Another myth is that Big Business should have known a carbon tax was coming and should have been prepared. Most of our coal-fired power stations were built and owned by state governments. The taxpayer is the largest single owner with 36 per cent capacity overall, 54 per cent in NSW and 67 per cent in Queensland.

The recent sale in NSW was at a deep discount to the replacement value because of the threat of carbon pricing; NSW taxpayers virtually lost their equity on the threat of a tax.

In Victoria power stations were sold at huge prices largely to foreign investors expecting a proper electricity market that never eventuated. The owners invested in good faith with the reasonable expectation that if a price were put on CO2 they would be given adequate notice and compensation.

Indeed, CO2 trading in Europe, the obvious precedent scheme, was accompanied by the issue of close to 100 per cent free permits to the power generators for the first decade. If we can purchase permits globally as planned why not adopt common measures with the EU?

To say to government and private investors that the federal government will wipe out your equity without compensation is patently unfair. It will introduce a dangerous level of sovereign risk for long-term investment in Australia.

5. Then there is the myth that we are morally obliged to lead the way because we generate a larger proportion of carbon dioxide a head of population. Yes we do, but there are good reasons for this. We are rich in resources such as coal, iron ore, bauxite and uranium. It gives us one of our few competitive advantages.

We also have a significant agricultural sector and are a large exporter of beef and lamb, which are high CO2 emitters. Given the size of the country, our transport consumption is higher than more densely settled economies.

Exports contribute to more than 30 per cent of Australia's carbon emissions. If we want to cut emissions sharply, should we just stop exporting?

6. Closer to home is the myth that the carbon tax will hit the so called 1000 big polluters and consumers will be protected. In the end the consumer, whether local or overseas, will always pay. If the cost is not passed on, trade exposed industry in particular will either fail to survive (and jobs will be lost), or move elsewhere (loss of jobs again).

The other illogicality in this myth is that the consumer should be protected. If the government wishes to discourage the production of CO2 then the end consumer must be sent a price signal.

The concept of charging the big emitters and passing the proceeds back to the consumer is fatally flawed. The big emitters will reduce emissions or be forced out of the economy. Then there will be no money for compensation and the shock will be large.

7. Then there is the myth that renewable energy can replace coal and gas-fired energy production without a substantial cost to the consumer or business.

Putting aside the serious issues of reliability, availability and transmission, the cost of all of the available renewables, such as wind, is far higher than coal.

8. And then there is the myth that a carbon tax or ETS will force the same big polluters to invest in alternative technologies that will create jobs. The expectation that investors who have seen their investment seriously impaired by a carbon tax will race to invest in new high-cost technologies is illogical. Banks won't lend to the impaired incumbents.

Where is the plan for what Australia will look like in 2020 or 2030? Will we still have an aluminium or steel industry or any form of processing requiring energy such as food or an agricultural sector?

California legislated to introduce a cap and trade scheme in 2006, with effect from 2012. There has been no explosion in green jobs there and unemployment stands at 12.5 per cent. Jobs have simply moved across state borders.

Global emissions are a global problem. A global solution is the only answer. If we reduce our carbon emissions unilaterally there will be no benefit to the global environment.

What is the negotiation benefit of giving away our hand now, when we should be seeking to agree an emissions trajectory for Australia as part of a global deal?

This is a momentous decision and we appear to be relying on a business and investment community that we are proposing to punish. A cross your fingers approach is just not good enough when we are considering the very basis of our economic future.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


1 April, 2011

Climate change policy gone mad: EU to ban pizza Carbonara

"As individual consumers, we all bear some responsibility for the future of our planet. By taking small steps – like not drinking carbonated water and not eating pizza of the Carbonara type - we can all make a difference" -- Connie Hedegaard, EU Climate Change Commissioner

It now seems almost certain that the renowned Italian pizza and spaghetti specialties Carbonara are soon to be banned in the European Union member countries. The APF news agency, citing EU sources, reports that the EU Climate Change Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has been successful in her efforts to secure a majority in the European Parliament for a directive that aims to “delegitimize products which encourage a carbon intensive lifestyle”.

What is new in the directive, nicknamed “the Carbonara directive”, is that the products as such do not necessarily have to increase the amount of greenhouse gases in order to be covered by the new legislation. It is considered sufficient that they “encourage” a high carbon footprint lifestyle.

According to a study, recently published by the EU Climate Action Service, even the origins and history of the Carbonara show that it is incompatabile with the values and principles of the EU climate change and environmental policy :

"First, although thought of as a typical Roman dish, the name is said to come from a dish made in the Appenine mountains of the Abruzzo by woodcutters who made charcoal for fuel. They would cook the dish over a hardwood charcoal fire and use penne rather than spaghetti because it is easier to toss with the eggs and cheese.

Second, is the obvious one that given the meaning of alla carbonara, coal worker’s style, that the dish was a dish eaten by coal workers or that the abundant use of coarsely ground black pepper resembles coal flakes."

More HERE (Note the date)

Disinformation from prominent Warmist

The truth is toxic to them

Steve McIntyre

In his written and oral evidence at today’s hearing before the House Science Committee, Kerry Emanuel made untrue statements about deletion of data to hide the decline. From Emanuel’s written evidence (oral was similar):
Consider as an example the issues surrounding the email messages stolen from some climate scientists. I know something about this as I served on a panel appointed by the Royal Society of Great Britain, under the direction of Lord Oxburgh, to investigate allegations of scientific misconduct by the scientists working at the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. Neither we nor several other investigative panels found any evidence of misconduct. To be sure, we confirmed what was by then well known, that a handful of scientists had exercised poor judgment in constructing a figure for a non peer-reviewed publication. Rather than omitting the entire record of a particularly dubious tree-ring-based proxy, the authors of the figure only omitted that part of it that was provably false. If this was a conspiracy to deceive, though, it was exceedingly poorly conceived as anyone with the slightest interest in the subject could (and did) immediately find the whole proxy record in the peer-reviewed literature.

The proxy in question is, of course, the Briffa reconstruction. Emanuel says that the authors “only” deleted the part of the reconstruction that was “provably false”, with the problem limited to a “non peer-reviewed publication”.

The Briffa network was developed from 387 sites anticipated to be temperature proxies because of their latitude or altitude. Emanuel has no basis for describing the Briffa network as “a particularly dubious tree-ring-based proxy”. It is an important large population and there is no evidence that the measurements were taken inaccurately. The NAS panel in 2006 did say that strip bark proxies should be “avoided” in temperature reconstructions. If Emanuel were seriously concerned about the use of “particularly dubious” tree-ring proxies, shouldn’t these be the ones that he should be worried about?

Emanuel’s evidence to the House Committee that the deletion of the decline was limited to a “non peer reviewed article” was also untrue. I presume that he is referring here to Phil Jones “combo trick” in the WMO 1999 report. As CA readers know, Keith’s Science Trick – the omission of part of the data – was systemic in the peer reviewed literature after 1999. Examples include the spaghetti graphs in Briffa and Osborn (Science 1999), Jones et al (Rev Geophys 1999), Briffa et al (JGR 2001) Plate 3, Jones et al 2001 Plate 2A, Briffa et al 2004 Figure 8, Hegerl et al Figure 5b. (CRU conceded most of this in their March 1, 2010 submission to Muir Russell, see page 38). Plus of course the spaghetti graphs in IPCC TAR and IPCC AR4.

Emanuel says that hide-the-decline was a “single lapse of judgement”. More disinformation on his part. The decision to “omit” part of the record was made over and over. It began in 1999, but continued unabated through IPCC AR4.

Worse, the practice was directly challenged by an AR4 reviewer (me). I requested IPCC to show the decline and explain it as best they could. I said that the deletion of the decline in TAR was misleading and asked that they not do so anymore. Briffa refused, merely saying that it would be “inappropriate” to show the decline. This was not a “single lapse of judgement”. It was something that’s gone on for over a decade.


Proof Greenhouse Gases COOL the Earth

NASA scientists claimed Cirrus clouds, formed by contrails from aircraft engine exhaust, are capable of increasing average surface temperatures enough to account for the warming trend in the United States that occurred between 1975 and 1994.
“According to Patrick Minnis, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., there has been a one percent per decade increase in cirrus cloud cover over the United States, likely due to air traffic. Cirrus clouds exert a warming influence on the surface by allowing most of the sun’s rays to pass through but then trapping some of the resulting heat emitted by the surface and lower atmosphere.

This explanation is wrong. These clouds will cool the earth, not warm it. There is more radiant energy coming from the sun to the earth than from the earth to the sky. More radiant energy will be blocked during the day than will be blocked leaving the earth at night (insulating effect). The overall effect is cooling, not warming.

This cooling effect of water vapor was proved following the 9-11 terrorist attacks. Atmospheric scientists studied the effect of water vapor on temperature in the wake of the attacks. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibited commercial aviation over the United States for three days following the attacks and this presented a unique opportunity to study the temperature of the earth without airplanes and their contrails.

Dr. David Travis, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Wisconsin, along with two other scientists, looked at how temperatures for those three days compared to other days when planes were flying. They analyzed maximum and minimum temperature data from about 4,000 weather stations throughout the conterminous (48 states) United States for the period 1971–2000, and compared those to the conditions that prevailed during the three-day aircraft grounding period and the three days when planes were flying before and after the grounding period. This research effort was sponsored by grants from the National Science Foundation.

They found that the average daily temperature range between highs and lows was 1.1 degrees C higher during September 11-14 (shown graphically in Figure 2) compared to September 8-11 and September 14-17 with normal air traffic.

The data proved that contrails (condensed water vapor trails) have a net cooling effect. You cannot just look at a nighttime effect only, like the IPCC climatologists and meteorologists have done, both day and night must be included to determine the overall effect. Water vapor, CO2 and particulates in the atmosphere all reflect as well as scatter some radiant energy back to outer space and this causes cooling.

Here is a simple test, go outside when the sun is shining, see how warm you feel when you are in the direct sunlight and compare that with how warm you feel when a cloud goes overhead and you are in the shade of the cloud. Of course you feel cooler in the shade of the cloud; a child knows this. So Dr. Travis confirmed this with scientific analysis of real data that most people on this planet already know.

If you are cooler when under the microscopic water droplets of a cloud why would any scientist ever say that water vapor when more diluted makes the earth warmer? This completely defies logic and common sense. If what they call the greatest greenhouse gas (water vapor) causes cooling then clearly all other named greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons, etc. cool the atmosphere as well.

Everyone also knows that cloud cover at night (more insulation) prevents the earth from cooling off as fast as it does when there are no clouds. However, on a relatively clear night if a cloud goes overhead you cannot feel any warming effect of the cloud, so this insulating effect is shown to be minimal compared to the daytime effect. Another simple observation that shows Minnis and other warming supporters have it backwards.

However, Minnis acknowledged the cooling effect found by Travis. He and three other authors wrote,
“Instantaneously, contrail radiative forcing can warm the atmosphere and warm or cool the earth’s surface, apparently reducing the diurnal range of surface temperature.”
This is like saying if you light a fire you may get warmer or cooler from radiative forcing.


Full-Throttle Drill, Drill, Drill

If you buy into the energy speech President Obama delivered on Wednesday, it sure sounds like we’re headed for drill, drill, drill. It would be a total reversal of policy. I guess $100-plus oil and near $4 gas at the pump -- along with a consumer economic-political revolt -- will do that to you.

After bashing oil and gas companies for a couple of years and instituting a virtual drilling moratorium, President Obama now says yes to offshore oil and makes a big pitch for natural gas. There may even be incentives for faster leasing and smaller royalty payments to the government.

Is it credible? Well, when you get to the fine print, it may not be.

In the fact sheet that accompanied the speech, there’s a lot of talk about “responsible development” for natural gas fracking chemicals, state regulators, tapping experts, the environmental community, and protecting public health and the environment. In other words, the standards for new drilling could be so high that there won’t be that much new drilling.

The president doesn’t discuss the role of the EPA, which is going after coal, natural gas, and oil. And while he says he’ll speed up new leases and permits, he then blames oil companies for not using their old leases. That’s an old saw of an argument that neglects to mention dry holes.

I believe natural gas is the answer to our energy problems over the long run. It’s real cheap. And we have boodles and boodles of it. While the president says we’re going to reduce oil imports by one-third in 2025 -- something that sounds suspiciously like a backdoor cap that will damage job creation and growth -- the U.S. is expected to be a natural-gas exporter in the next few years. That’s how much of it we have.

So it seems to me that the trick is to figure out efficient ways to pump that natural gas into cars. Or to liquefy it and then get it into cars. Or to use the steam from the gas and get it into cars. Some mass-transit systems on the West Coast are already doing this.

And here’s another rub: Heavy federal subsidies for solar and wind, which come to roughly $24 per megawatt hour, still won’t be able to compete with cheap natural gas. Solar and wind are already less than 1 percent of total electricity. If the market can produce it, fine. But there’s no evidence of that.

And then there’s the ethanol disaster. We’ve already learned that ethanol has a heavy carbon footprint -- even Al Gore acknowledges this. But we’ve also painfully learned that farmers are planting corn for ethanol instead of for food consumption. They are foregoing wheat for the corn, and all this is helping drive food prices through the roof worldwide.

You can add Ben Bernanke’s dollar-depreciation to that food inflation. And if we had King Dollar, once again convertible to gold as Lew Lehrman has proposed, then oil prices might be closer to $25 a barrel instead of $100. During the Bretton Woods period, when the dollar was linked to gold, oil was about $2.50. And today, market forces are actually reducing oil use as a share of GDP. With higher oil prices and the onset of natural gas and other alternatives, oil per unit of economic output is down about 50 percent. That’s good.

All this is why I favor market forces and a drill, drill, drill policy. The U.S. has 112 billion barrels of oil, both on- and offshore. As much as two trillion barrels are locked up in shale rock. Even excluding shale, discovered oil resources could fuel 60 million cars for about 60 years. These are all Interior Department statistics.

And by the way, market forces create significant incentives for oil, gas, coal, and nuclear producers to be as safe and environmentally sound as human engineering can make possible. They don’t want BP-level calamities. Nor do they want repeats of the Japanese disaster.

But here’s what America wants: Less government and fewer regulatory barriers in order to unleash the great American energy industry. If we do this, not only will we get the power to fuel the economy, but millions of new high-paying jobs will be created.

Does President Obama get this?


Wind turbines 'hit' important bat populations

Wind turbines are killing many thousands of bats contributing to a population decline that may be costing farmers millions of pounds, say researchers. Scientists found the blades of wind turbines were a major threat to bats particularly when they are migrating.

Bats are useful to farmers because they eat large numbers of crop damaging insects, reducing the amount that has to be spent on pesticides.

Writing in the journal Science, the researchers estimated that bats could be worth billions to agriculture around the world.

Several migratory tree-living species of bats were being slaughtered "in unprecedented numbers" by wind turbines, said the researcher. The work concentrated on North America but backs up research carried out in Britain that had similar findings.

Researchers urged policy-makers not to wait before addressing the issue of bat decline. "Not acting is not an option because the life histories of these flying, nocturnal mammals – characterised by long generation times and low reproductive rates – mean that population recovery is unlikely for decades or even centuries, if at all," said lead researcher Dr Gary McCracken, from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

According to the researchers, a single colony of 150 big brown bats in Indiana ate almost 1.3 million potentially damaging insects a year.

"Without bats, crop yields are affected," said Dr McCracken.
"Pesticide applications go up. Even if our estimates were quartered, they clearly show how bats have enormous potential to influence the economics of agriculture and forestry."


Rise in carbon emissions was due to an increase in gas used to heat homes driven by the COLD weather

For some reason, people aren't worrying much about global warming these days--even though, as we write, it's 40 degrees out in New York City, far warmer than it was just two or three months ago. Gallup finds that only 51% of Americans worry about global warming even a "fair amount," making it the lowest-priority environmental issue. That is to say, the lowest of the low, as a January Gallup poll found "the environment" the subject that fewest voters--less than a quarter--rated "extremely important."

London's Guardian reports that in the United Kingdom, "greenhouse gas emissions rose by nearly 3% last year, according to government statistics released on Thursday." The story is accompanied by a photo of a snow-covered street with the caption: "Last year's rise in carbon emissions was due to an increase in gas used to heat homes driven by the cold weather."

For some reason, the story doesn't mention the connection between cold weather and the increase in greenhouse gases. We suppose the Guardian doesn't want to alarm its readers. After all, if emissions are rising because of cold weather, that's an act of God, there's not much anyone can do to save the planet.

This strikes us as overly fatalistic. For one thing, we're all going to die anyway, and we lose nothing by facing up to the inconvenient truth. What's more, you never know. With some good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity, maybe man can come up with a way of making the weather warmer so as to avoid the threat of greenhouse gases.


Australian Green Party having difficulty reining in its more outspoken element

Rhiannon's a nasty old Trot (Trotskyite; Marxist; middle-class hater) from way back. Bob Brown thinks that the media should not have mentioned her hatred of Israel. They actually went easy on her. There's lots more they could have told about her

Greens leader Bob Brown has reprimanded fellow Green and Senator-elect, Lee Rhiannon, for advocating a trade boycott against Israel. He said the NSW Greens lost votes in the recent NSW election by not concentrating on the basic issues of transport, education, health and renewable energy.

The Greens were hoping to win up to three Lower House seats and gain the balance of power in the Upper House, but have fallen far short of that. They are likely to win only Balmain in the Legislative Assembly and retain four seats in the Legislative Council.

Senator Brown also accused the Australian newspaper - which he described as the "hate media" - as having an anti-Green agenda by "playing the issue up". The newspaper said Ms Rhiannon had "expressed regret" that the Greens did not campaign harder on the Israel boycott.

"The NSW Greens have taken to having their own shade of foreign policy - that's up to them. It was a mistake. I differ with Lee on that and she knows that," Senator Brown said. "I think the policy deliberations by [the NSW Greens] were wrong - and they know that."

He said the Greens recognise the right to sovereignty of both Israel and Palestinian territories - a mainstream position.

"It was damaging to the Greens campaign and the hate media was able to play this issue up," Senator Brown said. "I've had a good, robust discussion with Lee. "She and I, not for the first time, have engaged in a very frank discussion about the way the NSW election went."

Ms Rhiannon will take up her seat in the Senate on July 1.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.

This is one of TWO skeptical blogs that I update daily. During my research career as a social scientist, I was appalled at how much writing in my field was scientifically lacking -- and I often said so in detail in the many academic journal articles I had published in that field. I eventually gave up social science research, however, because no data ever seemed to change the views of its practitioners. I hoped that such obtuseness was confined to the social scientists but now that I have shifted my attention to health related science and climate related science, I find the same impermeability to facts and logic. Hence this blog and my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog. I may add that I did not come to either health or environmental research entirely without credentials. I had several academic papers published in both fields during my social science research career

Since my academic background is in the social sciences, it is reasonable to ask what a social scientist is doing talking about global warming. My view is that my expertise is the most relevant of all. It seems clear to me from what you will see on this blog that belief in global warming is very poorly explained by history, chemistry, physics or statistics.

And from a philosophy of science viewpoint, far from being "the science", Warmism is not even an attempt at a factual statement, let alone being science. It is not a meaningful statement about the world. Why? Because it is unfalsifiable -- making it a religious, not a scientific statement. To be a scientific statement, there would have to be some conceivable event that disproved it -- but there appears to be none. ANY event is hailed by Warmists as proving their contentions. Only if Warmists were able to specify some fact or event that would disprove their theory would it have any claim to being a scientific statement. So the explanation for Warmist beliefs has to be primarily a psychological and political one -- which makes it my field

After three exceptionally cold winters in the Northern hemisphere, the Warmists are chanting: "Warming causes cold". Even if we give that a pass for logic, it still inspires the question: "Well, what are we worried about"? Cold is not going to melt the icecaps is it?"


After much reading in the relevant literature, the following conclusions seem warranted to me. You should find evidence for all of them appearing on this blog from time to time:

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A "HEAT TRAPPING GAS". A gas can become warmer by contact with something warmer or by infrared radiation shining on it or by adiabatic (pressure) effects but it cannot trap anything. Air is a gas. Try trapping something with it!

Greenies are the sand in the gears of modern civilization -- and they intend to be.

The Greenie message is entirely emotional and devoid of all logic. They say that polar ice will melt and cause a big sea-level rise. Yet 91% of the world's glacial ice is in Antarctica, where the average temperature is around minus 40 degrees Celsius. The melting point of ice is zero degrees. So for the ice to melt on any scale the Antarctic temperature would need to rise by around 40 degrees, which NOBODY is predicting. The median Greenie prediction is about 4 degrees. So where is the huge sea level rise going to come from? Mars? And the North polar area is mostly sea ice and melting sea ice does not raise the sea level at all. Yet Warmists constantly hail any sign of Arctic melting. That the melting of floating ice does not raise the water level is known as Archimedes' principle. Archimedes demonstrated it around 2,500 years ago. That Warmists have not yet caught up with that must be just about the most inspissated ignorance imaginable. The whole Warmist scare defies the most basic physics. Yet at the opening of 2011 we find the following unashamed lying by James Hansen: "We will lose all the ice in the polar ice cap in a couple of decades". Sadly, what the Vulgate says in John 1:5 is still only very partially true: "Lux in tenebris lucet". There is still much darkness in the minds of men.

The repeated refusal of Warmist "scientists" to make their raw data available to critics is such a breach of scientific protocol that it amounts to a confession in itself. Note, for instance Phil Jones' Feb 21, 2005 response to Warwick Hughes' request for his raw climate data: "We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?" Looking for things that might be wrong with a given conclusion is of course central to science. But Warmism cannot survive such scrutiny. So even after "Climategate", the secrecy goes on.

Most Greenie causes are at best distractions from real environmental concerns (such as land degradation) and are more motivated by a hatred of people than by any care for the environment

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

‘Global warming’ has become the grand political narrative of the age, replacing Marxism as a dominant force for controlling liberty and human choices. -- Prof. P. Stott

Comparing climate alarmist Hansen to Cassandra is WRONG. Cassandra's (Greek mythology) dire prophecies were never believed but were always right. Hansen's dire prophecies are usually believed but are always wrong (Prof. Laurence Gould, U of Hartford, CT)

The modern environmental movement arose out of the wreckage of the New Left. They call themselves Green because they're too yellow to admit they're really Reds. So Lenin's birthday was chosen to be the date of Earth Day. Even a moderate politician like Al Gore has been clear as to what is needed. In "Earth in the Balance", he wrote that saving the planet would require a "wrenching transformation of society".

For centuries there was a scientific consensus which said that fire was explained by the release of an invisible element called phlogiston. That theory is universally ridiculed today. Global warming is the new phlogiston. Though, now that we know how deliberate the hoax has been, it might be more accurate to call global warming the New Piltdown Man. The Piltdown hoax took 40 years to unwind. I wonder....

Motives: Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is generally to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Policies: The only underlying theme that makes sense of all Greenie policies is hatred of people. Hatred of other people has been a Greenie theme from way back. In a report titled "The First Global Revolution" (1991, p. 104) published by the "Club of Rome", a Greenie panic outfit, we find the following statement: "In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill.... All these dangers are caused by human intervention... The real enemy, then, is humanity itself." See here for many more examples of prominent Greenies saying how much and how furiously they hate you.

The conventional wisdom of the day is often spectacularly wrong. The most popular and successful opera of all time is undoubtedly "Carmen" by Georges Bizet. Yet it was much criticized when first performed and the unfortunate Bizet died believing that it was a flop. Similarly, when the most iconic piece of 20th century music was first performed in 1913-- Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" -- half the audience walked out. Those of us who defy the conventional wisdom about climate are actually better off than that. Unlike Bizet and Stravinsky in 1913, we KNOW that we will eventually be vindicated -- because all that supports Warmism is a crumbling edifice of guesswork ("models").

Al Gore won a political prize for an alleged work of science. That rather speaks for itself, doesn't it?

See the original global Warmist in action here: "The icecaps are melting and all world is drowning to wash away the sin"

I am not a global warming skeptic nor am I a global warming denier. I am a global warming atheist. I don't believe one bit of it. That the earth's climate changes is undeniable. Only ignoramuses believe that climate stability is normal. But I see NO evidence to say that mankind has had anything to do with any of the changes observed -- and much evidence against that claim.

Seeing that we are all made of carbon, the time will come when people will look back on the carbon phobia of the early 21st century as too incredible to be believed

Meanwhile, however, let me venture a tentative prophecy. Prophecies are almost always wrong but here goes: Given the common hatred of carbon (Warmists) and salt (Food freaks) and given the fact that we are all made of carbon, salt, water and calcium (with a few additives), I am going to prophecy that at some time in the future a hatred of nitrogen will emerge. Why? Because most of the air that we breathe is nitrogen. We live at the bottom of a nitrogen sea. Logical to hate nitrogen? NO. But probable: Maybe. The Green/Left is mad enough. After all, nitrogen is a CHEMICAL -- and we can't have that!

The intellectual Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) must have foreseen Global Warmism. He said: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

The Holy Grail for most scientists is not truth but research grants. And the global warming scare has produced a huge downpour of money for research. Any mystery why so many scientists claim some belief in global warming?

For many people, global warming seems to have taken the place of "The Jews" -- a convenient but false explanation for any disliked event. Prof. Brignell has some examples.

Global warming skeptics are real party-poopers. It's so wonderful to believe that you have a mission to save the world.

There is an "ascetic instinct" (or perhaps a "survivalist instinct") in many people that causes them to delight in going without material comforts. Monasteries and nunneries were once full of such people -- with the Byzantine stylites perhaps the most striking example. Many Greenies (other than Al Gore and his Hollywood pals) have that instinct too but in the absence of strong orthodox religious committments they have to convince themselves that the world NEEDS them to live in an ascetic way. So their personal emotional needs lead them to press on us all a delusional belief that the planet needs "saving".

The claim that oil is a fossil fuel is another great myth and folly of the age. They are now finding oil at around seven MILES beneath the sea bed -- which is incomparably further down than any known fossil. The abiotic oil theory is not as yet well enough developed to generate useful predictions but that is also true of fossil fuel theory

Help keep the planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 output!

Global Warming=More Life; Global Cooling=More Death.

The inconvenient truth about biological effects of "Ocean Acidification"


"The desire to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it" -- H L Mencken

'Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action' -- Goethe

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” -- Voltaire

Bertrand Russell knew about consensus: "The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible.”

There goes another beautiful theory about to be murdered by a brutal gang of facts. - Duc de La Rochefoucauld, French writer and moralist (1613-1680)

"In science, refuting an accepted belief is celebrated as an advance in knowledge; in religion it is condemned as heresy". (Bob Parks, Physics, U of Maryland). No prizes for guessing how global warming skepticism is normally responded to.

"Almost all professors of the arts and sciences are egregiously conceited, and derive their happiness from their conceit" -- Erasmus

"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin." -- Thomas H. Huxley

“Affordable energy in ample quantities is the lifeblood of the industrial societies and a prerequisite for the economic development of the others.” -- John P. Holdren, Science Adviser to President Obama. Published in Science 9 February 2001

'The closer science looks at the real world processes involved in climate regulation the more absurd the IPCC's computer driven fairy tale appears. Instead of blithely modeling climate based on hunches and suppositions, climate scientists would be better off abandoning their ivory towers and actually measuring what happens in the real world.' -- Doug L Hoffman

Time was, people warning the world "Repent - the end is nigh!" were snickered at as fruitcakes. Now they own the media and run the schools.

"One of the sources of the Fascist movement is the desire to avoid a too-rational and too-comfortable world" -- George Orwell, 1943 in Can Socialists Be Happy?

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts -- Bertrand Russell

Against the long history of huge temperature variation in the earth's climate (ice ages etc.), the .6 of one degree average rise reported by the U.N. "experts" for the entire 20th century (a rise so small that you would not be able to detect such a difference personally without instruments) shows, if anything, that the 20th century was a time of exceptional temperature stability.

Recent NASA figures tell us that there was NO warming trend in the USA during the 20th century. If global warming is occurring, how come it forgot the USA?

Warmists say that the revised NASA figures do not matter because they cover only the USA -- and the rest of the world is warming nicely. But it is not. There has NEVER been any evidence that the Southern hemisphere is warming. See here. So the warming pattern sure is looking moth-eaten.

The latest scare is the possible effect of extra CO2 on the world’s oceans, because more CO2 lowers the pH of seawater. While it is claimed that this makes the water more acidic, this is misleading. Since seawater has a pH around 8.1, it will take an awful lot of CO2 it to even make the water neutral (pH=7), let alone acidic (pH less than 7).

In fact, ocean acidification is a scientific impossibility. Henry's Law mandates that warming oceans will outgas CO2 to the atmosphere (as the UN's own documents predict it will), making the oceans less acid. Also, more CO2 would increase calcification rates. No comprehensive, reliable measurement of worldwide oceanic acid/base balance has ever been carried out: therefore, there is no observational basis for the computer models' guess that acidification of 0.1 pH units has occurred in recent decades.

The chaos theory people have told us for years that the air movement from a single butterfly's wing in Brazil can cause an unforeseen change in our weather here. Now we are told that climate experts can "model" the input of zillions of such incalculable variables over periods of decades to accurately forecast global warming 50 years hence. Give us all a break!

If you doubt the arrogance [of the global warming crowd, you haven't seen that Newsweek cover story that declared the global warming debate over. Consider: If Newton's laws of motion could, after 200 years of unfailing experimental and experiential confirmation, be overthrown, it requires religious fervor to believe that global warming -- infinitely more untested, complex and speculative -- is a closed issue

A "geriatric" revolt: The scientists who reject Warmism tend to be OLD! Your present blogger is one of those. There are tremendous pressures to conformity in academe and the generally Leftist orientation of academe tends to pressure everyone within it to agree to ideas that suit the Left. And Warmism is certainly one of those ideas. So old guys are the only ones who can AFFORD to declare the Warmists to be unclothed. They either have their careers well-established (with tenure) or have reached financial independence (retirement) and so can afford to call it like they see it. In general, seniors in society today are not remotely as helpful to younger people as they once were. But their opposition to the Warmist hysteria will one day show that seniors are not completely irrelevant after all. Experience does count (we have seen many such hysterias in the past and we have a broader base of knowledge to call on) and our independence is certainly an enormous strength. Some of us are already dead. (Reid Bryson and John Daly are particularly mourned) and some of us are very senior indeed (e.g. Bill Gray and Vince Gray) but the revolt we have fostered is ever growing so we have not labored in vain.

Scientists have politics too -- sometimes extreme politics. Read this: "This crippling of individuals I consider the worst evil of capitalism... I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion. A planned economy, which adjusts production to the needs of the community, would distribute the work to be done among all those able to work and would guarantee a livelihood to every man, woman, and child." -- Albert Einstein

The "precautionary principle" is a favourite Greenie idea -- but isn't that what George Bush was doing when he invaded Iraq? Wasn't that a precaution against Saddam getting or having any WMDs? So Greenies all agree with the Iraq intervention? If not, why not?

A classic example of how the sensationalist media distort science to create climate panic is here.

There is a very readable summary of the "Hockey Stick" fraud here

The Lockwood & Froehlich paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even have been the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and very detailed critiques here and here and here for more on the Lockwood paper and its weaknesses.

As the Greenies are now learning, even strong statistical correlations may disappear if a longer time series is used. A remarkable example from Sociology: "The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added." So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. In the Greenie case, the correlation between CO2 rise and global temperature rise stopped in 1998 -- but that could have been foreseen if measurements taken in the first half of the 20th century had been considered.

Relying on the popular wisdom can even hurt you personally: "The scientific consensus of a quarter-century ago turned into the arthritic nightmare of today."

Greenie-approved sources of electricity (windmills and solar cells) require heavy government subsidies to be competitive with normal electricity generators so a Dutch word for Greenie power seems graphic to me: "subsidieslurpers" (subsidy gobblers)