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".

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30 April, 2012

Forced sterilizations to stop climate change are already a reality in India

And you doubted that misanthropy is the prime motivation of Greenies?  Indians are good people who suffered much under Muslim rule then under socialist rule and now this.  This is especially grievous to me as I know Indians well and think highly of them.  I have been to India three times and there are always brown faces in my house

Tens of millions of pounds of UK aid money have been spent on a programme that has forcibly sterilised Indian women and men, the Observer has learned. Many have died as a result of botched operations, while others have been left bleeding and in agony. A number of pregnant women selected for sterilisation suffered miscarriages and lost their babies.

The UK agreed to give India £166m to fund the programme, despite allegations that the money would be used to sterilise the poor in an attempt to curb the country's burgeoning population of 1.2 billion people.

Sterilisation has been mired in controversy for years. With officials and doctors paid a bonus for every operation, poor and little-educated men and women in rural areas are routinely rounded up and sterilised without having a chance to object. Activists say some are told they are going to health camps for operations that will improve their general wellbeing and only discover the truth after going under the knife.

Court documents filed in India earlier this month claim that many victims have been left in pain, with little or no aftercare. Across the country, there have been numerous reports of deaths and of pregnant women suffering miscarriages after being selected for sterilisation without being warned that they would lose their unborn babies.

Yet a working paper published by the UK's Department for International Development in 2010 cited the need to fight climate change as one of the key reasons for pressing ahead with such programmes. The document argued that reducing population numbers would cut greenhouse gases, although it warned that there were "complex human rights and ethical issues" involved in forced population control.

The latest allegations centre on the states of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, both targeted by the UK government for aid after a review of funding last year. In February, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh had to publicly warn off his officials after widespread reports of forced sterilisation. A few days later, 35-year-old Rekha Wasnik bled to death in the state after doctors sterilised her. The wife of a poor labourer, she was pregnant with twins at the time. She began bleeding on the operating table and a postmortem cited the operation as the cause of death.

Earlier this month, India's supreme court heard how a surgeon operating in a school building in the Araria district of Bihar in January carried out 53 operations in two hours, assisted by unqualified staff, with no access to running water or equipment to clean the operating equipment. A video shot by activists shows filthy conditions and women lying on the straw-covered ground.

Human rights campaigner Devika Biswas told the court that "inhuman sterilisations, particularly in rural areas, continue with reckless disregard for the lives of poor women". Biswas said 53 poor and low-caste women were rounded up and sterilised in operations carried out by torchlight that left three bleeding profusely and led to one woman who was three months pregnant miscarrying. "After the surgeries, all 53 women were crying out in pain. Though they were in desperate need of medical care, no one came to assist them," she said.

The court gave the national and state governments two months to respond to the allegations.

Activists say that it is India's poor – and particularly tribal people – who are most frequently targeted and who are most vulnerable to pressure to be sterilised. They claim that people have been threatened with losing their ration cards if they do not undergo operations, or bribed with as little as 600 rupees (£7.34) and a sari. Some states run lotteries in which people can win cars and fridges if they agree to be sterilised.


Wind farms produce WARMING

Air turbulence from giant turbines causes air temperatures to rise around wind farms, scientists say.

Researchers including Associate Professor Liming Zhou from the State University of New York examined conditions around 2,358 turbines at four Texas wind farms.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, Professor Zhou and colleagues reported a temperature increase of up to 0.72 degrees Celsius per decade at wind farm locations, compared to nearby areas.

They also found the effect to be greater at night than during the day.  The study could help researchers better understand the impact of wind farms on local environments.

After discounting the impact of surface features such as vegetation, roads, light reflection and surface structures, the researchers concluded that the temperature change was caused by air turbulence generated by the turbines' giant rotor blades.

"Turbine rotors were modifying surface-atmosphere exchanges and the transfer of energy, momentum, mass and moisture within the atmosphere," they wrote.

The findings are based on nine years of satellite data covering an area of central western Texas, where some of the world's largest wind farms are located.

The results match modelling studies showing wind farms can significantly affect local scale meteorology by increasing surface roughness, changing the stability of the atmospheric boundary layer, and enhancing turbulence in the wake generated by rotor blades.

Professsor Zhou and colleagues said a large enough wind farm could even effect local and regional weather and climate.


NYC shows  that warmth is good for trees

City streets can be mean, but somewhere near Brooklyn, a tree grows far better than its country cousins, due to chronically elevated city heat levels, says a new study. The study, just published in the journal Tree Physiology, shows that common native red oak seedlings grow as much as eight times faster in New York's Central Park than in more rural, cooler settings in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains. Red oaks and their close relatives dominate areas ranging from northern Virginia to southern New England, so the study may have implications for changing climate and forest composition over a wide region.

The "urban heat island" is a well-known phenomenon that makes large cities hotter than surrounding countryside; it is the result of solar energy being absorbed by pavement, buildings and other infrastructure, then radiated back into the air. With a warming climate, it is generally viewed as a threat to public health that needs mitigating. On the flip side, "Some organisms may thrive on urban conditions," said tree physiologist Kevin Griffin of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, who oversaw the study. Griffin said that the city's hot summer nights, while a misery for humans, are a boon to trees, allowing them to perform more of the chemical reactions needed for photosynthesis when the sun comes back up.

With half the human population now living in cities, understanding how nature will interact with urban trees is important, the authors say. "Some things about the city are bad for trees. This shows there are at least certain attributes that are beneficial," said lead author Stephanie Y. Searle, a Washington, D.C., environmental researcher who was a Columbia undergraduate when she started the research.

In spring 2007 and 2008, Searle and colleagues planted seedlings in northeastern Central Park, near 105th Street; in two forest plots in the suburban Hudson Valley; and near the city's Ashokan Reservoir, in the Catskill foothills some 100 miles north of Manhattan. They cared for all the trees with fertilizer and weekly watering. Maximum daily temperatures around the city seedlings averaged more than 4 degrees F higher; minimum averages were more than 8 degrees higher. By August, the city seedlings had developed eight times more biomass than the country ones, mainly by putting out more leaves. The researchers largely ruled out other factors that might drive tree growth, in part by growing similar seedlings in the lab under identically varying temperatures, and showing much the same result. Due to air pollution, the city also has higher fallout of airborne nitrogen-a fertilizer-which could have helped the trees as well, said Searle, but temperature seemed to be the main factor.

Seedlings did eight times better in New York City's Central Park than at comparable suburban and rural sites. (Wade McGillis/Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory)

Other experiments done in Japan and Arizona have shown that higher temperatures, especially at night, may promote growth of rice plants and hybrid poplar trees. A 2011 study by a Lamont-based group showed that conifers in far northern Alaska have grown faster in recent years in step with rising temperatures. Some Eastern Seaboard trees also seem to be seeing growth spurts in response to higher carbon-dioxide levels alone, according to a 2010 study by scientists at the Smithsonian Institution. However, heat can cut both ways; in lower latitudes, rising temperatures and shifting weather patterns appear to be pushing some species over the edge by causing ecological changes that stress them; massive die-offs are underway in the U.S. West and interior Alaska. There is already some evidence that with warming climate, New York area forest compositions are already changing, with northerly species dwindling and southerly ones that tolerate more heat coming in, said Griffin. Red oaks are probably not immune to increasing heat, so there is no guarantee that they would do well in the New York City of the future.

New York City has some 5.2 million trees and is in the midst of a campaign to plant more. "Cities are special places-they might be laboratories for what the world will look like in coming years," said Gary Lovett, a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., some 90 miles north of Manhattan. With temperatures projected to rise, he said, "what kinds of trees are doing well there now might be related to what kinds might do well up here in a number of years."


Another bizarre outcome of Warmist thinking:  Have dwarf kids!

    Biologist Wynne Parry proposes reducing our human size. She suggests that we can alter ourselves through human engineering where one chooses whether to have small size children or not. Smaller in size and height (dwarf-like) to reduce demand.

    This would mean instead of having 500 buses in Kampala, we would require 80 of them to solve transport problems in Kampala, one car would be enough for a family of 10 people. Much as this would reduce GHG emission levels, this approach may remain in theory forever.

    Family planning does not check on size but checks on numbers at household level. If we can reduce global population, we shall have cut on consumption levels thus reduced destruction of vegetation and fewer locomotives in the transportation and industrial sectors. This will reduce emission levels.

    High emissions are a result of demand for goods and services that come as a result of increased population.   Family planning presents a better approach as it focuses on reducing the cause agent "population". Lets us clean the atmosphere by changing our reproducing behavior.  


Crucifying Oil and Gas on a Cross Made of You and Me

The revelation of the EPA’s “philosophy” used in their regulation of oil and gas companies—“crucify” and “make examples” of, just as the Romans crucified random citizens in areas they conquered to ensure obedience—provides proof of what many have known: policy decisions are made on ideology and emotion rather than fact, sound science, and economic or human impact. For this, we should all be grateful to Al Armendariz, EPA Administrator for Region 6. His honesty, in a 2010 video made public on April 26, allows us all a glimpse behind the shroud.

Armendariz has been making, according to Senator James Inhofe, “comments specifically intended to incite fear and sway public opinion against hydraulic fracturing.” In Thursday’s hearing, Inhofe says Amendariz frequently claimed a “danger of fire or explosion.” Inhofe cited the Parker County Texas case as the “most outrageous.” There, in 2010, Armendariz’s region issued an Emergency Administrative Order against Range Resources—overriding the Texas state regulators who were already investigating the claim that hydraulic fracturing was contaminating well water. “Along with this order, EPA went on a publicity barrage in an attempt to publicize its premature and unjustified conclusions,” Inhofe said.

The Emergency Administrative Order was dropped earlier this month, but was done, as Inhofe called it, by “strategically attempting to make these announcements as quietly as possible.”

Both the EPA and the White House are trying to distance themselves from the Armendariz comments. Cynthia Giles, the EPA's assistant administrator in charge of enforcement said, “Inevitably, some will try to imply that the unfortunate and inaccurate words of one regional official represent this Agency's policy. Rest assured that they do not—and no honest examination of our record could equate our commonsense approach with such an exaggerated claim.”

Yet, history shows that the Armendariz model is used more frequently than most would believe. Decisions are often made on ideology and emotion rather than fact, sound science, and economic or human impact. Those decisions are often walked back—making the future look more like the past. Two current examples include the decision to use “timid” approaches toward preventing malaria in Africa and Germany’s environmentalist-appeasing, post-Fukushima decision to shut down their nuclear plants.

More than 100 years ago, the source of malaria was determined to be the bite of the mosquito—rather than the “bad air” as previously assumed. As I chronicle in the DDT chapter of my book Energy Freedom, DDT had nearly eliminated malaria in the western world when the ideology and emotion of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring led to the ban of DDT—despite the faulty science, and detrimental economic and severe human impact. Since DDT was banned in 1972, malaria has become Africa’s largest killer. In the West African country of Sierra Leone, malaria accounts for more than 40 percent of outpatient mortality and is the top killer of children under five. Since the seventies, prevention has focused on “protecting people rather than halting mosquitoes: bed nets and drug systems prevail. Now the authorities want to return to eradication.” The new strategy calls for the indoor residual spraying of insecticides such as DDT, bendiocarb, and the newly reformulated chlorfenapyr. Indoor spraying pilot projects have shown success. In areas where the spraying has taken place, for the first time, malaria is no longer the top killer of children under five. Dr. Samuel Smith, manager of Sierra Leone’s malaria control program, reports that “a combination of spraying and bed nets has a better impact”—making the future look more like what worked in the past.

Imagine the lives that could have been saved in Africa if DDT was dealt with using fact, sound science, and economic or human impact rather than ideology and emotion.

In Germany, the future could look more like the past as well. Following the Fukushima nuclear accident, a decision was made to shut down 8 of its 17 nuclear reactors with the remainder being phased out within a decade—before their life expectancy is over. Critics of the Merkel administration, say it “never formulated a coherent strategy for switching to new forms of energy or for upgrading the country's electricity grid.” The decision was motivated by ideology and emotion rather than fact, sound science, and economic or human impact.

One of the closed plants is Unterweser, located in the town of Kleinensiel. Maik Otholt, a Kleinensiel resident expressed his frustration with the decision: “Our facilities were serviced every year; they're in perfect shape. Nothing ever went wrong. And so now what are we doing? We're buying nuclear energy from France. Their plant is just over the border. And now we're buying that expensive electricity. It’s crazy.”

To make up for the loss of electricity from the nuclear plants, Germany is now, as Maik Otholt said, importing nuclear-generated power. Before the closures, Germany had electricity to spare and sold it to other countries. Additionally, Germany is building or modernizing 84 power plants—and more than half of those will be run on fossil fuels including many on coal. The use of coal-fueled electricity generation has angered the very same environmentalists who cheered the nuclear plant closures.

Addressing Germany’s increased use of coal, Stefan Judisch, chief executive of RWE Supply & Trading, said, “If we were to replace (nuclear) baseload with renewable energies and gas, then electricity would become expensive.”

While environmentalists are touting the ideology of a carbon-free future, Germany has to face a reality that is far from a carbon-free future—making it look more like the past.

As the anti-fracking ideology and emotion continues to climb, remember the philosophy of Al Armendariz who punished to “ensure obedience” and the EPA’s “publicity barrage in an attempt to publicize its premature and unjustified conclusions.” In Texas, as well as Wyoming and Pennsylvania, the EPA has had to walk back the accusations as the science didn’t support them—but by then the public had already been swayed by the fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Don’t let ideology and emotion shape America’s energy future. It needs to be based on fact and sound science with consideration for the economic and human impacts.


Australians  now 'indifferent' to environment

CONCERN for the environment has dwindled into a "middling" issue that many people do not have strong feelings about, a major study into Australian attitudes towards society, politics and the economy has found.

Food, health, crime, safety and rights to basic public services - the tangible things that people confront on a daily basis - are dominant national concerns.

"Australians are effectively indifferent to global and societal issues, rating these significantly lower," said the report What Matters to Australians, produced by the University of Technology, Sydney and the Melbourne Business School, with the support of the Australian Research Council.

"What we see in these results is a picture of a relatively conservative society concerned with local issues that influence its members' daily lives."

People's concerns about industrial pollution, climate change, renewable energy and depletion of energy resources plummeted when compared with an identical study in 2007, with only logging and habitat destruction remaining among the top 25 issues of concern to Australians.

In 2007, environmental sustainability was the only set of global issues that was ranked as highly important. When the same questions were repeated last year, no global issues appeared among the nation's top concerns.

"Overall, this reveals a startling decline in the Australian population's concerns about environmental sustainability," the researchers wrote.

"It is possible that 2007 was nothing more than an aberration when the debate about environmental sustainability became a matter of ordinary, everyday concern. What we now see in Australia and across Western countries is likely closer to a long-term trend in the value of environmental matters to the general population."

The study is based on a sample of 1500 adults, weighted to represent the population as a whole, who completed detailed questionnaires that forced them to rate a vast array of issues relative to each other.

The subjects were forced to select a series of different issues they felt strongly about and gradually exclude the least compelling ones until only the most important remained.

Parallel studies were conducted in the US, Britain and Germany, with Australians exhibiting a similar range of concerns to Americans and Britons. The German responses, however, were markedly different.

"You can pretty much read German history in the German responses," said a lead author, Timothy Devinney, a professor of strategy at the University of Technology, Sydney.

"They are very concerned about privacy, civil rights, global issues, questions of peace and turmoil. While Australia is globally oriented in some ways, the tyranny of distance means most people aren't actually engaged with global issues as much as some might expect."

Professor Devinney said the lower priority accorded environmental concerns might indicate that 2007 was an "outlier" year in terms of large attention being placed on environmental issues, with last year being a return to the norm.

The findings also show that Australians are relatively disengaged with party politics.

"More than two-fifths of people in the study were either aligned with an independent political position or did not feel their political values aligned with any of the political representation options available to them through organised party politics," the report said.



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29 April, 2012

The pain in Spain

Until very recently Spain had what was undoubtedly the "Greenest" government in the world.  Not only did the Leftist government spend a large amount of the money it raised in taxes on "sustainable" development and "green jobs" (mainly windmills and solar panels) but it also borrowed heavily for the same purposes and gave big tax incentives which  enticed much of Spain's private capital into "green" spending also.  In today's news we read the result.  See below.  Can you believe 25% unemployment?  It should be an abiding lesson for the whole of the rest of the world but it won't be

SPANISH leaders have warned that their country is mired in a "crisis of huge proportions" as the government reels from the latest downgrade of its credit rating and is faced with record unemployment.

The jobless rate in the eurozone's fourth-largest economy hit 24.4 per cent, the highest in the industrialised world, in the first quarter of this year, signalling one in four Spanish workers is jobless. Among under-25s, the rate climbed to 52 per cent.

At least 1.7 million households now have no wage earner, an increase of almost 10 per cent since the start of the year.

Retail figures for last month showed sales fell for a 21st consecutive month as the country's recession bit down on consumer spending.

"The figures are terrible for everyone and terrible for the government," Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, the Foreign Affairs Minister, said. "Spain is in a crisis of huge proportions."

The gloomy figures piled pressure on Madrid after Spain's government debt was downgraded by Standard& Poor's, one of the triumvirate of global credit-rating agencies. The country's rating was cut by two notches from A to BBB+ with a negative outlook late last week, reflecting a loss of confidence in its ability to shoulder its national debts.

The tide of bad economic data from Spain is fuelling worries that the country will follow Greece, Ireland and Portugal into requiring an international bailout.

S&P said it did not expect Spain to default on its debt repayments. Nonetheless the yields, or implied interest rates, on 10-year Spanish government bonds surged to 6 per cent, seen as a psychologically important barrier for the markets, before falling slightly to the 5.9 per cent mark.

Spain is also faced with a fragile banking sector. Central bankers in Madrid said the country's lenders were saddled with problem property loans which totalled _184 billion ($234 billion), about 60 per cent of their property portfolios.

S&P sees "an increasing likelihood that Spain's government will need to provide further fiscal support to the banking sector".


Nationalist Greenies in Germany

LOL!  The Guardian article below is reasonably sophisticated in that it admits that the prewar Nazis were Green too but says that modern-day German nationalists are "using" the Greenie movement  -- suggesting that the Nationalist committment to Greenie ideals is superficial and not sincere.  But if Das dritte Reich was passionately environmentalist, why can their modern-day successors not be equally passionate about their beliefs?  Environmentalism is no facade for them.  It is central to their beliefs. 

And The Guardian is careful not to look too closely at what differentiates  the two sorts of Greenie.  It is nationalism only.  Both sorts of Greenie are authoritarian -- wanting to impose their own will on others.  The recipe is simple:  Greenie+Nationalism = Nazi.  No other adjustments necessary.  And in fact the modern product is potentially even more nasty than before.  The 1930s Nazis didn't like Jews, whereas Greenies today don't like PEOPLE

German consumers are being warned that when they buy organic produce they may be supporting the far-right movement, following the revelation that rightwing extremists in Germany have embraced the ecological movement and are using it to tap into a new generation of supporters.

Debunking the popular view that equates eco-friendliness with cuddly, left-leaning greens, rightwing extremists have even begun to publish their own conservation magazine, which is believed to have the backing of the far-right National Democratic party (NPD). Alongside gardening tips and reports on the dangers of genetically modified milk are articles riddled with rightwing ideology and racial slurs. Bavaria's domestic intelligence agency has described the magazine, Umwelt und Aktiv (Environment and Active), as a "camouflage publication" for the NPD.

"We have to get used to the fact that the term 'bio' [organic] does not automatically mean equality and human dignity," said Gudrun Heinrich of the University of Rostock, who has just published a study on the topic called Brown Ecologists, a reference to the Nazi Brownshirts and their modern-day admirers.

Hotbeds of far-right eco-warriors are to be found throughout Germany. In the Mecklenburg region in the north, they have been quietly settling in communities since the 1990s in an effort to reinvigorate the traditions of the Artaman League - a farming movement whose roots lie in the 19th century romantic ideal of "blood and soil" ruralism, which was adopted by the Nazis. Heinrich Himmler, the SS leader, was a member. "They propagate a way of living which involves humane raising of plants and animals, is both nationalistic and authoritarian, and in which there's no place for pluralism and democracy," said Heinrich, adding that the NPD is closely linked to the settlers, helping the party become "deeply rooted in these rural areas".

The settlers produce "German honey", bake bread from homegrown wheat, produce fruit and vegetables for sale, and knit their own woollen sweaters. Observers have noted that the far-right farmers have been able to profit from the cheap and spacious swaths of land left by a population exodus from impoverished states in the former East Germany, such as Mecklenburg.

Political scientists argue that the NPD is trying to wrest the ecological movement back from the left, particularly the German Greens, who rose to prominence in the 1980s to become Europe's most successful ecological party.

Hans-Gnter Laimer, a farmer in Lower Bavaria who once ran for election for the NPD and is linked to Umwelt und Aktiv, questions why the left has been allowed to dominate the organic scene for so long. "What is the difference between my cucumbers and those of someone from the Green party?" he said.

A representative of the Centre for Democratic Culture, in Roggentin in Mecklenburg, who did not wish to be identified for security reasons, recently told the Sddeutsche Zeitung newspaper: "They want that people don't think about politics when they hear the word NPD. They want as far as possible to build subtle bridges into the lives of other citizens . ecological topics are becoming increasingly important for rightwing extremists."

At the same time as it was butchering millions of people, the Nazi party supported animal rights and nature conservation. But it is disturbing for many Germans to think that while they support local producers and reject genetically modified food, pesticides and intensive livestock farming, there is now little - superficially at least - to distinguish a supposedly well-meaning, leftist Green from a far-right eco enthusiast.


More data in support of Svensmark's theory

Today the Royal Astronomical Society in London publishes (online) Henrik Svensmark's latest paper entitled "Evidence of nearby supernovae affecting life on Earth". After years of effort Svensmark shows how the variable frequency of stellar explosions not far from our planet has ruled over the changing fortunes of living things throughout the past half billion years. Appearing in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, It's a giant of a paper, with 22 figures, 30 equations and about 15,000 words. See the RAS press release  here

By taking me back to when I reported the victory of the pioneers of plate tectonics in their battle against the most eminent geophysicists of the day, it makes me feel 40 years younger. Shredding the textbooks, Tuzo Wilson, Dan McKenzie and Jason Morgan merrily explained earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain-building, and even the varying depth of the ocean, simply by the drift of fragments of the lithosphere in various directions around the globe.

In Svensmark's new paper an equally concise theory, that cosmic rays from exploded stars cool the world by increasing the cloud cover, leads to amazing explanations, not least for why evolution sometimes was rampant and sometimes faltered. In both senses of the word, this is a stellar revision of the story of life.   Here are the main results:

* The long-term diversity of life in the sea depends on the sea-level set by plate tectonics and the local supernova rate set by the astrophysics, and on virtually nothing else.

* The long-term primary productivity of life in the sea - the net growth of photosynthetic microbes - depends on the supernova rate, and on virtually nothing else.

* Exceptionally close supernovae account for short-lived falls in sea-level during the past 500 million years, long-known to geophysicists but never convincingly explained..

* As the geological and astronomical records converge, the match between climate and supernova rates gets better and better, with high rates bringing icy times.

Presented with due caution as well as with consideration for the feelings of experts in several fields of research, a story unfolds in which everything meshes like well-made clockwork. Anyone who wishes to pooh-pooh any piece of it by saying "correlation is not necessarily causality" should offer some other mega-theory that says why several mutually supportive coincidences arise between events in our galactic neighbourhood and living conditions on the Earth.

An amusing point is that Svensmark stands the currently popular carbon dioxide story on its head. Some geoscientists want to blame the drastic alternations of hot and icy conditions during the past 500 million years on increases and decreases in carbon dioxide, which they explain in intricate ways. For Svensmark, the changes driven by the stars govern the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Climate and life control CO2, not the other way around.

By implication, supernovae also determine the amount of oxygen available for animals like you and me to breathe. So the inherently simple cosmic-ray/cloud hypothesis now has far-reaching consequences.

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

The environment's getting worse, yet humanity's doing better than ever. What gives?

Most ecologists would agree that humans are plowing through the Earth's natural resources at an unsustainable rate - and pushing up against some worrisome thresholds in the biosphere. (Here's an old article of mine on "planetary boundaries" that offers the grim overview.) From our carbon-laden atmosphere to stressed oceans, the planet's ecosystems are hurting, and this is widely believed to have adverse consequences for human beings. But at the same time, humanity itself has never been better off. People are living longer, healthier, richer lives than ever before.

So why the disparity? And does this mean that we shouldn't fret too much about global warming, ocean acidification and other budding ecological crises, since recent history suggests that people will just continue to grow more prosperous even as we cause irreversible damage to the planet? (Indeed, some economists have tried to make exactly this point.)

Back in 2010, a team of researchers led by McGill's Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne tried to figure out how to resolve the "environmentalist's paradox," in a paper for the journal Bioscience. Here were their four big hypotheses:

Maybe humanity isn't actually better off. That's one possibility to consider. Perhaps the decline of ecosystem services is having an adverse effect on us and we just haven't noticed. But this is hard to square with the data. It's true, natural disasters seem to be walloping more people than ever before - likely due to the fact we're heating up the planet with all our carbon pollution. But, the authors point out, that's vastly outweighed by the fact that things like life expectancy and per capita GDP have never been higher. The Human Development Index has plenty of data on this. There's still inequality and poverty and disease, but on the whole, the trend's heading upward. So this probably isn't the answer.

Advances in food production are more important than anything else. It's hard to think of a broad technological advance that has done as much for humanity as the Green Revolution. Modern-day farming may be extremely chemical-intensive, it may disrupt nature's nitrogen cycle, and it may deplete water tables, but there's no question that the widespread use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and other assorted farming techniques have enabled the world to feed itself even as the population has ballooned to 7 billion. And food, the authors note, just might override all those other concerns. (That said, it's still an open question.whether the benefits of industrial agriculture will continue to outweigh the downsides in the decades ahead.)

Technology makes us less dependent on ecosystem services. This is another possible way to resolve the paradox. We've been able to grow more crops on less land. We've been able to desalinate water. We've been able to shelter ourselves from heat waves. After Britain chopped down all its forests in the eighteenth-century, it developed another energy source (coal) and kept on chugging. So perhaps technology will continue to allow us to thrive even as ecosystem services decline. That's possible, although it's still hard to imagine what technologies will shield us from widespread ocean acidification or an increasingly likely 4øC rise in global temperature. Which brings us to the fourth hypothesis.....

The worst impacts of ecosystem degradation are yet to come. This is one of the more plausible explanations for the paradox. We've put a lot of carbon into the atmosphere, but it takes a few decades for those effects to fully manifest themselves in the climate. There's a lag in the system, and our ecological debts haven't come due yet. Likewise, a number of researchers have suggested that certain trends in environmental degradation - like the disruption of the nitrogen cycle or extinction rates - may have "tipping points," whereby things seem to be crumbling slowly until suddenly, rapid and potentially irreversible shifts take hold.

What's interesting about the BioScience study is its emphasis on the fact that researchers still don't seem to have a solid grasp on the relationship between ecosystem services and human well-being. (In the two years since it was published, follow-up papers have stressed the need for better data on this link.)

For the moment, human existence keeps improving - in genuine and meaningful ways


It's Not Easy Fueling Green

Okay, officially color me confused. My hand to God, I honestly thought the Obama Administration was in favor of green energy. (You in the back, yes you with the retirement package from Solyndra, quit laughing or leave the room.).

After all, wasn't this the president who had touted the benefits of running your sub-sub compact on fuel derived from algae just a few short months ago?

Yes it was. And despite the fact that I stand behind the job growth inherent in, and affordability of traditional fuels, like any reasonable person I support keeping the options box full when it comes to energy, and that includes biofuels.

And a president who is courting the granola vote should be in favor of biofuels which are the epitome of renewable resources, since all one has to do is plant more. It doesn't get much greener than that. Think of the convenience: Your next tank of gas could be sprouting right now next to your green beans.

Or maybe not.

The Administration and its pitbull, the Environmental Protection Agency have not exactly been friendly to the biofuels industry.  That may seem odd on spec, but then again this is the same president who took credit for natural gas production by private companies on private land, so it only seems fitting that the same president could tout the benefits of super high-test algae on one hand, while cutting the roots out of the biofuels industry with the other.

According to George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom and biofuels advocate, the EPA is planning new and intrusive regulations and policies on companies developing biofuels, as opposed to allowing entrepreneurs who have a vested interest in creating a quality product at an attractive price find innovative ways to solve the present fuel crisis.

And it may be unrelated, (somehow, I doubt it) but while many favor non-food biofuels made from wood products, grasses and algae; Landrith notes that the EPA is considering a 50% increase in ethanol mandates and also alleges that some ethanol producers have been hard at work lobbying the government to increase ethanol requirements in gasoline from 10 to 15% and thus increase the demand for their product.

That, notes Landrith, would not sit well with vehicle engines, but would in fact provide ethanol providers with "a little walkin' around money."

It would appear that be it electric cars or biofuels, this administration is more interested in Cash, Command and Control than it is in providing real energy solutions.

I would pity the poor fuel fools who believe him, were the rest of us not being dragged behind this electric car of an administration headed straight for an economic runaway ramp.


The most toxic thing about mercury is the EPA's attempt to ban it

EPA's recently announced regulations on mercury from power plants will, in fact, do nothing substantial about the amount of this element in the global atmosphere. If they were really serious, they would ban volcanoes and forest fires, which are much larger sources.

Total annual releases of mercury to the atmosphere from such natural sources are about 5,200 metric tons per year. The world's volcanoes tend to concentrate along the Pacific Rim, where the great tectonic plates that define the world's continents are in flux, and in the mid-Atlantic, where continental drift is expanding the Atlantic ocean, opening up huge rifts that extend far beneath the surface. Forest fires tend to take place where there are forests-especially dry ones like those in the western U.S.

Data published in the refereed scientific journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions indicate that the amount of mercury released into the atmosphere by human activities-mainly from smelting of metals and combustion of coal-is about 2,320 tons, for a total atmospheric increment (natural + anthropogenerated) of a bit over 7,500 tons per year. The human contribution makes up about 31% of the annual total.

Now it gets good, and we can see how absurd EPA's perseveration on mercury from U.S. power plants is.

The total contribution from all human activity in the United States to the global mercury flux is approximately 120 tons, or about 1.6% of the total. The amount coming from U.S. coal-fired electricity plants is around 48 tons, 0.6% of the global load. But mercury can reside a long time in the atmosphere-up to two years, so, unless it quickly rains out as "wet deposition", it's likely to disperse far, far away. In fact, only about 25% of the mercury emitted by our power plants, or 0.2% of global emissions, falls on our soil.

For that we are going to close 68 power plants supplying electricity to about 22 million homes?

Both the EPA and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) used different models to estimate how much of the mercury deposited in the U.S. comes from power plants, and how much comes from foreign sources. They arrived at even lower numbers than we show here. According to EPRI's 2006 Issue Briefing on mercury:

    "Analysis of mercury emissions from U.S. sources, including coal-fired power plants, shows that about 2/3 of this emitted mercury leaves the United States. Most of it is assumed to join the global atmospheric pool. Only about 1/15th of the mercury depositing in the U.S. originates from U.S. power plants, even though they account for nearly 40% of U.S. mercury emissions. Mercury deposition occurring over 70% or more of the U.S. surface area originates in other countries, and is often transported thousands of miles before arriving in the U.S. Thus, reducing domestic power plant sources of mercury will not result in proportional reductions in deposition occurring across the U.S."

The fact that the relative numbers are inconstant across the various sources shows how impossible detecting any effects of mercury emissions reductions will be. Further, there is simply no evidence linking mercury from power plants in the U.S. to any single specific case of illness or death.

The fact of the matter is that, in the near term, natural gas is likely to continue to displace coal for electrical generation as it has now become less costly due to the exploitation of the huge amounts of gas and oil lying beneath the nation's surface in shale rock deposits. There is little doubt that, if this continues, power companies would gradually switch away from coal as plants aged. Unfortunately, the EPA's activity accelerates this process, inducing unwanted costs and permanently displacing thousands of Appalachian coal workers, for no detectable mercury-related health effect.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)


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, 2012

Hansen's rhetoric gets really weird:  Now talking about "boiling" oceans

He sounds like he has flipped his lid.  Even the most extreme IPCC prediction goes nowhere near that.

But let's look at a couple of places where the oceans are warm anyway.  Below are plots of sea surface temperature at Fiji and the Cook Islands in the mid-Pacific.  Also on the graph is the sharply rising plot of atmospheric CO2.  So the sea-surface temperature must be rising like crazy too, right?

The facts speak for themselves

More HERE (See the original for links)

Turning Homeland Security into the Green Police

Just when you thought the federal government’s “greening” of America couldn’t get any more ridiculous, along comes the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with its first-ever Environmental Justice Strategy. (link here)

Yes, that’s right. When determining how best to secure our nation against al-Qaeda, Iran, North Korea, China and other assorted threats, DHS must determine if its actions place “disproportionately high and adverse effects on the human health and environment of minority or low-income populations.”

Starting this year, DHS will prepare an Annual Implementation Progress Report to address the department’s efforts concerning: “(1) implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act; (2) implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; (3) impacts from climate change; and (4) impacts from commercial transportation and supporting infrastructure (“goods movement”).”

In order to comply with the new strategy, senior leadership at DHS must ensure that “environmental justice is appropriately integrated into their specific mission: maritime safety, security, and stewardship; federal assistance authority; emergency management programs; border security; transportation security; immigration services; law enforcement training; science and technology research; and mission support and asset management.”

Further, “[a]s the Department’s capacities and mission areas evolve in response to improved understanding of emerging threats to safety and security, the concepts of this strategy will be extended to match the commitment to environmental justice in those new areas.”

There now, don’t you feel safer?


If Only the Romans had the EPA to Crucify the Dissenters

A recently surfaced video of an EPA official's rant confirms what many of us already knew about the Obama Administration: they imagine themselves to be the rulers of conquered territories populated by restless barbarians who must be subjugated at any cost, complete with indiscriminate and severe exemplary punishments.

Al Armendariz, Administrator for EPA's South Central Region (appointed by President Obama on November 5, 2009), thought he was among his cohorts when he said this:

"The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years."

Considered to be one of the 25 most powerful Texans, Armendariz has used his government position to do just that - crucifying some oil companies on trumped-up charges in order to terrorize the others."

But his reference to a "Turkish town" gave me pause. Turkey didn't exist at the time the Romans conquered Asia Minor. At the time, it was inhabited mostly by Greeks.  Romans could only conquer a Turkish village if they were to take a time machine ten centuries into the future, given that Rome fell a thousand years prior to the Turks brutally invading Asia Minor and calling that land Turkey.

But random execution so as to terrorize conquered peoples into submission was exactly what the Muslim Turks later did in order to subjugate the non-Muslim natives in their own ever expanding empire, as the Ottoman Empire swept over much of the former extent of Rome's empire.

This Texan Young Turk's appalling knowledge of history makes me wonder about his knowledge of other fields, including environmental science and business management. Knowledge and the scientific method of inquiry have been replaced with the feeling of righteousness and superiority towards the "savages" - i.e., those of us who do not share his "progressive" worldview.

From my unprogressive "barbarian" perspective, however, if the Romans had today's EPA to crucify the dissenters, the Roman Empire would still be around today and the Turks would be in real trouble. And not just the Turks; the rest of us would also live under the fascist jackboot.

I would have liked to make a prediction that if fascism were to come to America, it would come wearing a friendly smile as a protector of the people and the planet. But such a prediction is too late: the friendly, smiling fascism is now here.


Obama’s “None Of The Above” Energy Policy

Via Resouceful Earth we received news of a story on EE New’s Greenwire reports that the Obama Administration is actively working, one must assume, to “Keystone” the Pebble Mine project in Alaska under the auspices of the Clean Water Act.

U.S. EPA is defending its review of large-scale development in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed amid strong concerns from state leaders, including Attorney General Michael Geraghty.

At issue is the controversial Pebble Limited Partnership’s gold and copper mine in southwestern Alaska, which could become one of the largest in the world. Opponents worry the project could hurt tourism and a valuable salmon fishery.

In a recent letter, Geraghty questioned EPA’s legal authority to conduct the assessment, since the company has yet to submit permit applications (Greenwire, April 3).

But in another letter earlier this month, EPA Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran said the Clean Water Act gave him the authority to establish programs and conduct research for pollution prevention. He also offered the state an olive branch by agreeing to meet to discuss concerns.

Remember that last month the EPA was roundly smacked down by the Supreme Court for their fine first, investigate later use of the Clean Water Act. That rebuke has not dissuaded them from trying to use the Act to shut down the Pebble project before it has even formally been proposed. More from the Greenwire article:

Groups, including Alaska Native tribes, have been at odds over EPA intervention and a possible pre-emptive Clean Water Act permit veto of the project.

“In order to give due consideration to these conflicting requests,” McLerran wrote, “the EPA decided to collect and evaluate available scientific information on Bristol Bay fisheries and their vulnerability to large-scale mining development.”
With the draft watershed assessment scheduled for release next month and peer review and public meetings planned in its wake, both opponents and supporters of the mine have intensified their lobbying efforts.

The Pebble Partnership has touted the attorney general’s letter and said EPA’s assessment might lead to a veto of the project, which state and company officials call illegal and unprecedented (Greenwire, Feb. 9). The agency is not discounting the possibility of such an action.

The Pebble project, like Keystone before it, is just one large example of the trend under this president. While publically saying that they are pursuing an “all of the above” energy and resource strategy, down in the trenches (out of public view for the most part) what is really happening is that administratively and bureaucratically they are ensuring that “none of the above” ever see the light of day.

Marita Noon at Townhall shows that Obama’s reelection could well depend on preemptively shutting down Pebble and other similar projects to appease his green constituency. The environmentalists want total government control of all natural resources and want bureaucrats to determine what air, land, and ocean uses are acceptable.

Yet another thing that is at stake in this election…


Royal Society Hammered in Latest Plug of Post Normal Science

Britain’s once illustrious Royal Society is exposed again selling out to an elitist agenda promoting de-population and eco-evangelism

Latest whistleblower on this disturbing trend is Ben Pile of Climate Resistance. Pile pens a punishing new piece exposing the sinister rise of Malthusianism cloaked in post-normal platitudes. With his article. ‘The Royal Society Takes Another Step Away from Science ‘ Pile hammers the RS hard declaring:

“The scientific academy has sensed that it in today’s world, it wields political power. As the call for evidence suggests, the Royal Society has already decided that population is a problem, and the size of the population ought to be managed by political power, not by the individuals it consists of.”

The Royal Society is shown abandoning its faltering campaign to trumpet man-made global warming alarm to switch to alarm about so-called over population; all in the same anti-science Malthusian vein that humans are inherently “bad.”

Back in October 2010, the same author had written an article for Spiked that first identified the sinister politicization of this once venerable institution:

“It is no coincidence that, as it was preparing to moderate its statements on climate change, the Society has been seeking to intervene in the debate about population. In July this year, it announced that it would be ‘undertaking a major study to investigate how population variables will affect and be affected by economies, environments, societies and cultures’.”

If ever there was a compelling argument made for the need of a truly independent and non-political forum for science voices here it is.

A new forum for non-politicization of science is Principia Scientific International. It takes much the same hard-hitting line as Pile to denounce national academies such as the Royal Society that expound political dogma in place of scientific fact. The Royal Society has skewed science itself by abandoning it’s legitimate role as a powerful mode of inquiry to promote a pretence of science by exploiting a position of political authority.

As such we now live in an age where creeping rise of junk “post-normal” science threatens the traditional norms of evidence-based research.


Green "failures" are not failures if you understand their true purpose

With the Solyndra, First Solar, Sunpower, Fisker, and related Obama administration Department of Energy scandals, President Obama is following a trail blazed by Vice President Al Gore in the mid-1990s.  Similar scandals -- failed (or failing) green technology companies intertwined with Democratic Party fundraising -- will continue to arise until we understand their genesis.

Doubtless there are sincere entrepreneurs and enthusiasts in the green technology industry.  Nonetheless, I suspect that these green ventures fail so frequently because their political backers have about as much stake in their success as did Bialystock and Bloom in the success of Springtime for Hitler.

Perhaps these ill-starred ventures appear so often with substantial DOE funding precisely because they are successful in their primary surreptitious purpose of providing a Wall Street "pump and dump" vehicle for channeling cash to Democratic Party insiders.  Considering that until recently insider trading was actually legal for congressmen, the insidious nature of such scandals is particularly compelling.

To begin to understand these phenomena, it is illuminating to review the record of the original, the prototypical failed green technology scandal.  It began in 1995 when Vice President Al Gore visited Fall River, Massachusetts to offer an Earth Day speech touting Molten Metals Inc.  This company failed soon thereafter.
[T]he stock plunged from $28 to $14 in a single day in October 1996 when the company lost Department of Energy funding for a research contract. Doubts were raised about the commercial viability of Molten Metal's waste disposal system.

In the aftermath of this collapse, there was a congressional investigation.  However, House Republicans could not prove that Peter Knight -- who was Al Gore's senatorial aide and chairman of the Clinton-Gore election campaign -- had used his connections to the vice president when lobbying very successfully on behalf of MMT.  In addition, there was a suspicious grant of stock to Mr. Knight's son -- perhaps an inept attempt to conceal the ownership of these shares.  One can only wonder whether other "insiders" successfully concealed their ownership in MMT.  According to a lengthy article in the New York Times, Nov. 4, 1997:

The Republicans want to know why Zachary Knight, the son of a lobbyist, Peter S. Knight, was given nearly $20,000 in stock by William M. Haney 3d, the chairman of Molten Metal Technology Inc., a Massachusettes [sic] environmental-technology company. The gift from Mr. Haney and his wife came just two weeks after Mr. Knight was named chairman of the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign in May 1996.

Republican investigators say they believe the gift was a form of payment to Mr. Knight, who had worked as a $7,000-a-month lobbyist for Molten Metal before becoming campaign chairman. Before voluntarily giving up his job as a lobbyist, Mr. Knight had helped the company win $32 million in Federal grants while urging its executives to contribute and raise $132,000 for the Democrats and President Clinton's re-election effort.

The Republicans plan to argue that Molten Metal won most of its grants because Mr. Knight used his ties to Mr. Gore and because the firm and its employees contributed heavily to the Democratic Party. Mr. Haney is a longtime supporter of Mr. Gore.

Indeed, the Republicans will try to show that Mr. Knight helped arrange for Mr. Gore to visit Molten Metal's plant in Fall River, Mass., to commemorate Earth Day in April 1995. At the ceremony, Mr. Gore described the company's hazardous waste cleanup technology as "a shining example of American ingenuity, hard work and business know-how."

We see here the outlines of what is driving these cynical scandals. It is the opportunity for insiders to be given shares in these companies prior to (vice) presidential speeches touting their DOE-funded technologies.  According to a Forbes April 21, 1997 account of the scandal:

Al Gore helped send the stock flying when he called Molten Metal "a shining example of American ingenuity."  Sound familiar?  Who can forget President Obama's iconic May 2010 speech touting Solyndra?  He uses language nearly identical to Gore's.  I'm led to the conclusion that Al Gore perfected a 7-step fundraising formula that has been repeated by Democrats ever since:

Al Gore's Formula for DOE Green Technology-Scandal

Form a political partnership with insiders at Company A developing "Green Technology."

Distribute cheap stock in Company A to political insiders -- with ownership concealed.

Shower Company A with insider-directed DOE grants, contracts, and loans to artificially pump up its financials and Potemkin-prospects for success.

Tout the ingenuity of Company A in major political speeches -- even if you have to manufacture a global warming "crisis" to justify the company's product.

Advise political insiders to discreetly dump their overpriced stock a little at a time to avoid a run in the market but well before the inevitable collapse.  This gradual insider-trading will not trigger alarm in the market or scrutiny from the SEC, which is normally on the hunt for large stock-trades suspiciously timed to specific events.|

Collect campaign contributions from gratified and newly enriched political insiders.

Wash, rinse, and repeat the fleecing cycle with Company B.
The deviousness of this formula is that Treasury funds are not stolen directly.  Such stealing is very difficult to conceal because Treasury funds are closely tracked and subject to audit precisely to avoid massive misappropriation.  For example, today's GSA scandal is marked by not only brazenness, but also stupidity, since there is doubtless a paper-trail leading directly to the perpetrators.

Instead, with Gore-style green scandals, ostensibly legitimate but actually politically (mis)directed flows of government "investment" are suborned to puff up companies; the actual payoff is taken from untraceable Wall Street capital transactions unconnected to the Treasury.

OWS-types take note: such scandals are particularly cynical since the victims of the fraud (in addition to taxpayers) are the very Gaia-worshiping, Earth Day-celebrating Trustafarians (i.e., Al Gore's fawning base) who actually buy into the confidence-game concerning our future "Green Economy" and who then invest their trust funds in these hoax green companies.  Many of these folks would, I'm sure, further emulate Max Bialystock's little old lady investors and forgive their prince even if they became aware of his fraudulent conduct.

Al Gore was rewarded by the Democrats for inventing this winning fundraising formula by being nominated as their presidential candidate.  If not for the election of 2000, we would not have had to wait until 2010 to see so many repeats of the MMT scandal scenario.  As it turned out, Al Gore landed at Kleiner Perkins, one of the leading Silicon Valley venture-capital firms, where he is perfectly positioned to carry out steps 1 and 2 of the formula above.

Concealing political-insider ownership of shareholdings is the work of but a moment if you can rely on investment services from someone in your "crew" like Jon Corzine of  Goldman-Sachs, who, it is worth noting, is still a reliable "campaign bundler" for President Obama even amid the unfolding MF Global scandal.

Am I being hyperbolic in detailing Step 4 above with the phrase "even if you have to manufacture a global warming 'crisis' to justify the company's product"?  Perhaps not, if you consider that Al Gore's close confidant, Maurice Strong, was on the MMT board of corporate directors.  Forbes has this note from Jan. 12, 1998:

A member of Molten's board, Strong sold some shares at around $31 apiece a month prior to the stock's October 1996 collapse. Today the stock is at 13 cents a share and Strong is being sued by San Diego class-action shark Milberg Weiss.

What was Strong's reward for his part in the MMT fiasco?  During the Bush interregnum, the Democrats decided that he was eminently well-qualified to be bumped upstairs to the U.N., where he eventually founded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Connecting the dots from the green technology scandals of the Clinton-Gore administration to those of today may help illuminate the Obama era.  Not only are the DOE and other government agencies corrupting science with grants to buy academic "research" that supports the "scientific consensus" over global warming hysteria, and not only is the DOE using the false "crisis" to block commonsense energy initiatives like the Keystone Pipeline, but the DOE is also using the "crisis" to justify vast "investments" of taxpayer funds, a gigantic green thumb on the financial scales that distorts Wall Street's normal ability to finance economically sustainable new enterprises instead of this era's continuing series of politically correct yet rapid failures.  No wonder we're in a prolonged depression.

One begins to understand the scope of the problem.  With vast tranches of Wall Street cash being manipulated very profitably by well-connected greens, the enormous financial interests propelling the continuing "global warming" hoax will fund continued political resistance to any reform effort targeting enactment of a traditional American common-sense approach to energy and investment.

These greens will whip up their eco-fanatic storm-troopers and OWS types if there is any attempt at reform.  Wall Street wins regardless, so there is no help to be expected from that quarter, although it explains the growing divide between the financial industry and Main Street.  While understanding the problem can be the first step in solving it, Tea Party patriots and other reformers have our work cut out for us.



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, 2012

Cut world population and redistribute resources, false prophet urges

That the Guardian is giving space to Ehrlich is yet more evidence that for the Left there is no such thing as right and wrong  -- in any sense of those words.  Black can be white if it suits the Green/Left.  Do I really need to spell out Ehrlich's widely-proclaimed false prophecies in the 1960s?  Here's a sample:

   “The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

    “Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

    “[A] minimum of ten million people, most of them children, will starve to death during each year of the 1970s. But this is a mere handful compared to the numbers that will be starving before the end of the century.”

    “By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.”

    [By 1984], “the United States will quite literally be dying of thirst.”

[I forecast] “a new Ice Age … with rapid and drastic effects on the agricultural productivity of the temperate regions.”

The world's most renowned population analyst has called for a massive reduction in the number of humans and for natural resources to be redistributed from the rich to the poor.

Paul Ehrlich, Bing professor of population studies at Stanford University in California and author of the best-selling Population Bomb book in 1968, goes much further than the Royal Society in London which this morning said that physical numbers were as important as the amount of natural resources consumed.
Link to this audio

The optimum population of Earth – enough to guarantee the minimal physical ingredients of a decent life to everyone – was 1.5 to 2 billion people rather than the 7 billion who are alive today or the 9 billion expected in 2050, said Ehrlich in an interview with the Guardian.

"How many you support depends on lifestyles. We came up with 1.5 to 2 billion because you can have big active cities and wilderness. If you want a battery chicken world where everyone has minimum space and food and everyone is kept just about alive you might be able to support in the long term about 4 or 5 billion people. But you already have 7 billion. So we have to humanely and as rapidly as possible move to population shrinkage."

"The question is: can you go over the top without a disaster, like a worldwide plague or a nuclear war between India and Pakistan? If we go on at the pace we are there's going to be various forms of disaster. Some maybe slow motion disasters like people getting more and more hungry, or catastrophic disasters because the more people you have the greater the chance of some weird virus transferring from animal to human populations, there could be a vast die-off."

Ehrlich, who was described as alarmist in the 1970s but who says most of his predictions have proved correct, says he was gloomy about humanity's ability to feed over 9 billion people. "We have 1 billion people hungry now and we are going to add 2.5 billion. They are going to have to be fed on more marginal land, from water that is purified more or transported further, we're going to have disproportionate impacts on how we feed people from the population increase itself," he said.


Matt Ridley Responds To The Royal Society's 'People And The Planet'

John Sulston's committee argues that the more people there are and the richer they are, the more resources they consume. True. But it does not follow that the damage they do to the planet is greater. In important ways it gets less.

Why are many ecological and conservation problems worst in poor countries? Haiti is 98% deforested, and parts of Africa are seeing the devastation of wildlife populations, whereas in Europe and North America, forests cover is increasing, rivers and lakes are getting cleaner and deer numbers are rising. It is now more than 150 years since a native European bird species went globally extinct.

Some of that is because rich countries export their problems. But more of it is because economic development leads to a switch to using resources that no other species needs or wants (iron ore, oil, uranium, radio frequencies), instead of taking resources from living nature. Above a certain average level, income correlates negatively with many kinds of ecological damage as countries can afford to devote money to conservation. (China just passed that level and is reforesting again.)

Contrast Haiti, which relies on biomass (wood) for cooking and industry, with its much (literally) greener neighbour the Dominican Republic, which subsidises propane for cooking to save forest. Contrast the spasm of megafaunal extinction caused by early hunter-gatherers in America with the resurgence of deer, wolves, beaver and bald eagles there today ­made possible by the fact that people don't need to eat them or wear their skins.

Above all, economic growth leads to a more sparing use of the most important of all resources - land. As Helmut Haberl has shown, fertilizer and irrigation can vastly increase the productivity of ecosystems in rich countries sometimes more than compensating for the theft of calories for human consumption and thus not just sparing land for wildlife, but potentially enhancing wild ecosystems. It is entirely possible that this century will see ecological restoration gradually get the upper hand over ecological destruction, but only if people move to cities, further intensify farm yields, use oil instead of biofuels, un-dam rivers to replace hydro with gas or nuclear, build with steel and glass rather than timber and so forth. Seven billion people going back to nature would be a disaster for nature. Remember: no non-renewable resource has yet run out, whereas several renewable ones have: great auks, for example.

Of course, if human populations were smaller there would be less impact on the planet's resources. But since voluntary mass suicide does not appeal to people, the key question is: what level of economic activity leads to lowest birth rates? The surprising answer from all continents over 200 years is: the higher the better - though of course other factors also matter. As babies stop dying, people have fewer of them.


So Fake It’s Real: Global Warming is Reality TV for the Media Elite

Here’s my challenge to all the global warming apologists:  Explain to me why the “settled science” of global warming has to manipulate headlines to make information appear scarier and more threatening than the actual data shows. If global warming is so settled, why do you and your friends take the opportunity to exaggerate, obfuscate and slant every piece of news that comes out to make it seem relevant to today?      

You can see an example of this in the headlines below:

“Climate Change Main Contributor to Corn Volatility, Study Says” writes Bloomberg-BusinessWeek. “Climate Change Has Outsize Effect On Corn Price Volatility,” trumpets Climate Central. “Warming set to make corn prices pop,” says Agence France Presse.

“Climate Change to Affect Corn Prices, Study Says,” echoes the New York Times.

Nature Climate Change, a journal for the care a feeding of the climate change industry that masqeraudes as a peer-reviewed science rag, has published a new study that warns that “US corn price volatility to increase sharply in response to global warming projected to occur over the next three decades.”

Projected to occur over the next three decades.

The study  does not say that global warming is affecting the corn prices that are making today’s news, but rather corn prices that will be news in ten years or so.

But in another attempt to scare people into believing that a crisis has burst upon us, the media is using a self-serving expert study-  a study that is expert mostly at arguing propositions that are self-evident- to ratchet up the fear that global warming is out of control and to blame for high corn prices today.

You don’t have to be a grammarian to catch the tense and other tricks that the MSM is using to hype the results of the study.

The study says that if the climate change model predicted by global warming alarmists comes to pass, that the warming will have a bigger effect on corn prices than say, federal ethanol policies.

So in other words, the same dynamic- namely, crop yield derived from weather conditions- will continue to drive the price of corn in the same way crop prices have been affected for thousands of years.    

Yet if you were to read the headlines, you’d think the current trend of high corn prices are the result of global warming, not the real culprit: mismanagement of monetary policy by Obama and the central banks which has had an inflationary affect on many commodities including corn, oil, gold and silver.

Certainly if temperatures in the corn-belt go up by an average of ten degrees by the end of the century, as predicated in the study, I can confidently say that, yes, corn prices will be affected more by warming than any other factor.

But the summary of the Nature report come with a lot of ifs, and, buts that add up to a great deal of uncertainty: “Closer integration of agriculture and energy markets moderates the effects of climate change, unless the biofuels mandate becomes binding, in which case corn price volatility is instead exacerbated.”

Got it? Integrate agriculture and energy, whatever that means, and you moderate volatility. Use agriculture as energy and you get more volatility.

It’s this kind of reporting by the MSM that has climate change skeptics like me increasingly convinced that much of the data is being intentionally manipulated by a media elite that can not tolerate debate, especially when they are really, really, really wrong.

We saw the same type of reporting lead to widespread predictions that killer hurricanes were becoming more commonplace, as a result of global warming. We had farfetched predictions every year of a dozen or so tropical cyclones bearing down on humans who refused to stop messing with Mother Nature. This continued until the results failed to materialize and the adults in hurricane science finally put and end to the farce with a report showing that no, global warming has had no affect on hurricanes.

We saw this same type of reporting lead to the hypothesis that polar bear cannibalism was on the rise as a result of global warming by the same discredited fools who predicted that polar bear populations were declining, when in fact, the polar bear populations are growing.

Last year every weather event from a drought in Texas, to cold weather in Europe has been blamed on global warming. This despite, um, little or no evidence: “"This is not the new normal in terms of drought. Texas knows drought. Texas has been toughened on the anvil of droughts that have come and gone. This is not a climate change drought. What we do anticipate from climate change is a situation where temperatures progressively increase," said Dr. Robert Hoerling, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research meteorologist, who was a lead author of the U.S. Climate Change Science Plan Synthesis and Assessment Report and definitely a supporter of warming models.

We are at the point that we could have a record cold  snap around the world for several years in a row and global warming acolytes would work furiously on models to blame it on…global warming.

That ain’t science folks. That’s reality TV.

And while the clown college that makes up the dwindling media elite in this country continues to exaggerate, obfuscate and slant every piece of news that comes out to make it seem relevant to today, expect the folks at home to continue to give them the Donald Trump treatment.


Another dubious "proxy" -- salinity

What do we need salinity for when we have thermomenter records for the period concerned?  And we all know how naughty proxies can be.  Sometimes you need to "hide the decline" in them

New research suggests that global warming is causing the cycle of evaporation and rainfall over the oceans to intensify more than scientists had expected, an ominous finding that may indicate a higher potential for extreme weather in coming decades.

By measuring changes in salinity on the ocean's surface, the researchers inferred that the water cycle had accelerated by about 4 percent over the last half century. That does not sound particularly large, but it is twice the figure generated from computerized analyses of the climate.

If the estimate holds up, it implies that the water cycle could quicken by as much as 20 percent later in this century as the planet warms, potentially leading to more droughts and floods.

"This provides another piece of independent evidence that we need to start taking the problem of global warming seriously," said Paul J. Durack, a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and the lead author of a paper being published Friday in the journal Science.

The researchers' analysis found that over the half century that began in 1950, salty areas of the ocean became saltier, while fresh areas became fresher. That change was attributed to stronger patterns of evaporation and precipitation over the ocean.

The new paper is not the first to find an intensification of the water cycle, nor even the first to calculate that it might be fairly large. But the paper appears to marshal more scientific evidence than any paper to date in support of a high estimate.

"I am excited about this paper," said Raymond W. Schmitt, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, who offered a critique of the work before publication but was otherwise not involved. "The amplification pattern that he sees is really quite dramatic."

The paper is the latest installment in a long-running effort by scientists to solve one of the most vexing puzzles about global warming.

While basic physics suggests that warming must accelerate the cycle of evaporation and rainfall, it has been difficult to get a handle on how much acceleration has already occurred, and thus to project the changes that are likely to result from continued planetary warming.

The fundamental problem is that measurements of evaporation and precipitation over the ocean - which covers 71 percent of the earth's surface, holds 97 percent of its water and is where most evaporation and precipitation occurs - are spotty at best. To overcome that, scientists are trying to use the changing saltiness of the ocean's surface as a kind of rain gauge.

That works because, as rain falls on a patch of the ocean, it freshens the surface water. Conversely, in a region where evaporation exceeds rainfall, the surface becomes saltier.

The variations in salinity are large enough that they can be detected from space, and NASA recently sent up a new satellite, Aquarius, for that purpose. But it will take years to obtain results, and scientists like Dr. Durack are trying to get a jump on the problem by using older observations, including salinity measurements taken by ships as well as recent measurements from an army of robotic floats launched in an international program called Argo.

Dr. Schmitt cautioned that the work by Dr. Durack and his co-authors, the Australian researchers Susan E. Wijffels and Richard J. Matear, would need to be scrutinized and reproduced by other scientists.

Another expert not involved in the work, Kevin E. Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said that Dr. Durack had produced intriguing evidence that global warming was already creating changes in the water cycle at a regional scale. But Dr. Trenberth added that he doubted that the global intensification could be as large as Dr. Durack's group had found. "I think he might have gone a bit too far," he said.

Assuming that the paper withstands scrutiny, it suggests that a global warming of about 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past half century has been enough to intensify the water cycle by about 4 percent. That led Dr. Durack to project a possible intensification of about 20 percent as the planet warms by several degrees in the coming century.


Consensus Argument Proves Climate Science Is Political

Claims of a consensus was an early sign climate science was political. It was used to support official science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a public relations campaign to offset and divert from bad science, inadequate data, and incorrect assumptions. It’s in use again as the science of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis fails and people are not persuaded.

Many scientists were fooled, including James Lovelock, a central figure to environmentalism with his Gaia hypothesis. In 2007 he said:      “Before this century is over, billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic.”

Recently he revised his view:     “The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.”      “We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now.”

How could a reputable scientist be so wrong?

Some words have different meanings for the public than for professionals. For example, calling someone a skeptic is considered derogatory, yet it’s a necessity for a scientist. When warming became climate change skeptics became deniers, a nasty ambiguous word. It means you refuse to acknowledge information, but it’s specifically used for a few who deny the holocaust, arguably the most horrendous event in history.

There’s a negative implication to the word consensus. If you’re not part of it you’re out-of-step, stupid, antisocial, or all three. There’s no consensus in science. Even in politics it’s rare to assign a number to a consensus. Apparently to pretend credibility current users say there’s a 97 percent consensus about IPCC climate science.

Numerical measures of the consensus argument appeared early in climate As I recall, approximately 6000 people associated with the IPCC represented the original consensus. That number decreased to 2500 today, but they’re still the consensus according to RealClimate, the web site about which Michael Mann wrote in a 2004 email:      “…the important thing is to make sure they’re loosing (sic) the PR battle. That’s what the site is about.”

A 16 December 2004 entry asks:      “Is there really “consensus” in the scientific community on the reality of anthropogenic climate change?”

Evidence used was the now discredited study of Naomi Oreske that claimed of 928 articles selected objectively by a three word google search, 100 percent supported IPCC science.

On 22 December 2004 there’s another RealClimate insight:     We’ve used the term “consensus” here a bit recently without ever really defining what we mean by it. In normal practice, there is no great need to define it – no science depends on it. But it’s useful to record the core that most scientists agree on, for public presentation. The consensus that exists is that of the IPCC reports, in particular the working group I report (there are three WG’s. By “IPCC”, people tend to mean WG I).

This admits consensus is unnecessary in science, but necessary for climate science “for public presentation” or propaganda.
It’s another circular argument that pervade IPCC science and politics. For example, they hypothesize that CO2 causes temperature increase, program a computer model accordingly, then say the model proves that CO2 increase causes temperature increase. RealClimate says,

   “The main points that most would agree on as “the consensus” are:

    1.The earth is getting warmer (0.6 +/- 0.2 oC in the past century; 0.1 0.17 oC/decade over the last 30 years (see update)) [ch 2]

    2.People are causing this [ch 12] (see update)

    3.If GHG emissions continue, the warming will continue and indeed accelerate [ch 9]

    4.(This will be a problem and we ought to do something about it)

    I’ve put those four points in rough order of certainty. The last one is in brackets because whilst many would agree, many others (who agree with 1-3) would not, at least without qualification. It’s probably not a part of the core consensus in the way 1-3 are.”

So the consensus is their IPCC Reports.  Here are the facts of the consensus today.

1.The rise of 0.6°C has an error of ±0.2°C or 33 percent – which is scientifically meaningless. Phil Jones a senior member of the IPCC produced the number. The earth is not warming any more.

2.The only evidence people are the cause is in their computer models.

3. Temperature increase precedes CO2 increase in every single record anywhere, except in their computer models.

4.An application of the precautionary principle.

RealClimate said about consensus:     “In normal practice, there is no great need to define it – no science depends on it.”

But climate science of the IPCC and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at East Anglia was not normal practice: a political consensus was their only hope. As Michael Crichton said:     Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled."

Sounds familiar; the science is settled, and the debate is over because there’s a consensus.


Boston Parking Lot To Discount ‘Green’ Vehicles, Penalize ‘Gas Guzzlers’‏

Let‘s say you’re in Boston and you’re driving to a Celtics or Bruins game. If you’re driving a snazzy “clean” energy vehicle and you want to park in that new lot they’re putting in Bulfinch Triangle, you may be getting a discounted public parking rate.

But if you’re driving a vehicle that gets less than 15 miles per gallon, expect to pay a 10-cent “gas guzzler” penalty.
“Whatever car you buy is your choice, and they shouldn’t charge you more because you don’t have a hybrid or because you drive a ‘gas-guzzler,”’ one Boston resident (who owns a Jeep) told the
Boston Herald.

Boston’s Dinosaur Capital Partners is collaborating with California’s [of course] Streetline Inc. to outfit a parking lot in the Bulfinch Triangle area (near TD Garden) with machines that will charge clients based on the cars they drive.

“People who park hybrids or electric cars at the Green Park & Charge lot…will get a 10 percent discount on the expected $10-an-hour rate,” the Herald reports. “But those who drive sport-utility vehicles or other rides that get fewer than 15 miles per gallon will pay a 10 percent penalty.”

How do the folks behind this “green” energy scheme explain themselves?

“We feel strongly that not only is this the right thing to do, but that we’ll attract customers who feel the same way,” Dinosaur Capital’s Scott Oran told the Herald.

“A big SUV has a cost both in terms of the environment and in terms of being a heavier vehicle that causes more wear and tear on our lot,” he said. “We think that should be reflected in our price.”

The company is spending $1.5 million to build the lot, which will include 12 parking spaces outfitted with free electric vehicle charging stations.

And guess who’s picking up the $50,000 tab to keep those charging stations free? That’s right: taxpayers.

“I don’t expect too many SUV owners will be ticked off, because they understand that they’re driving a car that costs more to operate and to park,” Oran said.

Not surprisingly, a few Boston drivers interviewed by the Herald think the 10-cent “gas guzzler” surcharge is, uh, ill-advised.
John Roberts, who drives a GMC Sierra, says the surcharge “is not fair. It’s like they’re trying to make money off of people who are not environmentally conscious.”

Another resident, a Jeep owner, said: “I don’t think it’s going to matter really. People with gas-guzzlers will just park somewhere else.”


Summertime Blues

Planning a vacation this summer to Miami’s Biscayne Bay for a little fishing?

Think again, because the National Park Service wants to set aside a large swath of the pristine area as a marine reserve zone, so you might have to leave the fishing poles at home. And the boat.

Perhaps horseback riding is more your speed and the family plans to ride through California’s Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Parks? Sorry, but all of the permits were pulled for those activities this summer.

Or maybe you just want to lounge on the soft sands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and read a novel, fly a kite with the kids, toss a Frisbee to the dog, and watch dad catch some fish?

No, no, no and no.

Beachcombers along specific stretches of those legendary shores are seeing signs telling them to leave their kites and pets at home, and to watch where they step.

“Leave no footprints behind. Walk in water where footprints wash away,” read the signs posted in February by federal officials.

Beaches that once welcomed fisherman to drive up to the water’s edge are also off-limits to the vehicles, and so is fishing.

These vacation destinations are all national parks that once encouraged such recreational uses and enjoyment but their new “no trespassing” attitudes have angered the local communities, and some in Congress as well.

In March, Rep. Walter Jones (R–N.C.) challenged the restrictions imposed by the beach signs, which were the result of battles with environmentalists to protect certain species.

The park service that operates the Cape Hatteras National Seashore pledged to replace them, and the new signs will read: “Walk near water’s edge. Stay below high tide line.”

Still not allowed: kites, pets, vehicles, or fishing. Sunbathing is permissible if you don’t mind getting hit by the waves every few minutes.

Beach access

“The federal government needs to remember that Cape Hatteras was established to be a recreational area for the American people,” Jones said. “But taxpayers can’t recreate without access to the beach. The goal of management ought to be a balanced approach between visitor access and species protection.”

Roping off national parks to the public and limiting opportunities for recreation, which in some cases were at the request of environmental groups, is a growing trend that lawmakers say they will examine during an oversight hearing of a House Resources subcommittee on April 27.

Florida’s Biscayne National Park is one of the largest urban recreational fishing and boating parks in the United States, but federal park employees say the coral reef is declining; so, boating and fishing must be restricted in certain areas.

Florida Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mario Diaz-Balart and David Rivera are challenging the proposed rule, which would close off 20 percent of the park to boating and fishing.

“The park service appears to have decided that it knows best, and that allows it to ignore the public in the pursuit of its own notions of sound conservation,” a group of Florida marine and fishing organizations said earlier this month in a letter to the editor of Soundings Trade Only Today.

Companies fold and jobs lost

In California, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes says that by eliminating horseback rides to the backcountry, the National Park Service has essentially blocked the only access that many Americans, including those with disabilities and the elderly, have to wilderness areas. The new restrictions are the result of a lawsuit brought by environmentalists who say the activity may be a threat to nature.

Losing the permits means that at least 15 companies that provided horseback rides are out of work this summer, along with an estimated 500 employees.

“This is just another example of the Obama administration actively killing jobs,” Nunes said. “They have the authority to seek permission from the courts to put these folks back to work, yet they have so far refused to entertain the option.”

“Ironically, the Obama administration is pushing backcountry horsemen out of business at the same time it is urging Americans to ‘get outdoors.’ The White House could demonstrate an interest in protecting these outdoor jobs with a simple act,” Nunes said.

Nunes wrote to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar April 17 asking that the administration intervene to reissue the permits.

“The national parks are funded by these taxpayers who have the right to access these parks,” Nunes said.

A spokeswoman for the National Park Service said they have received Nunes’ letter but have not issued a response. They are also aware of the congressional hearing, but no testimony has been drafted.

A statement from the park service office in North Carolina said the new rules there “will protect and preserve the unique natural and cultural resources of this dynamic barrier ecosystem while permitting the use of vehicles on seashore beaches and provide a variety of safe visitor experiences while minimizing conflicts among various users.”

Additionally, the park superintendent of Biscayne National Park says that restricting fishing to 7 percent of that park will increase opportunities for snorkeling and promote a healthy coral reef.

“Biscayne’s coral reef is its Old Faithful, the signature feature that draws visitors time and again,” Mark Lewis said in an April 9 letter to Soundings Trade Only Today. “Let’s showcase the reef and make this the wonderful tourism destination it should be,” Lewis said.

Jones has authored legislation specifically to address the situation in North Carolina, which he says would preserve access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Jones’ bill tells Salazar that pedestrian and vehicle access for recreation should be restricted on small portions of the beach and for a shorter period of time.

Park service ‘heavy-handed’

John Couch, who owns the Red Drum Tackle Shop in Buxton, N.C. and is president of the Outer Banks Preservation Association, said the community supports protections for the birds and turtles, but that the park service is being unreasonable and “heavy-handed” by cutting off miles and miles of access to the beaches and the recreation it provides.

“Experiences that visitors expect are now closed off because of hugely excessive and unprecedented buffer zones that just closes off the beach,” Couch said. “These are immense obstacles.”

Couch says the restrictions have already proven to be bad for the tourism industry.

“These overzealous restrictions have taken a heavy toll on the tackle shop; business is off by 30 and 50 percent. It’s bad,” Couch said.

“On the other side, the environmentalists have good intentions, but this plan is not working. I’m suffering as a member of the business community. I have no expectation of what to expect,” Couch said.

“It’s fine and dandy to protect the environment, but at the same time we have a mandate to provide protection of resources, as well as enhance the future and present recreational opportunities. But that’s not what’s going on. Now it’s a single mandate which is to protect the environment,” Couch said.

Couch said humans are not the threat to the birds and turtles, but severe storms and predators such as foxes, possums, raccoons, otter, mink and nutria are its natural enemies.

“Man doesn’t have a hand in this,” Couch said.

During one outing with the Park Service to the beach to discuss the new human restrictions, Couch said he and others watched as a ranger pulled out a rifle and killed a nearby fox

“They shot the thing right there in front of us,” Couch said.

“We’re all for the birds and the turtles, but when government and pressure from environmentalists close down the beach access in an inequitable favor to these birds at the expense of the economy and the visitors, that’s wrong,” Couch said. “We can protect the birds and provide for the sustainability of the island community.”

“We’re trying to sell the beach, we’re trying to sell family fun, and all our visitors want to do is fish, sun, and pick up some seashells.”



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26 April, 2012

Awkward finding: Changes in wind currents  responsible for melting Western Antarctic sea ice

Antarctic sea ice (floating ice) as a whole is not melting but even if it did it would have no effect on sea levels  -- See Archimedes.  The various bits of scare talk below are just speculation at best  -- if not outright dishonest

Antarctica's massive ice shelves are shrinking because they are being eaten away from below by warm water, a new study finds.

That suggests  [how?] that  future sea levels could rise faster than many scientists have been predicting.

The western chunk of Antarctica is losing 23 feet (seven metres) of its floating ice sheet each year. Until now, scientists weren't exactly sure how it was happening and whether or how man-made global warming might be a factor. The answer, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, is that climate change plays an indirect role — but one that has larger repercussions than if Antarctic ice were merely melting from warmer air.

Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, said research using an ice-gazing NASA satellite showed that warmer air alone couldn't explain what was happening to Antarctica. A more detailed examination found a chain of events that explained the shrinking ice shelves.

Twenty ice shelves showed signs that they were melting from warm water below. Changes in wind currents pushed that relatively warmer water closer to and beneath the floating ice shelves. The wind change is likely caused by a combination of factors, including natural weather variation, the ozone hole and man-made greenhouse gases, Pritchard said in a phone interview.

As the floating ice shelves melt and thin, that in turn triggers snow and ice on land glaciers to slide down to the floating shelves and eventually into the sea, causing sea level rise, Pritchard said. Thicker floating ice shelves usually keep much of the land snow and ice from shedding to sea, but that's not happening now.

That whole process causes larger and faster sea level rise than simply warmer air melting snow on land-locked glaciers, Pritchard said.

"It means the ice sheets are highly sensitive to relatively subtle changes in climate through the effects of the wind," he said.

What's happening in Antarctica "may have already triggered a period of unstable glacier retreat", the study concludes. If the entire Western Antarctic Ice Sheet were to melt — something that would take many decades if not centuries — scientists have estimated it would lift global sea levels by about 16 feet (4.87 metres).

NASA chief scientist Waleed Abdalati, an expert in Earth's ice systems who wasn't involved in the research, said Pritchard's study "makes an important advance" and provides key information about how Antarctica will contribute to global sea level rise.  [Che?]

Another outside expert, Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Centre, said the paper will change the way scientists think about melt in Antarctica. Seeing more warm water encircling the continent, he worries that with "a further push from the wind" newer areas could start shrinking.


Is global warming just hot air? World temperatures have risen by just 0.29C in the last two decades

This article appeared in Britain's widely-read "Daily Mail"

World temperatures have remained almost stagnant in the last two decades,  new figures have revealed.  Temperatures across the globe rose by around a third of a degree last year from the average of 14 degrees Celsius recorded between 1961 and 1990.  In some years, temperatures rose by just 0.29 degrees C while in others they rose by .53 degrees.

The findings come as consumers feel the full force of a raft of environment policies introduced by the coalition and the previous Labour government in the name of climate change.  By 2030, ‘green’ policy burdens could cost families an extra £267 a year and have already raised current energy bills by £78 annually.

The figures on global temperatures were  published by Environment Minister Gregory Barker in a parliamentary answer to Tory MP Anne Main.  

Mrs Main said it raised questions about whether vulnerable people should be made to make the choice between heating and eating.  She said: ‘These figures show that the cost to domestic energy bills from these policies will be significant and is a cause for concern.

‘I understand the Government is trying to mitigate the increase with the Green Deal and by encouraging people to insulate their homes.

‘However in areas like St Albans that have many listed properties, often owned by elderly people where they cannot benefit from energy efficiency schemes; mitigation may not be the answer and energy bills will rise.

‘I am worried that the most vulnerable in my constituency could be hardest hit by these policies; the Government needs to take this into account if bills are to be kept down.’

The figures were unveiled as an environmental guru and maverick scientist admitted that he may have been ‘alarmist’ about climate change.  James Lovelock, who warned that billions would die before the end of this century and only the Arctic would be fit for human habitation, said: ‘The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.’

The 92-year-old told MSNBC in America: ‘The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now. The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising.’

The scientist is writing a new book in which he will say climate change is still happening, but not as quickly as he once feared.

‘It will be the third in a series and follows on from his best-selling: Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back – and How We Can Still Save Humanity, and The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning: Enjoy It While You Can.


The folly of E15 anti-hydrocarbon policies

The Obama Administration’s anti-hydrocarbon ideology and “renewable” energy mythology continues to subsidize crony capitalists and the politicians they help keep in office – on the backs of American taxpayers, ratepayers and motorists. The latest chapter in the sorry ethanol saga is a perfect example.

Bowing to pressure from ADM, Cargill, Growth Energy and other Big Ethanol lobbyists, Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Protection Agency has decided to allow ethanol manufacturers to register as suppliers of E15 gasoline. E15 contains 15% ethanol, rather than currently mandated 10% blends.

The next lobbying effort will focus on getting E15 registered as a fuel in individual states and persuading oil companies to offer it at service stations. But according to the Associated Press and Washington Post, Team Obama already plans to provide taxpayer-financed grants, loans and loan guarantees to “help station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next five years” and promote the use of biofuels.

Pummeled by Obama policies that have helped send regular gasoline prices skyrocketing from $1.85 a gallon when he took office to $4.00 today – many motorists will welcome any perceived “bargain gas.” E15 will likely reduce their obvious pump pain by several cents a gallon, thus persuading people to fill up their cars, trucks and maybe even boats, lawnmowers and other equipment with the new blends.

That would be a huge mistake.

E15 gasoline will be cheaper because we already paid for it with decades of taxpayer subsidies that the Congressional Budget Office says cost taxpayers $1.78 every time a gallon of ethanol replaced a gallon of gasoline. Ethanol blends get fewer miles per tank than gasoline. More ethanol means even worse mileage. People may save at the pump, but cost per mile will increase, as will car maintenance and repair costs.

Ethanol collects water, which can cause engine stalls. It corrodes plastic, rubber and soft metal parts. Pre-2001 car engines, parts and systems may not be able to handle E15, which could also increase emissions and adversely affect engine, fuel pump and sensor durability. Older cars and motorcycles mistakenly (or for price or convenience) fueled with E15 could conk out on congested highways or in the middle of nowhere, boat engines could die miles from land or in the face of a thunderstorm, and snowmobiles could sputter to a stop in a frigid wilderness.

Homeowners and yard care professionals have voiced concerns that E15’s corrosive qualities could damage their gasoline-powered equipment. Because it burns hotter than gasoline, high ethanol gasoline engines could burn users or cause lawnmowers, chainsaws, trimmers, blowers and other outdoor power equipment to start inadvertently or catch fire, they worry.

As several trade associations have noted in a lawsuit, the Clean Air Act says EPA may grant a waiver for a new fuel additive or fuel blend only if it has demonstrated that the new fuel will not damage the emissions control devices of “any” engine in the existing inventory. E15 has not yet met this requirement. EPA should not have moved forward on E15 and should not have ignored studies that indicate serious potential problems with this high-ethanol fuel blend.

Largely because of corn-based ethanol, US corn prices shot up from an annual average of $1.96 per bushel in 2005 to $6.01 in 2011. This year we will make ethanol from 5 billion bushels of corn grown on an area the size of Iowa. E15 fuels will worsen the problem, especially if corn crops fall below expectations.

Ethanol mandates mean more revenues and profits for corn growers and ethanol makers. However, skyrocketing corn prices mean beef, pork, poultry, egg and fish producers pay more for corn-based feed; grocery manufacturers pay more for corn, meat, fish and corn syrup; and families see prices soar for almost everything on their dinner table.

Farmers like pork producer Jim A were hammered hard. Over a 20-year period, Jim became a part owner in a Texas operation and planned to buy out the other shareholders. But when corn and ethanol subsidies went into effect, the cost of feed corn shot from $2.80 per bushel in 2005 to “over $7.00” a bushel in 2008. “We went from treading water and making payments, to losing $100,000 a month,” he told me.

His farm was threatened with foreclosure and the ominous prospect of having to make up the difference in a short sale. After “never missing a single payment to anybody” in his life, he almost lost everything. Fortunately, at the eleventh hour, a large pork producer leased the property, the bank refinanced his loans and Jim arranged a five-year lease. But thanks to ethanol he almost lost everything he’d ever worked for.

Even worse, the price of tortillas and tamales also skyrocketed, leaving countless poor Latin American families even more destitute. Soaring corn and wheat prices have also made it far harder for the USAID and World Food Organization to feed the world’s malnourished, destitute children.

Simply put, corn ethanol is wasteful and immoral. And yet E15 advocates want to go even further.

“For 40 years we have been addicted to foreign oil,” says Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis. “Our nation needs E15 to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, keep gas prices down at the pump, and end the extreme fluctuations in gas prices caused by our reliance on fuel from unstable parts of the world.”

That’s nonsense. America is blessed with centuries of untapped petroleum resources that antediluvian Deep Ecologists, ideology-driven politicians and EPA officials, and subsidy-obsessed renewable energy lobbyists seem intent on keeping locked up, regardless of the negative consequences.

These oil and gas deposits cannot be developed overnight. However, 40 years is not overnight. Yet that’s how long America has kept Alaska’s ANWR coastal plain, most of our Outer Continental Shelf, and most of our western states’ public lands and resources off limits to leasing, exploration and drilling.

If we had started the process twenty, ten or even five years ago, we’d have enough oil flowing to slash imports and cut world crude and US pump prices significantly. If President Obama had approved the Keystone XL pipeline, within two years over 800,000 barrels of Canadian, Montana and North Dakota crude would be flowing daily to Texas refineries – with similar effects on imports and prices.

Developing these resources would also generate hundreds of thousands of jobs – and billions of dollars in lease bonuses and rents, production royalties, and corporate and personal taxes.

America’s surging natural gas production has already driven that fuel’s price from $8 to barely $2.00 per thousand cubic feet (or million Btus). That alone will persuade auto makers to build nat-gas-powered cars and trucks (and consumers to buy them), without massive new subsidy programs as advocated by T. Boone Pickens and assorted politicians. Natural gas can even be converted into ethanol (and diesel).

It will happen, unless Congress interferes – or EPA tries to regulate horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) into oblivion, and send natural gas prices back into the stratosphere.

Right now, we are burning our own – and the world’s – food, to fuel cars and trucks. And to grow corn, convert it into 14 billion gallons of ethanol, and ship it by truck or train, we are consuming one-third of America’s entire corn crop  – and using millions of pounds of insecticides, billions of pounds of fertilizer, vast amounts of energy (all petroleum-based), and trillions of gallons of water.

Just imagine how those numbers will soar, if E15 is adopted nationwide – or if Big Ethanol’s big dream becomes reality, and motorists begin to burn “cheap” corn-based E85 in flex-fuel vehicles.

Will President Obama, Democrats and extreme environmentalists ever end their hatred of hydrocarbons, and their obsession with biofuels – and start embracing reliable, affordable energy that actually works?


Lie, Cheat, Steal: Save the Planet!

Speaking of lies and the liars that spread them: In light of yesterday's column on the cottage industry of global warming hysteria and the slant they give the day's news, I got a nice email from the people at the Heartland Institute reminding me of the theft and alteration of documents from Heartland by hysterical warming apologist Professor Peter Gleick, a supposed ethics expert with the Pacific Institute.

I first covered the story as it was occuring in February, when Heartland reported the theft. Sinced then Heartland has published a list of websites and periodicals that abetted Gleick. I have have appended that list at the end of this column.      

Gleick, who was chairman of the ethics committee at the American Geophysical Union, admitted that he recently stole some documents- and he may have forged others- from the conservative think-tank. But that’s all in a day’s work for a work-a-day climate warrior. The important thing isn’t the quest for the truth in global climate research, but, as Charlie Sheen would say, winning. With winning comes cash.   

Because for some time it’s been clear, that in the climate debate, instead of actually accomplishing something worthwhile, all the attention will be on the winners and losers. And some losers in the debate are much bigger than others.

For example:   

“In the field of climate science, when someone — especially skeptics — did something ethically questionable or misrepresented facts,” writes MSNBC, “scientist Peter Gleick was usually among the first and loudest to cry foul. He chaired a prominent scientific society's ethics committee. He created an award for what he considered lies about global warming.”

No word yet whether Gleick will create an award for forgery. I hear the pool of candidates isn’t deep this year since all of the forged data from Climategate has already gone pro.    

The authentic documents stolen from Heartland were released by Gleick, along with some documents the Heartland folks say are forgeries.

The real documents were prepared by the think-tank to counter the global warming bunk that is being taught in US schools.

I know about the global warming hysteria that is taught at the elementary and secondary level, because my kids come home everyday and instead of telling me about how they’ve learned to read and write and how great George Washington was, they instead tell me that “transfer calculations indicate that strong gradients in both ozone and water vapor near the tropopause contribute to the inversion.” Ah, huh. I think neither they, nor their teachers, nor the authors, nor myself, knows what that means.

Still I hope the question is on the ACT. But I doubt it.

This is a very serious issue.

How serious?

“Heartland has not said whether any of the documents it unwittingly released were altered,” reports the LA Times, “and Gleick said he did not change any of the material he got. But several of the key points the purported strategy document makes are backed up in the material Gleick obtained from Heartland. Most notably, in a fundraising document, Heartland identifies one of its priorities as reshaping the discussion of climate change in K-12 classrooms.” Ohmygosh!

Well let’s just say that the Heartland Institute is in BIG trouble now.  How dare these right-wing troglodytes have a scientific position contrary to the United Nations Interplanetary Council on Wealth Transfer and Class Envy. 

No, no. no. You can’t do that. Not under an Obama administration.

Yeah sure: The UN misspends our money on their sex scandals, mismanagement of programs designed to secure peace and prosperity and engage in habitual human rights abuses by a majority of the members states who make up the one-world-government to-be. But clearly, those problems aside, they have the skill to put together a group of scientists who can report objectively on the science behind global warming; especially the part where the remedies include:

1) You footing the bill; and

2) They get your money.      

Don’t we mere mortals know that our puny powers of reason and deduction are impervious to the powers granted to the Society of Ethical Geophysicists by the government of the United Nations?

That’s why the scientist, Geophysicist Ethicist Mr. Gleick, is now being hailed by the director of research for Greenpeace, Kert Davies, as a “hero,” says the LA Times.

Most other commentary declaims Gleick's methods, while not-so subtly applauding his aims.

The Atlantic's Megan McArdle has had about the only rational response, concluding that Gleick is crazy:

"And ethics aside, what Gleick did is insane for someone in his position--so crazy that I confess to wondering whether he doesn't have some sort of underlying medical condition that requires urgent treatment.  The reason he did it was even crazier.  I would probably have thrown that memo away.  I might have spent a few hours idly checking it out. I would definitely not have risked jail or personal ruin over something so questionable, and which provided evidence of . . . what?  That Heartland exists?  That it has a budget? That it spends that budget promoting views which Gleick finds reprehensible?"

When conservatives question global warming, we are lying, apparently. When liberals steal in the name of global warming, it can't be a sign of desperation, poor science or character. No; they must be crazy, with due respect to Ms. McArdle, who I believe is sincere .

I guess since liberals haven't yet embraced retroactive abortions, the next, best thing they can do is label someone crazy when they want to cut them from the herd, as they did recently with Media Matter's David Brock.    

Skeptics- or rather, deniers, as we’d much rather be called- will point out that increasingly the public is distrustful of global warming science.

Despite a little bounce in the polls, 60 percent of US respondents to a Rasmussen survey don’t think that global warming is man made. “In a January survey of the top 22 policy priorities for the US,” writes Our World 2.0 “the public ranked climate change dead last, according to the Pew Research Center.”

“When government muzzles scientists for political reasons, it cuts at the fundamental principals of good science,” Stephen Hwang, professor of general internal medicine at the University of Toronto told Our World.

But when the doctors and scientists seek to muzzle the rest of us it’s all A.O.K.

And for some weird reason the public just doesn’t trust those scientists who are fully sponsored and funded by the UN, US, UK and other government grants, which in turn were funded by you.

By talking about it, you troglodytes just emit more carbon. Good going.  Your proper role is to just shut your big, fat mouth and fork over a carbon credit or cash equivalent so the truth-seeking can continue unimpeded.  

For more information you can see the Heartland's website on the scandal at


Cuddly Symbols Not Cooperating in Climate Panic

In a better world, debates about science -- and nearly everything else -- would be conducted without resort to demagoguery, sentimentality, cynical manipulation, or hysteria. In the world we inhabit, those tactics are dismayingly routine. Still, the great weakness of overwrought predictions of doom is that they can be checked.

The past year has not been kind to the most potent symbols of climate change hysteria. Consider the polar bears. Among the most moving images of the warmists' warnings was the solitary polar bear, supposedly marooned on an ice floe. The image became iconic after it was published in Science Magazine. Among the most memorable moments in Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," was an animated clip depicting struggling polar bears.

You don't hear stories, as you do with dolphins, of polar bears rescuing drowning humans. But polar bears, especially cubs, have a different claim on our sympathy -- they're adorable. We shudder to see winsome, furry mammals drifting off to sea on ice floes -- all because we couldn't part with our SUVs. A children's book prepared by the United Nations put it just that way.

Well, according to, the picture of that "stranded" polar bear has been lampooned as "ursus bogus." Experts on those creatures always found the warmists' interpretation of that photo odd, since polar bears can swim for hundreds of miles at a time. The longest recorded polar bear swim, according to National Geographic, was 426 miles straight (though National Geographic is all in on climate change). Since polar bears swim for a living, they're probably pretty good at gauging where land and ice floes are.

A new study from Canada, based on aerial surveys along the western shore of the Hudson Bay -- a region considered a bellwether for bear numbers in the Arctic generally -- found that the polar bear population was 66 percent higher than expected. Drikus Gissing, director of wildlife management for the Nunavut region, told the Globe and Mail, "the bear population is not in crisis as people believed. There is no doom and gloom." Oh, and the scientist for the Department of the Interior whose 2004 work on drowning polar bears inspired Al Gore and others has been placed on administrative leave for unspecified wrongdoing.

On the other side of the globe, a new survey using satellite technology has found that there are twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica as previously thought. Science Daily reports, "Using a technique known as pan-sharpening to increase the resolution of the satellite imagery, the science teams were able to differentiate between birds, ice, shadow and penguin poo or guano. They then used ground counts and aerial photography to calibrate the analysis." The results: 595,000 birds dressed in black tie, almost double the previous estimates.

Less beguiling, but no less important for symbolic value, are the melting glaciers. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize with Gore) predicted in 2007 that "Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and if the present rate continues, the likelihood of their disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate." The melting glaciers, we were told, would "devastate" the lives of more than a billion people living in Asia and eventually, swamp Manhattan and other coastal cities.

In 2010, the IPCC admitted that the melting Himalayas prediction was not based on science but on a 1999 media interview given by one scientist. They said they regretted the error.

Now, a study in nature, based on satellite imagery, has shown that some melting of lower altitude glaciers is taking place but that higher glaciers have been adding ice. The range called Karakorum, which includes the K2 peak, has been adding mass over the past decade, while other regions have lost mass. None of the glaciologists knows why.

Nature reports that the loss of ice from the Himalayas, once estimated at 50 gigatons per year, was actually measured at only 4 gigatons per year between 2003 and 2010. That's quite a difference.

That the climate is warming is not, if you ask most scientists, in question, though it hasn't warmed much -- if at all -- in the past decade. But the panic mongering of the global warmists has not just undermined their own cause -- it has diminished the prestige of science generally, and that is a serious loss.


Australian public television presents both sides of climate debate

IT'S the taxpayer-funded TV journey which set out to change opinions on the climate change debate - and ends with little ground being made by either protagonist.

After four weeks of filming around the world and 60 hours of interviews (at a cost of 60 tonnes of carbon), I Can Change Your Mind About Climate has barely shifted the opposed views of its stars, former Howard government finance minister Nick Minchin and climate activist/author Anna Rose.

The premise was simple: Pitch up a list of people who hold your views on climate science, then go about convincing each other to change.

Funded jointly by Screen NSW (under the O'Farrell government) and Screen Australia's national documentary program scheme, it was produced by filmmaker Simon Nasht and entrepreneur Dick Smith.

It airs on ABC1 tonight.

Mr Minchin, who led opposition to a carbon trading scheme, claimed he was "a little shocked the ABC had signed off on this proposal as it involves airing the views of those sceptical of anthropological global warming ... and it doesn't do a lot of that".

The program flew the pair across Australia, then to Hawaii, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Washington and London filming meetings with leading professors and anti-global warming bloggers.

Mr Nasht said producers purchased renewable energy offsets for Ms Rose and four production crew.

Mr Minchin argued the federal government was "making a mistake spending billions on the assumption we're the ones causing climate change and I don't think that's right".

He believes the show's value was "in Anna beginning to understand what I call the scare-mongering is actually counter-productive".

Ms Rose said yesterday: "Nick did not present any evidence or coherent explanation for why the world has warmed so significantly that could be attributed to anything other than fossil fuels, cars, coal-fired power stations."

She took up the challenge to educate "people watching at home who might still have some questions about climate science and be able to answer them in a clear way".

While she is steadfast in her position that the climate crisis is a real and urgent one, the duo did share in their disappointment at having several of their suggested interview subjects cut from the final edit.



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, 2012

Hilarious logic

Warmists are finally getting hot and bothered (pun intended) about the lack of warming in the last 15 years. Their improbable explanation is that other things are happening which "mask" an underlying warming trend. That is however an unfalsifiable explanation unless they can show what the pesky "other" influences are -- and they have made some attempts in that direction. The latest is excerpted below.

Warmists and skeptics alike know that eddying ocean currents in the Pacific have a big influence on temperatures and precipitation in Pacific-bordering countries and elsewhere. The two major eddies are customarily dubbed el nino and la nina. So Warmists want to point to them as having a slowly increasing cooling influence to offset an underlying slow warming over the last 15 years. And the article below tries to put bones on that unlikely theory.

The first problem is that ocean currents don't behave the way Warmists want. There is nothing steady about them. It is true that several La Nina (cooling) events have happened in recent times but they alternated with "neutral" and warming (el nino) events. Fear not, however! With statistical averages we can maybe smooth that out. And so to the article below.

And he makes a sort of a case if you ignore his starting point: How he detects la ninas, el ninos and other influences. He detects such events, quite conventionally, as periods of temperature that diverged from an average. So he removed those periods from his data and, Hey Presto! He gets the desired cooling effect.

So if you remove temperature periods that you don't like, you get a temperature pattern that you do like. That proves nothing. For him to have shown extraneous influences on temperature, he would have to have measures of those influences themselves, not just the temperature changes that are attributed to them. To use a rough analogy, he is standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself by the handle. He needs to get out of the bucket.

He himself admits "the need to find the cause of the actual global temperature changes" but does not do so. He just takes out one large component of "the actual global temperature changes" -- JR.
About the Lack of Warming.

It's common knowledge among those who follow such things that global temperatures have not gone up very much in the past several years. This has caused many to believe that the recent lack of warming contradicts what climate models say should happen in response to the increasing Tyndall gases. This, in turn, has provoked the counterargument that the Earth is still warming, just on a longer time scale, or that the recent period is too short to yield statistically significant results.

These counterarguments are not compelling. Fundamentally, any change in global temperature, even if it's just from one year to another, must have a cause. Saying that we need to look at longer time scales denies the need to find the cause of the actual global temperature changes (or lack thereof) at shorter time scales.

Such causes have been sought, and a few papers have proposed various combinations of cloud cover, volcanic aerosols, the El Ni¤o/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), deep ocean heat uptake, and so forth. A recent paper I like by Foster and Rahmsdorf (discussed here and here) takes a statistical approach to attempt to eliminate the effect of the other known forcing mechanisms, and what's left over is a fairly steady warming. Others have noted, more casually, that 2011 was the warmest La Ni¤a year on record.

I decided to take a simple approach at looking at the effect of ENSO. Using GISTemp Land/Ocean Index values and Ni¤o 3.4 values, I computed 12-month running averages of Ni¤o 3.4 and compared them to the average GISTemp values at lags of 0, 3, and 6 months. Foster and Rahmsdorf used a diferent ENSO index and found optimal lags between 2 and 5 months. So one would guess that a 3-month lag would fit the data best in my case, and indeed it did.

The normal threshold for El Ni¤o or La Ni¤a, as applied by the Climate Prediction Center, is for five consecutive months of at least 0.5 C above or below normal in a key region of the tropical Pacific. For working with annual data, I decided to call an annual average above 0.5 C an El Ni¤o and an annual average below -0.5 C a La Ni¤a. Then I plotted it up, color-coding each year for whether it was El Ni¤o, La Ni¤a, or neither (neutral).


The "Green" wing of the Nazis survived -- and became the foundation of the German Greens of today

No wonder they are still so heedless of other people's rights and desires. "We know what's best for you". Or "Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz" as Hitler put it

Alfred Toepfer (1894-1993) was an extremely successful German tycoon, an avid environmentalist, and a key influential supporter for the development of the European Union. Toepfer made his fortune in agri-business during the fateful years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). During the 1930s, Toepfer was also very loyal to the Nazi regime, even though he was never a card-carrying member. Toepfer was particularly loyal to Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945)'s dreaded SS, the greenest faction of the Nazi Party. Hitler put Himmler in charge of exterminating the Jews in the Baltics, Poland, Belorussia, and the Ukraine.

Hitler called the SS his "pack of wolves." The Fhrer was fascinated with wolves and loved to be called "Uncle Wolf." He used to imagine himself howling like a wolf to the frenzied crowds of Germany. In the late 1920s, Alfred Toepfer's brother, Ernst, was the secretary of a pro-Nazi organization in New York City called "Wehrwolf." Ernst was also working for his brother's international firm at the same time.

Alfred Toepfer was born near Luneburg Heath, a plain full of meadows, forests, peat bogs, and sand dunes in northern Germany, just southeast of Hamburg. Historically, the Luneberg Heath was a place of nationalistic pride where rugged old style farming practices harmonized with the natural surroundings. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the Luneburg Heath was symbolic of a strong German character patriotically rooted in the soil of the homeland. Indeed, after Heinrich Himmler committed suicide, he was buried in the Luneburg Heath in an unmarked grave.

The heath was also where Nazi environmentalists gathered together at the end of the war to find some solace. Environmentalist Hans Klose, who never became a Nazi because he was married to a Jew, reorganized what was left of the German conservation movement. He helped Nazi environmentalists graduate from the de-Nazification process with minimal difficulties. In 1949, it was Hans Klose who said that the years 1936-1939 were the green heyday of the German conservation movement. Earlier, three landmark Nazi environmental laws were passed (1933-35). During the same time frame, the Nazis also implemented sustainable forestry practices called "dauerwald," which means "eternal forest."

During the postwar period, the Luneburg Heath was an environmental flashpoint between Germany and the Allies. Not only did Nazi Germany surrender to the Allies on the heath, but the sacred ground was scarred up by British tanks, which used the southwestern portion of it for military maneuvers. Toepfer strongly opposed the presence of the British military in the heath, but the Brits did not leave until 1994. However, thanks largely to the efforts of Toepfer, the Luneburg Heath became the first national park of Germany in 1956.

In the early 1900s, the area was a natural sanctuary for what was called the "wandervogel"-- a German youth movement that sought a close contact with nature. Wandervogel literally means "wandering bird." The heath was known especially for its wild birds and recreational use. The "wandervogel" movement, which began about 1894, was also one of the first environmentally conscious movements in Germany.

The movement provided opportunities for the German youth to explore the great outdoors with a spirit of adventure and rugged self-discipline. German folklore, nationalism, patriotism, and an intense appreciation for nature were emphasized. Alfred Toepfer became actively involved in the wandervogel movement in 1913.

While the Hitler Youth later replaced the wandervogels during the Nazi regime, one could also easily argue that the SS itself was a "grown up" version of the wandervogel movement. The SS strongly promoted a "back to the land" ideal throughout the 1920s and '30s. They wanted to biologically rejuvenate Germany's health by returning people back to the natural German soil, and away from the artificial Jewified international cities that were allegedly corrupting Germany's blood. The SS called its back to nature policy "blood and soil." SS leaders Heinrich Himmler, Richard Walther Darre, and Rudolf Hoess were all involved in a wandervogel group called the Artamanens, where much of their ideology was developed. Darre was Hitler's agricultural minister from 1933-42. Rudolf Hoess was the infamous commandant of Auschwitz. Alfred Toepfer was also a "blood and soil" enthusiast.

Alfred Toepfer continued to be a nature-lover until the day of his death. He was the chairman of the Nature Park Society 1953-1985, where he helped develop many new nature parks for Germany from the North Sea to the Alps. His efforts at the Nature Park Society were greatly expanded for all of Europe under the rise of the Europarc Federation, an association which Toepfer's foundation still supports. In 1981, the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation (NNA) was established. It is a state institution that emphasizes sustainable development and environmentalism. Its main office is located at an old farmstead named Hof Mor in the Luneburg Health itself.

Even Toepfer's most prestigious academic prizes and scholarships that he financed are named after men foundational to the German green movement. The Hanseatic Goethe Prize, dedicated to outstanding European scholarship, is named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Goethe is considered by many to be the father of German Romanticism. Today, Romanticism is known as environmentalism. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in New York is named after naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859). Humboldt is the German father of a volkisch indigenous environmentalism.

The German word "volk" means "people" with certain racial connotations. Humboldt believed that the character of the volk is shaped by geography and climate so that man becomes indigenous to his own environment. As the 1800s progressed, the racial element became more and more emphasized by many German thinkers along with a nationalistic view of the land itself. When this concoction mixed with evolutionary theory, an Aryan Social Darwinism was born, which later became the biological bread and butter of National Socialism. By the early 1900s, race, indigenous ethnicity, and a love for nature became very popular in German culture, especially among the wandervogels.

Toepfer's academic philanthropy paid handsome dividends over the years. Both British and German scholars have been reluctant to admit the full force of Toepfer's National Socialist past. Yet it was precisely during the Nazi regime that Toepfer began funding academic awards to European foreign students with much help coming from the infamous Joachim von Ribbentrop (1893-1946), Hitler's foreign minister.

Toepfer's loyalty to the SS continued after the war. He later employed notorious Nazis like SS Brigadier Edmund Veesenmeyer, Kurt Haller and SS Major General Hans-Joachim Riecke, all of whom were responsible for hundreds of thousands of atrocities committed during the war.

Much is made of the fact that Toepfer was arrested by the Nazis in 1937 for foreign currency violations that were forbidden under the Aryanized National Socialist economy. However, Toepfer was finally released thanks to his SS patronage together with the personal intervention of Hermann Goering (1893-1946), the second-most powerful man in Nazi Germany at the time. Even Josef Goebbels (1897-1945), Hitler's propaganda minister, was very complimentary of Toepfer in 1936. So was German Nazi expert Hans Mommsen in 2007. After a thorough investigation paid for by the Alfred Toepfer foundation, Mommsen concluded that he was "a model European."


Like all Greenies, a lot of Toepfer's thinking was irrational. His beloved Lueneburger Heide (Luneburg Heath) is not a natural landscape at all. It was originally forest-covered but the trees were cut down and the area is maintained mainly as a grassland by grazing sheep on it. It is an environment heavily altered by human intervention! And present day German Greenies regard the Lueneburger Heide as sacred ground too. You can't make this stuff up

The "Green" crooks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

And we are supposed to believe their statistics?

Scandals are shaking the Obama administration. Personnel with the highest of security clearances are being intimate, in the most basic definition of the word, with foreign nationals. Pillow talk, anyone? Other high-ranking officials cavort with clowns and psychics, all paid for on the government dime. Hot tub, anyone?

In the meantime, a human tragedy is occurring driven by a much more expensive if equally sordid scandal at NOAA that goes on under the radar of media attention. Steve Urbon of the New Bedford Standard-Times asks, "What about our scandal?"

Back in February 2011, CBS News did an expos‚ on the NOAA law enforcement scandal. As far as I know, this has been the only national coverage of the outrage other than what's appeared here at American Thinker (AT). AT has been reporting on the NOAA scandal for the past two years. Many of the citations and links in this essay are from AT's coverage. CBS showed a clip of Senator Grassley, who said, "I want to make sure that heads roll ... because in a bureaucracy, if heads don't roll, you don't change behavior."

Last week, a dozen or so Secret Service agents, including a couple of supervisors, did what boys do. Wham, bam, thank you, ma'am! Problem was, they were on duty in a foreign country, protecting the president. Not a good thing.

The first cut made for three heads: one supervisor gone, allowed to retire; another supervisor being discharged, with 30 days to mount a defense; a third non-supervisory person resigned. Three more were announced on 20 April, and there are probably more to come. Six and counting! Secret Service behavior will be better in the future.

A couple of weeks earlier, we were told of some hijinks at the GSA. That's the GSA that is chartered with overseeing the spending of our money. The following is from the Washington Post on 2 April: "The chief of the General Services Administration resigned, two of her top deputies were fired and four managers were placed on leave Monday amid reports of lavish spending at a conference off the Las Vegas Strip[.]"

That's three GSA heads gone and four other heads hovering above the block. A very definite message in the behavioral department. Two scandals, two forceful responses, and two problems fixed.

And then there is NOAA. NOAA law enforcement was running essentially unsupervised for years, inflicting huge fines on fishermen for small infractions and putting the collected monies in a slush fund used for lavish trips and booze-cruise luxury boats.

The GSA conference cost $822,751 according to the GSA IG Report. To give this some context, Leon Panetta's trips home have totaled about $860,000.

I have taken a slight liberty with the dialogue in a recent Michael Ramirez cartoon:

[Q:] The GSA wasted millions of taxpayer's money[, Dr. Lubchenco, administrator of NOAA]. Do you have a comment?

[A:] Amateurs.

NOAA law enforcement collected close to $100,000,000 in fines and seized goods from fishermen over the past several years. The Department of Commerce IG investigated and found that only about $60M could be accounted for, while some $40M is just plain gone. This is not taxpayer money, but money taken in huge chunks from fishermen for infractions, some very minor. Claims by the fishermen of coercion and extortion were validated by the IG. See the IG reports here, here, and here.

One single fisherman, Larry Yacobian, ended up paying $450,000 in fines and owing $250,000 in legal fees. He was forced to sell his boats, his gear, and the farm that had been in his wife's family since the days of the Pilgrims. A special master appointed by the IG found that Mr. Yacobian had been treated unfairly. The government returned $400,000 to Mr. Yacobian, and the Secretary of Commerce, Gary Locke, apologized personally. But nobody has ever been punished.

Why? Because the NOAA outrages are based on cronyism and fully condoned by our current brand of Big Government. Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the person who decides on reward or punishment at NOAA, is an environmental superstar and Obama's favorite eco-zealot. Dr. Lubchenco, with the cognizance and support of the president, has filled the upper management of NOAA with like-minded eco-zealots. They are knowingly and purposefully shrinking the fishing fleet, driving hardworking Americans out of business and out of work to consolidate the industry. Their goal, echoing the Environmental Defense Fund, is to turn fish and fishing into a commodity-based enterprise for the gain of their cronies.

Nils E. Stolpe has written extensively on this subject. I highly recommend his "The Big Green Money Machine - how anti-fishing activists are taking over NOAA." His article includes a link to a database that documents the astounding funding that the Green Money Machine has poured into its war on the fishing industry.

Now we know why nobody gets punished at NOAA. What about it, Senator Grassley? You said, "I want to make sure heads roll" on the CBS News show previously linked. Are you just another empty suit named Chuck? Where are the heads rolling out of NOAA?


Aristotle's climate

By The Right Honourable, The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley

`But there's a consensus!" shrieked the bossy environmentalist with the messy blonde hair.

"That, Madame, is intellectual baby-talk," I replied.

I was about to give a talk questioning "global warming" hysteria at Union College, Schenectady. College climate extremists, led by my interlocutor, had set up a table at the door of the lecture theatre to deter students from hearing the skeptical side of the case.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle, 2,300 years ago, listed the dozen commonest logical fallacies in human discourse in his book Sophistical Refutations. Not the least of these invalid arguments is what the medieval schoolmen would later call the argumentum ad populum - the consensus or headcount fallacy.

A fallacy is a deceptive argument that appears to be logically valid but is in fact invalid. Its conclusion will be unreliable at best, downright false at worst. One should not make the mistake of thinking that Aristotle's fallacies are irrelevant archaisms. They are as crucial today as when he first wrote them down. Arguments founded upon any of his fallacies are unsound and unreliable, and that is that.

Startlingly, nearly all of the usual arguments for alarm about the climate are instances of Aristotle's dozen fallacies of relevance or of presumption, not the least of which is the consensus fallacy.

Just because we are told that many people say they believe a thing to be so, that is no evidence that many people say it, still less that they believe it, still less that it is so. The mere fact of a consensus - even if there were one - tells us nothing whatsoever about whether the proposition to which the consensus supposedly assents is true or false.

Two surveys have purported to show that 97% of climate scientists supported the "consensus." However, one survey was based on the views of just 77 scientists, far too small a sample to be scientific, and the proposition to which 75 of the 77 assented was merely to the effect that there has been warming since 1950.

The other paper did not state explicitly what question the scientists were asked and did not explain how they had been selected to remove bias. Evidentially, it was valueless. Yet that has not prevented the usual suspects from saying - falsely - that the "consensus" of 97% of all climate scientists is that man-made global warming is potentially catastrophic.

Some climate extremists say there is a "consensus of evidence." However, evidence cannot hold or express an opinion. There has been no global warming for a decade and a half; sea level has been rising for eight years at a rate equivalent to just three centimetres per century; hurricane activity is at its lowest in the 30-year satellite record; global sea-ice extent has hardly changed in that time; Himalayan glaciers have not lost ice overall; ocean heat content is rising four and a half times more slowly than predicted; and the 50 million "climate refugees" that the UN had said would be displaced by 2010 simply do not exist. To date, the "consensus of evidence" does not support catastrophism.

"Ah," say the believers, "but there is a consensus of scientists and learned societies." That is the argumentum ad verecundiam, the reputation or appeal-to-authority fallacy. Merely because a group has a reputation, it may not deserve it; even if it deserves it, it may not be acting in accordance with it; and, even if it is, it may be wrong.

"But it's only if we include a strong warming effect from man's CO2 emissions that we can reproduce the observed warming of the past 60 years. We cannot think of any other reason for the warming." That argument from the UN's climate panel, the IPCC, is the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fallacy of arguing from ignorance. We do not know why the warming has occurred. Arbitrarily to blame man is impermissible.

"The rate of global warming is accelerating. Therefore it is caused by us." That is the fallacy of ignoratio elenchi, the red-herring fallacy. Even if global warming were accelerating, that would tell us nothing about whether we were to blame. The IPCC twice uses this fallacious argument in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report. Even if its argument were not illogical, the warming rate is not increasing.The notion that it is accelerating was based on a statistical abuse that the IPCC has refused to correct.

Superficially, the red-herring fallacy may seem similar to the fallacy of argument from ignorance. However, it is subtly different. The argument from ignorance refers to fundamental ignorance of the matter of the argument (hence an arbitrary conclusion is reached): the red-herring fallacy refers to fundamental ignorance of the manner of conducting an argument (hence an irrelevant consideration is introduced).

"What about the cuddly polar bears?" That is the argumentum ad misericordiam, the fallacy of inappropriate pity. There are five times as many polar bears as there were in the 1940s - hardly the population profile of a species at imminent threat of extinction. There is no need to pity the bears (and they are not cuddly).

"For 60 years we have added CO2 to the atmosphere. That causes warming. Therefore the warming is our fault." That is the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, the argument from false cause. Merely because one event precedes another it does not necessarily cause it.

"We tell the computer models that there will be strong warming if we add CO2 to the air. The models show there will be a strong warming. Therefore the warming is our fault." This is the argumentum ad petitionem principii, the circular-argument fallacy, where a premise is also the conclusion.

"Global warming caused Hurricane Katrina." This is the inappropriate argument from the general to the particular that is the fallacy a dicto simpliciter ad dictum secundum quid, the fallacy of accident. Even the IPCC admits individual extreme-weather events cannot be ascribed to global warming. Hurricane Katrina was only Category 3 at landfall. The true reason for the damage was failure to maintain the sea walls.

"Arctic sea ice is melting: Therefore man-made global warming is a problem." This is the inappropriate argument from the particular to the general that is the fallacy a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, the fallacy of converse accident. The Arctic ice may be melting, but the Antarctic has been cooling for 30 years and the sea ice there is growing, so the decline in Arctic sea ice does not indicate a global problem.

"Monckton says he's a member of the House of Lords, but the Clerk of the Parliaments says he isn't, so everything he says is nonsense." That is the argumentum ad hominem, the attack on the man rather than on his argument.

"We don't care what the truth is. We want more taxation and regulation. We will use global warming as an excuse. If you disagree, we will haul you before the International Climate Court." That is the nastiest of all the logical fallacies: The argumentum ad baculum, the argument of force.

In any previous generation, the fatuous cascade of fallacious arguments deployed by climate extremists in government, academe and the media in support of the now-collapsed climate scare would have been laughed down.

When the future British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan arrived at Oxford to study the classics, his tutor said: "Four years' study will qualify you for nothing at all - except to recognize rot when you hear it." The climate storyline is rot. To prevent further costly scams rooted in artful nonsense, perhaps we should restore universal classical education. As it is, what little logic our bossy environmentalists learn appears to come solely from Mr. Spock in Star Trek. [Monckton read Classics at Cambridge but he is also a mathematician, among other things]


Earth Day 2012: Top 10 Positive Climate Developments

The scientific findings of the human influence on the climate system have been, and perhaps will always be, a mixed bag. Assuming strong positive feedback effects, and thus a high climate sensitivity, it certainly can be argued that the bad outweighs the good. But if feedback effects are more neutral, the sign of the externality flips from negative to positive given that, on net, a moderately warmer, wetter, and CO2-fertilized world is quite arguably a better one.

Earth Day 2012 yesterday brought forth predictable cries of doom-and-gloom. But there are plenty of positives on closer inspection on the climate front, developments which have undoubtedly spilled over into making the earth a better place for humanity at large.

Here is my Top 10 list of positive climate developments based on the recent empirical data and the latest scientific literature:

10) The growing season across the Northern Hemisphere is expanding;

9) Precipitation has increased across the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (where most of the world's crops are grown);

8 ) Higher CO2 levels are leading to more productive plants, including crops such as corn, wheat, and rice .

7) . and contributing to an increasing global output of food products;

6) The combination of the above is leading to a true "greening" of the environment;

5) Global tropical cyclone activity has been declining over the past 20 years and is now near its 40-yr low;

4) The rate of sea level rise has slowed during the past decade;

3) The rate of global temperature rise has remained moderate and likely below the central value of climate model projections for the past 30 years;

2) Evidence continues to mount against high climate sensitivity values.

And, the NUMBER 1 positive climate development for Earth Day 2012,

1) Together, these beneficial trends, along with enhancement of our energy and other technologies, has the net result of increasing public health and welfare. For example across the globe, the life expectancy at birth is the longest it has ever been, and continues to climb upwards.

What great reasons to celebrate (Resourceful) Earth Day 2012!


Big Brother in your waterpipes?

Report from Britain

Millions of homes could have smart water meters, devices that tell water companies immediately if households are breaking the hosepipe ban, as part of plans to combat drought conditions.

A number of firms are looking at the technology including the country's biggest water company, Thames Water, as part of plans to install meters in most homes by 2015.

The meters transfer readings every hour from water pipes outside the home via a mobile phone transmitter to the internet or a gadget in the kitchen so both the customer and the water company can keep an eye on water use.

The new technology is already widely used in the US to help customers spot leaks and cut wasteful water use.

It could also be used to identify households that are breaking any restrictions by immediately showing where a huge amount of water is being used to water a lawn or fill the paddling pool during a hosepipe ban.

At the moment seven water companies in the south and east have hosepipe bans in place due to the ongoing drought that is expected to last until Christmas, despite the recent rain.



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, 2012

'I made a mistake': Gaia theory scientist James Lovelock admits he was 'alarmist' about the impact of climate change

Environmental scientist James Lovelock, renowned for his terrifying predictions of climate change's deadly impact on the planet, has gone back on his previous claims, admitting they were 'alarmist'.

The 92-year-old Briton, who also developed the Gaia theory of the Earth as a single organism, has said climate change is still happening - just not as quickly as he once warned.  He added that other environmental commentators, such as former vice president Al Gore, are also guilty of exaggerating their arguments.

The admission comes as a devastating blow to proponents of climate change who regard Lovelock as a powerful figurehead.

Five years ago, he had claimed: 'Before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.'

But in an interview with, he admitted: 'I made a mistake.'  He said: 'The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing,' he told  'We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear cut, but it hasn’t happened.

'The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world.  '[The temperature] has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising - carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.'

After two books - Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth Is Fighting Back and How We Can Still Save Humanity, and The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning: Enjoy It While You Can - he is writing a third.

It will not go back on climate change, he said, but will admit he had been 'extrapolating too far'. It will suggest how people can change their habits to co-ordinate with the Earth's natural systems.

Lovelock said he is not the only one who got it wrong, suggesting other environmental commentators, such as Al Gore and Tim Flannery, also thought the impact would have been seen sooner.

Now he admits: 'We will have global warming, but it’s been deferred a bit.'

A long-time advocate of nuclear power, he suggested we should cut back on burning fossil fuels.

The independent scientist, who is based in south west England and has conducted research at Yale and Harvard universities, has been a respected member of the academic community for decades.

He discovered the presence of harmful chemicals - CFCs - in the atmosphere in the 1960s.

In 2007, Time magazine named him as one 13 leaders and visionaries in an article on Heroes of the Environment.

In 1990, he became a CBE, presented to him by Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2003, she awarded him a Companion of Honour for his achievements in science.


U.N. to debut plan for world socialism in June--time for US to exit?

The United Nations is holding its' "Conference on Sustainable Development" in Rio de Janero, Brazil, over three separate sessions in June, to which organizers, led by UN Conference Secretary-General of Rio+20, Sha Zukang [who 'really doesn't like Americans'], expect 193 attendees from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other stakeholders, according to the Sarah de Sainte Croix March 20, 2012 article in The Rio Times.

The stated themes of this colossal conference, which is structured around a 204-page report titled, "Working Towards a Balanced and Inclusive Green Economy, A United Nations System-Wide Perspective," are “the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” ... [by and through] ... "the institutional framework for sustainable development,” according to George Russell's excellent and quoted-filled FOXNews article today.

More specifically, the debates will cover a ... 'breathtaking array of carbon taxes, transfers of trillions of dollars from wealthy countries to poor ones, and new spending programs to guarantee that populations around the world are protected--from the effects of the very programs the world organization wants to implement.

According to Russell, the Obama Administration officials have supported this "agenda," which is designed to 'make dramatic and enormously expensive changes in the way that the world does nearly everything—or, as one of the documents puts it, "a fundamental shift in the way we think and act."

According to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, proposals on how the “challenges can and must be addressed,” include:

--'More than $2.1 trillion a year in wealth transfers from rich countries to poorer ones, in the name of fostering “green infrastructure ... climate adaptation ... other green economy” measures.'

--'New carbon taxes for industrialized countries [amounting to] about $250 billion a year, or 0.6 percent of [US] GDP by 2020. Other environmental taxes are mentioned, but not specified.'

--'Further unspecified price hikes ... derived from agriculture, fisheries, forestry, or other kinds of land and water use [industries], all of which would be radically reorganized--[to] “contribute to a more level playing field between established, 'brown' technologies and newer, greener ones."'

-- 'Major global social spending programs, including a "social protection floor" and "social safety nets" for the world's most vulnerable social groups for reasons of “equity.”'

--'Even more social benefits for those displaced by [this] green economy revolution—such as those put out of work in undesirable fossil fuel industries. The benefits, called “investments,” would include “access to nutritious food, health services, education, training and retraining, and unemployment benefits."'

--'A guarantee that if those sweeping benefits weren’t enough, more would be granted ... “Any adverse effects of changes in prices of goods and services, vital to the welfare of vulnerable groups, must be compensated for and new livelihood opportunities provided."'

“Transforming the global economy will require action locally (e.g., through land use planning), at the national level (e.g., through energy-use regulations) and at the international level (e.g., through technology diffusion),” the document says.

It involves “profound changes in economic systems, in resource efficiency, in the composition of global demand, in production and consumption patterns and a major transformation in public policy-making.”  It will also require “a serious rethinking of lifestyles in developed countries.”

This 'UN guidebook for global social engineering,' was prepared by the Geneva-based United Nations Environmental Management Group (UNEMG), a consortium of 36 U.N. agencies, development banks and environmental bureaucracies--all of which rely on the contributions, from tax collecting nations for their very existence--not a single entity engaged in the production of goods or services, producing a profit and owning singular wealth.

This UN doctrine seems to directly channel Marx and Engel's scribe of 1848, "The Communist Manifesto," wherein its' organizational and operational structure appears to largely be a paraphrasical equivalent to the 10 short-term demands Marx prescribed in section II., "Proletarians and Communists."

However, instead of the UN overthrowing the capitalist system, it simply wants to tie it to a leash and be subject to the UN ... [a] 'dictatorship of the proletariat,' to redistribute wealth around the world to "magically elevate the poverty class to the middle class.

The United States, arguably the most fertile and favorable ground for such a massive experiment, has already spent $15 [T]rillion in taxpayer treasure over the past 47 years attempting to circumvent market forces and eliminate poverty--with no affect.

Additionally, study after study has revealed the UN to have grown into an impossibly dysfunctional gargantuan, having negligent management skills, metrics and accountability, and a source of financially wasteful pandering--second only to the U.S. General Services Administration.

Actually, as this directly smacks of the long-discussed "UN Agenda 21," America must treat this audacity of the United Nations as a wake up call, and say "[last] check please"--then hit the UN exit doors without delay.


Germany plans to build, revamp 46 NAUGHTY fossil-fueled  power plants

Plus some useless windmills, of course

German utilities and private investors have plans to construct or modernise some 84 power stations, energy and water industry association BDEW said on Monday.

The planned projects were equivalent to an installed power generation capacity of 42,000 megawatts (MW), the Berlin-based group said in a statement issued on the first day of the Hanover industrial fair.  It estimated that the projects, taken together, involved investments of more than 60 billion euros ($79.25 billion).

BDEW also said that of the total 84, some 69 units (counting those above 20 MW) were fully or partially approved, being built or test-run. The remaining 15 were at the planning stage.

Of the total number counted by BDEW, 23 units were to be driven by offshore wind, 10 were pumped storage plants, 29 gas-fired and 17 coal-fired generation plants, it said.

BDEW, which represents some 1,800 companies active in supplying power, gas, water and heat, traditionally issues power station plans of its members around April.

The plans this year reflect over a year of debate on how to best replace Germany's nuclear power stations, which must be closed faster than planned in light of the nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011.

BDEW's managing director Hildegard Mueller said that the plans' realisation mostly hinged on the German government clarifying the future power market design. If this was not done by 2015, especially the would-be investors in thermal power stations might get cold feet and withdraw, it said.

"The increased involvement in offshore wind and pumped storage is a positive signal that the industry is investing in the energy supply of the future," Mueller said.  "But this cannot hide the fact that there are obstacles not just for renewable power but also coal and gas-to-power projects," she added.


Green Rage Against Shale Gas Is Irrational (Unsurprisingly)

It is a noble ambition that we should light and heat our homes and businesses using the bountiful energy produced by the sun, the wind, the waves and the heat contained inside our planet. I share it. I am even confident that by 2050 we may have seen breakthroughs — in solar power, batteries and heat from the Earth’s core, in particular — that could make a serious dent in our use of fossil fuels.

I am equally convinced that these renewable energy technologies of the future will be far better than the ones we have today, if the development of mobile phones and personal computers, which didn’t exist 40 years ago, is anything to go by.

It may well be technically feasible to have 80% of our energy needs taken care of by renewable energy by 2050, as the European greens like to believe. The question is how we get there at a price the public is prepared to pay.

The problem is that existing renewable technologies haven’t been produced on budget or on time. Wind now produces 0.5% of global energy supply and has barely made a dent in fossil fuel emissions. Its biggest problem — that it is intermittent — has yet to be solved. Tidal energy remains at the demonstration stage. Geothermal likewise in Britain. Solar power stations work in the desert — the problem is storage and cost. Biomass — that’s woodchips and fuel crops to you and me — does as well as wind in the UK, but it takes up land that people will need for growing food.

Despite real advances in solar panels and offshore wind, renewables haven’t yet lived up to the confidence the greens have placed in them over the 20 years that the world has been trying to stop climate change. Over that time, the carbon in the atmosphere has increased by about two parts per million each year. That is because renewables are too inefficient and expensive to prevent China and India from burning cheap coal to make things for us that we used to make ourselves.

The rise in the burning of coal is the reason for this 20-year trend in global emissions. But, as Professor Dieter Helm of Oxford University is fond of pointing out, there is a way of cutting carbon emissions immediately in most big economies with no significant extra cost. That is by converting from coal to gas, which produces half as much carbon dioxide as coal.

Until recently we thought that conventional gas was going to run out and the most plentiful supplies of the stuff were in Russia or the Gulf. Now that we realise the rocks under our feet may hold supplies that would last for generations, the world has changed and the greens haven’t caught up.

The shale gas revolution has halved gas prices in America, where there has been a 7% fall in carbon emissions over the past four years. As a report published by our Department of Energy and Climate Change said last week, the risk that fracking (hydraulic fracturing, the method used to extract such gas) will cause serious earthquakes is very small — less than from coal mining, geothermal drilling and the water pressure generated by dams. The threat of water pollution is also overstated.

So what accounts for the irrational rage against shale gas we heard again from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF last week? The most shockingly naive was WWF, which headlined its press release: “Shale gas incompatible with addressing climate change”. That is not true if you are talking about China, India, America or, much closer to home, Poland or Germany, which depend on coal. China will frack and it will be a good thing.

In Britain, where the coal industry has been in decline since the 1980s, we may arguably generate too much gas in the 2030s to meet our carbon reduction targets if we let shale gas rip. However, the danger that we will have too much gas-burning capacity is manageable and a mere sideshow compared with two much larger problems. The first is simply keeping the lights on after 2016 (at least six of our coal plants are to close by the end of 2015 and all but one of our nuclear power stations will cease production by 2023). The second is keeping energy prices at an affordable level so consumers will swallow the cost of subsidising renewables and nuclear for the future.

True, there is a concern that shale gas extraction could leak methane into the atmosphere, thereby releasing the same amount of carbon as coal. But most experts think that methane leakage from fracking will turn out to be far less than from coal mines. So why isn’t the green lobby at least considering saying: “Let’s beat climate change, let’s frack”? When it comes to the global picture, the greens’ dependence on the mantra of renewables now looks part of the problem.

I detect something else behind the “shale rage” of the European greens. They got too close to the present renewables industries and let governments hand out subsidies without enough competition over price. They thought gas would get so expensive that renewables would look cheap by comparison.

They were wrong. Instead of getting angry with the frackers, they should adapt their thinking to a world in which gas prices could fall, and persuade governments to spend some of the money we will save on a generation of renewables that might actually solve our problems.


For Wheat and Rice, CO2 is Nice

We have written about the biological benefits of elevated temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels hundreds of times, and we will never run out of new material! Evidence the results of two recent article showing how CO2 improves the yield of wheat and the competitiveness of rice.

A team of seven scientists from various agencies in China began their article noting “In the past 100 years, the mean surface temperature in China has increased by 0.4–0.6ºC, and it is expected that the average surface temperature in western China will rise by 1.7ºC in the next 30 years and by 2.2ºC over the next 50 years.” Furthermore, Xiao et al. report “The annual mean rainfall decreased by about 60 mm [~2.4 in.] from the 1950s to the 1990s in semiarid regions of China, and a loss of soil moisture through evaporation increased 35–45 mm [~1.5 in.] due to the temperature increase. The rainfall and available soil moisture throughout the entire growing stage of the crops was about 100 mm [~4 in.] lower in the 1990s than in the 1950s. As a result, concerns about the vulnerability of agricultural production to climate change are increasing. For example, it is likely that evaporation will increase and soil moisture will decline in many regions as the temperature increases.” If that is not enough bad news, they state “There is now strong evidence that overall crop yields will decrease by 5–10% in China by 2030 as a result of climatic changes, and that the yields of wheat, rice and maize will be greatly reduced.”

But, then, quite importantly, they add “The impact of future climate change on crop production has been widely predicted by modeling the interaction between crops and climate change; however, few observations of the impacts of climate change on crop production have been reported.”

Xiao and colleagues from the Institute of Arid Meteorology of the China Meteorological Administration set out to help remedy this deficiency.  And were they ever in for a surprise.

Xiao et al. grew wheat in China at several different relatively high elevation sites (1,798 m at Tongwei and 2,351 m at LuLu Mountain), and they artificially increased the temperature up to 2.2ºC. At the Tonwei site, the elevated temperatures increased grain output by over 3% and by up to 6% at LuLu Mountain. Not surprisingly, they write “These findings indicate that an increase in temperature will improve the winter wheat yield at two different altitudes.”

That finding certainly runs counter to the pre-existing model-based expectations!

And that’s not all. Xiao and team note “The results of this study revealed that a 0.6–2.2°C increase in temperature improved the water use efficiency (WUE) of winter wheat plants at both elevations evaluated.” More good news!

And when they consider the effect of CO2, things get even better.

They summarize their thoughts on CO2 with “Model projections have suggested that, although increased temperature and decreased soil moisture will reduce global crop yields by 2050, the direct fertilization effect of rising CO2 will offset these losses.”

And, echoing something that we must have said a thousand times, Xiao et al. go on to conclude “In general, a higher atmospheric CO2 concentration increases plant production as a result of higher rates of photosynthesis and increased water use efficiency.”

In the end, Xiao et al. have this to say “It is expected that by 2030 warming temperatures and changes in rainfall will have led to the increase of 3.1% in wheat yields at a low altitudes and of 4.0% in wheat yields at high altitude in semiarid northwestern China, and that by 2050, there will have been the additional increase of 2.6% and 6.0%, respectively, at these altitudes”. Further, “In addition, the results of this study revealed that a 0.6–2.2ºC increase in temperature will improve the water use efficiency of winter wheat plants at both altitudes evaluated here.”

So while they went into their experiment expecting bad news for winter wheat, they come out of it extoling the virtues of CO2 and a warmer climate on winter wheat yields.

Add the Xiao et al. study to the huge amount of research showing that crops, forests, and/or grasslands will benefit from the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations with or without changes to temperature. Our critics just cannot accept the good news and insist that something will surely spoil the benefits.

For example, one thing we hear over and over is that weeds will out-compete more desirable plants and create an ecological disaster sometime down the road (after we pass another tipping-point?).

A recent article hits this issue head-on, and our critics will not be happy. A team of scientists from China and Norway supported financially by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Chinese Academy of Sciences grew rice and a weed (barnyard grass) in a paddy in eastern China at ambient (374 ppm) and ambient plus 200 ppm concentrations of atmospheric CO2. Zeng et al. conducted this experiment “in order to evaluate the impact of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide on nutrient competition between rice crop and weed. Results showed that elevated CO2 significantly enhanced the biomass, tillers, leaf area index and net assimilation rate of rice, but reduced those of barnyard grass after elongation.” They report “As a result, significant increase of the ratios of rice/barnyard grass of biomass and absolute nutrient uptake were observed under elevated CO2. The results suggest that rising atmospheric CO2 concentration could alter the competition between rice and barnyard grass in paddy fields in favor of rice.”

You come to World Climate Report to get the facts, and as these two studies continue to show, the evidence is overwhelming that the biosphere will be enhanced in the future, despite the claims to the contrary espoused by the more alarmist types out there.


High price paid for low solar return in Australian Capital Territory

ACT electricity consumers are paying about $8.37 million annually for power generated by more than 10,500 solar generators which produce only 0.7 per cent of the overall annual requirement.

The cost for an average household paying for the government's feed-in tariff scheme has reached about $26.40 a year and Environment Minister Simon Corbell expects this to jump to about $50 late next year.

Meanwhile, those who have had solar generators installed receive on average almost $800 a year for the electricity they generate.

The feed-in scheme compares poorly to ActewAGL's Greenchoice program. During 2011, its more than 20,000 customers bought 2.54 per cent of the ACT's annual electricity requirement for less than half the cost of the government's feed-in scheme.

Under the federal government's mandatory renewable energy schemes, ActewAGL was required last year to buy 5.62 per cent of electricity sales from large-scale renewable generators and 14.8 per cent from small-scale renewable generators.

ActewAGL general manager retail Ayesha Razzaq said ActewAGL's fully accredited GreenPower program allowed ActewAGL to purchase renewable energy from sources such as hydro, windpower and biomass on behalf of customers. This electricity would otherwise be sourced from fossil fuels.

ActewAGL general manager network services Rob Atkin said that on April 16, there were 10,566 solar sites connected to the ActewAGL network.

From April 1 last year to March 31, the energy produced by photo voltaic systems in the ACT was estimated at 0.7 per cent of the total demand.

These systems contributed nothing to the peak winter demand because at that time, without sunlight, they were not operating. During the summer peak, solar photo voltaic systems contributed about 0.47 per cent of that demand.

Mr Corbell said the ACT micro feed-in tariff scheme was initially capped at 30 megawatts. This was increased to 35 megawatts on a Greens-Liberal amendment to reflect the introduction of the medium scale category. This would cap the maximum annual cost to the average ACT household at $50.



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, 2012


There is a post going the rounds that links to a 2012 government document but I still think it's a spoof designed to embarrass skeptics.  It's headed:  "Here Come the Green Police! DHS Launches ‘Environmental Justice’ Units"  An excerpt:

Not a minute too soon, the Department of Homeland Security has announced that it is creating “environmental justice” units that will be empowered to oversee regulations in conjunction with local governments throughout the country. The framework for the Environmental Justice Working Group includes eleven federal government agencies, including the TSA, the Secret Service and FEMA. Go big or go home, right?

In its just-released Environmental Justice Strategy document, the DHS says the idea is to “include environmental justice practices in our larger mission efforts involving federal law enforcement and emergency response activities” and to incorporate environmental justice in “securing the homeland.” Roll that around in your head for awhile:

But Google "Environmental Justice Working Group" and the most recent reference is to 2010

Sun doing strange things

The sun may be entering a period of reduced activity that could result in lower temperatures on Earth, according to Japanese researchers.

Officials of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the Riken research foundation said on April 19 that the activity of sunspots appeared to resemble a 70-year period in the 17th century in which London’s Thames froze over and cherry blossoms bloomed later than usual in Kyoto.

In that era, known as the Maunder Minimum, temperatures are estimated to have been about 2.5 degrees lower than in the second half of the 20th century.

The Japanese study found that the trend of current sunspot activity is similar to records from that period.

The researchers also found signs of unusual magnetic changes in the sun. Normally, the sun’s magnetic field flips about once every 11 years. In 2001, the sun’s magnetic north pole, which was in the northern hemisphere, flipped to the south.

While scientists had predicted that the next flip would begin from May 2013, the solar observation satellite Hinode found that the north pole of the sun had started flipping about a year earlier than expected. There was no noticeable change in the south pole.

If that trend continues, the north pole could complete its flip in May 2012 but create a four-pole magnetic structure in the sun, with two new poles created in the vicinity of the equator of our closest star.


Century old map throws new doubt on climate change sea level claims

A new book on the history of New Zealand has inadvertently stirred the climate change debate by revealing a near zero sea level increase over the past century.

The book, The Great Divide, includes a 100 year old map of Cloudy Bay lagoons in New Zealand, drafted back in 1912 to show the location of 20 kilometres of canals dug with wooden spades by ancient Maori.

However, when the 1912 map is shown alongside a satellite image of the same location from Google Earth, it reveals not only the startling accuracy of the original map (drafted at a time when aerial photography did not exist) but also a stunning lack of Pacific Ocean encroachment on the narrow shoal linking the lagoons to the sea.

The shoal is comprised of rock and pebbles, making it an ideal weathervane for sea level increase as it’s less prone to erosion than shifting sands.

Even the narrowest and lowest part of the bar, marked with a black squiggle on the 1912 map, remains the same in 2012.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

That unique Warmist logic again

Polar bears may have survived multiple warm and ice-free episodes, so The Independent assumes they are at even greater risk

Polar bears are 450,000 years older than we thought – Endangered predator may be particularly vulnerable to rapid climate change in Arctic, experts fear

    The polar bear is a much older species than previously thought and probably emerged as the Arctic’s top land predator when a cold-adapted bear diverged from an ancestral brown bear about 600,000 years ago, a study has found.

    The findings suggest that the evolution of the world’s largest land carnivore was a much slower process than originally believed, which indicates that the polar bear may be more vulnerable to rapid climate change in the Arctic than previously suggested.


Biodiversity Bombshell: Polar Bears And Penguins Prospering, But Pity Those Paramecia!

Just last year, the World Wildlife Fund’s climate blog headlined that “Polar Bear Population in Canada’s Western Hudson Bay Unlikely to Survive Climate Disruption.” But it seems that since then this subpopulation, previously believed to be among the most threatened subpopulations due to global warming, has made a miraculous recovery. According to aerial surveys released by the Government of Nunavat this month, their numbers are at least 66% higher than expected. This region, which straddles Nunavat and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered to be a bellwether for how well polar bears are faring elsewhere in the Arctic.

And to top off that happy news, recent space satellite images reveal that 36 colonies of Antarctic emperor penguins are twice larger than researchers previously thought. In fact four additional colonies that scientists hadn’t known about were discovered as well.

But don’t get complacent. Now, just when growing public immunity to feverish global warming hype is relieving hallucinatory sweats, another climatic crisis looms nigh. While some of it is still attributable to “climate change” along, with other human-caused dilemmas, there is a big difference. Yup, this one is much worse. I’m referring here to mass extinctions of species we don’t yet even know about…not to mention even some that we do. This constitutes nothing less than a planetary biodiversity crisis!

Alarm over biodiversity peril got a big boost a decade ago when Harvard ant biologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson estimated that 50,000 species are going extinct. When Environmental activist Tim Keating of Rainforest Relief was asked if he could name any of them he replied: “No we can’t, because we don’t know what those species are. But most of the species we’re talking about in those estimates are things like insects and even microorganisms.” Apparently they primarily inhabited the computer hard drive that generated his theoretical model.

Regarding Wilson’s predictions, U.K. scientist and professor emeritus of Biogeography at the University of London Philip Stott commented, “The Earth has gone through many periods of major extinctions, some much larger than even being contemplated today.” He went on to say “…the idea that we can keep all species that now exist would be anti-evolutionary, anti-nature and anti the very nature of the Earth in which we live.”

Adding fuel to the fire of extinction frenzy is a March 4, 2011 paper published in the journal Nature proclaiming “World’s Sixth Mass Extinction May be Underway: Study”. It states that “Over the past 540 million years, five mega-wipeouts of species have occurred through naturally-induced events. But the new threat is man-made, inflicted by habitation loss, over-hunting, over-fishing, the spread of germs and viruses and introduced species, and by climate change caused by fossil-fuel greenhouse gases.”

Greenpeace co-founder and ecologist Dr. Peter Moore believes that the paper is seriously flawed and should never have made it through the peer-review process. In an interview posted on Climate Depot he observed that “Since species extinction became a broad social concern, coinciding with the extinction of the passenger pigeon, we have done a pretty good job of preventing species extinctions.” He also believes that “The authors [of the journal Nature] study greatly underestimate the rate new species can evolve, especially when existing species are under stress,” noting: “The polar bear evolved during the glaciations previous to the last one, just 150,000 years ago.”

Again, let’s take another look at those climate-threatened polar bears …the ones adrift and stranded on melting ice caused by our coal-fired power plants and oil-fueled SUVs. A federal investigation into those claims has seriously questioned that. It seems a 2006 paper in the journal Polar Biology indicating that “drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice and/or longer open-water periods continues” lacked any real evidence.

That conclusion, which may have been largely responsible for getting polar bears listed as a “threatened species”, was based upon a sighting of four bear carcasses from an aircraft at an altitude of 1,500 feet over the Beaufort Sea that likely died during a storm. Biologist Charles Monnett, the lead scientist on the paper, has returned to work after being placed on administrative leave over the matter. Quite obviously, his own livelihood isn’t threatened. He presently manages $50 million in studies at the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. What have been endangered, however, are any near-term prospects for Arctic drilling.

Then there’s the matter of those minnow-size “delta smelt” that were determined to be endangered  by agricultural and urban fresh water diversions from California’s San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers into their briny eastern marsh habitats. Based upon their listing by the California Fish and Game Commission as an endangered species, water channeled to the Central Valley was cut by up to 90%.  This led to 40% unemployment in the San Joaquin Valley, turning that major food basket into an empty dust bowl.

There are some big questions about the basis for that decision as well. Two scientists, Frederick V. Feyer of the Bureau of Reclamation and Jennifer M. Norris of the Fish and Wildlife Service, were called to task for presenting misleading court testimony. Regarding Dr. Norris, U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger commented: “I find her testimony to be that of a zealot. I’m not overstating the case, I’m not being histrionic, I’m not being dramatic. I’ve never seen anything like it. And I’ve seen a few witnesses testify.”

He went on to say, “Does the court reasonably rely on this kind of analysis? What the court uses as the term to describe it is opportunistic. It is an answer searching for a question. It is an ends/means equation where the end justified the means no matter how you got there. Whether you use statistics, whether you use anything that is objective or not.”

Twelve state and local Southern California water agencies are now also suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a no-explanation July 2011 decision to double the size of the habitat for a small “vulnerable” algae-eating fish known as the “Santa Ana sucker”. Of course saving the suckers will come at a high price, straining water supplies and raising living costs for up to 3 million citizens in the Inland Empire region. Not surprisingly, there are many, including environmental organizations, who don’t think this is warranted. The Santa Ana Sucker Fish Task Force, for example, sees it as a flat-footed federal effort using “sloppy science” to horn in on their currently successful conservation practices.

A spotted owl protection effort killed logging and created ghost towns throughout the Northwest, only to later discover that the kindness campaign made little difference. Government studies ultimately revealed that those spotted owls weren’t logging casualties at all. Instead, they were being victimized by their cousins, the barred owls, who crowded them out of habitats and attacked them. So the government then came up with a $200 million “barred owl removal plan” to literally shoot the interlopers, a subspecies of the same Mexican owl clan. This has come to be a very familiar solution…namely, for government to choose losing favorites and kill strong competitors.

Now, as if deadly human CO2 emission climate endangerment of polar bears, logging displacement of spotted owls, and water diversion from California agriculture for delta smelt and Santa Anna suckers wasn’t scary enough, domestic oil and gas drilling is now claimed to threaten yet another innocent creature.  In December 2010, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that a native three-inch Southwestern U.S. reptile “faces immediate and significant threats due to oil and gas activities and herbicide treatments.” Then they initiated the process to get it listed under the all-purpose Endangered Species Act. Should this designation be granted, oil and gas production in the New Mexico and Texas Permian Basin containing an estimated 20% of our nation’s reserves  and a quarter of our active oil and gas wells may need to be shut down.

First filed by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2002, the Bush administration delayed consideration of the petition for six years. An issue of dispute now is whether the “dunes sagebrush lizard” in question is truly a separate species, or rather, a common sagebrush lizard subspecies…in which case, they can just drag their scrawny tails back to Mexico where they came from. The Obama administration has now put the matter back on a high priority track… along with the designation of vast regions in and off Alaska as protected areas for caribou and polar bears.

As E. Calvin Beiser observed in a June 4, 2010 Washington Times article “Move Over, Global Warming- Biodiversity is the Next Central Organizing principle of Human Civilization”, that climate catastrophe alarmism follows a familiar tactic. It is typically based upon computer model projections and hypotheses, not supported by observable empirical evidence. A central premise holds that our modern industrial, agricultural, capitalist society promotes population growth and consumption that is not “natural”.

Following this theme, saving Earth from catastrophic man-made climate change has served as the central United Nations rallying mantra over more than two decades. Now, as public warming fears continue to cool, it is cranking up the thermostat on biodiversity alarm. Addressing attendees at the U.N.’s October 2010 biodiversity conference in Nagoya, Japan, Environment Minister Ryo Matsumoto’s opening remarks were reminiscent of proclamations broadcast at all of the annual global warming summits. “We are now close to a ‘tipping point’- that is, we are about to reach that threshold beyond which biodiversity loss will become irreversible, and may cross that threshold in the next 10 years if we do not make proactive efforts for conserving biodiversity.”

The message is clear. If we don’t begin to curb carbon-fueled capitalism and transfer governance and unfair wealth to the U.N right away, many thousands of as-of-yet undetermined insects, microbes and other species are most surely doomed!

Can you live with that guilt?


Skepticism among Canadian Conservatives too

Ahead of Sunday's Earth Day, Alberta's Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith has made headlines because of her views on the environment. Essentially, Smith, the front-runner in the race to become the province's next premier, isn't convinced climate change is real. According to the Edmonton Journal, she was forced to defend her position again at a leader's debate Thursday.

"We've been watching the debate in the scientific community, and there is still a debate," Smith said amid the deafening jeers from live audience.

"I will continue to watch the debate in the scientific community, but that's not an excuse not to act."

Believe it or not, Smith isn't the only right-leaning politician in Canada to discount the climate change hypotheses. In January, Postmedia News 'outed' several deniers in the federal Conservative caucus.

The list includes Stephen Harper's senate appointees Nancy Greene Raine and Bert Brown. Brown, described by his colleagues as the party's  'resident denier,' rose in the senate to speak about the topic earlier this month.

"Despite government spending over $30 billion on climate research, there is still no empirical evidence to show that carbon dioxide has any effect on global climate," he said.

Maxime Bernier, the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, is another doubter.

He, according to Postmedia News, believes climate change scientists from around the world are involved in a conspiracy to exaggerate warnings about the dangerous impacts of fossil-fuel consumption and rising greenhouse gas emissions.

"Every week that goes by confirms the wisdom of our government's modest position," Bernier wrote in a letter defending the Harper government's climate change policies.

"There is, in fact, no scientific consensus. What's certain is that it would be irresponsible to spend billions of dollars to impose unnecessarily stringent regulations to resolve a problem whose gravity we still are not certain about."

And, as for the prime minister, he has actually changed his tune in recent years.

Harper, Postmedia notes, used to question the credibility of scientific evidence linking human activity to global warming, but  has recently softened his rhetoric.

"I have said many times that climate change is a great problem for the world," Harper recently said in Parliament.


Should fish be eaten or just admired?

Australian Greenies say that  fishing disturbs nature so fishing should be forbidden in vast areas of Australia's extensive territorial waters  -- and the present Leftist Australian government is about to give Greenies just about all they want

Australia's newest Commonwealth marine reserve will be the world's largest "fattening paddock" for yellow fin tuna, but critics say only foreign fishing vessels will be reaping the benefits.

The one million square kilometre Coral Sea Marine Reserve will be the world's largest.

Chief among those arguing that commercial fishing should be allowed in the reserve is Canberra University's Dr Bob Kearney.  He is a former director of fisheries research in NSW and a fierce critic of what he claims is a decline in scientific rigour when it comes to Australia's plans to give up a third of its exclusive economic zone to marine reserves.

Dr Kearney says the Western Pacific tuna fishery is the world's last great fishing resource and Australia should be increasing its catch, rather than locking it up.  "It's just absolute nonsense, it's scientific claptrap to claim the yellow fin tuna is under any threat," he told ABC's Landline.  "The real problem for Australia is it's grossly under-exploited.

"While we've got a shortage of food, we're importing 70 - 75 per cent of our seafood."

Contrary to claims by conservation groups such as Greenpeace, Dr Kearney says yellow fin tuna stocks are not threatened by fishing and could be fished much harder.  "You couldn't wipe them out on known technology if they were $1 million each," he said.

But one of Australia's leading marine conservation scientists says that is not the point.  "I'm not arguing we need to protect the Coral Sea because it's hugely overfished, its actually the opposite argument," says Dr Terry Hughes, who is director of Coral Reef Studies at the ARC centre for Excellence in Townsville.

Dr Hughes is also one of 300 international marine scientists who have called on the Australian Government to make the Coral Sea Reserve a 100 per cent no-take park.

"The issue isn't about food security or about fisheries management, it's about preserving one of the last few pristine ecosystems on the planet for the benefit of future generations," he said.  "So we have a societal choice to make. Do we want to make everywhere in the ocean equally degraded or do we want to have a few places that are very special where we afford a higher level of protection?"

The Australian Government hopes to complete its rollout of marine reserves by the end of 2012 but could finalise the Coral Sea proposal in the coming weeks when Australia commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

The Government received more than 486,000 submissions during its 90-day public consultation period, with about 80 per cent generated by an international online campaign run by conservation groups.

The Protect Our Coral Sea Alliance comprises 14 organisations including the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the American Pew Foundation.

It has welcomed Australia's commitment to marine conservation but argues the Coral Sea proposal does not go far enough.  The alliance also wants a ban on all fishing.

Under the Coral Sea proposal released late last year, some commercial fishing would be allowed in the reserve.

But a group of longline operators fishing the Coral Sea say the restricted zones are unworkable.  They would rather be compensated than risk legal action for accidentally fishing in no-take areas.

"Our gear shifts around in the currents and we set that gear over about 50 miles (80 kilometres) in length in the water so we have to allow enough room for the gear not to drift over the line, if we drift over the line with any hooks into the park then we would be breaking the law," says Gary Heilmann, of De brett Seafoods.

He is the spokesman for the group representing 10 boats fishing out of Cairns and Mooloolaba.  Mr Heilmann says it costs about $50,000 to send a boat from Mooloolaba to the Coral Sea to fish for tuna and other large species.  He says the likely returns once the marine reserve is declared would not justify the cost.

'Fattening paddock'

Queensland Senator Ron Boswell says Australian boats are being forced out of the Coral Sea while Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands governments are licensing foreign operators to exploit the region's abundant tuna reserves.

"People are taking 700,000 tonnes of tuna just on the other side of the Coral Sea so Australia is providing a big fattening paddock for international fishermen to come in and take our catch," he said.

He has asked questions in the Senate about the likely cost of compensation which will also include about 40 prawn trawlers and the businesses supporting them.

"No-one's ever put a figure on it but I've done a rough count around Australia and there's 245 boats that are going to be displaced in one form or another and that is going to cost millions and millions of dollars," he said.

The Government says compensation and readjustment funding will be decided on a case-by-case basis and it expects to begin negotiations with the industry in the coming months.



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22 April, 2012

Is the current system "broken"?

The self-appointed wise men below say that it is but that assumes that the  system was at some time "whole".  So who broke it?  They do not say so explicitly but it's an easy guess that they mean mankind.

They point out many things that are not ideal in the world and it  is certainly true that  many things are not ideal --  but what those things  are depends on your ideals.  I for instance know someone who said that AIDS made him believe in God.  He said:   "Something that just kills homos, blacks and druggies!  What more could you ask?"

I don't subscribe to that view, in part because I am an atheist but I quoted that to show that ideals can vary.  And, as Jonathan Haidt points out, it is the clash of ideals that we have to deal with in politics.  Declaring something "broken" is just a lazy way of avoiding serious discussion and responsible compromise.  But it seems to be exciting some erectile tissue below:

Seventeen top scientists and four acclaimed conservation organizations have called for radical action to create a better world for this and future generations. Compiled by 21 past winners of the prestigious Blue Planet Prize, a new paper recommends solutions for some of the world's most pressing problems including climate change, poverty, and mass extinction. The paper, entitled Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative to Act, was recently presented at the UN Environment Program governing council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Blue Planet Prize is given for "outstanding achievements in scientific research and its application that have helped provide solutions to global environmental problems." Dubbed by some as the Nobel Prize for the environment, award winners have included such luminaries as environmentalist James Lovelock, biologist Paul Ehrlich, physicist Amory Lovins, economist Nicholas Stern, and climatologist James Hansen, all of whom have contributed to the report.

"The current system is broken," said climatologist Bob Watson, a Blue Planet winner in 2010 and the instigator of the report. "It is driving humanity to a future that is 3-5 degrees Celsius warmer than our species has ever known, and is eliminating the ecology that we depend on for our health, wealth and senses of self. We cannot assume that technological fixes will come fast enough. Instead we need human solutions. The good news is that they exist but decision makers must be bold and forward thinking to seize them."

For their part, the Blue Planet laureates call on the world to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, switch out GDP (gross domestic product) for a more holistic measure of national well-being, decouple environmental destruction from consumption, drop subsidies for fossil fuels and environmentally destructive agricultural practices, put a market value on biodiversity and ecosystem services, work with grassroots movements to create bottom-up action, and finally address overpopulation.

"If we are to achieve our dream, the time to act is now, given the inertia in the socio-economic system, and that the adverse effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity cannot be reversed for centuries or are irreversible," the authors write.

Declaring that "the system is broken and our current pathway will not realize [the dream of a better world]" the authors point out that "civilization is faced with a perfect storm of problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich, the use of environmentally malign technologies, and gross inequalities." Worsening the situation, according to the scientists and environmentalists, is the dangerous "myth" that "physical economies can grow forever."


Earth Day 2012: A Cloaked Celebration of Statism

Each year on April 22, Americans celebrate Earth Day. While the “holiday” is dressed up as a day to preserve the Earth, it serves little more as a day to attack the benefits of capitalism and modern society. Does anyone really know what Earth Day is all about?

Not only is April 22 Earth Day, it is also the Birthday of Vladimir Lenin and the National Day of Communism in the U.S.S.R.. Obviously, the latter holidays are less celebrated, but consider that through Earth Day, the spirit of those days lives on.

If you need to be persuaded, consider what Alexander Marriott wrote in Capitalism Magazine about the similarities between a Communist holiday and Earth Day:

Think of the parallels between Lenin and environmentalists. Lenin once said that, “It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.” Environmentalists second this wholeheartedly when they restrict the ownership and control of private property through the guise of saving the environment. The Endangered Species Act is used voluminously to take the property of anyone if an endangered species is living on it. President Clinton cordoned off thousands upon thousands of acres of land in the form of national parks with the alleged concern of saving the natural resources thereon from development. The federal government now controls nearly forty percent of all land in the continental United States. Lenin’s goal was to destroy private property and this goal is obviously shared by environmentalists.

Marriott is exactly right. The parallels between these holidays are undeniable. And remember, the people that created these holidays share the same worldview as the communists of Soviet Russia. The green zealots of today are nothing more than thieves of private property and promoters of irresponsible government and the regulations that come along with that.

The whole notion of Earth Day centers around spitting on the successes of capitalism, chiefly the goods and services that make life easier and even make life longer.

So I would ask those that celebrate Earth Day to think about these things that they condemn through their annual day of protest.

If you celebrate Earth Day this year, please remember that with the creation of the automobile, you are able to travel efficiently and in a cleaner and safer fashion than our ancestors who used horses. Also, remember that because of washing machines and driers, our clothes are clean and pleasant to those around us while keeping dangerous bacteria away. And, don’t forget, because of modern plumbing, we have cleaner living situations and disease is much less prominent.

It is because of modern innovation that we have much more efficient, and health preserving, products to use. It is not through government controls that we are better off, rather, it is through the entrepreneurial spirit that drives us towards more efficient products and machines that allows us to live in a cleaner society than that of our ancestors. Green zealots and other statists that promote Earth Day would rather remove these efficiencies and send us back to the days of cholera outbreaks and the bubonic plague, where such modern precautionary conveniences, which the greens and statists despise, did not exist.


Some environmental follies perpetrated by the U.S. government

A list for  Earth day

1. Coal

We’ll start with this current administration’s war on coal — one of the main sources of electricity here in the U.S. Unfortunately, this industry now faces huge burdens and regulations from the EPA. Some of these new rules include capping carbon emissions on power plants, and forcing them to employ prohibitively expensive technology to capture the emissions. Another rule, which seems to attempt to edge out the coal industry from America, forces mountain top mining to adhere to near-impossible rules set by the Clean Water Act.  With 45 percent of the U.S. dependent on electric energy from coal perhaps the Obama administration should listen to his speeches where he declares support for an all-of-the-above energy strategy rather than continuing to pursue its war on coal.

2. Oceans and Great Lakes

President Obama is moving full-speed ahead on his Executive Order “Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes,” which he put into order on July 19, 2010. The White House claims this Executive Order, “strengthens ocean governance and coordination, establishes guiding principles for ocean management, and adopts a flexible framework for effective coastal and marine spatial planning to address conservation, economic activity, user conflict, and sustainable use of the ocean, our coasts and the Great Lakes.” But the truth is this is nothing more than an absurd power grab by the Obama administration.  To control the country’s lakes, oceans and coastlands by issuing strict usage regulations and restrictions will only hurt such livelihoods as farming, fishing and logging.

3. Volt

The infamous Chevy Volt — known to catch fire, yet comes with a tax credit, so it’s OK right? Well, sure, if you don’t mind waiting about 27 years for the hybrid vehicle to finally pay for itself.  From the New York Times, “The Volt, which cost nearly $40,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit, could take up to 27 years to pay off.” No wonder sales on this once-touted, and taxpayer-supported, vehicle of the future have stalled.

4. Solyndra

This is an example of one of many bad investments made by this administration that went belly up. After receiving a $535 million U.S. taxpayer loan, California-based solar panel company Solyndra went bankrupt — taking all of that $535 million with it. But don’t worry, those employees of Solyndra were taken care of again by taxpayers — receiving another $13,000 each beyond their unemployment benefits through the Trade Adjustment Authority provisions. You can thank the U.S. Labor Department for that last handout.

5. Central Valley, Calif.

Also known as the salad bowl of the nation.  Agricultural production in the area accounts for $26 billion in total sales and 38 percent of the Valley’s labor force.  Farmers grow more than half the nation’s vegetables, fruits and nuts. But in order for these products to grow, the Central Valley needs water — and the past few years the government has been withholding that vital resource. The reason: to protect a three-inch fish called the delta smelt and other salmon species.  Meanwhile, since farmers don’t know one year to the next how much water they will receive, they must make the difficult decision of what to plant and what once-productive farmlands to leave fallow.  This does nothing but leave this region with some of the highest unemployment in the nation, destroying livelihoods and families.  Ironically, there is no evidence that depriving water to the farmers actually does anything to save the fish.

6. Logging industry/barred owls

Who would have thought a breed of owl could downsize the entire logging industry in the northwestern part of the U.S.?  Well, it has, with the help of the government of course. The Northern spotted owl was once thought to only be able to survive in old forests, overgrown and unmaintained.  So when it became an endangered species in 1990, and even before, great cutbacks were made in the logging industry throughout California, Oregon and Washington states.  Ironically, the Obama administration recently admitted that the owl still hasn’t made a comeback and so has decided to kill the more dominant owl species, the barred owl, in hopes of rejuvenating the spotted owl’s population. But in the midst of all this, the livelihoods of those people and communities that depended on the timber industry were crushed under the government’s heavy environmental hand.

7. Tombstone, Ariz.

“The Town Too Tough To Die” is in a heated duel with the U.S. Forest Service.  In 2011, the Monument Fire ripped through the Huachuca Mountains in Arizona — land belonging to the U.S. Forest Service.  Following the fire, floods and torrential mudslides destroyed mountain spring water lines to the town of Tombstone. Approximately one year later, Tombstone is still unable to fix its water lines, affecting 1,500 residents and more than 400,000 annual visitors. Due to the location of the springs being on a government wild land area, Tombstone residents cannot use the heavy machinery necessary to fix its water supply—Forest Service rules won’t allow it. Never mind that a significant level of arsenic, an element heavily regulated by the EPA due to health risks, is seeping into their water lines poisoning the residents. So far all the residents of Tombstone have been able to do is file a lawsuit against the Forest Service.

8. Keystone XL pipeline

Remember this statement by Obama after he rejected the Keystone pipeline: “This announcement is not a judgment on the merits of the pipeline, but the arbitrary nature of a deadline that prevented the State Department from gathering the information necessary to approve the project and protect the American people.”  Though this administration had plenty of time for reviewing the pipeline, after all, it was not a new idea, they still rejected it. In fact, the State Department stated the pipeline would likely create about 6,000 jobs, which some say is a relatively low estimate. You’re right, Mr. President, one more pipeline on top of the nearly 2 million we already have in the U.S. safely delivering natural gas and petroleum every year, would have been one too many.

9. Oil

About a year ago, President Obama said, “We have less than 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. We’re running out of places to drill. We’re running out of oil. We need to end our $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to oil companies. We need to invest in clean, renewable energy.”  What he really meant: “We are running out of places where I will allow drilling.” Oil production in the Gulf of Mexico continues to drop despite the president promising new permits.  He rejected the Keystone pipeline and won’t advance oil production in Alaska.  In fact, while oil and gas production has increased dramatically on non-federal government controlled lands, it has dropped in those areas controlled by the Obama Administration.  The oil and gas industry in the U.S. support 9.2 million jobs and generates federal revenues.  Sounds like an industry that needs to grow rather than be slowly wiped out.

10. Renewable energy

Solar, wind and biofuel are all critical to Obama’s energy policy.  About 8 percent of all energy consumed in the United States in 2010 was from renewable sources, and they account for about 10 percent of the nation’s total electricity production.  In 2009, Obama’s stimulus package included about $100 billion to invest in green energy.   And ever since, all forms of renewable energy still need taxpayer funds to stay afloat.  Investing in tomorrow’s energy hasn’t been a smooth process; the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.  Unfortunately taxpayers are paying for these many “green” blunders.  However, if no renewals of subsidies are given to these industries they will begin to phase out until the markets and consumers begin to demand them.


Hippie Earth Day!

In 1970, a senator from Wisconsin by the name of Gaylord Nelson invented a holiday to celebrate all of nature’s wonders, now known to the world as Earth Day, and celebrated each year on April 22.

Throughout the years it has become a day for reminding those Americans who dare to drive non-hybrid SUV’s or refuse to install cumbersome solar panels on their roofs they are endangering the welfare of the planet.

Major cities across the country, including New York and our very own Washington, D.C. host festivals to celebrate this “green” day, drawing crowds of crazed, dirty, patchouli oil-scented activists from all corners. Anyone who has not gone through twelve steps to reduce their carbon footprint is identified as the enemy, and rallies often break out in defense of Mother Earth.

But hold on, does this really need to be classified as a holiday? A day to celebrate grass, trees and flowers as if they are doing something extraordinary for us?

Yes, they provide lots of things that are essential to our survival, however it is not as if they are sacrificing their lives to do so. They are simply doing what they are programmed to do, as simple organisms. The trees in the Amazon rainforest did not give up their dreams of being on American Idol to stand in South America and release oxygen…they just did it. They’re trees, and that is what their sole purpose is.

Holidays, at least in America, are special points during our calendar year where we celebrate something, whether it be a religious figure, an occasion or a particular person who has made an indelible mark on our country’s history. As far as I am aware, no plant or animal has ever been president, ended a war, fought for civil rights or risked its life to defend our liberty.

And if there are any tree huggers out there who think that in fact trees do have dreams and feelings and are in fact sacrificing them for our benefit, then perhaps you should see a doctor.

One odd fact about the inventor of this meaningless holiday is that he is from Wisconsin, not known for being an extremist state. After creating something like this, that would grow to gain popularity from hemp-lovers everywhere, one would think they would hail from a Haight Ashbury-type commune. A place where the concepts of “reality” and “logic” are a bit blurred.

Senator Nelson simply wanted to pay homage to his environmentalist passions, and to teach others to give thanks to nature and conserve its beauty by protecting it from abuse.

So on this April 22, remember to go outside, get some fresh air, and thank your local foliage for providing you with oxygen, but please don’t worship it.


Green Bureaucrats Nix US Timber, Common Plastic in New Plan

The U.S. Green Building Council has begun floating a series of progressive amendments to its building certification program, stirring controversy within the construction, forestry and chemical industries that warn the proposal is radical environmentalism masquerading as reasonable regulation.

The proposed changes to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, administered by the private USGBC group but since adopted by the federal government, disallows the use of over 75 percent of America’s certified forests and the third most commonly produced plastic worldwide.

A building must cross varying green thresholds — accruing credits through an exhaustive review of sustainability, water efficiency, energy and materials — to earn one of the program’s four accreditation levels. As written, the four new accreditation levels will bar the usage of products containing Polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC, or lumber sourced from over three-fourths of American certified forests.

In a preferential nod to one forestry certification group, LEED stipulates that credits will be awarded for the “responsible extraction of raw materials” that qualify as “[Forest Stewardship Council] or better.”

Unlike other green building rating tools like Green Globes and the National Green Building standard that recognize all forest certification standards, LEED’s critics say the insistence on FSC-certified forests or the undefined “better” baseline has erected an artificial and ambiguous barrier to American timber.

“‘FSC or better’ is neither logical nor scientific,” Michael Goergen Jr., executive vice president and CEO of the Society of American Foresters, said of the decision. “Especially when it continues to reinforce misconceptions about third-party forest certification and responsible forest practices.”

But whereas industry forces acquiesced to the technical provisions in earlier models, the proposal to ban products containing PVC has put on edge the construction and chemical industries.

The effective banning of the third most widely-produced and consumed plastic worldwide means a tremendous, new burden on the industrial and construction sectors, as the pair will be forced to use other, more expensive alternatives whose own environmental merits are ambiguous by the government’s own account.

While the outright banning of PVC has been a goal of the environmental lobby for some time — GreenPeace has a campaign to “phase out this poison plastic” — USGBC’s assent, some say, runs counter to the group’s long-held posture towards the chemical.

A 2007 study by the USGBC revealed PVC outperformed a number of still-approved alternative materials in ecotoxicity, eco depletion and contribution to climate change. Specifically, the report found:

“PVC performs better than some alternatives studied for window frames, siding, and drain-waste-vent pipe;”

“Relative to the environmental impact categories (acidification, eutrophication, ecotoxicity, smog, ozone depletion and global climate change), PVC performs better than several material alternatives studied;”

“If buyers switched from PVC to aluminum window frames, to aluminum siding, or to cast iron pipe, it could be worse than using PVC;”

“The evidence indicates that a credit that rewards avoidance of PVC could steer decision makers toward using materials that are worse on most environment impacts.”

The USGBC must “develop guidelines for approval of innovation credits that move the industry forward,” the report advised. “Recognizing that there are many possible ways to address this challenge, the capabilities and motivation of the marketplace should be engaged as a resource.”

So much for that.

Yet some say the radical bent is not particularly surprising, considering the environment-as-religion disposition of LEED’s founder, Robert Watson.

Once the chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change until it was reported he began “advocating more openly for global climate change policy, rather than just assessing the science,” Watson famously said that “buildings are literally the worst thing that humans do to the planet.”

Others point to what they call an unseemly kinship with the federal government, which they say has largely preserved the certification program’s revered status globally.

Government officials in the U.S. General Services Administration, which manages the functioning of other federal agencies and bureaus, have mandated all federally-owned facilities be built to LEED’s Gold specifications, the second highest certification the USGBC offers. GSA officials announced earlier this year it had enrolled 50 additional existing properties in the program. (Nearly 19 million square feet is LEED-certified in the District of Columbia.)

Sometime later this year, the agency will begin considering adopting LEED 2012.

That the GSA, whose own judgment has been impeached in the wake of its lavish government-sponsored conference in Las Vegas, was tasked by the White House to consider implementing these new regulations is enough to give pause to sensible government-watchers.

If these high-roller bureaucrats apply the same poor judgement here, their decision will effectively ban American timber and PVC for the federal government. Private industry, of course, will take cold comfort in the knowledge that government bureaucrats will likewise be handicapped by terrible regulations.


Australia:  Windfarm revolt

A DEAD wedge-tailed eagle, chicken eggs without yolks and a dysfunctional village with residents bursting to flee. This is the clean-energy revolution Waterloo-style, where the nation's biggest wind turbines have whipped up a storm of dissent.

Adelaide University has been drawn into a controversy that threatens to spin out of control after one of its masters students asked residents of Waterloo, 120km north of Adelaide, what they really thought about living near windmills and was knocked over in an avalanche of complaint.

Yesterday, a South Australian Department of Environment and Heritage officer collected the remains of a juvenile wedge-tailed eagle from the base of one of the Waterloo wind farm turbine towers. He said it would be X-rayed and examined to establish the cause of death.

It may help to explain why, according to one local ranger, three wedge-tailed eagle nesting areas identified before the turbines began to operate 18 months ago are no longer active.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources district manager Ian Falkenberg said initial observations of the eagle remains showed a punctured skull and major fractures of the right wing, including a significant break about three inches from the shoulder.

GPS readings showed the remains were located 180m from the base of the tower.

Mr Falkenberg said eagles in the mid-north of South Australia were in lower numbers than in other parts of the state and considered "vulnerable" at a regional assessment level.  He said prior to the wind turbines at Waterloo, there were three eagle territories but was not aware of any of those territories now being active.

According to wind farm operator TRUenergy, there are still active wedge-tailed eagle populations in the hills.  TRUenergy spokeswoman Sarah Stent said: "Eagle monitoring on site of resident population today shows no decrease in bird numbers."

TRUenergy acquired the Waterloo wind farm last year and has announced a $40 million expansion. It is also planning a wind farm development at Stony Gap. The company insists it has broad community support and certainly the strong backing of the SA government.

Waterloo has become a hotbed of concern among locals, many of whom claim to be suffering ill-effects from the wind turbine development.  They want independent noise measuring and for Senate inquiry recommendations for research into the impact of low frequency noise to be adopted. Some want to be relocated and many want the wind turbines to be turned off at night.

Village resident Neil Daws is concerned his chickens have been laying eggs with no yolks.

Ironically called wind eggs, the yolkless eggs can be explained without wind turbines.  But together with a spike in sheep deformities, also not necessarily connected to wind, reports of erratic behaviour by farm dogs and an exodus of residents complaining of ill health, Waterloo is a case study of the emotional conflict being wrought by the rollout of industrial wind power.

When Adelaide University masters student Frank Wang surveyed residents within a 5km radius of the Waterloo wind turbines he found 70 per cent of respondents claimed they had been negatively affected by the wind development and the noise, with more than 50 per cent having been very or moderately negatively affected.

Mr Wang is concerned that a summary of his results was leaked before it could be peer-reviewed.

Adelaide University vice-chancellor Michael Head has written to TRUenergy in response to company concerns about publication of the summary. "I have looked into this matter and found that the study in question was undertaken by a student as part of a minor thesis for his masters by coursework," Professor Head said. "This was entirely the student's own project and not undertaken for or on behalf of the university."

A university spokesperson said the survey was overseen by a senior lecturer and approved by the University's Human Research Ethics Committee.  "There is clearly a need for further research that considers all aspects of wind farms and their impact on the community," the spokesperson said.

Mr Wang told The Weekend Australian the university had been supportive of his research.  "Yes, definitely," he said. "My supervisor helped me to choose this topic."

Mr Wang said he was not willing to release his research publicly until after academic peer reviews.

Ms Stent said TRUenergy was not able to judge if Mr Wang's results were a fair representation of community sentiment in Waterloo.  "It is not our view that the majority of the population is opposed to the wind farm nor dissatisfied with our approach to community engagement," 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


21 April, 2012

Greenies are actively helping to destroy rainforests

They profit from it

The world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively promoting primary forest logging [search]. Groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Environmental Defense Fund actively promote industrially logging Earth’s last old forests. Through their support of the existing “Forest Stewardship Council” (FSC), and/or planned compromised “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD), they are at the forefront of destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – claiming it is “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”.

Rainforest movement corruption is rampant as these big bureaucratic, corporatist NGOs conspire to log Earth’s last primary rainforests and other old growth forests. Collectively the “NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs” are greenwashing FSC’s destruction of over 300,000,000 acres of old forests, destroying an area of primary rainforests and other old forests the size of South Africa (two times the size of Texas)! FSC and its members have built a massive market for continued business as usual industrially harvested primary forest timbers – with minor, cosmetic changes – certifying as acceptable murdering old forests and their life for consumption of products ranging from toilet paper to lawn furniture. Some 70% of FSC products contain primary forest timbers, and as little as 10% of any product must be from certified sources.

FSC has become a major driver of primary forest destruction and forest ecological diminishment. Despite certifying less than 10% of the world’s forest lands, their rhetoric and marketing legitimizes the entire tropical and old growth timber trade, and a host of even worse certifiers of old forest logging. It is expecting far too much for consumers to differentiate between the variety of competing and false claims that old growth timbers are green and environmentally sustainable – when in fact none are. While other certification schemes may be even worse, this is not the issue, as industrial first-time primary forest logging cannot be done ecologically sustainably and should not be happening at all. FSC’s claims to being the best destroyer of primary forests is like murdering someone most humanely, treating your slaves the best while rejecting emancipation, or being half pregnant.

To varying degrees, most of the NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs also support the United Nations’ new “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” program (UNREDD, REDD, or REDD+), originally intended to protect Earth’s remaining and rapidly diminishing primary rainforests and other old forests, by making “avoided deforestation” payments to local forest peoples as an international climate and deforestation solution. Large areas of primary and old-growth forests were to be fully protected from industrial development, local communities were to both receive cash payments while continuing to benefit from standing old forests, and existing and new carbon was to be sequestered.

After years of industry, government and NGO forest sell-out pressure, REDD+ will now fund first time industrial primary rainforest logging and destruction under the veil of “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”. REDD+ is trying to be all things to everybody – forest logging, protection, plantations, carbon, growth – when all we need is local funding to preserve standing forests for local advancement, and local and global ecology; and assurances provided REDD+ would not steal indigenous lands, or be funded by carbon markets, allowing the rich to shirk their own emissions reductions.

Sustainable forest management in old forests is a myth and meaningless catchphrase to allow continued western market access to primary rainforest logs. Both FSC and now REDD+ enable destruction of ancient naturally evolved ecosystems – that are priceless and sacred – for throw away consumption. Increasingly both FSC and REDD+ are moving towards certifying and funding the conversion of natural primary forests to be cleared and replanted as plantations. They call it carbon forestry and claim it is a climate good. Even selective logging destroys primary forests, and what remains is so greatly ecologically reduced from first time industrial logging, that they are on their way to being plantations.

Each of the named organizations’ forest campaigns are a corrupt shell of their former selves – acting unethically and corruptly – destroying global ecology and local options for advancement, for their own benefit. The rainforest logging apologists have chosen power, prestige and money coming from sitting at the old forest logging mafia’s table, gathering the crumbs fallen from the table to enrich their empires, rather than the difficult yet necessary job of working to fully protect rainforests and other primary forests from industrial development.

WWF, Greenpeace, and RAN are particularly culpable. With rainforests threatened as never before, RAN targets the Girl Scouts, Greenpeace supports Kleenex’s clearcut of Canadian old growth boreal forests for toilet paper, and WWF runs a bad-boy logger club who pay $50,000 to use the panda logo while continuing to destroy primary forests.

The only way this NGO old forest greenwash logging machine will be stopped is to make doing so too expensive to their corporate bureaucracies in terms of lost donations, grants, and other support – whose sources are usually unaware of the great rainforest heist. Ecological Internet – the rainforest campaign organization I head – and others feel strongly, based upon the urgency of emerging ecological science, and our closeness to global ecological collapse, that it is better to fight like hell in any way we can to fully protect and restore standing old forests as the most desirable forest protection outcome. Greenwash of first time industrial primary forest logging must be called out wherever it is occurring, and resisted by those in the global ecology movement committed to sustaining local advancement and ecosystems from standing old forests. There is no value in unity around such dangerous, ecocidal policy.

Despite tens of thousands of people from around the world asking these pro-logging NGOs to stop their old forest logging greenwash, none of the organizations (who routinely campaign against other forest destroyers, making similar demands for transparency and accountability) feel obligated to explain in detail – including based upon ecological-science – how logging primary forests protects them. Nor can they provide any detailed justification – or otherwise defend – the ecology, strategy and tactics of continued prominent involvement in FSC and REDD primary forest logging. They clearly have not been following ecological science over the past few years, which has made it clear there is no such thing as ecologically sustainable primary forest logging, and that large, old, contiguous, un-fragmented and fully ecologically intact natural forests are critical to biodiversity, ecosystems, and environmental sustainability.


A physicist's View of "The Precautionary Principle."

The first precaution should be against biased "science"

by Dr Gordon J Fulks

In all of these arguments of a political nature, what is overwhelmingly lost is the real science and hence the real truth as best we know it. Science has NOTHING to do with how many supporters you can count amongst those you deem worthy in the scientific profession. In 1905 Albert Einstein stood against the entire classical physics world with his new ideas on relativity. A few years later, a high school biology teacher from Seattle (Harlen Bretz) stood against the entire geological profession with his explanations of Pacific Northwest geology. And just a few years ago, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren stood against the entire medical profession to explain the real cause of peptic ulcers.

It is as Galileo said many centuries ago: "The authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual."

In truth most scientists who are paid to support Global Warming do and most who are not do not. That should not be difficult to understand.

Hence the fundamental issue for me is the survival of science as an objective profession. Continuous spin from highly political non-scientists does not help. And complicity among many scientists who want the government grants to continue is very destructive.

If the "Precautionary Principle" is to be applied, it surely needs to be applied far more broadly than Global Warming advocates imagine. That includes efforts to address the massive conflicts of interest evident in climate science today as well as the massive economic costs of proposed "solutions" to a non-problem.

The proper application of the "Precautionary Principle" involves taking all reasonable precautions without going to extremes. In automobile safety, for instance, that involves wearing a seat belt but not giving up driving altogether. In Global Warming it involves addressing all of the self-serving hysteria long before undertaking any "remedies" for what is objectively a non-problem.


EU Parliament shoots down Commission’s energy tax plan

Conservatives in the European Parliament delivered a setback for European Commission plans to erase tax benefits for diesel fuel, saying that a period of austerity and high fuel costs is not the time for such moves.

MEPS voted 374-217, with 73 abstentions, for an overhaul of the EU executive’s year-old draft energy taxation directive that would require members states to end their practice of taxing diesel fuel at lower rates than gasoline.

The vote also calls for changes to the Commission's proposed minimum carbon tax on emissions from households, farms and the transport industry not already covered under the EU’s Emissions Trading System, the EU's main tool to reduce carbon dioxide pollution.

The Parliament’s recommendations are non-binding. But they lay the groundwork for anticipated changes in the Council of Ministers, where Poland has already blocked moves to impose stronger emission-reductions obligations, and at a time when high fuel prices may tame the political appetite for higher taxes.

The MEP’s decision was seen as a win for consumers and the centre-right that led the fight.

The vote “is a great political victory for the EPP Group, which remained firm on its position. But it is first and foremost a victory for our citizens," said Luxembourg MEP Astrid Lulling, a member of the European People’s Party and author of the report adopted by Parliament.

Lulling’s report – which recommends 50 amendments - says the draft taxation directive would “have direct negative social impact” from higher prices for coal, natural gas, heating oil and diesel oil.

That is an assertion that was strongly rejected by Algirdas Šemeta, the EU Taxation Commissioner: "The Commission’s proposal does not seek to penalise diesel, but to tax fuels in a neutral way. All fuels would compete on the basis of their merits instead of tax advantages," he said after the vote.

Consumers already pinched

London MEP Marina Yannakoudakis (European Conservatives and Reformist Group) said the vote was a victory for consumers.

“In the middle of an economic crisis, families are feeling the pinch,” she said. “Does the EU really want to tax its citizens further just for driving their kids to school or for turning on the heating?”

Socialist and Democrats (S&D) leaders also expressed reservations about higher costs for diesel.

"We need to make sure that we have higher taxation for those emissions that are detrimental to the environment,” Hannes Swoboda, the S&D president, said in a statement.

“However, while we will follow this approach it must not lead to an increase of price for diesel. Diesel cars are less polluting and are important for reducing CO2 from our transport system,” the Austrian MEP said.

Environmentalists, however, said such arguments were hollow. Although diesel engines emit fewer greenhouse gases compared to their gasoline counterparts, they release higher levels of smog-causing nitrogen oxide and fine particulate matter that aggravate respiratory problems.

“A majority of MEPs has today voted to include perverse incentives for dirty fuels under the EU's energy taxation system,” Belgian Green MEP Philippe Lamberts said yesterday.

Parliament’s recommendations also say that aid should be made available to low-income households and charities as energy tax exemptions are phased out, as proposed by the Commission. It also says industries already subject to the EU’s Emissions Trading System should be exempt from a carbon tax.


The U.K. and Europe’s Fracking Fissures

There’s a large new row developing in British politics — with potential for another major row between Britain and the European Union. For the last few months the “Green Agenda” of the Coalition government has been unraveling for one reason after another: the resignation of the ultra-Green fanatic, Chris Huhne, energy secretary and Liberal Democrat, over his being prosecuted for (in effect) committing perjury to conceal driving offenses; a rebellion by 100 Tory MPs opposed to building vast numbers of inefficient “wind farms” that disfigure Britain’s green and pleasant land; the government’s proposal, now likely to be withdrawn, of a “tax on aspiration” that would compel householders making any improvements in their homes to install additional and expensive insulation too; and, yesterday, the publication of an official report proposing to allow the technique of “fracking” to release the shale gas that apparently exists in very large quantities onshore and offshore Britain.

This controversy has been slowly developing because, before it causes a breach between the U.K. and Europe, it has already caused one between the Tory and Lib-Dem partners in the Coalition. As well as being the most pro-European party, the Lib-Dems are also the greenest. Almost all the measures now being re-considered by the government are their own pet schemes. But the costs of energy are rising so sharply for households, partly as a result of these policies — and “fuel poverty” is growing so rapidly — that the Lib-Dems can’t effectively defend them. And backbench Tories, recovering their moxie, are anxious to push onwards from an energy policy rooted in Greenery to one directed to getting as much cheap energy as securely as possible.

And that’s where the shale-gas revolution comes in. According to the geologists (as reported by Reuters), U.K. offshore reserves of shale gas could be as big as one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf) compared to the country’s annual consumption of 3.5 tcf. Such figures are hard to grasp, but they apparently mean that Britain would regain its earlier North Sea oil status of being one of the main energy producers in the world. It would liberate Britain almost uniquely in Europe — almost because Poland too seemingly has vast shale reserves — from dependence on Middle East oil. Other things being equal — and assuming, as I do, that the shale gas revolution has not been overblown — Britain can look forward to a future of cheap and secure energy supplies for the foreseeable future.

So the balance of opinion in Britain is now shifting against the green agenda. If shale gas can be “fracked” cheaply, then it will undercut such “renewables” as wind power, however heavily they are subsidized — and it will also undercut coal and nuclear power. This shift is very good for Britain, of course, but it cuts against some very large domestic vested interests — all the renewable companies, landowners who rent out their land for wind farms, the Green movement, and not least the ideological interests of one of the governing parties. So the shift is in its early stages, and it will be some time, maybe not until after the next election, that it is fully reflected in a rational British energy policy.

That’s if the matter is decided in Britain by such outmoded methods as elections. In a posting on The Economist website by their British political columnist, Bagehot, the suggestion is made that British ministers and civil servants are proceeding very nervously on what to do about shale gas because they fear it might provoke a major row between Britain and the EU over science, technology, and the environment because of the European Union’s “irrational” Green-washed attitude to science, energy and the environment:

    France has already put in place a moratorium on fracking, they note. Other continental governments may follow, and British sources draw nervous analogies with European hostility towards genetically-modified crops, which have seen draconian controls imposed on all manner of GMO crops (often amid ugly rhetoric about “American corporations” launching a “foreign invasion” of Europe’s pure and ancient fields), regardless of the scientific data. That could spell another row between Britain and the EU, if European-level regulators were to put hurdles in the way of British shale gas exploitation.

My own guess is that the British will be lucky here. They have Poland on their side already; the other Eastern Europeans could probably be brought around to support the British position by pointing out that Gazprom is the Greens’ most important ally on energy policy. That might be enough to derail any attempts to by the European Commission to extend the French ban on “fracking” over the whole of Europe.

Suppose, however, that I’m wrong and that such a prohibition does make its silent way through the tortuous maze of EU policy-making. Why should a sane British government pay much regard to it? Such a ban would have no merit — see the “irrational” comment in Bagehot’s account of how the EU regards science and energy policy. It would greatly damage a key British national interest. (Nothing surprising there, of course, since the proposed “Tobin tax” on international transactions would damage the City of London and the key interests of no other EU member-state, but alarming all the same.) It would strengthen Gazprom and Middle East oil producers, neither of whom has Europe’s interests in mind. And it would further institutionalize a Luddite approach to science, technology, and economics within European policy-making structures.

The fact that major policy makers in Whitehall are genuinely worried by this prospect — and that Bagehot plainly thinks their anxiety reasonable — testifies yet again to the fact that the British are under what Digby Anderson calls a “spell” on topics associated with the European Union (as they also are with the National Health Service.) A spell is an irrational attachment to some policy or institution despite its foolishness and damaging effects. It renders the spell-bound unable to act even when faced by a life-threatening danger. It’s becoming quite a common ailment. And if you look at President Obama’s energy policy — namely, railing against oil companies and speculators to divert attention away from his refusal to allow either new prospecting or new supplies from Canada — you’ll see that it’s quite catching.


Global cooling hits Britain

With the hills blanketed in white and the sky heavy with snow, it looks like the perfect setting for a Christmas card.  Except this photograph was taken yesterday, after wintry showers wiped out our fragile spring.

The mercury dropped to around -2c (28f) overnight yesterday on high ground, although most of the snow had melted by late afternoon as temperatures rose to 7c (45f).

After the driest March for 59 years, April could now  see above-average rainfall, despite levels being close to normal for the last two weeks.  They picked up on Wednesday, when gales and showers battered the Midlands, the South West and the drought-hit South East, with an inch of rain falling in a couple of hours.

The Met Office predicts the first two weeks of May are likely to stay ‘unsettled’, with the prospect of chilly weather, more heavy rain and, in Scotland, snow.  Yesterday a severe weather warning for rain was in force for the East, South East and Midlands.

The mercury fell to -7C in Scotland last week and the rest of the country struggled to get above freezing.

Last night, the Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for southern and eastern England today, with heavy downpours, hail and thunder likely for the second day running.

Jim Dale, a meteorologist at British Weather Services, told the Daily Express: ‘It’s likely that the first week of May will be poor.

But in spite of drought warnings, gales and storms yesterday hit the South West, South East and the Midlands as an inch of rain bucketed down in three hours.  Hail and 50mph gales hit Cornwall, with trees felled and telephone and power lines toppled near Truro and some ferry services cancelled.


Australia: Conservative leader promises to get rid of carbon pricing scheme within six months of being elected to power

TONY Abbott has pledged to get rid of carbon pricing within just six months of the Coalition winning government.

The Opposition Leader said that if blocked in the Senate he would immediately call another election, a double dissolution, and invite the ALP to commit “suicide twice".  “I won't reduce the tax, change the tax, or redesign the tax. I will repeal the tax," Mr Abbott said in Brisbane today.

The Coalition is maintaining its course to make the election scheduled for late next year a referendum on the carbon pricing scheme set to begin this July.

Mr Abbott ramped up his intentions to scrap the entire scheme if elected, and assured voters they would not miss out on pension increases and tax cuts to be funded by the scheme's revenue.

“There is no mystery to this. Essentially, all that it requires is the passage of the repeal bill through the Parliament," Mr Abbott said.  “After all, what is done by legislation can be undone by legislation.

“I don't expect the Greens to support repealing the carbon tax. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine the Labor Party, beaten in an election that's a referendum on the carbon tax, committing suicide twice by resisting the new government’s mandate.

“If they do, there is a constitutional procedure designed for just this eventuality. It's called a double dissolution. I would not hesitate to seek a second mandate to repeal this toxic tax. Indeed, it would be my duty to do so."

Mr Abbott said that “because the electorate would double-punish the Labor Party for wilful obstruction, I expect that the repeal arrangements would be in place within six months.”

Mr Abbott dismissed the Government's argument that scrapping the scheme would cost voters extra welfare payments and tax cuts which it plans to fund from pollution penalties paid by major companies.  “Well, the public aren't mugs. They know that a tax cut paid for by a tax increase is a con, not a cut," he said.  “The only way that taxes can sustainably be lowered is if government spending is lower or if the economy is larger.

“The Coalition can deliver tax cuts without a carbon tax because we will eliminate wasteful and unnecessary government spending and because lower taxes and higher productivity will boost economic growth."



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, 2012

Climate Alarmist Calls For Burning Down Skeptics’ Homes

Writing for Forbes Magazine, climate change alarmist Steve Zwick calls for skeptics of man-made global warming to be tracked, hunted down and have their homes burned to the ground, yet another shocking illustration of how eco-fascism is rife within the environmentalist lobby.

Comparing climate change skeptics to residents in Tennessee who refused to pay a $75 fee, resulting in firemen sitting back and watching their houses burn down, Zwick rants that anyone who actively questions global warming propaganda should face the same treatment.

“We know who the active denialists are – not the people who buy the lies, mind you, but the people who create the lies. Let’s start keeping track of them now, and when the famines come, let’s make them pay. Let’s let their houses burn. Let’s swap their safe land for submerged islands. Let’s force them to bear the cost of rising food prices,” writes Zwick, adding, “They broke the climate. Why should the rest of us have to pay for it?”

As we have profusely documented, as polls show that fewer and fewer Americans are convinced by the pseudo-science behind man-made global warming, promulgated as it is by control freaks like Zwick who care more about money and power than they do the environment, AGW adherents are becoming increasingly authoritarian in their pronouncements.

Even as the science itself disproves their theories – Arctic ice is thickening, polar bears and penguins are thriving, Himalayan glaciers are growing – climate change alarmists are only becoming more aggressive in their attacks against anyone who dares question the global warming mantra.

Earlier month we highlighted Professor Kari Norgaard’s call for climate skeptics to be likened to racists and ‘treated’ for having a mental disorder. In a letter to Barack Obama, Norgaard also called on the President to ignore the will of the people and suspend democracy in order to enforce draconian ecological mandates.

But that’s by no means represents the extreme edge of eco-fascist sentiment that has been expressed in recent years.

In 2010, UK government-backed global warming alarmist group 10:10 produced an infomercial in which children who refused to lower their carbon emissions were slaughtered in an orgy of blood and guts. After a massive backlash, the organization was forced to remove the video from their website and issue an apology.

The same year, ‘Gaia hypothesis’ creator James Lovelock asserted that “democracy must be put on hold” to combat global warming and that “a few people with authority” should be allowed to run the planet because people were too stupid to be allowed to steer their own destinies.

In 2006, an environmental magazine to which Al Gore and Bill Moyers had both granted interviews advocated that climate skeptics who are part of the “denial industry” be arrested and made to face Nuremberg-style war crimes trials.’s Mark Morano is encouraging AGW skeptics to politely inform Steve Zwick ( that calling for people who express a difference of opinion to be tracked and have their houses burned down is not a rational argument for the legitimacy of man-made global warming science.

Indeed, it’s the argument of a demented idiot who’s obviously in the throws of a childish tantrum over the fact that Americans are rejecting the global government/carbon tax agenda for which man-made global warming is a front in greater numbers than ever before.


Senate Democrats Schedule Vote On Massive Energy Tax Hike

At $4 a gallon, gas is still not dear enough, apparently. In the end, all taxes are paid by guess who?

Even as President Obama tries to evade the fact that his energy market meddling has lead to higher energy prices, his party is scheduling a vote on raising taxes on oil companies.

Because that’ll be great for gas prices, though notice that they’re doing this under the guise of ending “subsidies” for big oil. Because not taxing something is subsidizing it, I guess.
Following the votes, Senator Reid moved to proceed to Executive Calendar #337, S.2204, the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, and filed cloture on the motion to proceed.

Senator Reid then moved to proceed to Executive Calendar #296,S.1789, the Postal Reform bill, and filed cloture on the motion to proceed.

Senators should expect the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act at approximately 5:30pm Monday, March 26. If cloture is not invoked, the Senate would immediately proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to Postal Reform.

So what exactly is being proposed here?

Double taxation, for one thing. This proposal would end the dual capacity tax credit that allows companies (not just oil companies) to reduce their US tax burden by the amount of foreign taxes they paid on revenues earned in foreign countries. Needless to say, double taxation would put American oil companies (already a very small slice of the international oil market pie when compared to government-owned foreign companies like Citgo, owned by Venezuela’s communist regime) at a competitive disadvantage.

Another “subsidy” being ended is the Section 199 manufacturing deduction. This, again, is policy that benefits far more than just the oil industry. The deduction is available to all US companies that manufacture, grow, refine, or otherwise produce including software companies and coffee growers (even Starbucks gets this deduction).

The oil industry receives the Section 199 deduction at a 6% rate, as opposed to the rest of the industries who take the deduction (fully 1/3 of all corporations operating in the US) at 9%.

The deduction is for income derived from property manufactured, produced, grown or extracted in the United States. Basically, if you make something, you can deduct 9% of its value (6% if you’re in the oil industry) from your taxes.

Obama wants to end this for the oil industry. Because it’s a “subsidy.” Which is a neat play on words. When he throws taxpayer dollars at “green energy” flops like Solyndra, it’s “investment.” When we let oil companies keep some of their own money, it’s a “subsidy.”


EPA trying to force up the price of natural gas

Cheaper electricity not allowed

Oil and gas companies will have to capture toxic and climate-altering gases from wells, storage sites and pipelines under new air quality standards issued on Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The rule is the first federal effort to address serious air pollution associated with the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which releases toxic and cancer-causing chemicals like benzene and hexane, as well as methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

The standards were proposed last summer in response to complaints from citizens and environmental groups that gases escaping from the 13,000 wells drilled each year by fracking were causing health problems and widespread air pollution.

Industry groups said meeting the proposed standards would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and slow the boom in domestic natural gas production. The original proposal was significantly revised, giving industry more than two years to comply and lowering the cost.

“Because these regulations rely on technologies and practices that are already in use by some companies and required by some states, they are practical, flexible, affordable and achievable,” Gina McCarthy, head of the E.P.A.’s office of air and radiation, said in a conference call. “Natural gas is key to our clean energy future.”

She said the new rule would reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds by 190,000 to 290,000 tons per year and toxic air pollutants by 12,000 to 20,000 tons a year.

The agency said that the industry could meet the standards by deploying existing technology, and that nearly half the wells drilled using hydraulic fracturing already had the gas capture equipment, known as “green completions.”

The agency said that once the rule was fully effective, in January 2015, the industry would save $11 million to $19 million a year because drillers would be able to capture and sell the methane that is now burned off, or flared.

Methane is a potent heat-trapping gas, 20 times more powerful in its effect on the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The E.P.A. estimates that capturing methane from thousands of new wells will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 28 million to 44 million tons a year, making the rule one of the federal government’s largest measures to mitigate climate change.

The American Petroleum Institute, which had lobbied to weaken the proposed rule, said the revised standards issued Wednesday were an improvement over the original proposal. Howard Feldman, the institute’s director of regulatory and scientific affairs, said the industry had already adopted many of the requirements of the new rule and welcomed the delay in its effective date.

“The industry has led efforts to reduce emissions by developing new technologies that were adopted in the rule,” Mr. Feldman said. “E.P.A. has made some improvement in the rules that allow our companies to continue reducing emissions while producing the oil and natural gas our country needs.”

Other industry groups were less generous. The Western Energy Alliance, a group of independent oil and gas companies, said the new rule’s costs far outweighed its benefits and accused the E.P.A. of using the Clean Air Act illegally to deal with global warming.

Kathleen Sgamma, the group’s vice president for government affairs, also asserted that the rules were not flexible enough “to account for new exploratory areas where infrastructure does not yet exist.”

“Small businesses disproportionately operate in such conditions, and this rule could make exploring in new areas cost-prohibitive,” she said.

Environmental advocacy groups said the new rule was a step forward for clean air. The American Lung Association said that the reduction of a variety of emissions, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds, would improve the health of people living downwind from oil and gas operations.

Ann Brewster Weeks, senior counsel for the Clean Air Task Force, said reductions in emissions that contribute to smog and global warming were good news but objected to the E.P.A.’s concessions on the timetable.

“Over the past few months, lobbyists for the gas industry have pushed to carve large exemptions out of the rule with arguments about the cost of the rules and asserted difficulty of complying,” she said. “These arguments are false, as we’ve made clear.”

“Regrettably, E.P.A. gave in to these claims in a few crucial ways,” she added. “Most significantly, they delayed the most important requirement — to clean up air pollution from fracked wells — for two and a half years.”


First Solar lays off 2,000 "green jobs" as Europe demand wanes

First Solar Inc. will lay off 2,000 workers and close its factory in Germany following a collapse in solar panel prices that has erased the industry's profits and forced some smaller companies into bankruptcy.

America's biggest solar manufacturer said the layoffs amount to 30 percent of its global workforce. It's an about-face for a company that doubled the number of employees at the Frankfurt, Germany, plant to more than 1,200 just last year. First Solar will also shutter some production in Malaysia. It plans additional job cuts in Europe and the U.S.

"The solar market has changed, and so must we," Mark Widmar, First Solar's chief financial officer, told analysts in a conference call.

The price of solar panels, which generate electricity from sunlight, has plummeted recently. An influx of Chinese competitors has led to a rapid buildup in supply. At the same time governments in Europe, the biggest market for solar power, are reducing generous subsidy programs that had fueled demand. From March to December last year, solar panel prices dropped 50 percent, said Aaron Chew, an analyst with the Maxim Group.

Cheaper solar is good news for consumers, but manufacturers are struggling to stay afloat. Last year, Solyndra LLC of Fremont, Calif., Evergreen Solar Inc. of Marlboro, Mass., and Spectrawatt Inc. of Hopewell Junction, N.Y. all declared bankruptcy.

"Nobody's making money in this business right now," Chew said.

Analysts said job cuts, factory closures and even mergers are to be expected in a relatively young industry that still welcomes new players every year. They see the industry following in the footsteps of television and computer makers by locating factories in Asia, where labor costs are low and governments provide few regulatory obstacles.

"It's a very healthy thing," Jefferies & Co. analyst Jesse Pichel said. "This is a shakeout period for solar in which uncompetitive technologies are getting kicked out."

First Solar specializes in "thin film" solar modules that are cheaper than those made by competitors. But the decline in global panel prices has eroded its status as the industry's low-cost leader. First Solar's modules are also less efficient than others, limiting their use. For instance, they're ideal for large-scale projects that deliver power to the electrical grid, but they less effective for smaller systems used on rooftops.

The company lost $39.5 million in 2011 after earning $664.2 million in 2010. Its shares have dropped nearly 85 percent in the past 12 months. They rose about 10.3 percent Tuesday to $22.96 after the company announced the cuts.

"It is essential that we reduce production and decrease expenses," First Solar Chairman and CEO Mike Ahearn in a statement. "These actions will enable us to focus our resources on developing the markets where we expect to generate significant growth in coming years," such as the U.S. and China.

First Solar expects the restructuring to reduce its manufacturing costs by $30-$60 million this year and another $100-$120 million a year afterward. It will book a charge of $245 to $370 million, mostly in its first-quarter results.

Analysts said First Solar needs to cut costs even more and demonstrate that its panels are as durable as its competitors. Pichel said that

as prices continue to fall, consumers will likely favor more efficient, polysilicon panels made by other solar companies. Goldman Sachs analyst Brian Lee downgraded First Solar to "Neutral" from "Buy" and cut 2014 earnings expectations to $4 from $5.75 per share.

Meanwhile, sales of solar panels and related equipment should keep rising, but nowhere near the blistering pace of the past several years. Solar installations are expected to increase by 3.7 percent this year, compared with a 49.7 percent increase from 2010 to 2011, according to energy research group GTM Research.


Wind mania crippling Germany's largest company

German engineering conglomerate Siemens is poised to scrap its full-year net profit target due to losses related to offshore wind projects, Financial Times Deutschland reported, citing company sources.

The newspaper said on Tuesday Siemens would book charges at its Power Transmission business for the financial second quarter at about the same level as in the first quarter, when they stood at 203 million euros ($265 million).

Udo Niehage, who heads the unit, is set to take on new duties at the company, a Siemens source told Reuters. Siemens declined to comment.

"The problems at the Power Transmission division are well known since the first quarter. However, the magnitude seems to be worse than previously expected," DZ Bank analyst Karsten Oblinger said.

Siemens, which sees itself at the forefront of Germany's push for greener energy, has struggled to make a profit from connecting offshore wind farms to mainland power grids.

The company, Germany's largest by market capitalisation, blamed an unexpectedly sharp fall in first-quarter core profit partly on complex regulations that delayed offshore wind projects.

A spokesman for Siemens, which is due to publish results for its second quarter ended March on April 25, declined to comment on the newspaper report on Tuesday.

Shares in Siemens eased by 0.4 percent to 71.47 euros by 1130 GMT, underperforming the German blue-chip index, which was 1.3 percent higher.

Analysts had already doubted whether Siemens would reach its target of unchanged net profit from continuing operations of 6 billion euros, excluding one-offs, for the full year ending in September.

Finance chief Joe Kaeser earlier this month acknowledged that most analysts' estimates were between 5.2 billion euros and 5.4 billion euros, but said Siemens's guidance remained valid unless it issued a new one.

The Power Transmission unit, which supplies high-voltage cable systems and grid access, posted first-quarter revenue of 1.47 billion euros - or about 8 percent of group revenue - and a loss of 145 million euros.


How to fix US water policy? Less government, more market pricing

Late last week I received an invitation to testify in the Water and Power Subcommittee of the House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee on H.R. 2664, “The Reauthorization of Water Desalination Act of 2011.” We’ve posted the full 20-page testimony; my oral remarks before the committee appear below. The push for politically juiced desalination projects is a diversion from the actual problem; the absence of market pricing to allocate water scarcity.
I am Wayne Crews, VP for Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and I thank the committee for this Tax Day invitation to speak on H.R 2664, a $2 million annual desalination program that, while it won’t break the bank, embraces principles at variance with a lightly regulated and adaptable water sector.

While it does boast crucial working applications, desalination remains an energy-intensive, by-product-laden means of making expensive usable water, despite being an ancient process.

Happily, there’s no need for panic; Water is not getting more scarce overall; it’s an earthly constant, and the nation uses even less than it did in the 1980s.

But pricing and allocation of that supply do matter. To advance tomorrow’s water policy, we must, as we say at CEI, avoid having government steer while the market rows.

When linking research like desalination to human needs, private investors can test low-probability projects, counting on the rare success to offset multiple failures. Progress requires good at killing bad projects.

Federal funding to overcome so-called “market failure” in research, on the other hand, fosters numerous avoidable conflicts: over the merits of basic vs. applied research, over government vs. industry science; over assignment of intellectual property; Over public access to data. Meanwhile, taxpayer subsidies appear not to alter the ratio of GDP spent on R&D after all.

Government steering can create artificial booms, and politics has trouble balancing research portfolio tradeoffs: Why H.R. 2664’s brackish groundwater desalination instead of seawater or countless alternative water investments? The problem affects other sectors: Why nanotechnology instead of biotech? Or the hydrogen economy? Or Robotics?

We should avoid fostering a “Declaration of Dependence” on federal dollars, because that will further mask water market prices.

Also, even as government funding comes with regulatory strings attached, it adds to risks and environmental problems by propelling risky technologies ahead of the free market’s ability to properly assimilate them. (The market’s role in regulation is something we might discuss in Q&A.)

This is important, because we observe in H.R. 2664 the seeds for new regulation propelled by the sourcing and externalities of desalination itself. Instead, market disciplines like liability and insurance must evolve alongside technology.

To me, preferred alternatives to subsidized Desalination are those institutionalizing the separation of water and state.

First, better pricing of existing supplies can make crises vanish; refer to my written testimony on this. Despite everything, gallons of water cost less than a penny, filling swimming pools and hydrating lush lawns in arid areas.

Second, improving infrastructure can reduce the waste that now depletes 17 percent of the annual water supply, as noted in a new CEI report by Bonner Cohen.

Third, better transport, including pipelines, trucking, and crude oil carriers can aid supply. Where’s the water pipeline aorta alongside and perpendicular to Keystone, one might say.

Fourth, improved trade between cities, farmers and NGOs can be essential to pricing and value.

A fifth option would be water sourcing alternatives including gray and wastewater treatment and reclamation; stormwater harvesting, and private conservation such as instream flow purchases.

Finally, we should reduce onerous permitting regulations that inflate desalination’s costs and defy the good in the H.R. 2664 vision. Otherwise, as water expert David Zetland notes, “if it’s possible to get [regulatory permitting] approval [to] raise prices so far, why not just raise prices and skip the project?”

A couple general observations:

First, as CEI’s president Fred L. Smith Jr. puts it, instead of trying to improve speeds by picking the particular R&D horses to run on the infrastructure racetrack, improve the business and regulatory track so everyone can go faster, and let jockeys keep more of their earnings. In the Appendix of my written testimony, I cover liberalization options to better enable a private sector flush with research cash.

Second, this is the water and power subcommittee, and I think it’s vital to step back and explore dismantling regulatory silos artificially separating our great network industries. That is, any investment in non-shovel-ready desalination while settling for 19th and 20th century infrastructure is sub-prime policy, particularly given that, as a free society becomes wealthier, creation of infrastructure should become easier, not harder.

The America of 100 years ago, with its paltry GDP, built overlapping, tangled infrastructure; we might have had an aesthetic problem, but never a natural monopoly problem.

The modern challenge is to welcome water resources further into the market process. We urgently need competitive market discipline to discover, not just desalination’s value relative to sourcing alternatives, but to discover the true value of water itself.



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, 2012

Phony graphic at National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC)

Changes in NSIDC Arctic ice since this morning. At 8:00 this morning, Arctic ice was about to cross the mean for the first time in at least six years. Now it is almost 4X as far away from the mean as it was this morning.

Anthony Watts got a response back from Walt Meier at NSIDC, which simply isn’t going to fly.
Hi Anthony,

Thanks for letting us know. I have a guess at what this might be.

We’re starting to make some changes to our processing to update/improve things, including some you’ve suggested. One thing that we’ve decided to do is to change the way we calculate our 5-day average values. We’ve been doing it as a centered average – i.e., a given day’s value in the plot is actually an average of that day + 2 days before and 2 days after. This caused an issue at the end point because we’d extrapolate to get a 5-day average on the last day, which resulted in wiggles at the end that.

We’re now changing it to be a trailing 5-day average, i.e., a given day’s value in the plot is the average of that day and the 4 preceding days. This will take out the wiggle in the end of the plot (or most of it – there may be some change as sometimes we don’t get complete data and need to interpolate, and later (a day or two) we do get the data and process it.

A key point is that this change doesn’t actually change the data at all; in effect it simply shifts values two days later. In other words, the centered value for Day X is the same as the trailing value for Day X+2.

This change has been implemented in our test environment and we were going to roll it out some time in near future after we tested it for a bit we planned to announce the change. I think that by accident the test code got put into production. I’d need to confirm this, but from the plot differences, this looks like what likely happened.

We’ll look into this and get back to you. I’m traveling tomorrow, but will send a note to people and I or others will get back to you as soon as we can.


No, the key point is that it does change the data. That is why we are having this discussion.

If what Dr. Meier is saying was correct, the only change we would see is that everything (current data and mean) would be shifted equally two days to the right – and I probably never would have noticed there was a change. The current data would remain the same distance from the mean.

That is definitely not what we are seeing. The new data is 4X as far from the mean as the old data was - because there are two gross errors in the new graph.

* They removed the April 16 data

* They moved the mean data four days to the right, instead of two days to the right

I will demonstrate this with two images, The first image below is shifted two days to the left, so that the 2012 (and 2007) data line up between the old (blue) and new (pink) graphs. There are two obvious problems. The first is that the April 16 data is missing in the new graph, and the second is that the mean data is not lined up between the old and new graphs.

The next image is shifted left by four days. Now the means line up, but the 2012 and 2007 data don’t.

So basically they created a phony three day gap. NSIDC shifted the mean data by four days, but only shifted the current data by two days. This creates a two day gap between the mean and current data. The third day of the phony gap was created by leaving April 16 off the new graph.

Will they fix it?


"Hockeystick" Mann is very selective about the facts

What he says about the direct effects of variations in total solar output is perfectly true but he ignores indirect effects as pointed out by Svensmark. And Svensmark is supported not only by direct experimental evidence but also by history. That's a lot to ignore -- enough by itself to identify the hoaxer that Mann is

Pat Robertson Proves Global Warming is a Hoax: No SUVs On Mars!

There have been claims by those not-in-favor of man-made global warming arguments that recent warming trends on Mars prove that man has no stake in the whimsy of Earth’s climate. Penn State meteorologist Michael Mann calls that scapegoating (though suspiciously not answering the charge made against the argument!)
“The small measured changes in solar output and variations from one decade to the next are only on the order of a fraction of a percent, and if you do the calculations not even large enough to really provide a detectable signal in the surface temperature record,” Mann explained.

“Solar activity continues to be one of the last bastions of contrarians,” he added. “People who don’t accept the existence of anthropogenic climate change still try to point to solar activity.”

Flashback: Wheat Crops and Sunspots

IT is now more than 200 years since the great astronomer William Herschel observed a correlation between wheat prices and sunspots. When the latter were few in number, he noted, the climate turned colder and drier, crop yields fell and wheat prices rose.


Some foolish prophecies about flooding

Below is the introduction to the latest set of sea level prophecies. They assert that sea levels have risen since 1880 -- which is true. They then assume that sea level will continue to rise indefinitely at a similar or greater rate.

They are very naive mathematicians. Have they never heard of a rising curve approaching an asymptote (i.e. flattening out after a while)? And just that seems to be underway. Very recent sea level measurements indicate that the rise has ceased

Sea level rise from global warming is well on the way to doubling the risk of coastal floods 4 feet or more over high tide by 2030 at locations nationwide. In the lower 48 states, nearly 300 energy facilities stand on land below that level, including natural gas infrastructure, electric power plants, and oil and gas refineries. Many more facilities are at risk at higher levels, where flooding will become progressively more likely with time as the sea continues to rise.

These results come from a Climate Central combined analysis of datasets from NOAA, USGS and FEMA. Rising seas Global warming has raised sea level about 8 inches since 1880, and the rate of rise is accelerating.

Scientists expect 20 to 80 more inches this century, a lot depending upon how much more heat--trapping pollution humanity puts into the atmosphere. In the near term, rising seas will translate into more and more coastal floods reaching higher and higher, as sea level rise aggravates storm surges. These increases threaten widespread damage to the nation’s energy infrastructure.


German doubts: Max Planck Institute Director Admits “Physical Causes Unclear…Models Inconsistent With Observations”!

More cracks like never before are appearing in Germany’s climate alarmism.

Not long ago global warming science was considered settled here. So much so that climate protection has long since been institutionalized. Now it’s all starting to look like a very expensive mistake. The threat of a spectacular crumble is becoming real.

Michael Odenwald of warmist news magazine FOCUS has written a status report on global warming science: “Global Warming: “A Matter of Standpoint”. As the title suggests, the dispute depends on how one looks at the data, and so the science is becoming more unsettled than ever. German media is beginning to report on the growing number of contradictions.

As Odenwald describes, the big dispute raging today is whether global warming is continuing, or if it has stalled. According to HadCRUT4, global temperature has remained constant from 1997 to 2011. FOCUS writes:

"However, [David] Whitehouse explains further, the IPCC had predicted a temperature increase of of 0.2°C per decade because of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. But this warming has not occurred. ‘We are now at a point where temperature stagnation is dominating the climate development. One cannot ignore that, even if is not 30 years,’ Whitehouse believes. ‘It is now time for the IPCC and the scientific community to recognize the temperature stagnation as reality.“

FOCUS author Odenwald then adds: With this, it is becoming very clear that the scientific debate over the greenhouse effect is not yet over.

Marotzke: Models have not been consistent with observations

FOCUS consulted Jochem Marotzke, Director of the warmist Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg concerning the reliability of climate models. To his credit, Marotzke admitted that the models aren’t what they are cracked up to be, and that the science is far from clear. FOCUS (emphasis added):

"Whitehouse points out that climate simulations, like those carried out at the Hadley Climate Research Unit, indeed show periods of stagnation lasting up to a decade. In the models they occur about every 80 years. However, none of the simulations up to now have shown a pause of 15 years. Also the models that run on the super-computers of the Hamburg Climate Research Centre also show such plateau phases. ‘The physical causes are still unclear, and our simulations show them occurring at other times. Thus the models are not consistent with the current observations.’ admits Jochem Marotzke, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg.”

So clearly the models are wrong, and what does not work in the present cannot be counted on to work for the future. Garbage now, garbage later.

Rahmstorf: There’s a warming trend – if you ignore factors

With one side claiming that warming has stalled, FOCUS reminds us that there are still some scientists who still insist warming is continuing, like Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Here he’s caught making another one of his famous Rahmstorfian climate-speak statements. FOCUS writes:

"According to PIK scientist Rahmstorf, global warming continues. ‘If you deduct the known short-term fluctuations from volcanoes, solar cycles and El Niño, then there’s been a warming over the last 30 years of 0.16° Celsius per decade, which is precisely in the middle of the IPCC projections“, Rahmstorf explains."

Firstly, would someone please nominate this as the Quote of the Week at WUWT? Of course you can get any trend you want by ignoring whatever you want.

Secondly, 0.16° temperature increase per decade is not in the middle of the IPCC’s projected range of 1.9°C to 4.5°C by 2100. Rahmstorf struggles with the truth – again!


Time to start fracking

Matt Ridley writes from Britain

It is now official: drilling for shale gas by fracturing rock with water may rattle the odd teacup, but is highly unlikely to cause damaging earthquakes. That much has been obvious to anybody who has followed the development of the shale gas industry in America over the past ten years. More than 25,000 wells drilled have caused a handful of micro-seismic events that can barely be felt.

The two rumbles that resulted from drilling a well near Blackpool last year were tiny. To call a two-magnitude tremor an earthquake is a bit like calling a hazelnut lunch. Such tremors happen naturally more than 15 times a year but go unnoticed and they are a common consequence of many other forms of underground work such as coalmining and geothermal drilling. Earthquakes caused by hydroelectric projects, in which dams load the crust and lubricate faults, can be much greater and more damaging. The Sichuan earthquake that killed 90,000 in 2008 was probably caused by a dam.

So can we now get on and start a home-grown shale gas industry? The economic and environmental benefits could be vast. Just consider the effect that shale gas has had in the US. It has lowered the price of gas to a quarter of that in Europe, thus slashing the cost of energy, reviving manufacturing, creating jobs, halting the expansion of expensive nuclear power and cutting carbon emissions.

The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science concluded in February that the surprise fall in America's carbon emissions - by 7 per cent in 2009, probably more since - was caused largely by a switch from coal to shale gas. "A slight shift in the relative prices of coal and natural gas can result in a sharp drop in carbon emissions," according to Professor Michael McElroy, who led the study.

All over America coal and nuclear projects are being cancelled or mothballed because of cheap gas. (Declaration of non-interest: I have interests in coalmining; so shale gas is bad news for me, but good news for the country and the planet.)

Yet listening to the debate in Britain about "fracking", you would think that we were in a different universe. Tony Juniper, the BBC's favourite green, was arguing yesterday that shale gas might increase carbon emissions because of leakage of methane into the atmosphere. His evidence? A study by Cornell University that has been discredited. Not only was the study partly funded by an anti-fracking pressure group called the Park Foundation but it also made a series of elementary howlers, such as using a cherry-picked short time frame because methane does not stay in the air for long and mistaking Russian theft of gas from pipelines for leakage.

Besides, the proof of the pudding is in the data: shale gas has already cut carbon emissions in a way that wind, biomass and solar power have failed to do. Wind still produces less than 0.5 per cent of all energy and has displaced no fossil fuels. Biomass has been shown to increase carbon emissions, by encouraging deforestation. And solar power, for all its local promise in desert countries, is still an irrelevance globally and a boondoggle nationally.

What about groundwater contamination? This too is mostly hogwash. Since there is usually a mile of rock between aquifers and where the fracking happens, contamination from fracking is highly implausible. More than 25,000 wells have been sunk and there has only been a handful of potential contamination events, most of which proved to be natural.

Of course, failure of the well casing or surface chemical spills can happen occasionally, as in any industry. But the chemicals used in fracking - less than 0.5 per cent of the solution used to displace the gas - are ordinary chemicals of the kind that you find under your kitchen sink: disinfectants, surfactants and the like.

The campaign to stop shale gas proving its case in the market is political, not scientific. Behind it lies vested interests. The Russian gas industry, which is alarmed at losing its impending near-monopoly on European gas supplies, has been vocal in its criticism of shale gas. The coal and nuclear industries too would like to see this baby strangled at birth, but have been less high-profile.

Most of the opposition, though, has come from those with a vested interest in renewable energy, including the big environmental pressure groups, which are alarmed that the rich subsidies paid to wind, biomass and solar may be under threat if gas gets too cheap and cuts carbon emissions too effectively. Their entire rationale for subsidy, parroted by their dutiful poodle Chris Huhne, when Energy Secretary, is that gas would get more expensive until even wind and solar looked cheap. That was wishful thinking.

Even if you do not think carbon emissions are the highest environmental priority, there is a more fundamental reason why using gas is good for the planet. No other species needs or uses it. Every time you grow a biofuel crop, harvest timber for a biomass power station, pave a desert with solar panels or dam a river for a hydro plant, you are stealing energy from the natural world. Even the wind is needed - by eagles for soaring, by bats for feeding (both are regularly killed by wind turbines). As the only species that uses gas, the more we use it the more we can leave other sources of energy for nature.


Idiot Warmist trusts a computer poll

Even he admits that such polls can be widely out of syc with actual public opinion but he gives no information (e.g, a demographic profile or checks to see whether many of the answers come from one computer) which might tend to set such doubts at rest

Scientists may hesitate to link some of the weather extremes of recent years to global warming - but the public, it seems, is already there.

A poll due for release on Wednesday shows that a large majority of Americans believe that this year's unusually warm winter, last year's blistering summer and some other weather disasters were probably made worse by global warming. And by a 2-to-1 margin, the public says the weather has been getting worse, rather than better, in recent years.

The survey, the most detailed to date on the public response to weather extremes, comes atop other polling showing a recent uptick in concern about climate change. Read together, the polls suggest that direct experience of erratic weather may be convincing some people that the problem is no longer just a vague and distant threat.

"Most people in the country are looking at everything that's happened; it just seems to be one disaster after another after another," said Anthony A. Leiserowitz of Yale University, one of the researchers who commissioned the new poll. "People are starting to connect the dots."

The poll opens a new window on public opinion about climate change.

A large majority of climate scientists say the climate is shifting in ways that could cause serious impacts, and they cite the human release of greenhouse gases as a principal cause. But a tiny, vocal minority of researchers contests that view, and has seemed in the last few years to be winning the battle of public opinion despite slim scientific evidence for their position.

The poll suggests that a solid majority of the public feels that global warming is real, a result consistent with other polls that have asked the question in various ways. When invited to agree or disagree with the statement, "global warming is affecting the weather in the United States," 69 percent of respondents in the new poll said they agreed, while 30 percent disagreed.

Dr. Leiserowitz's unit at Yale, along with researchers at George Mason University, commissioned the survey, conducted by Knowledge Networks. That company surveyed 1,008 American adults by computer in the last half of March, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

While many online polls are not representative of the broad public, Knowledge Networks is noted for its efforts to overcome this problem, including giving computers to households too poor to have them.



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, 2012

You may be green, but you're full of germs

TRYING to save the environment is having an impact none of us can see - the germs are loving it.

Shunning paper towels and adopting green bags, low-impact household chemicals and cold wash cycles is leaving us awash with bacteria, with tests showing "clean" clothes now contain more germs than those worn by our grandparents.

It is also technically safer to make a sandwich on a toilet seat than the average cutting board, such is the amount of bacteria on kitchen surfaces from preparing raw meat.

Global infection control expert Charles Gerba said debate about exposure to dirt being useful for building immunity often confused cleanliness and good hygiene.

"We now share more spaces with more people than ever before - we are a 'touch' generation. "A hundred years ago we didn't have TV remotes, iPhones and shopping carts," Professor Gerba, also known as America's Dr Germ, said. "But everything you touch, 100 people have touched that day before you and left a trail of germs. "You gamble with germs and it is a matter of trying to keep the odds in your favour."

Professor Gerba said bathrooms were often over-cleaned while kitchen surfaces were sanitised and disinfected far less frequently.

"There is far more faecal bacteria in a kitchen sponge and in a kitchen sink than the toilet. The dirtiest thing is the cutting board. "There is about 200 times more faecal bacteria on the average cutting board than the toilet seat."

The germ load in the laundry is no better. Washing machines are silent germ magnets, swimming in E. Coli that can breed in water left in the base of the drum.

Dr Gerba, in Australia to discuss bacteria control for White King, recommends using a bleach tablet to clean the machine weekly. "Your clothes are far germier than your grandparents were because most people use cold water washes and short wash cycles," he said. "The average wash load has 2-3g of faeces in it."

Using warm cycles and clothes dryers may not be very "green" but they do help to kill the germs, he said. Faecal matter can cause illnesses such as salmonella, gastroenteritis and diarrhoea.

Other bacteria found on household surfaces can lead to skin infections or viruses like colds and flu. Dr Gerba is not a fan of face washers and said they need to be changed every few days.


New analysis finds water vapor is a negative feedback

An utterly central part of Warmist theory is that warming will increase cloudiness and cloudiness will in turn create more warming -- leading to "runaway" warming. Sadly for them, there are now multiple lines of evidence to show that increased cloudiness would cause COOLING, not warming. The latest below -- JR

A prior post explains in simple terms why the runaway greenhouse theory is impossible due to the negative feedback from water vapor. A new analysis by physicist Clive Best of the global 5500 station CRUTEM4 database over the past 111 years comes to the same conclusion: feedback from water vapor is negative.

"the IPCC argues that feedbacks from increased water evaporation will lead to enhanced warming. This is not observed in those regions most effected by water vapour. In fact the opposite seems to be the case implying negative feedback."

His analysis compares the most ARID stations [low humidity/water vapor] with the most WET stations [high humidity/water vapor] and finds that

"There is a clear trend in the data that ARID stations cool faster and warm faster than WET stations." ...

"Water Feedback = - 1.8 +- 0.2 W/m2K-1

Remarkably this is the same value as that derived from a simple argument regarding the Faint Sun paradox see here."


Exploring for gas using fracking gets green light in Britain

Exploring for gas using 'fracking' can continue safely even though it is likely to cause further earthquakes, a Government-commissioned report says. The technique of hydraulic fracturing is used to extract gas from shale rocks – potentially easing the country’s energy problems.

Work was suspended a year ago by the firm Cuadrilla Resources following two small earthquakes at its site in Lancashire.

While the report says these quakes were caused by the drilling, it concludes that further tremors would not be big enough to cause damage because they would not exceed three on the Richter Scale.

Cuadrilla believes there could be enough shale gas at the site to meet Britain’s gas needs for the next 50 years. Even if the firm can extract only a fraction of it, it would still have an impact comparable to the exploitation of North Sea oil.

Yesterday's report was rejected by anti-fracking campaigners who fear bigger earthquakes and the contamination of water supplies.

Fracking involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into shale rock down a 9,000ft deep pipeline at high pressure to release gas.

Cuadrilla hopes to establish at least 800 drilling wells on 80 sites in Lancashire.

With a final decision on fracking to be made by the Department of Energy in six weeks, the report is seen as a crucial step toward what would be the biggest gas-drilling operation in Europe. Exploratory drilling licences have also been handed out in South Wales and Cheshire, with Sussex and Kent next in line.

The report recommends one of the strictest monitoring regimes in the world. Any tremor over 0.5 in magnitude would trigger the removal of the fracking fluid while an investigation is held.

The independent report was carried out by experts from Keele University and the British Geological Survey.


Apocalyptic Daze

Secular elites prophesy a doomsday without redemption

As an asteroid hurtles toward Earth, terrified citizens pour into the streets of Brussels to stare at the mammoth object growing before their eyes. Soon, it will pass harmlessly by—but first, a strange old man, Professor Philippulus, dressed in a white sheet and wearing a long beard, appears, beating a gong and crying: “This is a punishment; repent, for the world is ending!”

We smile at the silliness of this scene from the Tintin comic strip L’Étoile Mystérieuse, published in Belgium in 1941. Yet it is also familiar, since so many people in both Europe and the United States have recently convinced themselves that the End is nigh. This depressing conviction may seem surprising, given that the West continues to enjoy an unparalleled standard of living. But Professor Philippulus has nevertheless managed to achieve power in governments, the media, and high places generally. Constantly, he spreads fear: of progress, of science, of demographics, of global warming, of technology, of food. In five years or in ten years, temperatures will rise, Earth will be uninhabitable, natural disasters will multiply, the climate will bring us to war, and nuclear plants will explode. Man has committed the sin of pride; he has destroyed his habitat and ravaged the planet; he must atone.

Around the turn of the twenty-first century, a paradigm shift in our thinking took place: we decided that the era of revolutions was over and that the era of catastrophes had begun. The former had involved expectation, the hope that the human race would proceed toward some goal. But once the end of history was announced, the Communist enemy vanquished, and, more recently, the War on Terror all but won, the idea of progress lay moribund. What replaced the world’s human future was the future of the world as a material entity. The long list of emblematic victims—Jews, blacks, slaves, proletarians, colonized peoples—was likewise replaced, little by little, with the Planet, the new paragon of all misery. No longer were we summoned to participate in a particular community; rather, we were invited to identify ourselves with the spatial vessel that carried us, groaning.

How did this change happen? Over the last half-century, leftist intellectuals have identified two great scapegoats for the world’s woes. First, Marxism designated capitalism as responsible for human misery. Second, “Third World” ideology, disappointed by the bourgeois indulgences of the working class, targeted the West, supposedly the inventor of slavery, colonialism, and imperialism. The guilty party that environmentalism now accuses—mankind itself, in its will to dominate the planet—is essentially a composite of the previous two, a capitalism invented by a West that oppresses peoples and destroys the earth. Indeed, environmentalism sees itself as the fulfillment of all earlier critiques. “There are only two solutions,” Bolivian president Evo Morales declared in 2009. “Either capitalism dies, or Mother Earth dies.”

So the planet has become the new proletariat that must be saved from exploitation—if necessary, by reducing the number of human beings, as oceanographer Jacques Cousteau said in 1991. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, a group of people who have decided not to reproduce, has announced: “Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet, another ray of hope shines through the gloom. When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory.” The British environmentalist James Lovelock, a chemist by training, regards Earth as a living organism and human beings as an infection within it, proliferating at the expense of the whole, which tries to reject and expel them. Journalist Alan Weisman’s 2007 book The World Without Us envisions in detail a planet from which humanity has disappeared. In France, a Green politician, Yves Cochet, has proposed a “womb strike,” which would be reinforced by penalties against couples who conceive a third child, since each child means, in terms of pollution, the equivalent of 620 round trips between Paris and New York.

Environmentalism has become a global ideology that covers all of existence—not merely modes of production but ways of life as well. We rediscover in it the whole range of Marxist rhetoric, now applied to the environment: ubiquitous scientism, horrifying visions of reality, even admonitions to the guilty parties who misunderstand those who wish them well. Authors, journalists, politicians, and scientists compete in the portrayal of abomination and claim for themselves a hyper-lucidity: they alone see clearly while others vegetate in the darkness.

One consequence of this certainty is that we begin to suspect that the numberless Cassandras who prophesy all around us do not intend to warn us so much as to condemn us. In classical Judaism, the prophet sought to give new life to God’s cause against kings and the powerful. In Christianity, millenarian movements embodied a hope for justice against a Church wallowing in luxury and vice. But in a secular society, a prophet has no function other than indignation. So it happens that he becomes intoxicated with his own words and claims a legitimacy with no basis, calling down the destruction that he pretends to warn against. You’ll get what you’ve got coming!—that is the death wish that our misanthropes address to us. These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we have the presumption to refuse to listen to them. Catastrophe is not their fear but their joy. It is a short distance from lucidity to bitterness, from prediction to anathema.

What is surprising is that the mood of catastrophe prevails especially in the West, as if it were particular to privileged peoples. Despite the economic crises of the last few years, people live better in Europe and the United States than anywhere else, which is why migrants the world over want to come to those places. Yet never have we been so inclined to condemn our societies.

Perhaps the new Green puritanism is nothing but the reaction of a West deprived of its supreme competence, the last avatar of an unhappy neocolonialism that preaches to other cultures a wisdom that it has never practiced. For the last 20 years, non-European peoples have become masters of their own futures and have stopped regarding us as infallible models. They are likely to receive our professions of environmentalist faith with polite indifference. Billions of people look to economic growth, with all the pollution that accompanies it, to improve their condition. Who are we to refuse it to them?

Environmental worry is universal; the sickness of the end of the world is purely Western. To counter this pessimism, we might list the good news of the last 20 years: democracy is making slow progress; more than a billion people have escaped absolute poverty; life expectancy has increased in most countries; war is becoming rarer; many serious illnesses have been eradicated. But it would do little good. Our perception is inversely proportional to reality.


Australia: Government should re-examine the climate data

(The article below has four very experienced and knowledgeable co-authors: Bob Carter is a geologist specialising in paleontology and marine geology; David Evans is a computer modeller and was a consultant to the Australian Greenhouse Office, 1999-2005; Stewart Franks is an associate professor of environmental engineering at the University of Newcastle; William Kininmonth headed Australia's National Climate Centre at the Bureau of Meteorology, 1986-98)

TWO recent, widely publicised reports by the government's scientific advisory agencies on climate change have sought to raise alarm yet again about global warming.

With the world having warmed slightly during the late 20th century, CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Climate Commission all advocate that this warming was caused mainly by industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, and that the continuation of emissions unchecked will cause dangerous warming of 3C-4C by 2100.

However, these and other climate agencies are now encountering a public that is increasingly aware of the lack of factual evidence for dangerous warming, and of the speculative nature of the arguments advanced in its favour.

For example, many people now understand that there is no direct evidence that 20th-century warming was caused mostly by carbon dioxide increase; that the late 20th-century warming has been followed by a 15-year temperature standstill in the face of continuing increases in carbon dioxide; and that the models that project alarming future warming are inadequate.

The dangerous warming hypothesis is embodied in the complex climate models that CSIRO and others use to predict the future climate. But when the model predictions are tested against the latest high-quality data from our best instruments, they are seen to have comprehensively failed.

For example, the models predicted increasing global air temperatures (the measured rises have been much less than predicted), increasing ocean temperatures (there has been no change since 2003, when we started measuring it properly with Argo ocean-diving buoys) and the presence of a hot spot caused by humidity and cloud feedback at heights of 8km-12km in the tropical atmosphere (entirely absent).

The last item is especially important because it shows that the crucial amplification assumed by the modellers and which is responsible for two-thirds of the predicted warming (yes, only one-third is directly due to carbon dioxide) simply does not exist.

Finding that the estimated historic increase in carbon dioxide was not enough to cause dangerous warming on its own, the modellers guessed that atmospheric water vapour would amplify, by a factor of three, any initial carbon dioxide-forced warming. That this assumed amplification is present in the models but not in reality explains why the models consistently overestimate recent warming.

What then should our government be making of all this?

Well, the government appears to take advice on global warming and climate change from a wide range of sources, which include the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Australian government agencies (CSIRO, BOM), state-based greenhouse or climate-change bodies, rent- seekers from many university climate-related research groups, business lobby groups and consultants and, finally, large environmental lobby organisations (Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, WWF). Phew.

The reality is, though, that all of these groups and organisations take their lead from, and support the views of, the IPCC (a political body that is unaccountable to Australian citizens).

Their starting assumption is therefore that human-caused global warming exists, that it is dangerous and that the way to avert the danger is to "decarbonise" the planet. The many agencies and groups giving advice are, in fact, just providing multiple conduits for the same repetitive, alarmist message, which derives ultimately from the same IPCC source.

Since the government's carbon tax legislative package passed the Senate last October, Australian press coverage of the global warming issue has been muted, doubtless partly signifying that there have been few government media releases that address the topic since the Senate decision.

That situation changed with a jolt during the week starting on March 12, when a wide variety of news media carried stories about CSIRO's Cape Grim air pollution monitoring station in Tasmania, followed later in the week by publicity for new reports on global warming by CSIRO/BOM and the Climate Commission.

In effect, the week revealed a co-ordinated and highly successful public relations campaign by three of the organisations involved in giving advice on climate change in Australia, with support and advance knowledge among some media editors and reporters. The aim was to rekindle the fast-fading fear of global warming alarm among the general public.

Very little scientific balance or analysis was provided during this week-long barrage of tired, speculative and highly controversial assertions about supposedly dangerous global warming.

Rather than being a new state of affairs, this assault in favour of warming alarmism by Australian climate agencies follows many similar propaganda blitzes during the past 10 years.

As experienced scientists, we have just completed a detailed assessment of the recent reports, which has been added to the list of earlier independent audits of IPCC and Australian reports at Quadrant Online (Google "global warming: an essential reference").

Our analysis of the "new" reports finds that they provide no evidence that dangerous global warming is occurring; nor that human carbon dioxide emissions will cause such warming in future; nor that recent Australian climate-related events lie outside normal climate variability; nor that reducing carbon dioxide emissions will have any discernible impact on future climate.

Therefore, Australian public policies regarding dangerous climate change, sea-level rise and other climatic hazards are based on inadequate scientific advice, which is shackled to the shortcomings of inadequate computer model projections.

The climate models are incompatible with the measured data. In recent decades the model predictions have significantly exceeded the measured temperature rise. In science, data trumps theory. If data and theory disagree, as they do here, scientists go with the data and revise their hypothesis.

But in politics the opposite is true, for authority figures and political correctness reign supreme. In which context government climate scientists, Western governments and numerous influential lobby groups all strongly support the idea of dangerous global warming, despite the strong contrary evidence.

We conclude that an obvious and urgent need exists for the government to reassess its climate hazard policies. A good starting point would be to implement an unbiased review of the evidence.


Earth Day and the Great "Sustainability" Lie

By Alan Caruba

Americans are paying the hangman for the rope.

It is estimated that since the origin of the global warming hoax in the late 1980s, Americans have seen $50 billion of their dollars thrown down the climate change rat hole.

In a January CNSnews commentary, Elizabeth Harrington noted that “A study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that the United States (has been) funding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations’ authority on alleged man-made global warming, with $31.1 million since 2001, nearly half of the panel’s annual budget.”

“In a Nov. 17, 2011 report, ‘International Climate Change Assessments: Federal Agencies Should Improve Reporting and Oversight of U.S. Funding’, the GAO found that the State Department provided $19 million for administrative and other expenses, while the United States Global Change Research Program provided $12.1 million in technical support through the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSP), averaging an annual $3.1 million to the IPCC over 10 years--$31.1 million so far.”

The forthcoming UN Rio+20 IPCC international conference in June will switch course from the discredited global warming hoax in favor if its fundamental agenda, the imposition of a global government that reflects the UN’s goal of a worldwide socialist economy. The sovereignty of individual nations will be subject to the dictates of a small group of UN bureaucrats.

The theme will be “sustainability.”

There is a reason that the upcoming Earth Day, April 22nd, falls on the birthday of Vladimir Lenin, the former Soviet Union’s first dictator. Everything associated with the environmental movement has communism as its basis.

In February, KPMG, a Swiss entity and “a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services” operating in 152 countries, held a conference that attracted “more than 600 top CEOs and senior business leaders from many of the world’s major corporations.” It was held in cooperation with the United Nations Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the United Nationals Environmental Programme. Among those attending were former President Bill Clinton and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

It issued a report, “Business Perspective on Sustainable Growth: Preparing for Rio+20 and offered recommendations “to scale-up investment in sustainable development, provide strong price signals on resource scarcity and environmental impacts” and “deliver new platforms for public-private collaboration at the international and national levels.”

In other words, the UN is laying the groundwork to ensure that its bogus sustainability agenda will offer enough inducements to the global business community to ensnare them in its control.

In an article by Terence Corcoran in the Financial Post, he characterized Rio+20 saying, “It’s as if the high priests of Occupy the Planet and the Green Apocalypse—having run their old socialist and environmental engines into the ground—have stumbled across a new set of rationalizations and slogans.”

As if the Obama administration hasn’t wasted billions on its green energy agenda, funding one failed renewable energy company after another, the White House Council on Environmental Quality announced in March that it will sponsor its third annual “GreenGov” Symposium September 24-26 in Washington, D.C.

“The Symposium will bring together leaders from government, the private sector, non-profits and academia to identify opportunities to create jobs, grow clean energy industries, and curb pollution by incorporating sustainable practices into the Federal Government’s operations.” If this wasn't so ludicrous, I'd laugh, but these are the lies the Obama administration wants you to believe.

And people wonder why President Obama killed the Keystone XL pipeline, imposed an illegal moratorium on oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and his administration has issued fewer leases for the exploration and extraction of oil on federal lands than any other.

Throw in the Environmental Protection Agency’s war on the coal industry, and the Interior Department’s limits on access to federal land known to contain uranium deposits for the nuclear energy industry, and you begin to see how our own government is conspiring to leave the United States of America bereft of the energy reserves that we have in abundance!

The nation’s energy needs and its dollar are being weakened in order to eliminate it as the only real deterrent to the United Nation’s, Russia’s and China’s global ambitions.

The Earth has not warmed in fourteen years and it is not running out of energy reserves of oil, coal, and natural gas.

As the global warming hoax is shelved, the sustainability hoax is being rolled out and will be on full display June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro conference when the usual suspects and charlatans gather to plot the continuation of their socialist revolution.

There is not one single reason why the U.S. taxpayer should be contributing to this communist cabal and conference.



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, 2012

Forget global warming: Scientists discover glaciers in Asian mountain range are actually getting BIGGER

Photos taken by a French satellite show glaciers in a mountain range west of the Himalayas have grown during the last decade. The growing glaciers were found in the Karakoram range, which spans the borders between Pakistan, India and China and is home to the world's second highest peak, K2.

The startling find has baffled scientists and comes at a time when glaciers in other parts of the region, and across the world, are shrinking. [Says who?]

French scientists from the National Centre for Scientific Research and the University of Grenoble, were forced to rely on satellite images, to study the region - because much of the Karakoram range is inaccessible.

They compared observations made in 1999 and 2008 and found a marginal mass increase. They estimated the glaciers had gained between 0.11 and 0.22 metres of ice each year.

The researchers are unsure why the region bucks the global trend - but they know from other studies in other parts of the world that in very cold regions, like the Karakoram range, climate change can cause extra precipitation, which then freezes and adds to ice mass.

Lead reseacher Julie Gardelle told BBC News: 'We don't really know the reason. Right now we believe that it could be due to a very specific regional climate over Karakoram because there have been meteorological measurements showing increased winter precipitation; but that's just a guess at this stage.'

Stephan Harrison, associate professor in quaternary science at the UK's University of Exeter, said the new research had showed there is 'considerable variability' in the global climate and in how glaciers respond to it.

The Karakoram glaciers are also unusual because they are covered with thick layers of rock debris, which means their patterns of melting and mass gain are driven by changes in that debris as well as in the climate.

Harrison said much of their mass gain also comes from avalanches from the high mountains surrounding them.

'Overall, the impact of melting glaciers such as these on sea level rise is known to be negligible, but it does mean that there is much more to be learnt about exactly how the world's glaciers will respond to continued global warming.'

The findings provide welcome respite at a time when glaciers across the globe are shrinking at a rapid rate.

A study of the neighbouring Himalayas in 2011 found the rate of ice loss in glaciers - which provide fresh water for around 1.3 billion people - has doubled since the 1980s. [But a study published in February this year found that between 2003 and 2010 the effective change in the size of glaciers in the high mountains of Asia was not significantly different from zero]


Prosecute Al Gore?

So far this month, the public has learned that the Arctic is overrun with polar bears, according to a Canadian study. The poster child for fear-warmongering by junk-science global warmists not only survives but thrives.

Then an actual count of penguins found that there are twice as many Emperor Penguins in Antarctica than previously thought, a second study found.

Then, another study found that far from melting in 23 years as the Nobel Peace Prize-winning IPCC report predicted, the glaciers of the Himalaya mountains are doing just fine.

The time has come to investigate James Hansen, Michael Mann, Al Gore and other global warming stars for fraud. They lied. They manipulated data. They made false predictions of doom in their over-heated sales pitches. I know that Hansen and Gore made millions off these false alarms of ecological doom. We must now hold them accountable for false claims and the spreading of rumors.

Not once have these fakes ever said a darned word about the benefits of global warming. Instead, they spin hysteria about melting icebergs flooding the Earth from a vengeful Gaea, who hates the SUV, punishing us for our sins.

They laugh at these “journalists” who repeat their talking points. The carbon footprint of Al Gore is bigger than Sasquatch’s.

Actual scientists are beginning to speak out — albeit a decade late — about the nonsense about carbon dioxide killing us all.

From Oregon State University:
CORVALLIS, Ore. – An analysis of 35 headwater basins in the United States and Canada found that the impact of warmer air temperatures on streamflow rates was less than expected in many locations, suggesting that some ecosystems may be resilient to certain aspects of climate change.

The study was just published in a special issue of the journal BioScience, in which the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network of 26 sites around the country funded by the National Science Foundation is featured.

Lead author Julia Jones, an Oregon State University geoscientist, said that air temperatures increased significantly at 17 of the 19 sites that had 20- to 60-year climate records, but streamflow changes correlated with temperature changes in only seven of those study sites. In fact, water flow decreased only at sites with winter snow and ice, and there was less impact in warmer, more arid ecosystems.

“It appears that ecosystems may have some capacity for resilience and adapt to changing conditions,” said Jones, a professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. “Various ecosystem processes may contribute to that resilience. In Pacific Northwest forests, for example, one hypothesis is that trees control the stomatal openings on their leaves and adjust their water use in response to the amount of water in the soil.

Then there is the letter from 50 astronauts, engineers and scientists at NASA to the agency’s chief:
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.

The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.

As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate. We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.

The history of science is filled with hoaxes. Piltdown Man, for example. Phrenology for another. The time has come to investigate these phonies for possible prosecution.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

The Population Control Holocaust

Robert Zubrin

Around the world, the population control movement has resulted in billions of lost or ruined lives. We cannot stop at merely rebutting the pseudoscience and recounting the crimes of the population controllers. We must also expose and confront the underlying antihumanist ideology.

There is a single ideological current running through a seemingly disparate collection of noxious modern political and scientific movements, ranging from militarism, imperialism, racism, xenophobia, and radical environmentalism, to socialism, Nazism, and totalitarian communism. This is the ideology of antihumanism: the belief that the human race is a horde of vermin whose unconstrained aspirations and appetites endanger the natural order, and that tyrannical measures are necessary to constrain humanity. The founding prophet of modern antihumanism is Thomas Malthus (1766-1834), who offered a pseudoscientific basis for the idea that human reproduction always outruns available resources. Following this pessimistic and inaccurate assessment of the capacity of human ingenuity to develop new resources, Malthus advocated oppressive policies that led to the starvation of millions in India and Ireland.

While Malthus’s argument that human population growth invariably leads to famine and poverty is plainly at odds with the historical evidence, which shows global living standards rising with population growth, it nonetheless persisted and even gained strength among intellectuals and political leaders in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Its most pernicious manifestation in recent decades has been the doctrine of population control, famously advocated by ecologist Paul Ehrlich, whose bestselling 1968 antihumanist tract The Population Bomb has served as the bible of neo-Malthusianism. In this book, Ehrlich warned of overpopulation and advocated that the American government adopt stringent population control measures, both domestically and for the Third World countries that received American foreign aid. (Ehrlich, it should be noted, is the mentor of and frequent collaborator with John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor.)

Until the mid-1960s, American population control programs, both at home and abroad, were largely funded and implemented by private organizations such as the Population Council and Planned Parenthood — groups with deep roots in the eugenics movement. While disposing of millions of dollars provided to them by the Rockefeller, Ford, and Milbank Foundations, among others, the resources available to support their work were meager in comparison with their vast ambitions. This situation changed radically in the mid-1960s, when the U.S. Congress, responding to the agitation of overpopulation ideologues, finally appropriated federal funds to underwrite first domestic and then foreign population control programs. Suddenly, instead of mere millions, there were hundreds of millions and eventually billions of dollars available to fund global campaigns of mass abortion and forced sterilization. The result would be human catastrophe on a worldwide scale.

Among the first to be targeted were America’s own Third World population at home — the native American Indians. Starting in 1966, Secretary of the Interior Stuart Udall began to make use of newly available Medicaid money to set up sterilization programs at federally funded Indian Health Services (IHS) hospitals. As reported by Angela Franks in her 2005 book Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy:
These sterilizations were frequently performed without adequate informed consent.... Native American physician Constance Redbird Uri estimated that up to one-quarter of Indian women of childbearing age had been sterilized by 1977; in one hospital in Oklahoma, one-fourth of the women admitted (for any reason) left sterilized.... She also gathered evidence that all the pureblood women of the Kaw tribe in Oklahoma were sterilized in the 1970s....

Unfortunately, and amazingly, problems with the Indian Health Service seem to persist ... recently [in the early 1990s], in South Dakota, IHS was again accused of not following informed-consent procedures, this time for Norplant, and apparently promoted the long-acting contraceptive to Native American women who should not use it due to contraindicating, preexisting medical conditions. The Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center reports that one woman was recently told by her doctors that they would remove the implant only if she would agree to a tubal ligation. The genocidal dreams of bureaucrats still cast their shadow on American soil.

Programs of a comparable character were also set up in clinics funded by the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity in low-income (predominantly black) neighborhoods in the United States. Meanwhile, on the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, a mass sterilization program was instigated by the Draper Fund/Population Crisis Committee and implemented with federal funds from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare through the island’s major hospitals as well as a host of smaller clinics. According to the report of a medical fact-finding mission conducted in 1975, the effort was successful in sterilizing close to one-third of Puerto Rican women of child-bearing age. [...]

Around the world, the population control movement has resulted in billions of lost or ruined lives. We cannot stop at merely rebutting the pseudoscience and recounting the crimes of the population controllers. We must also expose and confront the underlying antihumanist ideology. If the idea is accepted that the world’s resources are fixed with only so much to go around, then each new life is unwelcome, each unregulated act or thought is a menace, every person is fundamentally the enemy of every other person, and each race or nation is the enemy of every other race or nation. The ultimate outcome of such a worldview can only be enforced stagnation, tyranny, war, and genocide. The horrific crimes advocated or perpetrated by antihumanism’s devotees over the past two centuries prove this conclusively. Only in a world of unlimited resources can all men be brothers.

That is why we must reject antihumanism and embrace instead an ethic based on faith in the human capacity for creativity and invention. For in doing so, we make a statement that we are living not at the end of history, but at the beginning of history; that we believe in freedom and not regimentation; in progress and not stasis; in love rather than hate; in life rather than death; in hope rather than despair.


Overthrowing Environmentalism

By Alan Caruba

In 1517 Martin Luther set off the Protestant revolution against the Catholic Church that led to the spread of the then-new movement as a response to the corruption of the Church. It took time for it to establish itself as an alternative and was greatly aided by the invention of printing and spread of literacy, but mostly because ordinary people had grown weary of the Church’s extravagance, poor governance, and resistance to change.

The selling of worthless “indulgences” as a means to wipe one’s sins clean was the final straw.

Environmentalism has become a modern religion and its “cap and trade” scheme to sell worthless permission slips for the emission of so-called “greenhouse gases”—based on United Nations Kyoto Protocol calling for a reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere—is being rejected by many nations .

As it has become common knowledge that CO2 is vital to all life on Earth and plays no role in affecting the climate, ordinary people have concluded that global warming in particular and environmentalism in general is a giant fraud.

No one argues that nations should not attend to the basic maintenance of clean air and water. That view predates the environmental movement, but the stranglehold on nation’s economies and the ability to engage in any form of commerce has reached a breaking point. The fact is, the U.S. has made great strides over the years and there are limits to how “clean” the air and water can or even should be. The EPA wanted to regulate “dust” at one point until Congress put an end to that insanity.

The lies required to maintain environmentalism and its vast matrix of laws and regulations are being publicly rejected and a recent example is a letter sent to NASA administrator by fifty present and former astronauts, scientists, and engineers who work for NASA is a seminal moment, not unlike Martin Luther’s 95 theses nailed to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg.

The NASA employee’s letter demanded that its Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) “refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. We believe that the claims of NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data.”

It should be noted that the global warming hoax can be dated to testimony by James Hansen before Congress in 1988 and he is still the GISS administrator! His apocalyptic predictions helped launch a U.S. response currently seen in the Environmental Protection Agency power-grab, based on the false CO2 claims, that will eliminate one fifth of the coal-fired plants providing electricity to a large swath of the nation and likely end the building of new comparable facilities.

On April 9th, Rasmussen Reports, a polling organization, release the results of a poll that found that 52% of likely voters “think there’s a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection, thoough 31% disagreed." Rasmussen stated that “support for investing in fossil fuels like oil and gas is also at a new high amidst near-record gas prices and the on-going development of the Keystone XL pipeline which President Obama blocked for environmental reasons.”

The following day, April 10th, Rasmussen released results of another poll that found that 44% of likely voters “believe, generally speaking, that the EPA’s regulations and actions hurt the economy. Just 17% disagree.”

On February 21st, Steve Milloy of, was published in The Washington Times in an opinion about EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s testimony before Congress writing that “Over the past three years, the Obama EPA has conducted a scorched earth campaign against fossil fuel producers and users, especially the coal-fired power industry, with multibillion-dollar rules that provide no meaningful environmental or public health benefits.”

The environmental revolution—a Communist agenda—is being resisted piece by piece by scientists and others who no longer will submit to its utterly false “science” and its UN-inspired Agenda 21 plans to impose control over all aspects of life on planet Earth. A June Rio conference will largely abandon the fear-mongering of global warming in favor of “sustainability”, a matrix of controls that will enslave the world’s population with the worst totalitarian precepts since the rise of Communism and Nazism in the last century.

Agenda 21 has been at work in America for decades at this point and few have any idea what it represents. It is destroying property rights in America and that’s just for starters.

On Earth Day—April 22nd—the birthday of Vladimir Lenin, the dictator who imposed Communism on Russia in 1917, the various elements of the environmental movement will flood the world with propaganda. The connection between these two events should not be ignored.

Environmentalism should be soundly rejected and the emerging movement to overthrow it should redouble its efforts.


British Conservatives plot re-think on countryside wind turbines

Ministers are preparing to veto major new wind farms in the British countryside and cut back their subsidies, according to senior Government sources.

The decision to pull back from onshore wind farms comes after more than 100 backbench Conservative MPs mounted a rebellion against turbines blighting rural areas earlier this year.

Greg Barker, the Climate Change Minister, also said this weekend Britain has “the wind we need” either being built, developed or in planning.

“It’s about being balanced and sensible,” he said. “We inherited a policy from the last government which was unbalanced in favour of onshore wind.

“There have been some installations in insensitive or unsuitable locations - too close to houses, or in an area of outstanding natural beauty.”

Britain already has around 350 wind farms across the country, with around 500 already under construction or awaiting planning permission

This means the number of wind farms built in the British countryside could still double from the current level.

However, it is understood senior Conservatives in the Coalition are behind a determination to scale back support for onshore wind power, amid fears the turbines are deeply unpopular in rural areas. There is also concern that subsidising so many different types of “green” energy is adding too much to energy bills.

They have seen an opportunity to re-think policy since Chris Huhne, the former Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, resigned to fight charges of perverting the course of justice in a speeding case.

“Chris Huhne’s zealous ambition is being reined back,” one top Whitehall source said. “There’s already enough being built and developed."

It is understood the Department for Energy and Climate Change is currently considering how it can keep a lid on more wind farms being developed.

Sources said ministers are prepared to block major developments of onshore wind turbines under the new Localism Act that came into force last month.

They are also ready to reduce the £400 million per year in funding that goes to wind farms under the Renewable Obligation Certificate subsidy.

The moves would be popular with the dozens Conservative MPs fighting against new wind developments in their constituencies.

In the letter sent to Downing Street in February, more than 101 MPs sais they have become “more and more concerned” about government “support for onshore wind energy production”.

“In these financially straitened times, we think it is unwise to make consumers pay, through taxpayer subsidy, for inefficient and intermittent energy production that typifies onshore wind turbines,” they say.

The MPs want the savings spread between other “reliable” forms of renewable energy production.

The news comes as leading Conservatives launched a behind-the-scenes attempt to kill the Coalition's so-called "conservatory tax".

Tory ministers are furious that people who want to extend their homes or build conservatories will be forced to pay for extra insulation themselves or sign up to the government's "Green Deal", which provides loans to install energy saving insulation that must be paid back with interest.

A senior government source said "aspirational" home-owners who wanted to improve their properties should not be penalised.

"We don't think this should extend to a 'conservatory tax' situation. The compulsion elements are over-the-top," the source said.


British "Conservatory tax" to be axed for being 'an attack on aspiration'

Ministers are to scrap plans for a ‘conservatory tax’ following a massive Tory backlash. A senior Government source told the Mail that the proposals are ‘dead in the water’.

This latest abrupt U-turn comes only a week after we revealed the move which would force homeowners to fork out hundreds of pounds extra on measures to improve energy efficiency when they build an extension or fit a boiler.

Although the Liberal Democrat-inspired plans are still out for consultation, the source said: ‘We are absolutely not going to have a conservatory tax. It is an attack on aspiration and we want nothing to do with it. It will be blocked.’

The rethink came as ministers struggled to regain control of the political agenda after an Easter break dominated by Budget rows over tax raids on charities, churches and the elderly.

The Mail’s revelation last week that ministers planned to force millions of homeowners to install costly energy efficiency measures when making home improvements infuriated Tory MPs.

Under the ‘mandatory’ scheme anyone wanting to build a conservatory, replace a broken boiler or install new windows would have to seek permission from the council. It could then require them to improve the energy efficiency of their homes by investing in measures such as loft and wall insulation and draught-proofing.

Loans would be available under the Government’s £14billion Green Deal scheme to help pay for the measures, the cost of which could run into hundreds of pounds.

But the scheme alarmed many Conservatives, who feared it would deter families wanting to improve their homes.

MP Stewart Jackson said: ‘We should be supporting aspirational families who want to better themselves and improve their homes, not clobbering them. It is a crackpot scheme and I hope it is strangled at birth.’ Fellow Tory Mark Pritchard said: ‘The tax on conservatories should be renamed a tax on Conservatives. It is another anti-aspiration tax, and a tax on one of the UK’s favourite hobbies – DIY.’
Rag outs

A powerful group of Tory ministers, including the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, Employment Minister Chris Grayling and Housing Minister Grant Shapps, mobilised quickly to block the move. Mr Cameron is also said to have been alarmed by the proposal.

The controversial measure is included in a consultation issued by Mr Pickles’s Department for Communities and Local Government.

Sources said it had been included at the behest of former Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne as a result of Coalition ‘horse-trading’.

Mr Huhne has since been forced to step down to fight criminal charges over allegations that he asked his former wife Vicky Pryce to take speeding points on his behalf.

A source said: ‘It is a shame that the idea ever made it into the consultation at all, but the Lib Dems got their way.’

A senior Government figure said the mandatory element of the scheme would be dropped when the final proposals are published.

‘We are not against people insulating their homes and we are not against the Green Deal, but it should not be mandatory,’ he said.

The decision to scrap the ‘conservatory tax’ before it has even got off the ground is likely to anger some Lib Dems.

A source close to the new Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey defended the proposal, saying it would save homeowners money in the long term.

‘We are just asking people to make improvements to make their homes more energy efficient – it seems to me that actually helps the homeowner,’ said the source.

‘Of all the building regulations there are, this is one of the few where the entire financial benefit accrues to the homeowner. It will save them money on their fuel bills over the medium to long term.’

However, a raft of recent research has cast doubt on the level of savings claimed by the Government.

Some pilot studies have found that the cost of energy efficiency measures is far higher than the savings on bills.



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, 2012

Chu: Climate change evidence mounting

But he doesn't say what it is. There are a few hand-waving references to weather events but he quotes no studies or statistics to show that they are unusual -- because they aren't!

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Wednesday that scientific evidence of climate change is getting more and more powerful, comments that come as global warming legislation remains moribund in Congress and Environmental Protection Agency regulations are facing ongoing GOP assaults.

“Over the last couple of years, the dispassionate, hard science evidence has been mounting, increasing,” said Chu, speaking at an energy forum hosted by The New York Times.

Chu noted that “we don’t understand everything” and that in past years scientists have actually underestimated the pace of some changes, including sea level rise.

“It is rising even faster than we thought. The number of violent rainstorms have increased faster than we thought,” he said at the event in New York, adding that though there are “bumps and wiggles” that are not understood, trends are clear in the long term.

“The debate is how much will it change. There are feedbacks both positive and negative that we are trying to understand,” said Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist.

The vast majority of scientists say global warming is occurring and human activities are a key factor. A small minority call data on warming trends and the human contribution inconclusive or inaccurate.

That skepticism has become a mainstream position among Republicans, who also argue that regulations to curb climate change are unnecessary and would be economically harmful.

But climate aside, Chu said there’s a powerful economic case for the United States supporting the development of renewable energy sources and industries, noting that “the world is going in this direction.”

“Don’t you want to be selling rather than buying? You don’t even have to think about [climate] to say there are new technologies coming. It is our lead to lose. We are still the greatest innovative country in the world and here is a worldwide market that is going to grow and grow and grow,” he said.


PC Power Is Not Sustainable

And President Obama’s “all-inclusive” energy policy is anything but!

President Obama’s mantra du jour for his 2012 campaign speeches is “all-inclusive” energy. Any business touting this version of “all-inclusive” would be prosecuted for false advertising.

When the President says “all-inclusive,” he means politically correct (PC) “green” energy (wind, solar and bio-fuels), and nothing that actually provides reliable, affordable power – especially not hydrocarbons. Another PC buzzword – “sustainable” – is right out of the United Nation’s Agenda 21 Protocol and the President’s goal of “fundamentally transforming” America.”

Increasing pain at the pump and plug underscore the reality that Mr. Obama’s energy policies are anything but all-inclusive, and his PC power is anything but sustainable – though they certainly are transforming our country. In fact, if the Keystone XL pipeline's oil were used to generate electricity, it would provide more energy than all existing US wind and solar installations combined.

Be they massive or small-scale, actual or theoretical and decades away – wind, solar, corn ethanol, switch-grass and algae projects are being paid for with countless billions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars. The arrangements are sweet for promoters and “investors” on the receiving end, and for politicians looking for crony capitalist campaign contributions from these recipients.
But they’re neither nice nor “sustainable” for those of us paying the tab.

Consider wind power. Whether you’re talking about massive, multi-billion-dollar projects covering miles of ridge-lines and hundreds of thousands of acres with mammoth 400- to 500-foot-tall industrial wind turbines (which kill a half-million birds and bats without penalty every year, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and American Bird Conservancy), or you mean the comparatively smaller turbines being installed for personal home use around the country – both are being erected thanks to billions of dollars in generous state and federal incentives forcibly collected from taxpayers and ratepayers.

A recent news story in Western New York fairly sparkled with praise for one of these small wind projects. A semi-retired small farm owner and his wife just installed their third personal-size “windmill,” with high hopes that the turbines will provide much of their electricity.

“State and federal incentives,” the article explained, “are covering almost the entire $75,000 cost for the new windmill.” Similar state and federal “grants” had paid half the cost for the first two ($55,000 each).

That adds up to $130,000 that the rest of us taxpayers and ratepayers paid to cover the cost of one residence’s electricity. And yet, when the wind isn’t blowing enough or at all, the part-time farmers will still be utilizing the same “base-load” sources (hydroelectric, natural gas, coal and nuclear) that we all rely on. They get “free” electricity, while we pay for PC power and redundancy.

The Heritage Foundation recently reported the startling news that the “average” American’s annual income is $32,400, while those living off government entitlements now average $32,700 per year. That means the $130,000 that actual ratepayers and taxpayers are paying to cover the cost for one residence to get this PC electricity equals more than four years of before-tax wages for today’s “average” worker.

Suppose now that 100 residences across New York (or any) state are able to get the same deal, and have one to three home-use-size turbines installed. Those 100 residences would get their PC electricity at a cost to the rest of us of $7,500,000 to $22,500,000! How quickly PC power’s costs add up.

New York State is ranked as one of the worst states in the country for doing business. The reasons include our high taxes, onerous regulations and high electricity rates. A recent Manhattan Institute report noted that states like New York that have mandated the use of PC wind power and other “renewables” have seen their electricity rates soar ever higher – increasing by 30% to 50% above prior levels.

So while a few folks may be lucky recipients of personalized PC electricity installed at their homes, the rest of us must pay these costs through higher tax and utility bills, the economy worsening as businesses and industries avoid or leave the state, hospitals and schools cutting staff and services to pay their higher electricity bills, and “average” wage earners struggling even harder to make ends meet.

This is “sustainable”? This is caring about working people and our poor? This is our energy future?

Isn’t it wonderful how our government offers $55,000 to $130,000 or more to encourage rural families to install personal wind turbines on their property, while the rest of us “get” to pay the tab?

Will it really surprise anyone when today’s “average” wage earners simply decide it isn’t worth the struggle anymore, and join the ranks of those living on the government/taxpayer dole?

Sadly, this increasingly appears to be the agenda for an Obama Administration that is focused on a “green” agenda that “necessarily skyrockets” our energy rates, and “fundamentally transforms” our nation (President Obama’s words), in order to achieve near-total government control over our economy and lives.

Thanks to a well-orchestrated environmental movement backed by the United Nations, wealthy US foundations and multi-national corporations, the Administration’s strategy is already working.

Worse, it is being helped by misguided people who fail to consider the long-term ramifications, as they exploit and advance “environmental justice,” “sustainability” and “incentive” programs. At some point, we and our children and grandchildren are going to have to pay the fiddler.

No one I know is opposed to “green” energy per se, as long as it can be fully justified by sound scientific, economic and environmental analysis – and those who want it pay for it themselves. However, we have yet to witness one instance where this has been the case.

Entitlement debt is destroying our great nation. These kinds of taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded giveaways, imposed in the name of being “green,” are simply not “sustainable” – especially if we want our children and grandchildren to live free and prosper.


Obama’s quixotic wind program

An integral part of President Obama’s renewable energy plan is wind power. It paints a nice picture; towering fields of gigantic turbines on an open hillside or small residential windmills atop a house or barn all collecting power from the wind solving all your electricity needs. Too bad it doesn’t really work all that well on a mass scale.

Wind power only accounts for about 1 percent of all the energy used in the U.S. today. In 2010, it accounted for 2.3 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S. These numbers aren’t low due to a lack of turbine farms in America, they are low because turbines only generate a percentage of their theoretical maximum output—the wind does not always blow.

What’s more ironic from an environmentalist perspective is the fact that these giant turbines (some can reach 400 feet tall and turn at speeds of 200 mph in peak times) kill a half-million birds and bats without penalty every year. Knowing the typical response of true environmentalists, if any other industry other than a “green” one caused that much damage they would be there with a lawsuit threatening to shut it down.

In mass, if wind power seems to kill more birds than it produces energy, why does it remain such an integral component in Obama’s energy plan? Why does America continue to spend millions of dollars on an unstable energy source when there is no shortage of other much cheaper, reliable industries?

The city of Reno, Nev., is probably asking itself the same question. Windmills were installed in Reno between April and October of 2010 and cost about $1 million out of a $2.1 million federal energy grant given to the city that was part of President Obama’s stimulus package, which passed in 2009.

Unfortunately, to date the turbines haven’t performed well in the city. In one example, the city of Reno paid $21,000 for a particular wind turbine only to have it save them $4 in energy costs. Furthermore, a total cost of $416,000 worth of turbines has netted the city $2,800 in energy savings—in two years.

John Hargrove, who manages NV Energy’s Renewable Generations program in Nevada, hits the nail on the head when it comes to the main problem with wind power. He said, “There is a lot of difference in some of the generators relative to what the (manufacturers) claim. A generator can claim to put out 100 kilowatt hours, but that’s based on an assumption that there’s a certain amount of wind. If you don’t have the wind, you won’t have the output.”

Wind power is not a sustainable source of energy. It’s a good idea in theory; a way to get something for doing nothing. But it’s simply not reliable.

This problem extends beyond just Reno. Since the city’s risky “green” investment was part of a larger renewable energy grant from Obama’s stimulus, all these wasted dollars once belonged to taxpayers.

Windmills served a great purpose when they were used to mill grain for food production, but a growing demand for electricity led to other more reliable and viable industries.

This isn’t to say wind power won’t play a role in the future, but when an industry with such poor output is eating up money from hard-working Americans, is it worth the investment? If wind power technology someday becomes a sustainable and affordable source of energy, then such an investment will make sense.

But for now, as Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG), says, “Using energy independence as an excuse to fund unsustainable green energy programs is nothing more than tilting at windmills at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.”


As "Earth Day" approaches ...

By Alan Caruba

As the nation and the world closes in on Earth Day, April 22nd, a tsunami of Green propaganda will overwhelm us with all the usual lies about global warming—now called climate change—and calls to reduce the use of all fossil fuels in order to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions.

This Big Lie ignores the fact that there is no relationship between carbon dioxide (CO2) and the climate. CO2 reacts to climate change. It does not drive it. The Big Lie ignores the fact that the Earth has been cooling for fourteen years.

The past three and a half years of the having Barack Obama as President have been filled with constant crisis, not the least of which was the nation’s financial crisis which he constantly reminds us he “inherited.” He has not, however, solved it with proven ways to put millions back to work and turn around a stagnant economy.

Instead he devoted his best efforts to a takeover of one-sixth of the nation’s economy, the healthcare industry. His administration has waged a steady war on access to energy reserves vital to the nation’s economy. The result of these policies are being felt at the gas pump as prices rise to historic highs while billions of barrels of oil in the U.S. remain underground.

His devotion to all the eco-lies was seen in the millions wasted on “green jobs” with his failed “stimulus” and loans to “green industries”, primarily wind and solar power. Other schemes included high-speed trains where none are needed or wanted. To this day Amtrak has never made a profit. And electric cars remain impractical and unaffordable.

His environmental commitment was perhaps best seen and heard when Obama attended a United Nations Conference of Parties in Copenhagen in March 2010. His speech to the delegates and world press contained all the lies associated with “climate change” and the failed policies he was pursuing two years ago and earlier.

“We come together here in Copenhagen because climate change poses a grave and growing danger to our people. You would not be here unless you—like me—were convinced that this danger is real. This is not fiction, this is science," said Obama.

Aside from the fact that the climate has always been in a state of change for Earth’s 4.5 billion years, the science employed to frighten people about such change does not bear any resemblance to real science which is an impartial blend of data based on replicable experiments.

Real science does not have a political agenda. The bogus science of global warming was revealed in November 2009 when the world learned that a handful of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “scientists” had systematically distorted the scientific process, conjuring up false computer models that ignored significant elements of climate history. The revelations would be dubbed “Climategate.”

Never one to not criticize America, Obama reminded the delegates that America was “the world’s second largest emitter” of greenhouse gases even though such gases do not function as a greenhouse, trapping and holding heat. If they did, how would one explain the fact that the Earth has been in a natural cooling cycle since around 1998?

What is the mark of a developing or successful economy? It is the use of energy!

Obama promised that the U.S. would work “to phase out fossil fuel subsidies” and promised “historic investments in renewable energy” and his intention to put Americans “to work increasing efficiency in our homes and buildings; and by pursuing comprehensive legislation to transform to a clean energy economy.”

Such a transformation is ludicrous. America runs on oil, on coal, on natural gas, on hydroelectric and nuclear power. The investments in wind and, in particular, solar power, have wasted millions of taxpayer dollars. Combined, wind and solar provide less than two percent of the nation’s electrical power while coal provides nearly half. It has been the use of coal that the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency has been determined to reduce or end, falsely claiming CO2 is a "pollutant."

Typically, Obama said “There is no time to waste.” In reality the Obama administration has wasted every opportunity to increase access to America’s vast energy reserves. Even when bragging about oil production, Obama never admits that it is occurring on private land. His administration has virtually shut down access to exploration and extraction on federally owned and managed land.

Environmentalism is the mask of communism, concentrating ownership of all property and productivity in the hands of the government. Even when addressing the need to ensure clean air and water, it has been used as a blunt instrument of power to limit economic development.

These are well established environmental lies and they are Obama’s environmental lies.

The Copenhagen conference came to a hasty end as the world’s leaders fled the city to avoid being trapped there by a massive blizzard. The global warming they all warned against in 2010 was not occurring and is not occurring.


Top British Tories try to torpedo "Green Deal"

A powerful group of Conservative ministers has launched an attempt to torpedo the coalition’s flagship “green” home improvement scheme in a move which will spark a major new rift with the Liberal Democrats.

Leading Tories inside and outside the cabinet believe the £14 billion “Green Deal” – due to start in six months’ time – must be ditched because it risks leaving key “squeezed middle” voters out of pocket by several thousands of pounds.

Under the Green Deal, millions of householders would be encouraged to install energy-saving home improvements such as loft insulation or cavity wall insulation, with no up-front charge.

The work would be funded with loans of up to £10,000 which would be paid back though a surcharge on household energy bills.

Many ministers have long been sceptical of the scheme, the pet project of Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat who resigned as energy secretary to fight a court charge that he perverted the course of justice over a 2003 speeding case.

However, their mood has hardened into outright opposition following revelations this week of a new stealth “conservatory tax” faced by householders, estimated at adding around 10 per cent to the total bill for improvements.

Under the proposal, those who wanted to extend their homes – or undertake repairs – would be required to sign up to the Green Deal as a condition of gaining planning permission for the work.

The group of ministers – which sees George Osborne, the Chancellor, as its leader – includes two ministers at the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, and Grant Shapps, the housing minister, as well as Chris Grayling, the employment minister. They want the Government to abandon not just the compulsory “tax” element of the scheme, but the entire Green Deal.

The move puts Tory ministers on a collision course with Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and Ed Davey, the Lib Dem successor to Mr Huhne at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

The battle comes just weeks before the Queen’s Speech – the announcement of the Government’s legislative plans for the next year – which is currently slated to include at least three energy-related measures.

It also coincides with the build-up to the “Rio+20” Earth Summit in June – a major UN conference which will set a new series of “green” goals for the world economy – which will be attended by Mr Clegg but not, significantly, by David Cameron.

A senior Tory source told The Sunday Telegraph last night: “The Green Deal was Chris Huhne’s baby. He has gone now and this is the right time to kill it off. Forcing people to pay thousands of pounds extra for unwanted home insulation is the last thing hard-pressed families need at the moment. It’s madness.”

Conservative ministers have gone into battle on the issue ahead of local elections across England, Wales and Scotland which could see their party punished by voters after a series of political reverses – including the “granny tax” abolition of some pensioner allowances and accusations that ministers sparked panic buying of fuel over a tanker drivers’ strike which had not been called.

This newspaper has also learned, meanwhile, that Mr Osborne and Mr Clegg clashed face to face on the green issue during an ill-tempered Cabinet meeting last month ahead of the Budget.

According to a leading coalition figure the Chancellor “went round the cabinet table” asking individual ministers “what they were doing” to boost economic growth. When he reached Mr Clegg the Deputy Prime Minister is said to have reminded Mr Osborne that Mr Cameron had pledged to lead the “greenest government ever” – enraging the Chancellor.

The Green Deal, which was first unveiled in 2010 and was included in the 2011 Energy Act, is an attempt to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) given off by buildings. It aims to insulate all homes in Britain within 20 years. Householders are able to borrow up to £10,000 and pay back the cost through their energy bills for up to 25 years.

However, DECC has already admitted there is potential for “hassle” from the deal, including new requirements which might “deter building occupiers from carrying out works”.

Last week it emerged that millions of householders looking to build a conservatory, replace a boiler or put in new windows could first have to pay extra for measures such as wall or loft insulation, under new rules which are currently out to consultation.

Experts have also warned that the deal risks causing havoc in the private rented sector – because landlords would be breaking the law if they rented out accommodation which did not meet strict new energy efficiency requirements.

Last week in a speech Mr Clegg set out plans for large subsidies for low-carbon electricity generation to be set out in the Queen’s Speech, on 9 May, including a fixed-price arrangement with generators.

Other measures expected to be included in legislative plans include an “emissions performance standard”, which would limit the amount of C02 a generator could release, and a “capacity mechanism” to ensure that enough electricity can be generated through gas-fired power stations to deal with the “intermittency” of provision by wind farms.

Mr Clegg said reports that householders would have to pay thousands of pounds extra to do “simple things like insulating their homes” were “ludicrous scare stories”.

Britain has one of the world’s toughest carbon reduction commitments – enshrined in the 2008 Climate Change Act – to cuts emissions by 80 per cent within 40 years.


LOL! "Free" solar panels make some British houses unsaleable!

Fears that "free solar panel" offers to generate £1,000 a year out of thin air looked too good to be true will be fuelled by new claims that banks and building societies are refusing mortgage applications.

Some properties where photovoltaic (PV) panels have been installed are proving unmortgageable and unsaleable, hitting house prices. Worse still, the bad news comes not from critics of renewable energy but professional intermediaries with every reason to hope house sales can proceed; surveyors and mortgage providers.

Institutions are wary of criticising government-backed schemes to save the planet – but they are also reluctant to be left with bad debts if property deals turn sour. David Dalby, a director of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors told me: “We fully support the use and production of sustainable energy. However, at a time when prospective buyers are finding it tough to secure mortgages, free solar panels can cause a further barrier to homeownership.

“An inflexible PV panel lease, without a buy-out clause, could result in a failed transaction. We are advising our members to inform homebuyers of these issues and strongly urge anyone looking to make an offer on a property with ‘free’ PV panels to seek legal advice and consult their mortgage lender beforehand.”

Not all solar panels are affected. Those which may cause problems were installed by solar companies free of charge to the householder, which then sell any extra energy generated back to the grid under the Government’s Feed-in Tariffs scheme (FITs).

These schemes are usually based on leases of 25-years for use of the roof space, which requires the prior approval of the mortgage lender, which RICs claims many lenders are refusing to provide. The news follows early scepticism about some offers and questions about contract terms and conditions.

Where a mortgage lender does refuse the mortgage on the basis of the roof-lease, the solar company may offer a ‘buy-out’ option to the prospective buyer who can purchase the installation at the price stated in the original lease agreement, less depreciation. However, typical costs of between £10,000 and £12,500 could come as a nasty shock for new owners who may already be pushing their finances to the limit.

If the worst comes to the worst, installation companies could refuse to sell their kit to new homeowners and seek to charge for removing the panels and the loss of income from the feed-in tariff. Even the risk of litigation could block a sale, causing the house price to plummet.

Paul Broadhead of the Building Societies Association said: “Most building societies will consider lending on properties with solar panels. One factor that will sway their decision towards a refusal is if they believe that the roof space leasing agreement with the panel provider, makes the property less saleable.

“Leasing roof space to a third party is still a pretty new phenomenon and ought to be treated with caution by homebuyers and lenders alike until the industry is better regulated and controlled.

“There are number of issues with these schemes and some of the providers. These are primarily driven by the lack of any regulation of panel providers. There is an accreditation scheme but it does not have any statutory backing, and not all providers subscribe to it.

“There are also some instances of high pressure sales techniques and home owners are often being required to lease the airspace above their roof for 25 years, usually with no break-clause. It is patently important for consumers to be very clear what they are signing up to and the long-term implications.”

Similarly, a spokesman for the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) said: “Lenders support the principle of green energy initiatives, but want to ensure that solar panel leasing agreements do not adversely affect the value or marketability of the property.

“Ensuring compliance with the CML’s minimum requirements should reduce the chance of a borrower encountering problems in trying to sell or remortgage the property, or in carrying out repairs and maintenance.

“The minimum standards provide important protection for lenders and borrowers, given that most agreements to lease roof space last for 25 years. Any changes to the borrower’s circumstances over that period, or the need for maintenance or repairs, should not create a financial burden for either the lender or borrower.”

Mr Broadhead emphasised that these problems do not apply to panels that have been bought by the homeowner and professionally installed. Indeed, some building societies will offer further loans to buy solar panels. The BSA has produced factsheets on how tell one type of solar panel agreement from another which you can see here.

It all goes to show there is nothing new under the sun and that, when it comes to financial services, “free” can prove the most expensive word in the English language.



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, 2012

Greens as childish attention seekers

For half a century green activists have insisted that their historical moment – and a particular generation – are the planet’s last hope

Meteorology professor Scott Mandia. Photo appears on his blog with the following caption: "The Caped Climate Crusader: Battling the evil forces of global warming deniers."

The thing about green activists is that they’re drama queens. Nothing is ever just a problem – it’s a crisis. Nothing can ever be solved with a straightforward technological fix. Instead, billions of people must be bullied into changing their lifestyles – and scary new systems of global governance must be imagined.

Green crusaders don’t see themselves as doing their small part to make this complex world a bit better here and a little more sane there. Modest, steady, incremental improvement doesn’t interest them.

They yearn, instead, for high-profile roles on the world stage – clad in superhero costumes and accompanied by portentous music. The visions in their head as they fall asleep at night are of televised ceremonies in which medals are draped around their necks and a cast of thousands applauds their saviour-of-the-planet status.

The late comedian George Carlin famously compared the human-planet Earth relationship to fleas on the back of a dog. But green activists consistently imagine that their own navel is the center of the universe. For nearly half a century they’ve insisted that the turning point in human history just happens to be that very moment. They’ve declared – over and over – that whomever they’re speaking to (or about) is the last generation with any hope of averting disaster.

Back in 1970, 42 years ago, overpopulation was the environmental crisis du jour. The public was urged to have no more than two children, and newspapers reporting on a speech delivered by a voice-actor-turned-eco-activist quoted the actor as saying:

"we don’t have much more than a decade left. This generation will be the last one with a chance to do anything…By 1975 the United States will have exported its last grain of wheat. And by 1985…air pollution will be so bad…there will not be enough [oxygen] left to breathe and man will perish."

Fast forward two decades and David Suzuki’s 1990 book, It’s a Matter of Survival, told us (22 years ago) that we had “fewer than 10 years to turn things around” and that we were “the last generation on Earth that can save the planet.”

Two years later it was a specific year – 1992, when the Rio Earth Summit occurred – that was being described as “the last chance to save the planet”

Eight years later, in the year 2000, a UK newspaper ran the headline: If we don’t act now, it’ll be too late. The article, written by activist journalist Geoffrey Lean, interpreted recent flooding as a message from Mother Nature and included this overwrought statement:

"It may well be that our children and grandchildren, living in a much more inhospitable climate, will look back on November 2000 as the month when Britain, America and the world failed to take the last, best chance to bring global warming under control."

Eleven years have come and gone since Lean penned that screed. Does anyone now regard November 2000 to be an environmentally significant moment? Not in the slightest. He was writing total nonsense, but I suppose it made him feel important.

Two years afterward, in August 2002, the Environment Secretary of the Philippines was telling the media:

"There is precious little time to lose, and [the environment summit to which I am heading], may be our last chance to prove our worthiness as the stewards of the Earth…"

In 2005, the World Wildlife Fund histrionically declared:

"This generation of politicians is the last generation who have it in their power to secure the future of our planet…History will not forgive them if they fail to act."

In 2007 Rajendra Pachauri, the activist chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the New York Times that: "If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late…This is the defining moment."

That same year, science writer Fred Pearce published a book titled The Last Generation: How Nature Will Take Her Revenge for Man-Made Climate Change. According to the description on, there’s a “crisis confronting the planet.” Moreover, Mother Nature is a “wild and resourceful beast given to fits of rage” – whom human beings have now provoked “beyond her endurance.”

As the 2009 UN-sponsored climate summit in Copenhagen drew closer all that melodramatic language was recycled yet again. The UK Telegraph reported that economist Nicholas Stern regarded that event as the “last chance to save the planet” and the “most important gathering since the second world war”

Greenpeace Southeast Asia declared that the Copenhagen meeting “may be humanity’s last chance to avoid total chaos” and that the “year 2009 may be the tipping point in human history”

Similarly, the EU’s climate commissioner said Copenhagen was “the world’s last chance to stop climate change before it passes the point of no return”

As that summit got underway, 56 newspapers ran the same editorial in 20 languages around the world. This editorial claimed that “humanity faces a profound emergency” – and once again argued that the reputation of the current generation was on the line:

"The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it."

Fourteen months later, in Feburary 2011, the middle-aged head of the Copenhagen Climate Council sounded rather like the actor quoted in the 1970 newspaper article when he explained to the Green Editor of the Huffington Post: "Your generation is the last generation who can…to a certain extent, influence their own future."

Today, the Rio +20 conference scheduled for June is still a few months off. But guess what? Already green activists are singing from the same tedious hymn book. According to conservation biologist Richard Steiner, the upcoming conference "may be our last best chance to deal seriously with the global environmental crisis before it is too late…

Sorry, professor, but we’ve heard it all before. Many, many times before, in fact.

Anyone who expects me to pay attention to these current dire predictions needs to explain why things are different this time. After the long list of faux ‘last chances’ that have come and gone why would I imagine that, suddenly, green activists know what they’re talking about?

Why would I imagine that my chain isn’t being jerked once again by a gaggle of self-aggrandizing, childish minds?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

One last shot at the statistical jiggery-pokery of "shaky" Shakun et al.

I have put up or linked to a number of articles which have shot holes on this last-ditch attempt by Warmists to save something from paleoclimate data but perhaps the comment from Germany below is also worth noting

Best-selling authors Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt and geologist Dr. Sebastian Lüning comment on Shakun’s recent “Nature” paper at their site.

One of the most hotly disputed points in the climate debate is CO2 climate sensitivity. The warmists would like to have everyone believe that CO2 is the primary climate driver in the climate system.

However, climate and geological data show it ain't so. More than 10 years ago a Swiss-French team published the results of an Antarctic ice core study in Science. The scientists, among them Thomas Stocker, were able to show that atmospheric CO2 concentrations lagged behind temperature by about 800 years. This has become a painful thorn in the side of the global warmists. Clearly it showed that CO2 reacted to temperature, and not vice versa.

Rather than admitting that the CO2 global warming hypothesis is broken, the warmists have chosen instead to try to get rid of inconvenient 800-year lag. With the IPCC 5th assessment report due to come out soon, the IPCC activists are scrambling to get their hands on a study that eliminates this 800-year lag and puts CO2 back in command.

Die kalte Sonne site writes how the IPCC is attempting to pull another Michael Mann-type history rewrite. In 2001, Man’s now bogus hockey stick was the graph celebre that re-invigorated the global warming movement. But with Michael Mann fading, the IPCC needs a new, young star, fresh with a PhD. They found him in Jeremy Shakun, lead author of a new study that claims to do away with the inconvenient 800-year lag and shows CO2 once again is the real driver.

Shakun claims that the Antarctic climate shown by the ice core reconstruction was a local artifact, and not global. Shakun and his team took temperature reconstructions from numerous locations scattered about the globe and averaged them out and suddenly, lo and behold, temperature lagged CO2. Science now settled!

Shakun and his colleagues claimed that during the last ice age CO2 concentrations surged 40%, which led to a temperature increase of about 3.5°C – precisely what the IPCC wanted to see. The media and warmist science community all breathed a sigh of relief – the climate catastrophe is coming after all. And without checking up, the mainstream media unleashed the news, e.g. Spiegel Online,, Stern.

But then came Willis Eschenbach, who quickly exposed the shortcomings of Shakun’s paper. Die kalte Sonne describes how he went about with his analysis at WUWT. Lüning and Vahrenholt write:

"It is a true mystery how anyone is able to discern temperature is lagging behind CO2 from such a massive scatter of data, as the title of Shakun’s paper (Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation“) claims."

With the Shakun story, Vahrenholt and Lüning see parallels to the Michael Mann saga:

"One can’t help but get the impression that all this is a renewed desperate attempt to salvage the beloved CO2-catastrophe model. Already in the case of the Hockey Stick curve statistical tricks as ad absurdum were used. When that failed, scientists very close to the IPCC tried to blame the Little Ice Age solely on volcanic activity.

The Shakun paper is simply the latest sequel. It plainly shows once again that the judges (IPCC report authors) should not judge their own deeds (scientific literature). What is taken as a given in the legal system is not even questioned in the politically sensitive climate sciences. All we can do is scratch our heads in amazement.”

Vahrenholt and Lüning add:

"And there are other interesting parallels to the Hockey Stick saga. Michael Mann was awarded his doctorate degree for his Hockey-Stick research, and then was put on the accelerated fast-track to professor and promoted to the IPCC top brass. Also Jeremey Shakun carried out his work, now published in Nature, as part of his doctoral thesis which he submitted in 2010 (see p. 64 in the doctoral thesist and p. 80 of the pdf). Originally the paper had been intended to be published by Science. Had it been submitted there, rejected, and then had more luck at Nature? And what is going to happen to Jeremey Shakun? Is he going to have an similarly rapid career climb like Mann did?”

Vahrenholt and Lüning write:

"Finally, it is interesting to note that Shakun’s co-author is Peter Clark, his PhD advisor who happens to be a coordinating lead author of the new IPCC report. Also co-author Bette Otto-Bliesner is also a lead author of the new report of the IPCC.”

and add:

"The stated task of the IPCC is neutral viewing and assessment of the scientific literature. How can neutrality be assured when IPCC members ultimately peer-review their own work?”

Looks like the IPCC is more broken and corrupt than ever.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Solar: Fake Energy Provided by Fake President

This is the year that the fake energy provided by our fake president finally collide and go boom.

So, get ready for a new round of green bankruptcies, as Europe trims back subsidies for solar companies and taxpayers lose their appetite for subsidizing green power.

“The mini-bubble resulting from the rush to cash in on solar subsidies in European and U.S. markets is ending, as feed-in tariffs drop in Europe while loan guarantee and tax credit programs tighten up in the U.S.,” says a new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch according to

Germany is dialing back subsidies for solar this month by 29 percent with subsequent decreases each month, according to

Rasmussen has recently released a survey of voters that show a diminishing number of voters support subsidizing the production of the Chevy Volt.

Only 29 percent of likely voters agree with Obama’s latest proposal to include a $10,000 subsidy in the federal budget to support the purchase of every electric vehicle. The survey found that 58 percent oppose the plan, while 13 percent remain undecided.

And make no mistake, without subsidies solar, electric vehicles, wind power and other alternatives remain a chimera.

“Steven Cortes, CNBC contributor and founder of Veracruz Research, also sees solar stocks declining further and wonders about the impact of the recent natural gas boom on the sector.

“’As much as I love sun, I hate the solar space. This is not a real business, it’s a political construct,’” Cortes said on Fast Money Wednesday. “’And they can’t compete with natural gas at these levels.’”

According to the Associated Press the U.S. now has 2.433 trillion cubic feet in storage.

“That figure is 48.3 percent more than the five-year average, the Energy Department said,” reports the AP. “Natural gas fell 3 cents to finish at $2.27 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York. The price has fallen about 27 percent this year and is at the lowest level in a decade.”

Last week Abound Solar announced it would lay off half its workforce despite receiving a $400 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy last year. The rating agency Fitch’s hit Abound over failures to meet stated goals, old technology, calling the company “highly speculative” according to ABCNews.

Reports ABC:

"It remains way too early to determine whether Abound is poised to follow the trajectory of the best-known solar manufacturer to receive a sizeable government loan -- Solyndra, the California firm that filed for bankruptcy in September after having burned through the bulk of its $535 million federal loan."

Perhaps. However, there is an old saying in the market that the tape doesn’t lie. And the tape on solar companies is horrendous.

“Solar Trust of America LLC, which holds the development rights for the world's largest solar power project,” reported Reuters earlier this month, “on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection after its majority owner began insolvency proceedings in Germany.”

Although the Department of Energy was eager to approve Solar Trust for $2 billion worth of government loan guarantees, the company rejected the offer in a scramble to find technology that would actually allow their plant to work. Its amazing that at the time the Department of Energy was pushing a loan to the company, the company was realizing the equipment on which the loan was predicated wouldn’t work.

Once billed as the brains trust behind one of the largest solar projects ever- the Blythe Solar Power Project in California’s Coachella Valley- Solar Trust of America will end its government-sponsored Gong Show appearance with the tinny reverberation of failure that will echo for the whole industry.

“The Oakland-based company has held rights for the 1,000-megawatt Blythe Solar Power Project in the southern California desert,” writes Reuters, “which last April won a conditional commitment for a $2.1 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is unclear how the bankruptcy will affect that project. Solar Trust did not receive the loan guarantee.”

While Obama administration was denied the opportunity to throw money at Solar Trust- only by the grace of the company’s own good judgment- make no mistake, Obama’s policy of throwing money at other of these uneconomic, sunshine and blue sky investments, is responsible for the bankruptcy as much as any other factor; actually, probably more so.

So far, the administration has made $34 billion in loan guarantees to various green energy projects, many of them in a solar industry already rocked by over-supply and poor economics.

What solar needs now is fewer start-ups, less investment, not more. And everyone outside of the government central-failures understands this. The more money that’s been thrown at solar, the smaller the industry has become.

In the second quarter of 2008 First Solar (Symbol: FSLR) briefly touched $300 per share. Today it trades at $27.49. That equals losses of about $24 billion in market capitalization in just four years.

In April of last year Trina Solar LTD (Symbol: TSL) was trading just under $30 and is now trading at about $7.31. Earnings estimates have gone in the last few months from Trina losing about 17 cents per share for 2012 to losing about 63 cents per share.

The Guggenheim Solar ETF (Symbol: TAN) has also moved down from around $300 per share in mid 2008, until it trades now at $22.48.

And the fundamentals aren’t getting better for solar soon, because solar can’t compete with coal-fired or nuclear generated electricity.

“Fewer solar panels will be installed this year,” reports Bloomberg “as the first drop in more than a decade worsens a glut of the unsold devices that’s already slashed margins at the top five manufacturers, an analyst survey showed... Without government incentives, even record low prices for solar panels may not be cheap enough to encourage solar farm developers and homeowners to install them in the volumes needed to work through the glut, said Rozwadowski, the most pessimistic analyst in the survey. He expects installations to drop to 20.7 gigawatts.”

It’s important to note that the poor performance of the solar industry came at a time when government financial support has been at an all-time high world-wide. It only goes to show that politics and public policy are poor substitutes for free market economics.

Expect the solar industry to continue to crash and burn as government money continues to dry up along with public support. Because there is no amount of money fakery that can cover the mess our fake president has made of his fake pet industry: solar power.


President Obama is Working to Make Gasoline More Expensive

Paul Driessen

President Obama and Senate Democrats need to take Lemonade Economics 101.

Tell a ten-year-old that the federal government is going to make him pay 25 cents for every glass of lemonade he sells at his corner stand, and he will say he’ll have to charge an extra quarter per serving – or simply close up shop. He certainly won’t say he’ll lower his prices.

But President Obama wants us to think he can compel oil companies to lower the skyrocketing pump price of gasoline, by eliminating business tax deductions for certain major companies, and raising their cost of doing business by what he admits would be $4 billion a year.

In fact, regular gasoline averaged $1.85 per gallon when Mr. Obama took office. It is now $4.20 a gallon in much of the Washington, DC area, over $4.00 in many regions, and heading north as summer approaches. The impact on commuters, family budgets, vacation plans, and shipping food and other products has been horrendous, and is getting worse.

In reality, oil companies don’t get subsidies. They get tax deductions for exploration, drilling, refining and other business expenses. Eliminating those deductions is effectively a tax hike, and the companies will have to pass those tax hikes on to their customers – further increasing pump prices.

And yet Senate Democrats recently offered an amendment that would eliminate various tax deductions for five major oil companies, turn the supposed savings into subsidies for wind turbine, solar panel and electric car makers – and use any leftover crumbs to “pay down” our skyrocketing budget deficit.

The ploy needed 60 votes – but got only 51, despite the President’s vocal support. “Members of Congress,” he said, “can stand with big oil companies, or with the American people.”

However, the American people are no longer buying the partisan rhetoric. They increasingly understand that new taxes and restrictions on oil companies are not in their best interest. In fact, a recent Harris Interactive poll found that over 80% of US voters support increased domestic oil and gas production, to create and preserve jobs, lower pump prices and increase government revenues.

They understand that only 12% of what they pay for gasoline goes to oil companies for refining, marketing and distribution. Another 12% is state and federal taxes. Fully 76% is determined by world crude oil prices – and thus by global supply and demand, and confidence or fear about world events.

Americans understand that eliminating tax deductions for expenses incurred in producing and refining oil is the same as imposing new taxes. Those taxes would result in curtailed drilling and production, reduced royalty revenues, worker layoffs, still higher gasoline prices, and increased costs for everything we grow, make and transport with petroleum. Blue collar, poor and minority families would be hurt worst.

Every US business claims deductions for new equipment, facility depreciation, utilities, payroll, research and other expenses. This ensures that businesses, like individuals, recover their costs and get taxed only on their net incomes.

Five oil companies should not be singled out and punished as the sole exception to this rule.

Legitimate expense deductions are very different from subsidies. Subsidies amount to government taking money from individuals and profitable companies, and transferring it to politically favored companies and products that could not survive without perpetual support.

The system is even more insidious when the subsidized entities return substantial portions of their taxpayer largesse as campaign contributions to President Obama and other politicians who arrange the wealth transfers.

Other facts make the practice still more disreputable. “Alternative,” non-hydrocarbon energy is often justified by assertions that we face imminent manmade catastrophic global warming. In reality, as NASA scientists recently emphasized, virtually no empirical evidence supports hypotheses, assertions or computer model projections about melting polar icecaps, average global temperatures, storm frequency and intensity, sea levels and other natural phenomena.

Wind, solar and biofuel energy are also justified by claims that we are running out of oil and gas. In fact, America is blessed with vast proven petroleum reserves, and even greater undeveloped prospects that our government has made off limits. The natural gas and hydraulic fracturing revolution is merely a hint of the energy, jobs and revenues Americans could produce, if certain politicians would end their obstinacy.

Yet another “renewable” argument is that petroleum “keeps us trapped in the past.” In truth, we need to worry about the present, especially our depressing unemployment and unsustainable debt. Oil and gas provide 60% of America’s energy. By contrast, despite untold billions in subsidies, wind and solar combined still provide barely 0.60% – and are unlikely to do much better for decades to come.

Oil companies do make a lot of money, because they produce, refine and sell the enormous quantities of fuel and other petroleum products that are and will long remain the foundation of our economy. But they also pay billions in taxes and royalties – and produce real energy: abundant, reliable and affordable.


The wind industry is unsustainable

The $2-billion Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge area involved $500 million in outright subsidies, plus a subsidized loan guarantee of $1.1 billion for General Electric, plus production tax credits. At the whim of the winds, its 338 gigantic turbines will generate electricity for California, in wild swings between zero and their combined rated capacity of 845 MW – chopping up eagles, falcons, herons, bats and other protected species as they spin.

In 2010, GE generated over $5 billion in US profits – but paid no US income taxes, and no fines for the thousands of protected birds and bats that its Cuisinart wind turbines slaughtered.

By contrast, White House villain ExxonMobil (one of the companies targeted by the failed tax bill) earned $30.5 billion in profits that year, on revenues of $383 billion, paid $1.6 billion in US income taxes, and made combined lease bonus, rent, royalty, tax and other federal payments of almost $10 billion. When a few birds are killed on oil company property, companies pay substantial fines.

President Obama promised that he would “fundamentally transform” America and ensure that electricity prices “will necessarily skyrocket.” His Energy Secretary has said Americans should pay $8-10 per gallon for gasoline. His Environmental Protection Agency and Interior and Agriculture Departments have systematically foreclosed access to our nation’s oil, gas, coal and uranium resources.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chu’s Department of Energy recently awarded $10 million of taxpayer money to Philips Lighting for making an “affordable” light bulb – that costs $50 per bulb!

And it is working overtime to promote, subsidize and install thousands of onshore and offshore wind turbines that generate too much ultra expensive electricity when it’s not needed and too little when it’s most needed, require too much land and too many raw materials, kill too many birds, cost too much money, and require perpetual subsidies and exemptions from environmental laws that apply to all traditional forms of energy.

This “green” energy “future” is unsustainable.

Oil companies do make a lot of money because they produce, refine and sell enormous quantities of fuel and other petroleum products. But they pay billions in taxes and royalties – and produce real energy.

Wind, solar, algae and switchgrass companies take billions in Other People’s Money. They pay virtually no taxes, and provide virtually no usable energy, except in the minds and press releases of their promoters.

Expecting that higher taxes on oil companies will produce more oil at lower prices is like saying we will get cheaper bread, and more of it, by eliminating tax deductions for bakeries’ electricity and equipment.

American voters and consumers understand this. It’s time our elected officials and unelected bureaucrats did likewise.


Australia: Attack on "green" energy by NSW conservatives

THE NSW government's decision to withdraw support from clean energy schemes was criticised yesterday as a retrograde step that would threaten billions of investment dollars.

The Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, has said the government would not be supporting green schemes that require a subsidy and is calling for the closure of the federal government's renewable energy target.

After the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal's draft determination for a 16 per cent rise in electricity prices, Mr Hartcher blamed federal Labor for forcing households and small businesses to foot the bill for its carbon tax and "costly green schemes".

He called for the closure of the renewable energy target - legislation that is supported by the federal opposition.

The NSW opposition spokesman for energy, Luke Foley, said yesterday the tribunal's determination found that green energy schemes had not contributed to electricity price increases. Power bills are forecast to rise between $182 and $338 a year from July 1.

Mr Foley said the state government had ended bipartisan support for the 20 per cent renewable energy target after calling for the target to be removed, despite adopting the target in its state plan released last year.

"The O'Farrell government has launched a relentless attack on renewable energy, with chilling investment signals sent by the government throughout its first year in office," he said.

"Solar in NSW has been stopped dead in its tracks. The draft wind guidelines are designed to chronically handicap the expansion of the wind industry.

"Renewable energy is already contributing to lower wholesale electricity prices. The Australian Energy Market Commission recently reported that new wind energy projects in Victoria will mean that increases to wholesale electricity prices in that state will be lower than in NSW. Rather than attacking wind farms, the O'Farrell government should require its own planning review to come up with a sensible and workable planning regime for the development of the wind industry in NSW."

The acting chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton, said it was a "worrying sign that the NSW government would seek the removal of one of Australia's most significant energy policies without considering the impact this would have on investors who have put billions of dollars into clean energy projects in NSW. The renewable energy target is scheduled to run until 2030 and these projects would face collapse if it was removed."

A spokeswoman for Mr Hartcher said yesterday the government supports the increase in use of energy from renewable sources as a key component of its broader energy strategy. She said NSW Labor had set network charges for the five years to 2014 and was responsible for the failed solar bonus scheme.

"Labor and the Greens keep ignoring the truth, which is that green energy schemes are hurting consumers because they all need subsidies - and those subsidies are hidden in their electricity bills," she said.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre said yesterday rural and regional customers would be among the hardest hit by the electricity price rises. It has called for energy rebates that target people most at risk of poverty.

A senior policy officer, Carolyn Hodge, said rebate rates were uniform despite the fact consumers were charged different electricity rates.

"PIAC is particularly concerned about people in rural and regional areas who are paying approximately $600 per year more than the average Sydney household," she said. "Not all of the assistance available to vulnerable people has kept up with power prices."



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, 2012

Richard Lindzen: Response To The Critique Of My House Of Commons Lecture


On February 22, 2012, I gave a lecture at the House of Commons explaining the nature of the arguments for climate alarm, and offering my reasons for regarding the concern as being unjustifiably exaggerated. The slides of this lecture were widely circulated. Not surprisingly, the lecture led to a variety of complaints from those supporting alarm. The most thoughtful of these (by Hoskins, Mitchell, Palmer, Shine and Wolff) was a detailed critique posted at the website of the Grantham Institute that Hoskins heads. While there was a considerable amount of agreement between the critics and myself, the overall tenor of the critique suggested that I was presenting a misleading position. The following is my response to this critique. Since both the critique and my lecture focused on the science, the discussion is, of necessity, technical. Moreover, there are distinct limits to what can be covered in a one hour lecture. The following provides more detail than could be included in the lecture.

The critique by Hoskins et al. of a lecture that I recently gave seems to be primarily a statement of subjective disagreement, though it has important errors, and is highly misleading. The critics are, for the most part, scientists for whom I have considerable respect. The following response to their critique will, I hope, be considered to be part of a constructive exchange. Such constructive exchanges are new in the field of global warming, and, perhaps, represent a return to the normal process of scientific discourse.

The critique begins with reference to points that I accept (such as that CO2 has increased as have temperatures, and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas that should contribute some warming). It should be pointed out that acceptance by scientists is always qualified by a willingness to reconsider. I will come to this point later. It should be noted that, in my lecture, my observation was that these points did not imply anything alarming, though, to be sure, if they were untrue, there would be nothing to even talk about. The critics are, of course, correct on one point (namely my suggestion that anthropogenic greenhouse forcing was already almost equal to that which is associated with a doubling of CO2). According to the IPCC fourth assessment report, anthropogenic greenhouse gases have only added about 3 Watts/m2 (at least by the time of the report) and this is only a bit over 80% of what one expects from a doubling of CO2 though the IPCC allowed that the value might be as large as 3.51 Watts/m2. However, my point was simply that we are hardly far from the equivalent of a doubling of CO2. It is by no means a matter for the far distant future, and predictions based on large response to a doubling of CO2 imply a significant impact now though, given that response time is proportional to sensitivity, we would not yet expect the full equilibrium response at larger sensitivities.

The critique’s introduction ends by agreeing that there may be uncertainty, but that our ignorance is not total. They argue that “Contemporary science suggests unambiguously that there is a substantial risk that these feedbacks will lead to human-induced surface temperature change considerably larger than 1 degree C in global average this century and beyond.” Drilling through the peculiar syntax of this statement suggests that the only thing that is unambiguous is precisely the claimed large measure of ignorance needed to maintain the possibility of risk. As usual, no attention is given to the possibility that the response will be much smaller.

The critics next turn to “Temperature and other data.” The critics complain that I regard the global average of temperature deviations from 30 year means to be an obscure statistical residue. This is a matter of opinion, but I see no basis for claiming that the result in my slide 14 is restricted to short time scales on the order of a decade or less. While my slide 12 contained an error in failing to notice the difference in two downloaded files, the increase in warming that this error pointed to was 0.14C/century not 0.14C/decade (as stated by the critics). The error did nothing to change my main stated point: with uncertainties on the order of 0.2C, adjustments could be made that were well within the realm of possibility, but that such changes, while frequently argued about with great intensity, do not alter the primary fact that such changes are small. That an error that has no impact on an argument is nonetheless taken to be major seems a bit of a stretch. It is also a stretch to claim that questioning the normal process of auditing the data is inconsistent with accepting that there has been a small net warming over the past 150 years. The critics next express surprise that I appear confident that fluctuations on the order of a tenth of degree are present on virtually all time scales. Since, I think that the critics agree with the statement, their surprise seems misplaced. As to the models being able to simulate various reversals in trends, there are enough adjustable parameters to simulate almost anything, but predictions have been another story. They explicitly fail the test of prediction.

On the question of Arctic sea-ice area, the critics simply repeat my point. Namely, that in summer there is always much less ice coverage, and hence changes appear as large seeming percentages. Thirty years is not a long record in this business, and while the satellite data is certainly better than what we had before, there is little question that Arctic sea-ice has been subject to large variations in the pre-satellite past. Of course, the more important question is what these changes actually have to do with increasing CO2, and this question remains open simply because the small changes in summer sea ice can have a number of causes.

The critics’ last remark in this section seems to obfuscate the rather obvious point that we currently cannot say that the rate of sea level rise is accelerating. Without such evidence, the choice of whether to be concerned or not is essentially a matter of personal preference.

The critics next turn to “Paleo data and climate.” The critics attempt to insist that CO2, as a feedback, is responsible for the magnitude of glacial cycles. However, it should be noted that the critics are claiming that a fluctuation in radiative forcing on the order of two watts per square meter is a major factor. Even the illusive phrase ‘consistent with’ hardly covers the implausibility of this speculation. But, the remainder of the comment points to a major misunderstanding of how the glacial-interglacial system works. The critics claim that I am confusing correlation with causality. In fact, for decades, attempts to relate ice volume to the Milankovitch parameter (solar insolation at 65N in June) failed to show a good correlation. Recently, however, it was realized that it should be the time derivative of ice volume that one compares with the Milankovitch parameter (viz Roe, 2006, Edvardsson et al, 2002), and the correlation turns out to be superb (1). However, this is not simply a superb correlation. The Milankovitch parameter was based on a very specific physical idea: namely that the growth of glaciers depends primarily on the survival of winter ice accumulation through the summer. The Milankovitch parameter varies over a range of about 100 watts per square meter, which is indeed capable of having a dominant influence on the survival of accumulated snow and ice. The notion that the small changes in globally and annually averaged insolation are the crucial driver is implausible to say the least, but it stems from the current simplistic view of climate consisting in a single variable (globally averaged temperature anomaly) forced by some globally averaged radiative forcing – an idea that permeates the critics’ discussion despite their noting that current GCMs are in fact 3 dimensional with moderate horizontal and vertical resolution. Given the numerous degrees of freedom in the climate system, any such imbalances resulting from the much larger Milankovitch forcing are easily compensated. It is rather unlikely that the small compensation called for is actually the major forcing. Moreover, there is, to the best of my knowledge, no proposed mechanism whereby small globally and annually averaged radiative changes could produce the major glaciations cycles, whereas the Milankovitch mechanism is transparently clear and provides a driver that, in its large magnitude and in its appropriate spatial and seasonal properties, is exactly what is needed and is simple to boot.

As to the possibility suggested by Berger and Loutre (2002) that the present interglacial will be unusually long, it is an interesting one, but it is not based simply on the current low eccentricity, but rather on an extraordinarily simplified climate model where CO2 has to play a major role. Still, I would like to think that Berger and Loutre are ultimately correct despite the limitations of their analysis. However, whether it proves true has nothing to do with the arguments over the role of anthropogenic CO2 and climate.

The critique next turns to the matter of “Models.” That the general circulation models are based on an attempt to numerically solve well known equations does, I suppose, distinguish them from models used in other fields like economics, but given the fact that there is currently no hope of numerical models having sufficient temporal and spatial resolution, these models must, of necessity, cease being simple evaluations of the basic physical relations that the critics point to. Thus, the fact that the models are nominally based on well established physical principles provides no basis for trust since we are not actually dealing with solutions of the basic partial differential-integral equations. In contrast to normal numerical analysis, we don’t even have mathematical error analyses or proofs of convergence.

The critics tacitly acknowledge significant problems with the existing modeling approaches when they state their preference for a hierarchy of models rather than the use of well established physical principles to check models. The ideal procedure that the critics describe (where what I refer to as ‘well established physical principles,’ they wish to call, somewhat perversely, ‘simpler models in the hierarchy’) is, indeed, what one might hope for, but it is currently far from the present practice which primarily involves the intercomparison of the coupled General Circulation Models, and little attempt at objective testing. Indeed, the reductionist approach to modeling described by the critics could ultimately lead climate modeling back to ‘theory,’ and traditional methods of testing and progressive improvement. Instead, comparisons with observations are currently referred to as validation studies, and, to an uncomfortable extent, seem to lead to modifications of conflicting data, rather than adjustment of models. None of this implies that the models must invariably be in conflict with the ‘well established physical principles.’

Whatever my skepticism about various aspects of coupled GCMs, there is little question that they do display the moist adiabatic profile of temperature in the tropics, and, with respect to this specific matter, the models must, indeed, be correct. Why this should seem to be ‘interesting’ to the critics is hardly clear. Moreover, they agree with my conclusion (that the moist adiabat profile must be present as a matter of atmospheric physics, not as a ‘fingerprint’ of greenhouse gas influence). The data, in this instance, do seem to be in contradiction to the physical principle, and the debate cited by the critics is a good example of the contortions that have become commonplace to correct data in order to bring it into conformity with models though, in this case, the contortions are undoubtedly needed. Both the critics and I agree that there is something wrong with the data that fail to show the ‘hot spot’ required by the moist adiabat. Therefore, in my lecture, I suggested (rather than claimed) that the surface data might be at fault. The reason that this might be the case is simple. The tropics (which are what this disagreement deals with) are notoriously poorly sampled. Now, it is well established that above the trade wind boundary layer, temperatures are relatively uniform over very large distances (thousands of kilometers) determined by what is known as the Rossby radius of deformation. However, within the boundary layer, it is also known that there is much greater spatial variability. Thus, sampling problems are a much more serious matter in the boundary layer. This does suggest that the problem might reside in the surface data, but, as the critics note, the matter continues to be debated. However, given our substantive agreement on this issue, I have no idea why the critics again find my suggestion ‘surprising.’

The critics then make the remarkable suggestion that the fact that the models display the moist adiabat in the tropics argues for their reliability in the arctic. In point of fact, the moist adiabat is such a trivial theoretical construct that one would be appalled and surprised if it didn’t pop out of a model. Their speculation does nothing to counter the obvious fact that the arctic temperatures offer no evidence of a significant role for CO2, though the mechanism found in these models may offer a partial explanation for the stability of summer temperatures in the arctic.

The critique turns finally to “Climate forcing and sensitivity,” the latter being one of two major questions in the argument over the seriousness of global warming concerns (the other being how global warming might be related to the numerous claimed catastrophic scenarios). The critics begin with a confusing defense of the fact that existing models can only be brought into agreement with observations by taking account of ocean delay (which is itself directly proportional to climate sensitivity), and the existence of other sources of climate forcing. The models focus on aerosols and solar variability, and generally assume that natural internal variability is accurately included and accounted for. That models each use different assumptions for aerosols and solar variability makes clear that these are simply adjustable parameters. I was hardly arguing that solar variability, per se, leads to higher estimates of sensitivity. Rather, I was arguing that the adjustable parameters allow modelers to adjust the behavior of their models to simulate observations regardless of the model sensitivity. As to natural internal variability, the inability of these models to reasonably reproduce ENSO, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and the Quasi-biennial Oscillation shows that the assumption that the models adequately represent natural internal variability is seriously mistaken.

While the critics correctly note that there are difficulties with all attempts to determine sensitivity directly from observations of how outgoing radiation changes with changes in surface temperature, they rather profoundly misrepresent the implications of the various studies they cite. In particular, three of the studies they cite (Trenberth et al, 2010, Dessler, 2011, and Forster and Gregory, 2006) all use simple regressions (implying zero time lag), but as Lindzen and Choi (2011) show, when much of the variation in outgoing short wave radiation is unrelated to feedbacks to surface temperature, such ‘noise’ is aliased into the appearance of positive shortwave feedback at zero time lag. The ‘noise’ acts as a forcing, and the general problem in analyzing these data is to identify and isolate forcings and feedbacks so that their proper relationship can be established. To isolate feedbacks, one must consider the behavior of lagged regressions. The claim that the results ‘from climate models which include a detailed representation of the oceans’ are ‘consistent’ with observations stretches the word ‘consistent’ beyond its normally highly elastic definition. This is certainly not what Lindzen and Choi (2011) found. Finally, the claim that temperature variability is dominated by El Nino events is not at issue in Lindzen and Choi (2011). As Lindzen and Choi noted, the important feedbacks in current models involve very short term processes (order of a week or less), and are thus best studied by considering relatively short term fluctuations in temperature – certainly shorter than El Nino variations. Indeed over long time scales (varying from months to decades depending on the actual climate sensitivity), the radiative balance is restored leading to the spurious result of finite changes in temperature being associated with minimal changes in radiative forcing.

Finally, the critics claim that I asserted that the water vapor feedback may be negative. This may well be the case, but that is not what I have been suggesting (2). Rather, we find that the total longwave feedback (to which the water vapor feedback is one contributor – thin upper level cirrus are another, and the two are so intrinsically dependent that ignorance of the latter leads to ignorance of the former) is negative, and unambiguously so (that is to say, it was identified clearly even at zero lag). This has actually been confirmed by Trenberth and Fasullo (2009) who find in their analysis that feedbacks are primarily shortwave feedbacks. Given the noise in the shortwave component, claims of positive feedbacks in the shortwave based on simple regression are highly suspect. I would suggest that the claimed ‘body of observational and theoretical evidence’ for a positive water vapor feedback is largely a product of wishful thinking. As to so-called modeling “evidence,” it is the models that we are testing; the model results should not be confused with evidence. The critics allow for the possibility of negative shortwave feedbacks, but claim that most models do not have a strong shortwave feedback anyway. There are a number of important points buried in that innocent sounding claim. The amplification depends on one over the quantity (1- the sum of all feedback factors)=1/(1-f). The long term defense of the water vapor feedback stems from the fact that it provides, in current models, a value of about 0.5 to f. This already provides a gain of a factor of two. But, more importantly, if one then adds 0.3 to f from shortwave feedbacks, the amplification jumps to five. Add 0.5 and it jumps to infinity. It is this extreme sensitivity to small additions that allows models to suggest large amounts of warming rather than the relatively modest amounts associated with the assumed water vapor feedback. As recent studies have shown (3), the feedback is likely to be much smaller than appears in current models, and hence, the potential for large warming is also dramatically reduced.

In their concluding comments, the critics accuse me of doing a disservice to the scientific method. I would suggest that in questioning the views of the critics and subjecting them to specific tests, I am holding to the scientific method, while they, in exploiting speculations to support the possibility of large climate change, are subverting the method. As one begins to develop more careful tests, there is, contrary to the claims of the critics, ample reason to cast doubt on the likelihood of large risk. While the critics do not wish to comment on policy, they do a disservice to both science and the society upon whose support they depend, when they fail to explain the true basis for their assertions.


(1) It is an indication of how undeveloped climate science is that it took decades to realize that forcing should be related to the rate of change rather than to the change itself.

(2) In Lindzen and Choi, 2009, what was said was “Thus, the small OLR feedback from ERBE might represent the absence of any OLR feedback; it might also result from the cancellation of a possible positive water vapor feedback due to increased water vapor in the upper troposphere [Soden et al., 2005] and a possible negative iris cloud feedback involving reduced upper level cirrus clouds [Lindzen et al., 2001]”

(3) For over thirty years, the ‘evidence’ for positive feedback has essentially been that models display it. However, numerous attempts to evaluate feedbacks independent of models have arrived at the conclusion that these feedbacks are small or even negative. In this footnote, we mention only a few of these investigations. Such studies include far more than the studies mentioned above (‘hot spot’ and the measurement of changes in outgoing radiation accompanying temperature fluctuations).

They also include analyses based on the temperature time series (Schwartz et al,2010, Andronova and Schlesinger 2001) and related studies suggesting a relatively small role for greenhouse gases in the temperature record compared to the impact of various internal modes of variability and their nonlinear interactions (Tsonis et al,2007, Swanson and Tsonis,2009), calorimetric studies of the ocean-atmosphere system (Shaviv,2008, Schwartz,2012), and estimates of sensitivity based on response time (Lindzen and Giannitsis,1998, Ziskin and Shaviv,2011).

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Another Spectacular US Government Global Warming Forecast Fail

In 1989, global warming was going to kill off the last Kirtland Warbler

Since they made this forecast in 1989, the population has increased by 800%.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

GM: Research explosion “unrelated to Chevy Volt”

Of course not!

An explosion during "extreme battery testing" Wednesday morning of a prototype energy cell at a General Motors battery research facility in Warren, Mich., injured one person and did major structural damage to the building.

At the heart of the explosion was a lithium-ion battery, according to a fire department official cited in local news reports. The morning blast did not, however, involve batteries that power the Chevrolet Volt, the new plug-in hybrid car whose batteries caught fire weeks after a crash test, General Motors said in a statement.

But the flap over the Volt battery fire has left some insiders feeling more than a little peeved and defensive at the amount of news media attention being devoted to what they say is an almost inevitable, if not routine, event in the business of battery research and extreme testing.

"The whole reason they have these labs is precisely to do this kind of aggressive testing – anticipating the worst thing a consumer could do with this product," says one expert with direct knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the explosion, who asked not to be named. "This is going to turn out to be a mountain out of a mole hill. Yeah, we're doing a lot of testing. That's what we have to do. Sometimes things explode."

“The incident is still under investigation by GM and the Warren authorities," the GM statement said. "Any information or discussion of the nature of the work in the lab or cause of the incident is entirely speculative and cannot be confirmed at this time. The incident was unrelated to the Chevrolet Volt or any other production vehicle. The incident was related to extreme testing on a prototype battery.”

Despite criticism of the Volt by conservative pundits, a follow-up investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration concluded the new car was no more prone to fire than any other vehicle.

"The debate over batteries recently really hasn't been about safety so much as about their longevity," says Tom Turrentine, director of the plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle research center at the University of California, Davis. "I think we are mostly over the hump with battery safety. But there's no question that battery labs are notorious for explosions when they're testing."

Lithium-ion batteries are attractive to automakers because they can hold so much power – about four times the amount of energy a conventional lead-acid battery. Even so, earlier lithium-ion batteries used in other commercial applications burst into flame on occasion. Laptop computer manufacturer Dell Computer recalled millions of batteries after a handful of its laptops burst into flames several years ago.


Army opens hybrid vehicle tech research lab

How to lose a war in one easy lesson

A new Ground Systems Power and Energy Lab opening in Warren will help the U.S Army of tomorrow become a more fuel efficient fighting machine.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Wednesday at the new Army laboratory at TARDEC where technology such as fuel cells and hybrid systems for combat vehicles will be developed.

Federal officials say the facility at the Detroit Arsenal is unique in that it brings together a number of high-technology testing capabilities in a single facility that can test vehicle components, systems and full vehicles, which will enable TARDEC to increase its collaboration with the Department of Energy, industry and academia.

Among it's features, the lab can simulate the desert heat of Afghanistan and a bone-chilling day in Antarctica and can transition between the extremes in temperatures in a matter of minutes.

According to a release, Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, secured $18.5 million in the fiscal year 2008 Military Construction Appropriations bill for the construction of the GSPEL and an additional $6 million in the defense appropriations bill to help outfit GSPEL with the latest laboratory equipment.

The new lab also received $15 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.


Bad, naughty global warming: Causes droughts one year and flooding the next year

Is there anything it cannot do?

As Asia’s monsoon season begins, leading climate specialists and agricultural scientists warned today that rapid climate change and its potential to intensify droughts and floods could threaten Asia’s rice production and pose a significant threat to millions of people across the region.

“Climate change endangers crop and livestock yields and the health of fisheries and forests at the very same time that surging populations worldwide are placing new demands on food production,” said Bruce Campbell of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). “These clashing trends challenge us to transform our agriculture systems so they can sustainably deliver the food required to meet our nutritional needs and support economic development, despite rapidly shifting growing conditions.”

Southeast Asia recently has experienced dramatic meteorological swings, as last year’s horrendous flooding in Thailand was preceded by a record drought across the region in 2010. These and many other extreme weather events around the world have hammered global food prices, stretching their impact beyond immediate personal and ecological tragedies.

In Thailand, a drought during the 2010 growing season caused $450 million in crop damages. One year later, massive flooding in 2011 caused $40 billion in damages that rippled through all sectors of Thailand’s economy.


Bookends and Separations

I want to talk about the brief period that will be known going forward as the Global Warming scare, and the inevitable atomization of the efforts on both sides following its closure.

Probably all of you who have followed this issue have your own starting date for this period of heightened interest in climate change and global warming–for many it would begin with Hansen’s testimony before the Senate in 1988, while for others it might go back to Margaret Thatcher’s need to face down the coal miners’ unions back in the 80s. For me, however, it begins with Phil Jones’ 4-page article in Nature about UHI.

This short paper, cited almost maniacally by thousands of other papers since its publication in 1990, served several important functions. First, it showed that climate had become political. Written in response to those claiming that the urban heat island effect had contaminated the temperature record, Jones’ paper was an attempt to squash disagreement.

Second, it showed that science was not as important as the politics. The stations Jones used for his paper did not have the stable histories he claimed for them. (He probably didn’t know this at the time of publication–but he found out very quickly and refused to issue a correction.) Fighting the critics meant that the flaws in the science needed to be hidden.

Third, like almost everything that has happened in the debate since then, Jones’ paper triggered a chain of unintended consequences that led in a manner suitable for a Greek tragedy straight to Jones’ own request to colleagues to delete emails, and was part of an enabling sequence that contributed to Mann’s decisions regarding the Hockey Stick and even, 20 years later, to Peter Gleick’s astonishing theft and fabrication of the Heartland Institute’s documents and strategy.

Everything that the climate consensus team has done in the past 20 years has contained elements of the same fundamental errors in thinking and strategy–from GreenPeace telling us they knew where we lived to No Pressure videos blowing up school children. There are thousands of examples that could be brought forth to show that their strategy had no human heart and no mechanism for enlisting participation–their goal was forcing opponents into silent submission instead. This 20-year war was fought at a soulless, corporate level, with campaigns designed and implemented by the media masters and mistresses of large environmental NGOs and it showed. From fighting World Bank loans for a South African coal plant to wilder statements of how few people the planet could sustainably carry, these people showed an appalling lack of humanity and an amazing excess of energy.

For me, the campaign ends with Peter Gleick. His actions were the signature at the end of the book. Coming as they did after Climategate, after Copenhagen, after five years (at least) of meditating on how to more effectively communicate on the issue, Gleick’s actions–and the lack of condemnation they received from the climate community–effectively removed anthropogenic climate change from the top tier of political issues to be considered at a global, or even national, level. Peter Gleick is still president of the Pacific Institute and will be speaking soon at Oxford. There is evidently no level of misconduct that will not be tolerated as long as the miscreant stays on message.

But people have pretty much stopped listening. They’ve even stopped writing. Joe Romm has folded his Climate Progress blog into the rubric of Think Progress’ larger efforts and now interns do much of his writing for him. Deltoid is down to one post a month, and it’s an open thread. Michael Tobis has fled Only In It For The Gold and is now writing at Planet 3–and complaining about a lack of traffic.

In a Republican primary with nine initial contestants, the amount of conversation about climate change was effectively zero. Over on the other side of the aisle, President Obama has almost abandoned the issue. The IPCC’s upcoming AR5 is, by all appearances,going to be much more subdued in its claims and much more reasonable as a result.

And what many of us, myself included, are doing now is exploring different facets of closely related issues, trying to get a handle on the many subjects briefly illuminated during the climate change debate and then discarded as it became clear they didn’t advance a political agenda. For me, the subject is energy consumption. Over at my place of business ( I am looking at the very real possibility that respectable and highly trusted agencies have significantly underestimated energy consumption going forward. It’s just something that fascinates me–and which I’m happy to work on at my own pace regardless of blog traffic or commentary. My co-author on the Climategate book, Steve Mosher, is similarly involved in looking at complete temperature data sets. Jeff Id, our host here,is finally getting sea ice in order for public exhibition.

And this is the way it should be.

It’s the way it should be because climate change will return as an issue. Especially in America, where we love a second act to every story, anthropogenic climate change will return. Temperatures have plateaued at a high level and may even dip during this decade due to the muting effect of several natural cycles. But those cycles will end. And a new generation of scientists is readying itself to take up the argument again, untainted by the past disasters and mistakes of those currently sagging against the ropes.

The next generation of discussion may be calmer and more grounded in facts–looking at all the things humans do to influence climate and not just the CO2 we emit. It may not.

But it has become clear to people like Jeff Id, Steve Mosher, myself and others that Round 2 of the Great Game will need to be more heavily grounded in specific areas than was Round 1.

So here’s hoping



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, 2012

Even Warmist "scientists" don't mention any scientific facts in defense of their beliefs

Warmists normally defend their beliefs by saying "The experts tell us" and speak of "The science" but never mention any actual scientific facts. But surely "The experts" themselves have some facts to put forward? Nope. I reproduce below the full screed put out by none other than "hockeystick" Mann in defense of his position. It too is full of accusations and complaints but references not one scientific fact. He claims that the globe is warming etc. but gives no evidence for that assertion. He can't, of course -- because it isn't. So it's no surprise that he doesn't even give a link to any report that would support his assertions

As scientists, we are used to having our work questioned.

Anyone who has ever attended a scientific meeting knows that scientists are hardest on themselves. When we present a new research paper at a conference, colleagues often interrupt us with sharp, pointed questions. Those questions are asked in good faith, in an attempt to make our work better and advance scientific knowledge.

But scientists who work on climate change are increasingly finding our work questioned by politicians and ideologues who simply don’t like our findings. Too often, politicians start with their conclusion, then work backwards to find the evidence — any evidence, regardless of its quality — to back up their preferred policy positions. And the fossil fuel industry is happy to fund those who attack our work, because our research has pointed to the burning of their products — oil, coal, and natural gas — as the primary drivers of climate change.

For more than a decade, I’ve found myself targeted and attacked by political interests who feel threatened by some facts my colleagues and I uncovered The findings that made us targets have only been further validated as the world continues to warm. about our changing climate. We have received menacing e-mails, including anonymous death threats. I’ve received a package containing an Anthrax-like white powder (the FBI determined that it was a hoax), and someone threw a dead rat on the doorstep of another colleague. As the political conversation around climate change has become more polarized, the attacks have intensified.

Now, however, my colleagues and I are fighting back, a task that is made easier because the findings that have made us the targets of climate change deniers have only been further validated as CO2 levels continue to rise and the world continues to warm. This is also true when it comes to the research behind the so-called “hockey stick” graph, which is what first prompted attacks on me and my colleagues.

That graph, unveiled in a 1998 paper, showed global temperatures level or decreasing for 1,000 years (the shaft of the stick) and then spiking upward in the past century (the upturned blade.) Those rapidly rising temperatures tracked increases in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide, which coincided with the world’s growing use of fossil fuels.

For better and worse, our graph became an icon of climate change because it was relatively easy to understand. That made it a threat to opponents of dealing with global warming, who invested significant time and resources attacking our research. At first, my colleagues and I responded as we would to any scientific question. We evaluated the claims about our data and methods and responded in the scientific literature. But instead of questioning our claims in good faith, our critics approached the hockey stick like a politician approaches a piece of legislation he or she doesn’t like. Their goal was to dismantle our findings, regardless of the facts. By 2005, U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), one of the biggest recipients of fossil fuel funding in the House of Representatives, sent my colleagues and me letters demanding that we open our professional and personal lives to an investigation from his committee.

These attacks obscure the bigger picture. Climate science is like a vast puzzle. Individual papers like ours are a single piece of that puzzle. Scientists are still filling in pieces the puzzle, but we can see a relatively complete picture of our climate that tells us the Earth is warming, human activity is the cause, and Our critics approached the ‘hockey stick’ like a politician approaches legislation he or she doesn’t like. that we are locking in substantial rises in sea level, increasingly intense heat waves and floods, and threats to global fresh water and food resources as we continue to burn fossil fuels.

But politicians and ideologues try to make climate science out to be a house of cards. Remove one card and the whole thing falls down. The hockey stick papers, they decided, must be one of those cards and their response was to attack our research and challenge our integrity. I call it the “Serengeti strategy,” in which predators look for what they perceive as the most vulnerable animals in a herd.

In 2005, U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-New York) had the courage to stand up to Joe Barton. Boehlert asked the National Academy of Sciences — an institution created by Abraham Lincoln to advise the government on scientific matters — to evaluate the “hockey stick” and related studies. The academy found our conclusions to be valid and appropriately understood them to be one piece of the puzzle. In fact, dozens of “hockey stick” studies using different data and methods have verified and extended our original findings in the past several years.

Barton took a different tack. He commissioned a statistician from George Mason University to produce a report for his committee to misrepresent our research. When the National Academy of Sciences issued its report, which validated our findings, fossil fuel industry allies in Congress like Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) falsely claimed that the report disproved our research. Inhofe has named me and 16 others scientists as people he’d like to investigate if he again gains control of a committee in the Senate. Inhofe has just published a book detailing the “global warming conspiracy” he believes is behind climate science research. As a climate scientist, I can assure everyone that my colleagues and I simply aren’t that organized.

Like Barton, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a subpoena in 2010 demanding personal correspondence from me and dozens of other scientists from my time at the University of Virginia. Thankfully, groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists, the American Association of University Professors, and several free speech organizations urged the university to fight Cuccinelli’s demands, and the university did. Cuccinelli lost his case before the Virginia Supreme Court last month. While we don’t know how much Cuccinelli’s office spent on this witchhunt, the university spent more than $600,000 in private funds defending scientists’ right to privacy.

Inhofe and Cuccinelli both drew their inspiration from an incident in November 2009, when climate scientists had their emails stolen from the University of East Anglia and misrepresented through a coordinated public relations campaign orchestrated by a who’s who of climate denial front groups. Why attack the University of East Anglia? It is one of four major government and academic centers that track global temperatures. Again, the Serengeti strategy at work: no matter that all the data from these four institutions tell us the world is rapidly warming, and that numerous independent investigations later concluded that the scientists whose e-mails had been hacked, including mine, had not engaged in fraud or scientific misconduct.

Despite these attacks, reality is catching up to our national conversation about climate change, and it is becoming harder to deny what the science has been telling us. Since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Despite these attacks, reality is catching up to our national conversation about climate change. (IPCC) reports in 2007, new scientific findings have indicated that global warming is generally worse than we thought. Carbon emissions are higher than the IPCC projected, Arctic sea ice is melting at a faster-than-expected clip, and observed and projected sea levels are increasing. At the same time, advances in climate science have more definitively linked climate change to an increasing likelihood of many types of extreme weather events.

Many local and state governments are prudently preparing for a changing climate and have also adopted policies that can drive down greenhouse gas emissions. But for other vulnerable regions, climate change isn’t on the agenda or is considered verboten for ideological reasons.

The price of politicizing science is high. In addition to the distraction it creates, it exacts a personal toll on scientists, taking time away from our work, our friends, and our families. If it’s any comfort, I’ve told colleagues who’ve faced similar attacks that they should wear it as a badge of honor. But my greatest fear is that it might discourage younger scientists from entering areas of research that vested interests have declared to be “off limits.”

Luckily, scientists are increasingly standing up for themselves. Scott Mandia, a meteorology professor at the State University of New York, was disturbed by the legal battle being waged over scientists’ personal emails in Virginia. He Widespread, bad-faith assaults on science have no place in a functioning democracy. kicked off a fundraising effort that led to the creation of a Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, which aims to help scientists foot the significant legal bills that can add up when they are attacked by ideologues. Mandia, along with a John Abraham, a physics professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, also helped create a Climate Science Rapid Response Team, which connects journalists with scientists.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has redoubled its efforts to defend climate scientists. It organized academics in Virginia to speak out against Cuccinelli’s investigation and has helped scores of scientists improve their ability to communicate with the media and policymakers – skills that simply aren’t part of many scientific educations. Scientific societies like the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Geophysical Union are also condemning attacks on their colleagues and helping scientists communicate their work in a difficult media and policy environment.

Widespread, bad-faith assaults on science have no place in a functioning democracy. We should be able to have a national discussion about climate change that is informed by a shared understanding of the scientific facts that generations of researchers have uncovered.

Scientists realize the stakes are high. People are hungry for information about what climate change means in their backyards, and scientists can help ensure that local decision-makers have the information they need to protect their constituents. Of course, more broadly, our “constituents” are our children. The decisions we make today about climate change will go a long way in determining the type of world they inherit from us.

The global challenge of climate change, Stephen Gardiner writes, poses a perfect moral storm — by failing to take action to rein in carbon emissions, the current generation is spreading the costs of its behavior far into the future. Why should people in the future pay to clean up our mess?
READ MORE In the wake of the manufactured East Anglia scandal, I was on vacation with my family in the Florida Keys. My four-year-old daughter was entranced by the mangrove forests, the dolphins, and the coral reefs, with their exotic and colorful fish. I couldn’t bear to tell her that climate change and an increasingly acidic ocean are slowly killing the reefs, that increasingly destructive hurricanes would subject them to further insult, and that projected sea level rise over the next century and beyond could submerge vast regions of the Florida Keys.

What to do about climate change necessarily involves questions about economics, fairness, and policy. But it also involves ethics. We are making decisions today that will impact the world our children and grandchildren inherit. What sort of legacy do we want to leave them?


Global warming 'hiatus' in recent years helps spur skepticism

For people who want more action on global warming, an inconvenient truth has arisen over the last decade: Annual average temperatures stayed relatively flat globally -- and dropped in the United States and Oregon -- despite mankind's growing release of greenhouse gases.

The hiatus in temperature increases may be contributing to higher public skepticism about warming, particularly in the United States. But it hasn't changed most climate researchers' opinions of likely substantial human-caused warming this century from releases of carbon dioxide and other gases.

It occurs at the high-end of a 100-year-long warming trend and follows record, El Niño-fueled highs in 1998, notes Phil Mote of Oregon State University, who headlines a global warming presentation Tuesday before the Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

The presentation by Mote and two other Oregon researchers comes after a panel of skeptics of manmade global warming presented to the Oregon chapter in January.

"We are at a level where it's a whole lot warmer than it used to be," Mote says. "The physical explanations are pretty convincing on why there has been a pause in global warming, and we have no reason to think it will last much longer."

Skeptics say the lack of temperature increases should heighten doubts about projections of severe warming. Computer climate models didn't predict the hiatus, notes Portland meteorologist Chuck Wiese, among the scientists who presented in January.

"It doesn't matter whether it's still warm compared to earlier periods," Wiese says. "The whole idea was it would get warmer as C02 went up. This is a very severe contradiction to everything they put in their climate (computer) code and they modeled."

Skeptics tend to focus on temperatures since 1998, a record hot year globally. The global average annual temperature has leveled since then. In the U.S., it has dropped at a rate of 0.85 degrees Fahrenheit a decade, according to the National Climatic Data Center. In Oregon, it has dropped 0.79 degrees a decade, thanks in part to a string of La Niñas, sparked by a relatively cold pool of water in the subtropical Pacific Ocean.

That's a short time, but also a sharp contrast to warming predictions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts warming of 2 degrees to 11 degrees in the 21st century, depending in part on how much fossil fuel the world burns. In Oregon, predictions range from 3 degrees to 10 degrees through 2100.

Non-skeptics, including the bulk of climate researchers, note the overall trend is still up since 1895, when standardized U.S. records began. Oregon has warmed about 1 degree since then, according to NCDC data, and the globe has warmed about 1.5 degrees.


EPA Forces Bus Contractor to Pay Thousands for ‘Excessive Idling’

For once I agree with the EPA. Governmnent employees who leave their vehicles idling for extended peiods are utterly contemptuous of the taxpayer who pays for the fuel

As a part of their ongoing crusade to reduce everyone’s carbon footprint, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come down hard on the nation’s second largest school bus contractor with fines and “mandatory environmental projects” amounting to approximately $500,000 as punishment for “excessive idling.”

“As part of a settlement for alleged excessive diesel idling in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Durham School Services will commit to reduce idling from its school bus fleet of 13,900 buses operating in 30 states,” an EPA press release stated on Tuesday.

The case started two years ago when one of the unelected environmental watchdogs noticed buses of the Durham School Services would idle for what they felt were “excessive” amounts of time.

“State rules limit idling to three minutes in Connecticut and five minutes in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, where the infractions occurred,” writes CNS’ Elizabeth Harrington.

According to the EPA report, the buses would idle for up to two hours before disembarking to go pick up schoolchildren.

“Durham reached a settlement for the violation and agreed to pay $90,000 in penalties. It also agreed to pay for $348,000 worth of environmental projects, including implementing a national training and management program ‘to prevent excessive idling from its entire fleet of school buses,’ [emphases added]” Harrington writes.

Which means Durham has agreed to require its supervisors to “monitor idling in school bus lots, post anti-idling signs in areas where drivers congregate, and notify the school districts it serves of its anti-idling policy.”
Click here to find out more!

As mentioned in the above, the EPA’s enforcement of these fees and mandatory projects is part of a larger campaign to cut back on idling, thereby offsetting carbon footprints.

“By reducing the idling time of each bus in its fleet by one hour per day, Durham would reduce its fuel use by 1.25 million gallons per year and avoid emitting 28 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year,” the EPA release stated, adding, “Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.”

But wait, this gets better. Harrington writes:

"According to the EPA, as of 2006, 30 states plus the District of Columbia had either state, county or local anti-idling regulations in place, with the city of Philadelphia setting the maximum allowable time for diesel powered motor vehicles at two consecutive minutes.

The EPA Web site even provides a “do it yourself kit” for those wishing to bring the anti-idling campaign to their school district, providing brochures, posters, a “Teacher’s Guide for use in reinforcing key messages of the Idle-Reduction campaign,” and pledge cards for drivers that read, “I’m doing my share for clean air.”

Also available for order are bus driver key chains “that can be used by bus drivers daily to remind them that they hold the key to a healthier ride,” and a five-minute training video entitled “Reducing School Bus Idling: The Key to a Healthier Ride.”

Also referenced is California’s 2003 anti-idling regulation that bus drivers must to turn off their vehicle within 100 feet of a school and must not turn the bus back on more than 30 seconds before beginning to depart – or face a minimum penalty of $100."

Diesel fumes pollute the air, waste fuel, cause “excess engine wear,” and are harmful to children’s health, the EPA claims.

“Children, especially those suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments, are particularly vulnerable to diesel exhaust,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

“EPA is pleased with this settlement, which will dramatically limit school bus idling and help protect the health of school children in dozens of communities across the country,” he said.
Click here to find out more!


The measured rate of rise of sea levels is not increasing and climate models should be revised to match the experimental evidence

This is from last year but would seem of interest in the light of the recent Envisat "adjustments" of the sea-level record

Alberto A. Boretti, Research Professor, Missouri University of Science and Technology

The paper by Robert J. Nicholls et al. is pushing upward the already catastrophic predictions of sea level rise (SLR) by 2100 because of the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The estimation of up to 2 m SLR by 2100 is made assuming the temperatures would increase proportional to the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, and the rate of rise of sea-levels will increase proportionally to the temperatures and therefore proportionally to the anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions.

The paper omits to consider the experimental evidence made of rates of rise of sea-levels not accelerating at all. Some recent papers [1-3] and data proposed in [4] and [5] provide numbers that contrast the general but wrong perception that the SLR is escalating at present supported by the authors. Analysis of nine long and nearly continuous sea level records over one hundred years (1903-2003) provided a mean value of SLR as 1.74 mm/year with higher values in the earlier part of the 20th century compared to the latter part in [1].

Tide gauge records over a period 1900-2006 provided a mean value of 1.56 mm/year with no statistically significant acceleration in sea level rise [2]. Same paper shows rates immediately before 2007 had been achieved or exceeded over similar time periods at other points during the 20th century with some decades even revealed a fall in global sea level over that period. Analysis of 57 tide gauge records each with a record length of 80 years which include 25 gauges with data from 1930-2010 provided no acceleration in SLR, but instead a small average deceleration of -0.0014 and -0.0123 mm/year2 [3].

The best source of global sea level data is The University of Colorado [4]. Since 1993, measurements from the TOPEX and Jason series of satellite radar altimeters have allowed estimates of global mean sea level (MSL). These measurements are continuously calibrated against a network of tide gauges. When seasonal and other variations are subtracted, they allow estimation of the global mean sea level rate. As new data, models and corrections become available, these estimates are continuously revised (about every two months) to improve their quality.

20 years of MSL data shows increments in SLR much smaller than the 20 mm/year necessary to produce a rise of 200 cm over a century and reducing especially over the last 10 years.

Worth of note is the huge deceleration of SLR considering only the last 10 years of about -0.285 mm/year2 that is clearly the opposite of what is being assumed by the models of SLR sharply accelerating. The average SLR of 2.7 mm/year is only 10% of the SLR needed for the prediction of 2 m rise to be correct.

The average SLR over the last 5 years is also much smaller than the average rate of rise over the last 20 years, and about 1.6 mm/year. The Australian Baseline Sea Level Monitoring Project [5] is designed to monitor sea level around the coast line of Australia. An array of SEAFRAME (SEA-Level Fine Resolution Acoustic Measuring Equipment) stations is used to measure the sea level very accurately and to record meteorological parameters.

These data also support the evidence of SLR absolutely not accelerating.20 years of measurements show increases in the MSL much smaller than the more than 10 mm/year, with all the stations actually having experienced a SLR on average much less than one half of the 10 mm/year. The SLR is also clearly reducing in the last 5 years.

MSL is increasing over the 20 years but without any significant acceleration. SLR is clearly not accelerating or decelerating over the 20 years. The maximum acceleration is 0.5 mm/year2, the minimum acceleration (deceleration) is - 1.2 mm/year2 and the average acceleration (deceleration) is -0.005 mm/year2. Reducing the numbers of years of data to be fitted to 10 and 5 years respectively, the average acceleration decreases (the deceleration increases).

All the data published in [1-3] and the others data proposed in [4] and [5] consistently present rates of rise of sea levels absolutely not accelerating over the last century and this portion of the new century. Therefore, climate models should be revised to match the experimental evidence.


[1] S.J. Holgate. On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century. Geophysical Research Letters. 2007; 34, L01602.

[2] M. Wenzel and J. Schr?ter. Reconstruction of regional mean sea level anomalies from tide gauges using neural networks. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH - OCEANS. 2010; 115:C08013.

[3] J.R. Houston and R.G. Dean, Sea-Level Acceleration Based on U.S. Tide Gauges and Extensions of Previous Global-Gauge Analyses. Journal of Coastal Research. 2011; 27:409-417.

[4] [Internet]. [Cited 2011 July 12].

[5]. [Internet]. [Cited 2011 July 12].


The British government loses it

Christopher Booker's article in the Mail is extraordinary. The idea that we are intending to add massively to the cost of making home improvements by forcing people to complete a variety of other works at the same time is quite mindblowing.
Anyone thinking of building a new conservatory, replacing their old boiler or putting in new windows had better move fast.

If they wait a couple of years they could find themselves falling foul of a deluge of new ‘green’ red tape that will leave them having to pay thousands of pounds extra.

Under plans being discussed by the Government, revealed by yesterday’s Daily Mail, anyone hoping to make improvements to their home from 2014 may have to carry out a whole lot of additional works to show their property is ‘energy efficient’.

I find the idea that it will be forbidden to replace a broken down boiler without spending thousands more quite immoral. Are people supposed to sit in the cold if they can't afford it?

This is going to make ordinary people very, very angry.



Qld. Premier demands complete control over environmental assessments

He will be a formidable foe for the Federal Leftist government at the next election if they interfere with his moves -- and Qld. is the swing State that any Federal government must win. While any formal transfer of power is unlikely, the Feds will be very reluctant to thwart him by excercising the powers they do have

CAMPBELL Newman has demanded the Federal Government hand over complete control of environmental assessments to the state in a move designed to cut business costs.

But Julia Gillard has vowed to retain the final say over high-risk and World Heritage area developments, warning Mr Newman's plan could allow Queensland to build a nuclear reactor without any input from the rest of the country.

Ms Gillard has struck to deal with all state and territory leaders to remove duplication of most environmental approvals as part of a drive to cut "green tape".

Liberal premiers including Mr Newman say they want the carbon tax on the table as part of the talks, which will continue at the Council of Australian Governments summit in Canberra today.

But Mr Newman has gone further than other Premiers and called for complete control over environmental assessments in the Sunshine State. "It's a bit rich for the Prime Minister to suggest that the states have to work with her to reduce that green tape when the Federal Government coming over the top in Queensland on major resource and tourism projects is causing huge delays and blocking the economic progress of Queensland," Mr Newman said.

The Premier told The Courier-Mail he did not want to see a repeat of the delays and inconsistent rulings that had held up ports, rail and coal mines in the Galilee Basin.

He also said the Federal Government's decision to overrule the Traveston Dam after it was approved by the Bligh government was "one of the most appalling decisions in the use of that Act".

Ms Gillard said her plan to streamline environmental rules with states would mean developers "don't go through double assessments".

But she said the Federal Government still had to oversee developments in World Heritage areas in Commonwealth waters and nuclear power.

Ms Gillard said Mr Newman's proposal would stop the Federal Government having a say if there was a plan for another nuclear reactor like the Lucas Heights plant in Sydney.

The COAG meeting in Canberra today is likely to sign off on a plan for guaranteed vocational education places, but states will also trade blows over the carve up of the GST and the impact of the mining tax.

Mr Newman also took a swipe at federal Labor's industrial relations laws, saying they had contributed to the increase in strikes in Queensland coal mines and were partly to blame for the closure of the Norwich Park coal mine.

Business leaders who met with Ms Gillard and premiers yesterday welcomed the plan to cut "green tape". BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers said the current overlap of state and federal rules was "tortuous".

Business Council of Australia chief Tony Shepherd called for governments to also scrap renewable energy targets.

But the Greens said the plan to streamline assessments could cut environmental protection.


Push to remove Qld. ports from World Heritage area

IN a move that has outraged environmentalists, the State Government is considering a push to remove several Queensland ports from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney claims the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area should be redrawn, with the embattled Gladstone Harbour the first port on his list of exclusion zones. Mr Seeney said the Government was committed to protecting the Great Barrier Reef but argued the Gladstone Harbour was not a part of it.

"If there is going to be a continual misrepresentation of those boundaries then I think that will build a case for the realignment of the boundaries," he said. "It is obviously a misrepresentation to talk about Gladstone Harbour being part of the Great Barrier Reef." Mr Seeney added other ports could be considered for exclusion from the area.

However, any such proposal would meet with resistance from the Federal Government, with Environment Minister Tony Burke saying the current boundaries were appropriate. "The Government has no plans to change the boundary of the property," he said.

Greens member and environmental medicine specialist Dr Andrew Jeremijenko was outraged by the suggestions. "There's a lot of rare and endangered species that use Gladstone Harbour," he said. "There's no gate at the end of the Great Barrier Reef Gladstone Harbour is used as a migratory place."

Dr Jeremijenko said the harbour was facing problems that could no longer be ignored. "Fishermen are coming forward and saying `the water's making me sick'," he said.

"What Jeff Seeney's saying is that he doesn't care about the fishing industry and the tourism industry he just wants this to be a developed harbour."



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, 2012

Pachauri Knew AR5′s Outcome Five Years In Advance
“When the IPCC’s fifth assessment comes out in 2013 or 2014, there will be a major revival of interest in action that has to be taken,” said Dr. Pachauri, speaking of the periodic assessments rendered by the group of more than 400 scientists around the world that he leads. “People are going to say, ‘My God, we are going to have to take action much faster than we had planned.’”

Ethics are ‘missing dimension’ in climate debate, says IPCC head – Bahá’í World News Service

Why even pretend they are doing science? The outcomes were determined by politicians before the scientists even started.


Nature magazine is at it again

They are just a propaganda outfit these days

Big news last week was that new findings published in Nature magazine showed that human emissions of aerosols (primarily from fossil fuel use) have been largely responsible for the multi-decadal patterns of sea surface temperature variability in the Atlantic ocean that have been observed over the past 150 years or so. This variability—commonly referred to as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, or AMO—has been linked to several socially significant climate phenomena including the ebb and flow of active Atlantic hurricane periods and drought in the African Sahel.

This paper marks, in my opinion, the death of credibility for Nature on global warming. The first symptoms showed up in 1996 when they published a paper by Ben Santer and 13 coauthors that was so obviously cherry-picked that it took me and my colleagues about three hours to completely destroy it. Things have gone steadily downhill, from a crazy screamer by Jonathan Patz on mortality from warming that didn’t even bother to examine whether fossil fuels were associated with extended lifespan (they are), to the recent Shakun debacle. But the latest whopper, by Ben Booth and his colleagues at the UK Met Office indeed signals the death of Nature in this field.

The U.K. Met Office issued a press release touting the findings by several of their researchers, and didn’t pull any punches as to the study’s significance. The headline read “Industrial pollution linked to ‘natural’ disasters” and included things like:

These shifts in ocean temperature, known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation or AMO, are believed to affect rainfall patterns in Africa, South America and India, as well as hurricane activity in the North Atlantic - in extreme cases leading to humanitarian disasters.

Ben Booth, a Met Office climate processes scientist and lead author of the research, said: “Until now, no-one has been able to demonstrate a physical link to what is causing these observed Atlantic Ocean fluctuations, so it was assumed they must be caused by natural variability.

“Our research implies that far from being natural, these changes could have been largely driven by dirty pollution and volcanoes. If so, this means a number of natural disasters linked to these ocean fluctuations, such as persistent African drought during the 1970’s and 80’s, may not be so natural after all.”

An accompanying “News and Views” piece in Nature put the findings of Booth and colleagues in climatological perspective:

If Booth and colleagues’ results can be corroborated, then they suggest that multidecadal temperature fluctuations of the North Atlantic are dominated by human activity, with natural variability taking a secondary role. This has many implications. Foremost among them is that the AMO does not exist, in the sense that the temperature variations concerned are neither intrinsically oscillatory nor purely multidecadal.

But not everyone was so impressed with the conclusions of Booth et al.

For instance, Judith Curry had this to say at her blog, “Climate Etc.,”

Color me unconvinced by this paper. I suspect that if this paper had been submitted to J. Geophysical Research or J. Climate, it would have been rejected. In any event, a much more lengthy manuscript would have been submitted with more details, allowing people to more critically assess this. By publishing this, Nature seems to be looking for headlines, rather than promoting good science.

And Curry has good reason to be skeptical.

“In press” at the journal Geophysical Research Letters is a paper titled “Greenland ice core evidence for spatial and temporal variability of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation” by Petr Chylek and colleagues, including Chris Folland of the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office.

In this paper, Chylek et al. examine evidence of the AMO that is contained in several ice core records distributed across Greenland. The researchers were looking to see whether there were changes in the character of the AMO over different climatological periods in the past, such as the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period—periods that long preceded large-scale human aerosol emissions. And indeed they found some. The AMO during the Little Ice Age was characterized by a quasi-periodicity of about 20 years, while the during the Medieval Warm Period the AMO oscillated with a period of about 45 to 65 years.

And Chylek and colleagues had this to say about the mechanisms involved:

The observed intermittency of these modes over the last 4000 years supports the view that these are internal ocean-atmosphere modes, with little or no external forcing.

Better read that again. “…with little or no external forcing.”

Chylek’s conclusion is vastly different from the one reached by Booth et al., which in an Editorial, Nature touted as [emphasis added]:

[B]ecause the AMO has been implicated in global processes, such as the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes and drought in the Sahel region of Africa in the 1980s, the findings greatly extend the possible reach of human activity on global climate. Moreover, if correct, the study effectively does away with the AMO as it is currently posited, in that the multidecadal oscillation is neither truly oscillatory nor multidecadal.

Funny how the ice core records analyzed by Chylek (as opposed to the largely climate model exercise of Booth et al.) and show the AMO to be both oscillatory and multidecadal—and to be exhibiting such characteristics long before any possible human influence.

Judith Curry’s words “By publishing this, Nature seems to be looking for headlines, rather than promoting good science” seem to ring loud and true in light of further observation-based research.

May God rest the soul of Nature.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

USHCN Surface Temperatures, 1973-2012: Dramatic Warming Adjustments, Noisy Trends

By Dr Roy Spencer

Since NOAA encourages the use the USHCN station network as the official U.S. climate record, I have analyzed the average [(Tmax+Tmin)/2] USHCN version 2 dataset in the same way I analyzed the CRUTem3 and International Surface Hourly (ISH) data.

The main conclusions are:

1) The linear warming trend during 1973-2012 is greatest in USHCN (+0.245 C/decade), followed by CRUTem3 (+0.198 C/decade), then my ISH population density adjusted temperatures (PDAT) as a distant third (+0.013 C/decade)

2) Virtually all of the USHCN warming since 1973 appears to be the result of adjustments NOAA has made to the data, mainly in the 1995-97 timeframe.

3) While there seems to be some residual Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect in the U.S. Midwest, and even some spurious cooling with population density in the Southwest, for all of the 1,200 USHCN stations together there is little correlation between station temperature trends and population density.

4) Despite homogeneity adjustments in the USHCN record to increase agreement between neighboring stations, USHCN trends are actually noisier than what I get using 4x per day ISH temperatures and a simple UHI correction.

The next plot shows the differences between my ISH PDAT dataset and the other 2 datasets. I would be interested to hear opinions from others who have analyzed these data which of the adjustments NOAA performs could have caused the large relative warming in the USHCN data during 1995-97:

Trend Agreement Between Station Pairs

This is where I got quite a surprise. Since the USHCN data have gone through homogeneity adjustments with comparisons to neighboring stations, I fully expected the USHCN trends from neighboring stations to agree better than station trends from my population-adjusted ISH data.

But the ISH trend pairs had about 15% better agreement (avg. absolute trend difference of 0.143 C/decade) than did the USHCN trend pairs (avg. absolute trend difference of 0.167 C/decade).

Given the amount of work NOAA has put into the USHCN dataset to increase the agreement between neighboring stations, I don’t have an explanation for this result. I have to wonder whether their adjustment procedures added more spurious effects than they removed, at least as far as their impact on temperature trends goes.

And I must admit that those adjustments constituting virtually all of the warming signal in the last 40 years is disconcerting. When “global warming” only shows up after the data are adjusted, one can understand why so many people are suspicious of the adjustments.

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

Paper bags or Plastic? NEITHER says L.A.

If you’re the type of person who freezes up with indecision every time you’re asked that question, consider moving to Los Angeles — the city may decide for you.

“A Los Angeles City Council committee moved forward Wednesday with a plan to end the use of paper and plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines, saying such a move would spur consumers to switch to more environmentally friendly reusable ones,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

By arguing that banning bags is just as important as banning smoking, the city’s Energy and Environment Committee has advanced a plan to ban bags at some 7,500 stores.

The proposal went forward with total disregard for plastic bag manufacturers and their employees. “I will be losing my job, losing my insurance. Please take that into consideration,” said Norma Fierro, an employee of Crown Poly, a company which expects to layoff between 20 and 130 employees if the ban in approved, according to the Times.

20-130 employees? That’s okay: it’s not like we’re in the middle of a faltering economy where even an investment of $5 million dollars can barely muster up 15 permanent jobs; saving the world from shopping bags if far more noble endeavor.

Well, maybe that’s unfair. Perhaps it didn’t occur to the city council that people might lose their jobs over the bag ban.

“Councilman Paul Koretz said he expected that Crown Poly would need to eliminate only a small number of positions,” the Times reports. Wait — the city council is aware the ban will result in layoffs?


Okay, so aside from the expected firings, what‘s the city’s plan to implement the ban? The Times explains:

"Under the proposal, the council would still need to draft an ordinance and initiate an environmental review of the bag phaseout. Once the ordinance is in effect, city officials would provide six months’ warning to stores — including supermarkets and other retailers that sell food — that plastic bags would no longer be permitted. Once the plastic bag ban is in place, supermarkets would be required to charge 10 cents for each paper bag. Six months later, paper bags would be prohibited as well, said Koretz, who wrote the proposal."

Unsurprisingly, the ban is being enthusiastically supported by environmentalist groups who say the vast majority of plastic bags don’t get recycled properly and are littering the city and ocean. They argue the ban will force consumers to use reusable bags.

“People will adjust,” councilman Dennis Zine said. “They’ll adapt.” Or we’ll just try to carry everything all at once…which is what we do half the time anyway.

And its gets even better. Mark Daniels, Vice President of Sustainability and Environmental Policy for Helix Poly, wrote in a statement (via the Daily Caller):

"The proposed policy will have no real impact on litter, instead it will only force residents to purchase less environmentally-friendly alternatives like reusable bags, nearly all of which are not recyclable, are less sanitary, are made in China using foreign oil, and often contain heavy metals. Worse, bag bans inflict a regressive tax on the disadvantaged, impose a burden on small businesses, and are a threat to local manufacturing jobs."

But despite these reasonable objections, it doesn’t look like the council has any plans to abandon its pursuit of a bag-free city. In fact, some council members want it take a step further.

“Andrea Alarcon, president of the Board of Public Works, had urged the panel to embrace a complete ban [as opposed to a phaseout], saying paper bags lead to deforestation,” the Times reports.

Really? We guess this means the next time we’re asked to choose between paper or plastic, what we’re really being asked is whether we’d rather destroy the ocean or level a forest. Decisions, decisions…



Five current articles below

Carbon tax is 'unconstitutional', says tax expert

A PROMINENT Australian legal expert says he believes the Gillard government's carbon tax is unconstitutional and that the three largest states stand a chance of successfully overturning the legislation in the event of a High Court challenge.

The University of New England academic and practising barrister, Bryan Pape, has provided legal advice to conservative policy think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, that says the carbon tax legislation — due to come into effect on July 1 — could be challenged on several grounds including that, "the Commonwealth cannot tax State property: Legally carbon dioxide emissions are State property".

The advice goes on to say that, in Mr Pape's legal opinion, "the Commonwealth cannot impose a carbon tax and other related penalties within the same Act. The Commonwealth cannot introduce a carbon tax within its external affairs powers".
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Mr Pape — a specialist in taxation and administrative law — made headlines in 2009 when he mounted a High Court challenge over Labor's $42 billion stimulus package, arguing that the $900 payments to individuals exceeded the federal government's taxation powers.

"These greenhouse gases are property owned by the States and it is impermissible for the Commonwealth to impose any tax on any property of any kind belonging to a State," Mr Pape said.

The full bench of the court ruled in favour of the Commonwealth by a margin of 4-3.

IPA Climate Change policy director, Tim Wilson, told the National Times today that the think tank had commissioned the advice in a bid to prod the states into action against the carbon tax, a piece of legislation the conservative body has long opposed.

"The IPA commissioned a legal opinion because state governments have sat on their hands and let the Gillard government introduce a tax that they could potentially stop," he said. "Only the High Court can decide the constitutionality of the carbon tax, but there are clear grounds to challenge it according to one of Australia's top administrative law minds."

Mr Wilson said the full text of the legal opinion would not be released "pending a possible legal challenge."

"A copy has being provided to the Premiers and Attorneys-General of the states with the best legal standing for a potential challenge – New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia," he said.

The legal advice will arrive on the desks of state premiers as they prepare to travel to Canberra this week for Friday's Council of Australian Governments meeting, where, for the first time in 4½ years in office, Labor will be outnumbered at the negotiating table.

NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland are all under conservative rule and a new opinion poll has today revealed that federal Labor now trails the Coalition in every state and territory on both primary votes and on a two-party preferred basis.


Companies urge war on environmental 'green tape'

THE business community has united to demand Julia Gillard and the premiers slash unwieldy environmental assessments and approvals processes, warning "green tape" is jeopardising $900 billion in resources and infrastructure projects.

In a rare move, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry last night issued a joint plea for the Prime Minister and state leaders to declutter the bloated national reform agenda so that it focused on fewer areas that would have the biggest impact on improving the economy.

The business groups said the new priorities should include scrapping the double-handling of environmental assessments on projects between the commonwealth and the states, fast-tracking the approvals for major projects including by quarantining some areas for resources exploration and exempting light industrial and residential developments from costly assessment processes.

The groups have also called for governments to axe more than 240 federal and state policies related to climate change and energy efficiency before the July 1 start of the carbon tax, revive the stalled energy reform agenda and cut business red tape.

On top of this, they want a new scheme for rewarding the states for making good on significant reforms after an impasse at last week's treasurers' meeting over the expiry of "national partnerships" agreements that trigger hundreds of millions of dollars in federal payments.

The groups have released their call in a discussion paper for the Council of Australian Governments business advisory forum that meets tomorrow with Ms Gillard and the premiers in Canberra, and will include BHP Billiton's Marius Kloppers, Rio Tinto's David Peever, Telstra's David Thodey, Wesfarmers' Richard Goyder and Pacific Brands chairman James MacKenzie.

In the paper, the groups cite the case of one major resources project that took more than two years to get environmental approvals, involved more than 4000 meetings and presentations with interest groups and prompted a 12,000-page report. The project was approved with more than 1200 state conditions and 300 federal conditions, with a further 8000 sub-conditions.

The BCA estimates that a 12-month delay to a 10 million-tonne coking coalmine in Queensland would cost the state $170 million in royalty revenues.

Last night, BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott said all businesses were "absolutely on the same page" about the need to cut business costs. "With the economy in transition and many businesses struggling to stay competitive, it is vital COAG is helped to look at all of its reforms through the lens of what is going to make it easier to do business, and reducing unnecessary business costs so the economy can grow faster."

The move is all the more significant as it is a rare show of unity by the business groups.

The BCA spans the top 100 chief executives, ACCI represents 350,000 large and small businesses and the AI Group represents more than 60,000 businesses. The politically sensitive small business lobby also provided input into the paper. It comes as the Gillard government attempts to improve its relations with the business community.

Corporate Australia's relationship with the government has been at a low point after disagreements over key policies, including the carbon tax, mining tax, industrial relations and the threat of new taxes on business in next month's budget.

Yesterday, Australian Securities Exchange chief executive Elmer Funke Kupper, who used to run gaming company Tabcorp, said his clients the 2223 sharemarket-listed companies were rendered less competitive because of the stalled reform agenda. "I'm a great supporter of my clients. National businesses and international businesses demand the most efficient model in Australia and there's no excuse for not having it, particularly in an environment where the economy is slowing and our competitiveness is under threat from the high dollar."

Mr Peever, the managing director of Rio Tinto Australia, said the COAG business advisory forum had to increase competitiveness and tomorrow's meeting should help establish a "proper framework" to develop a more effective way to create policy.

"Australia needs a proper policymaking process to ensure key reforms are delivered in the right way," he said. "A lack of proper process can inhibit good policy development and hold back the reform drive crucial to creating a more competitive Australia."

ACCI chief executive Peter Anderson said tomorrow's meeting should give political leaders a "reality check" on the regulatory reform plans.

The paper by the business groups signals they will escalate their campaign against green tape.

Business wants to avoid the situation where Canberra knocks back assessments conducted under bilateral agreements with the states that are supposed to reduce the duplication in green approvals. It wants the federal government to commit to making a decision within six months of state approvals, and for the states to reserve areas for certain activities such as exploration.

"These reforms are essential to removing the double-handling of environmental assessments that do nothing to improve environmental outcomes but risk the cost-effectiveness and competitiveness of Australia's unprecedented investment pipeline. There are around $900bn of committed and prospective investment opportunities in large-scale projects, mostly in resources and economic infrastructure," the paper states.

On development assessment reforms, business wants the states to commit to a target where 50-70 per cent of applications for low-risk residential and light industrial developments are exempted from the process, with Canberra to consider reviving reward payments to states that update their planning systems.

The Productivity Commission has estimated this reform could deliver $225m in benefits to the economy.

Business figures cite the lengthy approvals and consultation processes that have hindered coal-seam gas projects, potentially adding to the costs of energy.

This could also be on the agenda at tomorrow's meeting as one participant is Origin Energy boss Grant King, who has accused the Greens of ignoring scientific consensus in its attack on CSG.

Wesfarmers's Mr Goyder is also likely to be well versed on the issue as the company's Coles supermarkets chain has raised concerns previously about inflexible and outdated planning controls on the size of stores.


New Qeensland State government to slash real estate "green" tape

The new government has a huge conservative majority

SCRAPPING real estate red tape will be the Newman Government's first legislative priority as it aims to kickstart Queensland's ailing property industry.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney yesterday confirmed laws to jettison sustainability declaration forms would be the initial legislation introduced by the new administration when Parliament resumes in mid-May.

The controversial mandatory forms aimed at tackling climate change have dogged home sellers since their introduction in 2010.

Despite revisions and a fine amnesty, the real estate industry has argued vehemently for the forms to be scrapped, insisting they add nothing to what is already a testing time for buyers and sellers.

The Newman Government will also streamline home sale contracts, as well as reinstate the $7000 residential stamp duty concession, in a bid to breathe life into the industry that has not fully recovered since the global financial crisis.

It comes as Premier Campbell Newman's Cabinet meets formally for the first time today to map out a broad first-term agenda after the LNP annihilated Labor at last month's election.

Other priorities for the Government's first month in office include freezing vehicle registration and commencing the introduction of the flood inquiry recommendations.

Mr Newman will also travel to Canberra on Friday to attend his first Council of Australian Governments meeting.

Mr Seeney yesterday told The Courier-Mail that the declaration form had become symbolic of all that was wrong with the Bligh Government. He said the forms added red tape without providing any real benefits to buyers. "It was just about feel-good green preferences rather than any sort of outcome at all," he said.

Mr Seeney said the LNP had recognised the importance of helping the property sector to aid the recovery of the overall Queensland economy.

Along with ditching red tape, Mr Seeney said getting more efficient decision-making would also help the sluggish industry. "What the industry wants is timely decisions," he said. "If it is 'yes' let them get on with it, and if it is a `no' then let them know so they can get on with something else."

Originally proposed in 2008, the sustainability declarations were pitched as a way buyers could easily compare the energy efficiency credentials of competing properties.

However, amid threats of fines of up to $2000 for failing to complete the forms, the former Bligh Government was forced to ditch some of the confusing questions amid an outcry from sellers and the real estate industry.

The initial two-page form required sellers to detail everything from the star rating of appliances to the width of hallways before they could put their property on the market.

Questions, such as one requiring sellers to detail whether "at least one entry from outside to inside the dwelling is provided by either a level entrance, no more than three steps, a ramp or a lift", were later erased.

However, even the current simplified version continued to court controversy with questions about the number of east and west-facing windows, the colour of the roof and the star rating of toilets.

Property Council Queensland executive director Kathy MacDermott said the measures promised by the LNP would help restore confidence in the residential market.

Ms MacDermott also backed plans to establish a Cabinet sub-committee and a "go to" person for the industry. "That will help interstate investors know who to go to so there is a clear direction," she said.

However, Ms MacDermott urged the Newman Government to go further by eliminating the temporary land tax surcharge introduced after the GFC and scrapping stamp duty from off-the-plan sales.

"If the property industry is allowed to operate at its full potential through great transparency and certainty in processes, it will go a long way to helping restore Queensland's balance sheet," she said.


New Queensland conservative government approves new mining-related projects -- including the building of a DAM

Horrors! Greenies hate ALL dams

THE state government has approved two mining-related projects and advanced aims for new dam in central Queensland.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney today said the Co-ordinator-General had approved applications from mining companies to expand a north Queensland freight terminal and move a rail route used to transport coal through central Queensland.

Pacific National has won approval to expand its freight terminal at Stuart in south Townsville.

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliances (BMA) is also able to proceed with proposed changes to a rail route from its Caval Ridge Coal Mine near Moranbah to the Queensland coast.

The Co-ordinator-General has also released the environmental impact statement for the proposed Nathan Dam on the Dawson River, north of Taroom, in the state's southeast.

Mr Seeney says the dam would unlock the potential of the Surat and Bowen basin regions in southern and central Queensland. "The project could create 425 jobs during its construction," he said in a statement.

Mr Seeney says the LNP is delivering on a promise to drive economic growth and focus the Coordinator-General's office on major projects.

The Coordinator-General said the expansion of Pacific National's freight terminal was compatible with existing and future development in the area.

The change in rail route for BMA's Caval Ridge mine provides a more direct route and reduces noise impacts on housing, the statement from the state government said.


Salvation Army opposes carbon tax

CHARITIES will be forced to cut back essential services for needy families as the carbon tax adds millions of dollars to operating costs.

In the latest challenge to the Gillard government's carbon tax, the Salvation Army estimated it would add $3.5 million to the annual landfill costs for charitable organisations.

The Salvation Army says it is bracing for an avalanche of useless household goods, dumped by people unwilling to pay higher rubbish tip fees as a result of the carbon tax.

In a confidential briefing note, it labelled the carbon tax "unjust and unfair" and said it would lead to "more dumping from a price-sensitive public".

Federal Finance Minister Penny Wong has assured charities that government assistance will be available to help them deal with the impact of a carbon tax which comes into effect from July 1.

"We have put in place a fund for charities to help them with the transition to the carbon price," she told ABC Radio today.

Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said it was absurd that programs such as support for victims of domestic violence and the homeless could be at risk.

"This hit on charities shows the stupidity of this carbon tax and exposes it as a policy failure," he said in a statement.

The Salvation Army warns the new tax will encourage struggling families to use the charity shops as a dumping ground for their unsaleable furniture and clothing rather than pay the cost of rubbish tips.

From July 1, the cost of going to the local tip will rise as the carbon tax hits landfill facilities.

About 25 per cent of pre-loved furniture and clothing collected by the Salvos, St Vincent de Paul Society and other charity organisations ends up at local rubbish tips.

"It is of considerable concern to us," National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations executive director Kerryn Caulfield said.

The Salvos said they would be paying between $687,000 and $1.25 million in additional landfill fees after July 1.

While the charity had about $300 million in annual revenue, Salvos Stores chief operating officer Frank Staebe said it was "another impost on our bottom line".

"What that really means is that less goes into social programs," Mr Staebe said.

St Vincents is also working out the costs of the carbon tax on its network of outlets and other services.

While charities would be hit inadvertently by the carbon tax, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the government's Community Energy Efficiency Program would be used to lower the energy use of community organisations.

Charities are preparing to open a new front in their campaign against the tax, warning it would lead to a reduction in services to the community's most vulnerable.

"The underlying issue here is that this is not waste which we generate," the Salvos said in the internal document.

"The carbon price is based on a 'polluter pays' philosophy and yet, once again, charitable recyclers will face soaring costs."



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, 2012

More data faking

Sea Level Rise Retroactively Triples At Envisat – Overnight

Envisat was the bad girl of satellites, because she refused produce the results Hansen et al were looking for. After ten years of showing very little sea level rise (red), the experts went back in time and tortured the whole data set (blue) to produce almost 3X the rise rate.

Axiom # 1 for climate data : All adjustments trend towards increased funding.

Un … freaking … believable. The same story of upwards global warming adjustments gets repeated over and over and over again – by many different government-funded agencies.

One would expect a Gaussian distribution of error, but we see adjustments that are almost exclusively skewed in one direction – to match a political agenda.


Canadian climate scientist Tim Ball comments on the above:

It appears there is an orchestrated campaign to counteract the growing awareness among the public that there is something seriously wrong with the IPCC science. Politicians are also using declining economies as a vehicle for reassessing priorities so in many countries research funding is being withdrawn.

Australian climate scientist Bob Carter comments:


I hate to admit to sharing a conspiracy view, but I’m sure you’re right. The recent Nature CO2 versus T lead/lag paper is another example. The various revisions that we are being regularly subjected to at the moment are clearly dominoes that are being stacked up for use in what is intended to be the 5AR end-game.

But I must admit that the Envisat revision has just left me shaking my head, for if it really is the case that the revision has been crafted for political reasons (and it is hard to conclude otherwise), then the implication is beyond horrendous. Nearly all of the most influential papers on climate change today involve at some point large amounts of computer massaging of data, often in ways which result in the “correction” of real world data by modelling assumptions or algorithms, and always in ways which are too complex for the average reader (or even referee) to be able to check.

The clear implication of the Enivisat revision is that you can trust NONE of these papers, no matter how prestigious the government organisation that releases them or the scientific journal that publishes them. That the entire field of climate science is thereby corrupted is one thing, but what is most distressing is the lack of any obvious means whereby the situation can start to be corrected.

And yes, I know that this has been obvious for years, viz. Climategate, Glaciergate …. NASA GISS, NIWA data tampering etc., etc. - but I’m Australian, so it has taken a while for the penny to get to Down Under so that it could drop.

Those of you who have the advantage of remaining Up Over will doubtless be well ahead of the game, so I look forward to hearing constructive suggestions as to what I might be able to do to help counter these latest malfeasances, and even more to any ideas as to how we might be able to stop them at their source.

Natural environment not so fragile -- and capitalism should be enlisted, not fought

Peter Kareiva, chief scientist of the Nature Conservancy, the world's largest environmental organization, has had a revelation on the road to Damascus. Excerpt below. For reactions, see here

As conservation became a global enterprise in the 1970s and 1980s, the movement's justification for saving nature shifted from spiritual and aesthetic values to focus on biodiversity. Nature was described as primeval, fragile, and at risk of collapse from too much human use and abuse. And indeed, there are consequences when humans convert landscapes for mining, logging, intensive agriculture, and urban development and when key species or ecosystems are lost.

But ecologists and conservationists have grossly overstated the fragility of nature, frequently arguing that once an ecosystem is altered, it is gone forever. Some ecologists suggest that if a single species is lost, a whole ecosystem will be in danger of collapse, and that if too much biodiversity is lost, spaceship Earth will start to come apart. Everything, from the expansion of agriculture to rainforest destruction to changing waterways, has been painted as a threat to the delicate inner-workings of our planetary ecosystem.

The fragility trope dates back, at least, to Rachel Carson, who wrote plaintively in Silent Spring of the delicate web of life and warned that perturbing the intricate balance of nature could have disastrous consequences.22 Al Gore made a similar argument in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance.23 And the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment warned darkly that, while the expansion of agriculture and other forms of development have been overwhelmingly positive for the world's poor, ecosystem degradation was simultaneously putting systems in jeopardy of collapse.

The trouble for conservation is that the data simply do not support the idea of a fragile nature at risk of collapse. Ecologists now know that the disappearance of one species does not necessarily lead to the extinction of any others, much less all others in the same ecosystem. In many circumstances, the demise of formerly abundant species can be inconsequential to ecosystem function. The American chestnut, once a dominant tree in eastern North America, has been extinguished by a foreign disease, yet the forest ecosystem is surprisingly unaffected. The passenger pigeon, once so abundant that its flocks darkened the sky, went extinct, along with countless other species from the Steller's sea cow to the dodo, with no catastrophic or even measurable effects.

These stories of resilience are not isolated examples -- a thorough review of the scientific literature identified 240 studies of ecosystems following major disturbances such as deforestation, mining, oil spills, and other types
of pollution. The abundance of plant and animal species as well as other measures of ecosystem function recovered, at least partially, in 173 (72 percent) of these studies.25

While global forest cover is continuing to decline, it is rising in the Northern Hemisphere, where "nature" is returning to former agricultural lands.26 Something similar is likely to occur in the Southern Hemisphere, after poor countries achieve a similar level of economic development. A 2010 report concluded that rainforests that have grown back over abandoned agricultural land had 40 to 70 percent of the species of the original forests.27 Even Indonesian orangutans, which were widely thought to be able to survive only in pristine forests, have been found in surprising numbers in oil palm plantations and degraded lands.28

Nature is so resilient that it can recover rapidly from even the most powerful human disturbances. Around the Chernobyl nuclear facility, which melted down in 1986, wildlife is thriving, despite the high levels of radiation.29 In the Bikini Atoll, the site of multiple nuclear bomb tests, including the 1954 hydrogen bomb test that boiled the water in the area, the number of coral species has actually increased relative to before the explosions.30 More recently, the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was degraded and consumed by bacteria at a remarkably fast rate.31

Today, coyotes roam downtown Chicago, and peregrine falcons astonish San Franciscans as they sweep down skyscraper canyons to pick off pigeons for their next meal. As we destroy habitats, we create new ones: in the southwestern United States a rare and federally listed salamander species seems specialized to live in cattle tanks -- to date, it has been found in no other habitat.32 Books have been written about the collapse of cod in the Georges Bank, yet recent trawl data show the biomass of cod has recovered to precollapse levels.33 It's doubtful that books will be written about this cod recovery since it does not play well
to an audience somehow addicted to stories of collapse and environmental apocalypse.

Even that classic symbol of fragility -- the polar bear, seemingly stranded on a melting ice block -- may have a good chance of surviving global warming if the changing environment continues to increase the populations and northern ranges of harbor seals and harp seals. Polar bears evolved from brown bears 200,000 years ago during a cooling period in Earth's history, developing a highly specialized carnivorous diet focused on seals. Thus, the fate of polar bears depends on two opposing trends -- the decline of sea ice and the potential increase of energy-rich prey. The history of life on Earth is of species evolving to take advantage of new environments only to be at risk when the environment changes again.

The wilderness ideal presupposes that there are parts of the world untouched by humankind, but today it is impossible to find a place on Earth that is unmarked by human activity. The truth is humans have been impacting their natural environment for centuries. The wilderness so beloved by conservationists -- places "untrammeled by man"34 -- never existed, at least not in the last thousand years, and arguably even longer.

The effects of human activity are found in every corner of the Earth. Fish and whales in remote Arctic oceans are contaminated with chemical pesticides. The nitrogen cycle and hydrological cycle are now dominated by people -- human activities produce 60 percent of all the fixed nitrogen deposited on land each year, and people appropriate more than half of the annual accessible freshwater runoff. There are now more tigers in captivity than in their native habitats. Instead of sourcing wood from natural forests, by 2050 we are expected to get over three-quarters of our wood from intensively managed tree farms. Erosion, weathering, and landslides used to be the prime movers of rock and soil; today humans rival these geological processes with road building and
massive construction projects. All around the world, a mix of climate change and nonnative species has created a wealth of novel ecosystems catalyzed by human activities.

Scientists have coined a name for our era -- the Anthropocene -- to emphasize that we have entered a new geological era in which humans dominate every flux and cycle of the planet's ecology and geochemistry. Most people worldwide (regardless of culture) welcome the opportunities that development provides to improve lives of grinding rural poverty. At the same time, the global scale of this transformation has reinforced conservation's intense nostalgia for wilderness and a past of pristine nature. But conservation's continuing focus upon preserving islands of Holocene ecosystems in the age of the Anthropocene is both anachronistic and counterproductive.

Consider the decline of the orangutan, which has been largely attributed to the logging of their forest habitats. Recent field studies suggest that humans are killing the orangutans for bush meat and bounty at rates far greater than anyone suspected, and it is this practice, not deforestation, that places orangutans at the greatest peril. In order to save the orangutan, conservationists will also have to address the problem of food and income deprivation in Indonesia. That means conservationists will have to embrace human development and the "exploitation of nature" for human uses, like agriculture, even while they seek to "protect" nature inside of parks.

Conservation's binaries -- growth or nature, prosperity or biodiversity -- have marginalized it in a world that will soon add at least two billion more people. In the developing world, efforts to constrain growth and protect forests from agriculture are unfair, if not unethical, when directed at the 2.5 billion people who live on less than two dollars a day and the one billion who are chronically hungry. By pitting people against nature, conservationists actually create an atmosphere in which people see nature as the enemy. If people don't believe conservation is in their own best interests, then it will never be a societal priority. Conservation must demonstrate how the fates of nature and of people are deeply intertwined -- and then offer new strategies for promoting the health and prosperity of both.

One need not be a postmodernist to understand that the concept of Nature, as opposed to the physical and chemical workings of natural systems, has always been a human construction, shaped and designed for human ends. The notion that nature without people is more valuable than nature with people and the portrayal of nature as fragile or feminine reflect not timeless truths, but mental schema that change to fit the time.

If there is no wilderness, if nature is resilient rather than fragile, and if people are actually part of nature and not the original sinners who caused our banishment from Eden, what should be the new vision for conservation?

It would start by appreciating the strength and resilience of nature while also recognizing the many ways in which we depend upon it. Conservation should seek to support and inform the right kind of development -- development by design, done with the importance of nature to thriving economies foremost in mind. And it will utilize the right kinds of technology to enhance the health and well-being of both human and nonhuman natures.

Instead of scolding capitalism, conservationists should partner with corporations in a science-based effort to integrate the value of nature's benefits into their operations and cultures. Instead of pursuing the protection of biodiversity for biodiversity's sake, a new conservation should seek to enhance those natural systems that benefit the widest number of people, especially the poor. Instead of trying to restore remote iconic landscapes to pre-European conditions, conservation will measure its achievement in large part by its relevance to people, including city dwellers. Nature could be a garden -- not a carefully manicured and rigid one, but a tangle of species and wildness amidst lands used for food production, mineral extraction, and urban life.

Conservation is slowly turning toward these directions but far too slowly and with insufficient commitment to make them the conservation work of the 21st century. The problem lies in our reluctance, and the reluctance of many of conservation's wealthy supporters, to shed the old paradigms.

This move requires conservation to embrace marginalized and demonized groups and to embrace a priority that has been anathema to us for more than a hundred years: economic development for all. The conservation we will get by embracing development and advancing human well-being will almost certainly not be the conservation that was imagined in its early days. But it will be more effective and far more broadly supported, in boardrooms and political chambers, as well as at kitchen tables.

None of this is to argue for eliminating nature reserves or no longer investing in their stewardship. But we need to acknowledge that a conservation that is only about fences, limits, and far away places only a few can actually experience is a losing proposition. Protecting biodiversity for its own sake has not worked. Protecting nature that is dynamic and resilient, that is in our midst rather than far away, and that sustains human communities -- these are the ways forward now. Otherwise, conservation will fail, clinging to its old myths.


50 Top Astronauts, Scientists, Engineers Sign Letter Claiming Extremist GISS Is Turning NASA Into A Laughing Stock!

Mostly former NASA scientists -- who are safe from retribution for speaking out

Here’s the letter:

March 28, 2012
The Honorable Charles Bolden, Jr.
NASA Administrator
NASA Headquarters
Washington, D.C. 20546-0001
Dear Charlie,

We, the undersigned, respectfully request that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.

The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.

As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate.

We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.

For additional information regarding the science behind our concern, we recommend that you contact Harrison Schmitt or Walter Cunningham, or others they can recommend to you.

Thank you for considering this request.


(Attached signatures)


Elite misanthropy still alive and well

They're pining for mega-deaths

Will 5 billion people perish from the earth in the coming century? That’s what the controversial elitist think tank, the Club of Rome, predicted back in 1972. Decades after its publication, advocates of world government are still pushing its predictions as a call to curb mankind’s footprint on the earth.

Australian physicist Graham Turner has recently made news again after revisiting computer models MIT researchers created for the Club of Rome’s 1972 publication that sees a drastic decline in human population coming in relation to a increasing scarcity of resources. Turner’s basic conclusions, however, give away the agenda in plain sight. “The world is on track for disaster,” he bluntly states, while suggesting that “unlimited economic growth” is still possible if world governments enact policies and invest in green technologies that help limit the expansion of our ecological footprint.

The neo-Malthusian Club of Rome has once again surfaced– at a time when environmentalists are demanding world government to save the earth– to present computer models it developed with MIT. It predicts a stark future where limited resources like oil, food and water supposedly trigger a crash that ends with a precipitous reduction in the human population. The graph, while failing to provide actual numbers on the Y axis, appears to show a world population level in 2100 approximately equal to the almost 4.5 billion people in 1980, a decline of more than 5 billion from projected peak numbers (which could be even higher):

Of course, the Club of Rome/MIT models already predicted that the tipping point for disaster would come by the year 2000, which, like the predictions from Sir Thomas Malthus that population would outgrow the food supply, never came.

Instead, this prediction for disaster reflects aspirations of the elite to stop growth, not a neutral reflection on trends that must be. As we have repeatedly documented, the ruling elites aim to cull the population and drive a post-industrial society that harkens back to the feudalistic era.

The Club of Rome, founded in 1968, is an “environmental” group of, by and for the elitists who want control of earth, its peoples and resources. Indeed, elitism at its height was expressed through the Club of Rome when it published in 1991 that “mankind itself” was the enemy, and man’s usage of resources its destructive weapon against the planet:

“The common enemy of humanity is man. 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, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.” - Club of Rome, The First Global Revolution

Critics found in the early 1980s that the MIT-created computer model had been tailored to produce the results Club of Rome founder Aurelio Peccei wanted to show. As authors Phillip Darrell Collins and Paul David Collins summarize:

“The motive for this deception, Peccei contends, is purely an altruistic one. Apparently, the “nobel lie” provided necessary shock treatment” to compel nations to adopt measures of population control (Executive Intelligence Review Special Report, p. 16, 1982). In a critique of The Limits to Growth, Christopher Freeman characterized the MIT group as a collective “Malthus with a computer” (Freeman p. 5, 1975).

In other words, the computer model used by the Club of Rome, like the one now surfacing, is designed not to predict the path of humanity but to steer it. Economist Gunnar Myrdal blasted the model’s attempt to “impress the innocent general public” while holding “little, if any, scientific validity.”

The Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth model, like Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb, was meant more to shame the public out of their consumption pattern more than it was meant to be a literal prediction. Thus, “confirming” the model produced by MIT remains a confirmation of the intent to curb society’s behavior– conveniently through a world government mechanism.

This is the basic aim of the United Nation’s Agenda 21 and other “sustainable development” programs. They hinge on excitement over the depletion of resources, but many assumptions are made that either prove inaccurate, or that rule out the adoption of alternatives.

Consider the fact that even mainstream outlets like Bloomberg have had to concede the myth of peak oil, with new discoveries and existing sources making a mockery of claims that the fuel would disappear. Whether or not oil will remain desirable over alternative fuels is a different question, but current sources can easily last the world hundreds of years.

Instead, as Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson exposed back in 2005, the ruse is put forward to condition society for artificial scarcity. Cutting off the average human’s access to crude is quite different than its actual availability.

The availability and affordability of food is being challenged not by the ability to grow and supply, but by speculators driving up costs. Biofuels, namely corn-derived ethanol, are exacerbating this dilemma by dedicating acreage to fuel-over-food production, threatening billions with potential starvation due to bad policy.

MIT’s calculations in the Limits to Growth publication are thus a bit fuzzy for these reasons and numerous others. It’s not that man is unable to destroy himself that is disputed, but instead it is clear that the oligarchical tier of humanity is bent on achieving the destruction– of the bottom 80% of the world’s population. And that is simply not recognized.

The strategy is mirrored by Bill Gates, as demonstrated at his 2010 TED talk. There he contrives a formula predicting collapse unless mankind curbs population, energy consumption, services and CO2 output. “Probably one of these numbers has to get pretty close to zero,” Gates quips, hinting at population numbers as the key variable.

The elite want to frame the debate around trade offs in a zero-sum game, ultimately suggesting the negative worth of human individuals. True innovation could get us out of this dilemma, but would those in power entertain such notions?

As Mac Slavo observes, it is the unsustainability of the financial spectrum that is most likely candidate to contribute to widespread death, destruction and loss of standard of living:

There is a strong case to be made that the issuance of trillions of dollars in debt over the course of the last several decades, much like oil, will become impossible to sustain. Since the entire system of consumption is essentially based on this debt, if confidence in this system is lost, it may very well have the same initial effect as a peak oil breaking point.


Obama Gives Coal Miners the Shaft

The notion that President Obama is trying to fire up his “base,” as he prepares for a re-election campaign, raises the question of what constitutes his base. It is becoming increasingly clear that the “workers” he is supposedly concerned about are going to be dismissed or ignored so that wealthy environmental groups can be accommodated.

Consider the words of Cecil Roberts, president of the powerful United Mine Workers, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, after EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson made a ruling against coal plants. “The Navy SEALs shot Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,” Roberts said. Those who missed the news about Jackson shutting down coal plants through executive branch rules and regulations may have been unprepared for the Roberts assault. It was a big story for the media but framed in a way that played down the significance of what is taking place.

“For New Generation of Power Plants, a New Emission Rule From the E.P.A.” was the misleading headline over the story in The New York Times. Much more is at stake than just a “new emission rule” that is somehow supposed to affect global warming.

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, put it another way, saying the EPA “is fully engaging in a war on coal…” Manchin went on, “this ill-advised proposal to prevent new coal-fueled generation will move this country away from using all our domestic resources, and I will fight it every step of the way.”

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson is an environmental zealot who advocates “eco-justice.” In 2010, she received a copy of a “Green Bible” from the liberal National Council of Churches. Her mission is to wage war on the fossil fuel industry in order to build what she calls a “green economy.” She is scheduled to speak at the upcoming Conference on the Scientific, Religious, and Cultural Implications of Global Warming, sponsored by the National Religious Coalition on Creation Care. Jackson received the group’s “Steward of God’s Creation award.”

Before becoming the EPA Administrator, Jackson served as chief of staff to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine, who also served as a New Jersey senator before running the MF Global financial group, now embroiled in scandal and corruption over $1.2 billion in missing money. Jackson had been appointed by Corzine to be commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection in 2006.

Jackson’s attack on the coal industry will help China and other U.S. competitors. Although the United States is considered the Saudi Arabia of coal because data show that U.S. currently has the world’s largest coal reserve, America is far behind China in terms of coal production and will fall even further behind because of the new EPA regulations.

On the West Virginia Metro News Talkline radio show, Roberts made his hard-hitting remarks, which have shaken the Obama Administration. In addition to his statement, “The Navy SEALs shot Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,” he said:

* “Coal is the fastest growing energy source in the world and they’ve decided, at the EPA, well, we’re going to control what goes into the atmosphere worldwide by halting the construction of coal fired facilities in the United States.”

* “It doesn’t work, for one thing, and, the second thing, it is just devastating for our economy.”

* “You have to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions throughout the world. You can’t just regulate them through the EPA of the United States.”

The Soros-funded blog, Think Progress, called Roberts’ statements “preposterous,” a fascinating reaction that suggests that Obama is prepared to throw the mine workers down the shaft. The purpose of Think Progress, an unofficial arm of the White House, is to punish anyone—even Democrats—who speak ill of the President or his policies.

Our media failed, perhaps deliberately so, to explain the real significance of what the EPA was doing. The Washington Post headline about the EPA moving against coal was, “EPA imposes first greenhouse gas limits on new power plants.” This story by Juliet Eilperin actually quoted some “advocacy groups” as saying that the EPA proposal was “too weak.”

As noted by the Post, the EPA claimed the new EPA rules and regulations would only affect new power plants. “The media were careful to repeat this claim too,” noted a Wall Street Journal editorial. In fact, however, the paper says, “It isn’t true...the rules will put old plants at risk because of another EPA program known as New Source Review.”

It explains, “Whenever a plant upgrades—whether installing a new fan blade or replacing the proverbial toilet seat—it must comply with every rule on the books. So as a utility obeys the mercury rule, say, it will also be caught in the pincer movement of these new carbon performance standards. The green lobby knows this will slowly kill even current coal plants over time.”

The EPA says the New Source Review “ensures that air quality is not significantly degraded from the addition of new and modified factories, industrial boilers and power plants,” and that “advances in pollution control occur concurrently with industrial expansion.”

The big news is not only that Democrats like Manchin and Roberts are rejecting the Obama policy, but that an Obama-appointed judge, Amy Berman Jackson, recently ruled that the EPA exceeded the agency’s authority and violated federal law when it revoked a coal mining permit in Logan County, West Virginia.

In response, Manchin said, “I applaud our courts for stating clearly and unequivocally that a bureaucratic agency like the EPA cannot run the lives of hardworking Americans.”

Another Democrat, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, issued the following statement regarding the Obama Administration’s proposed EPA guidelines:

“This move by the EPA can lead to only one conclusion—the Obama administration is trying to end the use of coal as we know it. This regulation will devastate West Virginia and our region by reducing jobs and unnecessarily increasing the cost of power for our citizens. I will not stand for it. This latest announcement is yet another example of the EPA’s inappropriate use of its regulatory authority to set policy for our country. Those decisions reside within the Congress, not an unelected bureaucracy. Even though a federal court last week told the EPA that it was acting beyond its power, the EPA continues to act beyond its authority and in a short-sighted manner that will hurt our economy and cost our country jobs. I will continue to vigorously defend our great state against the EPA’s overreaching, ideologically-driven policies that threaten to kill coal. We should be working to make our country more energy independent and create jobs, not harm them.”

All of this was predictable. “If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted,” then-candidate Obama said in 2008.

In a 2011 special election, Tomblin, then-acting governor, won with 49.47 percent of the vote to Republican businessman Bill Maloney’s 47.14 percent. Maloney is running in West Virginia’s May 8 primary against fellow Morgantown Republican Ralph William Clark for what he hopes will be a rematch with Tomblin this year.

“Earl Ray Tomblin supporter Barack Obama is doing exactly what he promised he would do: bankrupt the coal industry,” Maloney says. “How many more job losses can West Virginia families take at the hands of Earl Ray Tomblin and Barack Obama?”


Exploding the Myth Eco-Puritanism Is Harmless

Roosters of the Apocalypse: How the Junk Science of Global Warming Nearly Bankrupted the Western World, is available from the Heartland Institute.

One of the difficulties inherent to combatting the excesses of environmental activists is that their message sounds so innocuous on the surface. Who can be against a cleaner world? How can anyone not want to protect the wonders of nature? And, if the green crowd may take things a tad too far at times, what’s the harm? After all, better safe than sorry, right?

Author Rael Jean Isaac explodes the myth that eco-puritanism is harmless in her new book Roosters of the Apocalypse: How the Junk Science of Global Warming Nearly Bankrupted the Western World, published by the Heartland Institute. It’s a devastating take-down of the excesses of the environmental movement past and present, in the form of a well-reasoned, easy to digest analysis that packs equal parts reason and entertainment into a surprisingly compact package.

Isaac uses the tragedy of South Africa’s Xhosa tribe as the backdrop for her tale. In 1856 the Xhosa willingly destroyed their own economy, killing half a million cattle, destroying grain stores and ceasing to plant new crops. After a year tens of thousands of Xhosa – about a third of the population – had starved to death before British authorities intervened. Why would a society willingly destroy itself? Isaac explains why:

“The Xhosa had acted on the prophecy of a 15-year-old girl who promised that if they destroyed all they had and purified themselves of “witchcraft” (including evil inclinations and selfishness), the world before the white invaders came would be restored; The British oppressors would flee, and the Xhosa ancestors would return, bringing with them an even greater abundance of cattle and grain.”

Some of the parallels between the Xhosa tragedy and modern-day global warming alarmism are striking. For example, Isaac points out how both are essentially matters of faith, not science. As real-world evidence that challenged the young-lady’s prophecies mounted (for the tribes ancestors surprisingly failed to re-appear leading a ghostly cattle drive) true believers doubled down in their commitment to the cause. So it is today with alarmist crowd. The more actual data continues to diverge from alarmist predictions, the more intransigent alarmists become.

Just as cattle and grain were the life-blood of the 19th century Xhosa economy, fossil fuels have powered the engine that has driven western economies to higher and higher levels of prosperity for over one hundred years. By demanding that we voluntarily abandon the use of fossil fuels and have faith that some other form of cheap, abundant energy will magically appear, environmentalists would lead us down the same kind of self-destructive path as the Xhosa.

Isaac ties in Boston University historian Richard Landes work Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience, persuasively arguing that global warming alarmism displays virtually all of the characteristics common to apocalyptic movements that Landes describes. Such movements pit two groups against each other, according to Landes: “roosters” who try to whip up panic and hysteria among the populace by any means possible, and “owls” who calmly appeal to sound reasoning. Isaac goes on to describe how roosters cannot abide the existence of owls, no matter how many or how few in the latter group. She writes:

“As the ancestors failed to appear and the Xhosa believers began to starve, they blamed the stubborn owls who had kept their cattle. Arguing it was their disbelief that delayed the return of the ancestors, they believers began to kill the cattle of those they called the amagogotya, the selfish hard ones, those who “eat alone.” In the global warming apocalypse, every effort is made to banish climate change owls, no matter how distinguished their scientific record, to the outer fringe. The owls are flat-earthers, patsies for big oil, “deniers” (as in Holocaust deniers), analogous to racists (Al Gore’s contribution), “people who say that asbestos is as good as talcum powder” (this from Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). James Hansen says CEOs of fossil energy companies should be tried for “high crimes against humanity and nature.”

All and all, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening read. The chapter entitled “A Climate Rooster Becomes President” should be required reading for every voter. Isaac outlines President Obama’s multi-pronged, all-out war on fossil fuels, which is sure to continue to have serious economic repercussions far into the future. Still, she remains hopeful that the wave of this particular apocalyptic movement has already crested. Indeed, fewer and fewer Americans profess to worried about man-made climate change every year. “Roosters of the Apocalypse” explains why.

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


10 April, 2012

Chris Mooney still gets it hilariously wrong: Still projecting

I reproduce below some excerpts from a long article about the psychological theories of Chris Mooney. It is headed: "The Science of Fox News: Why Its Viewers are the Most Misinformed". I first reproduce Mooney's "proof" that conservatives are wrong to be skeptical about global warming and then excerpt his explanation of why that is.

Note that his only evidence for conservatives being wrong about global warming is that they DISAGREE with the authorities on the subject. He then explains that this is because they are authoritarian! The good old Green/Left black-is-white reasoning again! Ya gotta laugh!

Just a small point: He relies heavily in his thinking on the work by Robert Altemeyer on "Right-wing authoritarianism". He evidently overlooks the fact that, like most Leftist psychologists, Altemeyer has no idea what conservatives actually think. As a result, by Altemeyer's own admission, he found that his measure of "Right-wing authoritarianism" did NOT correlate with vote. In other words, about half of Altemeyer's "right wingers" actually voted for Leftist political parties. You can't make this stuff up!

For a short history of the Right-wing authoritarianism trope see here. Background on Altemeyer here.

And Mooney overlooks the point that a tendency to read only what suits you is as at least as good a picture of Warmists as it is of skeptics. He is projecting his own tendencies onto skeptics, in other words

Global Warming

At least two studies have documented that Fox News viewers are more misinformed about this subject.

In a late 2010 survey, Stanford University political scientist Jon Krosnick and visiting scholar Bo MacInnis found that “more exposure to Fox News was associated with more rejection of many mainstream scientists’ claims about global warming, with less trust in scientists, and with more belief that ameliorating global warming would hurt the U.S. economy.” Frequent Fox viewers were less likely to say the Earth’s temperature has been rising and less likely to attribute this temperature increase to human activities. In fact, there was a 25 percentage point gap between the most frequent Fox News watchers (60%) and those who watch no Fox News (85%) in whether they think global warming is “caused mostly by things people do or about equally by things people do and natural causes.”

In a much more comprehensive study released in late 2011 (too late for Stewart or for PolitiFact), American University communications scholar Lauren Feldman and her colleagues reported on their analysis of a 2008 national survey, which found that “Fox News viewing manifests a significant, negative association with global warming acceptance.” Viewers of the station were less likely to agree that “most scientists think global warming is happening” and less likely to think global warming is mostly caused by human activities, among other measures.....

Mooney's theory:

Festinger suggested that once we’ve settled on a core belief, this ought to shape how we gather information. More specifically, we are likely to try to avoid encountering claims and information that challenge that belief, because these will create cognitive dissonance. Instead, we should go looking for information that affirms the belief. The technical (and less than ideal) term for this phenomenon is “selective exposure”: what it means is that we selectively choose to be exposed to information that is congenial to our beliefs, and to avoid “inconvenient truths” that are uncongenial to them.

When are people most likely to seek out self-affirming information? Hart found that they’re most vulnerable to selective exposure if they have defensive goals—for instance, being highly committed to a preexisting view, and especially a view that is tied to a person’s core values. Another defensive motivation identified in Hart’s study was closed-mindedness, which makes a great deal of sense. It is probably part of the definition of being closed-minded, or dogmatic, that you prefer to consume information that agrees with what you already believe.

So who’s closed-minded? Multiple studies have shown that political conservatives—e.g., Fox viewers--tend to have a higher need for closure. Indeed, this includes a group called right-wing authoritarians, who are increasingly prevalent in the Republican Party. This suggests they should also be more likely to select themselves into belief-affirming information streams, like Fox News or right-wing talk radio or the Drudge Report. Indeed, a number of research results support this idea.

Selective exposure has also been directly tested several times in authoritarians. In one case, researchers at Stony Brook University primed more and less authoritarian subjects with thoughts of their own mortality. Afterwards, the authoritarians showed a much stronger preference than non-authoritarians for reading an article that supported their existing view on the death penalty, rather than an article presenting the opposing view or a “balanced” take on the issue. As the authors concluded: “highly authoritarian individuals, when threatened, attempt to reduce anxiety by selectively exposing themselves to attitude-validating information, which leads to ‘stronger’ opinions that are more resistant to attitude change.”

The psychologist Robert Altemeyer of the University of Manitoba has also documented an above average amount of selective exposure in right wing authoritarians. In one case, he gave students a fake self-esteem test, in which they randomly received either above average or below average scores. Then, everyone—the receivers of both low and high scores—was given the opportunity to say whether he or she would like to read a summary of why the test was valid. The result was striking: Students who scored low on authoritarianism wanted to learn about the validity of the test regardless of how they did on it. There was virtually no difference between high and low scorers. But among the authoritarian students, there was a big gap: 73 percent of those who got high self-esteem scores wanted to read about the test’s validity, while only 47 percent of those who got low self-esteem scores did.

Authoritarians, Altemeyer concludes, “maintain their beliefs against challenges by limiting their experiences, and surrounding themselves with sources of information that will tell them they are right.”

The evidence on selective exposure, as well as the clear links between closed-mindedness and authoritarianism, gives good grounds for believing that this phenomenon should be more common and more powerful on the political right. Lest we leap to the conclusion that Fox News is actively misinforming its viewers most of the time—rather than enabling them through its very existence—that’s something to bear in mind.


Unseasonable cold in Australia

Due, no doubt, to global warming. Warming causes cold, don't you see? It's like the socialist Hitler being a Rightist or the ban on plastic bags saving trees: Easy

IF you ducked outside this morning for coffee and mistook your quiet Australian street for an icy plain in Siberia, there's good reason. Today is cold. Really cold. Especially if you live in Canberra.

But first, let's back up a bit.

1. This is Australia. This is not England. Australia is meant to be warm. England is meant to be cold.

2. It's April. The average temperature is supposedly 22.4 degrees in Sydney, 20.3 in Melbourne and 17.3 in Hobart.

3. Hobart is in Tasmania, which is further away from the equator than mainland Australia, so it gets pretty cold down there.

With these three irrefutable facts in mind, we ask: why is it so pitifully freezing today, on Tuesday April 10?

Sydney commuters confronted a wintry chill of just 12 degrees this morning, re-enforced by nasty, nasty winds.

The temp was even lower down south, where Victorians put on a couple extra layers beneath their Snuggies to brace the 9.4-degree wake-up surprise.

Brisbane's 19 degrees, but it's always warm there, and so too the 25-degree anomaly that is Darwin.

But it gets worse. Hobart's finest are rocking around in 7 degrees. And if you're a federal politician, or otherwise a resident of Canberra, it's just 1 degree.


The snow sectors copped it the worst. Thredbo got down to -5.5 degrees overnight. Minus degrees? Why are we talking about minus temperatures, in Australia, in April?

Pesky terms like "cold front" and "wind chill" are partly to blame, which are particularly relevant for Victorians, according to the Weather Channel.

"Cold south-westerly winds in the fronts wake also brought frequent showers to southern districts, which fell as snow above an elevation of about 800 metres," said senior meteorologist Tom Saunders.

"The frigid polar air also produced small hail and thunder over central and eastern districts. The coldest air will move out into the Tasman Sea today, allowing the showers to ease and daytime temperatures to gradually rise over the coming days but overnight minimums will remain chilly for the next few nights."

The Snowy Mountains lived up to their name by delivering the first snow of the season to NSW.

"We usually get some colder outbreaks about this time of year," said a spokesperson from the Bureau of Meteorology. "It was fairly cool - I know that myself because I rode into work on my scooter."


EPA gets it precisely wrong about warming and health

The black-is-white Green/Left thinking yet again

Over at the website Master Resource, WCR’s Chip Knappenberger takes in intriguing look into whether EPA regulations aimed at mitigating extreme weather outbreaks through limitations on greenhouse gas emissions are really such a good idea.

New research has just been published, adding to an existing set of findings, that shows declines in heat-related mortality in the face of rising temperature. A logical extension of these results is that the more people become familiar with high heat, the better they become at dealing with it. The net result is that the risks form heat waves decline and public health and welfare improves.

This real-world string of events runs contrary to the EPA’s insistence that human emissions of greenhouse endanger the public health and welfare citing “longer, more intense and more frequent heat waves” as one of the resulting threats.

In his Master Resource article, Knappenberger explores this concept in more depth, as well as touching upon recent results in the psychological literature that lend support to the concept that “whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”

The same adage is quite appropriate for climate change and extreme weather.

Be sure to see the entire article “Is the EPA Endangering Public Health and Welfare by Attempting to Mitigate Extreme Weather?” which can be found here.


Follow Up: Revisiting the 2010 IPCC Press Release on Economics of Disasters

Roger Pielke Jr

As I prepared for my lunch seminar which I am giving later today. I had a chance to revisit the press release issued by the IPCC on January 25, 2010 in response to an article that appeared in the UK Sunday Times one day earlier which detailed failures of the IPCC AR4 related to claims made about climate change and disasters.

The Sunday Times article was about how the 2007 IPCC AR4 mishandled the issue of the economic toll of disasters and climate change. With the advantage of hindsight, we can now see that the claims made in the Sunday Times article have been completely vindicated and the IPCC press release was full of misinformation (to put it kindly).  This post has the details.

The IPCC press release of 26 January 2010 started out as follows (PDF):
The January 24 Sunday Times ran a misleading and baseless attacking the way the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC handled an important question concerning recent trends in economic losses from climate-related disasters
What did the Sunday Times article claim?
The United Nations climate science panel faces new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.

It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny — and ignored warnings from scientific advisers that the evidence supporting the link too weak. The report's own authors later withdrew the claim because they felt the evidence was not strong enough. . .

The new controversy also goes back to the IPCC's 2007 report in which a separate section warned that the world had "suffered rapidly rising costs due to extreme weather-related events since the 1970s".

It suggested a part of this increase was due to global warming and cited the unpublished report, saying: "One study has found that while the dominant signal remains that of the significant increases in the values of exposure at risk, once losses are normalised for exposure, there still remains an underlying rising trend."

The Sunday Times has since found that the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, at the time the climate body issued its report.

When the paper was eventually published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses."

Despite this change the IPCC did not issue a clarification ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit last month. It has also emerged that at least two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts — but were ignored.
None of these claims are "misleading and baseless" but are factually correct. (Note that full text of the Times article can be found here.)

In its press release, the IPCC explained its position by re-asserting what was claimed in the report:
one study detected an increase in economic losses, corrected for values at risk, but that other studies have not detected such a trend
We now know that the "study" that was cited by the IPCC (a white paper from a workshop that I had organized) did not contain any analysis of trends. Instead, that paper was intentionally miscited by one of the chapter's authors to circumvent the deadline for inclusion of relevant publications. When the miscited paper actually did appear in the literature it said this:
“We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses.“
Thus, the paper that the IPCC wanted to cite did not say what the was claimed in a specially invented graph that was made up for the report but which did not appear in the miscited paper. Further, the IPCC intentionally miscited it to get it into the report in the first place. Three bad moves.

The IPCC press release also said that
In writing, reviewing, and editing this section, IPCC procedures were carefully followed to produce the policy-relevant assessment that is the IPCC mandate.
The IPCC did not follow its procedures for citing grey literature, for following its own deadline for publications, for proper citation of source material and included a graph that cannot be found in any literature anywhere. The IPCC press release was thus wrong again -- the procedures were ignored, not "carefully followed."

The bottom line is that the Sunday Times article has proven correct comprehensively on the substantive and procedural aspects of the IPCC's failures (the substance of which has recently been reaffirmed by the IPCC SREX report).

The IPCC 26 January 2010 press release still sits uncorrected on the IPCC website (here in PDF). If the IPCC has a commitment to getting things right,. shouldn't it correct "baseless and misleading" claims that it has made?


The Ideology of Catastrophe

These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we refuse to listen to them


As an asteroid hurtles toward Earth, terrified citizens pour into the streets of Brussels to stare at the mammoth object growing before their eyes. Soon, it will pass harmlessly by—but first, a strange old man, Professor Philippulus, dressed in a white sheet and wearing a long beard, appears, beating a gong and crying: "This is a punishment; repent, for the world is ending!"

We smile at the silliness of this scene from the Tintin comic strip "L'Étoile Mystérieuse," published in Belgium in 1941. Yet it is also familiar, since so many people in both Europe and the United States have recently convinced themselves that the End is nigh. Professor Philippulus has managed to achieve power in governments, the media and high places generally. Constantly, he spreads fear: of progress, science, demographics, global warming, technology, food. In five years or in 10 years, temperatures will rise, Earth will be uninhabitable, natural disasters will multiply, the climate will bring us to war, and nuclear plants will explode.

Man has committed the sin of pride; he has destroyed his habitat and ravaged the planet; he must atone.

My point is not to minimize our dangers. Rather, it is to understand why apocalyptic fear has gripped so many of our leaders, scientists and intellectuals, who insist on reasoning and arguing as though they were following the scripts of mediocre Hollywood disaster movies.

Over the last half-century, leftist intellectuals have identified two great scapegoats for the world's woes. First, Marxism designated capitalism as responsible for human misery. Second, "Third World" ideology, disappointed by the bourgeois indulgences of the working class, targeted the West, supposedly the inventer of slavery, colonialism and imperialism.

The guilty party that environmentalism now accuses—mankind itself, in its will to dominate the planet—is essentially a composite of the previous two, a capitalism invented by a West that oppresses peoples and destroys the Earth.

Environmentalism sees itself as the fulfillment of all earlier critiques. "There are only two solutions," Bolivian president Evo Morales declared in 2009. "Either capitalism dies, or Mother Earth dies."

"Our house is burning, but we are not paying attention," said Jacques Chirac, then president of France, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. "Nature, mutilated, overexploited, cannot recover, and we refuse to admit it."

Sir Martin Rees, a British astrophysicist and former president of the Royal Society, gives humanity a 50% chance of surviving beyond the 21st century. Oncologists and toxicologists predict that the end of mankind should arrive even earlier, around 2060, thanks to a general sterilization of sperm.

One could cite such quotations forever, given the spread of apocalyptic literature. Authors, journalists, politicians and scientists compete in their portrayal of abomination and claim for themselves a hyperlucidity: They alone see the future clearly while others vegetate in the darkness.

The fear that these intellectuals spread is like a gluttonous enzyme that swallows up an anxiety, feeds on it, and then leaves it behind for new ones. When the Fukushima nuclear plant melted down after the enormous earthquake in Japan in March 2011, it only confirmed an existing anxiety that was looking for some content. In six months, some new concern will grip us: a pandemic, bird flu, the food supply, melting ice caps, cell-phone radiation.

The fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the press reporting, as though it were a surprise, that young people are haunted by the very concerns about global warming that the media continually broadcast. As in an echo chamber, opinion polls reflect the views promulgated by the media.

We are inoculated against anxiety by the repetition of the same themes, which become a narcotic we can't do without.

A time-honored strategy of cataclysmic discourse, whether performed by preachers or by propagandists, is the retroactive correction. This technique consists of accumulating a staggering amount of horrifying news and then—at the end—tempering it with a slim ray of hope.

First you break down all resistance; then you offer an escape route to your stunned audience. Thus the advertising copy for the Al Gore documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" reads: "Humanity is sitting on a time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet's climate system into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced—a catastrophe of our own making."

Here are the means that the former vice president, like most environmentalists, proposes to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions: using low-energy light bulbs; driving less; checking your tire pressure; recycling; rejecting unnecessary packaging; adjusting your thermostat; planting a tree; and turning off electrical appliances. Since we find ourselves at a loss before planetary threats, we will convert our powerlessness into propitiatory gestures, which will give us the illusion of action. First the ideology of catastrophe terrorizes us; then it appeases us by proposing the little rituals of a post-technological animism.

But let's be clear: A cosmic calamity is not averted by checking tire pressure or sorting garbage.

Another contradiction in apocalyptic discourse is that, though it tries desperately to awaken us, to convince us of planetary chaos, it eventually deadens us, making our eventual disappearance part of our everyday routine. At first, yes, the kind of doom that we hear about—acidification of the oceans, pollution of the air—charges our calm existence with a strange excitement. But the certainty of the prophecies makes this effect short-lived.

We begin to suspect that the numberless Cassandras who prophesy all around us do not intend to warn us so much as to condemn us.

In classical Judaism, the prophet sought to give new life to God's cause against kings and the powerful. In Christianity, millenarian movements embodied a hope for justice against a church wallowing in luxury and vice. But in a secular society, a prophet has no function other than indignation. So it happens that he becomes intoxicated with his own words and claims a legitimacy with no basis, calling down the destruction that he pretends to warn against.

You'll get what you've got coming! That is the death wish that our misanthropes address to us. These are not great souls who alert us to troubles but tiny minds who wish us suffering if we have the presumption to refuse to listen to them. Catastrophe is not their fear but their joy. It is a short distance from lucidity to bitterness, from prediction to anathema.

Another result of the doomsayers' certainty is that their preaching, by inoculating us against the poison of terror, brings about petrification. The trembling that they want to inculcate falls flat. Anxiety has the last word. We were supposed to be alerted; instead, we are disarmed. This may even be the goal of the noisy panic: to dazzle us in order to make us docile. Instead of encouraging resistance, it propagates discouragement and despair. The ideology of catastrophe becomes an instrument of political and philosophical resignation.


Less Than 1 in 6 Americans Frequently Washes Grocery Totes Increasing Risk for Food Poisoning

So plastic bags are healthier

Reusable grocery totes are a popular, eco-friendly choice to transport groceries, but only 15 percent of Americans regularly wash their bags. Most users are inadvertently creating a breeding zone for harmful bacteria, according to a new survey by the Home Food Safety program, a collaboration between the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) and ConAgra Foods.

"Cross-contamination occurs when juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects come in contact with cooked or ready-to-eat foods like breads or produce," says registered dietitian and Academy spokesperson Ruth Frechman. "Unwashed grocery bags are lingering with bacteria which can easily contaminate your foods."

Each year, 48 million Americans are affected by food poisoning caused by foodborne pathogens such as salmonella, listeria and E. coli.

"Food poisoning can easily be prevented with practical steps, such as cleaning grocery totes and separating raw meats from ready-to-eat foods when shopping, cooking, serving and storing foods," Frechman says.

According to Frechman, bacteria can be eliminated by: • Frequently washing your grocery tote, either in the washing machine or by hand with hot, soapy water; • Cleaning all areas where you place your totes, such as the kitchen counter; • Storing totes in a clean, dry location; and • Avoiding leaving empty totes in the trunk of a vehicle.

"When grocery shopping, wrap meat, poultry and fish in plastic bags before placing in the tote, and use two different easy to identify totes; one for raw meats and one for ready-to-eat foods," Frechman says.

It's also important to separate raw meats from ready-to-eat foods when preparing food, she says. To stay safe in the kitchen, use two cutting boards: one strictly to cut raw meat, poultry and seafood; the other for ready-to-eat foods, like breads and vegetables.

"Don't confuse them, and always wash boards thoroughly in hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher after each use," she says. "Discard old cutting boards that have cracks, crevices and excessive knife scars."



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, 2012

More sloppiness (polite term) found in the latest pride of "Nature" magazine

"Nature" magazine (2012, 484, 49–54) recently announced with great fanfare that if you ignored those pesky ice-core records from Antarctica, then the last deglaciation was PRECEDED by a CO2 rise -- which is necessary if you are to claim that CO2 CAUSED the warming. The paper by Shakun et al. is headed “Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation”

I immediately pointed out the belief in magic needed to come to that conclusion but other skeptics have been looking at the claim too.

So a quick layman's summary of three other bit of trickery found in the "Nature" article. Don't rely on my summary as anything more than an introduction, though.

In his first post on the subject, Willis Eschenbach pointed out that the authors hid some very embarassing stuff by using averages. When you look at the individual temperature proxies that the authors used, you see that they show vastly different times at which CO2 levels peaked. So it becomes impossible to say what the sequence was. Some records suggest that warming came first and others say that a CO2 rise came first. So the whole Shakun claim collapses in a heap.

In his second post Eschenbach shows that the authors cut off the more recent end of the data record -- Where CO2 rises but temperatures FALL! That's pure fakery and dishonesty.

And Piers Corbyn points out that Antarctica is where temperature changes are first seen (it has 91% of the earth's glacial mass) and that the Arctic follows the Antarctic but with a lag of several thousand years. Changes that began in the Antarctic take a long while to percolate through to the Arctic. So the emphasis given by the "Nature" authors to the Arctic is misplaced and they are in fact missing the main game.

Finally, there has just appeared a paper from IPCC reviewer Vincent Gray which points to the the multiple violations of standard statistical assumptions in the paper. The results reported in the paper just cannot be accepted as statistically significant, meaning that they could be due to chance alone:
The Second graph plots the extent of the lag of temperature behind CO2 against the length of the lag over 20.000 and 10,000 years and shows that in the Southern Hemisphere the lag is in the opposite direction, namely CO2 lags temperature. The lag of temperature against CO2 happens only in the Northern Hemisphere, and there seems to be a generally smaller lag in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere.

BUT the small print in the caption beneath the graph states that the confidence intervals given are one standard deviation about the mean. It has been conventional in the statistical and the scientific literature to use two standard deviations for confidence limits, which give the 95% limits in which the true figure may lie. The use of limits of only one standard deviation is a device frequently used by the IPCC and its supporters to give a spurious impression of accuracy, as it includes only 68% of the possible range of the true figure

In this case, for the Globe, the figure 460±340 means that there is a 16% chance that the true figure may be less than 120 and a 2.5% chance that the figure may be less than -220.

For the Southern Hemisphere the figure is -620±660, which means there ia a 16% chance that it is greater than +40 and a 2.5% chance in that it may be greater than +700. For the Northern Hemisphere the figure is 720±330, which means that there is a 16% chance in that the figure may be less than+390 and a 2.5% chance that it may be less than -60

These figures apply when and only when there is a large number of all the samples and they all fit the normal curve closely. Any deviation from these requirements means that the chance that the two sets of figures are not significantly different increases

The study claims to give a global cover. The location of the samples is shown in Figure 1

They appear to show a balanced coverage between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, but otherwise the sample is grossly unrepresentative of the earth’s surface. The only places that are firmly on land are those in Antarctica. Only three or four are from the ocean and the rest appear to be from coastal sites. The apparent difference between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres may merely be a reflection of this gross sampling deficiency.

The many inaccuracies involved in all of the measurements, combined with the poor sampling and the evident attempt to cover them up by quoting misleading confidence limits leads inevitably to the conclusion that this paper has failed to show a genuine global lag between carbon dioxide and temperature over the Pleistocene, in either direction to a significant degree of accuracy

If there's no such thing as a happy Greenie, it also seems that there is no such thing as an honest Warmist

Climate scientists are losing the public debate on global warming

Green campaigners and climate scientists are losing the public debate over global warming, one of the movement's leading proponents has admitted.

Dr James Hansen, director of the Nasa Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who first made warnings about climate change in the 1980s, said that public scepticism about the threat of man-made climate change has increased despite the growing scientific consensus.

Speaking ahead of a public lecture in Edinburgh this week, he admitted that without public support it will be impossible to make the changes he and his colleagues believe need to occur to protect future generations from the effects of climate change.

He blamed sceptics who are opposed to major social and economic changes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for employing "tremendous resources" to undermine the scientific evidence.

Dr Hansen, who will receive the Edinburgh Medal at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, pointed to a number of controversies involving climate scientists, such as the leaked University of East Anglia emails, as being partly responsible for the shift in public opinion.

Critics, however, insist the public have become desensitised by decades of dire warnings by climate scientists.

Dr Hansen, who served as an adviser to Al Gore on his controversial documentary The Inconvenient Truth, said: "There is remarkable inconsistency between the scientific story and public story.

His comments come as recent surveys have revealed that public support for tackling climate change has declined dramatically in recent years. The British Social Attitudes survey published last year revealed that just 22 per cent said they are now in favour of green taxes compared to 31 per cent in 2000. Over a third said many claims about environmental threats were "exaggerated" compared to 24 per cent in 2000.

A recent BBC poll found that 25% of British adults did not think global warming was happening.

Environmental campaigners suffered a major blow in 2009 when emails stolen from computers at the University of East Anglia were leaked and were hailed by critics as evidence of scientists attempting to suppress evidence that contradicted the idea of man-made climate change.

An inquiry into the scandal failed to find any evidence of malpractice by the scientists and a review of the science also found it to be sound, although the findings were met with claims of bias from sceptics.

Dr Hansen will argue that by placing a global levy on all fossil fuels, including coal and gas, it would encourage a move towards alternative forms of energy.

Dr Benny Peiser, director of sceptical think tank The Global Warming Policy Foundation, said governments and the public had "more urgent problems to deal with" than tackling climate change.

He said: "People have become bored by some of the rhetoric from the green movement as they have other things to worry about.

"In reality the backlash against climate change has very little to do with the sceptics. We will take credit for instilling some debate but it is mainly an economic issue. Climate change is not seen as being urgent any more.

"James Hansen has been making predictions about climate change since the 1980s. When people are comparing what is happening now to those predictions, they can see they fail to match up."


The Environmental Terrorizing of Children

By Alan Caruba

In many ways, the worst aspect of environmentalism is why Greens not only feel free to terrorize children with doomsday scenarios, but feel compelled to do so.

I have been reviewing books for some fifty years and with the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” in 1962 and books such as Paul Ehrlich’s “Population Bomb” have been offering scenarios intended to move people and governments to take action that, in retrospect, were based on bad “science” and absurd doomsday predictions.

If you were fooled by global warming, they are counting on you to be fooled again by "sustainability", their reworking of Marx’s communism in the form of a grandiose scheme to control all of the Earth’s bounty. In June the United Nations will hold a Rio+20 conference that will declare that governments exist to ensure "sustainable well-being and happiness." The Declaration of Independence offers the opportunity to pursue happiness. It does not guarantee it, nor does it suggest that it is government's job to provide it.

A key element of the Green’s endless indoctrination schemes has been to reach children, the most vulnerable among us and for this reason our schools have been turned into Green prisons where their version of the Earth is pumped into the minds of children here and around the world.

Their primary teaching tool is fear. Fear that the oceans will rise and wipe out entire cities. Fear that the rainforests are disappearing. Fear that entire species are being destroyed by the hand of man. Fear that the use of any kind of fuel, coal, natural gas, and oil is despoiling the planet.

I have reviewed books for some fifty years at this point and I could not put a number on the books for children that hammer home these and other terrifying themes. One crossed my desk the other day, “Our House is Round: A Kid’s Book About Why Protecting Our Earth Matters” by Yolanda Kondonassis and illustrated by Joan Brush. It has been called “the perfect children’s introduction to environmental issues” by Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund.

The author is not a biologist, a geologist, a meteorologist, or any other kind of scientist. She is a Grammy-nominated classical harpist. A harpist!

“Our Earth has gotten messy. What should we do?” she asks her young reader. What does she mean by “messy”? Her answer is that “cars, trucks, and factories make pollution, a kind of dirty gas or liquid that goes out into the air and into our rivers, lakes, and oceans.” This book is written for children age five to nine!

Imagine now what it must be like to be that age and be told that the air is polluted and the water is as well. This verges on child abuse.

“Pollution goes up into the sky and forms a blanket of gas that holds heat within Earth’s atmosphere. That makes our whole Earth warmer and leads to unclean air for breathing, melting polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and extreme weather patterns. Scientists call this warming of our Earth’s temperature CLIMATE CHANGE.”

It is a LIE. The Earth has been cooling for fifteen years.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a gas as vital to all life on Earth as oxygen is to the life of living creatures. Without it, not a single blade of grass or tree or the vegetation we call “crops” would not grow. Livestock and wildlife depend on that vegetation. If you are age five to nine, you likely are unaware of this.

This book and all the others that incorporate these lies are a form of psychological terror.

The same week I received “Our House is Round”, I also received “The Big Green Book of the Big Blue Sea” and “Earth-Friendly Buildings, Bridges, and More.” You could stack all the environmentally-themed children’s books I’ve seen and it would reach up several stories.

They are a corruption of geophysical and biological science. They have nothing to do with “saving the planet” and everything to do with distorting children’s understanding of the real world.

It does not matter that the Ms. Kondonassis thinks she is serving humanity. The great lie of communism is that it will create a collectivist utopia. In reality it has always depended on terror to maintain itself and it has failed wherever it has been tried. Environmentalism is its latest permutation.

It is the same reason that communism derides religion for its emphasis on life and morality.

It is the same reason Americans are being subjected to government imposed limitations on energy and transportation, and coerced social change, altering and secularizing our society.

I have devoted my life to freedom of the press, freedom to publish, freedom to speak out, and to urge participation in the life of the greatest nation on Earth, but some books like “Our House Is Round” are the worst kind of mental pollution.

Envionmentalism, like all tyrannies, begins by indoctrinating children.


It is only Greenie panic merchants who keep the peak oil scare alive

In 1920, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the world contained only 60 billion barrels of recoverable oil. But to date we have produced more than 1,000 billion barrels and currently have more than 1,500 billion barrels in reserve. World petroleum reserves are at an all-time high.

...technological advances have opened up resources beyond the limits of our ancestors' imaginations. We can drill offshore in water up to 8,000 feet deep. We have enhanced recovery techniques, horizontal drilling and four-dimensional seismic imaging. Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm is turning North Dakota into Saudi Arabia by using hydraulic fracturing technology. U.S. oil production has reversed its 40-year decline. By the year 2020, it is anticipated that the U.S. will be the world's top oil producer.

But why are we even having this conversation about "peak oil" in the first place?

Discussion about EROEI -- energy returned on energy invested -- is just so much trash talk. When you consider the potential of high quality, abundant industrial process heat from advanced nuclear reactors, EROEI fears begin to sound like a joke. Whether it takes 10 or 20 years to develop and build gen IV high temperature gas cooled modular reactors, the die is cast, and peak oil doom is itself doomed, along with EROEI fears.

So what is this conversation truly about? Beneath all the smokescreens, it is about lefty-Luddite carbon hysteria, and the fear of of an advanced technological future for humans. If not for a trumped-up and irrational fear of carbon, a true hydrocarbon abundance suddenly opens up before us -- along with an abundance of electricity from advanced, safe, clean, nuclear reactors.

But if we listen to the lefty-Luddite green dieoff.orgiast fears coming from the highest levels of human governments and inter-governments, we face a new dark age of energy starvation. An age where unreliable intermittent-renewables -- ever prone to breakdown and failure -- replace reliable forms of power and energy.

The green world view is based upon several delusional beliefs, including carbon hysteria, energy scarcity, overpopulation, an environment doomed by global pollution. But these green lefty-Luddite fears are several decades old. Many of these same greens predicted that the great human dieoff was certain to occur in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. They predicted doom from global cooling -- from CO2 and pollution, no less.

But when a temporary cooling trend was replaced by a temporary warming trend, these greens of doom quickly changed tack and jumped aboard a global warming train -- caused by the same things, supposedly, that were to have brought about global cooling! They are nothing if not versatile.

But the underlying cause of doom -- in the mind of a green -- is always human industry, human science, human technology, human commerce. That is what they fear and what they attack -- the fruits of human ingenuity itself.

The end result of human ingenuity is a cleaner and more sustainable -- but more abundant -- human future. That is what greens fear. They fear that we will move beyond the more primitive stages of human technology into cleaner, sustainable -- but very abundant -- forms of technology. This possibility is a distinct threat to the leftist green vision of the future, and must be opposed by greens in every way possible, using every green tool and green trick in the book.

That is what carbon hysteria is, of course. It is a tool to be used until it is of no more use, then it will be discarded for whatever else might serve. Just like "energy depletion and scarcity," carbon hysteria is a useful tool of ideology, without which the "peak oil myth" could never survive long.

The green fear is not that there is not enough oil, not enough hydrocarbon fuel. The fear is that there will always be more than enough. As a tool to stoke that fear, carbon hysteria cannot be improved upon. Peak oil: without carbon hysteria, we wouldn't be having that conversation.


Hansen’s Tremendous Data Tampering

In 1975, the National Academy Of Sciences produced this graph of Northern Hemisphere temperatures, which showed a strong cooling trend from the late 1930s until the late 1960s. It showed that the 1930s was by far the hottest decade.

Hansen’s recent graph of the Northern Hemisphere temperatures shows very little cooling during that same period.

The graph below overlays the National Academy of Sciences graph (blue) on Hansen’s, at the same scale – and shows that he has cooled pre-1940 temperatures by about 0.3C.

The GISS February anomaly was barely larger than Hansen’s data tampering. Global warming is indeed Mann-made and Hansen-made.

Hansen has done similar tampering with many other data sets, including this change to the US data set – which he made in the year 2000.

People believe that they are seeing thermometer data when they view NASA temperature graphs, but what they are actually seeing are carefully constructed political documents.


Alaska city hit by record snowfall -- global warming blamed

A spring snowfall has broken the nearly 60-year-old seasonal snow record of Alaska’s largest city.

Inundated with nearly double the snow they are used to, Anchorage residents have been expecting to see this season’s snowfall surpass the record of 132.6 inches set in the winter of 1954-55.

The 3.4 inches that fell by Saturday afternoon brought the total to 133.6 inches.

National Weather Service meteorologist Shaun Baines said forecasters do not expect more than an inch of additional accumulation.

Extreme weather has hit not only Alaska. It has also struck the lower 48 US states, where the first three months of 2012 has seen twice the normal number of tornadoes and one of the warmest winters on record.

Two different weather phenomena – La Nina and its northern cousin the Arctic Oscillation – are mostly to blame, meteorologists say. Global warming could also be a factor because it is supposed to increase weather extremes, according to climate scientists.

Even by Alaska standards, Anchorage has been walloped by snow.



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, 2012

The EPA an out of control monster

Government arrogance and pious hypocrisy reaches a new high when the sinister Environmental Protection Agency strikes out to save the children. The official position on the EPA website has one singing the Amerika version of "Don’t cry for me Argentina". EPA Proposes First Carbon Pollution Standard for Future Power Plants
"Today we’re taking a common-sense step to reduce pollution in our air, protect the planet for our children, and move us into a new era of American energy," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Right now there are no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants will be able to put into our skies – and the health and economic threats of a changing climate continue to grow. We’re putting in place a standard that relies on the use of clean, American made technology to tackle a challenge that we can’t leave to our kids and grandkids."

What is missing from this statement is that regular citizens are under direct assault from their utility companies that force "so called" Green electric generation into the mix. Soon people will be living like beggars in order to pay the overpriced schemes that impoverish the population.

The latest outrage from the EPA bootjack thugs is the EPA Emission Rules To Effectively Ban New Coal Plants. "The Environmental Protection Agency effectively banned new coal-fired power plants Tuesday, announcing emission rules that will make them uneconomical to build. This follows other recent rules squeezing coal. The actions show the administration following through on an earlier promise to crack down on the industry via regulation after the "cap and trade" carbon bill stalled in Congress in 2010."The proof of Obama ‘All the Above’ Strategy Does Not Include Coal, is seen by his EPA policy.
"The goal of President Obama’s "all of the above" energy policy is to drive up the costs on traditional energy sources, leveling the playing field so green energy power can someday become competitive economically.

But if the White House energy policy begins to phase out coal power before green energy sources are ready to take over, how is President Obama going to charge the battery in his Chevy Volt?"

With the demise of the nuclear alternative after the Fukushima cover-up, where is the sensible acknowledgement that electric generation requires a reliable source of energy?

Investor Business Daily cites the crucial reality. "Coal is an essential part of a diverse, reliable and affordable energy mix, supplying nearly 40% of our electricity," said Bruce Josten, the Chamber of Commerce's executive vice president, in a statement. "It remains a cost-effective and secure source of power in a time of soaring energy prices."

The video President Obama's Energy Promises Overlook Coal adds upon this analysis.

Environmental whacks that hail shutting down electric generation from coal are utterly mad. Since this country has abundant and cheap coal deposits, powering generation plants just does not fit with their goal of turning the consumer into a subservient slave. Left out of this equation is that effective banning of new coal generation will simply divert coal sales for export to China and India.

With the intense use and continuous building of new coal facilities, the notorious record of the Chinese and India subcontinent to foster clear air standards is pale in comparison to the current emissions from U.S. generation. The EPA will do nothing to stop the use of coal oversea.
The Wall Street Journal writes in EPA Tips Scales Toward Natural Gas in Power Generation; Miners, GOP Cry Foul.
"Despite the EPA's insistence that the new rule will still allow advanced coal plants to be built, many critics aren't convinced. "This really is a ban on new coal-fired generation. The EPA knows that," said Jeff Holmstead, a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP in Washington and former head of the EPA's air office under President George W. Bush.

With the new rule, the mining industry will look to the export market for relief. Asian coal demand more than doubled in the past decade, led by China and India. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects Chinese coal demand to rise by 2.4% annually through 2035, almost ten times as fast as U.S. demand. However, U.S. miners are constrained by rail and port limitations, and exports will only partially offset declining domestic consumption."

The You Tube of Pompeo responds to EPA's regulatory overreach has a Congressional hearing worth viewing.

The fundamental issue with the EPA is that it is an out of control agency. Accountability for its abuses is long overdue. However, recent Presidents and Congresses refuse to set a rational energy policy because the hidden objective is to destroy the domestic economy.
EPA CO2 Regulation Effectively Bans New Coal Facilities adds the details.
"Case in point: regulations subjecting existing coal plants that wish to make upgrades to costly and exhaustive New Source Review requirements, which actually discourage energy efficiency and safety improvements that plants would undertake on their own accord.

Congress should step up and stop the EPA from bypassing Congress’s sound rejection of cap and trade. The EPA regulations on CO2 are just one of those other ways to skin the cat, as President Obama famously promised."

Such excess and high-handedness from the EPA is even more evident in the following example.

Bloomberg reports in EPA Enforcement Tool Blunted by High Court in Wetlands Case,
"The U.S. Supreme Court blunted a commonly used Environmental Protection Agency enforcement tool, siding with landowners and companies that said the federal agency was abusing its power.

The justices today unanimously ruled in favor of an Idaho couple blocked by the EPA from building a home on land the agency says is restricted wetlands. The justices said the couple can go directly to court to challenge an EPA order requiring them to restore property they had begun preparing for construction.

The decision weakens the force of so-called administrative compliance orders that the EPA issues on average 1,500 times a year to businesses and individuals. The orders demand an end to alleged violations, applying fines that pressure owners to settle. The government said those orders couldn’t be appealed to a court."

The Environmental Protection Agency functions as a gatekeeper for the all knowing and powerful Wizard of Oz, the despotic State. The legal hurdles that forced a Supreme Court case just to obtain permission to file a court challenge against the EPA draconian rules are absurd. Likewise, the motivation to prohibit the use of coal for electrical generation solidified the rule of the tyrants.

Then again, do not place your faith that the Supreme Court gets it correct often.
An analysis by Steven F. Hayward in the American Enterprise Institute, applies today as it did when first published back in 2006.
"This is preface to a big story that is getting surprisingly little coverage in the media this week, namely, the design of the Environmental Protection Agency to double its budget, and to increase its number of employees more than tenfold, from the current level of about 18,000 to more than 230,000, over the next four years. And this just for one single program: the greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act. And all of this arises from the Supreme Court's botched 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, which said the EPA could regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, even though Congress never intended this, and even said so at the time during floor debate over the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.

Here's the problem, long predicted by me and lots of other folks who know how the Clean Air Act works. The Act says any stationary source that emits as little as 100 tons a year of a pollutant must get annual permits from state agencies and the EPA. 100 tons is a lot if you're looking at pollutants like volatile organic gases (unburned hydrocarbons) that contribute to ozone, but is a tiny amount for carbon dioxide. Your average fast-food restaurant or donut shop or apartment building easily emits 100 tons of CO2. Right now about 14,000 stationary sources have to get annual emission permits under the Act. By regulating CO2 through the Clean Air Act, the number of businesses that will require EPA permits will be over 6 million."

The Federal executive branch has scores of agencies that act well beyond the intention, if not, the spirit of the law. Power hungry autocrats that lost the cover of "good intentions" decades ago, devise these governmental regulations. The ultimate goal is to synchronize a Cap and Trade policy through administrative ordinances. Congress needs to focus on repealing legislation that creates and funds rogue agencies like the EPA. Clean air is important, but singling out coal for replacement by "Green" alternative energy is simply suicidal.

Soon the EPA will impose a tax on your own breathing, since you are a CO2 exhaling machine.


California declares war on single family, detached homes to 'save the planet'

Planners want to herd millions into densely packed urban corridors. It won't save the planet but will make traffic even worse.

It's no secret that California's regulatory and tax climate is driving business investment to other states. California's high cost of living also is driving people away. Since 2000 more than 1.6 million people have fled, and my own research as well as that of others points to high housing prices as the principal factor.

The exodus is likely to accelerate. California has declared war on the most popular housing choice, the single family, detached home—all in the name of saving the planet.

Metropolitan area governments are adopting plans that would require most new housing to be built at 20 or more to the acre, which is at least five times the traditional quarter acre per house. State and regional planners also seek to radically restructure urban areas, forcing much of the new hyperdensity development into narrowly confined corridors.

In San Francisco and San Jose, for example, the Association of Bay Area Governments has proposed that only 3% of new housing built by 2035 would be allowed on or beyond the "urban fringe"—where current housing ends and the countryside begins. Over two-thirds of the housing for the projected two million new residents in these metro areas would be multifamily—that is, apartments and condo complexes—and concentrated along major thoroughfares such as Telegraph Avenue in the East Bay and El Camino Real on the Peninsula.

For its part, the Southern California Association of Governments wants to require more than one-half of the new housing in Los Angeles County and five other Southern California counties to be concentrated in dense, so-called transit villages, with much of it at an even higher 30 or more units per acre.

To understand how dramatic a change this would be, consider that if the planners have their way, 68% of new housing in Southern California by 2035 would be condos and apartment complexes. This contrasts with Census Bureau data showing that single-family, detached homes represented more than 80% of the increase in the region's housing stock between 2000 and 2010.

The campaign against suburbia is the result of laws passed in 2006 (the Global Warming Solutions Act) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in 2008 (the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act) on urban planning. The latter law, as the Los Angeles Times aptly characterized it, was intended to "control suburban sprawl, build homes closer to downtown and reduce commuter driving, thus decreasing climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions." In short, to discourage automobile use.

If the planners have their way, the state's famously unaffordable housing could become even more unaffordable.

Over the past 40 years, median house prices have doubled relative to household incomes in the Golden State. Why? In 1998, Dartmouth economist William Fischel found that California's housing had been nearly as affordable as the rest of the nation until the more restrictive regulations, such as development moratoria, urban growth boundaries, and overly expensive impact fees came into effect starting in the 1970s. Other economic studies, such as by Stephen Malpezzi at the University of Wisconsin, also have documented the strong relationship between more intense land-use regulations and exorbitant house prices.

The love affair urban planners have for a future ruled by mass transit will be obscenely expensive and would not reduce traffic congestion. In San Diego, for example, an expanded bus and rail transit system is planned to receive more than half of the $48.4 billion in total highway and transit spending through 2050. Yet transit would increase its share of travel to a measly 4% from its current tiny 2%, according to data in the San Diego Association of Governments regional transportation plan. This slight increase in mass transit ridership would be swamped by higher traffic volumes.

Higher population densities in the future means greater traffic congestion, because additional households in the future will continue to use their cars for most trips. In the San Diego metropolitan area, where the average one-way work trip travel time is 28 minutes, only 14% of work and higher education locations could be reached within 30 minutes by transit in 2050. But 70% or more of such locations will continue to be accessible in 30 minutes by car.

Rather than protest the extravagance, California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris instead has sued San Diego because she thinks transit was not favored enough in the plan and thereby violates the legislative planning requirements enacted in 2006 and 2008. Her predecessor (Jerry Brown, who is now the governor) similarly sued San Bernardino County in 2007.


Report: Solyndra loan was “rushed”: because Green is unquestionably good

- Federal financial experts weren't consulted on a half-billion-dollar federal loan to a failed solar company until the last minute and only then had "about a day" to complete their review, an internal watchdog concluded Wednesday.

The report from the Treasury Department's inspector general found that the department's review was "rushed" and began only after the Energy Department was poised to sign off on the terms of a $528 million loan to Solyndra Inc.

The review was completed a day before Energy issued a news release saying it was approving the loan with conditions.

Treasury officials complained to the White House that regulations governing federal loan guarantees say that the department should have been involved earlier in the process, but the inspector general said it was unclear whether the review's late start violated the law.

Treasury officials also told investigators that the shortened time frame was sufficient to review the loan.

But investigators found no evidence that concerns raised by those officials, such as the debt-to-equity ratio in the project, were ever addressed by the Energy Department.

The investigation is the latest to look closely at the Obama administration's decision to back Solyndra. Congress also is examining the deal, which was used to showcase the economic-stimulus bill's support for renewable-energy projects and so-called green jobs.

Solyndra was the first renewable-energy company to receive backing from a loan program created by the stimulus bill. But last year, it declared bankruptcy and laid off more than 1,000 people.


Little Ice Age Was The Coldest Period For 10000 Years

We regularly hear claims of “record breaking” and “unprecedented” temperatures in Arctic regions. However, as the records usually only go back to the 19th C, these statements are pretty meaningless.

There are in fact many scientific studies that show the Little Ice Age, which came to end in the late 19th C, was the coldest period in these regions for maybe 10000 years.

We have already seen studies by Jorgen Peder Steffensen (based on ice cores) and Ribeiro et al (dinoflagellates), which both come to the same conclusion. Let’s take a look at four more.

1) Kelly and Long – “The Dimensions of the Greenland Ice Sheet since the Last Glacial Maximum”

Based on radiocarbon ages of marine shells and reworked terrestrial organic material incorporated into historical moraines, environmental conditions registered in lacustrine sediments, and submerged coastal features, it has been suggested that the Greenland Ice Sheet receded tens of kilometers within its present day margins during the early and mid Holocene (e.g., Kelly, 1980 and references therein). This ice sheet recession was likely a response to the warmer temperatures of the Holocene Thermal Maximum (9-5 ka) (e.g., Kaufman et al., 2004), which is registered by Greenland ice cores as ~2.5°C warmer than at present (Dahl-Jensen et al., 1998).

A critical question is to determine the dimensions of the ice sheet at the end of this warm interval, prior to the Neoglacial (~4 ka-present) readvances. In many locations the ice sheet and mountain glaciers reached their maximum extents since the early Holocene during the Little Ice Age (ca. A.D. 1290-1850) (e.g., Kelly, 1980; Hall et al., 2008b; Kelly et al., 2008).

2) C J Caseldine – “The Extent of Some Glaciers in Northern Iceland during the Little Ice Age”

Lichenometric studies from four glaciers in Northern Iceland are used to determine the dates of their Little Ice Age maxima. In all cases these date to the last half of the 19th C and probably marked the maximum Neoglacial extent of the glaciers.

3) Vinther et al – “Holocene of the Greenland Ice Sheet”

The previous interpretation of evidence from stable isotopes (?18O) in water from GIS ice cores was that Holocene climate variability on the GIS differed spatially3 and that a consistent Holocene climate optimum—the unusually warm period from about 9,000 to 6,000 years ago found in many northern-latitude palaeoclimate records4—did not exist. Here we extract both the Greenland Holocene temperature history and the evolution of GIS surface elevation at four GIS locations. We achieve this by comparing ?18O from GIS ice cores3, 5 with ?18O from ice cores from small marginal icecaps. Contrary to the earlier interpretation of ?18O evidence from ice cores3, 6, our new temperature history reveals a pronounced Holocene climatic optimum in Greenland coinciding with maximum thinning near the GIS margins. Our ?18O-based results are corroborated by the air content of ice cores, a proxy for surface elevation7

4) Levac et al – “Sea Surface Conditions in Northernmost Baffin Bay during the Holocene”

The analysis of cores collected in northernmost Baffin Bay, from within the area of the North Water Polynya, permits definition of a composite sedimentary sequence ca. 12 m thick spanning the last 10 000 14C yr, with only a few discontinuities. Palynological analyses were performed in order to reconstruct changes in surface water conditions and biogenic production. Transfer functions, using dinocyst assemblages, were applied to estimate sea-surface temperature (SST) and salinity, as well as the seasonal duration of sea ice cover. At the base of the record, prior to 9300 14C yr BP, dinocysts and organic linings of benthic foraminifers are sparse, indicating harsh conditions and low productivity. After ca. 9300 14C yr BP, the increased concentration of benthic foraminifers (up to 103 linings cm−3) and dinocyst fluxes (102–103 cysts cm−2 yr−1) reveals high biological productivity related to open-water conditions. The early to middle Holocene, from ca. 9000 to ca. 3600 14C yr BP, is marked by relatively high species diversity in dinocyst assemblages and the significant occurrence of autotrophic taxa such as Spiniferites elongatus, Pentapharsodinium dalei and Impagidinium pallidum. This assemblage suggests conditions at least as warm as at present. From ca. 6400 to ca. 3600 14C yr BP, transfer functions indicate warmer conditions than at present, with SST in August fluctuating up to 5.5°C. After 3600 14C yr BP, the dinocyst record suggests a trend of decreasing temperature toward modern values, marked by recurrent cooling events.

Why does any of this matter?

We are told the current climate is “unprecedented” - it is not.

We are told Arctic warming will have dangerous consequences – it did not.

We are told of dangerous tipping points – they did not happen.

The reality is that for the last 4000 years the climate, at least in much of the Northern Hemisphere, has been steadily cooling down, albeit interspersed with warmer interludes. If the pattern continues, the next Little Ice Age, due in a couple of hundred years or so, will be colder than the last. Then we really will have something to worry about.


Some Ecosystems More Resilient To Warming Than Previously Believed

Study suggests global warming may have less of an impact on runoff and stream flows in drier areas than previously believed

Some headwaters ecosystems may be more resilient to climate change than previously believed, according to Oregon State University scientists who meticulously studied temperature and runoff data at a network of 26 long-term ecological research stations around the country.

After analyzing records in 35 headwater basins in the United States and Canada they found that the impact of warmer air temperatures on streamflow rates was less than expected in many locations.

Air temperatures increased significantly at 17 of the 19 sites that had 20- to 60-year climate records, but streamflow changes correlated with temperature changes in only seven of those study sites. In fact, water flow decreased only at sites with winter snow and ice. There was less impact in warmer, more arid ecosystems, said OSU geoscientist Julia Jones, lead author of the study recently published in the journal BioScience.

“It appears that ecosystems may have some capacity for resilience and adapt to changing conditions,” Jones said. “Various ecosystem processes may contribute to that resilience. In Pacific Northwest forests, for example, one hypothesis is that trees control the stomatal openings on their leaves and adjust their water use in response to the amount of water in the soil.

“So when presented with warmer and drier conditions, trees in the Pacific Northwest appear to use less water and therefore the impact on streamflow is reduced,” she added. “In other parts of the country, forest regrowth after past logging and hurricanes thus far has a more definitive signal in streamflow reduction than have warming temperatures.”

LTER sites were established to investigate ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales throughout North America, including the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon, as well as sites in Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Georgia, Puerto Rico, Antarctica and the island of Moorea. Not all were part of the BioScience study.

In the study, warming temperatures at some of the headwater basins analyzed have indeed resulted in reduced streamflow due to higher transpiration and evaporation to the atmosphere. But these changes may be difficult to perceive, Jones said, given other influences on streamflow, including municipal and agricultural water usage, forest management, wildfire, hurricanes, and natural climate cycles.

“When you look at an individual watershed over a short period of time, it is difficult to disentangle the natural and human-induced variations because hydrologic systems can be quite complex, she said. “But when you look at dozens of systems over several decades, you can begin to gauge the impact of changing vegetation, climate cycles and climate trends.

“That is the beauty of these long-term research sites,” she said. “They can provide nuanced insights that are crucial to effective management of water supplies in a changing world.”

Jones said the important message in the research is that the impacts of climate change are not simple and straightforward. Through continuing study of how ecosystems adapt to changing conditions, resource managers may be able to adapt policies or mimic natural processes that offer the most favorable conditions for humans and ecosystems to thrive.


Australia now a nation of enviro-sceptics

SUPPORT for the environment has slumped to new lows and Australians are increasingly sceptical of global warming, new research has found.

Quantum Market Research, which has interviewed 2000 Australians annually since 1992 to track social change, released its latest Australia SCAN in Adelaide this week.

When asked if Australians should all make sacrifices for the sake of the environment, the answer is increasingly "no", Australia SCAN consultant David Chalke says.

The research underscores the problems faced by the Gillard Government as it tries to sell its carbon tax, which takes effect from July 1.

Mr Chalke said there was a clear trend of declining support for the environment, falling from a high of about 50 per cent in the mid-1990s to the current low of about 30 per cent.

"There's a bit of a bump from Flannery and Al Gore in 2007, then Copenhagen," Mr Chalke said.

"You can see why carbon tax isn't particularly popular ... They are confused by the science, they don't understand it, they think it's probably natural, maybe - is the carbon tax going to make any difference? No."

In the environment category, global warming was well down the list of priorities at No. 15, with only 27.7 per cent of people surveyed rating the issue as "extremely serious".

At the top of the list is nuclear accidents and waste disposal (44.4 per cent), followed by a shortage of clean water (44.1 per cent) and loss of habitat for native animals (38.7 per cent).

Australians are making an effort to help the environment, most commonly by recycling newspapers, glass and cans (85.9 per cent), reusing plastic bags or taking their own shopping bags to the supermarket, and washing clothes in cold water.

A CSIRO survey of 5030 Australians on attitudes to climate change published late last year found that while most people agreed climate change was happening, they were evenly divided on the role human activity had on changing temperatures.



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, 2012

Once again: It's warming that triggered a CO2 rise -- not vice versa

Changes in the Earth’s orbit 55million years ago caused the planet to warm up by 5C, according to new research. A study by climate scientist Rob DeConto of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues at the University of Sheffield found that orbital changes triggered the melting of vast areas of permafrost at the poles, which released greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The extreme warming events were called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and took place over thousands of years.

Previously it was thought that the oceans were the source of the carbon. ‘The standard hypothesis has been that the source of carbon was in the ocean, in the form of frozen methane gas in ocean-floor sediments,’ DeConto said.

‘We are instead ascribing the carbon source to the continents, in polar latitudes where permafrost can store massive amounts of carbon that can be released as carbon dioxide when the permafrost thaws.’

DeConto's team used a new, high-precision geologic record from rocks in central Italy to show that the PETM occurred during periods when Earth's orbit around the sun was both highly eccentric - non-circular - and oblique, or tilted.

Orbit affects the amount, location and seasonality of solar radiation received on Earth, which in turn affects the seasons, particularly in polar latitudes, where permafrost and stored carbon can accumulate.

They then simulated climate-ecosystem-soil interactions, accounting for gradually rising greenhouse gases and polar temperatures plus the combined effects of changes in Earth orbit.

Their results show that the magnitude and timing of the PETM can be explained by the orbitally triggered decomposition of soil organic carbon in the circum-Arctic and Antarctica.


Enthusiasm for "Environmentally Safe" Products on the Wane

While U.S. consumers may think and talk green, they do not necessarily back up these sentiments by putting their money where their mouths are, according to the latest consumer intelligence from the GfK MRI Survey of the American Consumer™.

While 65% of American adults agree with the statement "preserving the environment is very important," only 31% of adults purchased environmentally friendly or "green" household products in the last 12 months. The top three environmentally-friendly products purchases by U.S. adults are light bulbs (18%), paper towels (12%) and laundry detergent (11%). In addition, only 22% of consumers who remodeled their homes in the last 12 months said the used environmentally friendly/"green" products for their renovation.

Moreover, data from the last five years indicate that consumers are now less likely to pay more or give up convenience for green products. For instance, the percentage of U.S. adults who agreed with the statement "I am willing to give up convenience in return for a product that is environmentally safe" declined 16% in the past five years, from 56% in 2007 to 47% in 2011. Likewise, the percentage of adults who report "I am willing to pay more for a product that is environmentally safe" declined 13%, from 60% to 52%, in the last five years.

Consumers aged 18-24 are the only adult age group whose willingness to give up convenience or pay more for green products has held steady over the past five years. In addition, 53% of consumers aged 18-24 recycled products and 4% participated in environmental groups/causes in the last 12 months.

"It seems that perhaps many people's worries have shifted to their own needs versus those of the greater good--not uncommon during an economic crisis when livelihoods have been compromised or threatened," said Anne Marie Kelly, EVP Marketing & Strategic Planning at GfK MRI. "On a more positive note, our data indicate that the youngest adults still have their green mindsets and behaviors intact."


Global Warming Hysteria: Indigenous People Are Poor, Not Good Examples

Some global warming hysterics seek to make us all poor to save the planet. How else explain a National Geographic blogger named Stephen Leahy telling us that we should let indigenous people teach us how to live a low carbon lifestyle. From “Indigenous Peoples Can Show the Path to Low-Carbon Living If Their Land Rights Are Recognized:”
Many indigenous peoples are living examples of societies thriving with sustainable, low-carbon lifestyles. Successfully meeting the global climate change challenge requires that much of the world shift from high carbon-living to low. This shift is daunting. Current emissions for Australia and the United States average about 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person. In the coming decades that needs to fall to two tonnes per person as it is currently in Brazil or the Dominican Republic. Emissions from most indigenous peoples are even lower and are amongst the lowest in the world.

But indigenous people use low amounts of carbon because they tend to be in terrible poverty or lead hunter/gatherer existences, as in the Amazon. But the IPCC would-be rulers of the world’s economy apparently think that we should embrace our inner destitution:
All options for making the shift from high- to low-carbon living need to be explored and that’s why the United Nations University Traditional Knowledge Initiative (UNU) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) invited indigenous peoples to a special three-day workshop in Cairns, Australia last week…The Climate Change Mitigation with Local Communities and Indigenous peoples workshop offered a number of “examples of local peoples in Siberia, in Australia, northern Canada and in some African countries demonstrating that it is possible to change our behavior,” he said.“I live in a shack but I love being on my ‘bubu’, my traditional land,” said Marilyn Wallace of the Kuku Nyungka ‘mob’ (tribe) in northern Queensland, Australia.

Living in a shack may be fine for the few, but most of the world has a higher ambition. But reducing living standards is apparently part of the anti-global warming cause:
“The IPCC has been issuing major reports for 20 years now and things have only gotten worse. What does that say? It says it is not changing the way people behave or the systems that reinforce this,” said Tauli-Corpuz, a member of the indigenous Kankana-ey Igorot community in the Philippines. Dealing with climate change means changing the current economic system that was created to dominate and extract resources from nature, she said. “Modern education and knowledge is mainly about how to better dominate nature. It is never about how to live harmoniously with nature.” “Living well is all about keeping good relations with Mother Earth and not living by domination or extraction.”

That’s nothing less than a prescription for mass poverty. Do we really want most of the world to have 60 year life expectancies and lives often threatened by hunger and want?

If we love our fellow man, we will want to help those currently living very poor in the world thrive. That will increase life expectancies, reduce illness and suffering, and promote human freedom. But thriving requires good transportation, electricity, bounteous energy, and the development of resources. There is no other way. And for at least the next few decades, that means fossil fuels. Destitution should be Enemy Number One, not carbon dioxide.


The Utter Desperation of Global Warmists

By Alan Caruba

In the “glory years” of the global warming hoax, you had Al Gore picking up Oscars and Nobel Prizes (shared with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and government employees like James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies were picking up wads of cash as awards, speech fees, and grants.

The folks who conjured up the computer models featured in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports also did quite well for themselves, along with all the others who climbed on the gravy train of global warming grants.

And then in 1998 a cooling cycle set in. It was hard to hide because the weather satellite data was indisputable, but try to hide it they did. Even then, however, there was a handful of outspoken meteorologists and climatologists who were trying hard to get out the message that the perfectly natural warming cycle was over and had been replaced, thanks to—guess what?—a lower output of solar radiation by the SUN.

Still the warmists persisted, infiltrating school systems to frighten children, brainwashing students in colleges, and coercing the public through apocalyptic books, through magazine and newspaper articles, and on television and the Internet.

In 2009, the release of a huge cache of emails between the IPCC global warming perpetrators instantly became known as “Climategate” as the world learned that it was all a scam, a hoax, a fraud based on deliberately falsified computer models, and force fed to the public.

The desperation of the warmists was palpable.

In 2006, Grist, an eco-magazine, called for Nurenberg-style trials for skeptics. By 2007, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. had called any doubts about global warming treason. “This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors.” Two years later in 2009, Kennedy called coal companies “criminal enterprises”, declaring that their CEO’s “should be in jail…for all of eternity.” In 2008 NASA’s Hansen was calling for trials of climate skeptics for “high crimes against humanity.”

Didn’t like the warmist’s bogus science? A former member of the Clinton administration, Joe Romm, defended a comment on his Climate Progress website that warned that a generation of brain-washed youth would see to it that skeptics would “be strangled in their beds.”

Today, another Clinton appointee, Carol Browner, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator is one of Obama’s “czars” and the unseen specter whispering in the ear of Lisa Jackson, the current EPA administrator. She is joined by John Holden, an Obama science advisor, and Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu.

If threats of jail and murder couldn’t shut up the skeptics, then Professor Kari Marie Norgaard, speaking at a warmist confab, “Planet Under Pressure”, put forth the notion that any science-based skepticism—based on actual, not fictional data—should be “recognized and treated” as some sort of aberrant behavior.

Doubt global warming? Well, you must be nuts!

Norgaard is a professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Oregon. As she put it, “Climate change poses a massive threat to our present social, economic and political order. From a sociological perspective, resistance to change is to be expected. People are individually and collectively habituated to the ways we act and think. That habituation must be recognized and simultaneously addressed at the individual, cultural and societal level—how we think the world works and how we think it should work.”

“Should work”? The Earth—the oceans, the clouds, and its entire eco-system—doesn’t give a rat’s patoot about how warmists and other weather crazies think it “should work.” All that intellectual claptrap adds up to a totalitarian belief that people who disagree with global warming should be jailed or killed.

And in true totalitarian fashion reminiscent of the Stalin era when people simply disappeared from public records and reports, on April 2nd Norgaard’s bio for Whitman College could no longer to be found on the its website. True to the eco-fascist approach, she had become a liability, a non-person for having revealed their plans for humanity.

Regular people who actually do something useful with their lives know that intellectuals like Norgaard hold them in utter contempt, but it is those who profess belief in global warming that should be regarded with grave and serious suspicion.

Those who use global warming, i.e., the assertion that carbon dioxide emissions should be restricted and controlled, are the true enemies of progress, of freedom, and of humanity.

In the twentieth century intellectuals foisted Communism on the world, thus ensuring that millions of Russians, Chinese, Cambodians and others would be killed for their dissent. Intellectuals are always the first to embrace every dictator and to excuse their methods.

The warmists are increasingly desperate as their dreams of global domination are falling apart.

In Europe and here in America all their schemes to replace the real production of electricity with solar panels and wind turbines are being rejected. Their plans for herding populations into cities and onto mass transit meet with resistance. Parents are objecting to their eco-curricula in schools. Al Gore has become a joke.

Consider this, if they were in charge, anyone who voiced dissent from their global warming-climate change lies would be in concentration camps, undergoing “re-education”, being “treated” with mind-altering drugs, or dead.


The Genocidal ambitions of the Green/Left

In my articles I've written about agreements between the United Nations and American politicians of both parties to gradually abolish the concept of private property, outlawing the physical means of self-defense along the way so that property-owners can't fight back against foreign invaders or their own government, run amok. Others have written about the deliberate destruction of national sovereignty and the American economy in general by the same traitors and enemy agents. (The problem with Barack Obama is determining which one he is.)

An overwhelming majority of your own Congressional representatives—including those whom you elected during the Tea Party uprising—have voted for legislation that criminally supports these treasonous undertakings. Each of the current Presidential candidates (with one exception) belongs to an international group that supports them, as well.

Ultimately, under a United Nations program openly advertised as "Agenda 21", to which your own city government probably subscribes already, most human beings would be rounded up and forced into gigantic, crowded super-tenements, while the countryside they once inhabited is allowed to "return to nature"—except, of course, for a few "exceptionally valued" public figures, nomenklatura, who would be awarded luxurious country estates, or dachas, staffed with a selection of comely and compliant peasant boys and girls, grateful simply to be taken from the misery and squalor of the futuristic slums.

Ludwig von Mises once said that the dream of every socialist is that he or she will wind up at the top of the heap. The countryside cleared of humanity, the luxurious summer home, the hordes of pretty serfs to attend their owners' every whim, this is the guilty desire of every socialist I've ever known; it is the glue that holds the Left together.

Not satisfied with this series of crimes against humanity, its advocates, including the UN uppercrust and elite members of Obama's Administration, have publicly advocated the reduction of Earth's human population by at least ninety percent—requiring the death, by starvation, gunshot, bayonet, clubbing, biological warfare, and poison gas of 6,156,456,303 human beings—an act of "democide" or mass murder, that makes Cambodia's killing fields, Turkey's slaughter of Armenians, Stalin's forced collectivization of Soviet agriculture, Mao's "Massacre of the Landlords", the Scottish Highland Clearances, and the Nazi Holocaust itself, all seem like Sunday picnics in the park.

Now, perhaps, we have an idea what the Department of Homeland Security has in mind for the 450,000,000 rounds of .40 S&W they've just ordered—Holocaust-levels of ammunition—and why, without any legal process to back them up, they are said to have demanded that firearms dealers stop selling military ammunition—.223. 9mm, .45 ACP, so goes the rumor, and if it's true, can .30 Carbine, .308, 7.62x39, and .30-06 be very far behind?—to civilians like you and me.

See how it works: they get all the ammunition they want, at our expense, and in a political climate where they claim to have a right to kidnap or murder American civilians for any reason that takes their fancy. Meanwhile they do their damnedest to keep us from buying ammo ourselves.

At the same time, the Obama Administration has illegally prevented about a million World War II and Korean War vintage M1 carbines and rifles from being repatriated from Korea, and there are stories of a similar number of 1911A1 pistols being kept out of American hands, as well.

Obama warned us at the beginning of his ill-gotten term, that he fully intended to build his own army, equal to anything the Pentagon possesses. Now, apparently, he's got it, and is beginning to supply it, while attempting in a number of ways to deprive every man, woman, and responsible child in America of their unalienable individual, civil, Constitutional, and human right to obtain, own, and carry, openly or concealed, any weapon—rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything—any time, any place, without asking anyone's permission.

But once again, I have digressed.

For the enemies of individual freedom, one of the most important keys to acquiring power is the claim that an uncontrolled population of individuals, in an unregulated economy, is rapidly rendering the whole planet uninhabitable. (Some people—they believe a small but annoying minority—will resist this, which is why everyone but the government must be disarmed.) For the good of everyone, including Blessed Mother Gaia, people must be deindividualized and controlled, while industry must be tightly constrained, or better yet, shut down altogether

Never mind that there is absolutely no proof to this claim, whatever.

Never mind that each and every assertion made in its support has, sooner or later, been clearly shown to be a baldfaced, pathological lie.

Never mind that a great many of the leading academic perpetrators of this historically colossal hoax have actually been caught in the midst of their chicanery, conspiratorial e-mails they sent to their accomplices released to the world, along with one humiliating exposure after another of their crooked, shoddy, pseudoscientific "research" methods.

Never mind that they have attempted to suppress dissenting voices through intimidation and even the threat of force, whenever denial of tenure, firing, or refusal to publish scientific work to the contrary failed.

While too many have taken "climate change" to their hearts like a religion, and are unlikely to be budged by anything resembling facts, the leaders all know better. Environmentalism is a Ponzi scheme with machineguns.

Kari Norgaard, an Oregon professor of sociology and environmental studies (two obviously-related disciplines—not) has decided, in her august wisdom, that doubting "anthropogenic climate change"—which she, of course, equates with racism, throwing in the leftist kitchen sink of calumny—is a "sickness" for which doubters need to be "treated".

Naturally, Norgaard isn't the only one of these intellectually jackbooted would-be benders and shapers of humanity and the world we're forced to share with them. She's only among the latest and most outspoken. Folks think David Suzuki, Canada's answer to Mister Wizard. is warm and loveable, reminding them of Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid.

He's also the Grand Kleagle of ecofascist philosopher-thugs, going over the top a couple of years ago when he insisted something must be done—some sanction taken against—all of those nasty ingrates and malcontents who refuse the golden blessing of his profound insights.

Suzuki's a slimy, disingenuous bastard, an evil Captain Kangaroo whose very cutest trick so far is to point out an apparent lack of anti-warming articles in peer-reviewed journals, without telling you of an active conspiracy—just one of many scandals laid bare in the e-mails between climate "scientists" at the Universities of East Anglia and Pennsylvania State—not to permit such articles to be published.

Exactly like socialists who attack the free market system they've crippled with taxation and regulation, warmistas are more than happy to break both your legs and then make fun of you because you can't run.

In an article posted about a month ago on the, the headline cries out, incredibly, "DENY DENIERS THEIR RIGHT TO DENY!" It seems that, when it come to freedom of speech, liberals, progressives, or whatever they're calling themselves these days, can talk the talk but they can't walk the walk. Walking and talking at the same time appears to challenge their intellectual capacity and motor skills. Suzuki's first three paragraphs are among the worst tangles of lies, half-truths, invalid premises, and faulty reasoning I've ever seen.

Others of his ilk want academics fired, or at least denied tenure if they won't toe the line. Some ardent warmers want them arrested and jailed, others want them shot or hanged—yes, I am being perfectly serious. Back in what just may turn out to be the First Dark Ages, "dungeon, fire, and sword" weren't used only to extinguish the "faith of our fathers", whatever that may have been, but the light of reason and the eyes of science, too. Galileo was "shown the instruments" and recanted.

Thanks to heroic individuals like Marc Morano at, and growing legions of highly courageous educators like William "Bill" Gray, Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, the goodguys are beginning to win the "global warming" battle. You can always tell when the badguys know they're losing: they change their names and the names of the causes they support. "Liberal" becomes "Progressive", "Global Warming" becomes "Climate Change". The more clearly people are able to see and hear these snake-oil peddlers and flim-flam artists—or their e-mails —the less persuasive they become.

But the war is far from over, and the last battlefield that must be taken is electoral politics and the Old Media, where all of the embarrassing revelations of the last three or four years are being spiked by the round-heeled press, and treated by most politicians (including three out of four leading Republicans) as if they never happened.

Supporting non-collectivist candidates is all-important, but we must be careful. The last time, we elected hundreds of politicians who betrayed us almost immediately, by trying to vote away the Bill of Rights. The one and only individual in politics I trust today is Ron Paul.

On the other hand, you can start to get the United Nations and its genocidal Agenda 21 out of America today, by getting it out of your town, where most individuals are completely unware that its many and varied tentacles have thoroughly infiltrated and subverted local politics.


To protect and conserve

Texas ranchers are doing more for animal conservation than animal-rights groups, because they allow animals to be hunted and killed on private ranches. Charly Seale, executive director of the Exotic Wildlife Association, makes this bold — and likely controversial — point on a recent CBS 60 Minutes report. Although this seems counterintuitive, a small dose of economic thinking will unravel this enigma.

Aristotle said, "What is common to many is least taken care of, for all men have greater regard for what is their own than for what they possess in common with others." This is the famous "tragedy-of-the-commons" concept, which Garrett Hardin wrote about in 1968. He was discussing a pasture without clear property rights and overgrazing by cattle. As Hardin explained, "Therein is the tragedy. Each man is locked into a system that compels him to increase his herd without limit — in a world that is limited.… Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all."

Plainly stated, the tragedy is that no one has an incentive to take care of something that they do not own. For example, if you had to use a bathroom, and I gave you a choice of a bathroom at a public park, a bathroom at a private park (let's say Disneyland), or bathroom in an individual's home, which would you choose? I am willing to bet your last choice would be the public bathroom at the public park. Disneyland, on the other hand, wants people to enjoy the park experience (clean facilities contribute to that) and come back. If someone does not clean their bathroom, they suffer on a personal level. Thus, they have an incentive to clean their own bathroom. With common or public ownership, however, there is no personal benefit to cleaning or maintaining the bathroom facilities.

Chickens, cows, and pigs are examples of why private ownership is good for animal populations. The fact that we kill these animals every day might bother some people. Yet I have never heard of a chicken, cow, or pig facing extinction. The reason is simple: people breed them. Now, we can either assume people breed these animals because they enjoy watching animals breed (which is a completely different subject!), or we can acknowledge there's a financial incentive to breed.

Of course, this presupposes that people are allowed to own these animals in the first place. A beef rancher's job is to raise cows to put on your BBQ grill or smoker and eventually satisfy your appetite. The rancher has an incentive to kill his cows at a certain rate, and he has an incentive to introduce a bull to a cow or a rooster to a hen and let them "do their thing." This ensures beef or poultry is available to put on your plate.

Property rights — ownership — have also saved the elephant. Countries that allow community-ownership rights are more successful at increasing elephant populations than countries that ban poaching. Terry Anderson and Shawn Regan noted that, in contrast to Kenya, where hunting is illegal, Zimbabwe has implemented a program called the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE). With CAMPFIRE, which allows private management of the animals (including the right to hunt them), elephant populations have increased by 50 percent. In countries that ban hunting, such as Kenya, the elephant population has decreased between 60 and 70 percent.

So, how are Texas ranchers connected to African animals? According to the 60 Minutes report, Texas has more exotic animals than anywhere on earth. Approximately a quarter million endangered animals live in Texas, and 125 different species are represented. The Exotic Wildlife Association, located in Ingram, Texas, represents 5,000 exotic animal ranchers. These ranchers have found it in their financial self-interest to protect the exotic animals that live on their ranches. Ironically, allowing these animals to be hunted on private property has helped them to thrive. In fact, three varieties of antelope have been saved from the brink of extinction. The endangered-animal population in Texas is increasing, while it is falling in the animals' native Africa.

One hunter, Paul, told Lara Logan of 60 Minutes, "The money that I spend to hunt these animals keeps these animals alive on these ranches." Of course, this model is not fortunate for the animal that happens to get killed, but the species as a whole benefits by allowing this private-property system to work. Even an analysis by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that was shown on the 60 Minutes report admits that private ranches work: "Hunting … provides an economic incentive for … ranchers to continue to breed these species.… Hunting … reduces the threat of the species extinction."

Animal-rights groups, such as Friends of Animals and their president, Priscilla Feral, oppose hunting these endangered animals and believe these animals should not be living in Texas. Feral goes so far as to claim that it is immoral: "I don't think you create a life to shoot it," she stated. One of her complaints is that the private ranchers make the hunting too easy. Others contend, though, that this is not true. Hunters are not guaranteed a "trophy." And, even if hunting an animal on private ranches is fairly easy, so what? Like the pig farmer, the ranchers have an incentive to ensure animals are hunted at a certain rate. It would not be in their own self-interest to allow too much hunting in a very short period of time. In fact, no more than 10 percent of a herd is hunted each year.

During the 60 Minutes spot, Logan asked Seale if he considered himself a conservationist. He responded that it is the hunters who are the main conservationists. Logan, perhaps revealing her own beliefs or playing devil's advocate, pointed out that just because people are willing to pay large amounts of money to hunt does not make the practice morally right. This is where economic thinking and understanding private property rights comes into play and sheds bright light on this emotional topic.

Logan also interviewed 83-year-old Texan rancher David Bamberger, a man passionate to save the scimitar-horned oryx. He correctly stated, "I'm wise enough, smart enough to know if there's no incentive, if altruism is the only incentive, you're not going to get a great deal of participation."

My former professor Walter Williams was once featured on a John Stossel special. He talked about how beef arrives at the grocery store (a play on Leonard Read's famous essay "I, Pencil"): "If it all depended on human love and kindness, I doubt whether you'd have one cow in New York." He is right — lest you think that the clothes you wear, the electronic devices you use, or your morning cup of Starbucks are the result of someone else loving you. The people who produce these products love themselves — they want to make money. But tangled up with that self-love, they give the rest of us what we want. This principle of self-interest, guided by the invisible hand in an institutional framework of private property, is the best solution for endangered animals.

Consider the symbol of America, the bald eagle, which was once endangered. According to,
On June 28, 2007, the Interior Department took the American bald eagle off the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. The bald eagle will still be protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. The Bald Eagle Protection Act prohibits the take, transport, sale, barter, trade, import and export, and possession of eagles, making it illegal for anyone to collect eagles and eagle parts, nests, or eggs without a permit.

That is all well and good, but perhaps seeing grilled bald eagle on your local Outback menu would be better for the this emblem of our freedom. Individuals would have more of an incentive to protect and breed eagles if it were tied to making a profit.

I have seen bald eagles twice in my life — once in Lake Tahoe and again at Lake Shasta in California. Indeed, the eagle belongs to all of us; and, if I saw someone trying to shoot an eagle for "fun," I might say something to stop the bird from being shot. But I definitely would not die for that eagle! Now, let's assume owning and breeding eagles is legal and someone goes to Texas and tries to shoot Joe Rancher's eagles. You know what would happen? He would shoot back (we ain't in California anymore!). Is this passion for eagles based on the rancher's animal-loving instincts? Of course not. When you shoot at his eagles, you're shooting at his wallet.

Ownership gives you an incentive to take care of that possession, not only now, but also for the future. This is why each year I drive by a Christmas-tree farm off of Highway 101 near San Jose, and every year they have trees. If you want to make someone "act green," give them an incentive to make green (money)! The same principle applies to chickens, cows, and pigs — and also for three endangered antelope species. Dr. Pat Condy, one of the world's leading conservationists, admitted on 60 Minutes that the ranchers are helping. "It's the numbers that are the bottom line," he stated.

Well, the numbers are clear even if people such as Priscilla Feral want to ignore them. Texas ranchers are saving these animals even if saving them is not their primary motivation. In short, the government should just leave them alone.

Feral, however, believes it is both immoral and unnatural for these African animals to live in Texas. But an animal reserve in Africa is an artificial habitat as well. How is it immoral for animals to be humanely raised or hunted for the ultimate purpose of human consumption? Hunting on private ranches provides not only utility to the hunter and jobs for about 14,000 people in the local economy; it is saving the animals more effectively than any government regulation ever could.

Unfortunately, Feral was successful in court and a new rule issued by the Fish and Wildlife Service will make it a crime to hunt three types of antelope without a federal permit. This permit will, of course, be a high barrier to entry. Not surprisingly, the new law has already led to a decline in the value of these animals by more than 50 percent according to Seale. Now that the financial incentive to take care of these animals is gone, their numbers will drop again.

While I'm sure Feral has good intentions and cares about these animals, her ignorance of the economics will lead to the disappearance of the very animals she claims to protect. Dr. Condy summed it up well when he responded to Logan's question, "So who is winning the day here?"

"One thing is for sure: they [the animals] are losing."



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, 2012

American Soul

“I think it represents the soul of the company,” said Chrysler executive Ralph Gilles Wednesday in introducing a resurgent Chrysler’s newest vehicle at the New York Auto Show.

He was not referring to the 40 MPG Fiat 500, but the fire-breathing, 640-hp, SRT Viper.

Gilles’ nod to the iconic muscle-car is a slap in the face of President Barack Obama, who recruited Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne to come to Detroit as a missionary teaching the savages how to make proper, fuel-sipping Euro-econoboxes. Indeed, one of the key benchmarks that Marchionne had to meet to assume ownership of the Rochester Hills–based automaker was to bring a 40 MPG car stateside.

Yet, instead of converting American to the green religion, Marchionne has gone native. His conversion is the untold story of Chrysler’s remarkable turnaround from bankruptcy just three years ago.

Marchionne has not only resurrected the gas-guzzling Viper (which was doomed in 2008), he has doubled down on making SUVs, a model scorned by Obama and his environmental base. The result is Chrysler returning to profitability — not by selling tin cans (the 500, with profit margins of less than $1,000 a copy, disappointed in its first-year sales) — but tens of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokees with profit margins in the neighborhood of $3,000-5,000 per vehicle. That light-truck demand now employs three full shifts at Chrysler’s Jefferson North plant in Detroit. Those are blue-collar jobs. UAW jobs.

Save the planet? Marchionne’s bumpersticker should read: “SUV the planet.”

In short, the Grand Cherokee and Viper prove that an Italian auto executive is more in touch with the American people than their own president. What Marchionne & Co. realized is that SUVs and muscle cars are what Americans do best. And they are exporting them to the world. The Viper will go on the international sports car racing circuit against the best from Ferrari and Porsche. And Jefferson North will soon be building Maserati SUVs — yes, Maserati trucks — on a modified version of the Jeep platform.

“The car is a rock star all by itself,” thrilled Giles to the mob of reporters that came to the Viper’s unveiling Wednesday. The car’s debut has created more excitement than any other model this year. Try that with a 40 mpg compact. While Washington Democrats dream of marching American onto trains or forcing them into look-alike, soap cake-shaped compacts with their 56 MPG mandates, the Viper is an affirmation that cars are an expression of individual freedom. And Americans want a diversity of options to express that individualism — whether in muscle cars, SUVs, or the occasional Fiat 500.

There was nary a word about globe-cooling fuel economy at the Viper news conference. Instead, the talk was about its 640 horsepower, 600 pounds of torque, and 206 miles per hour — 5 mph faster than the previous version.

“It makes more torque off idle than most cars make at full power,” Gilles panted. “Here it is duking it out with some of the best brands in the world. There’s a little bit of this Rocky Balboa story in there that people just love.”

And the Obama Left just hates.


The latest EV News

I like to stay informed on the latest developments in electric vehicles (EVs)—in other words, with the amazing idea of trying to resurrect a technology that died a century ago, with the advent of the internal combustion engine. EVs are a retro-idea so captivating to our genius president that he has been willing to lavish billions of taxpayer money on funding EV makers. It’s easy to play at being a venture capitalist when you’re using other people’s capital.

A new Wall Street Journal article reports that Azure Dynamics, a Canadian company that, in partnership with Ford, makes electric vans for sale in Europe and America, has stopped production of its e-vans and filed for bankruptcy. It did this in spite of receiving millions of dollars in federal grant money, including a recent $5.4 million grant to work on a new electric inverter.

Azure hit the wall after making a miserable 508 e-vans (and retrofitting 1,500 Ford vans to make them hybrids) this year, and only 800 last year.

Ford is now worried about who will service the damn things, and 120 of the company’s 160 workers are looking for work.

The WSJ piece also notes that recent sales of Nissan’s EV (the Leaf) and GM’s EV (the Volt) have been lousy. Fisker Automotive has had two recent recalls and is jonesing for another government loan. Its battery supplier, A123 Systems, has just issued a recall of its products, and is looking for suckers—pardon me, investors — to come up with $55 million to cover the recall.

Earlier this year, Bright Automotive went dim — it filed for bankruptcy when it could not get any more federal subsidies. Last year, EV maker Think Global failed miserably, leaving Indiana with a nice, empty factory. Think Globally, fail locally — what a great business model!


An Update On The EPA’s Den Of Thieves

Last month we told you about the prime speaking spot that the EPA was affording to Ann Maest of Stratus Consulting at this week’s EPA Hard Rock Mining Conference. Dr. Maest and Stratus are being sued by Chevron, under federal racketeering laws, after Maest was caught on video appearing to agree to doctor data in a way that would exaggerate environmental damage and inflate multi-billion dollar damage claims in a long running environmental case in Equador. After Wizbang and others publicized Maest’s participation in the conference she abruptly dropped off the program. The EPA has confirmed that Maest dropped out of the conference.

The Colorado chapter of Americans for Prosperity is protesting the conference this week as they (rightly) believe that the taint of biased science remains as long as Stratus is still on the program. The group believes EPA’s original attempt to showcase Maest, and any continued involvement of Stratus, highlights the agency’s willingness to use and embrace biased, agenda-driven science in order to justify its overregulation of America’s resource industries, energy sector and economy at large.
“Ann Maest and Stratus Consulting are poster children for the kind of questionable, agenda-driven ‘science’ that federal regulators and their green allies outside government use to block energy production, increase consumer costs, kill jobs and smother the American economy in unnecessary red tape,” said AFP-CO State Director Jeff Crank. “We hope this Give Red Tape a Rest Rally will remind the rogue regulators at EPA, and their masters in the White House, that the American people are losing patience with, and just can’t afford, this regulate-everything, costs-be-damned attitude at EPA.”


Pesky polar bears

A recent aerial survey of Western Hudson Bay polar bears shows the population has increased slightly to about 1,000 animals, according to the Government of Nunavut.

In 2004, a mark-recapture survey done near Churchill, Man., estimated the Western Hudson Bay population at 935 bears, down from 1194 in 1988. A 2006 study hypothesized that if the climate continued to warm, the polar bear population would decline.

The latest survey used planes and helicopters to cover ground from Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut, south to the Ontario border.

Drikus Gissing, director of wildlife with the Government of Nunavut, said the new numbers vindicate the Nunavut government's recent decision to increase the area’s bear hunting quota. He also said it’s a clear recognition of the value of Inuit Traditional Knowledge.

"If I could convey one message here, it's that polar bears are not endangered,” he said. “And this confirms it. They are not endangered. There are concerns about the effects of global warming, but they are not endangered."

Nunavut Tunngavik is also commending the results, as predictions of reduced polar bear numbers were used to draw attention to climate change, but it says no changes were made to reduce the causes or impacts of climate change while harvesting quotas were affected.

"We are quite happy,” said James Eetoolook, vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik. “The western science was predicting the polar bear in the Western Hudson Bay was declining, but again, Inuit proved them they were wrong."


Planet Green is changing course

(Can you say "ratings"?)

Its corporate parent, Discovery Communications, announced Wednesday that the cable channel will change its emphasis on nature and ecology and focus instead on the country's spirit and culture under the new name of Destination America.

The changeover happens May 28.

Destination America will tackle subjects including American cuisine — from Tex-Mex to barbeque — and American mysteries from Jesse James' lost fortune to Area 51. Other shows will visit amusement park thrill rides and Western ghost towns.

Discovery Communications president David Zaslav said the network will showcase "the essence of American innovation and hard work."

Destination America will be available in 60 million homes.


International climate thuggery

They probably won’t be able to manage the madness anytime soon, but international climate thugs residing within the United Nations bureaucracy are busy thinking up ways to steal your property and give it to others across the sea in the name of saving planet earth.

It’s a bunch of raving United Nations statists proposing the creation of a global "climate court" that would be responsible for enforcing a deluded policy requiring developed countries to cut “greenhouse gas emissions” while compensating poorer countries in order to pay off a "historical climate debt."

You know – like the slave reparations proposals of the recent past. You and I, who had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery are supposed to pay people whose ancestors were slaves hundreds of years ago. Surely all of us have some money coming from that proposal as it is a virtual certainty that we all share at least a few ancestors who were slaves at one time.

Representatives at a forthcoming climate conference in Durban, South Africa are scheming to reach a compromise that negotiators from 194 nations could agree on. Forget about the real question as to whether human beings are responsible in the first place for global climate variations.

One of the provisions is calling for "an international climate court of justice," which would force developed countries like the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and most of Europe to pay the "debt" they supposedly owe to developing countries for causing climate change, and on top of that, take major steps toward cutting emissions.

Developing countries should receive an amount of money equal to the amount "developed countries spend on defense, security and warfare," reads the proposal, in order to help eliminate poverty. This fantasy can be achieved by all involved if they will only agree to a guaranteed end to warfare altogether -- for the sake of curbing climate change.

They reckon that "conflict-related activities emit significant greenhouse gas emissions," so they call upon all parties to "cease destructive activities" like warfare -- and then channel the money that would have been spent on war and other defense projects toward "a common enemy: climate change."

You see, they aren’t interested in eliminating warfare for the purpose of securing peace, individual rights and freedom for all; no, they’re doing it to stop the phantom of global warming and to save planet Earth from its deprecating human inhabitants. It’s to secure the "rights of mother Earth," the proposal explains.

All of this would be comical if these socialist loons weren’t serious. But they are serious; dead serious. They would rather score the elimination of the human race altogether, if it were up to them, than to have the thermostat turned up one degree in the summertime.

And we are actually paying them to come up with this nonsense.



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, 2012

The attack on Lindzen by Warmists

There is here a compilation of points made by Warmist scientists which criticize a talk given by Prof. Lindzen -- who is a fairly conventional climate scientist but who thinks that the effects of rising CO2 levels on terrestrial temperature will be trivial. And on the principle that the past is the best predictor of the future, they certainly will be.

Prof. Lindzen is well able to defend himself but I would like to note just one thing that throws all the Warmist criticisms into a cocked hat: The effect of clouds. It is undoubted that cloudiness correlates with warming but does that cause warming to accumulate or do clouds shelter the earth and hence lead to subsequent cooling? Do clouds provide a positive or a negative feedback? And answering that is absolutely crucial. Because it is only a postulated accumulation of warming from clouds that allows Warmists to claim that future warming will deviate from its present trivial trend.

So what evidence do the Warmists put forward for their unlikely view that clouds do not shelter the earth from warming? All they offer -- wait for it -- is "models" again. They have no facts, just an unlikely opinion. How well justified are their other niggles at Lindzen just does not matter in the light of that central failure.

And another of their central points fails on the cloud effect too. They repeatedly say that uncertainty does not equal ignorance. But it does. They concede that they cannot provide precise predictions of warming but claim that they have got it broadly right. But if clouds tend to cool the earth, they have got it broadly wrong! What a flock of turkeys they are!

It's out! And it's hilarious

The counterblast to skeptics that "Nature" magazine was so proud of has appeared. And it relies on either magic or circular reasoning. There's lots one could say about it -- and I am sure other skeptics will say it in due course -- but I want to point out just one thing: They say that a rise in CO2 caused Arctic ice to melt but they don't say where that extra CO2 came from! Did it just magically appear? Was it delivered from outer space?

They do have an answer but it contradicts their whole point. They say: "That warming trend may also have shifted the winds and melted sea ice, drawing carbon dioxide out of the deep ocean, where quantities of it are stored, Shakun said"

So it was the warming that came first. The warming produced the CO2 and not vice versa -- which is exactly the opposite of what they were trying to prove! ROFL!

More laughs HERE

Sir Bernard Ingham attacks 'mad' wind farms and ‘steady descent into hysteria over global warming’

Some good Yorkshire common sense

The Government’s energy policy will cripple the economy, a leading industry veteran warned last night. Sir Bernard Ingham, former press secretary to Margaret Thatcher, lambasted ‘mad’ wind farms, ‘delusional’ energy ministers and ‘totalitarian’ climate change zealots.

And he warned plans to build wind farms large enough to power half of the country would cost £45billion more than providing the same power through a combination of gas and nuclear.

In a speech, Sir Bernard – who worked in the Department of Energy in the Seventies and is a passionate advocate of nuclear power – said: ‘Our politicians are besotted with every form of power generation that does not work in a modern economy.’

His comment came on the day Britain’s energy needs became so dire the Government was forced to launch a competition to develop technology that will help the UK meet emissions targets set by Brussels.

It is offering £1billion to anyone who can work out how to burn fossil fuels such as coal without emitting CO2 into the atmosphere.

Sir Bernard said the Government’s energy policy was ‘failing on all counts’, adding: ‘We are going backwards, not forwards. The Government needs to change its tune on nuclear power.’

Speculation has already mounted that the Government, which previously pledged not to offer subsidies for the construction of new nuclear plants, may be forced to back down in order to secure new projects.

Sir Bernard also derided the state-backed Carbon Capture competition. He said: ‘They are trying to give away £1billion to prove that up to 200 million tonnes a year of CO2 can be buried under the North Sea, even though we can be pretty sure it will double the price of electricity generated by fossil fuels.’

Sir Bernard dismissed the move as the latest in a long line of examples where the Government has backed the wrong type of energy generation.

He added: ‘None of this suggests that our coalition has a firm grasp of essentials in an economy in need of growth. ‘Producing energy by the most expensive routes is a sure way, at best, to handicap growth and at worst to bring economic and industrial decline.’

His virulent attack drew on research from Edinburgh University that showed that the Government’s wind programme would cost £120billion - almost ten times as much as the same power from gas stations. The same amount of gas power would cost only £13billion and would only see a ‘marginal reduction in CO2 emissions’, Ingham said.

‘In the last 14 years we have witnessed a progressive loss of reason among politicians, in Whitehall and among scientists and engineers,’ he added.

He also used the speech to deride the ‘steady descent into hysteria over global warming’.

The change had led to ‘the manifest delusions of successive energy secretaries - Ed Miliband, Chris Huhne and now Ed Davey,’ he said.

‘I would like some proof that the world is going to fry and that my native Yorkshire will acquire the climate of Provence,’ he added.


Shady solar dealings

The president’s green energy policies don’t add up

By Donald J. Boudreaux, professor of economics at George Mason University

Speaking recently at America’s largest solar energy plant — in Boulder City, Nev. — President Obama insisted that green energy is so important, “You’d think that everybody would be supportive of solar power. And yet, if some politicians have their way, there won’t be any more public investment in solar energy.”

Indeed. And judging from the recent actions of Obama’s Commerce Department, the president himself is among those politicians.

The Commerce Department has decided to impose tariffs ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent on subsidized Chinese solar panels that are imported into the U.S.

It takes remarkable cheek for Obama to insist that, while American “public investment” in green energy is virtuous, Chinese “public investment” in green energy is vile.

Not that opposition to subsidies for solar and other “green” energies is to be lamented. Quite the opposite. Politicians have no expertise at forecasting consumers’ energy needs or identifying how best to meet those needs. And the fact that the money politicians spend to promote green-energy firms comes from taxpayers further reduces the likelihood that such subsidies will yield positive payoffs for the general public.

In a sane world, Obama would celebrate Beijing’s subsidies to Chinese solar panel exporters. Those subsidies supply Americans with the alleged benefits of artificially low-priced solar panels, but on China’s nickel!

In fact, of course, the Commerce Department’s action against Americans who buy Chinese solar panels reveals that political reality often differs by a full 180 degrees from political rhetoric. The rhetoric is always wonderful; the reality is too often woeful.

Such is the case here. The real purpose of Uncle Sam’s favors for green energy producers is not to “save” the environment. It is to shovel lucre to politically influential producers.

The bankruptcy of Solyndra, a California-based manufacturer of solar panels (!), represents only the most recent notable incident. That company received a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee from the federal government, and, later, an unusual loan modification that bought the company and its private investors extra time before it finally had to shut down. Infamously, before Solyndra’s troubles became public, Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Vice President Joe Biden (by satellite) each staged triumphant appearances at the firm’s headquarters to celebrate the alleged wonders of clean-energy subsidies.

None of these public figures bothered to mention that an Obama donor was also a huge investor in Solyndra — and made several visits to the White House in the run-up to the approval of Solyndra’s loan deal.

The administration’s attempt now to prevent Americans from buying low-priced Chinese solar panels smacks of the same sort of cronyism that characterized the Solyndra debacle.

Chinese panels obviously compete against panels produced in America. This, like all competition, forces prices downward. But the administration isn’t interested in making green energy affordable; it’s interested in protecting politically influential American producers from foreign competition.

In this instance, those producers are led by SolarWorld, a German company with operations in the U.S. and with the too-friendly ear of the Department of Commerce.

Forget all the soaring campaign speeches about stamping out corporate greed in order to usher in a cleaner environment. They were never meant to actually stop politicians from doling out special privileges to greedy crony capitalists, even if those privileges make cleaner energy more costly.

But shouldn’t Uncle Sam take action against subsidized solar-panel imports in order to protect American jobs?


If the goal is greater access to clean-energy alternatives, the fewer American workers required to provide this access, the better. American workers are much more costly to employ than are Chinese workers. So any policy that artificially increases the number of Americans required to supply solar panels is a policy that artificially raises Americans’ costs of acquiring and using these clean-energy devices.

If instead the goal is to create jobs in America, propping up American-made green energy actually will do the opposite.

Forcing Americans to pay higher prices for solar panels means Americans will have less money to spend on other goods and services — thus destroying jobs elsewhere in the economy.

In addition, 95 percent of the jobs in today’s U.S. solar energy industry are either upstream or downstream from the producers who would be protected by the Commerce Department’s action. Many of these American workers supply inputs to the very Chinese solar-panel producers that the administration is targeting with tariffs. Others of these workers sell, install and maintain solar panels for American households and businesses. In other words, the duties sought by the Commerce Department would shrink the demand for the vast majority of Americans who work in the solar industry.

But the workers, firms and consumers that are harmed by the administration’s solar protectionism don’t constitute a political interest group. So they don’t figure in the president’s election-year calculations.

And that’s too bad.


Another one

In keeping with the recent trend of so-called green companies going into the red, another solar energy company supported by President Obama's top administration officials declared bankruptcy today.

Solar Trust for America received $2.1 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the Department of Energy -- "the largest amount ever offered to a solar project," according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- for a project near Blythe, Calif., but declared bankruptcy within a year. It is unclear how much of the guarantee, if any, was actually awarded.

Senior officials in Obama's administration had very high hopes for the Blythe project. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar attended the groundbreaking ceremony, which he described as "a historic moment in America’s new energy frontier" and "another important step in making America’s clean energy future a reality." Chu trumpeted at the time that Solar Trust would prove that "when we rev up the great American innovation machine, we can out-compete any other nation."

The embarrassment should be bipartisan. "This is a huge milestone for our community," Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., said when the company received its loan guarantee. "I look forward to continuing my work supporting projects . . . that will harness our local energy resources and help reduce our nation’s dangerous dependence on unstable foreign oil.”

Uwe Schmidt, chairman and CEO of the company, also argued that Solar Trust was good for the nation. He wrote last year that "the DOE loan guarantee is a 'win-win' for government and the companies involved and will not only advance the cause of energy independence but will create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country."

The bankruptcy makes Schmidt's attempt to rebuke DOE critics in the wake of the Solyndra bankruptcy particuarly ironic.

"Despite the posturing and finger pointing, the American solar energy industry is alive and well," Schmidt wrote in an op-ed for the Huffington Post, before discussing his company's business plans. Referring to Solyndra, he lamented that "one company's bankruptcy has cast doubt on the credibility of a government program that is otherwise being administered with incredible efficiency."

The list of bankrupt solar companies has grown since Schmidt scolded Solyndra investigators. How many more might go bankrupt? Secretary Chu won't say.


Global Weirding: the New Big Lie

James Delingpole

They're calling it Global Weirding now, as I suppose, inevitably they were bound to do in the end. Well "global warming" stopped working in 1989 when the globe stopped warming. “Climate change” was always a bit of a non-starter because climate does change regardless of whether or not we all drive 4 x 4s, or buy carbon offsets or listen to Stephen Fry and Ron Weasley's injunction to take our holidays in England this year. And “Global Climate Disruption”, as some pillock tried to christen it, was never going to catch on because, well, it's just too blatantly contrived and desperate isn't it?

So Global Weirding it is. The concept was popularised last week in a characteristically dire and parti pris BBC Horizon documentary which purported to have lots of new evidence (or “hearsay” as it would more likely have been termed in a court of law) showing that our weather is getting more extreme – weirder. It seems to have been broadcast to coincide with a new IPCC report which has been excitedly written up in newspapers like the Guardian and the Detroit Free Press as evidence that we are heading towards climate disaster.
Global warming is leading to such severe storms, droughts and heat waves that nations should prepare for an unprecedented onslaught of deadly and costly weather disasters, an international panel of scientists has said.

The greatest danger is in highly populated, poorer regions, but no corner of the globe is immune. The document, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, forecasts stronger tropical cyclones and more frequent heat waves, deluges and droughts, and blames man-made climate change, population shifts and poverty.

But this is pretty much the exact opposite of what the IPCC report actually says. As Roger Pielke Jr has noted, the report is a far cry from the IPCC's usual slipshod, scaremongering standards:
Kudos to the IPCC — they have gotten the issue just about right, where "right" means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest — sometimes it just takes a little while.

A few quotable quotes from the report (from Chapter 4):

* "There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change"

* "The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados"

* "The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses"

The report even takes care of tying up a loose end that has allowed some commentators to avoid the scientific literature:
"Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research."

So what this IPCC report is saying is that WE DO NOT KNOW if there's an anthropogenic signal in extreme weather patterns, and that there does not seem to be a trend towards increased extreme weather events such as tornados and tropical storms. Yet the liberal MSM is reporting the opposite. How come?

Well here's the weird part. The misinformation comes from the IPCC's summary of its own report (available here) which has been regurgitated, in classic churnalism style, by all the usual lazy MSM suspects. It begins:
"Evidence suggests that climate change has led to changes in climate extremes such as heat waves, record high temperatures and, in many regions, heavy precipitation in the past half century, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said today."

The IPCC, of course, has form in this regard. With its four Assessment Reports, its Summaries for Policymakers have been notably more extreme and confident in CAGW than the reports themselves warrant. So yet again what we have here is the work of serious-minded, neutral scientists (yes, they do still exist) being twisted for political purposes by activists.

As we know, the great global warming alarmism Ponzi scheme is looking extremely vulnerable at the moment. Global warming has stopped. There's a growing public backlash against eco-taxes, ugly flickery lightbulbs, higher energy bills, bat chomping eco-crucifixes and all the other paraphernalia of the environmental religion. And unfortunately, as we saw in '44 and '45, what these kind of people do when they get backed into a corner is not surrender but get nastier and more devious.

We've seen this recently in the Fakegate affair. And in Leo Hickman of the Guardian's contemptible "expose" of one of the hitherto anonymous donors of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

And in the Planet Under Pressure comedy conference staged last week by comedy organisations including the Royal Society, mainly in order to try to breathe new life into the stagnant, green-tinged corpse of climate alarmism.

One of the speakers at Planet Under Pressure claimed – in apparent seriousness – that climate scepticism was an illness that needed to be treated.
Scepticism regarding the need for immediate and massive action against carbon emissions is a sickness of societies and individuals which needs to be "treated", according to an Oregon-based professor of "sociology and environmental studies". Professor Kari Norgaard compares the struggle against climate scepticism to that against racism and slavery in the US South.

Prof Norgaard holds a B.S. in biology and a master's and PhD in sociology.
"Over the past ten years I have published and taught in the areas of environmental sociology, gender and environment, race and environment, climate change, sociology of culture, social movements and sociology of emotions," she says.

As Paul Joseph Watson notes at Prison Planet:
"The effort to re-brand legitimate scientific dissent as a mental disorder that requires pharmacological or psychological treatment is a frightening glimpse into the Brave New World society climate change alarmists see themselves as ruling over.

Due to the fact that skepticism towards man-made global warming is running at an all time high, and with good reason, rather than admit they have lost the debate, climate change alarmists are instead advocating that their ideological opponents simply be drugged or brainwashed into compliance.

Lysenko, anyone?


Carbon Emissions Are Good

It is erroneous to think that humans cannot change the environment for good

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its intention to enforce regulations that would effectively ban new coal-fired power plants in the United States. As coal is by far America’s cheapest and most plentiful fossil fuel, and coal-fired power stations account for 45 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S., the destructive economic effects of this edict can hardly be overstated. It is therefore imperative to subject the EPA’s logic to a searching examination.

According to the EPA, despite their disastrous economic effects, regulations to prevent the U.S. from making use of its coal resources are necessary, because coal combustion produces carbon dioxide, which allegedly will cause global warming, which would allegedly be harmful to the Earth’s biosphere and human society. Others, wishing to avoid an environmentalist-created economic catastrophe, have challenged this argument’s first premise, to wit, that global warming is really occurring. Since there is no actual global temperature, but only an average of many different constantly changing local temperatures, this approach has led to convoluted debates revolving around data sets that can easily be based upon an unrepresentative mix of measurements.

This has left the EPA’s second premise — that global warming would be a harmful development — largely unchallenged. This is unfortunate, because while it is entirely possible that the earth may be warming — as it has done so many times in the past — there is no rational basis whatsoever to support the contention that carbon-dioxide-driven global warming would be on the whole harmful to life and civilization. Quite the contrary: All available evidence supports the contention that human CO2 emissions offer great benefits to the earth’s community of life.

Putting aside for the moment the question of whether human industrial CO2 emissions are having an effect on climate, it is quite clear that they are raising atmospheric CO2 levels. As a result, they are having a strong and markedly positive effect on plant growth worldwide. There is no doubt about this. NASA satellite observations taken from orbit since 1958 show that, concurrent with the 19 percent increase in atmospheric CO2 over the past half century, the rate of plant growth in the continental United States has increased by 14 percent. Studies done at Oak Ridge National Lab on forest trees have shown that increasing the carbon dioxide level 50 percent, to the 550 parts per million level projected to prevail at the end of the 21 century, will likely increase photosynthetic productivity by a further 24 percent. This is readily reproducible laboratory science. If CO2 levels are increased, the rate of plant growth will accelerate.

Now let us consider the question of warming: If it is occurring — and I believe it is, based not on disputable temperature measurements but on sea levels, which have risen two inches in two decades — is it a good thing or a bad thing? Answer: It is a very good thing. Global warming would increase the rate of evaporation from the oceans. This would increase rainfall worldwide. In addition, global warming would lengthen the growing season, thereby increasing still further the bounty of both agriculture and nature.



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, 2012

Germany's nationalists Turn to Environmentalism (?)

"Spiegel" isn't a bad magazine. It sometimes takes potshots at Greenie policies. But they are being deliberately obtuse below. German nationalists didn't need to "turn" to environmentalism. They always were Green. Hitler was as much a nature romantic as any modern Greenie. And if you read the article below carefully you will see that environmentalism goes right back to the origins of the present nationalist party

And note the word "Schutz" (protection) in the pic above. It's a common word but it was also part of the name of Hitler's elite blackshirts, the "Schutzstaffeln" (SS). As used above it means Environment protection, homeland protection

Environmentalists are often associated with the political left. But now neo-Nazis have discovered nature's charms too. In addition to selling organic vegetables and publishing a magazine on the environment, Germany's far-right NPD party has co-opted green campaign issues. Party members use it as a dubious means to make the NPD more socially acceptable.

Jens Lütke opposes genetic engineering and the expansion of roads. He also protests against the construction of new power plants and volunteers once a year at an environmental action day. "I often get asked if I'm a member of the Green Party," he says. But Lütke doesn't support the environmentalist party -- he backs the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). He's the party's top candidate for state parliament in elections in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein to be held this May.

When Lütke collects trash as a volunteer on an environmental action day, it's hard to tell which party he belongs to. "We don't bring an NPD banner with us when we participate," he says. Still, he isn't alone within the party with his efforts on behalf of the environment. The party regularly coopts the issue of environmentalism in an insidious attempt to make the party more acceptable in German society. Often, it's difficult to recognize the right-wing extremist ideologies behind these efforts.

The tactic is visible in an environmental affairs magazine published by right-wing extremists entitled Umwelt & Aktiv, or "Environment & Active," which resembles a normal magazine focusing on the environment -- at least at first glance. And although the publication's articles on biofuels, genetic engineering, gardening tips and children's songs may seem legitimate, further examination yields pages on Germanic myths and pagan rites. Under the heading "homeland security," readers of last year's March edition learn that the German people will perish both biologically and spiritually if they procreate with people of other ethnic origins.

The so-called environmental magazine also stirs up hatred about religion, claiming that the slaughter of animals without anesthesia is the barbaric custom of Jews and Muslims. "So that all migrants feel at home," the January 2007 issue reports, other "religion-based customs" such as genital mutilation, stoning and hand amputation from the "Orient" could also be imported into the country.

Bavaria, where Umwelt & Aktiv is based, is the focal point of the far-right environmental drive, but other states are also home to "green" Nazis. The NPD is particularly active on environmental issues in the eastern coastal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. As far back as 2007, a farmer and NPD member made headlines with a campaign against genetic engineering. And Udo Pastörs, a member of the state's parliament and deputy leader of the national party, is known for his nature conservation efforts.

Even outside the party there are right-wing extremist environmentalists in the northern state, near Güstrow and Teterow. Since the 1990s farmers who follow the tradition of the Artaman League, an agrarian movement stemming from the 1920s that adheres to a "blood and soil" ideology and was closely associated with the Nazi party. These settlers have been spreading into other areas too, according to an expert for the NPD-critical organization in the state, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Völkische Siedler, or "Working Group for Racial Settlers." Most of them take an active role in village life, getting involved in schools and childcare facilities, the expert, who asked not to be identified by name in this article, says. And many also produce and sell organic products.

The NPD has long adopted environmental issues in its efforts to gain voter support. The party referred to it as early on as in its 1973 "Düsseldorf Program," which described environmental protection as a contribution to public health. But it was first with the professionalization of the party in recent years that the issue has been catapulted to the forefront.

In its current party platforms, the NPD rejects both genetic engineering and large-scale industrial livestock farming, in addition to calling for greater government spending on alternative energies and national self-sufficiency for agricultural products. Farmers need more support, they say.

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the NPD has also printed posters that read "Umweltschutz = Heimatschutz," or "Environmental Protection = Homeland Protection." And Jens Lütke also plans to use environmental themes as one of the main issues in his campaign as an NPD candidate for the Schleswig-Holstein state parliament, even if the primary topic he will address is criticism of the euro. "We don't want to leave the green topics to the Green Party," he says.


'Global warming started over 100 years ago': New temperature comparisons using ocean-going robots suggest climate change began much earlier than previously thought

Wotta laugh! This is just what skeptics have been saying for years. And note the small size of the warming effect: Only a third of one degree Celsius over a 140 year period! How trivial can you get? And it's actually half what Warmists usually claim from their "adjusted" data

It’s widely believed that global warming began in the 1970s, but new ocean temperature readings show that the Earth has in fact been warming for far longer.

A study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego traced ocean warming to the late 19th century, which implies, say researchers, that the Earth’s climate as a whole has been heating up since then.

The report is the first global comparison of temperature between the historic voyage of HMS Challenger between 1872 and 1876 and modern data obtained by ocean-probing robots now continuously reporting temperatures via the global Argo program.

The research, led by oceanographer Dean Roemmich, shows a .33C (.59F) average increase in the upper portions of the ocean to 700 metres (2,300 feet) depth.

The increase was largest at the ocean surface, .59C (1.1F), decreasing to .12C (.22 F) at 900 metres (2,950 feet) depth.

Scientists have previously determined that nearly 90 per cent of the excess heat added to Earth's climate system since the 1960s has been stored in the oceans.

The new study, published in the April 1 advance online edition of Nature Climate Change and co-authored by John Gould of the United Kingdom-based National Oceanography Centre and John Gilson of Scripps Oceanography, pushes the ocean warming trend back much earlier.

‘The significance of the study is not only that we see a temperature difference that indicates warming on a global scale, but that the magnitude of the temperature change since the 1870s is twice that observed over the past 50 years,’ said Roemmich, co-chairman of the International Argo Steering Team.

‘This implies that the time scale for the warming of the ocean is not just the last 50 years but at least the last 100 years.’

Although the Challenger data set covers only some 300 temperature soundings (measurements from the sea surface down to the deep ocean) around the world, the information sets a baseline for temperature change in the world's oceans, which are now sampled continuously through Argo's unprecedented global coverage.

Nearly 3,500 free-drifting profiling Argo floats each collect a temperature profile every 10 days.

Roemmich believes the new findings, a piece of a larger puzzle of understanding the earth's climate, help scientists to understand the longer record of sea-level rise, because the expansion of seawater due to warming is a significant contributor to rising sea level.

What’s more, the 100-year timescale of ocean warming implies that the Earth's climate system as a whole has been gaining heat for at least that long.

HMS Challenger was a former battleship modified to carry out research. She collected sealife and sediment samples and measured ocean temperatures on a marathon 68,890 mile voyage. The steam-assisted ship carried a crew of 243 officers and scientists who worked in on-board laboratories.


More speculation about a "Melting Arctic"

This is all rubbish. Both the Northwest and Northeast passages have already been traversed by ships many times over the last 100 years. So it is amusing that the article below refers to them as "currently inaccessible sea lanes". Global cooling, anyone?

This year's frenzy of oil and gas exploration in newly accessible Arctic waters could be the harbinger of even starker changes to come.

If, as many scientists predict, currently inaccessible sea lanes across the top of the world become navigable in the coming decades, they could redraw global trading routes - and perhaps geopolitics - forever.

This summer will see more human activity in the Arctic than ever before, with oil giant Shell engaged in major exploration and an expected further rise in fishing, tourism and regional shipping. But that, experts warn, brings with it a rising risk of environmental disaster not to mention criminal activity from illegal fishing to smuggling and terrorism.

"By bringing more human activity into the Arctic you bring both the good and the bad," Lt Gen Walter Semianiw, head of Canada Command and one of Ottawa's most senior military officers responsible for the Arctic, told an event at Washington DC think tank the Centre For Strategic and International Studies last week. "You will see the change whether you wish to or not."

With indigenous populations, researchers and military forces reporting the ice receding faster than many had expected, some estimates suggest the polar ice cap might disappear completely during the summer season as soon as 2040, perhaps much earlier.

That could slash the journey time from Europe to Chinese and Japanese ports by well over a week, possibly taking traffic from the southern Suez Canal route. But with many of those key sea routes passing through already disputed waters believed to contain much of the world's untapped energy reserves, some already fear a rising risk of confrontation.


Shocker: Nature Conservancy chief scientist admits ‘data simply do not support the idea of a fragile nature at risk of collapse’

The eco-fragility trope of Rachel Carson and Al Gore is wrong, says an unlikely source. Peter Kareiva writes in the Breakthrough Journal that:
… The fragility trope dates back, at least, to Rachel Carson, who wrote plaintively in Silent Spring of the delicate web of life and warned that perturbing the intricate balance of nature could have disastrous consequences. Al Gore made a similar argument in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance. And the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment warned darkly that, while the expansion of agriculture and other forms of development have been overwhelmingly positive for the world’s poor, ecosystem degradation was simultaneously putting systems in jeopardy of collapse.

The trouble for conservation is that the data simply do not support the idea of a fragile nature at risk of collapse. Ecologists now know that the disappearance of one species does not necessarily lead to the extinction of any others, much less all others in the same ecosystem. In many circumstances, the demise of formerly abundant species can be inconsequential to ecosystem function. The American chestnut, once a dominant tree in eastern North America, has been extinguished by a foreign disease, yet the forest ecosystem is surprisingly unaffected. The passenger pigeon, once so abundant that its flocks darkened the sky, went extinct, along with countless other species from the Steller’s sea cow to the dodo, with no catastrophic or even measurable effects.

These stories of resilience are not isolated examples — a thorough review of the scientific literature identified 240 studies of ecosystems following major disturbances such as deforestation, mining, oil spills, and other types
of pollution. The abundance of plant and animal species as well as other measures of ecosystem function recovered, at least partially, in 173 (72 percent) of these studies…


Carbon pollution standard: Four ways weird

EPA’s proposed “Carbon Pollution Standard” requires new fossil-fuel electric generating units (EGUs) to emit no more than 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt hour. About 95% of all natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants already meet the standard (p. 115). No existing coal power plants come close; even the most efficient, on average, emit 1,800 lbs CO2/MWh (p. 134).

A coal power plant equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could meet the standard, but the levelized cost of new coal plants already exceeds that of new natural gas plants, and “today’s CCS technologies would add around 80% to the cost of electricity for a new pulverized coal (PC) plant, and around 35% to the cost of electricity for a new advanced gasification-based (IGCC) plant” (p. 124).

In short, EPA has proposed a standard that no commercially-viable coal plant can meet. This is not surprising given President Obama’s longstanding ambition to “bankrupt” coal and his vow to find other ways of “skinning the cat” after the election-day “slaughter” of cap-and-trade Democrats. What is surprising is the rule’s weirdness – the contortions EPA performs to make the proposal seem reasonable.

(1) EPA tries to palm off natural gas combined cycle — a type of power plant — as a “control option” or “system of emission reduction” for coal-fired power plants.

EPA picked 1,000 lb CO2/MWh as the “standard of performance” for new fossil-fuel EGUs because that is the “degree of emission limitation achievable through natural gas combined cycle generation” (pp. 35-36). But consider how the Clean Air Act (CAA) defines “standard of performance” [Sec. 111(a)(1)]:

“The term ‘standard of performance’ means a standard for emissions of air pollutants which reflects the degree of emission limitation achievable through the application of the best system of emission reduction which (taking into account the cost of achieving such reduction and any nonair quality health and environmental impact and energy requirements) the Administrator determines has been adequately demonstrated.”

Performance standards are supposed to reflect the best “system of emission reduction.” But natural gas combined cycle is not a system of emission reduction. It is a type of power plant. EPA is not proposing that new coal power plants install emission reduction systems that have been “adequately demonstrated.” Rather, EPA is proposing that new coal power plants be new natural gas plants. EPA is saying with a straight face that natural gas combined cycle is an emission reduction system that has been adequately demonstrated for coal power plants.

To my knowledge, this is the first time EPA has ever defined a performance standard such that one type of facility can comply only by being something other than what it is.

(2) EPA lumps coal boilers and natural gas turbines together in a newly-minted industrial source category (fossil-fuel EGUs) — but only for CO2 emissions, not for conventional air pollutants.

EPA sets performance standards for specific categories of industrial sources. A coal boiler is different from a gas turbine, and up to now EPA reasonably regulated them as different source categories, under different parts of the Code of Federal Regulations (Subpart Da for coal boilers, Subpart KKKK for gas turbines). EPA now proposes to regulate them as a single source category — fossil-fuel EGUs — under a new subpart numbered TTTT. But only for CO2! Coal boilers and natural gas turbines will continue to be regulated separately for criteria and toxic pollutants under Subparts Da and KKKK (p. 71).

Why hold coal boilers and gas turbines to different standards for those pollutants? EPA’s answer:

“This is because although coal-fired EGUs have an array of control options for criteria and air toxic air pollutants to choose from, those controls generally do not reduce their criteria and air toxic emissions to the level of conventional emissions from natural gas-fired EGUs” (p. 102).

The same logic argues against imposing a single CO2 standard on coal boilers and natural gas turbines. Coal plants have no “adequately demonstrated” options for reducing CO2 emissions to the level of emissions from natural gas plants. CCS may qualify in the future but it is too costly now (p. 100).

So we’re back to EPA’s contortion of classifying natural gas combined cycle as an emission-reduction system adequately demonstrated for coal power plants.

(3) The proposed rule exempts modified coal power plants from the CO2 performance standard even though CAA Sec. 111 requires modified sources to be regulated as “new” sources.

CAA Sec. 111(a) defines “new source” as “any stationary source, the construction or modification of which is commenced after the publication of regulations (or, if earlier, proposed regulations) prescribing a standard of performance under this section which will be applicable to such source” (emphasis added). The provision defines “modification” as “any physical change in, or change in the method of operation of, a stationary source which increases the amount of any air pollutant emitted by such source or which results in the emission of any air pollutant not previously emitted.” These definitions clearly imply that, once EPA promulgates CO2 performance standards for power plants, a coal-fired EGU that increases its CO2 emissions due to a physical change or change in operation is a “new” source. Yet under EPA’s proposal, modified coal-fired EGUs will not be treated as new sources.

Why? EPA claims it does “not have adequate information as to the types of physical or operational changes sources may undertake or the amount of increase in CO2 emissions from those changes” (p. 151). That’s odd. EPA has been collecting data on power plant CO2 emissions since the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (Sec. 821) and on power plant modifications for much longer. EPA also says it lacks “adequate information as to the types of control actions sources could take to reduce emissions, including the types of controls that may be available or the cost or effectiveness of those controls” (p. 151). More plausibly, EPA knows full well that the only available control options are to install CCS or re-power with natural gas, and that imposition of such requirements would shutter coal plants, drive up electric rates, jeopardize power plant safety and grid reliability, and provoke an angry political backlash. Is EPA again “tailoring” (amending) the CAA to avoid a regulatory debacle of its own making?

(4) The proposed rule has no monetized costs or benefits.

EPA says the rule will not “add costs” to the electric power sector, ratepayers, or the economy, because EPA “does not project construction of any new coal-fired EGUs” between now and 2030. Rather, EPA expects power companies “to build new EGUs that comply with the regulatory requirements of this proposal even in the absence of the proposal, due to existing and expected market conditions” (p. 200), namely, the superior economics of natural gas (p. 36).

The rule won’t “add costs” because it ratifies where the market is already going. By the same token, however, the rule has no estimated benefits. EPA does “not anticipate any notable CO2 emissions changes resulting from the rule,” hence “there are no monetized climate benefits in terms of CO2 emission reductions associated with this rulemaking” (p. 202).

So what’s the point – why propose a “carbon pollution standard” that won’t reduce CO2 emissions and has no estimated climate benefits?

Because the rule expands EPA’s control over electric utilities and creates a powerful new tool for “skinning the cat.” It puts fossil-fuel EGUs squarely under EPA’s regulatory thumb with respect to their inescapable and principal byproduct, CO2. It sets the precedent for EPA to promulgate CO2 performance standards for other industrial source categories. Most importantly, it tees up EPA to put the regulatory squeeze on modified and existing coal power plants in a second Obama administration. In EPA’s words:

“Although modified sources would not be subject to the 1,000 lb CO2/MWh standard for new sources, the EPA anticipates that modified sources would become subject to the requirements the EPA would promulgate at the appropriate time, for existing sources under 111(d)” (p. 153). “The proposed rule will also serve as a necessary predicate for the regulation of existing sources within this source category under CAA Section 111(d)” (p. 201).

The proposal is EPA’s first — not last — action to fulfill the agency’s December 2010 settlement agreement with state attorneys general and environmental groups. The agreement requires EPA to set CO2 performance standards for both new and modified EGUs plus emission guidelines for non-modified EGUs (p. 64). By creating the framework for limiting CO2 emissions, the “carbon pollution standard” puts coal generation in an ever-tightening regulatory noose.

Like the rest of EPA’s greenhouse agenda, the proposed rule is an affront to the Constitution’s separation of powers. Congress never voted to prohibit construction of new coal power plants. Indeed, Congress declined to impose less onerous constraints on new coal generation when Senate leaders pulled the plug on cap-in-trade. Congress should reassert its constitutional authority, overturn the rule, and rein in this rogue agency.


The lights go out for yet another "Green" business

Q-Cells, once the world's biggest maker of solar panels, is filing for bankruptcy. The German firm says it has abandoned an attempt to refinance its debts and will file for insolvency on Tuesday.

Like other solar panel makers, Q-Cells has been hit by falling prices and last year the firm lost 846m euros ($1.1bn; £702m).

The company started in 2001 with 19 staff and now employs more than 2,000 workers. Several other German makers of solar equipment have failed recently including Solon, Solar Millennium and Solarhybrid.

The industry has been hit by the government's decision this year to cut subsidies for solar power production. Under the system, German power companies were obliged to buy solar power from producers at a fixed price. The government is cutting that rate by up to 30%.

Q-Cells had been trying to organise a deal to swap debt for shares in the company. But it said that a court ruling last week, which blocked a similar restructuring plan at German wood processing company Pfleiderer, convinced it that it could not go ahead with its rescue plan.

"Against the background of the final ruling of the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court in the Pfleiderer case on March 27, 2012, the company had come to the conclusion that no going concern prognosis is given anymore," Q-cells said in a statement.



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, 2012

Advance warning

Nature magazine have put out announcement of a new paper using new proxies that PROVES that a CO2 rise preceded a deglaciation. Ice core proxies all show that the warming came first, FOLLOWED by a CO2 rise. The announcement is embargoed until tomorrow to give journalists preparation time to make a big splash with it.

But skeptical scientists have already begun to look at it and find lots of holes in it. So a few counterblasts should appear on skeptical sites at roughly the same time. Hopefully some of the counterblasts will come my way so I can put them up here.

American Meteorological Society survey -- what a laugh!

They wanted to show that most of their members were Warmists -- but look at the question they asked:

"In this survey, global warming was defined as “the premise that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result.”

Using that definition even I would be a Warmist -- because all sorts of things MAY happen. If they had any confidence in getting their desired findings, they would have said WILL instead of MAY.


U Oregon retreats from Stalinist statement

I noted this matter yesterday. The university press release initially began: "Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change."

The Stalinism in that was widely noted so the words "and treated" have now gone from the University's press statement, which you will find here. The opening sentence now reads:

"Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change."

Lord Monckton was one of those who piled on the pressure

He wrote to Ms Norgaard as follows

"My attention has been drawn to what is said to be a press statement by the University of Oregon saying that you have prepared a paper saying, inter alia, that what you describe as "cultural resistance" at "individual level" to the notion of spending large sums on attempting to prevent global warming is something that "must be recognized and treated".

Yet I invite you to understand that those of us who are doubters have good scientific and economic reason for our doubts.

First, there is good evidence that the principal conclusions of all four IPCC assessment reports are erroneous, and that two of these conclusions may be fraudulent.

Secondly, the IPCC's predictions first made a generation ago have proven to be considerable exaggerations. What you have described as a "massive threat" appears to be non-existent. What was predicted is not happening at anything like the predicted rate.

Thirdly, the IPCC's very high climate sensitivity estimates depend upon the assumption that temperature feedbacks that cannot be either measured or distinguished from direct forcings will triple those forcings, whereas the remarkable homeostasis of temperatures over at least the last 64 million years suggests either that feedbacks are net-negative or that the feedback-amplification equation (taken from electronic circuitry) is inapplicable to the climate, in which event equilibrium warming at CO2 doubling will be 1 Celsius degree, which is harmless and beneficial, and 21st-century warming from this cause will be little more than half the equilibrium warming.

Fourthly, the peer-reviewed economic journals are near-unanimous in finding that the cost of attempting to prevent global warming will greatly exceed the cost of doing nothing now and instead adapting in a focused way to any climate-related damage that may occur as a result of future global warming. My own calculations indicate that the cost of action now is likely to exceed the cost of focused adaptation later by one or two orders of magnitude.

I am uneasy that you should have recommended what the University of Oregon's press notice is said to describe as "treatment" for those with whom you disagree. In Europe, within living memory, there were two totalitarian regimes that subjected legitimate scientific dissenters to "treatment". You will forgive me for saying that humanity should surely not sink to those cruel and fatal depths of government-mandated unreason ever again.

I hope you will be able either to assure me either that the report I have read is inaccurate or that you are withdrawing or at least amending the paper"

Monckton has not of course received a reply. Featherbrain Norgaard probably did not even understand most of it

Climate Denial And Slavery

By Wm. Briggs, statistician -- pointing out the wider context of the Norgaard mentality

A common trope among academic philosophers, academic sociologists and the like—people without training in physics, that is—is to compare skepticism of the most shocking climate prognostications with belief in, and sympathy for, slavery.

Yes; if you express concern that, for instance, our certainty in high-level cloud feedback climate model parameterizations is too high, and that models would produce better, more accurate forecasts were they to take parameterization uncertainty into account, if you doubt whether (say) the number of ambulance trips in Australia really will skyrocket if the global average temperature increases by a tenth of a degree, these academics say that you probably would like to own slaves.

Several years ago, University of Amsterdam academic philosopher Marc Davidson penned “Parallels in reactionary argumentation in the US congressional debates on the abolition of slavery and the Kyoto Protocol.” Davidson said that Republicans “tend to rationalise fossil fuel use despite climate risks to future generations just as Southern congressmen rationalised slavery despite ideals of equality.”

Andrew Hoffman Holder of the Holcim chair at the University of Michigan has regular fun dropping allusions to slavery, carbon dioxide and abolition in his voluminous works.

And now comes University of Oregon’s Kari Norgaard, who wants to treat people not on board with her conception of climate chaos. In a press release of her paper at the “Planet Under Pressure” conference, it was announced

"Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change…"

“Climate change poses a massive threat to our present social, economic and political order. From a sociological perspective, resistance to change is to be expected,” she said. “People are individually and collectively habituated to the ways we act and think. This habituation must be recognized and simultaneously addressed at the individual, cultural and societal level — how we think the world works and how we think it should work.”

She went on to say that there is reluctance to disruptive and immediate action and that “‘This kind of cultural resistance to very significant social threat is something that we would expect in any society facing a massive threat,’ she said. The discussion, she said, is comparable to what happened with challenges to racism or slavery in the U.S. South.”

What about her lack of understanding of climatology, physics, statistics, etc. and thus her failure to comprehend the arguments skeptics offer? Cue the crickets. Actually, according to The Register, cue Issac Asmiov, for Norgaard would like to invent for real his fictional Psychohistory a science which enables one “to predict” and to “alter the behaviour of large populations*” [emphasis mine].

Lewis Page, the author of that story, saw fit to point that asterisk to the remark, “*Admittedly Psychohistory only worked on huge galactic civilisations, and then only if the people being manipulated for their own good were unaware that the science of Psychohistory existed – neither of which are the case here.” True, brother, true.

The amusing thing about all this is that each academic offering the slavery-skepticism argument is that each creates some version of the Sky Is Falling which is worse than that which is offered by most climatologists. That is, they seem to accept that all is worst than we had feared because doing so is consonant with their desires or world views.

For example, on her web page Norgaard lists among her specialties “environmental justice”, “gender and race and environment”, “climate change denial.” She has written such works as “The Social Organization of Climate Denial: Emotions, Culture and Political Economy”, and “Climate Denial and the Construction of Innocence: Reproducing Transnational Privilege in the Face of Climate Change.”

Now if the skeptics are right—accept this for the sake of argument—that the outlook for our future climate and environment is if not rosy then at least unproblematic, then Norgaard has lost her living. She would have to find something else with which to occupy her time. So might—I say might—it be true that she (and similar academics) tends to exaggerate her level of belief in catastrophic climate scenarios? Confirmation bias is always for thee and not for me.

If skeptics are wrong, then it would best if she (and they) offered argument to show why these skeptics are wrong and not just label skeptics “deniers.” For doing that is not only historically offensive, it is a dodge, a failure to play by the rules of ordinary scientific discourse.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

No Global Warming For 15 Years

HADCRUT is a temperature dataset compiled as a joint effort between the British Met Office and the University of East Anglia

Analysis by the GWPF of the newly released HadCRUT4 global temperature database shows that there has been no global warming in the past 15 years - a timescale that challenges current models of global warming.

The graph shows the global annual average temperature since 1997. No statistically significant trend can be discerned from the data. The only statistically acceptable conclusion to be drawn from the HadCRUT4 data is that between 1997 – 2011 it has remained constant, with a global temperature of 14.44 +/- 0.16 deg C (2 standard deviations.)

The important question is whether 15 years is a sufficient length of time from which to draw climatic conclusions that are usually considered over 30 years, as well as its implications for climate projections.

The IPCC states that anthropogenic influences on the climate dominated natural ones sometime between 1960 – 80.The recent episode of global warming that occurred after that transition began in 1980. The world has warmed by about 0.4 deg C in this time. Whilst we live in the warmest decade of the instrumental era of global temperature measurement (post-1880), and the 90s were warmer than the 80s, the world has not got any warmer in the last 15 years.

In 2001 and 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (and here) estimated that the world would warm at a rate of 0.2 deg C per decade in the future due to greenhouse gas forcing. Since those predictions were made it has become clear that the world has not been warming at that rate. Some scientists retrospectively revised their forecasts saying that the 0.2 deg C figure is an average one. Larger or smaller rates of warming are possible as short-term variations.

Global warming simulations, some carried out by the UK Met Office (here, here and here), have been able to reproduce “standstills” in global warming of a decade or so while still maintaining the long-term 0.2 deg C per decade average. These decadal standstills occur about once every eight decades. However, such climate simulations have not been able to reproduce a 15-year standstill:

“Near-zero and even negative trends are common for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate" (NOAA 2008).

We also note a comment in an email sent by Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit: “Bottom line – the no upward trend has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.”

Whether the global temperature standstill of the past 15 years continues or is replaced by warming, as the IPCC predicts, only future data will tell. In the meantime the length of the standstill means that the challenge it offers for models of future climate prediction, and explanations for past warming, cannot be ignored.

Dr David Whitehouse, science editor of the GWPF, said: “We are at the point where the temperature standstill is becoming the dominant feature of the post-1980 warming, and as such cannot be dismissed as being unimportant even when viewed over 30 years.”

“It is time that the scientific community in general and the IPCC in particular acknowledged the reality of the global temperature standstill and the very real challenge it implies for our understanding of climate change and estimates of its future effects.”

“It is a demonstration that the science is not settled, and that there are great uncertainties in our understanding of the real-world greenhouse effect when combined with anthropogenic and natural factors.”

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

The Most Expensive Federal Bureaucracy of All

The U.S. Department of Defense budget was $680 billion in the year to September 2012. The Environmental Protection Agency’s budget was only $17 billion. Yet when you compare the cost to the U.S. and global economy of the two departments, the comparison reverses. With modern rules of engagement and care for civilian populations, and politicians’ reluctance to use wholehearted military force, the non-taxpayer economic costs of the Defense Department (mostly imposed on countries with limited material possessions) are no more than $10-20 billion at most. Conversely, the EPA’s economic depredations, imposed mostly on the U.S. economy, run annually easily into the trillions.

Consider first the EPA order released last week, which effectively banned coal fired power plants because of their carbon emissions. It set a limit of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emission per megawatt hour, a limit that is met by gas fired power stations, which at their most efficient emit around 800 pounds per megawatt-hour, but cannot be met by new coal-fired stations, which emit 1600-1900 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour. By this ruling, therefore, expansion of the power source that provides around 40% of U.S. electricity has been cut off.

Even if the hotly disputed theory of global warming is accepted (the planet has not warmed at all for more than a decade) there is a much cheaper way to cut down carbon emissions, though a carbon tax. With such a mechanism, coal-fired power stations can bear what society believes (rightly or wrongly) to be the cost of their greater carbon dioxide emissions, and if coal-fired power stations still prove potentially profitable, they will be built. The tax receipts will make at least a modest dent in the federal budget deficit.

In today’s market, the EPA’s effective coal ban does not matter much. The improvement in techniques of horizontal fracturing of oil and gas shale deposits has vastly increased potential natural gas supplies, and caused the gas price to decline sharply even as oil and commodity prices have been inexorably rising. However in the long run this ruling, by closing off an important power source alternative, is likely to condemn American power consumers to periodic brownouts and escalation of prices.

Already in 2011 the cost of electricity has soared to 11.8 cents per kilowatt-hour for domestic use, compared to 9.45 cents in 2005, a 64% faster rate of increase than prices generally at a time when electricity usage has barely grown. Yes oil prices rose faster during this period, but very little of the United States’ power generation capacity relies on oil. Thus even before the new rules come into effect, the excess increase in electricity prices over prices generally can mostly be put down to increasingly stringent EPA regulations. Since U.S. annual electricity usage is $380 billion, you can charge the EPA with $39.1 billion annually from power generation regulations alone, before adding in the much larger future cost of banning coal-fired stations.

President Richard Nixon is a much maligned and to some extent underrated President. Certainly the attempted Bill Clinton impeachment in 1998 has reinforced the view of the fair-minded, that neither the Watergate burglary/wiretapping nor the Monica Lewinsky affair constituted adequate grounds for impeachment. However his creation of the EPA, proposing legislation to Congress in July 1970, and signing the final bill in December of that year, should have given his detractors a much more solid case for drastic action.

The EPA is a classic creation of the first phase of environmentalism, in which preventing Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River from catching fire (as it did in 1969) was a moral crusade and costs were considered irrelevant. It operates through a “command and control” mechanism similar to that of the old Soviet economy, in which decrees are issued and the market forced to adapt to them, rather than through any serious attempt to calculate the true externalities of an environmental problem and use the price mechanism to reduce them.

A classic example of EPA rule is the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, first imposed by Congress in 1975 and intended to regulate the mean fuel economy of each auto manufacturer’s fleet. Operated jointly by the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (two bodies whose interests in this area are structurally in conflict) they have been responsible for a series of perverse and expensive changes to the U.S. automobile market.

A 2002 National Academy of Sciences study of the CAFE standards estimated that without them, fuel consumption would have been about 14% higher in 2002, but that the cost of this reduction was an annual 1,300 to 2,600 fatalities. In terms of the automobile industry’s structure, the CAFE standards pushed automobile buyers artificially towards the small cars made by Japanese and other Asian manufacturers, who consequently gained market share at the expense of GM, Ford and Chrysler. The CAFE standards thus bear much of the responsibility for the 2009 bankruptcies of the latter two companies. In addition, in order to survive Detroit found a loophole in the regulations, by which “sports utility vehicles” and minivans built on a truck chassis, were subject to less demanding fuel economy standards – the CAFE standards are thus responsible for the decline of the saloon car.

The cost of CAFE standards is now being immeasurably increased by two successive regulations tightening them, the first signed by President Bush in 2007 and the second by President Obama in 2011. In their latest form, CAFE standards mandate fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year, introduced in late 2024. The automobile industry agreed to these, not surprisingly since two of the three U.S. manufacturers were controlled by the government, while the foreign manufacturers no doubt reflected that Obama would be out of office well before 2024, and that if Obama-esque economic and environmental policies were pursued by his successors, then 2025’s U.S. automobile market wouldn’t be worth a damn anyway.

The 2025 standards cannot be met by hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius; they will require an admixture of fully electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt. Given the cost and spectacular lack of market penetration of that expensive toy, the CAFE standards may by 2025 require the unfortunate U.S. public to buy cars costing $50,000 in today’s money. As well as expensive automobiles, the new standards will also further increase traffic fatalities, as commuters buzz around the highways in 70mph golf carts.

Without the EPA, the environmental gains of the CAFE standards could easily have been achieved by an increase in the price of gasoline, through a tax that would have produced money for the federal exchequer rather than costing it money. Assuming even a very low 20% price elasticity of gasoline consumption, the 14% decline produced by the 1986 CAFE standards would have required a 70% increase in 2002’s price of gasoline – to $2.30 a gallon from the $1.35 at which it actually stood in that year. Much of that saving would have come from lower mileage driven by motorists, as they adapted their lifestyles to higher gas prices. In this respect, Europe has been far more market-oriented than the United States; with gas prices at $8 per gallon cars and lifestyles have already adapted to a lower fuel-consumption world, without the costs in either individual liberty or economic disruption of the U.S. command-and-control approach.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the EPA intrudes aggressively into almost all business decisions, even at the individual level. This was demonstrated last week by a unanimous Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA, in which the Court declared “There is no reason to think the Clean Water Act was uniquely designed to enable the strong-arming of regulated parties into ‘voluntary compliance’ without the opportunity for judicial review.” The Sackett family had attempted to build a house on a plot of land which the EPA post-facto declared to be “wetland” – a catch-all term used to justify endless EPA meddling – and the EPA had denied them a hearing and ordered them to pull down their property or face fines of $75,000 a day.

The total cost of EPA depredations can only be estimated, but there is one very significant measure of the EPA’s potential damage to the U.S. economy. U.S. productivity growth averaged 2.8% annually in the quarter century before 1973, the economic cycle peak immediately after the EPA’s formation. In 1973-2011 U.S. productivity growth averaged 1.8%. Had productivity continued at the pre-1973 pace, the U.S. economy would today be 45% larger, a matter of some $7 trillion in annual GDP. With pre-1973 productivity growth continuing to today, the impoverishment of the U.S. middle class would never have occurred, as median incomes today would be 45% higher.

Sure, the EPA probably is only partially responsible for that productivity slowdown. However economists have puzzled since 1980 or so for an explanation of the slowdown, and so far have failed to come up with a cause of sufficient importance. Given the EPA’s universality and Soviet approach to regulation, the impartial observer must conclude that a substantial part of the slowdown must have been caused by the EPA’s diversion of the U.S. economy from free-market patterns. If even a third of the slowdown was caused by the EPA and its tenticular, market-defying web of regulations, that’s $2.3 billion in lost annual output for which the EPA must be held responsible.

As I said, the EPA is far more expensive than the Defense Department. And it’s about time that the squeezed U.S. middle class knew where the blame for their impoverishment truly lies.



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, 2012

Botanist associated with false prophet Paul Ehrlich says Global Warming Denialism ‘Just Foolishness’

That wonderfully nuanced judgment appears on a site devoted to "Observation, Analysis, Reflection, New Questions" yet makes no new observations, analyses or reflections and asks no new questions!

Typically, he relies on opinion polls rather than scientific facts. He also relies on the discredited Ross Gelbspan, who got hold of a policy proposal that was never accepted by anyone involved but which Gelbspan has been eating out on ever since. But that's Warmist "science" for you

One of the world’s most widely known and respected senior scientists tells ABC News that current denial about the basic daunting realities of manmade global warming is “just foolishness.”

He also reports that the rest of the world has now “pretty well given up” on its hope for U.S. leadership in dealing with global climate change.

His assessment reinforces our findings at the recent global climate summit in Durban, South Africa, that the vigorous anti-climate science movement in the United States has significantly damaged American prestige among European leaders who are struggling to deal with the daunting impacts of global warming.

Peter Raven, co-inventor in 1964, along with biologist Paul R. Ehrlich, of the bedrock concept of co-evolution (see footnote below), has long been a trusted adviser of American presidents, many other heads of state and government, religious leaders including popes, and countless congressional, academic and scientific leaders in the United States and around the world.

A frequent world traveler for his work, Raven reconfirmed in an email from the international Planet Under Pressure conference in London what he first told Natures’ Edge in 2010 in St. Louis.

When we asked, in the course of an interview on the occasion of his retirement after four decades as head of the Missouri Botanical Gardens, what he thought about the increasing claims of some parties in the United States that the science and alarm about manmade global warming was “a hoax” or greatly overblown, he responded patiently, “Oh, it’s just foolishness.”

“It’s not a matter of conjecture anymore,” he said. “Climate change is the most serious challenge probably that the human race has ever confronted.”

Raven quickly summarized the virtually unanimous understanding of the world’s climate scientists and other responsible experts about the great upheavals manmade global warming is now producing.

He talked to us outdoors, in the now world-famous, immense and exquisite gardens that, as the brief introduction to this video excerpt of his remarks shows, he had turned into an expansive vision of what a peaceful and balanced world could look like — a sort of international botanical metaphor.

“There is virtually unanimous consensus among the world’s scientists who work in the area that human beings are the major reason that this is so (the world’s average temperature rising),” writes Raven from London. “Because, just as first noted by the Swedish chemist Arrhenius in 1895, when you add more carbon dioxide or other co-called greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, you make it warmer.”

Academic and scientific surveys have repeatedly confirmed this view among the world’s climate scientists.

One detailed study, “Expert Credibility in Climate Change,” published in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, July 6, 2010, focused on “an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers.”

It found that “97-98 percent of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field … supported the basic tenets of ACC (manmade global warming) established by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

It also determined that the minute number of detractors had significantly less standing in the field of climate science among their scientist peers.

It reported that “the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of (those tenets of climate change) are substantially below that of the convinced researchers.”

“Two years ago,” Raven added in his email, “the world was hoping for U.S. leadership on this question, global climate change, and now it has pretty well given up, with us as the only hold-out nation on the science.”

An extensive “disinformation campaign” in the United States about the scientific solidity and gravity of manmade global warming has been described in detail by a number of academic analyses and extensive professional journalistic enquiry.

For example, “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues From Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming,” by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, details how ideological, political and fossil fuel industry interests have been able to confuse and intimidate many leaders in legislature and media.

Author and journalist Ross Gelbspan, who directed a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation at the Boston Globe, was one of the first professional journalists to describe fossil fuel industry efforts to delay government regulation on greenhouse gas emissions as long as possible.

“They don’t expect or need to win any debate,” he says, “they just want to keep the appearance of a debate going.”


You are Invited to Occupy the Job-Killing, Wealth-Robbing EPA Mafia

Regular readers have been able to follow along as I chronicle the 17,384-employee wrecking crew that is the EPA. This week the racket put the coal industry out of business, helped raise electricty prices for everyone, and did it all for the low, low price of $9,000,000,000 per year.

Underpinning the confidence game is deceptive science that manufactures evidence of climate change/global warming by pointing out people's natural curosity about natural weather events.

A New York Times story that ran in the Environment section on March 28, 2012 is a textbook example of all that is wrong with the supposed “scientific” method liberals are employing to bolster climate change arguments.

It’s not so much that they argue for bad science, but that they argue for no science by postulating only theories that fall within their preconceived notions that every weather event can be tied to global climate change. And if it can’t, by God, it will be when we get through!
Lurching from one weather extreme to another seems to have become routine across the Northern Hemisphere, writes the Times. Parts of the United States may be shivering now, but Scotland is setting heat records. Across Europe, people died by the hundreds during a severe cold wave in the first half of February, but a week later revelers in Paris were strolling down the Champs-Élysées in their shirt-sleeves.

Does science have a clue what is going on? The short answer appears to be: not quite.

Ah, but “not quite” isn’t going to stop them from getting to the inevitable answer that they always come to when climate is involved:
The longer answer is that researchers are developing theories that, should they withstand critical scrutiny, may tie at least some of the erratic weather to global warming. Specifically, suspicion is focused these days on the drastic decline of sea ice in the Arctic, which is believed to be a direct consequence of the human release of greenhouse gases.

So they are developing theories that if they get people to buy into- which of course the “people” already want to do- they can then pin the whole caper of man-killing freezing temperatures on…cue the music… global warming!

Can’t we agree now that no matter what the data says that liberal scientists most certainly will advocate that the cause of everything is man-made global warming?

If they could tie it to man-made global warming, they would manipulate the data to prove the moon is made of Swiss cheese. Of course the moon didn’t start out that way, they’d say, it’s just that the Swiss over utilized certain resources on the moon, throwing the moon out of balance and the result is Swiss cheese.

All you have to do to show this is fail to carry the 2, multiply that integer by 12.285764 to increase the effects of water vapor, and voila, man-made, man-warmed, creamy Swiss cheese.

Occupy the EPA

Well, Americans for Prosperity is fighting back against false science with an Occupy the EPA rally on April 4th in Colorado:

“In order to symbolize the constraints EPA overregulation places on the economy, and on average working Americans,” says AFP on the internet broadside for the event, “the rally will feature representatives of various impacted industries bound in red tape. Some participants will also be wearing red tape handcuffs in order to drive the point home.”

AFP says that global warming professionals have doctored and manipulated the data to exaggerate or wholly falsify climate science.

More from AFP:
Recent rules targeting coal-fired power plants are the latest in a long list of EPA regulatory excesses, according to AFP-CO, which will cost Coloradans jobs and contribute to already-skyrocketing energy costs. The agency relies on biased, agenda-driven “science” and “scientists” to bolster its actions, the group says, pointing to the shoddy work the agency did investigating alleged water well contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming — as well as the agency’s decision to provide a prime speaking spot at the April 4 conference to Boulder-based Stratus Consulting, a hired gun for extreme environmental groups that has been implicated in a scheme to use shady science to rig a favorable ruling in a lawsuit in South America.

Stratus is being sued, under federal anti-organized crime laws, after one of its principals, Ann Maest, was caught on video appearing to agree to doctor data in a way that would exaggerate environmental damage and increase the payout for plaintiffs and their lawyers in the long-running legal case. Maest originally was on the April 4 speaking schedule, but abruptly vanished from the program – probably when EPA caught wind of the fact that her appearance might prove controversial or prompt objections.

Make sure you register for this at Eventbright. Here’s your invitation:

Occupy the EPA

Give Red Tape a Rest

12 PM

Renaissance Denver Hotel

3801 Quebec Street

Denver, Colorado 80207

The Environment Protection Agency will hold a major mining conference in Denver and we want to be there to rally against the agency’s job-killing activities and agenda, as well as focus on some of the questionable and biased science underpinning many regulations.

Come turn the tables on the “1 percent” of career politicians and regulators imposing an economy-killing regulatory regime on the “99 percent” of Americans who want jobs and economic opportunity.


Idso 1998 – eight different ways to show CO2 will have little effect

Here’s a forgotten paper that deserves more attention: Idso 1998.

Rather than using an enormously complex global circulation model (or 22) to come up with a figure for climate sensitivity, Sherwood Idso does calculations from eight completely different natural experiments which all arrive at similar figures. In short, he reviewed 20 years of work to arrive at a prediction that if CO2 is doubled we will get 0.4°C of warming at most, and even he admitted, it might be an overestimate. Basically by the time CO2 levels double, he says we ought expect 0 – 0.4°C of warming, after feedbacks are taken into account. Idso started off assuming that the feedbacks were largely positive, but repeatedly found that they were negative.

Idso’s approach was novel. Instead of climate sensitivity to CO2, he estimates the sensitivity of the Earth to any factor. He calls it the “surface air temperature sensitivity factor“. Once something known heats or cools the Earth, how much do the net feedbacks amplify or dampen that initial change? Rather than trying to measure and capture every single feedback and process, and then calculate the end results, Idso finds situations where he can isolate a factor and calculate the effect after all the known and unknown feedbacks have occurred.

There are eight natural experiments Idso looked at. Even he was skeptical initially, knowing his initial experiments were based on one city and shorter time frames, but the independent experiments turned up such similar numbers that he grew confident that the results were meaningful.

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

Resistance to warmism must be 'treated'

The Stalinist ratbag herself above

Warmists have jumped the shark -- or maybe make that jumped the Stalin. The old Soviet trick of defining political opposition as a mental illness is back, this time at the Unioversity of Oregon. Their media relations folks are bursting with pride that one of their faculty is faithfully recycling, in this case from Uncle Joe:

"Resistance at individual and societal levels must be recognized and treated before real action can be taken to effectively address threats facing the planet from human-caused contributions to climate change.

That's the message to this week's Planet Under Pressure Conference by a group of speakers led by Kari Marie Norgaard, professor of sociology and environmental studies at the University of Oregon. In a news briefing today, Norgaard discussed her paper and issues her group will address in a session Wednesday, March 28.."

Warmism has become a religion, and Oregon is its spiritual capital, so this would-be priestess of the cult calling for unbelievers to be brainwashed fits a pattern seen before in history. The pride of the Department of Sociology continues:

"Climate change poses a massive threat to our present social, economic and political order. From a sociological perspective, resistance to change is to be expected," she said. "People are individually and collectively habituated to the ways we act and think. This habituation must be recognized and simultaneously addressed at the individual, cultural and societal level - how we think the world works and how we think it should work."

We have to address the way people think, the ways they are habituated to act. Collectively, naturally. The great Australian columnist Andrew Bolt:

"I've said, again in a post today, that the global warming faith licences the closet totalitarian. Imagine what such people as this sociologist feel licenced to do to us - for our own good, of course, as the Inquisition, Nazis and Bolsheviks insisted, too. Already some, like Professor Clive Hamilton, ponder the need for a "suspension of the democratic processes".

As the nature of the fraud becomes more apparent with each succeeding scandal, warmists are becoming frenzied. I really hope Kari Norgaad carries her crusade as far as possible. The bookers at Fox News should get contact media relations at The University of Oregon.


Time to end the war on coal

Forty-five percent of America’s energy needs are met by a single industry — coal. And it is this industry that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy and President Obama himself continues to burden with heavy regulations, rules and guidelines.

Though 90 percent of coal consumed in the U.S. is used for electricity, the power is also used for making steel, paper and cement.

As this administration continues to lay burdensome rules on this industry, attempting to push coal out of the energy sector completely, where is America expected to make up for losing almost 50 percent of its electric energy source? Not to mention the other affected industries that are also dependent on coal?

Those questions are likely to remain unanswered as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues writing even more rules and regulations that negatively affect the coal industry.

The latest set of rules stem from concerns reached in 2009. It was then the EPA decided greenhouse gas pollution poses a huge risk to human health and well being. Interestingly, these rules to cap carbon emissions on power plants, affect all future power plants — those being built 12 months from now and beyond.

But while the EPA worries about regulating the air of future America, coal power plants will have a big problem complying with these rules.

The EPA proposes that new fossil‐fuel‐fired power plants meet an output‐based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt‐hour (lb CO2/MWh gross). Most natural gas power plants built since 2005 already meet this new standard. And lending a “helpful” hand to coal power plants, the EPA suggests new technology such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) to rein in their emissions.

The Wall Street Journal reports that adding this new technology isn’t as easy as it might seem:

“Most gas-fired power plants built since 2005 meet that standard, but coal plants can’t unless they are fitted with special equipment to capture the carbon emissions and store them underground. Although that technology is commercially available, it is prohibitively expensive, utilities and energy analysts say.”

Institute for Energy Research (IER) President Tom Pyle echoes those concerns, saying, “President Obama promised to bankrupt coal-powered electricity in the United States, and this latest rule… makes good on that promise,” he said in a press release. “The United States has the largest coal reserves of any country in the world with 486 billion short tons of technically recoverable resources… If the EPA’s new rules are finalized, entire industries across the United States will be pushed out of business — and jobs with them.”

Sadly, these are not the only rules that negatively impact the coal industry.

It was only in December of 2011 that the EPA released its new Clean Air Act “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants,” which controls emission levels of mercury (Hg) and other air toxics from U.S. coal- and oil-fired power plants. This rule will have a huge impact on energy-intensive industries that rely on low-cost electricity to survive and will also likely negatively impact small businesses.

The benefits? EPA computer models claim mercury emission cuts will reduce average per person “avoided IQ loss” by “0.00209 IQ points,” with estimated “total nationwide benefits” of $500,000 to $6.1 million by 2016.

Taking into account the great loss of Americans jobs as well as the source of nearly 50 percent of the country’s electric energy, the costs of cutting coal production would far outweigh the benefits.

But that hasn’t stopped the EPA. Another guideline for the mountaintop mining of coal, under the Clean Water Act, requires streams to be kept cleaner and to a higher standard than that of tap water.

Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said of the new guidelines, “the goal is a standard so strict that few, if any, permits would be issued for valley fills.”

It seems this administration has some sort of personal vendetta against the coal industry.

“All these EPA guidelines, rules and regulations are nothing more than an attempt to end coal production in the U.S.,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, told ALG in a prior interview, “At a time when the U.S. economy is still hurting, now is not the time to end coal production. By harming coal you will damage the economy of the entire nation. Bissett estimates that the U.S. will increase electricity demands by 40 percent by 2025. “We will need every form of energy to meet that demand,” he says. “Coal should remain.”

With 45 percent of the U.S. dependent on electric energy from coal perhaps the Obama administration should listen to his speeches where he declares support for an all-of-the-above energy strategy rather than continuing to pursue its war on coal.


Australian conservative leader threatens a double dissolution to get rid of the carbon tax

In a double dissolution all seats in both the lower house and the Senate are up for grabs. A lot of existing Senators would be likely to shrink from that

FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says getting rid of the carbon tax won't be hard to do if he's elected prime minister.

Mr Abbott today refuted Prime Minister Julia Gillard's claims that his "chest-beating" over plans to unwind the carbon tax would "prove to be incredibly hollow".

"It's not hard to do. You simply repeal the legislation," he told Radio 2SM today. "I accept that there are various things that the carbon tax is funding that we will have to deal with and that presents some fiscal issues and some political issues.

"But we will deal with that and everyone will know exactly what is going to happen to tax and pensions in good time before the next election."

When asked how his push to repeal the carbon tax was different to Labor's campaign to roll back the GST, Mr Abbott replied: ``It differs because it is different." "I will get rid of the carbon tax. It'll be gone, lock, stock and barrel," Mr Abbott said. "It's an act of economic self-harm."

He also confirmed the coalition would pursue a double dissolution to secure the end of the carbon tax if Labor decided to "commit suicide twice" by persisting in its support for it.

"If they did, and we couldn't get a repeal through the Senate, yes, we would go to a double dissolution," he said.

"Good governments shouldn't be scared of an election."


Australia's climate honcho is like the weather: unreliable

He is a likeable and popular personality but why an expert on kangaroo fossils feels qualified to make climate prophecies is not at all clear. I guess it gives him attention that he would otherwise lack

A QUARTER of Australians say Tim Flannery is an unreliable source of information about climate change, a new survey reveals.

A Galaxy poll for the Institute of Public Affairs found 18 per cent of people regard the country's official climate change spokesman as "somewhat unreliable", while 7 per cent consider him "very unreliable". Less than a third, 31 per cent, found him somewhat or very reliable.

NSW residents are among the most dubious in the nation, with 28 per cent of those polled saying the Climate Commissioner was an unreliable source of information.

"By regularly making predictions that have turned out to be false, Tim Flannery is doing the carbon tax and the Gillard government more harm than good," the Institute's James Paterson said.

Last night, Prof Flannery said [unreliably]: "This issue isn't about opinion. It is about facts. We know climate is changing and if we don't act there is likely to be serious consequences."



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, 2012

Is Climate Change a Mental Health Emergency?

It'a possibility but since we live in an era of unusual temperature stability (see above) and natural disasters are not particularly frequent, there's not much point speculating

Tornadoes and wildfires, floods and droughts have caused people mental anguish since time eternal. If climate change makes storms more powerful and disrupts weather patterns that have existed for millennia, will it fray our mental health?

That is the subject of a recent report by the National Wildlife Federation that explores how the uncertainty and upheaval caused by erratic weather might cause more Americans to become depressed, anxious and even suicidal, and what might be done to prepare for it.

We may not agree on the reason, but there’s little question that the United States has been on a streak of wild weather recently. The report took some of its observations from 2011, which included the record-breaking Texas drought and its associated wildfires, an East Coast heat wave, and floods in the East and Midwest, and a crazy tornado season.

The report, based on the conclusions of a high-powered panel of psychiatrists, psychologists, and public-health and climate experts, made some sobering assessments. Two hundred million Americans will be subject to stress because of climate change, it concluded.

Coastal storms and sea level rise will affect half of all Americans who live near the coasts, and the 70 percent who live in cities subject to heat waves. Swollen rivers will break their banks as they pass through major cities. Prolonged drought will cause farmers and their families to suffer. And some mental maladies may be chronic, because with weather you never know what’s going to happen next.

The $300 billion the nation spends each year on mental health services and associated loss of work time will probably rise.

“We may not currently be thinking about how heavy the toll on our psyche will be, but, before long, we will know only too well,” wrote the authors, Lise van Susteren, a forensic psychiatrist, and Kevin Coyle, the National Wildlife Federation’s educational director. “A warming climate will cause many people, tens of millions, to hurt profoundly.”

The panel predicted a rise in depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, suicide and violence. The burden will fall especially on children, the elderly and those with existing mental problems, as well as the poor and disadvantaged who are, for example, less able to pay for air conditioning during a heat wave.

Victims may also include members of the military, who will be sent abroad to assist with foreign disasters and will bring the psychological scars back home.


US Tornado Report – 2011

NOAA have just about finalised their numbers for the 2011 tornado season, although December figures still await confirmation. (It usually takes about three months to confirm the provisional reports as each tornado report has to be physically assessed by NWS personnel, in order to determine the category and, in many cases, even decide whether a tornado has actually occurred). So let’s take a look at the figures, as they stand currently.

Historical Trends

When observing long term trends, it is important to remember that considerable changes have been made to the way that tornadoes are reported. NOAA have this to say :-

"Improved tornado observation practices have led to an increase in the number of reported weaker tornadoes, and in recent years the number of EF0 and EF1 tornadoes have become more prevalent in the total number of reported tornadoes."

With increased national Doppler radar coverage [introduced between 1992 and 1997], increasing population, and greater attention to tornado reporting, there has been an increase in the number of tornado reports over the past several decades. This can create a misleading appearance of an increasing trend in tornado frequency. To better understand the true variability and trend in tornado frequency in the U.S., the total number of strong to violent tornadoes (EF3 to EF5 category on the Enhanced Fujita scale) can be analyzed. These are the tornadoes that would have likely been reported even during the decades before Doppler radar use became widespread and practices resulted in increasing tornado reports. The bar chart below indicates there has been little trend in the frequency of the strongest tornadoes over the past 55 years.

The effect of changes in observation can be clearly seen when looking at the ratio of the weakest F0 tornadoes to total numbers back to 1950, which rises from 10% to 60%.

When the weaker tornadoes are excluded, it is clear that there is very little trend since the 1980’s. It is also very apparent that tornado occurrences were much higher in all categories of F2 and above during the 1970’s, than in the decades since.

Even in 2011, the total of F2+ tornadoes, which amounted to 279, was only slightly above the average of 255 for the whole 1970-79 period.

Are Tornadoes Becoming More Extreme?

In overall terms, Figure 2 indicates that for F3+ categories, 2011 ranked only 6th worst since 1950. But is there any trend towards the most severe categories?

Figure 5 shows the number of F2+ tornadoes by category for each year since 2002 expressed as a percentage of the total of F2 to F5 occurrences. The dotted lines are the averages for the 1970’s. Although 2011 experienced a sharp increase in F3, F4 and F5’s, the pattern over the 10 years as a whole does not seem to indicate any real trend, simply going up and down around the historical averages.


Whilst nobody can predict what 2012 will bring, there fortunately seems to be no evidence to suggest that there is any trend towards an increase in numbers or severity of tornadoes in the US.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Britain is so far missing out on the shale gas revolution

Despite having the potential

Unnoticed by the powerhouses of the British media, the economy of the United States is rebounding on the back of a manufacturing-led boom fuelled by cheap gas. The American revival is in its early stages, but already manufacturing is being repatriated from China: an astonishing development after decades of offshoring.

The factor that above all separates the US energy market from those in Europe and Asia is the enormous increase in gas production and reserves brought about by the shale gas revolution. Which prompts the question: why are British politicians and industrialists not interested in promoting shale potential at home?

In recent years the gulf between open market gas prices in North America and the rest of the world has widened dramatically. The reason — as is now generally understood — was the development in the US of massive gas reserves trapped in previously inaccessible shale rock formations. The benchmark price at Henry Hub in Texas fell from a pre-shale peak of nearly $13 per million British thermal units (BTU) in mid-2008 to as low as $2.71 in January this year. Since January 2011 the US price has averaged less than $4 while the British National Balancing Point (NBP) price has averaged more than $9.

Open market gas prices on either side of the Atlantic roughly tracked each other for 13 years from mid-1995 until mid-2008, when they abruptly separated.

Initially many observers thought the market divergence would be shortlived. Some believed the US bonanza would evaporate, that once the easy gains had been made the marginal costs would rise, new production would be harder to bring on, and prices would return to higher levels. So far this has not happened: the typical marginal costs of new shale gas production are now around $3 per million BTU. In 2011 shale gas accounted for a quarter of US natural gas production.

The impact on reserves has been equally dramatic. In 2000, US dry natural gas resources were estimated by the Energy Information Administration at 1,500 trillion cubic feet, almost entirely in conventional reservoirs. By 2012 estimated reserves had risen by 67 per cent to more than 2,500 trillion cubic feet, of which a third was accounted for by gas in shale formations.

There is a longer-term prospect that North America will begin to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the rest of the world, helping to restore a global pricing equilibrium. To do this, American LNG import terminals which were constructed a few years ago to cope with an anticipated domestic shortage of gas are being reconfigured to handle exports. However, no gas has yet been exported, and there are already rumblings within the US that the country should not allow its sudden good fortune to be dissipated by sharing it with foreigners.

Great bulwark of free enterprise it may be, but the US has a long history of energy protectionism, from oil import quotas in the 1950s, wellhead price controls in the 1970s and a refusal to allow exports of Alaskan oil in the 1980s. But even if the US refuses to licence LNG exports, Canada, whose own traditional export markets south of the border have been hammered by the shale revival, will certainly look to sell LNG to the world.

Meanwhile the US has begun to benefit from significantly lower energy costs. Industrial output looks like growing at 4-5 per cent this year and next. Power generators are switching to gas from more expensive and dirty coal, and this trend is forecast to increase dramatically over the next quarter-century. Americans' perennial sense of insecurity, most recently voiced by President Obama, about over-reliance on energy imports, looks like evaporating. The technological advances that have given the US its abundant shale gas will also provide crude oil from shale.

One simple example: cheap gas will encourage the US petrochemical industry to invest $30 billion in new plant over the next five years, according to the Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. Plastics producers will get a double boost from cheaper feedstock gas — the raw material for their product — and lower electricity costs. This will further increase the American advantage over competitors in Western Europe and Asia whose usual feedstock is oil.

Thus shale gas has changed the game and not only in terms of hydrocarbons supply: it has provided the US with a chance to launch an economic recovery based on manufacturing and exports.

Americans have largely taken all this in their stride, even though as shale exploration moves into liberal north-eastern states a degree of nimbyism becomes apparent. How very different from the reaction in Britain where the prospect of a large new source of energy and exchequer revenue has either been ignored or treated with suspicion.

A lot of nonsense is talked about the prospects for shale gas in Britain, both for and against. Advocates claim that there are gigantic reserves just waiting to be tapped, and that the North American phenomenon could easily be replicated here. Opponents — and they are in the vocal majority — say that fracking (hydraulic fracturing)poisons the water supply and causes earthquakes; they also worry that renewing Britain's search for hydrocarbons will divert investment away from renewables.

The truth as usual lies somewhere between. The geological potential is certainly large, though the recoverable element of the gas in place has not yet begun to be assessed. A fundamental difference between Britain and the US is that in Britain mineral rights belong to the Crown, while in America they belong to the freeholder, which inevitably means British developments will take longer to initiate, even without political pressure from greens and local interests.

The impact on the water supply will inevitably remain a matter for concern, because of the tiny amounts of chemicals dissolved in water injected to fracture the source rock. The techniques themselves are constantly being refined and, compared to the early days in the US, the chemicals used now appear innocuous. Hydraulic fracturing does, according to the US Geological Survey, cause small but harmless earthquakes, although the recycling of waste water into deep wells can cause perceptibly larger quakes. It should be noted that most subterranean activities, such as coal mining, can cause subsidence or earthquakes.

There are several shale gas exploration sites around Britain but the most significant is Cuadrilla Resources' initiative on the Fylde coast of Lancashire. Cuadrilla is backed by Lord Browne, lately the boss of BP. Last September Cuadrilla announced that it had identified reserves in place of 200 trillion cubic feet — roughly 20 times the proven reserves of conventional natural gas in the North Sea. Even assuming only a 10 per cent recovery rate — very conservative by North American standards — this one find potentially trebles Britain's gas reserves, and provides George Osborne and his successors at the Treasury with an enormous opportunity.

The reaction to this good news has been, at best, muted. The BBC, inevitably, reported the story as an environmental disaster in the making. The Financial Times, preoccupied with rescuing the euro, paid it scant attention. Ofgem, which in recent years has dwindled from an effective regulator of competition to an alternative delivery vehicle for government green energy policies, reissued an old report by some tame consultants insisting that shale gas held little promise for the UK. The formal reaction from a Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) spokesman was discouraging: "Any development must sit with our plans for a strong portfolio of energy sources as we move to a low carbon economy, including renewables, nuclear and clean coal and gas." This unenthusiastic line was repeated by the hapless Chris Huhne during his last months as Secretary of State at DECC, notably in a Guardian interview in which he repeated the demonstrable nonsense that shale drilling could lead to gas flames spurting from domestic water taps.

So, how much might this unwanted and embarrassing Fylde gas discovery be worth to the British economy? Cuadrilla is planning to bring the field up to full production by about 2020. Privately they believe they will be producing 1 trillion cubic feet, or 28 billion cubic metres a year. That is about half of current UK gas production from the declining North Sea fields.

At today's prices that amount of Fylde gas would be worth about £4.2 billion a year to the Exchequer early in the next decade. It would also improve the balance of payments by £7 billion, and go a long way to restoring Britain's energy independence. Tens of thousands of real jobs would be created in a depressed English region. What's not to like?

The problem is the Coalition's energy policy, which is really a climate change policy inherited from the previous Labour government and designed to appease environmental activists by forcing ordinary consumers to subsidise ineffectual and expensive wind energy. As I have argued previously in Standpoint, such policies will merely inflate energy costs — much of the increase ending up in the pockets of large utilities and wealthy wind farm investors — while actually increasing the reliance on natural gas to cover the gaps when the wind fails to blow.

There are some reasons for optimism. Ministers have begun to acknowledge the importance of gas: "We used to regard gas as a transition fuel. We now understand that it is in fact a destination fuel," Charles Hendry MP said recently. They have also begun to take a more active interest in where the gas comes from: David Cameron has discussed with Vladimir Putin the possibility of extending the Russo-German Nordstream pipeline across the North Sea to Britain. But they have done little so far to encourage more exploration, least of all for shale gas.

The political difficulty is obvious: even with opposition to wind power growing increasingly forceful and articulate, it will be embarrassing to row back from an ineffectual policy whose consequences the government clearly did not understand.

But there is the heart of the matter. Wind power will require larger and larger amounts of gas generation to keep the lights on when the wind doesn't blow, which is 70 per cent of the time on a good day and 90 per cent on a bad day. Once this has been accepted, the choice between buying more imports and encouraging the development of potentially huge domestic reserves becomes less difficult.

Unfortunately, by the time this happens the UK will be many years off the economic pace being set by the American shale bonanza. Just one more reason to pray — one cannot expect that British governments will one day again be prepared to leave these sorts of decisions to the market, and not to the vagaries of well-intentioned but ill-understood state interventions.


A big upset to some "settled" science

Age of oldest rocks off by millions of years

Two of the solar system's best natural timekeepers have been caught misbehaving, suggesting that the accepted ages for the oldest known rock samples are off by a million years or more.

According to two new studies, a radioactive version of the element samarium decays much more quickly than previously thought, and different versions of uranium don't always appear in the same relative quantities in earthly rocks.

Both elements are used by geologists to date rocks and chart the history of events on our planet and in the solar system.

"If you have a critical event in Earth's history, something like an extinction event or a climate change shift or a meteorite impact, you need to know the absolute age with the most confidence," says Joe Hiess of the British Geological Survey, who led one of the studies. "In Earth sciences there's a need to be able to define what happened first and what happened second."

Chronometer shortage

Geochemists age rocks by measuring the ratio of radioactive isotopes – versions of the same element with different atomic masses – in them. Because the elements decay from one isotope, or element, to another at a constant rate, knowing the ratio in a particular rock gives its age.

Different elements and isotopes decay at vastly different rates. Scientists pick one that suits the timescale of interest. One of the favourites for tracing events in the early solar system, such as when the Earth's crust differentiated from its mantle or when the lava oceans on the moon solidified, is samarium-146, a hard shiny metal found in many minerals in the Earth's crust.

"In this time window, there are not many other chronometers," says Michael Paul of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Scientists have measured samarium-146's half-life – the time taken for exactly half of a sample of atoms to decay radioactively - four times over the past 60 years, and got different answers each time. The two most recent measurements seemed to converge on a half-life of 103 million years, plus or minus 5 million years. But Paul and colleagues suspected that that number wasn't quite right. So they used a technique called accelerator mass spectrometry, which Paul says is less likely to be skewed by experimental errors.

Youthful meteorites

They found that the half-life is just 68 million years, 30 per cent shorter than thought. That means that every rock dated by samarium-146 decay – which include some of the oldest on Earth and the moon, and even some Martian meteorites – formed 20 million to 80 million years earlier than thought.

In a solar system that's 4.5 billion years old, tens of millions of years "is a lot", Paul says. "It means everything was forming more quickly."

There was a second, separate hiccup. Earth's oldest rocks are also aged using isotopes of uranium, which decay into isotopes of lead. Until a few years ago, geochemists assumed that the ratio of uranium-238 to uranium-235 was constant – 137.88 – in all rocks, and therefore the ratio of lead isotopes was the only measurement needed to date the rocks. But high-precision measurements of early materials found in meteorites or rocks formed in oceans showed differences.

Hiess and colleagues made the most wide-ranging study of uranium isotope ratios yet, using 45 samples of zircon from all over the world. Zircon was one of the first minerals to solidify on Earth, it resists weathering and melting, and it holds on to uranium well, so it's a good candidate for dating old rocks.

Mass extinction

The team found that, while most of their samples had similar uranium ratios, some were wildly different.

"It's no longer safe to assume that it doesn't vary. It clearly does," says Gregory Brennecka of Arizona State University, who was not involved in either study. "Nobody thought that was the case five years ago."

The team produced a new, average figure for the uranium ratios. It shifts the ages of Earth's oldest rocks slightly, by just under a million years, Hiess says. The oldest rocks will have the biggest corrections: sediments that are 4.4 billion years old are now younger by 700,000 years. "To put it into a human perspective, if the Earth was only 18 years old, we have taken 1 day off the life of its oldest materials," Hiess says.

Now that scientists know they need to measure the ratio of uranium isotopes in all of their samples - as well as the ratio of lead isotopes - they'll be able to date rocks more accurately.

That's important for putting events in order. If a mass extinction occurred just before a meteorite struck, say, that paints a different picture than if the meteorite hit first.

"These are two big steps in improving the way we do geochronology, both in the solar system and terrestrial rocks," Brennecka says.


Australia: "Smart" electricity meters toxic for some

They're part of a Greenie idea to cut down electricity usage

A MELBOURNE couple who have slept in their car for almost six months say they have been forced from their home because of debilitating health problems suffered since the installation of their new electricity meter.

But, as the State Government stands by the controversial electricity monitoring devices, reports continue to emerge linking smart meters with new health scares including heart palpitations, chest pains, dizziness and lethargy.

Rosemary and Vic Trudeau said they had abandoned their Mt Eliza home of 22 years since the device was installed in October, causing them nausea, chest pains, tinnitus and insomnia.

"Scientists are saying we have to reduce our exposure to radio frequencies and now they're putting them on our houses," Ms Trudeau said.

"I've had two people from (energy company) Jemena admit to me that about 5-6 per cent of the population are very sensitive to radio frequency, but if you are it's just bad luck."

After five months of fighting, Jemena last week agreed to replace the device.

Meanwhile, Melbourne GP Federica Lamech is moving her family to South Australia after experiencing chest pain, heart palpitations and lethargy since meters were installed in her street in February.

Although Dr Lamech's home does not yet have a device, she said her existing sensitivity to electro-radiation had been exacerbated by the roll-out.

"I felt like I was going crazy," she said. "I was perfectly healthy the day before with just a mild sensitivity to Wi-Fi and cordless phones, which I could manage. Suddenly I'm disabled."

A spokeswoman for Energy Minister Michael O'Brien said a government-commissioned review had found the meters were safe.


Australia: Experts give red mark to green home ratings

The Federal Government wants all homes for sale or rent to have an energy efficient rating, but experts say the system used to attain that rating is flawed and will result in unhappy homebuyers.

The rating system is supposed to reveal the energy performance of a building - to inform people whether they could face big power bills to heat or cool a home.

Scores are awarded according to the home's energy efficiency. A score of zero means the building does virtually nothing to protect occupants from hot or cold weather. A score of 10 means occupants may not need a heater or cooler at all.

The scheme would be based on an existing rating system, which has been used in the ACT for more than a decade.

New homes in Australia already have to meet a minimum energy efficiency rating, which is now six stars across most states and territories.

But the Government's plan would require homes for sale and rent to also have a rating.

Some states have made it clear they do not want to see the energy rating scheme expanded to older homes. Victoria's Planning Minister Matthew Guy has publicly denounced the idea, calling it "yet another hair-brained tax idea from the Federal Government".

The rating costs about $150 per home in the ACT - the only state or territory that rates older homes.

The ACT has had mandatory disclosure of energy ratings on all homes for more than a decade.

That is because Canberra has Australia's biggest temperature range for a metropolitan centre - reaching 40 degrees Celsius in summer, and falling to -8 degrees last winter.

Winter heating costs are particularly large and make up the bulk of residential power bills.

ACT-based energy ratings assessor Jenny Edwards supports the idea of rating older homes. She says it enables the public to make more informed choices when choosing a home, and it can put pressure on property owners to make homes more energy efficient.

But Ms Edwards says there are often differences between the rating, and how the house actually performs.

When she bought her own home in Canberra's inner-south, it was rated at three stars. On living in it, and with further investigation, Ms Edwards found out it was closer to a one star. "The first winter was freezing and the first summer was sweltering. (It is an) incredibly uncomfortable house to live in," she said.

There are many reasons why a home fails to perform as well as it is rated, including air leaks and patchy insulation.

But the ratings assessment is only a visual check of the obvious features that would affect heating and cooling bills - like orientation, window size and insulation.

Canberra assessors do not use equipment to test for air leakage, or thermal cameras to check for gaps in insulation. "We have to assume," Ms Edwards said. People are certainly finding that they can move into a house and find that it doesn't perform as a star rating might suggest it would.

"We can't take all the lining off the house and check the insulation has been thoroughly and evenly installed or that there are R2 batts and not R1 batts; that there aren't big gaps in the house and assessing for air leakage is not something you can do quickly and superficially."

Ms Edwards says the ratings software used for Canberra's older homes is basic, introduced 12 years ago. And she says there is another problem with the quality of assessment. "The level of training has been questionable. The ease with which you can manipulate the outcome, again whether it has been intentional, accidental - due to lack of training no-one can be sure," she said.

"People are certainly finding that they can move into a house and find that it doesn't perform as a star rating might suggest it would."

Ms Edwards says a national rollout of energy ratings to older homes is not straightforward. "There is a lot of potential for issues. And how we resolve that is complicated," she said.

Public interest in the Canberra system is also lacklustre, according to a leading real estate firm.

Peta Swarbrick from LJ Hooker's city office says energy ratings are not a key concern for her clients.

"The idea is fabulous. It is absolutely a must with the whole notion of energy starting to cost more but ... it is probably the least referred to part of the contract," she said.

"And if you look at it, it looks unimpressive. It's a bunch of numbers and it's got these very sort of black and white quasi-scientific looking table and it doesn't really tell me about my house."

Tone Wheeler, an architect who teaches at the University of New South Wales, says the rating system is imperfect because it is based on science that was never designed to calculate the energy efficiency of houses or star ratings.

Mr Wheeler worked with the CSIRO in the 70s, using the precursor to the computer engine now used to run the software at the heart of the energy ratings system.

He says the computer engine was designed for architectural scientists. "It was designed to measure thermal comfort... the idea of a comfortable temperature in a room," he said.

Mr Wheeler says in the mid-1990s, the NSW government approached CSIRO scientists to expand the scope of their computer engine. The government wanted a way of comparing the energy use of different houses.

So the CSIRO scientists adapted the engine to also calculate the amount of energy it would take to air condition a room to a comfortable temperature.

"Then the scientists were asked to give star ratings for various levels of performance, but based on some very arbitrary criteria," Mr Wheeler said. "I think our politicians assumed that this thing works. I am convinced that we don't have the data to say one way or the other at this stage."



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


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

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.

Warmism is prophecy, not science. Science cannot foretell the future. Science can make very accurate predictions based on known regularities in nature (e.g. predicting the orbits of the inner planets) but Warmism is the exact opposite of that. It predicts a DEPARTURE from the known regularities of nature. If we go by the regularities of nature, we are on the brink of an ice age.

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

And, after all, Al Gore's academic qualifications are in social science also -- albeit very pissant qualifications.

Climate is the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance. And official meteorologists such as Britain's Met Office and Australia's BOM, are very poor forecasters of weather. The Met office has in fact given up on making seasonal forecasts because they have so often got such forecasts embarrassingly wrong. Their global-warming-powered "models" just did not deliver

A strange Green/Left conceit: They seem to think (e.g. here) that no-one should spend money opposing them and that conservative donors must not support the election campaigns of Congressmen they agree with

To Greenies, Genghis Khan was a good guy, believe it or not. They love that he killed so many people.

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?"

It's a central (but unproven) assumption of the Warmist "models" that clouds cause warming. Odd that it seems to cool the temperature down when clouds pass overhead!

To make out that the essentially trivial warming of the last 150 years poses some sort of threat, Warmists postulate positive feedbacks that might cut in to make the warming accelerate in the near future. Amid their theories about feedbacks, however, they ignore the one feedback that is no theory: The reaction of plants to CO2. Plants gobble up CO2 and the more CO2 there is the more plants will flourish and hence gobble up yet more CO2. And the increasing crop yields of recent years show that plantlife is already flourishing more. The recent rise in CO2 will therefore soon be gobbled up and will no longer be around to bother anyone. Plants provide a huge NEGATIVE feedback in response to increases in atmospheric CO2


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?

Jim Hansen and his twin

Getting rich and famous through alarmism: Al Gore is well-known but note also James Hansen. He has for decades 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. He pulled in a total of $1.2 million in 2010. Not bad for a government bureaucrat.

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!

UPDATE to the above: It seems that I am a true prophet

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

Lord Salisbury: "No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome; if you believe theologians, nothing is innocent; if you believe soldiers, nothing is safe."

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)