The CRU graph. Note that it is calibrated in tenths of a degree Celsius and that even that tiny amount of warming started long before the late 20th century. The horizontal line is totally arbitrary, just a visual trick. The whole graph would be a horizontal line if it were calibrated in whole degrees -- thus showing ZERO warming

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

The blogspot version of this blog is HERE. The Blogroll. My Home Page. Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Dissecting Leftism. For a list of backups viewable at times when the main blog is "down", see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing) See here or here for the archives of this site

29 April, 2014

A radical idea

Whether or not man has caused global warming isn’t really the question.

The question that we’re asking now is to what extent the so-called climate change models have predictive value, when in fact, 114 out of 117 predictions made in regards to global warming have proven wrong.

Warming forecasts have consistently overstated the amount of warming that’s happening. They also missed the decade and a half long pause in global warming that we’re currently experiencing.

Dr. Roy Spencer has estimated that as many as 95% of the global warming models have just been flat out wrong.

Perhaps this is a radical idea, but maybe, just maybe, the settled science crowd ought to consider this: Maybe global warming is the Earth’s natural way of providing for a more hospitable environment for a growing human population. Warmer weather, more food? That kind of thing?

Because the real threat to man’s existence isn’t global warming, but rather in a new Ice Age.

If man actually exerts an upward pressure in global temperatures, then thank God for man.


Should California dictate U.S. energy policies?

Can the rest of America afford its Alice in Wonderland energy policies? (Can California?)

California loves to be seen as the trendsetter on energy and environmental policies. But can we really afford to adopt their laws and regulations in the rest of America? Heck, can the once Golden State afford them itself? The path to hell is paved with good intentions, counter-productive policies - and hypocrisy.

The official national unemployment rate is stuck at 6.7% - but with much higher rates for blacks and Hispanics and a labor  participation rate that remains the lowest in 35 years. Measured by gross national product, our economy is growing at an abysmal 1.5% or even 1.0% annual rate.

Meanwhile, California's jobless rate is higher than in all but three other states: 8.1% - and with far worse rates as high as 15% for blacks, Hispanics and inland communities. First the good news, then the insanity.

Citigroup's Energy 2020: North America report estimates that the United States, Canada and Mexico could make North America almost energy independent in six years, simply by tapping their vast recoverable oil and natural gas reserves. Doing so would help lower energy and consumer prices, insulate the three nations from volatile or blackmailing foreign suppliers, and spur job creation based on reliable, affordable energy, says the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Driving this revolution is horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. According to Citigroup, IHS Global Insights, the EIA and other analysts, "fracking" technology contributed 2.1 million jobs and $285 billion to the US economy in 2013, while adding $62 billion to local, state and federal treasuries! Compare that to mandates and subsidies required for expensive, unreliable, job-killing wind, solar and biofuel energy.

Fracking also slashed America's oil imports from 60% of its total needs in 2005 to just 28% in 2013. It slashed our import bill by some $100 billion annually.

By 2020 the government share of this boom is expected to rise to $111 billion. By 2035, U.S. oil and natural gas operations could inject over $5 trillion in cumulative capital expenditures into the economy, while contributing $300 billion a year to GDP and generating over $2.5 trillion in cumulative additional government revenues. What incredible benefits! But there's more.

A Yale University study calculates that the drop in natural gas prices (from $8 per thousand cubic feet or million Btu in 2008, and much more on the spot market, to $4.00 or so now) is saving businesses and families over $125 billion a year in heating, electricity, fertilizer and raw material feed stock costs.

The only thing standing in the way of a US employment boom and economic and industrial renaissance, says Citigroup, is politics: continued or even more oppressive anti-hydrocarbon policies and regulations.

Here's the insanity. Fully 96% of this nation's oil and gas production increase took place on state and private lands. Production fell significantly on federal lands under President Obama's watch, with the Interior Department leasing only 2% of federal offshore lands and 6% of its onshore domain for petroleum, then slow-walking drilling permits, according to the Institute for Energy Research.

The President continues to stall on the Keystone pipeline, while threatening layers of expensive carbon dioxide and other regulations, to prevent what he insists is "dangerous manmade climate change." His EPA just adopted California's expensive all-pain-no-gain rules for sulfur in gasoline, and the Administration and environmentalists constantly look to the West Coast for policy guidance.

Governor Jerry Brown says 30 million vehicles in California translate into "a lot of oil" and "the time for no more oil drilling" will be when its residents "can get around without using any gasoline." However, that rational message has not reached the state's legislators, environmental activists or urban elites.

California's ruling classes strongly oppose drilling and fracking - and leading Democrats are campaigning hard to impose at least a long temporary ban, based on ludicrous claims that fracking causes groundwater contamination and even earthquakes and birth defects.

Meanwhile, California's oil production represents just 38% of its needs - and is falling steadily, even though the state has enormous onshore and offshore oil deposits, accessible via conventional and hydraulic fracturing technologies. The state imports 12% of its oil from Alaska and 50% more from foreign nations, much of it from Canada, notes Sacramento area energy consultant Tom Tanton.

The record is far worse when it comes to electricity. The Do-As-I-Say state imports about 29% of its total electricity from out of state: via the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Phoenix, coal-fired generators in the Four Corners area, and hydroelectric dams in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest, Tanton explains.

Another 50% of its electricity is generated using natural gas that is also imported from sources outside California. Instead, the Greener-Than-Thou State relies heavily on gas imported via pipelines from Canada, the Rockies and the American Southwest, to power its gas-fired turbines. Those turbines and out-of-state sources also back up its numerous unreliable bird-killing wind turbines.

It adds up to a great way to preen and strut about their environmental consciousness. They simply leach off their neighbors for 62% of their gasoline and 79% of their electricity, and let other states do the hard work and emit the CO2.

These foreign fuels power the state's profitable and liberal Silicon Valley and entertainment industries - as well as the heavily subsidized electric and hybrid vehicles that wealthy elites so love for their pseudo-ecological benefits, $7,500 tax credits, and automatic entry into fast-moving HOV lanes.

Meanwhile, California's poor white, black, Hispanic and other families get to pay $4.23 per gallon for regular gasoline, the second highest price in America - and 16.2 cents per kWh for residential electricity, double that in most states, and behind only New York, New England, Alaska and Hawaii.

However, the state's eco-centric ruling classes are not yet satisfied. Having already hammered large industrial facilities with costly carbon dioxide cap-and-trade regulations, thereby driving more jobs out of the state, on January 1, 2015 they will impose cap-and-trade rules on gasoline and diesel fuels. That will instantly add at least 12 cents more per gallon, with the price escalating over the coming years.

Regulators are also ginning up tough new "low-carbon fuel standards," requiring that California's transportation fuels reduce their "carbon intensity" or "life-cycle" CO2 emissions by 10% below 2010 levels. This will be accomplished by forcing refiners and retailers to provide more corn-based ethanol, biodiesel and still-nonexistent cellulosic biofuel.

These fuels are much more expensive than even cap-tax-and-trade gasoline - which means the poor families that liberals care so deeply about will be forced to pay still more to drive their cars and trucks.

In fact, Charles River Associates estimates that the LCFS will raise the cost of gasoline and diesel by up to 170% (!) over the next ten years, on top of all the other price hikes.

In the meantime, China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Germany and a hundred other countries are burning more coal, driving more cars and emitting vastly more carbon dioxide. So the alleged benefits to global atmospheric CO2 levels range from illusory and fabricated to fraudulent.

Of course, commuters who cannot afford these soaring prices can always park their cars and add a few hours to their daily treks, by taking multiple buses to work, school and other activities.

There's more, naturally. Much more. But I'm out of space and floundering amid all the lunacy.

Can we really afford to inflict California's insane policies on the rest of America? In fact, how long can the Left Coast afford to let its ruling classes inflict those policies on its own citizens?


Alaskan Polar Bears Threatened… By Too Much Spring Ice

Five meters of ice– about 16 feet thick - is threatening the survival of polar bears in the Southern Beaufort Sea region along Alaska’s Arctic coast, according to Dr. Susan J. Crockford, an evolutionary biologist in British Columbia who has studied polar bears for most of her 35-year career.

That’s because the thick ice ridges could prevent ringed seals, the bears’ major prey, from creating breathing holes they need to survive in the frigid waters, Crockford told

“Prompted by reports of the heaviest sea ice conditions on the East Coast ‘in decades’ and news that ice on the Great Lakes is, for mid-April, the worst it’s been since records began, I took a close look at the ice thickness charts for the Arctic,” Crockford noted in her Polar Bear Science blog on April 18th.

“Sea ice charts aren’t a guarantee that this heavy spring ice phenomenon is developing in the Beaufort, but they could be a warning,” she wrote, noting that they "don't bode well" for the Beaufort bears.

“What happens is that really thick ice moves in because currents and winds from Greenland and the Canadian islands push it against the shore,” Crockford told

“The male seals arrive in the area in early spring to set up breeding territories. They drill a hole through the ice to maintain breathing holes close to the shore. But there’s a limit. They can drill through two meters (about seven feet) of ice. But too much beyond that and they’re in trouble.”

“The reason that’s important is that seals mate right after the pups, who are born in April, are weaned. So the male seal wants to be there, but he has to have breathing holes. If the ice is too thick, he has to move off someplace else,” she explained.

But this is the same time that female polar bears are just emerging with their newborn cubs from maternity dens either on or near the shore.

“When those bears come out of their dens in the spring, they need to find seals right away because they will have gone six months without eating,” Crockford said. “If there are no seals, they have to go further out, where there’s thinner ice.”

“Spring and early summer are really a critical time for polar bears. That’s when they need to eat as many seals as they can because that’s when they put on fat for the rest of the year. If they have trouble doing that in the spring, they’re in big trouble.”

There were comparably high levels of spring ice in the Beaufort Sea in 2004 and 2006, when bear counts were “one of the pieces of evidence used to have the bears listed as ‘threatened’ in the U.S.,” Crockford pointed out.

“Polar bear biologists were finding some bears quite thin and found a population decline,” she said, which they attributed to melting summer ice caused by global warming.

“But the biologists were not there to see the thick [spring] ice. All they saw was thin bears,” she pointed out. “They blamed the poor condition of the bears on summer ice, instead of acknowledging that it was likely the condition of the ice in the spring that was the cause of the problem.”

“Female [polar bears] with cubs having trouble feeding are one aspect of the repercussions of thick ice,” Crockford added. “The other repercussion is that other bears, instead of hanging around and starving, probably left the area. They could have gone to the Chukchi Sea, which is located between the U.S. and Russia near the Bering Strait.”

The U.S. Geological Survey conducted a polar bear population survey for the area in 2006. It reported a decline in the adult polar bear population and reduced cub survival rates, which was used to list the bears as a “threatened species” in the U.S. by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2008.


Keystone Pipeline Protesters: ‘Man Camps’ Could Lead to Sexual Assaults of Native Americans

Native Americans opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline said its construction could lead to Native American women being sexually assaulted, according to news reports from a protest held this week on the National Mall. However, a workers’ union that supports the pipeline said such claims were “disgusting” and harmful to the “hard-working people who build America.”

“We are worried about man camps that are coming to our territory,” Faith Spotted Eagle, an elder with the Yankton Sioux of North Dakota, said at the protest, as reported by Politico.

Spotted Eagle said the mostly male encampments that would be put in place to house those working on the pipeline posed a threat to Native American women.

“We have seen our women suffer,” she said. “One out of three women in our nation have been sexually assaulted by non-native people.”

Members of tribes from states along the path where the pipeline would be built to transport crude oil from Alberta, Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast joined non-tribal protestors in a coalition called the “Cowboy and Indian Alliance.”

“We have stopped the pipeline in its tracks for the last five years,” protestor Jane Kleeb of the environmental group Bold Nebraska, said at the protest.

Rosebud Sioux President Cyrill Scott told BuzzFeed that some of the man camps would have as many as 600 men.

“I am very concerned these transient workers are going to come onto our land and violate our people,” Scott said.

“There will be violence and sexual assault from Keystone,” Aldo Seoane, another Rosebud Souix, said at the protest.

Some news reports cited Department of Justice statistics that state “American Indians are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to all other races, and one in three Indian women reports having been raped during her lifetime.”

But the statistics do include information about the perpetrators.

Concerning the sexual assault claims by the coalition, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), which has 500,000 members, said the assertions were besmirching hard-working Americans.

“It’s disgusting that some anti-worker operatives in Washington would feel so desperate to find another attack on a job-creating pipeline that they would resort to such baseless smears against the hard working people who build America," LiUNA Communications Director Richard Greer told

As for the Obama administration’s decision on April 18 to further delay approval of Keystone, LiUNA President Terry O’Sullivan in a press release said: “They waited until Good Friday, believing no one would be paying attention. The only surprise is they didn’t wait to do it in the dark of night.”

“It’s not the oil that’s dirty, it’s the politics,” said O’Sullivan.  “Once again, the administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. This certainly is no example of profiles in courage. It’s clear the administration needs to grow a set of antlers, or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”

“This is another low blow to the working men and women of our country for whom the Keystone XL Pipeline is a lifeline to good jobs and energy security,” said the LiUNA president.

According to the Bold Nebraska website, the Cowboy and Indian Alliance – or CIA – will hold a “traditional water ceremony” outside of Secretary of State John Kerry’s home where they will be “praying that the Secretary listen to his conscience and the science and reject Keystone XL.”

On April 18, the State Department announced the pipeline decision was being delayed again after more than five years of review of the project. Keystone XL falls under the agency’s jurisdiction because it involves the crossing of an international border.

Keystone is a proposed 1,179-mile 36-inch diameter pipeline that would transport crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta, Canada to Steele City, Neb., according to the website of TransCanada, the company in charge of the project.

“Along with transporting crude oil from Canada, the Keystone XL Pipeline will also support the significant growth of crude oil production in the United States from producers in the Bakken region of Montana and North Dakota,” the explanation on the company’s website stated.


EPA Administrator: 'Newsflash! People Like Us'

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Monday took aim at critics who try to "vilify the work of reputable scientists and EPA."

"To those calling EPA untrustworthy and unpopular -- newsflash! People like us," she said in a speech at the National Academy of Science. "They want safe drinking water. They want healthy air. And they expect us to follow the science -- just as the law demands."

McCarthy, in her prepared remarks, stressed the "bedrock science" behind "sensible regulatory standards," such as the Clean Air Act.

And she said "a small but vocal group of critics" are trying to prevent the EPA from doing the job Congress directed it to do:

"People are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts," she said. "You can't just claim the science isn't real when it doesn't align well with your political or financial interests. Science is real and verifiable. With the health of our families and our futures at stake, the American people expect us to act on the facts, not spend precious time and taxpayer money refuting manufactured uncertainties."

She pointed to the threat of climate change, evidenced by "more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, floods, and storms to more smog and asthma." She said climate change "has put our health and economic risks on steroids," and cannot be ignored.

"Using the best science we have to offer, our next U.S. National Climate Assessment is about to be finalized. From coastal cities to the Great Plains, we have to use that science to prepare and to plan. Just like we use the science on mercury, acid rain, ozone pollution, particulate matter and more.

"To reduce the risks that threaten our health and safety, we need to listen to climate science. We cannot let those same critics of science continue to manufacture uncertainties that stop us from taking urgently needed climate action."


Gallup: One in Four in U.S. Are Solidly Skeptical of Global Warming

Nearly 40% are "Concerned Believers" in global warming, others are mixed

Over the past decade, Americans have clustered into three broad groups on global warming. The largest, currently describing 39% of U.S. adults, are what can be termed "Concerned Believers" -- those who attribute global warming to human actions and are worried about it. This is followed by the "Mixed Middle," at 36%. And one in four Americans -- the "Cool Skeptics" -- are not worried about global warming much or at all.

Gallup Global Warming Opinion Groups

The rate of Concerned Believers has varied some over the past decade and half, but is currently identical to the earliest estimate, from 2001. Over the same period of time, the ranks of Cool Skeptics have swelled, while the Mixed Middle -- once the largest group -- has declined modestly.

These groupings stem from a special "cluster" analysis of four questions that measure Americans' belief and concerns about human-induced global warming, all of which have been asked together on Gallup's annual Environment survey seven times since 2001. The latest results are from the March 6-9, 2014, Environment poll. However, the groupings derive from analysis of seven years of combined data.

Gallup has recently reported on a number of the individual trends included in the cluster analysis as part of its Climate Change series. This analysis provides a unique way of summarizing Americans' overall stance on global warming.

Perceived Cause of Global Warming Is Major Discriminator

Concerned Believers and Cool Skeptics are of entirely different mindsets when it comes to how much they worry about global warming. Concerned Believers say they worry "a great deal" or "fair amount" about the issue, while Cool Skeptics worry only "a little" or "not at all." Additionally, Concerned Believers think media reports about the issue are either correct or underestimated, while Cool Skeptics think they are exaggerated. And, most starkly, 100% of Concerned Believers say the rise in the Earth's temperature over the last century is due to the effects of pollution, while 100% of Cool Skeptics say it is due to natural changes in the environment. Finally, two-thirds of Concerned Believers believe global warming will pose a serious threat to their own way of life in the future, while 100% of Cool Skeptics disagree.

Americans in the Mixed Middle are individuals who hold a combination of views. For instance, some believe humans are the cause of the Earth's warming, but aren't worried about it. Others say global warming is a natural phenomenon, but that it will pose a serious risk in their lifetime. In one way or another, those in the Mixed Middle fail to line up with the orthodoxy on either side of the climate science issue.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


28 April, 2014

Germany's Vice Chancellor Stuns, Declares Germany’s Green energy revolution To Be On ‘The Verge Of Failure’!

The green energy orgy in Germany is over. The music has stopped and the wine that once flowed freely has long run out. The green energy whores and pimps can go home.

In a stunning admission by Germany’s Economics Minister and Vice Chancellor to Angela Merkel, Sigmar Gabriel announced in a recent speech that the country’s once highly ballyhooed transformation to renewable energy, the so called Energiewende, a model that has been adopted by a number of countries worldwide, is “on the verge of failure“.

Speaking at an event at SMA Solar, Germany’s leading manufacturer of solar technology, Gabriel even dropped yet another admission bomb:  "The truth is that in all fields we under-estimated the complexity of the Energiewende.”

Gabriel is not only the national economics minister and vice chancellor to Angela Merkel, he is also head of Germany’s socialist SPD party, which is now the coalition partner in Angela Merkel’s CDU/SPD grand coalition government. Moreover Gabriel was once the country’s environment minister and a devout believer in global warming and in Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth.

In the speech Gabriel tells the audience how the energy transformation is on the verge of failure: "Those who are the engines of the transformation to renewable energies, that’s you, you don’t see how close we are to the failure of the energy transformation.”

Gabriel says that major reforms are thus unavoidable, and he calls efforts for energy consumers to get off the grid “pure madness”. That’s not what they want after all. Gabriel is now calling on companies who produce green energy for their own use to ante up as well:  "The complete exemption from paying feed-in tariffs is a model that is wonderful for you as a business model, but is one that is a problem for everyone else.”

The solar energy audience reacts with dead, stunned silence (3:03). That can’t believe what they just heard.

The mood at SMA Solar, which has been a huge benefactor of the renewable energy subsidies brought on by Germany’s EEG feed-in act, was somber and shock and Gabriel delivered the reality. Many in attendance seemed unable to fathom what Gabriel was unloading: the heady days at the green energy feeding trough are over – live with it.

The European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here writes:  "The responsible persons in attendance at the Hessen-based photovoltaic SMA Solar and all the other profiteers of the EEG feed-in act saw their jaws drop when this late and blunt admission was made.”

That Gabriel would make such comments can only tell us that the situation and the costs surrounding the Energiewende must be far more dire than most of us realize.

Germany’s renewable energy gravy train has derailed for good. Other countries take note!

Finally, give credit to Gabriel for not shying away from what needs to be done and for taking the responsibilities as economics minister very seriously. Finally a person in power who gets it!


Germany’s energy policy is expensive, harmful and short-sighted

By Bjorn Lomborg

The Ukrainian crisis has again put German energy policy in the spotlight. As long as Europe’s green energy is expensive and unreliable, it favours Russian gas and leaves the continent’s energy policy unsustainable.

Germany’s energiewende, the country’s move away from nuclear and fossil fuels towards renewable energies has been regarded by some commentators as an example for the rest of the world. But now Germany shows the globe how not to make green policy. It is failing the poor, while protecting neither energy security nor the climate.

Last month, the government said that 6.9m households live in energy poverty, defined as spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy. This is largely a result of the surcharge for renewable energy. Between 2000 and 2013, electricity prices for households have increased 80 per cent in real terms, according to data from the OECD and the International Energy Agency.

This means more and more money is going from the poor to the rich. Low-income tenants in the Ruhr area or Berlin are paying high energy prices to subsidise wealthy homeowners in Bavaria who put solar panels on their roofs.

Some have argued that Germany’s energy policy could be seen as a huge bet on developing the energy of the future – and if it works, it would secure Germany’s engineering future.

However, most of Germany’s money was spent, not on research into future technology, but on buying existing inefficient green technology. Three weeks ago, in a report to the German parliament, a group of energy experts delivered a damning indictment of the current subsidies. They said that the policy has had a “very low technology-specific innovation impact in Germany”. Essentially, it is much safer for companies to keep selling more of the old technologies of wind, solar and biomass because these are already getting huge subsidies instead of trying to develop new and better technologies that have similar pay-offs but much higher risk.

The legislation does not offer more protection for the climate. Instead, it makes such protection much more expensive. “There is no justification for a continuation of the Renewable Energies Act”, the report concludes.

German energy policy is an expensive way to achieve almost nothing. For solar alone, Germany has committed to pay subsidies of more than €100bn over the next 20 years, even though it contributes only 0.7 per cent of primary energy consumption. These solar panels’ net effect for the climate will be to delay global warming by a mere 37 hours by the end of the century, according to a report cited in Der Spiegel.

A McKinsey study published earlier this year found that Germany energy prices for households are now 48 per cent above the European average. At the same time, European power prices have risen almost 40 per cent since 2005, while US electricity prices have declined.

Despite exemptions from renewable obligations for energy-intensive companies, German industrial power costs are 19 per cent higher than the EU average. German industrial costs have risen 60 per cent since 2007, compared to increases of about 10 per cent in the US and China. This makes Germany an ever less attractive place for industry. German chemical giant BASF has already said it will make most if its future investments outside of Europe.

Green energy cannot meet Germany’s need for reliable electricity. That is why Germany still needs copious amounts of fossil fuels; German CO2-emissions have risen since the nuclear power phase-out of 2011, despite the incredible subsidies for renewables.

Germany is an example of how not to do green energy. Instead the solution is to research and develop better green energy technology. A study by some of the world’s top climate economists including three Nobel Laureates for the Copenhagen Consensus Center shows that subsidising existing renewables does so little good that for every euro spent, 97 cents are wasted. However, every euro spent on green innovation could avoid €11 in long-term damages from global warming.

If we can reduce the price of future green technology below the cost of fossil fuels, everyone will switch. And such cheap green energy will not leave us at the mercy of Russia, it will actually fix global warming – and it will help rather than hurt the poor.


Lunacy of the British town that turned green

With the sun shining down on a shimmering sea, children playing on the beach and families thronging its cafes and boutiques, Brighton seems the perfect postcard portrayal of English serenity.

Strolling down the cheerful promenade, the resort’s celebrated blend of raffish charm and Regency elegance appear little changed over the years. It is difficult to imagine this is the home of a civic revolution.

Yet this is the greenest city in Britain, the launchpad for an attempt to reshape the nation’s political landscape – and the result is a dismal farce.

A rising tide of splits, stunts,  U-turns, gaffes and divisive industrial disputes has alienated voters and angered businesses here in a city better known for its bohemian tolerance, while outlandish proposals for a ban on bacon butties and plans to use sheep for traffic calming have earned only derision.

The serious side of politics has suffered, too – a demonstration  of the dangers that await when protest parties win power. A doomed attempt to impose the biggest council tax rise in the country ended with humiliating warnings that Whitehall could be forced to take over the Town Hall.

Starting with just one councillor in 1996, the Green Party’s rise to power in Brighton has been unprecedented and rapid. In 2010  there was the election of Caroline Lucas as the MP for Brighton Pavilion – the party’s first Westminster seat – and then came the capture of the city council just a year later.

A clever mix of protest, pavement politics and promises of change proved popular with residents, many of them families forced from London by soaring house prices, students, or those attracted by the city’s liberal approach to life.

In 2011, the Greens ousted the Conservatives to become the largest group on the council with 23 seats. According to their leader Jason Kitcat, this was to be the future of British politics.

It is hard to share his optimism. The party’s cuddly combination of middle-class idealism and municipal inexperience has hit the rocks of political reality as it grapples with a fast-growing city of 275,000 people in tough economic times.

‘Winning was the worst thing possible for them,’ said one opposition councillor privately. ‘You can see they still want to be popular the whole time and dislike responsibility.’

The Green honeymoon was short-lived. Take the surreal story of an elderly elm tree.

First the Greens voted to upgrade a roundabout in the city called Seven Dials, but then found that there were protests to protect the 170-year-old tree beside the site. Eco-warriors camped out in the branches and pinned poems to the trunk. The national media showed an interest. So the Greens switched sides, joined the campaign to spare the 60ft elm from the chop and then spent a small fortune altering their own traffic scheme.

Then there was its manifesto pledge for ‘Meat-free Mondays’, which would have banned bacon rolls and beef pies from council-run staff canteens. It led to complaints from manual workers and the proposal was ditched.

Residents were similarly  surprised at Green plans to introduce livestock to one of the main routes into the city  as part of a ‘speed reduction package’. The scheme was deferred after protests.

There have been times when it seemed that the business of town hall administration was descending into absurdity on a daily basis.

Brighton was declared a ‘no fracking zone’, even though there is no prospect of shale gas drilling in the city. Needless to say,  Green councillors have flocked to anti-fracking protests in nearby Balcombe, where Caroline Lucas was among dozens arrested last summer. She was cleared of public order charges last week.

At last month’s council meeting,  a Green member accused a former Tory leader of wearing a swastika. She wasn’t. It turned out to be a traditional Irish emblem on her necklace.

Yet beyond the comedy lie serious consequences. After three years of political mismanagement, Brighton’s citizens face soaring charges for council services and increasingly scruffy streets. Yesterday, the Greens were under fresh attack after part of the seafront collapsed into a pub below. Even recycling levels have fallen to half those achieved by Tory-run Bournemouth.

The governing party is fatally split with, inevitably, divisions erupting into the open. Unlike other political parties, Greens do not ‘whip’ members into line to get policies passed, and meetings can descend into rows more suited to the Punch and Judy shows down on the beach.

A slim majority of moderates under amiable council leader Mr Kitcat have fought ceaseless challenges from a cabal of hard-Left councillors led by his deputy Phelim Mac Cafferty, a prominent gay activist.

The different factions are known  as ‘mangos’ (green on the outside yet yellow, like Lib Dems, in the middle) and ‘watermelons’ (green on the outside but red in the middle). The groups sit apart in the chamber during council meetings.

So serious are their differences that outside mediators were reportedly called in to reconcile the two sides. Mr Kitcat narrowly survived the latest attempt to depose him only last month – thanks to the support of his Polish-born wife Ania, a fellow moderate on the council.

So much for the new politics.

When refuse workers went on strike against efforts to stop long-standing Spanish practices in working hours and to harmonise pay with female council staff, they were supported by the watermelons – Mr Mac Cafferty and eight colleagues.

According to one councillor, some  of these staff earned more than £50,000 a year by manipulating allowances and overtime payments. ‘They must be the highest paid bin drivers in the country,’ he said.

The strike last June led to the strange sight of the council leader telling binmen to get back to work, while his deputy joined the picket line as rubbish piled up in the streets. Ms Lucas, the MP, added fuel to the fire by backing the protesters. Earlier this month, the unions threatened another strike.

Perhaps the greatest threat to the Green utopia – and the dignity of a proud and successful city – came two months ago when Mr Kitcat proposed a 4.75 per cent council tax increase. Supposedly a response to government cuts, this was interpreted by opponents as an effort to unite his fractious forces. The huge rise required a local referendum, the first since the Coalition Government brought in new rules to protect taxpayers. Yet even holding the vote would have cost at least £300,000.

The whole initiative was defeated in the council chamber, leading to deadlock over the budget. Officials warned that a team from Whitehall might have to take over the running of their city.

Days later, Labour and some moderate Greens backed a compromise increase just under the two per cent permitted without the need for a referendum. As Labour leader Warren Morgan put it: ‘The rise might have been fine for those who can afford organic food, but not everyone lives in the trendy city centre.’

Then there was the case of the Christian councillor who opposed gay marriage. Christina Summers said she was ‘accountable to God above any political party’, so she was abused by her colleagues and drummed out of the Green group.  ‘I was called everything from a bigot to a fascist,’ she told me.

‘For some of these people, ideology is far more important than personal relationships. They just think anyone identifying as a Christian is against homosexuals.’

Ms Summers now sits as an independent. ‘I feel very sad, since our election successes were amazing achievements,’ she said. ‘Unfortunately they have no understanding what being in government means, which is the need to show some compromise.’ This from a party that claims on its website to be committed to ‘a caring, inclusive and democratic society’ that enables everyone to ‘follow their interests’.

A 74-page report on ‘Trans Equalities Strategy’ to eliminate discrimination and avoid discomforting transsexuals asked for gender- neutral toilets and transgender-only sports sessions. Doctors were also urged to stop identifying patients according to gender on forms at GPs’ surgeries.

Residents are being offered the category ‘Mx’ (for Mixter) alongside Mr, Ms and Mrs on council forms. This prevents ‘an unnecessary sense of exclusion and frustration to be forced to accept a title  that doesn’t reflect someone’s gender expression.’

Political rivals say that a Green addiction to gesture politics is changing the nature of the city. It does not take long to find evidence supporting their claim.

Typical was the Occupy Brighton camp set up shortly after the Green takeover. At first it was praised by party councillors. Inevitably, however, the cluster of tents began to attract people with drink and drug problems. It was eventually closed down after a fireman was assaulted while putting out a blaze.

Graham Cox, a Tory councillor and former head of Sussex CID, said the Green council promoted an image of Brighton as a place of protest and alternative lifestyles that welcomed the homeless.

‘They don’t care about things like cutting the grass and keeping flower-beds tidy, so our town is getting scruffier. They are basically hippies who don’t give a damn about such things.’

Others residents I spoke to said the same. And, sure enough, walking back along the main street connecting Brighton with Hove, I found five rough-sleepers on one 200-yard stretch amid the smart cafes, food shops and clothing outlets.

Luke, 47, was sitting on a cardboard sheet in a shop doorway reading a Wilbur Smith thriller. ‘I came here because I heard that the facilities were good with drop-in centres and free food,’ he said, adding that he had been pestered by drug dealers offering him free samples.

The council has also been accused of attracting travellers. Its policy was described by one rueful Green councillor as ‘come in and take over our parks’ – which is precisely what happened last summer.

Council officials unlocked the gates for 30 travellers’ caravans to enter Wild Park, the area’s largest nature reserve with spectacular views over the city.

Their action – reportedly taken to prevent injuries should the travellers try to break in – made it harder to evict the group, costing local taxpayers thousands of pounds in legal fees. This pushed up the bill for dealing with illegal travellers last year to nearly £200,000, the second highest in the country.

Yet the gates were unlocked again last month to let in another convoy of 19 caravans.

Little wonder that a poll last summer found the party plunging to third place behind the Tories and Labour, a disaster for this fledgling political force in its heartland.

Time and again I heard complaints over transport. Parking fees have soared – one woman told me she was giving up her part-time bar job since it was no longer viable once she had paid the charges.

As for the business community, one boss of a Brighton-based green business who was initially delighted when the party took control of the council told me: ‘Now it’s just embarrassing – they’re making a pig’s ear of everything.

‘They have fine ideals but lack any sense of reality. ‘How could they not see that if you double the price of parking in a downturn, it drives away business?’

At least the cycle lanes look good.

Mr Kitcat told me he was proud of his party’s record, especially raising the minimum wage for council staff and contractors and improving Brighton’s air quality. Yet the council leader – a republican educated  at one of the country’s top public schools – admitted he was disappointed by the internal dissent.

‘This is the first time we have  been in administration and it is definitely a learning curve,’ he said.  ‘While it is a lot messier than  people going with the party flow, isn’t it quite healthy to have this freedom?’

Caroline Lucas, whose marginal seat is threatened by the meltdown in the Greens’ popularity, denied the party was any more divided than others in local politics.

But Ben Duncan, a prominent ‘watermelon’ who has proposed taxes on tourists and the introduction of ‘cannabis cafes’, said there were major philosophical differences between Greens seeking revolutionary change to society and those not wanting to alarm voters.

He admitted wanting to kick out the council leader. Indeed, in a blog he said that Mr Kitcat had betrayed both his city and his party.

Contempt is growing for mainstream politics and, on the eve of local elections next month, voters must question if they really want more of these alternative protest politicians actually taking office.

They might heed the words of one Brighton shopper I met.  ‘They seemed to have so many fresh ideas,’ she told me. ‘Now we just roll our eyes at any mention of the Greens – they’ve turned out even worse than the others.’


Top climate expert's sensational claim of government meddling in crucial UN report

A top US academic has dramatically revealed how government officials forced him to change a hugely influential scientific report on climate change to suit their own interests.

Harvard professor Robert Stavins electrified the worldwide debate on climate change on Friday by sensationally publishing a letter online in which he spelled out the astonishing interference.

He said the officials, representing ‘all the main countries and regions of the world’ insisted on the changes in a late-night meeting at a Berlin conference centre two weeks ago.

Three quarters of the original version of the document ended up being deleted.

Prof Stavins claimed the intervention amounted to a serious ‘conflict of interest’ between scientists and governments. His revelation is significant because it is rare for climate change experts to publicly question the process behind the compilation of reports on the subject.

Prof Stavins, Harvard’s Professor of Business and Government, was one of two ‘co-ordinating lead authors’ of a key report published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) earlier this month.

His chapter of the 2,000-page original report concerned ways countries can co-operate to reduce carbon emissions.

IPCC reports are supposed to be scrupulously independent as they give scientific advice to governments around the world to help them shape energy policies – which in turn affect subsidies and domestic power bills.

Prof Stavins said the government officials in Berlin fought to make big changes to the full report’s ‘summary for policymakers’. This is the condensed version usually cited by the world’s media and politicians. He said their goal was to protect their ‘negotiating stances’ at forthcoming talks over a new greenhouse gas reduction treaty.

Prof Stavins told The Mail on Sunday yesterday that he had been especially concerned by what happened at a special ‘contact group’. He was one of only two scientists present, surrounded by ‘45 or 50’ government officials.

He said almost all of them made clear that ‘any text that was considered inconsistent with their interests and positions in multilateral negotiations was treated as unacceptable.’

Many of the officials were themselves climate negotiators, facing the task of devising a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol in negotiations set to conclude next year.

Prof Stavins said: ‘This created an irreconcilable conflict of interest. It has got to the point where it would be reasonable to call the document a summary by policymakers, not a summary for them, and it certainly affects the credibility of the IPCC. The process ought to be reformed.’

He declined to say which countries had demanded which changes, saying only that ‘all the main countries and regions were represented’.

Some deletions were made at the insistence of only one or two nations – because under IPCC rules, the reports must be unanimous.

He revealed the original draft of the summary contained a lot of detail on how international co-operation to curb emissions might work, and how it could be funded. The final version contains only meaningless headings, however, with all details removed.

His comments follow a decision two weeks earlier by Sussex University’s Professor Richard Tol to remove his name from the summary of an earlier volume of the full IPCC report, on the grounds it had been ‘sexed up’ by the same government officials and had become overly ‘alarmist’.

Prof Stavins’ letter provoked a response from Bob Ward, policy director of the London School of Economics’ Grantham Institute and a fierce critic of those who dissent from climate change orthodoxy.

Mr Ward asked on Twitter whether it showed the ‘IPCC government approval process is broken’.

Yesterday he admitted the affair showed that ‘the IPCC is not a perfect process, though it’s hard to imagine a better one’.

Prof Judith Curry, the head of climate science at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, said that between them, Professors Tol and Stavins had shown the process was ‘polluted by obvious politics’.

The IPCC headquarters in Geneva could not be reached for comment.


British power station sues government for axeing contract after MoS exposed its switch from coal to wood from precious U.S. forests

Britain's biggest power station is suing the Government for losing a lucrative contract after a Mail on Sunday investigation revealed that it burns wood from precious US forests as a ‘green’ alternative to coal.

Drax is committed to switching from coal to ‘biomass’, or wood pellets.

In December, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey promised the North Yorkshire plant two lucrative ‘contracts for difference’ – which would see it earn £105 for every megawatt hour it generates, rather than the normal price of £50.

The extra money would come from subsidies funded by consumers’ household bills. But this paper revealed that much of its biomass is shipped in from historic wetland hardwood forests – 3,000 miles away in North Carolina.

Environmentalists say this is destroying endangered species’ habitats, and increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Ministers have now withdrawn their promise to guarantee profits for the part of the plant using biomass.

This wiped £400million off the company’s share price and prompted the firm to start legal action.

A spokesman for Mr Davey said: ‘Drax was informed that this project no longer qualifies for the award of contract.’


There's no such thing as a happy Greenie
In 2012, the British Columbia–based Native American Haida tribe launched an effort to restore the salmon fishery that has provided much of their livelihood for centuries. Acting collectively, the Haida voted to form the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, financed it with $2.5 million of their own savings, and used it to support the efforts of American scientist-entrepreneur Russ George to demonstrate the feasibility of open-sea mariculture — in this case, the distribution of 120 tons of iron sulfate into the northeast Pacific to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom which in turn would provide ample food for baby salmon.

The verdict is now in on this highly controversial experiment: It worked.

In fact it has been a stunningly over-the-top success. This year, the number of salmon caught in the northeast Pacific more than quadrupled, going from 50 million to 226 million. In the Fraser River, which only once before in history had a salmon run greater than 25 million fish (about 45 million in 2010), the number of salmon increased to 72 million.

George writes:

The fish really came back this fall, a year following our 2012 ocean pasture restoration in the NE Pacific. The wonderful heartening news is they came back in tremendous numbers, more than in all of recorded history in many regions such as SE Alaska nearest to our ocean restoration project location.

Now it is being reported that everywhere from Alaska to the lower 48, baby salmon that swam out to sea, instead of mostly starving were treated to a feast on newly vibrant ocean pastures where once they could neither thrive nor survive. They grew and grew and before too long they swam back to our rivers a hundred million strong.

The SE Alaska Pink catch in the fall of 2013 was a stunning  226.3 million fish. This when a high number of 50 million fish were expected. Those extra ocean pasture fed fish came back because their pasture was enjoying the richest plankton blooms ever, thanks to me a[nd] 11 shipmates and our work in the summer of 2012. IT JUST WORKS.

In addition to producing salmon, this extraordinary experiment has yielded a huge amount of data. Within a few months after the ocean-fertilizing operation, NASA satellite images taken from orbit showed a powerful growth of phytoplankton in the waters that received the Haida’s iron. It is now clear that, as hoped, these did indeed serve as a food source for zooplankton, which in turn provided nourishment for multitudes of young salmon, thereby restoring the depleted fishery and providing abundant food for larger fish and sea mammals. In addition, since those diatoms that were not eaten went to the bottom, a large amount of carbon dioxide was sequestered in their calcium carbonate shells.

Native Americans bringing back the salmon and preserving their way of life, while combating global warming: One would think that environmentalists would be very pleased.

One would be very wrong. Far from receiving applause for their initiative, the Haida and Mr. George have become the target of rage aimed from every corner of the community seeking to use global warming as a pretext for curtailing human freedom.

“It appears to be a blatant violation of two international resolutions,” Kristina Gjerde, a senior high-seas adviser for the International Union for Conservation of Nature told the Guardian. “Even the placement of iron particles into the ocean, whether for carbon sequestration or fish replenishment, should not take place, unless it is assessed and found to be legitimate scientific research without commercial motivation. This does not appear to even have had the guise of legitimate scientific research.”

Silvia Ribeiro, of the international anti-technology watchdog ETC Group, also voiced her horror at any development that might allow humanity to escape from the need for carbon rationing. “It is now more urgent than ever that governments unequivocally ban such open-air geoengineering experiments,” she said. “They are a dangerous distraction providing governments and industry with an excuse to avoid reducing fossil-fuel emissions.”

Writing in the New York Times in 2012, Naomi Klein, the author of a forthcoming book on “how the climate crisis can spur economic and political transformation,” made clear the antihuman bias underlying the Haida’s critics. Klein reported that while vacationing on the coast of Canada’s British Columbia, in a place she had visited for the past 20 years, she was thrilled by the unprecedented sighting of a group of orcas. At first, “it felt like a miracle.” But then she was struck by a disturbing thought:

If Mr. George’s account of the mission is to believed, his actions created an algae bloom in an area half of the size of Massachusetts that attracted a huge array of aquatic life, including whales that could be ‘counted by the score.’ . . . I began to wonder: could it be that the orcas I saw were on the way to the all you can eat seafood buffet that had descended on Mr. George’s bloom? The possibility . . . provides a glimpse into the disturbing repercussions of geoengineering: once we start deliberately interfering with the earth’s climate systems — whether by dimming the sun or fertilizing the seas — all natural events can begin to take on an unnatural tinge. . . . a presence that felt like a miraculous gift suddenly feels sinister, as if all of nature were being manipulated behind the scenes.

This is a remarkable passage. Previously, environmentalists objected to human actions that harmed whales. But now, human actions that help whales also evoke horror. Clearly, it’s not about whales at all. It’s about prohibiting human activity, which is seen as intrinsically evil and therefore in need of constraint regardless of its content or intent.

The George-Haida experiment is of world-historical significance. Starting as a few bands of hunter-gatherers, humanity expanded the food resources afforded by the land a thousandfold through the development of agriculture. In recent decades, the bounty from the sea has also been increased through rapid expansion of aquaculture, which now supplies about half our fish. Without these advances, our modern global civilization of 7 billion people would not be possible.

But aquaculture makes use only of enclosed waters, and commercial fisheries remain limited to the coasts, upwelling areas, and other small portions of the ocean that have sufficient nutrients to be naturally productive. The vast majority of the ocean, and thus the earth, remains a desert. The development of open-sea mariculture could change this radically, creating vast new food resources for both humanity and wildlife. Furthermore, just as increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have accelerated the rate of plant growth on land (by 14 percent since 1958, according to NASA satellite data), so increased levels of carbon dioxide in the ocean could lead to a massive expansion of flourishing sea life, provided that humans make the missing critical trace elements needed for life available across the vast expanse of the oceans.

The point deserves emphasis. The advent of higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere has been a great boon for the terrestrial biosphere, accelerating the rate of growth of both wild and domestic plants and thereby expanding the food base supporting humans and land animals of every type. Ignoring this, the carbophobes point to the ocean instead, saying that increased levels of carbon dioxide not exploited by biology could lead to acidification. By making the currently barren oceans fertile, however, mariculture would transform this putative problem into an extraordinary opportunity.

Which is precisely why those demanding restraints on carbon emissions and restrictions on fisheries hate mariculture. They hate it for the same reason those demanding constraints in the name of allegedly limited energy resources hate nuclear power. They hate it because it solves a problem they need unsolved.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


26 April, 2014

To hell with Archimedes! Melting iceberg to cause sea-level rise

The sheer scientific illiteracy of the story below is hard to beat.  Ever since Archimedes we have known that melting ice does NOT raise the water level.  And note that the breakoff is part of an Antarctic ice EXPANSION

NASA has reported an iceberg bigger than Chicago breaking into the ocean off Antarctica. Known as B31, it is one of the biggest on the planet at 255 square miles (660 sq km) and up to 500 metres thick.

NASA has been monitoring Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier by satellite since a crack was spotted in 2011.

It is feared it could adversely contribute to rising sea levels with the potential to increase water levels by 1.5 metres.

NASA glaciologist Kelly Brunt said: "It's one that's large enough that it warrants monitoring."

While the enormous iceberg is not located in a busy shipping area at the moment. Dr Bethan Davies, a research scientist at the University of Reading, said it could head into areas with more ships.

"It's floating off into the sea and will get caught up in the current and flow around the Antarctica continent where there are ships," she told Sky News.

In a statement released by NASA, Grant Bigg, from the University of Sheffield said: "The iceberg is now well out of Pine Island Bay and will soon join the more general flow in the Southern Ocean.

"We are doing some research on local ocean currents to try to explain the motion properly. It has been surprising how there have been periods of almost no motion, interspersed with rapid flow."


WHOOPS!  I read that a bit hastily.  The sea level rise was attributed to the glacier, not the iceberg.  Some headlines did however say:  "A TITANTIC iceberg that broke off a glacier last year is floating out of control in the Southern Ocean, threatening shipping lanes and raising sea levels."  That was the front page introduction to this report.  So there was indeed journalistic illiteracy at work in the matter

HMMM!  The Pine Island glacier appears to be partly land-based and partly afloat on Pine Island bay.  So when Warmists talk of it breaking off, it is presumably the floating part they are referring to.  And in that case my initial scorn is fully warranted.  The broken off Pine Island glacier would NOT cause a water rise  -- as it is already afloat.

A low carbon meatball!  Good luck with that!

Meat is carbon plus a bit of water and  trace elements

The pursuit of sustainability has led IKEA, the Swedish home-furnishings company, to develop "lower carbon alternatives" to the traditional beef-and-pork Swedish meatballs it now sells at its stores.

"IKEA is a responsible company, and we believe that we can play an important role in the move towards a more sustainable society," the company announced on April 22, Earth Day.

"We will continue to sell the regular meatballs that our customers enjoy every day at IKEA. However we will also provide lower carbon alternatives; a chicken meatball and a vegetarian meatball are under development and will complement our meatball offer in 2015."

Environmentalists hailed the move away from meat: "This is one of the first times a major retailer has introduced a meatless menu item explicitly to combat climate change," said the Center for Biological Diversity.

The group says most people don't realize how important it is to reduce meat consumption, which involves "agricultural emissions," such as methane from animals passing gas.

The Center for Biological Diversity recently launched a new campaign urging Americans to “take extinction off your plate.” Visitors to the website are urged to pledge that they will "eat less meat" and "save more wildlife."


Is spring EVER going to arrive on the Great Lakes? Nasa reveals stunning pictures of Lake Superior still covered in a record-breaking layer of ice

Hint:  Global cooling

Even though North America is a full month into astronomical spring, the Great Lakes have been slow to give up on the harsh winter, Nasa has revealed.

The space agency today published this stunning picture of the Great Lakes, showing a third of their expanse is still covered in ice.

Lake Superior was found to be the most affected, and was found to be 63.5 percent ice covered on April 20th.

Averaged across Lake Superior, ice was 22.6 centimeters (8.9 inches) thick; it was as much as twice that thickness in some locations.

Researcher George Leshkevich said that ice cover this spring is significantly above normal.

For comparison, Lake Superior had 3.6 percent ice cover on April 20, 2013; in 2012, ice was completely gone by April 12. In the last winter that ice cover grew so thick on Lake Superior (2009), it reached 93.7 percent on March 2 but was down to 6.7 percent by April 21.

Average water temperatures on all of the Great Lakes have been rising over the past 30 to 40 years and ice cover has generally been shrinking. (Lake Superior ice was down about 79 percent since the 1970s.)

But chilled by persistent polar air masses throughout the 2013-14 winter, ice cover reached 88.4 percent on February 13 and 92.2 percent on March 6, 2014, the second highest level in four decades of record-keeping.

Air temperatures in the Great Lakes region were well below normal for March, and the cool pattern is being reinforced along the coasts because the water is absorbing less sunlight and warming less than in typical spring conditions.

Lake Superior ice cover got as high as 95.3 percent on March 19. By April 22, it was reported at 59.9 percent; Lake Huron was nearly 30.4 percent. News outlets noted that as many as 70 ships have been backed up in Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Erie, waiting for passage into ports on Lake Superior.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been grouping ships together into small convoys after they pass through locks at Sault Ste. Marie, in order to maximize ice-breaking efficiency and to protect ships from damage.


Catastrophe, doom and oblivion

Lately, the climate change movement has been celebrating. A recent International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report expressed 95% confidence that half of the warming during the previous 60 years was manmade. In January, the EPA ruled that new coal plants must install carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology — technology that is not yet commercially viable (take that, climate deniers). Then there is the accumulation of almost 500 climate-related laws passed in 66 countries. According to Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), "This surprising legislative momentum is happening across all continents. Encouragingly, this progress is being led by the big emerging and developing countries, such as China and Mexico, that together will represent 8 billion of the projected 9 billion people on Earth in 2050."

Riding the new-found momentum, climate change elites have sprung into action, reinvigorating the war on carbon and climate deniers. President Obama is conducting a regulatory version of Cap and Trade (legislation that failed to pass during his first term). He even has his own "Climate Change Action Plan." Senate Democrats are holding climate talkathons. John Kerry plans to broker a deal "committing the world’s economies to significant cuts in carbon emissions and sweeping changes in the global energy economy." Climate luminary Joe Biden theorizes, "It would be nice not to have any carbon fuels." To Al Gore, taxing carbon is not enough. "Tax denial," he chortles.

But, the bravado and self-congratulatory rhetoric is a veneer, hiding an astounding lack of planet-saving progress. So too are the pompous slogans and the grandiose policies, built on a delicate foundation of "settled science," "social justice," and wishful thinking. They mask an astounding ignorance of global energy consumption and production trends, not to mention economic realities. God forbid they are celebrating the progress they expect from Obama's action plan and Kerry's climate deal. Their schemes offer nothing new, unless climate scientists discover a way for pompous slogans to reduce GHG emissions.

A litany of ambitious carbon reduction promises and sophomoric flat-earther insults is not a measure of actual planet-saving progress. Nor is a litany of vain and, at best, nebulous "accomplishments" such as laws passed, treaties discussed, money spent, solar panels and windmills produced, and green jobs created. What is the actual effectiveness of the policies? Are we on track to keep GHG emissions below 450 ppm by 2050 (to avert the "carbon tsunami" and our fall from the "climate cliff")? How much do we have to pay developing countries as climate change compensation? How much will it cost to prevent the catastrophic 7.2-degree Fahrenheit global temperature increase that some authorities predicted to occur by 2100? Will these amounts be sufficient to finally save the planet?

One hopes that what is past is not prologue. The policies of the past 25 years have failed miserably in reducing global GHG emissions. They include 20 years of generous subsidies for renewable energy and the splurge of $150 billion in loans to green energy companies such as Solyndra, Abound Solar, Evergreen Solar, and A123 Systems. The current European Union plan (EU 20/20), said to be the world's most significant climate policy, will cost $20 trillion through the end of the century and would reduce the global temperature by 0.1°F. $20 trillion for a 0.1°F decrease? What about the other 7.1 Armageddon-like degrees?

Perhaps Obama's Climate Action Plan — constructed with similar haste, method, and disdain for economic and scientific realities – will be more effective than the EU 20/20 plan. Whatever he has in mind, it had better work fast. At the 2007 Climate Change Conference, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon proclaimed that the world is at a crossroads, where "one path leads to a comprehensive climate change agreement, the other to oblivion. The choice is clear." We must choose soon: "The situation is so desperately serious that any delay could push us past the tipping point." What has been accomplished since? No new treaties (toothless or otherwise). The Kyoto Protocol, still the world's only climate change treaty, has actually weakened. Russia, Japan, and Canada have recently dropped out — despite Obama's 2008 heal-the-planet speech. The officially designated rescue fuels (solar, wind, and biofuel) account for less than 2% of the world's energy supply; oil, gas, and coal account for 87%. GHG emissions are increasing, faster than ever. Evidently, we opted for oblivion.

According to a recent UN study, thanks to the abysmal failure of world governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we are probably doomed. English climate change scientist James Lovelock more than agrees; he believes we're only 40 years from global catastrophe. Unlike American climate gurus, Lovelock may have noticed the ongoing global energy shift in which developing countries are expected to consume 65% of the world's energy by 2040. Of all experts, Mr. Obama should have noticed that the developing world is hurtling into the future, furiously burning every calorie it can find of what he calls "yesterday's energy."

As this trend — said to "foreshadow a climate change catastrophe" — intensifies with the population growth of developing countries, other climate change experts warn that the end could come even sooner. Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara speculated, "It could be that the 2016 Games are the last Olympics in the history of mankind." Holy shit! No wonder Obama doesn't have time for meetings with the "Flat Earth Society."

This is a glimpse, from the world of climate change believers, of the effectiveness of the policies of their revered political leaders: catastrophe, doom, and oblivion, arriving ahead of schedule. Damn those flat-earthers.

In the real world, however, most people don't see the coming climate havoc with such clarity, or any clarity. Among the reasons for this hazy, infidel view: the temperature trend that produced the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 began to fade in, well, 1998; global temperatures have not increased in the 16 years since 1999. But climate change believers see it; they predicted it — all the horror that, for decades, they have been attributing to climate change. And they see the failure. Yet they refuse to see the vivid connection between paltry emissions reduction and futile policy.

The failure to save the planet is not the result of insufficiently apocalyptic warnings or public ridicule directed at uncooperative climate change deniers. Those who are unaware of the earth's curvature and temperature are irrelevant — all ten of them. Rather, it is the 6.9 billion people (of the 7 billion inhabiting the planet), who pay little, if any, attention to the incessant, shrill, vile, delusional hyperbole of the clueless climate-change elite. They are too busy dealing with bigger problems. The vast majority of people in the industrialized world are much more troubled by economic stagnation, unemployment, and debt. People in the developing world are consumed by the problems of poverty, famine, oppression, ignorance, despair, and natural disasters, to name a few — all the while struggling to be like their industrialized brethren. And when they become industrialized, they will switch to worrying about economic stagnation, unemployment, and debt. Only after that will they worry about climate change. Possibly.

Then there is the irrational insistence that renewable energy, alone, must save the planet. It is clear to anyone, except the political ideologues who long ago hijacked the global warming movement, that solar panels and windmills are not up to the task. At present, only subsidy and delusion sustain them. And who else but boneheads with a pie-in-the-sky political agenda would blithely dismiss more intelligent, proven technologies (natural gas and nuclear power) that could drastically reduce GHG emissions. For example, by replacing coal with natural gas, the shale-energy revolution (not the Obama green revolution) has reduced US emissions by 300 million tons — an amount that exceeds the world's total reduction from solar and wind combined — while reducing American energy costs by $100 billion.

Last September, in Why Climate Activists Need to Dial Back on the Panic, environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg lamented, "Our climate conversation has been dominated by fear and end-of-the-world thinking." He recommended that "instead of being scared silly, we need to realize that global warming is one of many challenges to tackle during the 21st century and start fixing it now with low-cost, realistic innovation." Maybe there is hope for the global warming movement.

Maybe not. Only a few months later, John Kerry descended upon Indonesia, brandishing global warming as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD), and promptly accused climate deniers of "burying their heads in the sand." Kerry, no doubt, thought that punching up his vapid climate change rhetoric with an edgy WMD metaphor would persuade Indonesians to turn down their thermostats and pump up their tires. Except that in Indonesia, where the average annual income is barely $3,000, most people don't have thermostats and tires.

Kerry also seemed unaware of the volcano that killed several people just two days before his arrival, and that Indonesia is located in the "Pacific Ring of Fire," so named for its deadly and frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. But there stood the imperious and clueless Kerry, trying to scare people who live in a "ring of fire" into worrying about a little carbon-induced warming. Perhaps his "most fearsome weapon of mass destruction" embellishment will have more success in China, which accounts for almost 60% of the recent increase in global coal consumption, or in India, where the average annual income is $984.

For anyone who is serious about reducing manmade GHG emissions, there is nothing to celebrate. John Kerry (and his ilk) can offer nothing but catastrophe, doom, and oblivion to the global warming crusade.


The sustainability hoax

All over the country, city and regional governments are writing “sustainability plans,” which are supposedly aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While the goal may be laudable, for the most part these plans won’t significantly reduce emissions. However, they will certainly impose huge costs on urban residents and taxpayers.

From Lafayette, La., to the Twin Cities, to the San Francisco Bay area, the heart of the plans consists of a one-size-fits-all prescription: make costly transit improvements in major corridors and then subsidize the construction of high-density housing in those corridors so lots of people will have access to transit. This prescription not only demands a huge change in American lifestyles, but also offers no reason to think it will help save the planet.

The Department of Energy, for example, has found that multifamily housing actually uses more energy (and therefore emits more greenhouse gases) per square foot than single-family homes. The only way multifamily housing would save energy would be if people accept smaller homes. A better solution is making single-family homes more energy efficient, which costs less and does not require the loss of privacy in multifamily housing.

Meanwhile, data from the Department of Transportation show that transit uses, on average, about the same amount of energy — and emits about the same amount of greenhouse gases — per passenger mile as the average car. Getting people out of their cars and onto transit won’t reduce emissions, but it will inconvenience a lot of people because transit is slow, expensive and inflexible.

Even if transit were truly greener than driving, the transit-plus-density solution doesn’t even reduce driving. Between 1980 and 2010, San Francisco Bay area population densities grew by more than 55 percent, and the region built more than 200 miles of rail transit lines and scores of high-density developments along those lines. Yet per capita transit ridership fell by a third while per capita driving increased by at least 5 percent.

Moreover, cars are rapidly becoming more energy efficient. It takes around 10 years (and huge amounts of energy) to plan and build a rail transit line, but 10 years from today the average car on the road will be at least 25 percent more fuel-efficient than cars today.

We can do a lot of things to emissions, but we have to ask whether they are cost-effective. It won’t do much good to reduce emissions if we bankrupt ourselves in the process, as our descendants will be too busy trying to survive to worry about the planet as a whole.

A 2007 report from McKinsey & Company suggests anything that costs more than about $50 per ton of abated emissions is a waste of money. Even using the optimistic assumptions built into sustainability plans, the transit-and-density strategy will cost thousands of dollars per ton — and it is more likely that it won’t reduce emissions at all.

While transit and density won’t significantly reduce emissions, it will have huge effects on cities. It will make traffic more congested and roadways less safe. It will make housing less affordable and increase other consumer costs. Besides, the increased tax burden will drive away jobs.

Population data clearly show that the fastest-growing urban areas are ones that have kept housing affordable by not using land-use regulation to impose lifestyle changes on their residents. For example, urban areas in Texas, which has some of the least restrictive land-use laws, are growing far faster than in California, which has some of the most restrictive laws.

Data also show that urban areas that spend more on transit grow more slowly. Of the nation’s 65 largest urban areas, the ones that spent the most on transit in the 1990s tended to grow slower in the 2000s than the ones that spent less. This doesn’t mean regions have to settle for poor-quality transit: in most places outside of New York City, buses can move as many people as fast and as comfortably as trains at a far lower cost.

In short, the transit-plus-density prescription imposes major costs on cities without significantly saving energy or reducing emissions. Nor does it cure obesity, end poverty, or bring about world peace, as some of its advocates seem to believe. Urban leaders need to be wary of people who propose policies that are anything but sustainable.


Climate-change play funded by feds

 A new play about climate change opened Thursday in New York that’s part-thriller, part-musical, part-educational and all-controversial.

It’s backed by Uncle Sam.

The National Science Foundation, a federal agency, usually funds research projects. But in a rare move, it gave a nearly $700,000 grant for the play “The Great Immensity,” a mystery with music and songs that’s playing at New York’s Public Theater in Manhattan.

The Brooklyn-based theater company that developed the play, The Civilians, also received two federal grants from the National Endowment for the Arts that totaled $65,000.

But the science agency grant, made in 2010, is really bugging Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

“I support NSF research that can lead to discoveries that change our world, expand our horizons and save lives,” said Smith. “But spending taxpayer dollars to fund a climate change musical called ‘The Great Immensity’ sounds more like an immense waste of taxpayer dollars, money that could have funded higher priority research.”

Smith highlighted the $697,177 grant for the play at a congressional hearing this month as one of several questionable NSF grants, and he’s now pushing legislation that would require greater financial accountability from the agency.

Climate change is a term used to describe the extreme weather shifts in the last 50 years attributed to higher levels of carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuels. The tension between Smith, who questions the extent of climate change, and the play’s proponents underscores the political divide over global warming.

The play, designed to entertain as well as educate theater-goers, is “a continent-hopping thriller,” according to “The Great Immensity” website, that follows a woman who’s searching for her husband after he disappears from a tropical island while working for a nature program.

There’s more intrigue as she discovers a plot that may upend an international climate conference in Paris. The play covers a lot of ground, from the Panama Canal to the Arctic Circle.

Written and directed by Steve Cosson with songs by Michael Friedman, it’s described in a Public Theater release as “a highly theatrical look into one of the most vital questions of our time: How can we change ourselves and our society in time to solve the enormous environmental challenges that confront us?”

Smith doesn’t see it that way.

While the Texan is protesting the NSF grant because he thinks the money should be spent on science research, he’s also skeptical about climate change.

“Contrary to the claims of those who want to strictly regulate carbon dioxide emissions and increase the cost of energy for all Americans, there is a great amount of uncertainty associated with climate science,” he wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece last year.

Most climate scientists think differently. According to NASA, 97 percent of climate scientists believe that human activity has caused a warming trend over the past century, and most leading scientific organizations agree.

The play’s author is in the activist wing of the theater world. Cosson is the founding artistic director of The Civilians, founded in 2001, which describes itself as investigative theater.

“The play takes its name from an enormous Chinese Panamax ship that the authors observed crossing the Panama Canal,” according to the theater troupe’s website. The drama was developed with material from interviews with scientists and indigenous people in Barro Colorado Island in the Panama Canal and the city of Churchill in arctic Canada.

What was the taxpayer money used for?

“NSF supported the R&D work early in this project, which includes script development,” Dana Topousis, the NSF’s acting division director of public affairs, said in an email. “NSF funding for ‘The Great Immensity’ included the development and finalization of the script during prototyping/testing, development of materials and multimedia for the stage production, actors’ salaries during prototype/testing and development of a website related to the play. NSF funding did not go to operating expenses or travel.”

The NEA gave $15,000 in 2010 for development and workshop production of the play and $50,000 in 2012 for “community engagement” to connect creative artists with the scientific community.

Environmental groups are supportive of the play; climate change critics support Smith.

“At The Climate Group, we believe that artistic platforms offer a unique opportunity to explore and enhance the most urgent issue of our time: climate change,” said Kirsten Strom , affiliate event coordinator for the environmental group’s Climate Week NYC. “Theater, music, poetry and paintings have a catalytic power and one which can really re-energize citizens.”

Jim Lakely, the director of communications at The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based conservative research center, laughed when told of the federal investment in the play.

“No public money at all should be going to this frivolity,” he said. “It is the definition of wasted taxpayer dollars. Besides, it’s not like there’s a shortage of wealthy climate alarmists in the private sector who could fund this musical.”

“The Great Immensity” began previews April 11, opened Thursday and concludes its run next Thursday.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


25 April, 2014

An interesting admission

"Nature" magazine admits that more CO2 is good for plants -- which includes crops.  Skeptics have been saying it for years, of course

Elevated CO2 further lengthens growing season under warming conditions

By Melissa Reyes-Fox et al.


Observations of a longer growing season through earlier plant growth in temperate to polar regions have been thought to be a response to climate warming1, 2, 3, 4, 5. However, data from experimental warming studies indicate that many species that initiate leaf growth and flowering earlier also reach seed maturation and senesce earlier, shortening their active and reproductive periods6, 7, 8, 9, 10. A conceptual model to explain this apparent contradiction11, and an analysis of the effect of elevated CO2—which can delay annual life cycle events12, 13, 14—on changing season length, have not been tested. Here we show that experimental warming in a temperate grassland led to a longer growing season through earlier leaf emergence by the first species to leaf, often a grass, and constant or delayed senescence by other species that were the last to senesce, supporting the conceptual model. Elevated CO2 further extended growing, but not reproductive, season length in the warmed grassland by conserving water, which enabled most species to remain active longer. Our results suggest that a longer growing season, especially in years or biomes where water is a limiting factor, is not due to warming alone, but also to higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations that extend the active period of plant annual life cycles.


Australia: It's starfish, not global warming that is damaging the Great Barrier Reef

More than 250,000 crown-of-thorns starfish have been removed from the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland in the past two years, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt says.

The pest is considered to be one of the biggest threats to the reef and has traditionally been hard to destroy.

In recent decades, the crown-of-thorns starfish has been responsible for 42 per cent of coral loss on the Great Barrier Reef.

Researchers are now using a single injection that causes the starfish to break up between 24 to 48 hours, replacing the previous method requiring up to 20 injections.

The single injection method is harmless to other marine plants and animals.

Mr Hunt says the method has lead to a four-fold increase in the eradication rate.

"We have provided $1 million now - we have $2 million in the budget going forward and we believe that this is likely to be an ongoing program," he said.

"It's necessary for the reef and it's the single best hope we've had in dealing with the crown-of-thorns since people have been working in this space."

Mr Hunt says the new method has made a big difference.  "This is a nasty critter - it does damage to the reef, it does damage to aquatic life," he said.  "We can make a difference - we have saved literally billions of eggs from being released onto the reef."

Crown-of-thorns cull part of long-term reef plan

The Government's crown-of-thorns eradication plan is a key element of its Reef 2050 Plan.

Divers from the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators can cull over 1,000 crown-of-thorns starfish on a 40-minute dive.

Project manager Steve Moon says this includes 27,000 in just eight days at Arlington reef and 9,000 at Batt reef, as well as 14,000 at Spitfire reef near Cooktown, north of Cairns.

"What we have noticed is a significant increase in coral cover, which is absolutely spectacular," he said.

"That was the aim of the whole program - to try and give the coral a chance to grow and we've seen that, despite some of the extreme weather events that we've had."

Other measures under the Government's Reef 2050 Plan will see improvements to the quality of water entering the reef, which will limit the ability of larval-stage starfish to thrive on water-borne algae that results from nutrient-rich waters.

The Government has also funded a second control vessel, Venus 2, as part of the program.

But Mr Moon says more resources may be needed.  "I don’t think we’ve seen the peak of this current outbreak yet," he said. "I think we’re going to be looking further down the track somewhere around this time next year, given that we’ve already had a spawning season in recent months.

"What we’re going to see - is two boats going to be enough? Possibly, but probably not."

Jairo Rivera from James Cook University helped to develop the single injection and says it is working with scientists from the Sunshine Coast University on a contraceptive to further control the spread of crown-of-thorns starfish.

"We found a protein on the surface of the sperm and that can be [bound] to a molecule that turns the eggs sterile," he said.

"If we can do that, that will be awesome because one single starfish can produce up to 60 million eggs per year."

Mr Rivera says the new method could be ready to trial in two years but $300,000 is needed to support the research.



Candra Kolodziej’s concern for the environmental impacts of the meat industry had her looking for alternative options. Instead of going vegan (the diet most noted for being environmentally friendly) and searching for protein sources that do not originate from animals, the 32-year-old came up with the horrible idea to turn to the pet store for her next meal. For one meal a day, Kolodziej ate animals that could be found alive and well at your local pet store, such as mice, minnows, crickets and mealworms.

Kolodziej claims that she didn’t do this experiment because she cares about the horrors of factory farming. She says, “At this point I should note that I’m not some granola here to chew your ear off about how fucked up factory farming is. In fact, I eat a lot of meat myself. I’m from northern Michigan, where there’s only one day in the Christian calendar year when most folks will intentionally choose fish, and I’m the type of heathen who doesn’t even abstain on that day. So this little experiment was done for my own sake, to know what sort of animal-based dishes I can look forward to when hamburgers are enjoyed exclusively by the one percent.”

Next time, we hope veganism seems like the best option to protest the environmental impacts of the meat industry. A good seitan dish can satisfy even the most devout carnivore.


Shale Boom Sends U.S. Crude Supply to Highest Since 1930s

What happened to "peak oil"?

The U.S. is stockpiling the most crude since the Great Depression, thanks to the shale boom that has boosted production to the most in 26 years.

Inventories rose 3.52 million barrels last week to 397.7 million, the highest level since 1931, according to Energy Information Administration data going back to 1920. Crude output climbed 59,000 barrels a day to 8.36 million, the most since January 1988, as the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, unlocked supplies from shale formations in the central U.S., including the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

The burgeoning supply has sparked arguments over whether a 1975 law that prevents most U.S. crude exports should be repealed. It also may reduce the impetus for a quick approval of the Keystone XL pipeline moving Canadian crude to the U.S. Average weekly imports are down 3.7 percent so far this year, compared with the same period in 2013.

“This paints a secure supply picture for the U.S.,” said Stephen Schork, president of Schork Group Inc., a consulting group in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “This will add to the political debate about exports and Keystone. Whatever issues arise, it’s important to remember you would rather deal with the problems of a supply glut rather than a dearth.”

Inventories along the Gulf Coast, known as PADD 3, rose 2.44 million barrels to 209.6 million last week, the most in EIA data going back to 1990.

Much of that inventory is light, sweet crude, or oil with low density and sulfur content, from the shale fields. Many refineries along the Gulf Coast are designed to run most efficiently on cheaper heavy, sour barrels imported from Mexico and Venezuela.

“The problem is that we have a glut of light, sweet crude when what we need is sour,” Schork said. “There have to find a way to swap the barrels we’ve got in hand or exporting them, so we can take full advantage of the rise in output.”

Energy Independence

Harold Hamm, the chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources Inc. (CLR), who became a billionaire drilling in North Dakota, told U.S. lawmakers Jan. 30 that the country, which EIA data show supplied 86 percent of its own energy last year, can drill its way to full independence by 2020. Hamm is leading an effort to get Congress to allow crude exports for the first time since the 1970s.

Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the senior Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a Jan. 7 speech that she also supports changing the export rules.

Imports decreased 475,000 barrels a day to 7.8 million in the seven days ended April 18. Arrivals have averaged 7.46 million barrels in 2014, according to EIA figures, down from 7.74 million for the first 16 weeks of 2013.


Welcome to the Revolution

Despite its doubters and haters, the shale revolution in oil and gas production is here to stay. In the second half of this decade, moreover, it is likely to spread globally more quickly than most think. And all of that is, on balance, a good thing for the world.

The recent surge of U.S. oil and natural gas production has been nothing short of astonishing. For the past three years, the United States has been the world’s fastest-growing hydrocarbon producer, and the trend is not likely to stop anytime soon. U.S. natural gas production has risen by 25 percent since 2010, and the only reason it has temporarily stalled is that investments are required to facilitate further growth. Having already outstripped Russia as the world’s largest gas producer, by the end of the decade, the United States will become one of the world’s largest gas exporters, fundamentally changing pricing and trade patterns in global energy markets. U.S. oil production, meanwhile, has grown by 60 percent since 2008, climbing by three million barrels a day to more than eight million barrels a day. Within a couple of years, it will exceed its old record level of almost ten million barrels a day as the United States overtakes Russia and Saudi Arabia and becomes the world’s largest oil producer. And U.S. production of natural gas liquids, such as propane and butane, has already grown by one million barrels per day and should grow by another million soon.

What is unfolding in reaction is nothing less than a paradigm shift in thinking about hydrocarbons. A decade ago, there was a near-global consensus that U.S. (and, for that matter, non-OPEC) production was in inexorable decline. Today, most serious analysts are confident that it will continue to grow. The growth is occurring, to boot, at a time when U.S. oil consumption is falling. (Forget peak oil production; given a combination of efficiency gains, environmental concerns, and substitution by natural gas, what is foreseeable is peak oil demand.) And to cap things off, the costs of finding and producing oil and gas in shale and tight rock formations are steadily going down and will drop even more in the years to come.

The evidence from what has been happening is now overwhelming. Efficiency gains in the shale sector have been large and accelerating and are now hovering at around 25 percent per year, meaning that increases in capital expenditures are triggering even more potential production growth. It is clear that vast amounts of hydrocarbons have migrated from their original source rock and become trapped in shale and tight rock, and the extent of these rock formations, like the extent of the original source rock, is enormous -- containing resources far in excess of total global conventional proven oil reserves, which are 1.5 trillion barrels. And there are already signs that the technology involved in extracting these resources is transferable outside the United States, so that its international spread is inevitable.

In short, it now looks as though the first few decades of the twenty-first century will see an extension of the trend that has persisted for the past few millennia: the availability of plentiful energy at ever-lower cost and with ever-greater efficiency, enabling major advances in global economic growth.


The shale revolution has been very much a “made in America” phenomenon. In no other country can landowners also own mineral rights. In only a few other countries (such as Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom) is there a tradition of an energy sector featuring many independent entrepreneurial companies, as opposed to a few major companies or national champions. And in still fewer countries are there capital markets able and willing to support financially risky exploration and production.

This powerful combination of indigenous factors will continue to drive U.S. efforts. A further 30 percent increase in U.S. natural gas production is plausible before 2020, and from then on, it should be possible to maintain a constant or even higher level of production for decades to come. As for oil, given the research and development now under way, it is likely that U.S. production could rise to 12 million barrels per day or more in a few years and be sustained there for a long time. (And that figure does not include additional potential output from deep-water drilling, which is also seeing a renaissance in investment.)

Two factors, meanwhile, should bring prices down for a long time to come. The first is declining production costs, a consequence of efficiency gains from the application of new and growing technologies. And the second is the spread of shale gas and tight oil production globally. Together, these suggest a sustainable price of around $5.50 per thousand cubic feet for natural gas in the United States and a trading range of $70–$90 per barrel for oil globally by the end of this decade.

These trends will provide a significant boost to the U.S. economy. Households could save close to $30 billion annually in electricity costs by 2020, compared to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s current forecast. Gasoline costs could fall from an average of five percent to three percent of real disposable personal income. The price of gasoline could drop by 30 percent, increasing annual disposable income by $750, on average, per driving household. The oil and gas boom could add about 2.8 percent in cumulative GDP growth by 2020 and bolster employment by some three million jobs.

Beyond the United States, the spread of shale gas and tight oil exploitation should have geopolitically profound implications. There is no longer any doubt about the sheer abundance of this new accessible resource base, and that recognition is leading many governments to accelerate the delineation and development of commercially available resources. Countries’ motivations are diverse and clear. For Saudi Arabia, which is already developing its first power plant using indigenous shale gas, the exploitation of its shale resources can free up more oil for exports, increasing revenues for the country as a whole. For Russia, with an estimated 75 billion barrels of recoverable tight oil (50 percent more than the United States), production growth spells more government revenue. And for a host of other countries, the motivations range from reducing dependence on imports to increasing export earnings to enabling domestic economic development.


Fracking could generate £33bn and 64,000 jobs for UK

Fracking could generate a £33bn investment windfall in Britain thanks to the creation of a new industrial supply chain, a report has claimed.

Drilling of an estimated 4,000 horizontal shale gas wells over an 18-year period would generate 64,000 new jobs and spur massive investment to serve the industry, according to the UK Onshore Operators Group.

Of the £33bn of investment identified within the report, the production of specialised equipment such as pumps trucks and other oil field services needed for hydraulic fracturing will require £17bn of investment.

In addition, the study highlights the need for 50 new land-based drilling rigs to meet the industry’s demand along with the fabrication of 8,000 miles of steel casing and £4.1bn of investment into other services such as transportation.

“We are building an industry in this country which will not only potentially give the UK energy security, and make a big contribution in tax revenues, but will also bring immense benefits to other industries and create sustainable, well-paid jobs,” said Ken Cronin, chief executive of the oil industry body.

However, the development of fracking in the UK has so far proved controversial, despite its potential to safeguard energy security. Most of these concerns centre around the disruption that could be caused by drilling in rural communities and fears over the possible environmental consequences of the fracking process.

Business has broadly welcomed the findings of the study, which, based on comparisons from the US fracking experience, has outlined the potential scale of the new market for British oil and gas services industries.

Deirdre Fox, Tata Steel’s director of strategic business development in the UK, said the report was an “eye-opener as to how big an opportunity the responsible development of a shale gas industry is for the UK economy”.

Part of the push for shale gas comes from the UK’s growing dependence on foreign energy since North Sea supplies started to slow. By 2020 it is estimated that 70pc of the UK’s gas will come from overseas. Wholesale gas prices, which have climbed about 120pc since 2005. However, in the US, fracking has helped to reduce the cost of energy over the same period.

In a further boost for the industry, Ed Davey, Energy Secretary, confirmed that the Government is looking at changing trespass laws to give companies the right to carry out fracking under private land.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


24 April, 2014

"We do not recycle. We teach our daughter not to recycle"

This letter was sent by Steven Landsburg, professor of economics at the University of Rochester and the author of several popular books on the subject, to his daughter's teacher. It concerns the school's attempts to indoctrinate the girl in environmentalism. The letter forms part of an article by Landsburg in which he discusses the need for pluralism and respect for those with different views, noting how these environmentalists seem to fail on both counts.

Dear Rebecca:

When we lived in Colorado, Cayley was the only Jewish child in her class. There were also a few Moslems. Occasionally, and especially around Christmas time, the teachers forgot about this diversity and made remarks that were appropriate only for the Christian children. These remarks came rarely, and were easily counteracted at home with explanations that different people believe different things, so we chose not to say anything at first. We changed our minds when we overheard a teacher telling a group of children that if Santa didn't come to your house, it meant you were a very bad child; this was within earshot of an Islamic child who certainly was not going to get a visit from Santa. At that point, we decided to share our concerns with the teachers. They were genuinely apologetic and there were no more incidents. I have no doubt that the teachers were good and honest people who had no intent to indoctrinate, only a certain naïveté derived from a provincial upbringing.

Perhaps that same sort of honest naïveté is what underlies the problems we've had at the JCC this year. Just as Cayley's teachers in Colorado were honestly oblivious to the fact that there is diversity in religion, it may be that her teachers at the JCC have been honestly oblivious that there is diversity in politics.

Let me then make that diversity clear. We are not environmentalists. We ardently oppose environmentalists. We consider environmentalism a form of mass hysteria akin to Islamic fundamentalism or the War on Drugs. We do not recycle. We teach our daughter not to recycle. We teach her that people who try to convince her to recycle, or who try to force her to recycle, are intruding on her rights.

The preceding paragraph is intended to serve the same purpose as announcing to Cayley's Colorado teachers that we are not Christians. Some of them had never been aware of knowing anybody who was not a Christian, but they adjusted pretty quickly.

Once the Colorado teachers understood that we and a few other families did not subscribe to the beliefs that they were propagating, they instantly apologized and stopped. Nobody asked me what exactly it was about Christianity that I disagreed with; they simply recognized that they were unlikely to change our views on the subject, and certainly had no business inculcating our child with opposite views.

I contrast this with your reaction when I confronted you at the preschool graduation. You wanted to know my specific disagreements with what you had taught my child to say. I reject your right to ask that question. The entire program of environmentalism is as foreign to us as the doctrine of Christianity. I was not about to engage in detailed theological debate with Cayley's Colorado teachers and they would not have had the audacity to ask me to. I simply asked them to lay off the subject completely, they recognized the legitimacy of the request, and the subject was closed.

I view the current situation as far more serious than what we encountered in Colorado for several reasons. First, in Colorado we were dealing with a few isolated remarks here and there, whereas at the JCC we have been dealing with a systematic attempt to inculcate a doctrine and to quite literally put words in children's mouths. Second, I do not sense on your part any acknowledgment that there may be people in the world who do not share your views. Third, I am frankly a lot more worried about my daughter's becoming an environmentalist than about her becoming a Christian. Fourth, we face no current threat of having Christianity imposed on us by petty tyrants; the same can not be said of environmentalism. My county government never tried to send me a New Testament, but it did send me a recycling bin.

Although I have vowed not to get into a discussion on the issues, let me respond to the one question you seemed to think was very important in our discussion: Do I agree that with privilege comes responsibility? The answer is no. I believe that responsibilities arise when one undertakes them voluntarily. I also believe that in the absence of explicit contracts, people who lecture other people on their "responsibilities" are almost always up to no good. I tell my daughter to be wary of such people — even when they are preschool teachers who have otherwise earned a lot of love.


Steven Landsburg


There's no such thing as a natural world any more

Yesterday was Earth Day, a celebration of our planet and all of its natural splendor. There's a problem, though, with this conception of environmentalism, which, like Earth Day, was invented in the 1970s. And it's a big one: there is literally no such thing as “nature” anymore.

As Christopher Mims wrote for Motherboard a couple years ago, the natural world—independent of us—simply no longer exists.

[A]ny attempt to talk about the 21st century without acknowledging that every living thing on the planet will be altered by humans is intellectually bankrupt. There is no “nature” left — only the portion of nature that we allow to live because we imagine it serves some purpose — as a thing to eat, a place to reprocess our waste, or an idea that fulfills our dwindling desire to maintain “the natural” for aesthetic or ideological reasons.

Whether bulldozed or clear-cut, fished, farmed or warmed by greenhouse gases, every ecosystem on Earth is currently being shaped by humans and human technology. That's true now, and it's been true—to an ever-increasing extent—for thousands of years. At this point, believing that it's possible to restore a place to its original state by removing a dam, restoring a marsh or culling some deer requires a naïve interpretation of how ecosystems work.

In his assessment, Mims noted that the ecosystems of the future will not consist of the world, plus us, plus our technology. Rather, the global ecosystem will increasingly be guided, shaped and supported by us and our technology. This shift can already been seen in humanity's most prominent constructions: cities.

Writing for the Design Observer, Peter Del Tredici, a botanist and author, explores how cities are giving rise to novel growing conditions, and new, wholly anthropogenic ecosystems. Instead of rivers, marshes or forests, Earth now has chain-link fences, abandoned lots, highway medians and cracks in the pavement. These aren't devoid of life; they are new human-made ecosystems, and different types of life—what Del Tredici calls “spontaneous urban vegetation”—thrive in those environments.

Most people have a different word for "spontaneous urban vegetaition"—weeds. But these urban plants, Del Tredici says, are the symptom of change, not the cause. Instead of blaming weeds for existing and trying to restore a place to its original state, engineers working in ecological restoration focus on restoring “ecosystem services." These are jobs that keep an ecosystem working, and getting those positions filled is what matters most—something needs to keep the soil from being washed out by the rain (even if it is a "weed").

So, here's Del Tredici's idea: Instead of longing for some more “natural” ecosystem that is long-since lost, we should work with these new species to design ecosystems that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Rather than trying to fight the infiltration of plants in cracks and vines on fences, we can acknowledge and embrace the changes we've wrought.


No more onshore wind farms if Conservatives win 2015 British election

Local residents will get new powers to block all new onshore wind farms within six months of a new Conservative government taking office, the party will promise on Thursday.

No subsidies will paid to operators of new onshore wind turbines if the Conservatives win a Commons majority next May, they will promise.

The commitment to stop the erection of new onshore turbines – revealed in The Telegraph earlier this month – is the latest hardening of Conservative rhetoric on green energy.

Subsidies for existing onshore wind would remain in place and wind farms currently under construction or given legal consent would still be completed, almost doubling the onshore wind sector’s capacity by 2020.

But no more onshore turbines would be put in place beyond that, Michael Fallon, the energy minister, will say.

Under current planning rules, big onshore wind farms are handled by a national infrastructure regime that can ignore the wishes of local people.

The Tories would change those rules so that major sites would be processed by local councils, allowing local politicians to reflect the views of residents.

Planning policies would also be altered to give greater weight to local concerns about landscape and heritage.

If the Conservatives win the election next year, they would put new curbs on wind farms in place by November 2015, Mr Fallon said. The UK has “enough” onshore turbines he said.

“We remain committed to cutting our carbon emissions. And renewable energy, including onshore wind, has a key role in our future energy supply. But we now have enough bill payer-funded onshore wind in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments and there’s no requirement for any more.

“That’s why the next Conservative Government will end any additional bill payer subsidy for onshore wind.”


Big Green’s environmental impacts

The environmental orgy known as Earth Day has come and gone.

Disney opened their annual Earth Day movie homage, Pinterest made available a slew of Earth Day activities for kids, and public and private schools have had their requisite ceremonies.

In all the celebration, the one thing that is seemingly never asked is whether or not environmentalist policies by the government are actually helping the environment?

Wind energy is just one example.  The United States government has provided billions of dollars of subsidies to the wind industry over the past twenty years, subsidies that have not yet been renewed in 2014 as the mature industry is being forced to stand on its own.

While wind might seem to be the ultimate renewable, the reality is that the giant windmill turbines that dominate some of the most scenic landscapes in America both destroy the aesthetic beauty of the land, while also having a devastating impact on the birds and bats of the area.

It is estimated that as many as 900,000 bats each year are killed by the giant wind turbines, a real boon for the insect populations which are naturally kept in check by these flying mammals.  Diminished bat populations means that farmers are likely to use more pesticides to keep the crop destroying bugs under control — now that’s an earth friendly solution.

On the bird front, the Obama Administration has given a bald eagle license to kill permit to the wind energy industry for the next thirty years, while at the same time using the formerly endangered bald eagle as the excuse for moving against lead ammunition.  The rationale is simple — killing bald eagles on the altar of renewable energy is good — but lead ammunition is bad because it could end up in game that is wounded, and an eagle might eat that animal that dies later and get sick from that exposure.  Make sense?  I thought not.

Right now, in celebration of Earth Day, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has embarked on a carbon dioxide emission spree touting the dangers of global warming as she jets between cities on a five day tour.  The promotion travel includes such environmental policy staples as McCarthy throwing out the first pitch at a Red Sox-Yankees game in her home town of Boston.

Following the game, it is rumored that McCarthy plans to take a selfie with David Ortiz to increase her social media product placement ranking, thus enhancing her position as Obama’s leading eco-warrior over the usurping Secretary of State John Kerry who longs for the title.  Unfortunately, unidentified sources within the environmentalist community claim that John Kerry was not available for comment as he was busy again moving his yacht to Rhode Island to avoid taxes.

For all of those who are confused about what environmentalists mean when they say Earth Day, let this next example make it clear.   South Korea which burns coal to fuel its electricity craves U.S. coal at least partially due to its lower sulfur content which leads to less air pollution.  Western state coal producers want to sell their product to the South Koreans.  So what is the problem?  Environmentalists in the state of Washington are blocking the construction of a coal terminal to transport the more environmentally friendly American product overseas, all under the guise of protecting the planet.

Using specious arguments that coal trains will cause their streets to be covered in coal dust, and even claiming possible black lung disease ramifications for those living close to the railroad tracks, the supposedly educated people of Seattle and surrounding areas are doing everything in their power to block the terminal.

Earth Day really only means, our part of the Earth Day— as environmentalists across the nation engage in standard Not In My Back Yard political and legal tactics to the detriment of the world’s environmental health.

That’s why environmentalists can at the same time as they oppose the rail transport of coal, also oppose building the carbon friendly Keystone XL pipeline to transport Canadian oil to market in the lower 48.  When it comes to Canadian oil, they prefer that the oil be shipped using a steady stream of less environmentally friendly rail cars than flowing through a pipeline.

Apparently, for Canadian oil rail is the environmentally approved method of transportation, but for coal, rail is wrong.

Every Earth Day, the nation is asked to check its thinking caps at the door in celebration of the environment, and that is fine.  But on the day after Earth Day, critical thinking needs to be re-engaged and when put under the microscope, many environmental schemes do more harm to the environment than the ill they purport to try to cure.

Perhaps this year, Americans will take the blinders off and scrutinize the impacts of extreme environmental policies and the multi-billion industry that pushes them.  That’s the kind of environmental impact report that I would look forward to reading.


The 2014 state of wind energy: Desperately seeking subsidies

With the growing story coming out of Ukraine, the ongoing search for the missing Malaysian jet, the intensifying Nevada cattle battle, and the new announcement about the additional Keystone pipeline delay, little attention is being paid to the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy — or any of the other fifty lapsed tax breaks the Senate Finance Committee approved earlier this month. But, despite the low news profile, the gears of government continue to grind up taxpayer dollars.

The Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency Act (EXPIRE) did not originally include the PTC, however, prior to the committee markup hearing on April 3, Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) pushed for an amendment to add a two-year PTC extension. The tax extender package passed out of committee and has been sent to the senate floor for debate. There, its future is uncertain.

“If the bill becomes law,” reports the Energy Collective, “it will allow wind energy developers to qualify for tax credits if they begin construction by the end of 2015.” The American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) website calls on Congress to: “act quickly to retroactively extend the PTC.”

The PTC is often the deciding factor in determining whether or not to build a wind farm. According to Bloomberg, wind power advocates fear: “Without the restoration of the subsidies, worth $23 per megawatt hour to turbine owners, the industry might not recover, and the U.S. may lose ground in its race to reduce dependence on fossil fuels driving global warming.” The National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a report earlier this month affirming the importance of the subsidies to the wind industry. It showed that the PTC has been critical to the development of the U.S. wind power industry. The report also found: PTC “extension options that would ramp down by the end of 2022 appear to be insufficient to support recent levels of deployment. …extending the production tax credit at its historical level could provide the best opportunity to sustain strong U.S. wind energy installation and domestic manufacturing.”

The PTC was originally part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992. It has expired many times — most recently at the close of 2013. The last-minute 2012 extension, as a part of the American Tax Relief Act, included an eligibility criteria adjustment that allows projects that began construction in 2013, and maintain construction through as long as 2016, to qualify for the ten-year tax credit designed to establish a production incentive. Previously, projects would have had to be producing electricity at the time the PTC expired to qualify.

Thomas Pyle, the president of the American Energy Alliance, which represents the interests of oil, coal, and natural gas companies, called the 2013 expiration of the wind PTC “a victory for taxpayers.” He explained: “The notion that the wind industry is an infant that needs the PTC to get on its feet is simply not true. The PTC has overstayed its welcome and any attempt to extend it would do a great disservice to the American people.”

As recently as 2006-2007, “the wind PTC had no natural enemies,” states a new report on the PTC’s future. The Declining Appetite for the Wind PTC report points to the assumption that “all extenders are extended eventually, and that enacting the extension is purely a matter of routine, in which gridlock on unrelated topics is the only source of uncertainty and delay.” The report then concludes: “That has been a correct view in past years.”

The report predicts that the PTC will follow “the same political trajectory as the ethanol mandate and the ethanol blenders’ tax credit before it.” The mandate remains — albeit in a slightly weakened state — and the tax credit is gone: “ethanol no longer needed the blenders’ tax credit because it had the strong support of a mandate (an implicit subsidy) behind it.”

The PTC once enjoyed support from some in the utility industry that needed it to bolster wind power development to meet the mandates. Today, utilities have met their state mandates — or come close enough, the report points out: “their state utility commissioners will not allow them to build more.” It is important to realize that the commissioners are appointed or elected to protect the ratepayers and insure that the rates charged by the utilities are fair and as low as possible. Because of the increased cost of wind energy over conventional sources, commissioners won’t allow any more than is necessary to meet the mandates passed by the legislatures.

The abundance of natural gas and subsequent low price has also hurt wind energy’s predicted price parity. South Dakota’s Governor Dennis Daugaard (R), in Bloomberg, said: “If gas prices weren’t so cheap, then wind might be able to compete on its own.” David Crane, chief executive officer of NRG Energy Inc. — which builds both gas and renewable power plants — agrees: “Cheap gas has definitely made it harder to compete.” With the subsidy, companies were able to propose wind projects “below the price of gas.” Without the PTC, Stephen Munro, an analyst at New Energy Finance, confirms: “we don’t expect wind to be at cost parity with gas.”

The changing conditions combined with “wide agreement that the majority of extenders are special interest handouts, the pet political projects of a few influential members of Congress,” mean that “the wind PTC is not a sure bet for extension.” Bloomberg declares: “Wind power in the U.S. is on a respirator.” Mike Krancer, who previously served as secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, in an article in Roll Call, states: “Washington’s usual handout to keep the turbines spinning may be harder to win this time around.”

Despite the claim of “Loud support for the PTC” from North American Windpower (NAW), the report predicts “political resistance.” NAW points to letters from 144 members of Congress urging colleagues to “act quickly to revive the incentives.” Twenty-six Senate members signed the letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and 118 signed a similar letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). However, of the 118 House members, only six were Republicans — which, even if the PTC extension makes it out of the Senate, points to the difficulty of getting it extended in the Republican-controlled House.

Bloomberg cites AWEA as saying: “the Republican-led House of Representatives may not support efforts to extend the tax credits before the November election.” This supports the view stated in the report. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman David Camp (R-MI) held his first hearing on tax extenders on April 8. He only wants two of the 55 tax breaks continued: small business depreciation and the R & D tax credit. The report states: “Camp says that he will probably hold hearings on which extenders should be permanent through the spring and into the summer. He hasn’t said when he would do an extenders proposal himself, but our guess is that he will wait until after the fall elections. …We think the PTC is most endangered if Republicans win a Senate Majority in the fall.”

So, even if the PTC survives the current Senate’s floor debate (Senator Pat Toomey [R-PA] offered an amendment that would have entirely done away with the PTC), it is only the “first step in a long journey” and, according to David Burton, a partner at law firm Akin Gump Hauer and Feld, is “unlikely on its own to create enough confidence to spur investment in the development of new projects.” Plus, the House will likely hold up its resurrection.

Not to mention the growing opposition to wind energy due to the slaughter of birds and bats — including the protected bald and golden eagles. Or, growing fears about health impacts, maintenance costs and abandoned turbines.

All of these factors have likely led Jeff Imelt, chief executive officer of General Electric Co. — the biggest U.S. turbine supplier — to recently state: “We’re planning for a world that’s unsubsidized. Renewables have to find a way to get to the grid unsubsidized.”

Perhaps this time, the PTC is really dead, leaving smaller manufacturers desperately seeking subsidies.


The deadliest environmental threat (it’s not global warming)

Greens are callous criminals in their throttling of the Third World

By Bjorn Lomborg

Earth Day is a chance to take stock: What is the state of the world’s environment? Our knee-jerk reaction is that it’s getting worse. But that is not only mostly incorrect, it also prevents us from using Earth Day to help do the most good to make the environment even better.

Many think the biggest global environment problem is global warming. After all, the issue gets the lion’s share of headlines and accounts for much of the hell-in-a-hand-basket environmental news we come across. But by any reasonable measure, this is entirely wrong. The most important is in fact indoor air pollution.

One-third of the world’s people — 2.9 billion — cook and keep warm burning twigs and dung, which give off deadly fumes. This leads to strokes, heart disease and cancer, and disproportionately affects women and children. The World Health Organization estimates that it killed 4.3 million people in 2012. Add the smaller death count from outdoor pollution, and air pollution causes one in eight deaths worldwide.

Compare these numbers to global warming. As the new report from the UN Climate Panel concludes, “At present the worldwide burden of human ill-health from climate change is relatively small compared with effects of other stressors.” Air pollution doesn’t garner the headlines afforded to global warming because it’s not nearly as sexy. It’s old-fashioned, boring, and doesn’t raise anywhere near as much money as climate change.

Global warming is a real problem, but its threat is much, much lower. Estimates from the World Health Organization and others show that between 50 and 250 times more people die from the effects of air pollution.

That is why we can confidently say that the environment is doing much better now than before. Measured on the by-far-most important environmental indicator, air pollution, the risk of death has dropped dramatically and consistently, both in the developed and developing world.

With outdoor air pollution rampant in Beijing that may seem surprising, but we forget that indoor air pollution has always been much, much more important. In 1900 almost all pollution deaths in developing countries came from indoor air pollution — and the individual risk of dying from all air pollution was more than five-fold higher than it is today.

Even today, as outdoor air pollution has increased death risks both because of a higher urban population and more emissions, the death risks from indoor air pollution still outweigh outdoor 2-to-1, and indoor risks have been dropping much faster.

This is essentially because of ever more people coming out of poverty, and being able to afford not to cook with dung.

In the rich world, most other environmental indicators have improved dramatically. All developed countries have slashed their outdoor air pollution and handled much of their water pollution, while even strongly regulating small risks like pesticides and other chemical fears. In the developed world, rivers just don’t catch fire as the Cuyahoga River did just before the first Earth Day.

In the developing world, the overall environment has also gotten better because of the dramatic drop in indoor air pollution. Outdoor air pollution has risen — but this only confirms a long-standing finding that some environmental indicators tend to first get worse, then better, with economic development.

Essentially, poor countries are trading off economic development for outdoor air pollution. This prosperity buys food, education and vaccines for their kids, while electricity eradicates indoor air pollution. And as they get richer, they can also afford to protect more nature and cut pollution. In some of the richest developing countries, such as Chile and Mexico, outdoor air pollution is now declining.

But we still don’t tackle global warming. That is why many Earth Day messages will ignore the pervasive evidence for progress and emphasize deterioration and collapse. The assumption seems to be that a little extra doom and gloom will help mobilize more attention to improve the environment.

Yet shrill messaging simply reinforces panic, which impedes our ability to make smart choices. To tackle the world’s biggest environmental problem, indoor air pollution, we need to help the world’s 1.2 billion stuck in abject poverty.

In just three decades, China has lifted 680 million people out of poverty. It did so not with solar panels or wind turbines, but through a dramatic rise in access to modern energy, mostly powered by coal.

Panic only brings expensive, inefficient global-warming policies, like solar and wind. These cost $60 billion in subsidies but provide less than 1 percent of global energy. At best, they’ll provide just 3.5 percent in a generation’s time.

Instead we should invest much more resources in research to innovate the next generations of green energy. If we can eventually make green technologies cheaper than fossil fuels, everyone will switch. This means dramatically lower carbon emissions while providing power for development to billions of poor.

This Earth Day, we should celebrate our success so far: Overall, we’ve solved more problems than we’ve created. Rather than give in to panic, let’s get our priorities right.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


23 April, 2014

Frustrated Greenie calls for a Fascist uprising

He forgets that Fascism was popular -- with the appeals of both nationalism and socialism behind it.  How popular would a movement that does its best to smash all modern life be?

Fuck Earth Day.

No, really. Fuck Earth Day. Not the first one, forty-four years ago, the one of sepia-hued nostalgia, but everything the day has since come to be: the darkest, cruelest, most brutally self-satirizing spectacle of the year.

Fuck it. Let it end here.

End the dishonesty, the deception. Stop lying to yourselves, and to your children. Stop pretending that the crisis can be “solved,” that the planet can be “saved,” that business more-or-less as usual—what progressives and environmentalists have been doing for forty-odd years and more—is morally or intellectually tenable. Let go of the pretense that “environmentalism” as we know it—virtuous green consumerism, affluent low-carbon localism, head-in-the-sand conservationism, feel-good greenwashed capitalism—comes anywhere near the radical response our situation requires.

So, yeah, I’ve had it with Earth Day—and the culture of progressive green denial it represents.

Let me tell you who I am: I’m a human being. I’m the father of two young children, a 14-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter, who face a deeply uncertain future on this planet. I’m a husband, a son, a brother—and a citizen. And, yes, I’m a journalist, and I’m an activist. And like more and more of us who are fighting for climate justice, I am engaged in a struggle—a struggle—for the fate of humanity and of life on Earth. Not a polite debate around the dinner table, or in a classroom, or an editorial meeting—or an Earth Day picnic. I’m talking about a struggle. A struggle for justice on a global scale. A struggle for human dignity and human rights for my fellow human beings, beginning with the poorest and most vulnerable, far and near. A struggle for my own children’s future—but not only my children, all of our children, everywhere. A life-and-death struggle for the survival of all that I love. Because that is what the climate fight and the fight for climate justice is. That’s what it is.

Because, I’m sorry, this is not a test. This is really happening. The Arctic and the glaciers are melting. The great forests are dying and burning. The oceans are rising and acidifying. The storms, the floods—the droughts and heat waves—are intensifying. The breadbaskets are parched and drying. And all of it faster and sooner than scientists predicted. The window in which to act is closing before our eyes.

Any discussion of the situation must begin by acknowledging the science and the sheer lateness of the hour—that the chance for any smooth, gradual transition has passed, that without radical change the kind of livable and just future we all want is simply inconceivable. The international community has, of course, committed to keeping the global temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above the preindustrial average—the level, we’re told, at which “catastrophic” warming can still be avoided (we’ve already raised it almost one degree, with still more “baked in” within coming decades). But there’s good reason to believe that a rise of two degrees will lead to catastrophic consequences. And of course, what’s “catastrophic” depends on where you live, and how poor you are, and more often than not the color of your skin. If you’re one of the billions of people who live in the poorest and most vulnerable places—from Bangladesh to Louisiana—even 1 degree can mean catastrophe.

But the world’s climate scientists and leading energy experts are telling us that unless the major economies drastically and immediately change course—leaving all but a small fraction of fossil fuel reserves in the ground over the next four decades—we are headed for a temperature rise of four or five or even six degrees C within this century. The World Bank has warned that four degrees “must be avoided.” But we’re not avoiding it. Global emissions are still rising each year. We’re plunging headlong toward the worst-case scenarios—critical global food and water shortages, rapid sea-level rise, social upheaval—and beyond.

The question is not whether we’re going to “stop” global warming, or “solve” the climate crisis; it is whether humanity will act quickly and decisively enough now to save civilization itself—in any form worth saving. Whether any kind of stable, humane and just future—any kind of just society—is still possible.

We know that if the governments of the world actually wanted to address this situation in a serious way, they could. Indeed, a select few, such as Germany, have begun to do so. It can be done—and at relatively low cost. And yet the fossil-fuel industry, and those who do its bidding, have been engaged in a successful decades-long effort to sow confusion, doubt and opposition—and to obstruct any serious policies that might slow the warming, or their profits, and buy us time.

As I’ve said elsewhere, let’s be clear about what this means: at this late date, given what we know and have known for decades, to willfully obstruct any serious response to global warming is to knowingly allow entire countries and cultures to disappear. It is to rob the poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet of their land, their homes, their livelihoods, even their lives and their children’s lives—and their children’s children’s lives. For money. For political power.

These are crimes. They are crimes against the Earth, and they are crimes against humanity.

What, are you shocked? The same industry, the same people committing these crimes—while we subsidize them for their trouble—have been getting away with murder along the fence lines and front lines for generations.

What is the proper response to this? How should I respond?

Remain calm, we’re told. No “scare tactics” or “hysterics,” please. Cooler heads will prevail. Enjoy the Earth Day festivities.

Fuck that.  The cooler heads have not prevailed. It’s been a quarter-century since the alarm was sounded. The cooler heads have failed.

You want sweet, cool-headed reason?  How about this? Masses of people—most of them young, a generation with little or nothing to lose—physically, nonviolently disrupting the fossil-fuel industry and the institutions that support it and abet it. Getting in the way of business as usual. Forcing the issue. Finally acting as though we accept what the science is telling us.

Um, isn’t that a bit extreme? you ask.  Really? You want extreme? Business as usual is extreme. Just ask a climate scientist. The building is burning. The innocents—the poor, the oppressed, the children, your own children—are inside. And the American petro state is spraying fuel, not water, on the flames. That’s more than extreme. It’s homicidal. It’s psychopathic. It’s fucking insane.

Coming to grips with the climate crisis is hard. A friend of mine says it’s like walking around with a knife in your chest. I couldn’t agree more.

So I ask again, in the face of this situation, how does one respond? Many of us, rather than retreat into various forms of denial and fatalism, have reached the conclusion that something more than “environmentalism” is called for, and that a new kind of movement is the only option. That the only thing, at this late hour, offering any chance of averting an unthinkable future—and of getting through the crisis that’s already upon us—is the kind of radical social and political movement that has altered the course of history in the past. A movement far less like contemporary environmentalism and far more like the radical human rights, social justice and liberation struggles of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Does that sound hopelessly naïve to you? Trust me, I get it. I know. I know how it sounds.

And yet here I am. Because I also know that abolishing slavery sounded hopeless and naïve in 1857, when Frederick Douglass spoke of struggle.

What I’m talking about is not a fight to “solve the climate crisis.” That’s not possible anymore. But neither is it simply a fight for human survival—because there are oppressive and dystopian forms of survival, not to mention narcissistic ones, that aren’t worth fighting for.

What I’m talking about is both a fight for survival and a fight for justice—for even the possibility of justice. It’s a fight that transcends environmentalism. It requires something of us beyond the usual politics and proposals, the usual pieties. It requires the kind of commitment you find in radical movements—the kind of struggles, from abolition to women’s, labor and civil rights, that have made possible what was previously unimaginable.

Because our global crisis—not merely environmental but moral and spiritual—is fundamental: it strikes to the root of who we are. It’s a radical situation, requiring a radical response. Not merely radical in the sense of ideology, but a kind of radical necessity. It requires us to find out who we really are—and, nonviolently, in the steps of Gandhi and King and many others, to act. In some cases, to lay everything—everything—on the line.

And it requires us to be honest, with one another and with ourselves, about the situation we face. We’ll never have a movement radical enough, or humane enough, until we are.

That is, until Earth Day is buried—and a day of reckoning begins.


A dialogue with Dr Leonard Weinstein

Retired NASA Scientist Dr. Leonard Weinstein declared that the global warming doctrine had no clothes back in 2009.  Weinstein worked 35 years at the NASA Langley Research Center, finishing his career there as a Senior Research Scientist.  So it is good to hear that he is still going strong.  The dialogue below is from a recent email correspondence with Rick Loberger


I retired from NASA in 2007, and this blog was posted 2009. However, there was not any NASA policy on the issue. In fact many of the top NASA people are skeptics of significant human caused global warming. This includes the former NASA administrator, Michael Griffin, many of the astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin and Harrison Schmitt and several others, and many of the original Apollo support team. In fact a group of them sent a letter to congress objecting to the government position. In addition, several petitions were made by thousands of scientists (over 30,000 in one case including 9,000 PhD's) that gave skeptics positions. I am enclosing some lists in a zip file, including a more recent ppt by Burt Rutan with more info.

The main stream media and government, and many collages, have fed a one sided position that makes most people think the issue is settled, but that is a big lie. I, as well as many of the worlds top scientists consider the current positions to be one of the biggest scientific scandals in history, where some well meaning scientists jumped to a conclusion, and socialist leaning governments jumped on board and started to force the issue.

Keep in mind that essentially no proposal to prove AGW wrong is funded or allowed to be published, so all proposals and funding is directed to support a lie that is becoming impossible to maintain.

In a few years the issue will explode. I do expect a modest ENSO to occur this year, so a small temperature spike will likely occur. However this will probably be followed by La Nina (resulting in cooling), and the average global temperature by 2020 will likely be flat to down for over 20 years. This would support  the claims of human caused problems as being wrong.

Rick Loberger:

I appreciate your response and would agree on what you are espousing. I am a supervisor for and find it frustrating that when it comes to global warming issues, only one position is allowed to be stated, despite the ability to back up an alternative position.

Like you, I tend to believe that the current warming we believe to have experienced is not out of lines of natural events. It appears to me to be more of a political issue to force lifestyle modifications on unwitting participants that are unable or unwilling to look at facts.

I have been an engineer working with various aspects of alternative energy and get very frustrated when I see specs for items I am dealing with being displayed. Our solar applications, for example, can not reach 60% of what is being claimed. I was involved with a wind farm in northern Michigan a few years ago. The Governor demanded we add a "return on investment" display in the marina to show the energy payback of the three million dollar system. When he saw it showing that the payback was still sixty years away and two of the four towers had maintenance techs working on them, he agreed to let us shut the display down.

Sadly this is not that uncommon. UW- Milwaukee has a solar collection system that is equally terrible in terms of payback. I was showing my 18 year old daughter the system and the fact that payback was still fifty years away and a student walking by informed us that the administration told them it was already at a positive position in terms of generating income. How does one even begin to explain to "minds of mush" that a solar collection system can not possibly be neutral in terms of payback in under a year?

It is refreshing to see that some people still are able to use logic. I do thank you for responding. I honestly needed the pep talk and you were a bright spot in my day. I hope I did not bore you, or eat up your time foolishly. It is a weird coincidence that we even talked, but I am very glad I had the opportunity to email you.

Thanks for your assistance. I actually meant more than you know.

Via email

EPA Chief Flying to 5 Cities to Urge Carbon Reduction

 EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is flying around the country this week to "ask Americans to act on climate change through simple actions to reduce carbon pollution in their daily lives," a news release said.

Her first stop is New York City, where she will appear on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart Monday night to plug President Obama's Climate Action Plan, which supposedly will "slow the effects of climate change and leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations."

On Tuesday, Earth Day, McCarthy will be in her home state of Massachusetts, appearing first at the New England Aquarium, and later, throwing out the first pitch at the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park. McCarthy is an avid Red Sox fan, according to the EPA website.

Wednesday, it's on to Cleveland for a press conference on the health impacts of air pollution. McCarthy also will deliver the keynote address at a climate meeting.

Thursday, McCarthy will join the Hip Hop Caucus "Act on Climate Tour" in Atlanta, where she'll "speak about the disproportionate impacts and the costs of climate change" on poor communities.

McCarthy winds up her tour Friday in Memphis, Tenn.

As the EPA advises Americans to reduce their carbon footprint, McCarthy herself is a frequent user of carbon-emitting conveyances.

According to a "day in the life" feature on the EPA's website, McCarthy "keeps a small apartment near EPA headquarters," but "almost every weekend McCarthy travels back to Boston, to her home and her husband."

Last week, McCarthy traveled to Taiwan and Vietnam to promote continued cooperation on various environmental issues.

As part of this week's tour, McCarthy will urge Americans to take what the EPA calls "simple actions," such as "changing a light bulb, powering down electronics, using less water and recycling." By doing those things, the press release said, "we can all reduce carbon pollution."


Could biofuels be HARMING the environment? Ethanol produces MORE CO2 emissions than petrol, study claims

In a blow to ‘green’ fuel campaigners, a recent study has shown that biofuels made from the leftovers of corn plants are worse than petrol in releasing harmful emissions.

The find directly challenges both European and U.S. policymakers who claim biofuels are a much cleaner oil alternative and could help combat climate change.

But a $500,000 (£297,000) by the U.S. government claims that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 per cent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional petrol.

While biofuels are better in the long run, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln study claims they won't meet a standard set in a 2007 U.S. energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

However, the biofuel industry and U.S. administration immediately criticised the research as flawed.

They said it was too simplistic in its analysis of carbon loss from soil, which can vary over a single field, and vastly overestimated how much residue farmers actually would remove once the market gets underway.

'The core analysis depicts an extreme scenario that no responsible farmer or business would ever employ because it would ruin both the land and the long-term supply of feedstock.  It makes no agronomic or business sense,’ said Jan Koninckx, global business director for biorefineries at DuPont.

Later this year the company is scheduled to finish a $200 million (£119 million) facility in Nevada, Iowa, that will produce 30 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol using corn residue from nearby farms.

An assessment paid for by DuPont said that the ethanol it will produce there could be more than 100 per cent better than gasoline in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

The research is among the first to attempt to quantify, over 12 Corn Belt states, how much carbon is lost to the atmosphere when the stalks, leaves and cobs that make up residue are removed and used to make biofuel, instead of left to naturally replenish the soil with carbon.

The study found that regardless of how much corn residue is taken off the field, the process contributes to global warming.

‘I knew this research would be contentious,’ said Adam Liska, the lead author and an assistant professor of biological systems engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. ‘I'm amazed it has not come out more solidly until now.'


Ian Plimer returns to the fray

He has a new book due out next month called NOT fOR GREENS with the subheading:  "He who sups with the Devil should have a long spoon". It is a A full frontal attack on Greens, their climate and energy policy etc etc. Quite a bit on US energy policy, fracking and US coal.  Price: $29.95.  The blurb is below

The processes required to make a humble stainless steel teaspoon are remarkably complicated and every stage involves risk, coal, energy, capital, international trade and finance. Stainless steel cutlery has taken thousands of years of experimentation and knowledge to evolve and the end result is that we can eat without killing ourselves with bacteria. We are in the best times to have ever lived on planet Earth and the future will only be better. All this we take for granted.

Greens may have started as genuine environmentalists. Much of the green movement has now morphed into an unelected extremist political pressure group accountable to no one. Greens create problems, many of which are concocted, and provide no solutions because of a lack of basic knowledge. This book examines green policies in the light of established knowledge and shows that they are unrealistic.

Policies by greens adopted by supine governments have resulted in rising costs, increased taxes, political instability, energy poverty, decreased longevity and provide no solutions because of a lack of basic knowledge. This book examines green policies in the light of established knowledge and shows that they are unrealistic.

Policies by greens adopted by supine governments have resulted in rising costs, increased taxes, political instability, energy poverty, decreased longevity and environmental degradation and they don’t achieve their ideological aims. Wind, solar and biomass energy emit more carbon dioxide than they save and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions does nothing to change climate and only empties the pocket. No stainless steel teaspoon could be made using green “alternative energy”.

This book argues that unless the greens live sustainably in caves in the forest and use no trappings of the modern world, then they should be regarded as hypocrites and treated with the disdain they deserve.


The Richer We Get, The Greener We’ll Become

Viscount Ridley

In the past 50 years, world per capita income roughly trebled in real terms, corrected for inflation. If it continues at this rate (and globally the great recession of recent years was a mere blip) then it will be nine times as high in 2100 as it was in 2000, at which point the average person in the world will be earning three times as much as the average Briton earns today.

I make this point partly to cheer you up on Easter Monday about the prospects for your great-grandchildren, partly to start thinking about what that world will be like if it were to happen, and partly to challenge those who say with confidence that the future will be calamitous because of climate change or environmental degradation. The curious thing is that they only predict disaster by assuming great enrichment. But perversely, the more enrichment they predict, the greater the chance (they also predict) that we will solve our environmental problems.

Past performance is no guide to future performance, of course, and a well aimed asteroid could derail any projection. But I am not the one doing the extrapolating. In 2012, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to generate five projections for the economy of the world, and of individual countries, in 2050 and 2100.

They make fascinating reading. The average per capita income of the world in 2100 is projected to be between three and 20 times what it is today in real terms. The OECD’s “medium” scenario, known as SSP2, also known as “middle of the road” or “muddling through”, sounds pretty dull. It is a world in which, in the OECD’s words, “trends typical of recent decades continue” with “slowly decreasing fossil fuel dependency”, uneven development of poor countries, delayed achievement of Millennium Development Goals, disappointing investment in education and “only intermediate success in addressing air pollution or improving energy access for the poor”.

And yet this is a world in which by 2100 the global average income per head has increased 13-fold to $100,000 (in 2005 dollars) compared with $7,800 today. Britain will be very slightly below that average by then, yet has still trebled its income per head. According to this middling scenario, the average citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who today earns $300 a year, will then earn $42,000, or roughly what an American earns today. The average Indonesian, Brazilian or Chinese will be at least twice as rich as today’s American.

Remember this is in today’s money, corrected for inflation, but people will be spending it on tomorrow’s technologies, most of which will be cleverer, cleaner and kinder to the environment than today’s — and all for the same price. Despite its very modest assumptions, it is an almost unimaginable world: picture Beverly Hills suburbs in Kinshasa where pilotless planes taxi to a halt by gravel drives (or something equally futuristic). Moreover, the OECD reckons that inequality will have declined, because people in poor countries will have been getting rich faster than people in rich countries, as is happening now. All five storylines produce a convergence, though at different rates, between the incomes of poor and rich countries.

Can the planet survive this sort of utopian plutocracy? Actually, here it gets still more interesting. The IPCC has done its own projections to see what sort of greenhouse gas emissions these sorts of world would produce, and vice versa. The one that produces the lowest emissions is the one with the highest income per head in 2100 — a 16-fold increase in income but lower emissions than today: climate change averted. The one that produces the highest emissions is the one with the lowest GDP — a mere trebling of income per head. Economic growth and ecological improvement go together. And it is not mainly because environmental protection produces higher growth, but vice versa. More trade, more innovation and more wealth make possible greater investment in low-carbon energy and smarter adaptation to climate change. Next time you hear some green, doom-mongering Jeremiah insisting that the only way to avoid Armageddon is to go back to eating home-grown organic lentils cooked over wood fires, ask him why it is that the IPCC assumes the very opposite.

In the IPCC’s nightmare high-emissions scenario, with almost no cuts to emissions by 2100, they reckon there might be north of 4 degrees of warming. However, even this depends on models that assume much higher “climate sensitivity” to carbon dioxide than the consensus of science now thinks is reasonable, or indeed than their own expert assessment assumes for the period to 2035.

And in this storyline, by 2100 the world population has reached 12 billion, almost double what it was in 2000. This is unlikely, according to the United Nations: 10.9 billion is reckoned more probable. With sluggish economic growth, the average income per head has (only) trebled. The world economy is using a lot of energy, improvements in energy efficiency having stalled, and about half of it is supplied by coal, whose use has increased tenfold, because progress in other technologies such as shale gas, solar and nuclear has been disappointing.

I think we can all agree that this is a pretty unlikely future. It’s roughly like projecting forward from 1914 to a wealthy 2000 but with more people, lots more horse-drawn carriages and coal-fuelled steamships, and no clean-air acts. But the point is that making these sorts of assumption is the only way you can get to really high levels of carbon dioxide in 2100. And even so, remember, the average person is three times as rich. If the food supply had collapsed and fossil fuels had run out, then there would hardly be 12 billion people burning ten times as much coal and living like kings, would there? You cannot have it both ways.

These IPCC and OECD reports are telling us clear as a bell that we cannot ruin the climate with carbon dioxide unless we get a lot more numerous and richer. And they are also telling us that if we get an awful lot richer, we are likely to have invented the technologies to adapt, and to reduce our emissions, so we are then less likely to ruin the planet. Go figure.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


22 April, 2014

Global warming as an evangelical faith

This could almost be a spoof but I don't think it is

I have always had the feeling that my life was lacking in a way. That I was not doing enough of something. Yet, I could not figure out what that something was. It was a void that needed to be filled.

I remember when climate change was only a word to me. I remember when recycling was only a chore to do.

I remember all this so well because it was only fours months ago that I started to care about what climate change actually meant.

My sociology professor, whom I now consider to be a friend, first formally introduced me to the concept of climate change. At first, I thought that climate change was just a part of my sociology class—something that we would be done with after a few classes. However, that was not the case.

After several weeks of discussing the topic, I realized that climate change was more than that to my professor. For him, it was a passion and he felt an obligation to make his students also feel passionate about it.

I come from a country that is considered one of the richest in the world. A country where temperatures rise high enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk. I was raised in Saudi Arabia.

Climate change has never been a topic on the tongues of the students of Saudi Arabia. I cannot recall once ever hearing about climate change from my teachers, friends, classmates or family. This tells me that there is a huge population oblivious to what is happening around the world.

As a country that produces most of the fossil fuel distributed throughout the world, it is no surprise that climate change is never discussed in Saudi Arabia. That would be like admitting that the Saudi government has left a huge carbon footprint.

Since I only had a rudimentary understanding of climate change, I began researching more about it. I came across several talks on the topic by people I had never heard of before. One of them stood out to me. When talking about climate change, this person had a look on her face that I did not see on others. She had a look that was very familiar to me. In no time at all I remembered where I had seen that look before. It was the same look my professor had when he spoke about climate change. It was the look of passion.

This person’s name is Rachel Kyte, who is the World Bank’s principal advocate for raising global awareness of climate change. Ms. Kyte has given many talks about climate change over the years, and is helping inspire a social change in the world. Her speeches are inspirational. I remember thinking, how can I be like this person?

A week later, I was granted an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime. Have you ever wished you had the chance to meet someone and were granted that chance? My professor gave me that chance. He had sent me an invitation to attend the Connect4Climate screening of Years of Living Dangerously at the World Bank. The film was a preview of a new television series on climate change.

I could not believe how lucky I was. I immediately accepted the invitation and on the day of the screening I arrived at the World Bank a little bit ahead of time in the hope that I would be able to talk to Ms. Kyte. Unfortunately, I was not able to find her then. I was ushered to a seat in the auditorium, where I waited eagerly for the talk to begin. I sat straighter than I usually do and became stiff as a board.

While waiting I realized that there are a lot more people than I thought who are interested in the cause as of climate change. I realized that I was not fighting for lost cause. I felt supported.

The event started with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim stating facts about how he and his organization are trying to deal with climate change. After his talk, he invited three people on stage for a discussion about the importance of climate change and what we might expect to happen to the world if nothing is done to combat it. Ms. Kyte was moderator of the discussion.

The film that followed was something that can only be described as a dream. I could not believe what I was watching. It portrayed the world we live in the today, and the catastrophes that are happening all around us because of climate change. The movie contained many famous people who are also interested in the battle against humans’ constant greed, which is killing the very planet we live on.

The movie screening ended with a round of applause from the audience. I on the other hand had a hard time looking up. I was extremely emotional. The movie had a lot of elements that would have made a stonehearted man break down in tears. I managed to compose myself. I was determined to get a word in with Ms. Kyte.

After wriggling myself between reporters, I finally managed to reach her only to be dumbstruck. I had a small speech prepared on how much she has inspired me but was only able to stutter a bit. Somehow, I managed to compose myself and was able to say a few words to her about that. I was also able to pluck up the courage to ask her if she would be photographed with me. She was happy to oblige.
worldbankclimateRachel Kyte, the World Bank’s principal advocate for raising global awareness of climate change, with Suleiman Ahmad Allauddin Khan. Photo credit: Ivan Bruce / Connect4Climate

After leaving the auditorium I had a funny feeling in my gut. Walking past a glass window I saw a smile on my face that looked a bit out of place. After a few minutes I was able to put on a more socially acceptable smile.

I made my way to the small feast our hosts had put together for us. I was greeted by my professor and one of my classmates. My professor was also surrounded by two of his former students. As soon as I was introduced to them I felt an instant connection form between us. We shared the same cause and had the same inspiration.

After leaving my professors side I was struck with a new realization. I realized that the people who had attended the screening with me were not only from the U.S. There were people from China, Poland, India, Italy, Ivory, Coast, South Africa and even a fellow Saudi Arabian.

To see that there were people at the event from all over the world helped encourage me to stand firm and pursue my cause for as long as I my bones and muscles will allow me. To see a fellow countryman at the event was evidence enough that these people managed to get the word across the world. More and more people were becoming aware of our cause.

Suddenly I knew what I could do to help. I knew that I had to spread the word, to inspire as many people as I can. I decided that I would take on my professor’s legacy and enlighten the minds of people about the dangers of climate change.

I left the World Bank a new person. I left with a new purpose in life. I left with a cause.


Obama's War on U.S. Energy

 By Alan Caruba

A nation without adequate energy production is a nation in decline and that has been the President’s agenda since the day he took office in 2009. He even announced his war on coal during the 2008 campaign even though, at the time, it was providing fifty percent of the electricity being utilized.

It’s useful to know that the U.S. has huge coal reserves, enough to provide energy for hundreds of years and reduce our debt through its export to nations such as Japan. It increased coal-fired power generation by ten percent in 2013 while Germany’s coal use reached the highest level since 1990. Both China and India are increasing the use of coal. So why is coal unwelcome in the U.S.? Because Obama says so.

On April 15, the White House held a “Solar Summit” to continue promoting subsidies for solar panels and the Obama Energy Department has announced another $15 million in “solar market pathways” to fund local government’s use of solar energy. Its “Capital Solar Challenge” is directing federal agencies, military bases, and other federally subsidized buildings to use solar power.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, “solar energy provides two-tenths of one percent of the total energy consumed in the United States. While the amount of solar electricity capacity in the U.S. has increased in recent years…it still only accounts for 0.1% of net electricity generated…the least among the renewable sources of hydroelectric, biomass, wind and solar.”

So, in addition to the millions lost in earlier loans to solar companies like Solyndra that failed not long after pocketing our tax dollars, Obama is using the power of the federal government to waste more money on this unpredictable—the Sun only shines in the daytime and clouds can get in the way—source of energy whose “solar farms” take up many acres just to provide a faction of what a coal-fired or natural gas powered plant does.

This isn’t some loony environmental theory at work although the Greens oppose all manner of energy provision and use whether it is coal, oil or natural gas. This is a direct attack on the provision of energy, fueled by any source, that America needs to function and meeting the needs of its population, manufacturing, and all other uses.

The most recent example of this is the further extension of the delay on the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. That too is part of Obama’s war on energy for the nation, but it may also have something to do with the fact that the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad owns all of the rail lines in the U.S. connecting to western Canada. They haul 80% or more of the crude oil from Canada to the Midwest and Texas, earning a tidy sum in the process. It is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, a major contributor to Democrat causes and candidates. The Keystone XL pipeline could divert more than $2 billion a year and if its delay is not crony capitalism, nothing is.
This is what the Sierra Club is telling its members and supporters as of Monday, April 21: “Keystone XL means cancer. It means wolf blood spilled. And it’s nothing short of a climate disaster.” It is a lie from start to finish.

Keystone has become a political issue and the announcement by the Obama State Department that is giving agencies “additional time” to approve its construction due to ongoing litigation before the Nebraska Supreme Court that could affect its route brought forth protests from red-state Democrats in Congress who even threatened to find ways to go around the President to get the project approved. Eleven Democratic senators have written to the President to urge him to make a final decision by the end of May. Some of them will be up for reelection in the November midterm elections.

Even Congress, though, seems incapable of over-ruling or overcoming Obama’s war on the provision of energy sources. In early April, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released new data showing that federal onshore oil and natural gas leases and drilling permits are at the lowest levels in more than a decade. Leases to companies exploring the potential of oil and natural gas reserves were down in 2013 from 1.8 million acres the year before to 1.2 million, the smallest area since records began to be maintained in 1988!

We have a President who gives daily evidence of his contempt both for those who voted for him and those who did not. His anti-energy agenda impacts on the creation of jobs, causes manufacturing to delay expansion or to go off-shore, reduces the revenue the government needs to reduce its debts and deficits, and drives up the cost of energy for everyone.

And he is doing this in one of the most energy-rich nations on the planet.


Another "Green" disaster

"Green" street-lighting in Britain

When Andy Richards saw a dazzling light beaming through his bedroom window, his first thought was of alien invasion. ‘It was like The Day Of The Triffids,’ he says. ‘This brilliant white glare.’

Opening his curtains, he realised the source was more mundane. It came from the street light outside the two-bedroom home he shares with his wife Kate in Chiswick, West London.

Unbeknown to the couple, Hounslow council had installed LED lamp-heads on the street lights along their quiet residential road. The gentle, golden glow of the old lamps has been replaced by a harsh beam which, they say, makes it impossible for them to sleep.

So desperate have the couple become, they have taped a large pieces of black cardboard to their windows.

‘It’s like a World War II blackout,’ says Andy, a 61-year-old record producer, who has lived on the street for 25 years. ‘It was the only thing we could do. We’ve had three miserable weeks without sleep.’

The council claims LED lights were chosen because they use less energy, so they are cheaper to operate and more environmentally friendly than conventional sodium bulbs.

After several weeks of pestering from Andy — he started texting local councillor Colin Ellar, a proponent of the new system, at 2am ‘so that he knew what it was like to go without sleep’ — the council has agreed to dim the lights for a trial period.

However, despite the protestations of the Richardses and their neighbours, the council won’t be reconsidering its plan to replace almost 16,000 lights across the borough. And Hounslow isn’t the only council eagerly embracing LED street lights. Across Britain, local authorities have fallen for the new ‘energy efficient’ lighting.

Bury council in Manchester has announced plans to change 11,000 street lights on 1,850 side-roads throughout the borough by 2017.

Similar schemes are under way at Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire and Blackburn in Lancashire, as well as parts of Birmingham, Sheffield, Gloucestershire and Glasgow.

And the picturesque Norfolk town of Fakenham can be seen in a whole new light — literally — thanks to the instalment of 30 LED lamps in the town centre.

Fans of LED lamps, which first appeared on British streets in 2011, point to the environmental and financial advantages they offer.

While conventional sodium street lamps light up when an electric current is passed through lithium gas, making it glow, lamps powered by LEDs — light-emitting diodes — glow when current passes through a solid material such as gallium, known as a semiconductor.

They use up to 60 per cent  less energy than sodium lamps and are said to last up to eight times longer, reducing maintenance costs and halving electricity bills.

They are also easy to operate. LEDs produce light immediately when they are switched on rather than taking time to heat up, and can be controlled remotely via digital sensors.

It has even been claimed that their bright ‘floodlight-style’ beams will deter criminals.

Yet wherever LED lights are installed, they leave residents in uproar.

In Llandough, Wales, locals have organised a petition to have their recently installed LED street lights removed and replaced with the originals.

Last year, Bath council was forced temporarily to stop replacing the city’s street lamps with LEDs and hold a public consultation, so vociferous were complaints after the first 2,000 were erected.

And in Trafford, Manchester, residents have threatened to take their council to court if it continues with plans to replace all its 27,000 street lights.

But why are the objections so strong? If the lights can, as Hounslow council promises, be dimmed  if necessary — and if they use less energy, save money and reduce crime — what is so wrong with the new system?

Rather a lot, it turns out. Because, it seems that in their rush to embrace the new ‘green’ technology, Britain’s councils have ignored several serious health issues.

Studies have indicated that LED lights disrupt sleep by suppressing the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone which governs our sleep patterns. All light consists of different colour combinations, and visible light falls on a rainbow-like spectrum, which extends from red to blue. Natural light combines all the colours of the spectrum, but the light given off by LEDs is overwhelmingly blue.

Too much ‘blue light’ suppresses our biological clock, resulting in lower-quality sleep. This in turn increases the likelihood of heart disease, obesity and diabetes. It damages the immune system and leaves sufferers vulnerable to depression and anxiety.

It has even been suggested that too much exposure to LED light causes blindness. Last year, a Spanish study suggested that the light emitted by LED bulbs can damage cells in the retina. By way of illustrating just how potent their glare can be, consider that LED lights are generally banned in art galleries because they bleach the paint on works on display.

‘They are dangerous and potentially damaging,’ says Simon Nicholas, a 53-year-old chartered engineer who successfully campaigned to stop LED lights being erected in Trafford until further research is done.

Certainly, there was no inquiry into the health implications of the lights before they were installed in Chiswick. Indeed, councillor Colin Ellar claims to have been unaware of the dangers, which were widely reported, until a few days ago. Meanwhile, those affected by councils’ new-found zeal for the LED bulbs are questioning just how much taxpayers’ money they will, ultimately, save.

Roderick Binns, 65, who lives a few doors away from Andy and Kate, says his council bills  have increased.  ‘It doesn’t feel as though any reduction is being passed on.’

In fact, the initial cost of installing LED lamps is remarkably high. Replacing Trafford’s lights would cost £9.3?million. Although in some instances the bulbs can be installed on top of posts that are already in place, in others installing LED involves ripping down and replacing the entire lamp frame, at a cost of about £500 a unit.

Essex County Council was recently forced to halt plans to replace its lamps when it emerged that the work involved would cost a staggering £31?million.

Even with the energy savings the lights should bring, it could take 20 years for installation costs to be recouped.

Simon Nicholas, who campaigned against the lights in Trafford, says: ‘If you were saving energy at home, would you buy a new £500 unit or put a low-watt bulb in? Why can’t they just do that?’

Roderick Binns, a property consultant, says that residents in Chiswick could actually lose money because the unsightly lights might affect the value of their homes.

‘For those right in front of a light, they’re a negative, not a positive,’ he says.

What’s more, contradicting the claim that bright LED light would lower crime rates, some say the lights may in fact increase antisocial behaviour.

Studies into the effect of lighting on crime have produced mixed results. LED lamps tend to focus their light on one particular spot instead of diffusing light evenly, as their predecessors did. As a result, they leave some patches of street and pavement almost entirely unlit — and potentially vulnerable to criminals.

‘It doesn’t make sense,’ says Les Godwin, a councillor in Prestbury, Chesire, who is opposing the introduction of LEDs in his neighbourhood. ‘If you have a well-lit area and you turn it into one with dark parts, that can’t be good.’

Councillor Ellar admits that, as well as receiving complaints over the brightness of the lights, he has been told by residents ‘in around 25 instances’ that coverage where they live is so patchy, the streets are now too dimly lit.

Above all, what appears to have angered people is that LED lamps, like so many other modern innovations, are an ugly and potentially harmful blot on the urban landscape.

‘The colour rendering is awful,’ says Roderick Binns.  ‘Street lamps usually give a kind of gentle glow but this is a harsh white light. It’s very off-putting.’

In Manchester, the lights have been nicknamed ‘UFO lamps’ because of their unforgiving glare.

Given that some of Britain’s lampposts date back to the 19th century, ripping them down in large numbers is a rather poignant loss to local historians.  As Simon Nicholas puts it: ‘You wouldn’t rip down historic statues. It’s vandalism.

‘It’s a matter for central government — at the moment nobody’s paying attention and nobody’s stopping this. It’s worrying.’

Until then, it will be down to determined home-owners like him to protect their streets from the invasion of the UFO lamps.


Gore prefers abuse to facts

Al Gore flew across the Pacific to the Aloha State last week – no word on how big his carbon footprint was – to proclaim of the climate debate, “Ultimately, we are going to win this thing.” It's imperative, he explained: “Our way of life is at stake, our grandchildren are at stake, the future of civilization is at stake,” and those with contrary views are simply “immoral, unethical and despicable.”

Such rhetoric has been preached for decades now, only alarmists' clamor has grown as the debate takes a decided turn. Public support for this hoax is rapidly cooling, prompting even more extreme scaremongering.

Earth is nearing two decades of no observed global warming, the U.S. hasn't been struck by a major hurricane in nearly a decade, tornadoes in the Heartland occur at a historically low rate, the Great Lakes are still nearly 40% ice covered as of April 17, global sea ice is above average, and Antarctic ice extent continues to shatter daily records. But who needs facts when you can slander your opponents?


Corporate Welfare Painted Green

Silicon Valley electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors is both a victim and victimizer. It is a victim of laws enacted in Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Virginia that prohibit automakers from selling directly to consumers. (New York and Ohio will soon join the list.) Tesla is also a victimizer—a corporate welfare queen whose business model relies on a $465 million federal loan, Chinese government-subsidized lithium-ion batteries, and a California government-created “marketplace” for clean-air credits. As Independent Institute Senior Fellow Benjamin W. Powell notes, both kinds of victimization—the prohibitions and the subsidies—harm the public.

The bans on manufacturer-to-consumer auto sales harm consumers by reducing competition for the benefit of auto dealers. The government subsidies harm the taxpayers who are forced to fund them. But what about the environmental benefits of zero-emissions vehicles? The notion that Tesla’s electric cars can curb carbon dioxide emissions overall is pure fantasy, according to Powell. It’s a case of looking only at one locale while ignoring the effects on activity elsewhere in the world.

“To the extent that more widespread use of electric cars in the United States lessens our demand for oil, it depresses the price of oil compared to what it would have been, and simply leads to greater oil consumption in other parts of the world,” Powell writes. Tesla is a technological innovator—and a crony capitalist. To determine whether it is truly a market innovator, it would have to forego government subsidies and succeed on a level playing field. “If the government left the auto industry alone, market prices would dictate which technologies should go into the production of automobiles and how those cars should be delivered to consumers,” Powell continues. “Some companies would win and some would lose, but all consumers would be better off.”


Climate Change Views Approach a Tipping Point

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide later this year whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency can use the risk of global warming as the basis for curtailing coal-generated electricity. According to Independent Institute Research Fellow S. Fred Singer, the Court could bring about a paradigm shift away from climate alarmism—if it cites the growing number of studies that challenge the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Those studies, collected and republished by the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), look closely at the biological and societal impacts of climate change as well as the physical science that informs—or should inform—the public-policy debate. The NIPCC finds that the human contribution to global climate change is very small and practically indistinguishable from natural variability; that modest temperature rises have been and will continue to have positive effects overall on flora, fauna, and human welfare; that the cost of mitigation through emissions reductions would far exceed any benefits; and that the many laws and regulations already adopted to combat global warming now merit re-evaluation, modification, or repeal.

The Supreme Court decision could reverse momentum for more greenhouse gas restrictions. But if the Court sides with coal regulators, the odds will increase for a treaty to come out of next year’s Paris conference on climate change. The adoption and enforcement of such a treaty would hardly be a sure thing, however. “So far, only Western Europe seems to be keen on ratifying [a greenhouse-gas treaty]—and even there, doubts are developing,” Singer writes. “Eastern Europe is definitely against any new Protocol, as are Japan, Australia, and Canada.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


21 April, 2014

EPA’s Tower of Pisa policies

Using lies to shore up policies built on shaky foundations of climate, peak oil and sustainability

Paul Driessen

Built on a foundation of sand, the Leaning Tower of Pisa would have toppled over long ago, if not for ingenious engineering projects that keep it from tilting any further. The same thing is true of ethanol, automobile mileage, power plant pollution and many other environmental policies.

Not only are they built on flimsy foundations of peak oil, sustainability and dangerous manmade climate change. They are perpetuated by garbage in-garbage out computer models and a system that rewards activists, politicians, bureaucrats and corporations that support the hypotheses and policies.

At the heart of this system is the increasingly secretive and deceptive U.S. Environmental Protection Administration. Among its perpetrators are two ideologically driven regulators who are responsible for many of today’s excessive environmental regulations. When the corruption is combined with the EPA’s history of regulatory overkill and empire building, it paints a portrait of an agency that is out of control.

EPA’s culture of misconduct has already raised congressional hackles over the misuse of government credit cards (a recent EPA audit found that 93% of purchases were personal and contrary to agency guidelines); former regional EPA administrator (and now Sierra Club official) Al Amendariz wanting to “crucify” oil companies to make examples of them; and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who masqueraded as “Richard Windsor,” to avoid revelation and oversight of her emails with activists.

However, these sorry tales pale in comparison to damaging EPA malfeasance detailed in a new U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee minority staff report about convicted felon and con artist John Beale. This guy was convicted of bilking taxpayers out of $900,000 – by convincing EPA bosses and colleagues that he was a CIA agent, failing to show up for work for months, but continuing to receive his six-figure salary. However, these were minor transgressions compared to what he was not prosecuted for.

Beale has admitted he had no legislative or environmental policy experience prior to being hired. Yet he became the lead official for the nation’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone and Particulate Matter. He and Robert Brenner, his friend and immediate supervisor at EPA, concocted a nefarious plan that used manipulated scientific studies, faulty or even bogus regulatory cost assessments, “heavy-handed management of interagency review processes,” and even illegal experiments on human test subjects, to impose increasingly tougher, job-killing regulations on US industries.

One of Beale & Brenner’s first actions was to work with the American Lung Association in 1997 in a sue-and-settle arrangement, which led to ozone and particulate matter standards. This underhanded practice enables EPA officials to meet with environmentalist groups behind closed doors and agree to new proposed regulations. Later, the group files a “friendly suit,” and a court orders the agency to adopt the pre-arranged rules. Meanwhile, EPA awarded the ALA $20 million between 2001 and 2010. (Had a business had such an arrangement, it would likely have been prosecuted as an illegal kickback.)

The EPW Committee’s report notes that Beale & Brenner fine-tuned the sue-and-settle idea – and then intentionally overstated the benefits and understated the costs of new regulations. As a result, Beale & Brenner successfully rammed the PM2.5 and ozone standards through the EPA’s approval process and set the stage for myriad additional regulations that likewise did not receive appropriate scientific scrutiny.

In the case of PM2.5 soot particles, the ALA worked with Beale & Brenner to claim tougher regulations would eliminate up to 35,700 premature deaths and 1.4 million cases of aggravated asthma annually. Scientists questioned the figures and said EPA’s flawed research merely “assumed” a cause-and-effect relationship between soot and health effects, but failed to prove one. Indeed, EPA’s illegal experiments exposed people to “lethal” doses of soot, but harmed only an elderly woman with heart problems.

Beale & Brenner pressed on. Not only were the initial PM2.5 and ozone regulations put into effect, but the questionable and non-peer-reviewed data has been used repeatedly as the basis for additional regulations. According to the Senate report, “up to 80 percent of the benefits associated with all federal regulations are attributed to supposed PM 2.5 reductions… [and] the EPA has continued to rely upon the secret science … to justify the vast majority of all Clean Air Act regulations issued to this day.”

As a House subcommittee has pointed out, the long and growing list of EPA regulations involves costly changes to automobiles, trucks, ships, utilities, cement plants, refineries and gasoline, to name a few. The rules also raise consumer prices, eliminate jobs, and thus actually reduce human living standards, health and welfare – all of which EPA steadfastly ignores, in violation of federal laws and regulations.

Just one EPA industrial boiler emissions regulation will put as many as 16,000 jobs at risk for every $1 billion spent in upgrade or compliance costs, IHS Global Insight calculates. The Administration’s regulatory War on Coal, amply illustrated by President Obama’s call to bankrupt the coal industry in the name of alleged manmade climate change, could eliminate up to 16,600 direct and indirect jobs by 2015.

Despite the economic damage, EPA applauded Beale’s regulatory success, and he quickly became one of the federal government’s most powerful and highest paid employees. Even Administrator Gina McCarthy had a hand in advancing his fraudulent and pernicious career, when she appointed him to manage the office of Air and Radiation’s climate change and other international work in 2010.

Then in June 2011, Beale stopped going to work. Despite having filed no retirement papers, under an arrangement with McCarthy, he was allowed to continue receiving his salary. When she finally met with him 15 months later, he said he had no plans to retire.  Two months later, Beale’s long-term unexcused absence was finally referred to the Office of Inspector General for investigation.

After McCarthy became the EPA Administrator in July 2013, Beale pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to 32 months in federal prison. His partner-in-crime Brenner retired in 2011 before the agency could take action against him for accepting an illegal gift from a golfing buddy serving on the Clean Air Act Advisory Committee. But again, these crimes pale in comparison to the tens of billions of dollars that their junk science, sue-and-settle lawsuits and other actions have cost US businesses and families.

Now Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee are trying to get to the bottom of the Brenner-Beale-EPA “secret science” that has been used to justify so many regulations. On March 17, Sen. David Vitter (R- LA) sent a letter to Dr. Francesca Grifo, EPA’s Scientific Integrity Official, asking for the original scientific data and voicing concerns about EPA’s apparent violations of international guidelines for ensuring best practices and preventing scientific misconduct. EPA thus far is claiming the research and data are proprietary or the agency cannot find them. Teachers demand that students show their work; we should demand the same from EPA – especially since we pay for it.

The agency’s onslaught of carbon dioxide and other climate change regulations – including proposed rules on cow flatulence (!)  – is similarly founded on fraudulent EPA and IPCC reports, false and irrelevant claims of scientific “consensus,” and computer models that bear no relationship to temperature, hurricane, drought and other planetary realities. Even worse, it is on this flimsy, fraudulent, lawless foundation that our government’s costly, intrusive environmental and renewable energy policies are based – threatening our economy, employment, living standards and families.

Meanwhile, Ms. McCarthy is conducting business as usual. She recently presented her proposed EPA’s FY 2015 budget to Congress. She says the increased funding should be viewed as an “investment in maintaining a high performing environmental protection organization.” You cannot make this up.

Governors, attorneys general, state legislatures and private citizen groups need to initiate legal actions and demand full discovery of all relevant EPA documents. Congress too needs to take action. Along with one on the IRS targeting scandal, it needs to appoint a select committee or independent counsel to determine which data, computer models and studies EPA used – and which ones it ignored – in reaching its decisions.

Otherwise our nation’s downward economic slide, and distrust of government, will accelerate.

Via email

Try to Ignore Earth Day

By Alan Caruba

Try to ignore Earth Day, April 22. It won’t be easy. The print and broadcast media will engage in an orgy of environmental tall tales and the usual end-of-the-world predictions. It will scare the heck out of youngsters and bore the heck out of anyone old enough to know that we have had to endure the lies that hide the agendas that have driven the Greens since 1970 when the event was first proclaimed.

The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. It is the third planet from the Sun and fifth-largest of the eight other planets that orbit it. It is the only planet in our galaxy that has life on it and it has an abundance of mineral resources as well as water and the fecundity to grow crops and maintain livestock to sustain the human race.

The climate on Earth is entirely dependent on the natural cycles of the Sun. Despite four decades of being told that the Earth was going to heat up due to greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide and methane, we are currently in a cooling cycle and no child born since 1997 has ever experienced a single day of the dreaded “global warming.”

Humans play a very small role affecting the Earth’s climate although, for example, deforestration is one way it has affects it. Other than cutting down trees, another way is to put the government in charge of vast acres of forest. It has a long record of failing to manage them well to the point where diseases and pests render the trees so weak that wildfires wipe out what would otherwise have thrived.

Otherwise, the Earth is and always has a been a very volatile place, subject to a variety of extraordinary natural events such as hurricanes, tsunamis, blizzards, floods, droughts, tornadoes, and earthquakes. The only thing humans can do is clean up and rebuild.

What has mostly changed for humans has been the discovery of energy sources that have transformed and enhanced their lives. Coal, initially, followed by oil and natural gas. All are carbon based, but then, so are humans and other life forms.

The Greens call them “fossil fuels” and some refer to “dirty coal” or seek to demonize “Big Oil.” Between 2007 and 2012, three U.S. oil companies paid a total of $289.7 billion in corporate income taxes. Until the Obama administration took power, coal provided fifty percent of all the electricity Americans used. Completely bogus “science” cited by the Environmental Protection Agency has been used to shut down coal-fired plants and close down coal mines. And, in concert with costly, unpredictable and unreliable “renewable” energy, wind and solar, have driven up the cost of electricity for everyone.

According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, released in March, over the next two decades the EPA’s climate rules aimed at reducing “global warming” (which is not occurring) will cost the economy $2.23 trillion. An estimated 600,000 jobs will be lost. The jobs that would be created by the Keystone XL pipeline have been waiting five years for the White House to approve the project.

As mentioned, it has been the many inventions that utilize the energy sources the Greens want to “leave in the ground” that have totally transformed the lives of Americans and others throughout the world. What Earth Day is really about is not the improvement of life, but limits that will reduce the world’s population. The one thing all environmentalists agree upon is that there are too many humans. This is a form of fascism that goes back to the creation of the communist/socialist economic systems, none of which have provided the level of prosperity that capitalism has. Even Communist China has adopted the capitalist model.

The other agenda Greens agree upon is that the government should own and control every square inch of the nation’s (and world’s) landmass. That is why climate change is part of the United Nations’ intention to become the single world government. It is home to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that has clung to the global warming hoax since they invented it in the late 1980s.

Recently, the IPCC released another report claiming “climate change” will melt polar ice, cause the oceans to rise dramatically, generate extreme weather conditions, et cetera. There have always been extreme weather conditions somewhere and the rest of the IPCC claims are just great big lies that have been around for decades.

Along the way, environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Sierra Club, and Friends of the Earth, among countless others of comparable or lesser size have received millions in membership dues, donations, the sale of products, and from the assets that many own. Many, like Greenpeace, enjoy a non-profit status. For example, in 2011, Greenpeace took in $27,465,948 and had assets of $4,653,179. Multiply that against all the others and it adds up to billions.

Green organizations represent a very big business that is constantly at war with legitimate businesses in the energy, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors, seeking to impose laws and regulations that cost them and consumers billions every year.

If you’re a parent take some time to explain to younger children that the Earth is very old and not going to suffer the claims Greens repeat and repeat. As for everyone else, just try to ignore the Earth Day deluge. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.


Students hear two sides of global warming debate

Hebron High School junior Kasie Sass said Thursday's World Affairs Conference held at Ivy Tech Community College was the first time she had heard both sides of the heated global warming issue.

"It was pretty interesting and I definitely heard a different perspective. I am so used to hearing all the propaganda from the other side," Sass said.

Chesterton High School junior Alyssa Bowker agreed. "I learned a lot of facts that I'd never been told," she said.

Sass and Bowker were among about 150 area students who took part in the Rotary District 6540 sponsored conference to discuss the Storm Over Climate Change.

The two keynote speakers, Steve Goreham and Jorge Ortiz, gave opposing sides of the issue at a gathering of other students in Manchester University in North Manchester.

Their speeches were web broadcast live to several other sites including Ivy Tech in Valparaiso and Purdue University Calumet in Hammond.

Goreham, a policy adviser to the conservative Chicago-based the Heartland Institute, said those who believe in the claims of looming global warming are all wet.

Even on the heels of what he termed a "good old-fashioned northern winter," some people are still saying the snow is disappearing and will stop unless global warming is stopped, Goreham said.

"The snow is increasing. And the 40-year trend of snow increasing data is out of step with what they are saying," Goreham said.

Experts on global warming say the years from 2000 to 2009 have been the warmest on record but those records only go back 130 years.

Those records don't include extreme climate changes recorded during the Medieval Warm Period in England ending in the 13th century followed by the Little Ice Age.

"Climate change is natural; not man made," Goreham said.

Ortiz, regional director for U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., spoke on the senator's behalf.

In his speech, Ortiz provided definition of climate change and updates on how it is being handled in this country and throughout the world.

Ortiz said the Environmental Protection Agency defines climate change as temperature changes that have increased by 1.4 degrees.

"More and more agree that the temperature is rising but there is no consensus on why," Ortiz said.


Fracking to deliver tens of billions to UK supply chain

Britain's shale gas and oil industry could create tens of billions of pounds worth of opportunities in the supply chain, a major report is expected to say this week.

But the country currently lacks the equipment and skilled workers needed to support fracking, presenting a potential obstacle to the expansion of shale development.

Firms must start equipping themselves to ensure they capitalise on the potential for tens of thousands of jobs the industry could create, the report, backed by ministers and the industry, is likely to say.

However, the publication of a separate report mapping billions of barrels of shale oil that lie beneath the south of England has now been delayed until at least late May, The Telegraph has learnt.

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has been studying the shale potential in Jurassic formations in the Weald and Wessex basins, which span the Home Counties.

Michael Fallon, the energy minister, had promised the report would be published “by spring” this year. It will now not be released until after the European elections on May 22 because of “purdah” preventing significant or contentious announcements being made in the run-up to polling day.

The BGS report is likely to be highly controversial because of strong local opposition in parts of the Tory heartlands to potential drilling. Attempts to drill for oil in Balcombe last summer by fracking firm Cuadrilla led to months of protests, racking up a £4m policing bill.

The US government’s Energy Information Administration estimated last year that 17bn barrels of shale oil could lie beneath the Jurassic area, which spans almost 3,500 square miles, and suggested that 700m barrels could be recovered.

Mr Fallon has described the southern region as “the second great belt of shale” after Bowland in the North, where the BGS reported there could be enough gas to fuel Britain for more than 40 years.

Drilling in the South – where oil lies beneath Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Kent – would test whether those in the region “like the flaring [burning off oil and gas] at the end of the drive”, Mr Fallon was quoted as saying last year.

The energy industry has acknowledged that while local opposition may be the biggest obstacle to fracking, the immature supply chain could present a barrier to the development of shale resources.

Britain lacks the necessary infrastructure and equipment, with barely a handful of onshore drilling rigs available.

A report by the Institute of Directors, commissioned by fracking firm Cuadrilla, also highlighted a lack of skilled labour as an obstacle, pointing out there was already a skills shortage in the North Sea offshore oil and gas industry.

Sources say this week’s report, understood to have been commissioned by the UK Onshore Operators Group and backed by ministers, will suggest a total supply chain opportunity running into tens of billions of pounds.

It will highlight how specific sectors could benefit from shale, for example manufacturers of steel for fracking equipment.

Industry sources say that companies and government alike must take action now to ensure the fracking industry does not repeat the mistakes of Britain’s offshore wind industry, which overwhelmingly has foreign manufacturers and suppliers.

This week’s report will also be closely watched for its estimate of jobs. An independent report by consultants Amec last year suggested that up to 32,000 jobs could be created through fracking in new areas being offered to companies this year – implying a maximum of 64,000 jobs once those areas also under licence are included.

But ministers have faced criticism from Labour for persisting in using a figure from the IoD suggesting a total of 74,000 jobs would be created.

The IoD’s report also suggested that each drilling site could represent an investment of between £142m and £514m over its lifetime, with total investment peaking at £3.7bn a year.


Europe may replace Russian gas with US coal

While U.S. lawmakers are debating the merits of exporting natural gas to Europe to break Russia’s energy hold on the continent, one immediately exportable energy source has been overlooked: coal.

U.S. coal exports have been booming in recent years due to rising demand around the world. In fact, some European countries are already using U.S. coal to displace costly Russian gas. Europe’s biggest importers of American coal include Germany and the United Kingdom.

“The president is doing his best to stop coal use in America by issuing emissions standards that are so stringent it is not feasible to build a coal fired power plant, but other countries are desperate for this valuable energy resource and we are exporting coal in record numbers,” Republican Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

U.S. coal exports have skyrocketed in recent years. Exports have grown from about 59 million short tons of coal in 2007 to nearly 118 million short tons last year, all while imports have fallen 75 percent over that time period.

“Some European countries are using U.S. coal to help displace Russian natural gas and neutralize Russia’s energy influence,” Whitfield said. “Coal exports are already having an impact on geopolitics and are helping to create American jobs and reduce our trade deficit. We can build on this success by increasing natural gas exports as well.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced many European countries to rethink their reliance on natural gas that can be stopped at any time by President Vladimir Putin. The European Union is debating allowing hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to unlock vast shale gas reserves as well as importing U.S. gas.

But importing U.S. gas is not a short-term solution, as the Obama administration has moved slowly in approving export terminals. Once an export terminal is approved, it can take years before it comes online and begins shipping out gas.

Some analysts expect U.S. coal exports to get another boost from the EU, since it’s the only viable short-term substitute for natural gas.


Screwy Green Opposition To Fracking Drives Europe Deeper Into Coal Consumption

The shale gas boom in the United States has made domestic power producers cleaner and turned coal producers into major exporters. A weak Europe, anxious about fracking, is becoming reliant on cheap U.S. coal to fuel its power stations, trapping it in a vicious cycle.

The ongoing European trepidation towards shale gas is putting Europe at an increasing economic disadvantage. The lack of energy competitiveness vis-à-vis the United States has also become the biggest concern of Europe’s industrialists, mentioned Leif Johansson, chairman of AstraZeneca and Ericsson and head of the European Round Table of Industrialists in a recent interview with the FT.

It is well known that the shale gas revolution in the U.S. has led to a massive drop in natural gas prices. From the peak in 2008, gas prices fell by over 70 percent by January 2010 and have roughly remained at that level since. This has led U.S. electricity producers to increasingly use gas-fired power rather than coal-fired power plants to supply electricity, with dramatic effects on the U.S. supply curves of electricity

This has been positive for the U.S. on two fronts. Firstly, natural gas is a cleaner fuel which is better for the environment. Secondly, with more competition in the market for electricity generation following the availability of shale gas, electricity prices are falling for consumers, a massive saving for the U.S. economy.

On the other hand, the preference for shale gas has left coal producers out in the cold.

U.S. coal producers have seen a declining demand in steam coal from the U.S. electricity sector. At the same time, they have maintained their annual production volumes. While coal imports into the U.S. have dropped dramatically, the excess coal production has needed to be stockpiled, exported or both. Currently, U.S. coal producers are banking on export markets to rid the stockpiles. A recent report from the U.S. Congress framed this issue very clearly: “One of the big questions for the [U.S. domestic coal] industry is how to penetrate the overseas market, particularly in steam coal, to compensate for declining domestic demand.”

U.S. coal producers have been successful at increasing exports and reducing imports. From 2007 to 2012, coal exports more than doubled with Europe taking about 58 percent of total exports in 2012, up from 32 percent in 2007.

This was driven by cheaper coal. The shale gas boom in the U.S. made coal less interesting to local electricity generators and it was to be expected that European electricity generators would capitalise on this “coal price revolution”. This revolution is the opposite to what is happening in the U.S. Coal had dropped from 25 percent of the total power mix in Europe in 2007 to 21 percent in 2010, but the trend reversed, starting in 2011, reaching 22 percent. In 2012, coal fired electricity output in Europe even rose by 6 percent, a greater increase than Portugal’s total electricity generation. The share of natural gas in the total power mix in Europe increased from 12 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2008 but had already dropped to 17 percent by 2011.

A vicious economic – and ecological – energy cycle for Europe?

In the absence of a European supply of inexpensive shale gas, the shift to coal is a rational economic decision for European power generators. The consequences of the shift, however, are detrimental on several fronts. Firstly, in spite of lower coal prices, Europe’s energy cost position relative to the U.S. will only further deteriorate. Secondly, the negative knock-on effect of relatively higher energy costs on Europe’s energy intensive industries creates further disadvantage for Europe, already handicapped by very high structural costs. Thirdly, greenhouse gas emissions, which are roughly twice as high for coal fired plants than for gas fired plants, are saddling Europe with an ecological predicament. Losing on both economic and ecological grounds is the worst outcome.

Leaving the arbitration of Europe’s energy feedstock to “market forces” is poor policy, especially if the market mechanisms are leaving Europe dangling between U.S. coal and Russian gas. Policy makers and corporate leaders should urgently rethink Europe’s energy situation before it becomes a quagmire. Developing local energy sources such as shale gas should remain on the agenda.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


20 April, 2014

Climate "science" as medieval theology

Re: "Why climate deniers are winning: The twisted psychology that overwhelms scientific consensus" -- by Paul Rosenberg

The Rosenberg heading above leads into a long article. The article is too long to reproduce here but I thought I might make a few comments.  I initially found it fascinating that the author is  an Al-Jazeera journalist with an Ashkenazi surname.   

The article is mainly a discussion of work by our old friend Lewandowski.  And it is notable that NOT ONE climate fact is mentioned in the article.  That Warmists are desperately short of congenial facts probably explains that but it certainly does not inspire confidence in the article.  Skeptics, by contrast usually hit you with a graph or two or some statistics at least:  An instructive difference.

Like so many Warmists, Rosenberg refers to "the science" but never says what it is.  It it "science" that we have had no statistically significant temperature rise  in the last 17 years?  From Rosenberg you would never know.

The rationale for this strange behaviour by Warmists is usually an appeal to authority in the best Fascist style.  Scientists trust the facts.  Fascists trust authority.

And trusting authority is so ludicrous!  I am also a health  blogger and the number of occasions -- even in recent years -- when the conventional wisdom has gone into reverse is phenomenal.  The cause of stomach ulcers, the proper treatment of snakebite, the cure for peanut allergy, the role of dietary fat are just some of the 180 degree turns that come into mind in medical science. 

I am suffering from a mild bout of diverticulitis at the momnent and I note that many of the diet recommendations for us sufferers have also recently been shown to be the reverse of the truth.  See here for a list of recent dietary backflips.

What sane person would "trust the experts" under those circumstances?  Lewandowski's central claim is that mistrust of scientific conclusions is paranoid but I think that the cases I have just mentioned show that a skeptical approach to accepted science is simply well-informed.  That's why skeptics use all those graphs and statistics. They are well-informed, not paranoid.

So Rosenberg and others have built their castles on sand.  The consensus could switch overnight (as it does at times) and they would be left washed away and with nothing to stand on.  I may even live long enough to see that happen and have a laugh at it.

So the Rosenberg/Lewandowski theoretical edifice is superficially a substantial and impressive one but its lack of foundations make it no more important than medieval theology.

Local Wind Law Options

One of the most frequent requests we get at Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions (AWED), is for help in writing a local industrial wind energy ordinance. (We'd appreciate your feedback if you have anything to contribute to this issue.)

An underlying assumption of our recommendations, is that the majority of the local legislators are genuinely focused on what is in the best interest of: neighbors to such a project, community businesses, and the local environment.

In the unfortunate case where representatives have been co-opted, the basic choices are: 1) if they are open-minded, educate them back to reality, 2) replace them with citizen-oriented people, or 3) sue them to act responsibly [a federal section 1983 lawsuit is the most powerful option available].

Even when the community has conscientious representatives, an industrial Wind Energy Facility (WEF) is a unique, highly technical matter that local legislators rarely have expertise with. That’s the reason the website was created: to educate citizens and their representatives on industrial wind energy.

After you have educated, citizen-oriented legislators, what are your ordinance options? There are two primary ways you can go with industrial wind energy: 1) regulate it, or 2) prohibit it. There are some interesting options here, so let’s look at these closer...

Regulate Wind Energy —

In North Carolina we have taken this route — and it has proven to be very successful. The KEY premise behind this choice is that regulations are not about excluding wind energy, but rather to provide reasonable protections to citizens, existing businesses and the local environment. I can not emphasize the importance of that perspective too strongly!

What protections are reasonable? There are literally dozens of complications from wind energy development, so we have condensed them down to the five most important concerns that need to be properly addressed by a local ordinance: 1) Property Value Guarantee, 2) Property Line Setbacks, 3) Noise Limits, 4) Environmental Tests, and 5) Decommissioning.

In each of these areas, the conditions should be written based on: a) scientific evidence, and b) legal precedent. See this discussion for more specifics about each of the five key regulated matters.

Since wind energy is a relatively new legal matter, there may not be a lot in the way of case law. In that situation, our advice is to extract what relevant material there is (maybe from other seemingly unrelated areas), and then to forge ahead writing a law that provides protections that are in the best interest of the community.

There are many communities throughout the US that have written good wind regulations (e.g. Sumner (Maine), Eddington (Maine), Sweetwater (Wyoming), Trempealeau County (Wisconsin), Madison (Idaho), and Jackson (Maine)).

In our view the absolute best example of a regulatory local wind ordinance is Carteret County (NC), closely followed by the Town of Newport (NC). Let me know any questions on either of these.

Prohibit Wind Energy: Option 1 —

One of my other activities has been to assist my NY town in fighting off a proposed major commercial water extraction business. Over the last ten years the history of this is a very long story — but so far we have been successful. Right now the town is reviewing its options for an ordinance, and we have been ably assisted by some very competent attorneys.

One proposal put forward is an outright prohibition of commercial water extraction. Briefly, the recommended strategy is not to single out that one activity, but rather to include it with a smorgasbord of other “objectionable” business ventures — that are defined as “prohibited uses.”

In doing some research on the origins of this measure, it seems that it came about because a NY town wanted to prohibit fracking. What they came up with is no small matter, and has even gotten the attention of the NY Times.

When I first saw this draft ordinance, I immediately thought that wind energy could easily be inserted as one of the several prohibited items. I’ve taken the liberty to tweak the words a bit to demonstrate how wind energy could be incorporated, and am sharing that with you. For NYS people I can put you in touch with the competent attorney responsible for the original document.

Prohibit Wind Energy: Option 2 —

Under the category of “There’s more than one way to skin a cat” you should be aware of an organization called Community Environmental Defense Legal Fund (CELDF). They go about addressing these types of situations (industrial wind energy) in a completely different way.

My layperson’s translation is that they feel that corporations (e.g. wind developers) have usurped rights that they are not Constitutionally entitled to.

Their strategy is to have community meetings to educate citizens about that, and then assist them in writing a law to protect their inherent interests.

Several communities have passed laws prohibiting industrial wind energy (among other things). Here is a sample story about the Town of Grafton (NH) and the accompanying CELDF press release.

Here is the law passed by Sugar Hill (NH), prohibiting industrial wind energy provided by outside developers. This background document prepared for those citizens beforehand is very instructive... The Town of Wales (NY) passed a similar law against fracking, which could be modified to include wind energy.

The possible downside of this approach is that the community is actually taking on bigger (e.g. Constitutional) issues. However, it may be appropriate, and others are doing it. For those interested, I can put you in touch with the appropriate CELDF personnel.

This was written from a US perspective, but even within the US, every state has their own quirks. Whether citizens fighting wind energy are in the US or not, there are some ideas here that can be adopted for their circumstances.

The bottom line is that we are in a serious fight, so the more options we are aware of — and take advantage of — the better.

Email from John Droz, jr.

The eroding case against carbon dioxide

When I hear concerns about soil erosion, I always think about my grandma. She was an amazing woman. She grew up in Huron in the heart of the Great Depression, which just happened to coincide with the Dust Bowl. Growing up, my sister and I listened to her stories of dealing with the dust storms, stuffing rags in the window sills and the cracks around the doors in an attempt to keep the dust out of the house. Despite her best efforts, a fine film of dust would still cover the interior of the house.

The dust from the Dust Bowl claimed crops, cattle, and the lives of two children in Huron. To this day, when contractors cut into houses that survived the Dust Bowl, they find sand in between the interior and exterior walls. The Dust Bowl eroded more than the soil; it eroded a way of life.

Erosion is a problem that persists to this day, and it’s responsible for dust storms, mudslides and sinkholes. Fortunately, plants in forests, grasslands, and everywhere else set roots in the soil and help the soil stay put, and plants around the globe are getting a boost from increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Although many people, spurred by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, think “going green” means using less carbon dioxide, plants prefer just the opposite.

We all know plants need carbon dioxide to breathe, but many don’t know plants turn that carbon dioxide into carbon in the form of the roots, stems, trunks, branches, leaves, and fruit with which we are more familiar. And according to a new study by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, the more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the greener the planet gets.

The report, Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, published by The Heartland Institute (where I am a research fellow), cites thousands of peer-reviewed studies rising atmospheric CO2 levels are helping almost all plants grow bigger, become more efficient in using water, and better withstand the stress of high air temperature.

In a way, this CO2 enrichment of the atmosphere is to plants like an oxygen mask is to a winded football player — helping to prepare him for the next play.

More CO2 in the atmosphere also means plants start to grow in places they couldn’t before, reducing the amount of erosion and, consequently, dust in the air in places around the globe, while increasing the potential for agriculture and wildlife habitat as the range of certain plant species expands.

Increased levels of CO2 also have been found to increase the fine-root density in some plants by up to 184 percent, and a 55 percent increase in above ground biomass despite water and nutrition limitations — meaning plants become better at anchoring the soil in place and allowing water to permeate the surface, which is especially important during droughts.

This would have been great news for my grandma and everyone else who survived the Dust Bowl. Improved farming techniques have played an important part in reducing the amount of erosion around the world, and these efforts certainly will be helped by having more CO2 in the atmosphere. Instead of being a detriment to plant growth, more CO2 acts as a fertilizer, making plants grow bigger, faster, more resilient, and more abundant, greening the world we live in.


The dark side of solar

It is amazing that something that seems as up-beat as “free” electricity from the sun can have such a dark side.

I started covering some of the shenanigans from the solar industry last summer when I wrote about the “Green Tea Party” in Georgia. I had no idea what a can of worms I’d opened. In September, I wrote about the net-metering battle taking place in Arizona—and pointed out the national implications of what was playing out there. The following month, I addressed, what I believe, is an organized effort by the industry, to co-opt the language of the free-market/conservative/limited-government thinking population in an effort to convenience them that government-mandated and -subsidized solar energy was a good thing. Last month I warned consumers of solar scams in a column I wrote titled “Clouds on the solar horizon.”

I have spent months on an investigation into the cronyism, abuse, mismanagement, and violations involved in Abengoa Solar, the Spanish company that received $2.8 billion in taxpayer funding—most of it through the 2009 Stimulus Bill. My exposé was published earlier this week in the Daily Caller.

Within the past few weeks, I’ve been getting harassing phone calls from a solar supporter—so much so, that I’ve had to block his numbers.

I’ve even earned a mention in a post on “How To Write A Hit Piece On The Solar Industry In 6 Steps.”

Apparently there is a perception that I am anti-solar, when in reality I wish I could afford solar panels on my roof because I could use some “free” electricity—but what I am, is strongly free-market. I despise government picking winners and losers. And, my green energy investigations have proven that solar is at the center of the corruption.

Now, I find out that a solar advocate and employee of SunRun—one of the solar leasing companies that Christine Lakatos and I have covered as a part of our “Green-energy crony-corruption scandal”—has been trying to influence Wall Street analysts in an attempt to “damage investor confidence” in Arizona Public Service (APS). APS is the company at the forefront of changing current netmetering policies to avoid having to increase rates on the majority of consumers.

In an email to Rajeev Lalwani, an energy sector analyst with Morgan Stanley, SunRun Inc., public policy manager Kim Sanders attempts to influence Lalwani saying: “I wanted to share a bit more info that indicates this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Do these people have no shame? Or, are they behaving like desperate cornered rats, because they fear the taxpayer-funded gravy train is about to hit the stop block?

In an April 10 letter to SunRun Chief Executive Edward Fenster, Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Chairman Bob Stump points out that Sanders’ efforts have “the potential to affect adversely millions of ratepayers in APS territory.” Stump points out that these ratepayers are the very people that the ACC is “charged to protect.”

Stump explains that this is because, negatively influencing the “judgement of Wall Street analysts” could “damage investor confidence in APS, undermine its capacity to borrow at reasonable rates, and damage the company’s shareholders, many of whom are Arizonans on fixed incomes and retirees.”

He likens the behavior of the “solar advocacy community” to “bulls in china shops” and concludes the letter stating that “such behavior” inflicts harm to “solar in Arizona.” Stump states: “Attempts to ‘disrupt the utility monopoly model,’ as one solar activist put it, should not entail damaging Arizona ratepayers.”

This shameful behavior addressed in stumps’ letter, and engaged in as revealed in my previous reporting, on the part of the “solar advocacy community” wouldn’t be needed if the industry could stand on its own in a true free market.

Both consumers and regulators need to be cautious when inviting in the wolf in sheep’s clothing that is the commercial solar industry.


Climate change proponents using 'mediaeval' tactics

Says senior Australian government minister

George Brandis has compared himself to Voltaire and derided proponents of climate change action as "believers" who do not listen to opposing views and have reduced debate to a mediaeval and ignorant level.

In an interview with online magazine Spiked, the Attorney-General also declares he has no regret for saying Australians have the right to be bigots and accuses the left of advocating censorship to enforce a morality code on the nation.

It comes as former Australian of the year Professor Fiona Stanley said climate science had been denigrated through politicisation and denial, and issued a stinging attack on the federal government for the absence of a specific department to tackle global warming.

Senator Brandis, who is driving reforms to Australia’s racial discrimination act, describes the climate change debate as one of the “catalysing moments” in his views on freedom of speech.

While he says he believes in man-made climate change, the Queensland senator tells the magazine he is shocked by the “authoritarianism” with which some proponents of climate change exclude alternative viewpoints, singling out Labor’s Penny Wong as “Australia’s high priestess of political correctness”.

He said it was “deplorable” that “one side [has] the orthodoxy on its side and delegitimises the views of those who disagree, rather than engaging with them intellectually and showing them why they are wrong”.

As examples, he points to Senator Wong and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who he accuses of arguing “the science is settled” to shut down political debate on climate change.

“In other words, 'I am not even going to engage in a debate with you.' It was ignorant, it was mediaeval, the approach of these true believers in climate change,” he said.

Senator Brandis also defended comments he made in the Senate, where he argued for the right of Australians to be bigots as justification for changes to section 18C and 18D of the racial discrimination act.

“I don’t regret saying that because in this debate, sooner or later – and better sooner than later – somebody had to make the Voltaire point; somebody had to make the point [about] defending the right to free speech of people with whom you profoundly disagree.”

Senator Brandis said there had been a shift in Australian politics, claiming it was now the “Tory point of view”, rather than the left, that fell on the side of liberation and free speech.

“Now, the left has adopted a reasonably comprehensive secular morality of its own, which it now seeks to impose upon society,” he said.

“And it’s prepared to impose that secular morality on society at the cost of the freedom of speech which it once espoused.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


18 April, 2014

Amusing:  Lewandowski revisited

Stephan Lewandowski has written two papers designed to show climate skeptics as nutters.  The first was accepted for publication in a good journal but not actually published and the second was published but then withdrawn.  Both papers have however been readily available on the internet for some time.  The second paper was largely designed to refute the many substantial criticisms of the first.

A major criticism of the first paper is that many of the statements Lewandowski gathered could have been the work of "trolls", impostors or other people not giving sincere responses over the internet.  Now that the second paper has been withdrawn on ethical grounds by the journal which first published it, my curiosity about the whole affair was revived and I read the second paper as located on Lewandowski's  university site.

My chief curiosity was not about ethical issues.  I expect dishonesty from the Green/Left  -- witness the "Climategate" emails, for instance.  Rather I was interested in the central issue of data integrity. How do they answer the challenge that their data was not a true sample of skeptical thinking?

And their answer is pathetic.  They raise the "faking" issue at some length and conclude:  "Finally, without a priori specification of what constitutes faked responses, the scamming hypothesis is in principle unfalsiable: there exists no response pattern that could not be considered "fake""

Precisely, one would think.  There is no way of rejecting the "fakery" hypothesis because there is no way of detecting what is fake.  So the data could indeed be substantially faked.  Therefore there is no guarantee that it is not fake.  The study is simply inconclusive.  It proves nothing because the genuineness of the responses cannot be guaranteed.

Faked responses are a big issue in questionnaire and other psychological research.  I battled with that issue for 20 years in my own psychological research.  There are ways of minimizing the problem -- all of which I used -- but in the end I concluded that there was no solution to the problem and that survey research is largely useless for its intended purpose.  For that reason, I have now spent another 20 years or so devoting my attention to history instead (e.g. here and here).  History has its problems but it is my view that it tells us a lot more about human behaviour than psychology does.  And the history of Warmism is of an unending stream of failed predictions.

But in any case the whole Lewandowski enterprise is a huge  example of one of the informal fallacies of logic:  The "Ad hominem" fallacy.  Even if he could prove his claim that skeptics are unduly suspicious, it would not mean that they were wrong.  But Warmists rarely argue on the science.  Abuse of skeptics and appeals to authority is their "modus operandi"  --  as we skeptics repeatedly observe in our encounters with Warmists.

Climate Vacuum Cleaner

That all the earth's grasslands and forests are already a great CO2 vacuum cleaner the Warmists seem to have forgotten.  Do they intend to duplicate all of our grasslands and forests?

Just when we thought the UN couldn't get any more ridiculous in its climate change warnings and prescriptions, they exceed our expectations. According to UPI, the third report in a series from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) "suggests vacuuming up vast amounts of CO2 from the skies and storing it underground" as a "viable solution for mitigating the greenhouse gas effect in the short term."

That would have to be quite a Dirt Devil. But they're serious, they insist, that something must be done. IPCC chair Rajendra Pachauri says, "The high speed mitigation train needs to leave the station very soon and all of global society would need to get on board."

Uniformity or bust, that's the climate alarmists' way. But if you'll pardon the pun, we think this idea sucks.


Some Answers to Global Warming Propaganda

George Reisman comments on NY Times Article "Political Rifts Slow U.S. Effort on Climate Laws"

On April 15, the National (print) edition of The New York Times published an article titled "Political Rifts Slow U.S. Effort on Climate Laws." The article was inspired by the latest report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and naively and uncritically accepted the findings of that report as true.

It's remarkable that the author of this article, and the authors of the IPCC report that inspired it, can be concerned about the destructive effects on food production and other essentials of human well-being that will allegedly result from global warming, but do not give the slightest thought to the destructive effects on human well-being of forcibly imposing drastic reductions in CO2 emissions. These emissions are a by-product of such things as the use of tractors and harvesters in food production and of refrigerators and freezers in food preservation. They are the result of people driving automobiles, lighting, heating, and air conditioning their homes, and using electricity to power their machinery and appliances. In short, CO2 emissions are a by-product of producing and enjoying the material goods that distinguish a modern standard of living from that of the Third World.

Preventing government imposed reductions in the use of fossil fuels is not something that is merely in the narrow self-interest of the oil and coal industries. Rather it is in the self-interest of the hundreds of millions of average people who vitally depend on the products of these industries.

Perhaps there will someday be economical substitutes for fossil fuels. Until then, substantially reducing the use of fossil fuels means imposing the certainty of a drastic decline in the standard of living of the average person in order to avoid what is at most the possibility of some seriously bad weather.

And if we need such things as massive sea walls to avoid such effects of that bad weather as the flooding of coastal areas, we had better be sure that we have the largest possible modern industrial base available to construct them.

It’s equally remarkable that those who fear global warming have given virtually no consideration to non-destructive ways of dealing with it, assuming that the threat is real in the first place. Why aren’t major prizes being offered for the development of low-cost, effective methods of removing large quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere? For example, is it beyond us to develop plant species that will absorb vast multiples of the CO2 that plants normally absorb? Why is the only possible solution thought to be the destruction of modern economic life?

If global warming is a real threat, why haven’t politicians the world over made the negotiation of treaties for free immigration a top priority? If it’s a serious threat, and people will not willingly deal with it by committing economic suicide in the form of depriving themselves of the massive amounts of energy that would be lost through such measures as imposing a 70 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, then preparations should be starting now to allow for the future migration of hundreds of millions of Indians and Chinese into what will then be an inhabitable Siberia. The United States, Mexico, and the countries of Central America, should likewise be negotiating for free immigration into what will then be an inhabitable central Canada. Greenland should be declared open to all comers. Whatever the problems it may cause, global warming, if it really comes, will also be accompanied by vast new economic opportunities if not blocked by government migration barriers.

Or are we to fear that the “sin” of enjoying a modern standard of living must end in nothing less than a version of hellfire and brimstone—in the form of the recreation on Earth of the climate conditions on the planet Venus?

If so, what is the proof? Is it the direct observation of another planet Earth that turned into a Venus? Or is it strings of assumptions and inferences? And how can the Earth have had ice ages accompanied by more than10 times the CO2 that it is supposedly on track to experience now?


Europe’s New Energy Policy: More Coal, More Gas, More Shale, More wind

 Europe is stitching together a patchwork of measures that could reduce its natural gas imports from Russia by over a quarter by the end of the decade as a result of the Ukraine crisis, halting Moscow's tightening grip over the region's energy.

Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region has chilled political relations between Russia and the European Union, prompting governments across the bloc to look at ways to cut demand, find alternative supplies and switch to other fuel sources such as coal and renewables.

Reuters calculations suggest these steps could slash imports from Russia by around 45 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2020, worth $18 billion a year, equivalent to a quarter of what Russia currently supplies.

Past hopes of loosening Moscow's grip have been dashed, not helped by Germany's decision to give up on nuclear power, with Russia's share of EU supplies rising 10 percentage points to over a third since 2010, and before the current crisis Russia's gas share in Europe was expected to remain stable at current levels.

The crisis in Ukraine has shaken policymakers awake across Europe's capitals, and several emergency meetings over energy security have been held in the past weeks.

"We are serious about reducing our energy dependency ... We need a new way to do energy business," said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who represents EU governments in Brussels.

At the forefront of these plans are Germany and Italy, Russia's biggest gas clients in the EU, but also Poland.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in late March that "energy policy will have to be newly considered".

Germany is Europe's biggest gas user and Russia's most important customer, using over 80 bcm of gas a year and meeting around a third of its demand through imports from Gazprom, a share that has steadily risen over the past 20 years.


Germany's most immediate plans to reduce Russian gas imports are to ramp up alternative supplies and reduce demand through improved energy efficiency.

Germany already has something of a mountain to climb, having shut down 7 gigawatts (GW) of nuclear power in response to the nuclear meltdown disaster in Japan in 2011, with plans by 2022 to shut down its remaining nine reactors, which generate 12 GW, according to the World Nuclear Association.

There appears to be no prospect of Germany reconsidering its nuclear withdrawal.

The majority of the lost capacity is planned to be filled by coal and renewable facilities.

Between 2014 and 2015, German utilities plan to connect almost 6 GW of new hard coal power capacity to the grid and 2.7 GW of new offshore wind installations.

It only plans to add 0.5 GW of new natural gas, and with several older gas stations being retired, there will be a net decline in gas use.

Similar efforts are being made in Italy, which uses over 70 bcm of gas a year and is the EU's second biggest importer of Russian supplies.

The Ukraine stand-off has already put a question mark over the future of the 2,400 km (1,500 mile) South Stream pipeline project, which will pump Russian gas to Italy later this decade.

"The developments of the Ukraine crisis could put at risk the construction of South Stream," Italy's Industry Minister Federica Guidi told parliament in late March.

The head of Italian oil and gas company Eni had already warned a week earlier that the Gazprom-led project was in jeopardy.

Minister Guidi said the government had plans to reduce energy consumption via efficiency measures by 20 percent this decade, and that it would remove red tape to expand its import capacity of non-Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) as well as complete the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) gas corridor that will bring 10 bcm of Azeri gas to Italy towards the end of this decade.

Guidi also said it wanted to attract investors to look for oil and gas in Italy by simplifying the permitting process.

Many Mediterranean countries are hoping to repeat the success of Israel and Cyprus in finding offshore gas.

Almost 1 trillion cubic meters of recoverable natural gas has already been discovered in the eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin, enough to supply Europe with gas for over two years.

Although most of the Mediterranean gas riches will end up in higher-paying Asia, Turkey and Egypt, some could also go to the EU.

Analysts also said the global LNG market would have more supplies available for Europe towards the end of the decade.

"Europe might be just lucky enough that the global LNG market rebalances towards the end of the decade," said Massimo Di-Odoardo, senior analyst at energy research and consultancy firm Wood Mackenzie.

"There are currently around 150 bcm of LNG projects under construction globally, and we don't believe there is enough additional LNG demand outside Europe. This means that a lot of the LNG from the Atlantic and Middle East now being diverted to Asia will eventually come back to Europe," he added.


The urge to reduce Russia's energy grip is particularly keen in central Europe, where memories of Soviet dominance are still fresh and almost all gas is supplied by Russia.

Poland plans to start a 5 bcm per year capacity LNG terminal by next January to import gas from overseas countries such as Qatar and, later this decade, the United States and Canada, where a shale gas production boom has led to a supply glut.

"Poland will never be subject to any blackmail in this respect," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said last month.

Since 2009, when Russia supplied over 91 percent of Poland's gas, Poland has doubled the capacity of a pipeline link with Germany and built a new link to the Czech Republic.

Despite these steps and efforts to explore for shale gas, Poland still relies on Russian imports for roughly two thirds of its annual gas usage of 15 billion cubic metres.

Tusk said his government had therefore approved a new shale gas bill that would help encourage investors by reducing red tape and regulatory hurdles.

Poland also has plans to use more of its large domestic lignite coal reserves.

Other countries in the Baltic region are also planning to begin LNG imports soon.

Finland and Estonia, who both import all their gas needs from Russia, signed an agreement in late February to build two LNG terminals on either side of the Gulf of Finland and a pipeline connecting the two countries.

Lithuania, another Baltic country that relies entirely on Russian imports, also plans to introduce a floating LNG facility that will allow imports of 2-4 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year from 2015.

Deeper into southeastern Europe, where Russia's grip is also tight, U.S. energy major Exxon Mobil and OMV Petrom plan to produce 6.5 bcm of natural gas from Romania's Domino field by 2020.


The IPCC, the Police & Greenpeace

Greenpeace isn’t anti-establishment anymore. Now it’s just another arm of the authoritarian, UN green machine

Here in Berlin yesterday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the third and final section of its new climate report. While excluded from witnessing the important, four-day meeting that preceded it, journalists were invited to attend a press conference. So long as they were prepared to behave like trained circus animals, that is.

Let it never be said that UN bodies don’t thrive on bureaucracy. You’d think it might be a straightforward matter for a journalist such as myself who’d completed the appropriate paperwork, submitted the right documents, and been officially accredited for a UN climate event in Warsaw last November to gain access to yesterday’s proceedings. But no.

As page two of this IPCC document explains, even reporters who’d jumped through all the press accreditation hoops two weeks ago in order to attend the Working Group 2 press conference held in Yokohama, Japan had to start at the beginning again in order to get through the door yesterday:

"The IPCC operates its own registration and accreditation system, which is based on the media accreditation guidelines of the United Nations… Media representatives wishing to attend the Berlin press conference must register separately for this event even if they have already registered for the Working Group II press conference in Yokohama that was held on 31 March."

It was the job of the large gentleman in the photograph above to prevent non-UN-approved people – including random members of the public who also happened to be staying at the Berlin Estrel Hotel and Convention Centre – from trespassing on this carefully controlled, stage managed event.

IPCC press conferences are strictly off-limits to the great unwashed. Chairman Pachauri’s claim that:

"The IPCC is a totally transparent organization…Whatever we do is available for scrutiny at every stage"

is so much nonsense.

There’s nothing friendly or cuddly about the United Nations, its organizations, or its events. Had anyone been foolish enough to challenge the large gentleman above, some of the numerous police officers on the premises would no doubt have quickly come to his aid.

In any case, while the press conference was taking place, Greenpeace was starved for attention. For the committed souls in the photograph below, taking turns holding signs at the side of a roadway is perhaps equivalent to religious services on a fine Sunday morning.

It’s important to observe that this was not a protest. There on the street, as automobiles whizzed past, Greenpeace was delivering the exact same ‘clean energy now‘ fantasy message that IPCC officials, supported by security personnel and police (and sponsored by the powerful, affluent, and influential German government) were delivering inside.

Greenpeace isn’t anti-establishment anymore. As Patrick Moore explains in Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout, it sold its soul long ago.  Now it’s just another arm of the authoritarian, UN green machine.


IPCC cries wolf on global warming, again

PierreGuy Veer

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the summary of its fifth report. Unsurprisingly, it still blames humans as the main driver of global warming — or, climate change, climate disruption, extreme weather; whichever term you prefer. It’s unsurprising that the IPCC, an organization founded to find a way to limit human influence on climate, would sound such an alarm. After all, if it was discovered that nature is the main driver of the changes in climate, the IPCC would be out of a job.

Of course, that won’t happen. After all, the science surrounding global warming is settled and there is a vast consensus. Since we are running out of time, we therefore need to act promptly, right?

Wrong. First of all, science can never be settled for it to be called so. It took 250 years until Einstein found faults in Newton’s theory of gravity. It took more than 150 years to find how humans evolved from apes through a DNA discovery. Even today, scientists can’t decide what caused the Black Death in Europe.

The same goes for the climate hysteria. Scientists can’t decide if it will cause more snow or less snow, record snowfalls or their total absence, if biodiversity will increase or decrease, if there will be fewer tornadoes or more, or even when the world will end if we don’t act.

In addition, human influence on climate is unlikely considering that several peer-reviewed temperature reconstructions from Turkey, Poland, Eastern Australia, Northern Scandinavia, the Central Mediterranean Sea, Tibet, the Pearl River Basin in China, Bolivia, Arctic and Eastern Siberia, Southern England, the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, Peru, Chile, Iceland, Antarctica, the Central Eastern Alps, British Columbia, Quebec, and the Southwestern US all confirm the IPCC findings from 1990 that the Medieval Warm Period between 1000 and 1350 AD was much warmer than today. In other words, Michael Mann’s hockey stick, which supposedly shows a dramatic increase in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution, is probably false.

Also, hurricanes have not increased in strength or number in the past 40 years. A closer look at data shows the same neutral trend since 1851; it may even go back 228 years. Furthermore, no hurricane of category three or above has made landfall in the U.S. since Wilma (October 24, 2005) — the longest stretch since 1900. The same thing goes for tornadoes since the 1950s; F3+ tornadoes are actually decreasing. Similarly, droughts are not on the rise in the U.S., despite exponential increase in CO2. California’s recent drought, for example, is not uncommon.

Polar bears are nowhere near extinction, as assessed by the Nunavut government and Inuit hunters in Northern Canada. Speaking of debunked myths, dozens of papers show that the sun drives climate, not CO2, and that petrochemical influence on climate has been blown out of proportion. Finally, the Arctic, while it may be melting more during summer time, refreezes so quickly that its May 1st extent hasn’t changed much since 1979. Also, the Antarctic ice has been expending since that same year.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the science is not settled, climate change fanatics keep hammering about that supposed 97 percent consensus among scientists. In reality, the supposed consensus is likely overblown. It’s either based on 2008 survey of only 79 climatologists or is actually closer to 0.3 percent when one analyzes a sample of scientific papers.

Climate fanatics’ insistence on a consensus to silence debate has some eerie traits of fascism. Indeed, only in fascist societies can authorities make sure dissenters are silenced by whatever way they see fit. And this is exactly what climate fanatics want; they systematically refuse to debate climate sceptics by snobbishly claiming they are not worthy of recognition. People like David Suzuki, Canada’s green pope, call for Inquisition-like censorship of skeptics. Professors like Lawrence Torcello want skeptics jailed for “criminal negligence.” Finally, Al Gore has no problem resorting to ad hominem attacks by calling skeptics “deniers” and by linking them to homophobes, racists, alcoholics, baby-eaters, etc.

Reasonable citizens should not lose any sleep over the IPCC’s latest report or scaremongering from climate fanatics. Their catastrophic predictions are simply a continuation of doomsday predictions Malthus started in the 19th century. And like Malthus, they have been utterly wrong, be it about agriculture, violence or the rising sea level. Climate hysteria is crumbling little by little, and like any fake science, it will collapse sooner or later.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


17 April, 2014

Unending false prophecies

With their huge record of failure, no aware person could respect the latest lot of climate disaster prognostications

The Boston Globe noted on April 16, 2014: “The world now has a rough deadline for action on climate change. Nations need to take aggressive action in the next 15 years to cut carbon emissions, in order to forestall the worst effects of global warming, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

Once again, the world is being warned of an ecological or climate “tipping point” by the UN.

In 1982, the UN issued a two decade tipping point. UN official Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), warned on May 11, 1982, the “world faces an ecological disaster as final as nuclear war within a couple of decades unless governments act now.” According to Tolba in 1982, lack of action would bring “by the turn of the century, an environmental catastrophe which will witness devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust.”

As early as 1989, the UN was already trying to sell their “tipping point” rhetoric on the public. See: U.N. Warning of 10-Year ‘Climate Tipping Point’ Began in 1989 – Excerpt: According to July 5, 1989, article in the Miami Herald, the then-director of the New York office of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Noel Brown, warned of a “10-year window of opportunity to solve” global warming. According to the 1989 article, “A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos.”

HOURS: Flashback March 2009: 'We have hours' to prevent climate disaster -- Declares Elizabeth May of Canadian Green Party

Days: Flashback Oct. 2009: UK's Gordon Brown warns of global warming 'catastrophe'; Only '50 days to save world'

Months: Prince Charles claimed a 96-month tipping point in July 2009

Years: 2009: NASA’s James Hansen Declared Obama Only First Term to Save The Planet! — ‘On Jan. 17, 2009 Hansen declared Obama only ‘has four years to save Earth’ or Flashback Oct .2009: WWF: 'Five years to save world'

Decades: 1982: UN official Mostafa Tolba, executive director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), warned on May 11, 1982, the 'world faces an ecological disaster as final as nuclear war within a couple of decades unless governments act now.'

Millennium: Flashback June 2010: 1000 years delay: Green Guru James Lovelock: Climate change may not happen as fast as we thought, and we may have 1,000 years to sort it out'

It is becoming obvious that the only authentic climate "tipping point" we can rely is this one:

Flashback 2007: New Zealand Scientist on Global Warming: 'It's All Going to be a Joke in 5 Years'


Crooked old Joe Romm defends Showtime’s Series On Climate Change

Note:  Romm served as the series’ Chief Science Advisor. He doesn’t mention that in his article.

Romm also quotes “the country’s top climatologist” Michael Mann to support his temper tantrum. Mann is also a Science Advisor for the  series. Romm didn’t mention that, either.

Romm repeatedly uses the word “they” rather than “we” to describe the film project.

The closest he comes to transparency is near the very end of the article when he writes, “I was not one of the producers of the show, but I have worked with them long enough to know that that sentence sums up their guiding philosophy.”   True, he was not a “producer,” but his statement gives the impression he merely “worked with them” in some sort of minor, outside way. He never mentions just how central his role was as Chief Science Advisor.

Ironic that Romm’s article title accuses people who criticize the series as “dishonest,” yet he fails to be forthcoming about his role in the series and his lack of objectivity writing the article.

As soon as I saw the much discredited Michael Mann described as "one of the country’s top climatologists", I stopped reading.  Sometimes total detachment from the facts makes itself obvious  -- JR

The good news is the video of episode one of Showtime’s climate series, “Years Of Living Dangerously,” has been getting great reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere.

The bad news is the Times has published an error-riddled hit-job op-ed on the series that is filled with myths at odds with both the climate science and social science literature. For instance, the piece repeats the tired and baseless claim that Al Gore’s 2006 movie “An Inconvenient Truth” polarized the climate debate, when the peer-reviewed data says the polarization really jumped in 2009 (see chart above from “The Sociological Quarterly”).

As I said, “Years Of Living Dangerously” — the landmark 9-part Showtime docu-series produced by the legendary James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — has been getting great reviews. Andy Revkin, often a critic of climate messaging, wrote in the NY Times Monday:

    "… a compellingly fresh approach to showing the importance of climate hazards to human affairs, the role of greenhouse gases in raising the odds of some costly and dangerous outcomes and — perhaps most important — revealing the roots of the polarizing divisions in society over this issue…."

George Marshall, “an expert on climate and communication,” — who is also often a critic of climate messaging — wrote me:

    "What impressed me about the two episodes I watched was the respect that it showed to conservatives, evangelicals and ordinary working people…. it is still the best documentary I have seen."

The New York Times op-ed is from the founders of the Breakthrough Institute — the same group where political scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. is a Senior Fellow. It pushes the same argument that Pielke made in his fivethirtyeight piece — which was so widely criticized and debunked that Nate Silver himself admitted its myriad flaws and ran a debunking piece by an MIT climate scientist.

Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, two widely debunked eco-critics who run The Breakthrough Institute (TBI), begin by asserting “IF you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime.” But they never cite anything other than the trailer in making their case, dismissing the entire enterprise on the basis of 2 minutes of clips!

They base their entire argument on a misrepresentation of climate science and a misrepresentation of social science. They assert:

    “But claims linking the latest blizzard, drought or hurricane to global warming simply can’t be supported by the science.”

I asked one of the country’s top climatologist, Michael Mann, to respond to that....


GM crops given green light by British government

Genetically-modified food which boosts health could be on British dining tables by the end of the decade after the Government gave the green light for the first field trial of nutrient enriched crops.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs today granted permission for Rothamsted Research to grow plants enhanced with the same omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, in a decision branded a 'milestone' by scientists.

The first seeds will be sown within weeks in secure fields in Hertfordshire and will be harvested in August.

The GM crop, where the plant's DNA has been combined with genes that produce fish oil, is among the first of a new generation of so-called ‘nutraceuticals’ – plants whose genetic structure has been altered to boost dietary supplements.

If successful the plant oil will be fed to fish, such as farmed salmon, to boost their uptake, but it could eventually be used in oils and spreads such as margarine.

Professor Johnathan Napier, lead scientist of this project at Rothamsted Research, said: “Omega-3 doesn’t occur in any other plant species but there is a real pressing need for it for health reasons.

“The way that fish currently acquire their omega-3, from algae, is not sustainable. So we are trying to find another source.

“Being able to carry out the field trial with our GM plants, means that we have reached a significant milestone in the delivery of our research programme.

“And just because we are talking about fish doesn’t mean there couldn’t be lots of other applications. This is something that could reduce our dependency on fish or supplements in the long term.”

Omega-3 fatty acids have been widely linked to health benefits, such as lowering the risk of heart disease, cancers and neuro-degenerative diseases.

Although omega-3 is often described as fish oil, it is in fact made by microscopic marine algae that are eaten or absorbed by fish.

Farmed fish grown in cages are unable to absorb sufficient omega-3 in their diets so they have to be fed on smaller fish which critics claim is unsustainable.

The Rothamsted Research scientists have copied and synthesised the genes from the algae and then spliced them into a plant called ‘Camelina sativa’, known as “false flax”, which is widely grown for its seed oil.

Although the main aim of the research is to produce GM crops that could be made into food for farmed fish, the seeds could eventually be used in other foods, such as margarine.

It is the first crop to be given permission since a wide-ranging report, commissioned by the government, gave the green light to GM in March.

Sir Mark Walport, the government’s Chief Scientific Advisor recommended that Britain should begin production after finding GM crops were not only safe, but more nutritious than current crops.

GM crops are already widely used in the US, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and India. Around 85 per cent of all corn crops in the US are now GM.

Sir Mark has warned that Britain risks falling behind if it does not begin GM production soon.

Professor Cathie Martin, the John Innes Centre, which has been producing enhanced tomatoes in green houses said: "Modern diets contain low levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids

"Diets with high omega-3 are strongly associated with health and protection from a range of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases,

"Cultivation of crops that produce oils high in omega 3 offers a sustainable supply of these health beneficial products for the first time.”

Prof Jackie Hunter, Chief Executive of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences research Council, which is helping fund the research said: "This research is seeking to provide an alternative source of omega-3 oil for the aquaculture industry that is seeking new ways to maintain and increase its sustainability.

“After many years of laboratory research this project has reached the point where only a field trial will show scientists if this could work in real world conditions.”

However anti GM critics claim that omega-3 fish oils have been implicated in raising the risk of prostate cancer, and it is not clear whether GM-derived fish oils will be safe for human or animal consumption.


Wind Farms and Health

Written by Alun Evans Professor Emeritus Belfast University

According to the World Health Organisation’s recent report, ‘Night Noise Guidelines for Europe’ [1], environmental noise is emerging as one of the major public health concerns of the twenty-first century. It observes that, “Many people have to adapt their lives to cope with the noise at night,” and the young and the old are particularly vulnerable.

This is because hearing in young people is more acute and, in older people, a loss of hearing of higher sound frequencies renders them more susceptible to the effects of low frequency noise. It is a particularly troublesome feature of the noise generated by wind turbines due to its impulsive, intrusive and incessant nature.

A recent case-control study conducted around two wind farms in New England has shown [2] that subjects living within 1.4 km of an IWT had worse sleep, were sleepier during the day, and had poorer SF36 Mental Component Scores compared to those living further than 1.4 km away. The study demonstrated a strongly significant association between reported sleep disturbance and ill health in those residing close to industrial wind turbines.

The major adverse health effects caused seem to be due to sleep disturbance and deprivation with the main culprits identified as loud noise in the auditory range, and low frequency noise, particularly infrasound. This is inaudible in the conventional sense, and is propagated over large distances and penetrates the fabric of dwellings, where it may be amplified. It is a particular problem at night, in the quiet rural settings most favoured for wind farms, because infrasound persists long after the higher frequencies have been dissipated.

Sleep is a physiological necessity and the sleep-deprived are vulnerable to a variety of health problems [2,3]. particularly Cardiovascular Disease in which nocturnal noise is an important factor [4]. Sleep deprivation in children is associated with increased bodyweight [3,5], which is known to ‘track’ into later life, and predisposes to adult disease. That is why “Encouraging more sleep” is a sensible target in the Public health Agency’s current campaign to prevent obesity in children. It also causes memory impairment because memories are normally reinforced in the later, Rapid Eye Movement, phase of sleep; again, it is the young and the old who are most affected. Sleep deprivation is associated with an increased likelihood of developing a range of chronic diseases including Type II Diabetes, cancer (eg breast with shift work [6]), Coronary Heart Disease [7,8] and Heart Failure [9].   Although the quality of the data are mixed, those on Heart Failure reported recently from the HUNT Study [9] are quite robust as they are based on 54,279 Norwegians free of disease at baseline (men and women aged 20-89 years). A total of 1412 cases of Heart Failure developed over a mean follow-up of 11.3 years. A dose-dependent relationship was observed between the risk of disease and the number of reported insomnia symptoms: i) Difficulty in initiating sleep; ii) Difficulty in maintaining sleep; and, iii) Lack of restorative sleep. The Hazard Ratios were ‘0’ for none of these; ‘0.96’ for one; ‘1.35’ for two; and, ‘4.53’ for three; this achieved significance at the 2% level. This means that such a result could occur once by chance if the study were to be repeated 50 times, Significance is conventionally accepted at the 5% level.

Another important, recent study is MORGEN which followed nearly 18,000 Dutch men and women, free of Cardiovascular Disease at baseline, over 10-14 years [8]. In this period there were 607 events: fatal CVD, non-fatal Myocardial Infarction and Stroke. Adequate sleep, defined as at least seven hours, was a protective factor which augmented the benefits conferred by the absence of four traditional cardiovascular risk factors. For example, the benefit of adequate sleep equalled the protective contribution of not smoking cigarettes. Given that cigarette smoking is such a potent risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease, this result is striking. The findings built on earlier ones from the MORGEN study [7]. It seems that adequate sleep is important in protecting against a range of Cardiovascular Diseases which result when arteries of different sizes are compromised: large (coronary, cerebral) arteries in heart attacks and stroke, small arteries (arterioles) in heart failure.

All of these studies share the weakness that they are ‘observational’ as opposed to ‘experimental’ and, as such, their results do not constitute ‘proof.’ We now have the evidence of an experimental study carried out in human volunteers which shows that the expression of a large range of genes is affected by sleep deprivation of fairly short duration [10]. This might be the key to understanding why the health effects of sleep deprivation are so diverse. It could also shed light on the ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome,’ a cluster of symptoms which include sleep disturbance, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, changes in mood and inability to concentrate [11]. In this condition infrasound is a likely causal agent.

This group has now shown in another small intervention study that mistimed sleep desynchronized from the central circadian clock has a much larger effect on the circadian regulation of the human transcriptome (i.e., a reduction in the number of circadian transcripts from 6.4% to 1% and changes in the overall time course of expression of 34% of transcripts) [12]. This may elucidate the reasons for the large excess of cardiovascular events associated with shift work found in a meta-analysis of over 2 million subjects in 34 studies [13]. The results demonstrate that any interference in normal sleeping patterns is inimical to cardiovascular health.

The old admonition that ‘What you can’t hear won’t harm you,’ sadly isn’t true. It is now known that organ of Corti in the cochlea (inner ear) contains two types of sensory cells: one row of inner hair cells which are responsible for hearing; and, three rows of outer hair cells which are more responsive to low frequency sound [14]. The infrasound produced by wind turbines is transduced by the outer hair cells and transmitted to the brain by Type II afferent fibres. The purpose is unclear as it results in sleep disturbance. Perhaps it served some vital function in our evolutionary past which has persisted to our detriment today? In fact, many animals use infrasound for communication and navigation. This could well have a genetic basis as it is only a minority, albeit a sizable one, which is affected. This may well be the group which is also liable to travel sickness. Schomer et al have now advanced the theory that as wind turbines increase in size they increasingly emit infrasound with a frequency below 1Hz (CPS) [15]. Below this frequency the otoliths in the inner ear respond in an exaggerated way in a susceptible minority who will suffer symptoms of the Wind Farm Syndrome. Previously it was thought that the brain was only under the control of electrical and biochemical stimuli but there is new evidence that it is sensitive, in addition, to mechanical stimuli [16].

The problem of infrasound and low frequency noise was well-recognised in a report by Casella Stanger [17], commissioned by DEFRA in 2001, and since ignored: “For people inside buildings with windows closed, this effect is exacerbated by the sound insulation properties of the building envelope. Again mid and high frequencies are attenuated to a much greater extent than low frequencies.” It continued: “As the A-weighting network attenuates low frequencies by a large amount, any measurements made of the noise should be with the instrumentation set to linear.” It drew heavily upon the DOE’s Batho Report of 1990 [18]. In fact, these problems had already been elucidated and the measurement issues addressed in a trio of papers by Kelley (et al) in the 1980s [19-21]. This research again has been ignored or forgotten so the problem continues to be seriously underestimated. When measured using a tool which can detect it, levels of infrasound and low frequency noise are disturbingly high, with ‘sound pressure levels’ greater than previously thought possible [22].

There are a number of other adverse effects associated with sleep deprivation. Tired individuals are more likely to have road traffic accidents and injure themselves while operating machinery. In addition, wind turbines can, and do, cause accidents by collapsing, blade snap, ice throw, and even going on fire. They induce stress and psychological disorder from blade flicker, which also has implications for certain types of epilepsy and autism. Even the current planning process, with its virtual absence of consultation, is stress inducing, as is the confrontation between land owners, who wish to profit from erecting turbines, and their neighbours who dread the effects. Finally, wind turbines considerably reduce the value of dwellings nearby and this has a negative long term effect on their owners’ and their families’ health [23]. On top of this, increasing numbers of families will be driven into fuel poverty by spiralling electricity costs which are subsidising wind energy. It is galling that SSE’s current, seductive advertising campaign is being supported from these sources.

‘Wind Turbine Noise’ was reviewed in an editorial in the British Medical Journal in 2012 [24]. The authors concluded that “A large body of evidence now exists to suggest that wind turbines disturb sleep and impair health at distances and noise levels that are permitted in most jurisdictions.” This remains the case today. The Public Health Agency has dismissed this editorial as falling short of a ‘systematic review,’ which is fair enough, given the constraints of the format, yet ignores at least one, excellent, recent systematic review [23]. Interestingly, that review records the fact that in 1978 the British Government was found guilty in a case taken to Europe by the Irish Government of applying five techniques, including subjection to noise and deprivation of sleep. These were used in Ulster to ‘encourage’ admissions and to elicit information from prisoners and detainees. They amounted to humiliating and degrading treatment, ie torture [23].


Thought police on patrol

By Charles Krauthammer

 Two months ago, a petition bearing more than 110,000 signatures was delivered to The Washington Post demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming. The petition arrived the day before publication of my column, which consisted of precisely that heresy.

The column ran as usual. But I was gratified by the show of intolerance because it perfectly illustrated my argument that the left is entering a new phase of ideological agitation -- no longer trying to win the debate but stopping debate altogether, banishing from public discourse any and all opposition.

The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences -- from social ostracism to vocational defenestration -- upon those who refuse to be silenced.

Sometimes the word comes from on high, as when the president of the United States declares the science of global warming to be "settled." Anyone who disagrees is then branded "anti-science." And better still, a "denier" -- a brilliantly chosen calumny meant to impute to the climate skeptic the opprobrium normally reserved for the hatemongers and crackpots who deny the Holocaust.

Then last week, another outbreak. The newest closing of the leftist mind is on gay marriage. Just as the science of global warming is settled, so, it seems, are the moral and philosophical merits of gay marriage.

To oppose it is nothing but bigotry, akin to racism. Opponents are to be similarly marginalized and shunned, destroyed personally and professionally.

Like the CEO of Mozilla who resigned under pressure just 10 days into his job when it was disclosed that six years earlier he had donated to California's Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

But why stop with Brendan Eich, the victim of this high-tech lynching? Prop 8 passed by half a million votes. Six million Californians joined Eich in the crime of "privileging" traditional marriage. So did Barack Obama. In that same year, he declared that his Christian beliefs made him oppose gay marriage.

Yet under the new dispensation, this is outright bigotry. By that logic, the man whom the left so ecstatically carried to the White House in 2008 was equally a bigot.

The whole thing is so stupid as to be unworthy of exegesis. There is no logic. What's at play is sheer ideological prejudice -- and the enforcement of the new totalitarian norm that declares, unilaterally, certain issues to be closed.

To this magic circle of forced conformity, the left would like to add certain other policies, resistance to which is deemed a "war on women." It's a colorful synonym for sexism. Leveling the charge is a crude way to cut off debate.

Thus, to oppose late-term abortion is to make war on women's "reproductive health." Similarly, to question Obamacare's mandate of free contraception for all.

Some oppose the regulation because of its impingement on the free exercise of religion. Others on the simpler (non-theological) grounds of a skewed hierarchy of values. Under the new law, everything is covered, but a few choice things are given away free. To what does contraception owe its exalted status? Why should it rank above, say, antibiotics for a sick child, for which that same mother must co-pay?

Say that, however, and you are accused of denying women "access to contraception."

Or try objecting to the new so-called Paycheck Fairness Act for women, which is little more than a full-employment act for trial lawyers. Sex discrimination is already illegal. What these new laws do is relieve the plaintiffs of proving intentional discrimination. To bring suit, they need only to show that women make less in that workplace.

Like the White House, where women make 88 cents to the men's dollar?

That's called "disparate impact." Does anyone really think Obama consciously discriminates against female employees, rather than the disparity being a reflection of experience, work history, etc.? But just to raise such questions is to betray heretical tendencies.

The good news is that the "war on women" charge is mostly cynicism, fodder for campaign-year demagoguery. But the trend is growing. Oppose the current consensus and you're a denier, a bigot, a homophobe, a sexist, an enemy of the people.

Long a staple of academia, the totalitarian impulse is spreading. What to do? Defend the dissenters, even if -- perhaps, especially if -- you disagree with their policy. It is -- it was? -- the American way.


Talking to the deceived

The world is filled with hate and if you cannot be respectful of other peoples views you can help foster more hatred and anger. This is especially true when you talk about our energy future.

There are many people that believe in man-made “Global Warming” and “Climate Change” and believe there is only one way to avert these crises and that is with renewable energy technology. No other technology can be discussed as a solution, because if you do, then you are a pawn for the big money behind that respective technology.

Can we all grow-up and have a rational discussion on energy without calling each other names?

Oberlin, Ohio is home to Oberlin college with some of the best and brightest students in America attending this small school. While it is a small school, it ranks right up there with Harvard, Princeton, and Yale in cost and in quality of education. It is also known as having one of the most green conscious and liberal student bodies in America.

Oberlin college is a perfect example of where, if paranoia and name calling is put aside, that both the ultra-right and ultra-left can come together on an issue like thorium based MSRs (Molten Salt Reactors). I know, I have experienced rationale debate on campus first hand.

A popular restaurant with college students is the Feve, and when in town, I like to go to the upstairs bar and strike up a conversation on energy with some of the students or faculty. This is normally very easy to do and students love to share their views.

I respect the position of the people that believe in man-made Global Warming and the renewables solution, I just ask if they have thought it all the way through (I am a man-made global warming skeptic and I do not believe that wind and solar are a solution to our environmental problems). I am very careful in my discussion, as I know the words that will shut them down and cause them to close their minds to any further debate. Words like “intermittency” and “on-demand” are not things a person with a vastly different viewpoint wants to hear.

I normally start the conversation as such:

Because our current electrical grid has to work with other technologies, natural gas peaker plants have grown by leaps and bounds with the addition of solar and wind. These peaker plants are cleaner than coal but are less clean than baseload natural gas plants. The natural gas peaker plants act as a compliment to wind and solar to stabilize the grid. The question I ask is, “Do the peaker natural gas plants put out more CO2 running in compliment with the wind turbines they support than what a natural gas baseload and/or a nuclear power plant does to create the same amount of energy?”

Many students cannot answer this question with any certainty.

I then start to talk about the benefits of MSRs and LFTR and there is a lot of push back.

At Oberlin college there are a lot of students there that are anti-fracking advocates and so, while natural gas burns cleaner, they do not necessarily like natural gas. Solutions that they like are natural gas made from bio-digesters and natural gas from landfill to support wind and solar. More times than naught, when nuclear is mentioned, you get looked at as if you have a third eye. After much discussion I challenge them to watch three documentaries. The first documentary is “Cool It!” by Bjorn Lomborg, an environmentalist and a big believer in global warming. The unbiased review of all energy technologies by Dr. Scott Tinker in the “Switch Energy Project” and finally “Pandoras Promise” by director Robert Stone. After watching these three films, it has been my experience, that even the most vitriolic anti-nuclear opponents have warmed to nuclear energy.

Getting a college student to watch a documentary in their free time is hard but the  ”Cool It!” documentary draws them in and, dare I say, helps to form a bridge between the left and the right. Many times if you get someone to watch “Cool It!” they will watch the other two documentaries. “Cool It!” is available on iTunes and “Pandora’s Promise” is available on iTunes and on Netflix.

Kirk Sorensen’s “TED talks” and Dr. Robert Hargraves “Aim High” video seals the deal and gets them so enamored with thorium that I get students that will call me telling me they have discovered yet another of Gordon McDowell’s videos.

Now, when I go to the Feve, a lot more people know about thorium energy and MSRs, not from me, but from other student advocates. They still believe in man-made global warming and climate change and that is okay with me. They also believe that wind and solar are part of the solution and that is okay with me. But now, instead of a vitriolic hatred for nuclear energy, they see it as having a dominant and substantial role in our future.


A Jew trivializes the holocaust

In the service of Global Warming, of course

Tom Friedman, a NY Times' columnist, is also Jewish. According to his Wiki-ography, he "attended Hebrew school five days a week until his Bar Mitzvah… He became enamored of Israel after a visit there in December 1968, and he spent all three of his high school summers living on Kibbutz Hahotrim, near Haifa. He has characterized his high school years as 'one big celebration of Israel's victory in the Six-Day War.' "

So it was a little surprising to hear Friedman call global-warming skeptics "climate deniers" in a recent interview with CNN's Fareed, in reference to the latest report by the UN's IPCC. Friedman says,

    "I was thinking, driving over here, what if the nightmare of the climate deniers came true and we really decided in America to take this seriously and act? What would we do? What is the nightmare that would happen?"

This comes on the heels of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) denouncing Dr. Roy Spencer for calling climate-change alarmists "global-warming Nazis", his response to the continued and explicit use of the word "denier" by pundits like Friedman. Spencer wrote:

"I am calling out the ADL for not denouncing the widespread use of Nazi Holocaust imagery in public statements made by journalists, politicians, and even some scientists over the last 7+ years towards us global warming skeptics. … The ADL would appear to have decided (based upon their years of silence) that using Holocaust imagery is OK on one side of the global warming issue, but not the other."

With the ADL remaining silent on the issue since 2007, when the term global-warming denier was first used by Ellen Goodman in the Boston Globe, don't expect too much protestation over Friedman's intentional choice of words. As Charles Krauthammer recently wrote in the Washington Post,

    "Anyone who disagrees is then branded "anti-science" and, better still, a "denier" — a brilliantly chosen calumny meant to impute to the climate skeptic the opprobrium normally reserved for the hatemongers and crackpots who deny the Holocaust."

Shelley Rose wrote the following back in late February:

   "It has become too common to use comparisons to the Holocaust and Nazi imagery to attack people with opposing views, whether the issue is global warming, immigration or stem-cell research. The six million Jewish victims and millions of other victims of Hitler deserve better. Their deaths should not be used for political points or sloganeering. This type of comparison diminishes and trivializes the Holocaust. There is no place for it in civil discussions."

The only thing worse than a Jewish person calling someone a 'climate denier' are the crickets coming from the ADL, which has chosen to remain silent on this despicable means of discourse.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


16 April, 2014

The Science And Politics Of Climate Change

Lennart Bengtsson says that the science isn’t settled and we still don’t know how best to solve the energy problems of our planet. Article originally published in German in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, a major Swiss newspaper. Lennart Bengtsson was until 1990 Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg. After his retirement, he has led, among others, the Department of Earth Sciences at the International Space Science Institute in Bern

Since the end of the 19th century, we have known that the Earth’s climate is sensitive to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. At that time, the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius showed that an increase in CO2 concentrations would lead to a warmer climate. However, Arrhenius harbored little hope that this would happen. Consequently, the Swedes would have to continue to suffer in a cold and miserable climate. Since then, much has changed. Annual CO2 emissions have now reached a level that is about 20 times higher than that of 1896. This has caused concern worldwide.

More CO2 in the atmosphere leads undoubtedly to a warming of the earth surface. However, the extent and speed of this warming are still uncertain, because we cannot yet separate well enough the greenhouse effect from other climate influences. Although the radiative forcing by greenhouse gases (including methane, nitrogen oxides and fluorocarbons) has increased by 2.5 watts per square meter since the mid-19th century, observations show only a moderate warming of 0.8 degrees Celsius. Thus, the warming is significantly smaller than predicted by most climate models. In addition, the warming in the last century was not uniform. Phases of manifest warming were followed by periods with no warming at all or even cooling.

The complex and only partially understood relationship between greenhouse gases and global warming leads to a political dilemma. We do not know when to expect a warming of 2 degrees Celsius. The IPCC assumes that the earth will warm up by 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celcius in response to a doubling of CO2 concentration. These high values of climate sensitivity, however, are not supported by observations. In other words: global warming has not been a serious problem so far if we rely on observations. It is only a problem when we refer to climate simulations by computer models.

There is no alternative to such computer simulations if one wants to predict future developments. However, since there is no way to validate them, the forecasts are more a matter of faith than a fact. The IPCC has published its expert opinion a few months ago and presented it in the form of probabilities. As long as the results cannot be supported by validated models they produce a false impression of reliability.

EU member states pursue a strategy of reducing the climate risk by reducing the use of fossil fuels in the shortest time to a minimum. Many citizens are risk averse and therefore support this policy. In addition, many citizens want to phase-out nuclear power, because it is also seen as too risky. To eliminate both nuclear energy as well as fossil fuels is an enormous challenge. Nevertheless, Germany and Switzerland have opted for such an energy transition. To pursue such a radical and perhaps risky energy policy, despite the limited economic, scientific and technical capabilities of the two countries is an enormous undertaking.

There are two things that need to be addressed in this context. Firstly, such energy transitions will, unfortunately, do little to reduce global CO2 emissions, since 90 percent of these emissions come from countries outside Europe. Many of these countries are likely to increase their CO2 emissions in the future, as their population increases and their top priority is to improve the living standards of their citizens. China is a special case. Its CO2 emissions have more than doubled in the last decade and are now about 50 percent higher than those of the United States. For various reasons, there are no alternatives to fossil fuels in the developing countries for the time being. Energy demand there is great. Currently, 1.3 billion people have no access to electricity. To reduce their own emissions easily and quickly, the OECD countries have outsourced some of their energy-intensive production to developing countries. In the national statistics, this looks good. Globally, however, not much changes, since the emissions occur simply somewhere else.

Secondly, the rapid transition to renewable energy has led to a considerable increase in energy prices in many countries, especially in Europe. This weakens the competitiveness and leads to a relocation of energy-intensive industries to countries such as the USA, where the energy price has dropped significantly by the use of shale gas.

It is no surprise that there are other forces that are driving rapid change. Because once government subsidies are involved, huge profits are available. However, before radical and hasty changes to the current energy system are implemented, there must be robust evidence that climate change is significantly detrimental. We are still far away from such evidence. It would be wrong to conclude from the report of the IPCC and similar reports that the science is settled.

We do not yet know how best to solve the energy problems of our planet. But many things can happen in the next 100 years. A moderate climate sensitivity, as suggested by recent observations, could provide the world a breathing space of about half a century (but not much longer) if at the same a switch from coal to natural gas occurs. This gives us the opportunity to avoid unnecessary and panicked investment, and to invest the available resources in well thought-out and long-term oriented research programs instead. These include new types of nuclear energy as well as the use of nuclear waste to generate energy.


Solar Firms Seek More Cash

Two California companies, Sequoia Pacific Solar and Eiger Lease Co., are suing the Treasury for withholding $14.6 million in cash grants after the parent company, SolarCity, burned through $244 million in tax incentives dating back to 2009. Despite the quarter billion in taxpayer dollars, all they have to show for it is a whopping $166 million in debt. No wonder they're desperate.

According to the lawsuit, Treasury “improperly changed the rules.” Federal officials, however, say that SolarCity inflated sales contracts to retrieve more taxpayer dollars. They're also accused of deceiving its shareholders and releasing erroneous financial reports.

The fact the feds are providing “green” incentives at all is ridiculous enough, especially in the wake of boondoggles like Solyndra. But as Hot Air's Jazz Shaw adds, “is this a private company which is intended to show a profit in the marketplace or a non-profit charity which is only expected to live off the teat of the taxpayer? Well, okay… the 'non-profit' part is probably pretty obvious.”


Coughing Up Climate Rhetoric

It's spring, and that means allergies. So naturally, alarmists are attempting to identify a link between heavy pollen and global “warming.” For most of the country, a continued cool pattern has delayed the allergy season. “With temperatures finally starting to rise, New Jersey may soon experience a compressed spring, causing an allergy season that's supercharged,” says Christopher Maag of North

He later adds: “Erratic weather changes and intense pollen seasons are consistent with research on global climate change by Leonard Bielory, an allergist and visiting professor at the Rutgers Center for Environmental Prediction. In a study presented last year … Bielory predicted that annual pollen counts in many parts of the U.S., including New Jersey, will double between the years 2000 and 2040 as higher average temperatures bring longer pollination seasons.”

Perhaps Maag should examine his own contradiction. Bielory cites “longer pollination seasons” thanks to “higher average temperatures,” while Maag's entire premise is on a “compressed” and “supercharged” season shortened by cold weather. Also, earth hasn't warmed in over 17 years. That's nothing to sneeze at.



Was stopping Nevada’s fracking rush behind the Bundy showdown?

The story of rancher Cliven Bundy has captured an abundance of media attention and attracted supporters from across the West, who relate to the struggle against the federal management of lands. Bundy’s sister, Susan, was asked: “Who’s behind the uproar?” She blamed the Sierra Club, then Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), and then President Obama. She concluded her comments with: “It’s all about control” — a sentiment that is frequently expressed regarding actions taken in response to some endangered-species claim.

An Associated Press report describes Bundy’s battle this way: “The current showdown pits rancher Cliven Bundy’s claims of ancestral rights to graze his cows on open range against federal claims that the cattle are trespassing on arid and fragile habitat of the endangered desert tortoise.”

Bundy’s story has been percolating for decades — leaving people to question why now. The pundits are, perhaps, missing the real motive. To discover it, you have to dig deep under the surface of the story, below the surface of the earth. I posit: it is all about oil and gas.

On April 10, the Natural News Network posted this: “BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases.” It states: “a Natural News investigation has found that BLM is actually in the business of raking in millions of dollars by leasing Nevada lands to energy companies that engage in fracking operations.”

This set off alarms in my head; it didn’t add up. I know that oil-and-gas development and ranching can happily coexist. Caren Cowan, executive director of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, told me: “The ranching and oil-and-gas communities are the backbone of America. They are the folks who allow the rest of the nation to pursue their hearts’ desire secure in the knowledge that they will have food and energy available in abundant supply. These natural resource users have worked arm-in-arm for nearly a century on the same land. They are constantly developing and employing technologies for ever better outcomes.”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wouldn’t be enduring the humiliating press it has received, as a result of kicking Bundy off of land his family has ranched for generations and taking away his prior usage rights, just to open up the land for oil-and-gas — the two can both be there.

The Natural News “investigation” includes a map from the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology that shows “significant exploratory drilling being conducted in precisely the same area where the Bundy family has been running cattle since the 1870s.” It continues: “What’s also clear is that oil has been found in nearby areas.”

Nevada is not a top-of-mind state when one thinks about oil and gas. Alan Coyner, administrator for the Nevada Division of Minerals, describes his state: “We are not a major oil-producing state. We’re not the Saudi Arabia of the U.S. like we are for gold and geothermal production.” The Las Vegas Review Journal reports: “When it comes to oil, Nevada is largely undiscovered country…. fewer than 1,000 wells have been drilled in the state, and only about 70 are now in production, churning out modest amounts of low-grade petroleum generally used for tar or asphalt. Since an all-time high of 4 million barrels in 1990, oil production in Nevada has plummeted to fewer than 400,000 barrels a year. More oil is pumped from the ground in one day in North Dakota — where the fracking boom has added more than 2,000 new wells in recent years — than Nevada produced in 2012.”

But, Nevada could soon join the ranks of the states that are experiencing an economic boom and job creation due to oil-and-gas development. And, that has got to have the environmental groups, which are hell-bent on stopping it, in panic mode. Until now, their efforts in Nevada have been focused on blocking big solar development.

A year ago, the BLM held an oil-and-gas lease sale in Reno. At the sale, 29 federal land leases, totaling about 56 square miles, were auctioned off, bringing in $1.27 million. One of the winning bidders is Houston-based Noble Energy, which plans to drill as many as 20 exploratory wells and could start drilling by the end of the year. Commenting on its acreage, Susan Cunningham, Noble senior vice president, said: “We’re thrilled with the possibilities of this under-explored petroleum system.”

The parcels made available in April 2013 will be developed using hydraulic fracturing, about which Coyner quipped: “If the Silver State’s first big shale play pays off, it could touch off a fracking rush in Nevada.” Despite the fact that fracking has been done safely and successfully for more than 65 years in America, the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Nevada-based senior scientist, Ron Mrowka, told the Las Vegas Review Journal: “Fracking is not a good thing. We don’t feel there is a safe way to do it.”

The BLM made the leases available after someone, or some company, nominated the parcels, and the process to get them ready for auction can easily take a year or longer. One year before the April 2013, sale, CBD filed a “60-day notice of intent to sue” the BLM for its failure to protect the desert tortoise in the Gold Butte area — where Bundy cattle have grazed for more than a century.

Because agencies like the BLM are often staffed by environmental sympathizers, it is possible that CBD was alerted to the pending potential oil-and-gas boom when the April 2013 parcels were nominated—triggering the notice of intent to sue in an attempt to lock up as much land as possible before the “fracking rush” could begin.

A March 25, 2014 CBD press release — which reportedly served as the impetus for the current showdown — states: “Tortoises suffer while BLM allows trespass cattle to eat for free in Nevada desert.” It points out that the Clark County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan purchased and then retired grazing leases to protect the endangered tortoise.

Once Bundy’s cattle are kicked off the land to protect the tortoise, the precedent will be set to use the tortoise to block any oil-and-gas development in the area — after all environmentalists hate cattle only slightly less than they hate oil and gas. Admittedly, the April 13 leases are not in the same area as Bundy’s cattle, however, Gold Butte does have some oil-and-gas exploration that CBD’s actions could nip in the bud. Intellihub reports: “The BLM claims that they are seizing land to preserve it, for environmental protection. However, it is obvious that environmental protection is not their goal if they are selling large areas of land to fracking companies. Although the land that was sold last year is 300 and some miles away from the Bundy ranch, the aggressive tactics that have been used by federal agents in this situation are raising the suspicion that this is another BLM land grab that is destined for a private auction.”

The Natural News Network also sees that the tortoise is being used as a scapegoat: “Anyone who thinks this siege is about reptiles is kidding themselves.” It adds: “‘Endangered tortoises’ is merely the government cover story for confiscating land to turn it over to fracking companies for millions of dollars in energy leases.” The Network sees that it isn’t really about the critters; after all, hundreds of desert tortoises are being euthanized in Nevada.

Though the Intellihub and Natural News Network point to the “current showdown” as being about allowing oil-and-gas development, I believe that removing the cattle is really a Trojan horse. The tortoise protection will be used to block any more leasing.

On April 5, 2014, CBD sent out a triumphant press release announcing that the “long-awaited” roundup of cattle had begun.

What I am presenting is only a theory; I am just connecting some dots. But over-and-over, an endangered or threated species or habitat is used to block all kinds of economic development. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the lesser prairie chicken and the huge effort ($26 million) a variety of industries cooperatively engaged in to keep its habitat from being listed as threatened. The effort failed and the chicken’s habitat was listed. In my column on the topic, I predicted that these listings were likely to trigger another sage brush rebellion that will challenge federal land ownership. The Bundy showdown has brought the controversy front and center.

For now, southern Nevada’s last rancher has won the week-long standoff that has been likened to Tiananmen Square. Reports state that “the BLM said it did so because it feared for the safety of employees and members of the public,” not because it has changed its position.

While this chapter may be closing, it may have opened the next chapter in the sage brush rebellion. The Bundy standoff has pointed out the overreach of federal agencies and the use of threatened or endangered species to block economic activity.


Earth Daze

John Stossel

"The heavens reek, the waters below are foul ... we are in a crisis of survival." That's how Walter Cronkite and CBS hyped the first Earth Day, back in 1970. Somehow we've survived since then, and most of life got better, although I never hear that from the worrywarts.

Of course, some things got better because of government: We passed environmental rules that got most of the filth out of the air and sewage out of lakes and rivers. Great -- but now we're told that we're in big trouble because greenhouse gases cause global warming. I mean, climate change.

"Crop yields are down, deaths from heat are up," says the Los Angeles Times. The "Worst Is Yet to Come," warns The New York Times. This hype is not new. Alarmists always fool the gullible media. They once fooled me.

A few years back, we were going to be killed by global cooling , overpopulation, pesticide residues, West Nile virus, bird flu, Y2K, cellphone radiation, mad cow disease, etc. Now it's global warming.

Reporters don't make these scares up. The recent hype about global warming comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Most of its members are serious scientists. But reporters don't realize that those scientists, like bird flu specialists, have every incentive to hype the risk. If their computer models (which so far have been wrong) predict disaster, they get attention and money. If they say, "I'm not sure," they get nothing.

Also, the IPCC is not just a panel of scientists. It's an intergovernmental panel. It's a bureaucracy controlled by the sort of people who once ran for student council and are "exhilarated by the prospect of putting the thumb of the federal government on the scale."

Actually, that wasn't a quote from a global warming alarmist. It's from anti-marijuana alarmist and former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joe Califano. But it's the same crisis mindset. Scientists who disagree, who are reluctant to put their thumbs on the government scale, don't feel welcome in the IPCC.

It's possible climate change may become a problem. But even if industrialization brings warming, we've got more important problems. On my TV show this week, statistician Bjorn Lomborg points out that "air pollution kills 4.3 million people each year ... We need to get a sense of priority." That deadly air pollution happens because, to keep warm, poor people burn dung in their huts.

Yet, time and again, environmentalists oppose the energy production most likely to make the world cleaner and safer. Instead, they persuade politicians to spend billions of your dollars on symbolism like "renewable" energy.

"The amazing number that most people haven't heard is, if you take all the solar panels and all the wind turbines in the world," says Lomborg, "they have (eliminated) less CO2 than what U.S. fracking (cracking rocks below ground to extract oil and natural gas) managed to do."

That progress occurred despite opposition from environmentalists -- and even bans in places like my stupid state, New York, where activists worry fracking will cause earthquakes or poison the water.

Do environmentalists even care about measuring costs instead of just assuming benefits? We spend $7 billion to subsidize electric cars. Even if America reached the president's absurd 2015 goal of "a million electric cars on the road" (we won't get close), how much would it delay warming of the Earth?

"One hour," says Lomborg. "This is a symbolic act."

Symbolic. Environmentalism is now more religion than science. It even comes with built-in doomsday stories to warn people about what will happen if they disobey -- a bit like the movie "Noah" that's in theaters now.

While environmentalists lament that our time is running out, environmental indicators get better, technological improvements reduce carbon dioxide, water gets cleaner for millions, and human life expectancy goes up.

This Earth Day, instead of attacking those who sell fossil fuels, I will applaud them for overcoming constant environmental hysteria -- while providing affordable energy that will allow us to fight poverty, which is the real threat to the people of the world.


Reality Check: Irish-British Wind Export Plan Collapses Because It’s Too Expensive

The collapse of a controversial wind export plan has been announced by the Government on the same day that the UN’s top scientific body called for a rapid switch to renewable energy to fight climate change.

Minister for Energy Pat Rabbitte said that “given the economic, policy and regulatory complexities involved” the Irish and British governments had failed to agree terms “to facilitate green energy export from the Midlands within the EU’s 2020 timeframe”.

Under the plan, three companies – Element Power, Mainstream and Bord na Mona – planned 1,000 turbines in five Midland counties to export three gigawatts of green energy into the British national grid. Negotiations on the multibillion euro deal were called off because “there was nothing left to discuss”, Irish officials said last night.

The decision to abandon negotiations on the project, which has featured strongly in the local and European Parliament election campaign, comes before a protest march planned in Dublin tomorrow.

Pay negotiations

The scheme needed a regulatory agreement between Dublin and London, which would, among other things, say who would pay for an interconnector to carry energy to Wales.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British prime minister David Cameron agreed, during St Patrick Day talks in 10 Downing Street, that officials would be told to make another attempt to reach agreement.

The move came as Mr Rabbitte warned a deal was “unlikely” because the British side wanted to pay no more for Irish onshore wind energy than it would pay in Britain – even though it would have to be taken there.

Irish sources said no flexibility had been shown by the British department of energy and climate change after the Downing Street talks.

Mr Rabbitte’s decision has angered developers who plan to export three gigawatts of offshore energy from a necklace of projects in the Irish Sea. They say the move threatens them, even though the projects are entirely separate.

Brian Britton, who heads one of the developers, Oriel Energy, said: “They have taken only four-and-a-half weeks, rather than the three months set down in the Downing Street agreement.” Mr Britton also leads the National Offshore Wind Association.


“It is somewhat ironic in a week which has seen the first State visit from an Irish President to the UK, that the Irish Government has pulled back from a policy initiative which would have demonstrated the real benefits of partnership in both economies,” said the association, in a statement.

Mr Rabbitte regretted that a deal with London “has not been possible” but said wind energy exports from Ireland to Britain “are inevitable after 2020”.

“Economic analysis conducted on the Irish side clearly indicates that under agreed policy and regulatory conditions, renewable energy trading can deliver significant economic benefits to Ireland and the UK, as well as being attractive to developers,” he said.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said delaying the development of renewables would “do us nothing but harm”.

In its latest report, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said a large-scale transformation of the energy sector from burning fossil fuels to relying primarily on renewables is needed to contain global warming at 2 degrees.

“Without additional efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions . . . emissions growth is expected to . . . result in global mean surface temperature increases in 2100 from 3.7 to 4.8 degrees,” it warned.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


15 April, 2014

The power of prophecy (NOT)

ALL prophecies, including global warming prophecies, should be taken as seriously as the ones below

What they thought we'd wearing today - as imagined in 1893

An illustrated book from 1893 with one man's prediction of what fashions of the decades to come would look like has been unearthed.

The Future Dictates of Fashion by W. Cade Gall was published in the January 1893 edition of The Strand magazine and contains hilarious illustrations of the 'future of fashion'.

The article, which was found in a library, predicts one hundred years' worth of style.

It begins in 1900 with a rather wizardly array of garments, including plenty of walking sticks, oversized hats and voluminous skirts.


The Best Thing for the Environment is for the Government to Stop Controlling It

Yesterday, the United Nations released a startling report that concludes that “world leaders” only have a few years to drastically curb carbon emissions, else the world will face debilitating warming, which would lead to a rise in sea level that would dramatically change human life and natural habitats. The report also argues that the world is already beginning to see the effects of climate change: a higher level of disease spread in Africa, an increase in the number and severity of wildfires in North America, and the decrease of food production in South America.

According to Kelly Levin, a climate change scientist from the World Resources institute, "Today's choices are going to significantly affect the risk that climate change will pose for the rest of the century."

Levin is, of course, correct, but perhaps not in the way she means. The United Nations and others involved in averting climate change have all emphasized the importance of the actions of world leaders in the coming years, from preparedness to last-ditch attempts to keep the world cool. But what “world leaders” really need to do is to drastically decrease their “defense” spending, stop propping up oil industries with counter-productive subsidies, and reduce or eliminate the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs so that they can innovate with new energy methods.

Consider the irony: the United Nations calls upon governments to enact emergency policies to mitigate climate change, yet those selfsame governments are actually the biggest hindrances to environmental cleanup efforts.

First, governments are often the largest polluters on the planet, not private entities. For instance, in the United States alone, the Pentagon is actually America’s biggest polluter. The Department of Defense pumps out more than 750,000 tons of hazardous material every year—that’s more than the top three chemical companies combined. How are they getting away with this? Congress passed an explicit provision exempting the military from any energy reduction efforts. The first thing that the U.S. “world leader” should do is to cut its own environmental impact.

Second, the United States government—like many world governments—heavily subsidizes the carbon-based energy industries while simultaneously passing “environmental regulations” that make a microscopic dent in carbon consumption. According to Price of Oil, the U.S. government spends between $14 and $52 billion in subsidies for the gas, coal, or oil industries, yet any attempt to reduce this number is thwarted in Congress. This keeps the price of carbon-based energies artificially low, interfering with the market process that occurs when goods are scarce.

In the meantime, the federal government and local governments impose carbon taxes onto their citizens, creating a perverse double standard. They attempt to keep people from using carbon-based products through tax policies while encouraging people to use them by driving down their prices. Carbon taxes aren’t the only ridiculous burden governments are placing on citizens to make them pay for their mistakes: plastic bag taxes, incandescent light bulb bans, the Clean Air Act, etc.

The list, tragically, is endless, though I would be remiss to not also mention that the U.S. government hand-crafted the conditions for the BP oil spill.

Despite all of this, entrepreneurs and innovators are still trying to come up with ways to save people money and energy by creating new products for them to try—only for government to get in the way when they do. For instance, many of the financial regulations after the bank meltdown have been biased against green companies and technologies and thus prevent investors from providing much-needed capital for these ideas to come to fruition.

Even if you still believe that governments have some role to play, deregulating markets is still the best way to go to make sure those policies are effective. According to a 2012 study, “renewable energy policies are significantly more effective in fostering green innovation in countries with deregulated energy markets.” Better still, “public support for renewable energy is crucial only in the generation of high-quality green patents, whereas competition enhances the generation of green patents irrespective of their quality.”

In short, the UN is correct to call upon “world leaders” to mitigate climate change. But the “action” that must be taken is to deregulate markets, get out of the way of innovators, and stop maintaining duplicitous policies. And if governments really feel like they must “do” something, they can reduce their own carbon emissions by cutting on so-called “defense” spending—with the bonus of making the world a bit more peaceful.


Is lying about climate change OK?

Those of us who have chronicled the global warming hoax, now called “climate change”, know that it is based on decades of lies about carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas” with predictions that the Earth will heat up and cause massive problems unless those emissions are drastically reduced by not using coal, oil and natural gas.

Two American think tanks, The Heartland Institute and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) have been among those exposing those lies for years. The lies have been generated and led by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“Despite the panel’s insistence that the Earth is getting hotter, five different datasets show that there have been no observable warming for 17 and a half years even as carbon dioxide levels have risen 12%,” notes Christopher Monckton, a science advisor to Britain’s former Prime Minister Thatcher. “The discrepancy between prediction and observation continues to grow.”

Recently, two Chinese assistant professors of economics, Fuhai Hong and Xiaojian Zhao, were published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Their paper, “Information Manipulation and Climate Agreements”, openly advocated lying about global warming/climate change in order to get nations to sign on to the International Environmental Agreement.

“It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations,” they noted, “have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. This article provides a rationale for this tendency.”

Craig Rucker, CFACT’s Executive Director, responded to the Chinese authors saying “They’re shameless.” Theirs and others ends-justify-the-means tactics reflects the attitudes and actions of environmental organizations and serves as a warning to never accept anything they say on any aspect of this huge hoax.

CFACT’s President and co-founder, David Rothbard, noted that “Global warming skeptics have long charged that alarmists are over-hyping the dangers of climate change.” How long? Back in 1989, the late Stanford University professor, Stephen Schneider, said, “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ which we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance between being effective and being honest.”

There is no “right balance” between telling lies and telling the truth when it comes to science or any other aspect of our lives. Suffice to say that thousands of scientists who participated in the IPCC reports over the years supported the lies, but many have since left and some have openly denounced the reports.

As the latest IPCC summary of its report has garnered the usual verbatim media coverage of its outlandish predictions, The Heartland Institute has released its own 1,062 page report from the “Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) called “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts. An 18-page summery is available at

Among its findings:

- Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

- There is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels.

- Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels do not pose a significant threat to aquatic life.

- A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events.

Based on hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, the NIPCC report is free of the lies that are found in the IPCC report whose studies have been, at best, dubious, and at worst, deliberately deceptive.In light of the natural cooling cycle the Earth has been in that is good news and it will be even better news when the planet emerges from the cycle that reflects the lower levels of radiation from the Sun.

On March 31, CNS News reported that “The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report estimates it will cost developed nations an additional $100 billion each year to help poorer nations adapt to the devastating effects of ‘unequivocal’ global warming, including food shortages, infrastructure breakdown, and civil violence. But that figure was deleted from the report’s executive summary after industrial nations, including the United States, objected to the high price tag.”

The price tag reveals the IPCC’s real agenda, the transfer of funds from industrial nations to those less developed. It’s about the money and always has been. It’s not global warming the planet needs to survive, it is the costly lies about it.


EPA Concedes: We Can’t Produce All the Data Justifying Clean Air Rules

Seven months after being subpoenaed by Congress, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy conceded that her agency does not have -  and cannot produce - all of the scientific data used for decades to justify numerous rules and regulations under the Clean Air Act.

In a March 7th letter to House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), McCarthy admitted that EPA cannot produce all of the original data from the 1993 Harvard Six Cities Study (HSC) and the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) 1995 Cancer Prevention Study II, which is currently housed at New York University.

Both studies concluded that fine airborne particles measuring 2.5 micrograms or less (PM2.5) – 1/30th the diameter of a human hair – are killing thousands of Americans every year.

These epidemiological studies are cited by EPA as the scientific foundation for clean air regulations that restrict particulate emissions from vehicles, power plants and factories.

The agency has recently come under fire for exposing volunteers to concentrated levels of particulate matter without informing them of the risks, a practice Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, called “despicable.”

The full committee, which issued its first subpoena in 21 years last August after being stonewalled by the EPA for two years, wanted the raw data from the studies so that their results could be replicated by independent researchers. (See EPA subpoena.pdf)

However, despite “multiple interactions with the third party owners of the research data in an effort to obtain that data,” McCarthy wrote, some of the data subpoenaed by the committee “are not (and were not) in the possession, custody or control of the EPA, nor are they within the authority to obtain data that the agency identified.”

“EPA has not withheld any data in our possession that is responsive to the subpoena,” McCarthy stated. “The EPA acknowledges, however, that the data provided are not sufficient in themselves to replicate the analyses in the epidemiological studies, nor would they allow for the one to one mapping of each pollutant and ecological variable to each subject.” (See EPA letter to Smith March 7 2014 (1).pdf) asked EPA whether the agency had turned over any data from the Harvard Six Cities and American Cancer Society studies in response to the subpoena.

“EPA provided to the Committee all the data that was in the possession of the agency or within the agency's authority to obtain under the Shelby Amendment,” which requires that results of federally-funded studies be made available to the public, an agency spokeswoman responded. “As such, the agency has now in good faith obtained and provided to the Committee all the requested research data subject to the Shelby Amendment and covered by the subpoena.”

A committee staff member confirmed to that “EPA gave us what they have of both studies, which is a significant amount of data, but not sufficient" to allow independent reproduction or verification of results.

"We’re at a point where EPA has conceded that they don’t have in their possession the data necessary to fully comply, and in some cases, never did possess the data,” he added.

The subpoena was issued as the EPA moves to finalize strict new regulations that could place 90 percent of the U.S. population in non-attainment areas and impose an additional $90 billion annual burden on the U.S. economy.

However, two newer studies cast doubts on the original research.

Stanley Young and Jessie Xia of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences published a paper last year questioning the EPA’s reliance on the Harvard and Cancer Society studies, both of which found that breathing fine particulate matter (PM2.5) resulted in increased mortality.

“There is no significant association of PM2.5 with longevity in the west of the United States,”Young and Xia  noted, adding that “our findings call into question the claim made by the original researchers.” (See young080113.pdf)

Another recent study by Johns Hopkins-trained biostatistician Steve Milloy that attempted to duplicate EPA’s findings also found “no correlation between changes in ambient PM2.5 mortality” and any cause of death in California between 2007 and 2010.

“Virtually every regulation proposed by the Obama administration has been justified by nontransparent data and unverifiable claims,” committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said in February, denouncing what he called EPA’s “secret science.”

“The American people foot the bill for EPA’s costly regulations, and they have a right to see the underlying science. Costly environmental regulations should be based on publicly available data so that independent scientists can verify the EPA’s claims.”

Smith and Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) have introduced the Secret Science Reform Act of 2014, which would prohibit EPA from “proposing, finalizing or disseminating regulations based upon scientific information that is not publically available in a manner sufficient for independent scientific analysis.”

HR 4012, which would amend the Environmental Research, Development and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978, states that “the Administrator shall not propose, finalize, or disseminate a covered action unless all scientific and technical information relied on to support such covered action is (A) specifically identified; and (B) publicly available in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis and substantial reproduction of research results.”

At a February 11th hearing before the Subcommittee on Environment, Raymond Keating, chief economist at the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, testified in favor of the bill. (HHRG-113-SY18-WState-RKeating-20140211.pdf)

“The  U.S. has made enormous progress in cleaning the air over the last 40 years, so much so that we now are talking about reducing very small increments of pollution. Achieving those tiny reductions will no doubt be very costly—as EPA itself admitted when it released its cost analysis for ozone in 2010. The question is: will they be worth it?" Keating asked.

“We won’t know that unless we have the scientific data in front of us, unless scientists from all over the country can attempt to replicate it and determine its validity. Without that, EPA is hiding the ball, and imposing costs without truly knowing what the benefits are.”

Congress is expected to consider the bill sometime this summer.


IPCC backs shale

Global emissions need to fall by at least 40 per cent by 2050 and almost to zero by 2100 to have a good chance of limiting the increase in the average temperature to 2C, above which the UN says there could be catastrophic impacts.

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will underpin negotiations over a global climate change treaty that the UN hopes will be signed in Paris next year.

The share of energy from low-carbon sources, such as wind, solar, nuclear and fossil fuel plants which capture carbon, will have to increase three or four-fold by 2050.

The IPCC was silent, however, on how much investment there should be in each source of energy. It said it was up to each country to decide on the mix of energy sources it needed to meet its share of the global emissions target.

Countries that relied on exports of coal and oil could see their revenues decline if the world took collective action on emissions, it said. Yet exports of gas, which has about half the emissions of coal per unit of energy produced, could increase.

The report said: “Greenhouse gas emissions from energy supply can be reduced significantly by replacing current world average coal-fired power plants with modern, highly efficient natural gas combined?cycle power plants.”

It added that “fugitive emissions” from gas extraction, such as methane, that can leak from poorly constructed wells, would need to be tightly controlled to ensure that a switch to gas cut overall emissions.

Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of the IPCC report and professor of climate change economics at the Technical University Berlin, said: “The shale gas revolution… can be very consistent with low-carbon development… Gas can be very helpful as a bridge technology.”

He cautioned however that burning more gas would cut emissions only if it displaced coal. If more gas were burnt as well as coal, overall emissions would rise.

The report said that the world economy would continue to grow if countries made “ambitious” emissions cuts but the annual growth rate would be 0.06 per cent lower than it would otherwise have been.

It added that this estimate did not include the expected economic benefits of cutting emissions, including the health benefits of reduced air pollution.

Emissions could be reduced by planting trees across vast areas to absorb carbon dioxide and then harvesting the wood to burn in power stations fitted with carbon capture systems, the IPCC said.

It added, however: “As of today this combination is not available at scale, permanent underground carbon dioxide storage faces challenges and the risks of increased competition for land need to be managed.”

Almost all power stations burning fossil fuels would have to be fitted with carbon capture systems by the end of the century to avoid catastrophic climate change, the report said. [....]

Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, said: “This is the first IPCC report that will be largely ignored by most policymakers. It will have no influence on governments’ energy policies that are now almost completely dominated by energy security and economic considerations. Around the world the climate issue is being pushed to the margins of decision making.”


No High School pass For British Climate Change Sceptic

Brainwashing about global warming percolates throughout the British education system

Not often does a senior Cabinet minister declare that a policy long pursued by his own department is “against the law”. But that was the response of Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, to a report exposing just how profoundly our education system has been hijacked by promoters of the official group-think on global warming.

Expanding on a theme touched on here more than once over the years, the report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation by Andrew Montford and John Shade shows how generations of schoolchildren have been taught to accept as gospel nothing but a propagandist, Greenpeace-type view of the global-warming scare, so one-sided that it makes a mockery of the requirement under the 1996 Education Act that pupils only be taught in a balanced way, allowing them to form their own view of the evidence.

So relentless is this brainwashing that it percolates throughout the curriculum, so that even exam papers in French, English or religious studies can ask students to explain why the world is dangerously warming up, or why we must build more wind turbines. In 2012, I described an A-level general studies paper set by our leading exam board, AQA, asking for comment on 11 pages of propagandist “source materials”, riddled with basic errors. A mother wrote to tell me how her intelligent son, after getting straight As on all his science papers, used his extensive knowledge of climate science to point out all their absurd distortions.

He was given the lowest possible mark, a fail. When his mother paid to have his paper independently assessed, the new examiner conceded that it was “articulate, well-structured” and well-informed. But because it did not parrot the party line, it was still given a fail. I fear this corruption of everything that education and science should stand for has become a much more serious scandal than Mr Gove yet realises.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


14 April, 2014

Astrophysics and climate

For some time I have been aware that there are substantial challenges to the conventional picture of the sun as a gas ball.  I am also aware that the "electric universe" theory has been gaining ground.  As I already track social science, medical science and climate science, however, I have refused to add issues in astrophysics to my plate.  Just this once however I am putting up below something from the "Thunderbolt" project  -- which is the organization principally promoting the electric universe theory

Is Kirchhoff’s Law Valid?

 Kirchhoff’s law of thermal emission (formulated in 1860) is presented and demonstrated to be invalid.  This law is crucial to our understanding of radiation within arbitrary cavities.  Kirchhoff’s law rests at the heart of condensed matter physics and astrophysics.  Its collapse can be directly associated with 1) the loss of universality in Planck’s law (Planck’s constant and Boltzmann’s constant are no longer universal in nature), 2) the collapse of the gaseous Sun as described in Standard Solar Models, and 3) the inability of the Big Bang to act as the source of the microwave background.

Pierre-Marie Robitaille, PhD is a Professor of Radiology at The Ohio State University, with a joint appointment in Chemical Physics. He initially trained as a spectroscopist and has wide ranging knowledge of instrumentation in the radio and microwave bands. A recognized expert in image acquisition and analysis, Professor Robitaille was responsible for doubling the world record in Magnetic Resonance Imaging in 1998. In 2000, he turned his attention to thermodynamics and astrophysics, demonstrating that the universality advanced in Kirchhoff’s Law of Thermal Emission is invalid. He has published extensively on the microwave background, highlighting that this signal arises from water on the Earth and has no relationship to cosmology and has recently published a paper on the Liquid Metallic Hydrogen Solar Model (LMHSM).

Writes PSI President John O’Sullivan:

PSI’s Vice Chair Dr Pierre Latour was a co-speaker at the Thunderbolts Conference where Dr Robitaille gave that address. Latour peer reviewed Robitaille’s science and affirmed it was sound. Latour agrees that what Robitaille has now proven about radiation also applies to –  and discredits – global warming ‘science’ because it shows that the IPCC’s understanding of how radiation warms the climate is wrong.

Robitaille’s science says that when atmospheric temperature increases, then CO2 emissivity goes down. This entirely supports what 350+ PSI experts say. Moreover, Dr Latour affirms this is consistent with Hottel, Perry’s “Chemical Engineer’s Handbook”, 1950. It again shows that experts from the ‘hard’ sciences are better able to adduce what happens within earth’s climate system than those climatologists (mostly geographers) who are ‘soft’ scientists, with inferior knowledge and training in higher physics and chemistry.

Robitaille’s explanation of solar behavior (sunspots, eruptions and wind) fits beautifully with that of PSI consultant and friend, Piers Corbyn, the worlds best independent long range weather forecaster. Dr Laotur reports, “Robitaille’s science points to how Corbyn does it: solar wind drives jet streams which drive climate change. Electric Universe is coming into focus, ions and electrons on the go, electrical and chemical engineering hand in hand. CO2 is innocent.”


UN green police say ditch oil and change your diet

Governments must switch from fossil fuels to nuclear, wind and solar energy to avoid a global-warming catastrophe in a move costing about £300 billion a year, a United Nations report warns.

The study, by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), lays out the pressing need for the world to ditch coal and oil and switch to green energy.

However, the report is likely to spark a new row over the cost of countering global warming. Climate-change sceptics issued a warning to governments not to succumb to a green agenda, alleging that to do so would drive up living costs for the rest of the century.

A leaked draft of the report, obtained by The Telegraph, provides a blueprint on how to tackle climate change, including not only the switch to green energy but even what people should eat. It claims:

 *  An estimated £300 billion a year is needed for investment in low-carbon sources of electricity such as nuclear, wind and solar energy over the next 20 years;

 *  Gas should replace coal-fired power stations as soon as possible to reduce carbon emissions, although gas should eventually be phased out, too;

 *  Nuclear power is an established method for producing low-carbon electricity, although the report notes its use has waned since 1993;

 *  Experts estimate that by 2030, global gross domestic product (GDP) could be as much as 4 per cent lower through measures to combat global warming. By 2100, global GDP could be down by as much as 12 per cent;

 *  Western diets need to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. This is likely to include a call to eat less meat.

The change of lifestyle is not mapped out in detail but the UN suggests that people living in the richest countries should eat less. That advice will inevitably lead to accusations that the UN is interfering in personal habits.

The central thrust of the report will be a call for “large-scale changes in the global energy system” and increased subsidy for green energy to help countries make the switch from fossil fuels.

The cost of doing so, according to the 29-page draft summary, will require an additional £90 billion a year investment, a rise of a third on estimates of current spending.

That will take the total investment in low carbon energy sources to about £300? billion a year until 2030. Britain now spends about £6 billion a year, trying to cut greenhouse gas emissions through such measures as subsidies for wind farms and solar power. There will be pressure for that figure to rise sharply.

The report warns that to achieve a target of keeping the global temperature rise to within 3.6F (2C) by the end of the century will require spending on alternative energy and a scaling back of fossil fuels that, the report acknowledges, will damage economic growth.

The call for a change in energy policy will inevitably lead to further tensions in the Coalition with many back-bench Conservatives anxious that wind power is too expensive and the turbines unsightly.

Many Tories are pushing for the exploitation of underground shale gas reserves through the controversial process of fracking to extract the gas. Fracking has become big business in the US and driven down the cost of energy.

Ed Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary, is likely to seize upon the report to resist further demands to cut green energy subsidies.

Senior Tory MPs warned the Government not to succumb to pressure from the UN to plough more money into renewable energy, driving up household energy bills and threatening to make British industry uncompetitive in the process.

Chris Heaton-Harris, a Conservative MP who led a successful back-bench campaign to cut the consumer subsidy to wind farms, said: “This IPCC report is backward looking. We can be a lot greener, emit less carbon and produce cheaper energy if we switch to shale gas rather than ploughing our money into wind farms that plunge the poorest people into fuel poverty.”

Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank that has warned against the cost of switching to green energy, said: “Even if the IPCC assumptions prove correct, it will be much more cost effective and rational to invest in adaptation strategies to deal with climate change than try to decarbonise the world economy.”

However, [geologist] Bob Ward, policy director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, based at the London School of Economics, said: “This report shows that if we carry on the way we are going, it will be much more expensive and risky to take action later on.”

The IPCC report into man-made climate change is the most authoritative of its kind and forms the basis for policymaking among UN member nations.

Last week, government officials meeting in Berlin were combing through the draft report to come up with a final document countries can agree upon.

World leaders will gather at a specially convened UN conference in New York in September, before approving a new set of international agreements on carbon emissions in Paris next year. The new report will form the basis for those negotiations.


China going hard for shale

Residents of an isolated mountain valley of terraced cornfields in China were just going to sleep last April when they were jolted by an enormous roar, followed by a tower of flames. A shock wave rolled across the valley, rattling windows and a mysterious, pungent gas swiftly pervaded homes.

"It was so scary - everyone who had a car fled the village and the rest of us without cars just stayed and waited to die," said Zhang Mengsu, a hardware store owner.

All too quickly, residents realised the source of the midnight fireball: a shale gas drilling rig in their tiny rural hamlet.

This verdant valley represents the latest frontier in the worldwide hunt for shale gas retrievable by the technology of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It is a drilling boom that has upended the energy industry and spurred billions of dollars of investment.

Like the US and Europe, China wants to wean itself from its dependence on energy imports - and in Jiaoshizhen, Chinese energy giant Sinopec says it has made the country's first commercially viable shale gas discovery. Its efforts could also help tackle another urgent issue, as Beijing looks to curb an overwhelming reliance on coal that has blackened skies and made China the largest contributor to global warming.

But the path to energy independence and a cleaner fossil fuel is fraught with potential pitfalls. Threats to workplace safety, public health and the environment loom large in the shale gas debate - and the question is whether those short-term risks threaten to undermine China's long-term goal.

The energy industry around the world has faced criticism about the economic viability of vast shale projects and the environmental impact of fracking. But interviews with residents of six hamlets here where drilling is being done, as well as with executives and experts in Beijing, the US and Europe, suggest China's search poses even greater challenges.

In China, companies must drill two to three times as deep as in the US, making the process more expensive, noisier and potentially more dangerous. Chinese energy giants also operate in strict secrecy; they rarely engage with local communities, and accidents claim a high death toll.

The still-disputed incident in Jiaoshizhen has raised concerns among residents. Villagers said that employees at the time told them that eight workers died when the rig exploded that night. Sinopec officials and village leaders then ordered residents not to discuss the event, villagers said. Now, villagers complain of fouled streams and polluted fields.

"There was a huge ball of fire," said Liu Jiazhen, a mustard greens farmer with three children who lives a five-minute walk from the site. "The managers here all raced for their lives up the hill."

Sinopec describes the incident as a controlled flaring of gas and denies anybody died. While the company would not speak in detail about its shale projects, Sinopec said it ran its operations safely and without harm to the environment.

Sinopec president Li Chunguang said last month that nothing had gone wrong in Jiaoshizhen.

The Chinese energy giants have plenty of money to fund efforts. Sinopec has 1 million employees and is the world's fourth-largest company by revenue after Royal Dutch Shell, Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil; the fifth-largest is China National Petroleum. With their deep pockets, the companies have been investing heavily in North American shale businesses; Sinopec paid $US2.2 billion in 2012 for a 30 per cent stake in Devon Energy's shale gas and oil operations in the US.

In China, workplace safety is a significant concern. Thousands die each year in coalmines, according to government statistics that have prompted a national crackdown in the past decade.

Residents interviewed welcomed the drilling for one reason: money. Sinopec rents land from farmers for 9000 renminbi, or $1543, an acre each year. Farmers earn that much money from growing crops only in the best years, and then after hundreds of hours of labour.


The Times Diary: Blair’s honest moment

Carbon emissions are in the news again, with the EU proposing a hefty reduction, but is this all a lot of hot air? In her new autobiography, The Bird and the Beeb, the broadcaster Liz Kershaw recalls a surprising moment of honesty on the subject from Tony Blair in 2007.

With the microphones switched off, the presenter was chatting about green issues when Blair suddenly sighed. “Liz, we in the UK could shut everything down and turn everything off,” he said. “And within two years all our efforts would have been wiped out by what’s happening in China now.” Kershaw says she hasn’t bothered to switch off her television since.


EU Commission Announced End Of Green Energy Subsidies

Renewable energy subsidies that helped spur Europe’s €48-billion-a-year clean energy industry are to be phased out across the continent, under new market-friendly state aid rules announced by the European Commission Wednesday (9 April).

"It is time for renewables to join the market,” the Commission's competition chief, Joaquin Almunia, said in a statement. “The new guidelines provide a framework for designing more efficient public support measures that reflect market conditions, in a gradual and pragmatic way."

Under the new rules, renewable energy subsidies will have to be replaced by market-based mechanisms for all but the smallest of clean electricity generators by 2017, following a pilot phase that will start next year.

Feed-in tariffs will be replaced by feed-in premiums that expose renewables to market signals, while energy infrastructure and cross-border schemes will also to some extent be protected, and 68 energy intensive sectors will be singled out for subsidies.  Aid may also be earmarked for measures to keep the lights on through capacity mechanisms should power cuts threaten.

More generally though, competitive bidding processes will become the rule, forcing power generators to sell electricity on the market with balancing responsibilities for “short-term deviations” from delivery commitments.

EU states will be obliged to use premiums – top-up’s on the going price – as support instruments to integrate renewables into the market.

 The complicated new regulations emerged from an investigation into the market-distorting potential of Germany’s renewable energy subsidies which were intended to help the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy after the Fukushima disaster.

It was premised, Almunia said, on the principle that “Europe should meet its ambitious energy and climate targets at the least possible cost for taxpayers and without undue distortions of competition.”

Free market limitations

In a sign that the Commission’s free market vision had some limitations though, high-polluting industrise such as the chemicals, metals, paper, and ceramics sectors will be allowed exemptions from paying full market premium support to renewable power generators.

One report by Germany’s respected Öko Institute suggests that these opt-outs could be worth as much as €2 billion. But Gordon Moffat, the director-general of Eurofer said that although the new rules were “appreciated,” the Commission’s proposed 15% minimum contribution to renewable subsidies would “lead to a further substantial increase in energy costs”.  He called for a revision of the EU’s 2030 climate and energy framework.

While welcoming the proposals as “a step in the right direction,” the European Aluminium Association also said that to restore Europe’s industrial competitiveness, they would need more access to public revenues.  

“We regret that the new guidelines still enforce additional burden to the industry,” said the EAA’s director-general, Gerd Götz. “The state aid rules must now be accompanied by appropriate and long-term compensation measures for all costs related to climate and energy policies, also beyond 2020.”

For the Green MEP Claude Turmes though, the industry exemptions were in “complete contradiction” with the Commission’s free market principles.

Free ride for energy intensive industry?

“The energy intensive industry is not just the biggest polluter in Europe, it is a ruthless sponge lobbyist,” he told EurActiv. “If you offer them a finger they will take the hand. If you give them that, they take the arm. If you give them the arm, they will devour you in your entirety.”

“Despite consuming up to 35% of electricity, these sectors will get a free ride, with private consumers and small businesses left to foot the bill of the energy transition.”

The Commission’s announcement was made two days after the United Nations Environment Programme reported a 44% plunge in renewable energy investment in Europe, spreading a sense of gloom among clean energy enthusiasts.

One clause in the new rules lowering the cap on the level of allowed support to energy efficiency measures was described as “astonishing” by E3G, an environmental think tank.

“This seems ironic, if not illogical,” the group said. “Only last month, the European Council concluded that energy efficiency was the first step to take to reduce the bloc’s energy dependency and deliver its energy and climate objectives.”

The new rules may, however, make it more difficult for the UK and other governments  to subsidise nuclear energy projects such as the proposed Hinkley Point reactor, according to Greenpeace.

A general block exemption regulation is still being drafted by the European Commission and, analysts say, could have a significant effect on resource efficient technologies and their cost-effective financing. 


CO2 emissions have increased since 2011 despite Germany’s $140 billion green energy plan

Carbon dioxide levels in Germany have been increasing in the last three years despite the government spending nearly $140 billion (100 billion euros) on a green energy since 2005.

The German newspaper Die Zeit writes that Germany won’t be able to meet its emissions reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Currently, the country has only reduced emissions 23.8 percent below 1990 levels.

The “German government wanted to decrease the emissions of CO2 — also through the transition to renewable energy,” writes Die Zeit. “However our chart shows the opposite is the case. Greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing for three years in Germany, 1.2 percent for last year.”

In 2009, Germany emitted 913 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, mainly due to a lagging economy from the global financial crisis. Last year, the country emitted 951 million metric tons of carbon dioxide despite spending about $138 billion to go green in the last decade.

What’s causing the rise in carbon dioxide emissions? Coal power, according to Die Zeit. The newspaper writes that “CO2 emissions continue to rise as more and more coal and lignite power stations” are brought online and natural gas plants remain uneconomical to operate.

German power prices have been driven to three times what they are in the U.S. and 50 percent higher than the rest of Europe because of green energy tariffs. In order to meet its emission reduction targets, Germany has been taxing businesses and households to subsidize green energy sources, like wind and solar.

But the tax to fund green energy has been increasing rapidly, more than fivefold since 2009 — costing Germans $26 billion last year alone. German industries have also been hit hard with rising power costs and are pushing for reform.

The German government is now looking to reform the green energy law that has caused energy prices to spike. The German cabinet approved amendments to the country’s green law on Tuesday that would contain rising energy costs, reports the Wall Street Journal.

But energy analysts are wary that the amendments don’t go far enough to curb rising energy costs. The reform would still exempt many of the same energy-intensive industries from green taxes as it did before, meaning German households would still bear most of the cost of going green.

“Germany says the exemptions are crucial to keeping its energy-intensive industries competitive, but Brussels fears that too many businesses might have benefited from what it considers state aid,” the WSJ reports. “While the exemptions originally focused on such sectors as steel and machinery engineering, they were later expanded to include less obvious beneficiaries, such as railway operators.”

Germany’s energy and economics minister Sigmar Gabriel said the number of exempted companies was reduce to from 2,000 to about 1,600, and that companies that previously benefited from exemptions have to pay 20 percent of the green tax going forward.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


13 April, 2014

Liberals focus on happy thoughts? Really?

The article criticized below goes back to research by John Hibbing.  Hibbing is an expert at applying derogatory names to highly ambiguous stimuli.  His research amounts to little else.  Changes in skin conductance, for instance, could mean many things but Hibbing always manages to label such changes in a way that is derogatory to conservatives. 

He certainly does show some physiological differences between liberals and conservatives but ALL the differences he describes could much less imaginatively be described as showing simply that conservatives are more cautious and more alert for things that they should be cautious about.  That conservatives are more cautious is no discovery, however.  Conservatives have rightly been described that way -- by both themselves and others -- for over 100 years

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, whose writing I commend heartily to readers of Somewhat Reasonable, this morning called my attention to some fascinating research reported recently in Mother Jones. It is truly not every day that Kass cites Mother Jones, so I was intrigued.

In ”Can Conservatives be fixed scientifically?” Kass quotes an April 4 Mother Jones article – This Machine Can Tell Whether You’re Liberal or Conservative – as saying conservatives “go through the world more attentive to negative, threatening and disgusting stimuli.”

For reasons that won’t come as any surprise to readers of Somewhat Reasonable, my mind immediately turned to environmental issues, and climate change in particular. Surely Mother Jones and the researcher whose work it reports, University of Nebraska-Lincoln political scientist John Hibbing, would recognize environmental alarmism as a glaring exception to this notion that conservatives are the “negative” ones?

But alas, there’s no evidence Mother Jones or Hibbing recognize this gap in Hibbing’s theory.

Mother Jones reports: “Some of us are more hierarchical, as opposed to egalitarian; some of us prefer harsher punishments for rule breakers, whereas some of us would be more inclined to forgive; some of us find outsiders or out-groups intriguing and enticing, whereas others find them threatening.” (italics mine)

Hibbing and Mother Jones clearly want to conclude conservatives are the ones described by the phrases I’ve italicized. But on climate change and other environmental issues, that’s simply not true.

“Hierarchical” describes people who see the world as being “ranked,” with some groups of people higher than others. Think of the left’s obsession with “class warfare” and you’ll get some idea of where they’re coming from. People who are “more hierarchical” are likely to believe individuals can’t manage their own lives – they need the government to tell them what to do and how to do it. Granted, some conservatives are like that on some issues … but liberals are like that, big time, on energy and environment and climate change issues. It is the liberals, after all, who talk about “global” warming and think a “global” governing body – the United Nations – has all the answers on climate change.

And on climate change, clearly liberals are the ones who “prefer harsher punishments.” They call for Nuremberg trials and even the death penalty for climate change “deniers.”

(N.B.: The phrase “climate change deniers” is not something that would be used by “happy,” “positive” people. Nobody is denying climate change happens. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change notes in Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science, “Any human global climate signal is so small as to be nearly indiscernible against the background variability of the natural climate system. Climate change is always occurring.”)

Finally, it’s clearly the liberals who find “outsiders or out-groups” threatening. Why else would they label the scientists who disagree with them “deniers,” refuse to engage in civil debate or even speak at events to share their views in an open forum?

On energy, environment, and climate issues, it is the “conservatives and their rambunctious libertarian siblings,” as Kass calls us, who have a positive message to deliver: that global warming is not a crisis, the likely benefits of man-made global warming exceed the likely costs, and mankind is not the scourge on Earth that liberals make us out to be.


Researchers say reefs and their fish were almost identical to today's far earlier than thought

Warming by a couple of degrees is regularly said by climate catastrophists to "endanger" coral reefs.  Coral reefs as we know them could be wiped out, they claim.  The record below shows the opposite.  Even the vast temperature changes (up and down) over the last 50 million years have wrought NO change to coral reefs

The world's reefs looked almost identical 50 million years ago, researchers have said.

They say reef fish - including the clownfish made famous in Disney's Finding Nemo, were already in place, alongside virtually all the major families of the 4,500 species of fish seen today.

The new study shows that the ancestors of these fish colonized reefs in two distinct waves, before and after the mass extinction event about 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.

'Reef fish represent one of the largest and most diverse assemblages of vertebrates', said Samantha Price, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Evolution and Ecology at UC Davis.

'If you were able to dive on a coral reef 50 million years ago, the fishes would seem familiar, you would recognize it as similar to a modern reef,' she said.

Price is first author on a paper describing the work, published April 2 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

They found fossil record of reef fish is patchy, so Price and colleagues traced their ancestry by developing a comprehensive family tree of the major group of modern ocean fish, the acanthomorphs or 'spiny-finned fish,' and calculating the times when different groups migrated into or out of reef habitats.

The first wave of colonization occurred between 70 and 90 million years ago, before the end of the Cretaceous period, they found.

At that time, most the world's reefs were built not by coral but by mollusks called rudists.

Rudists disappeared in the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, 66 million years ago, and corals became the world's great reef builders.

While the first-wave reef fish hung on to leave descendants in the present, a second wave of colonization took place as the world recovered from the extinction event.

The early wave of colonization began with lots of different-looking fish and over time there was an eventual filling of ecological niches accompanied by a decrease in colonization, Price said.

By about 50 million years ago, the fundamentals of modern coral reefs, including the ancestors of most major families, such as clownfishes and parrotfishes, were in place, Price said.


Why is the American Geophysical Union Prioritizing Climate Alarmism Over Scientific Inquiry?

I had a comment rejected by a blog of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) last night because I included within it a link to a blog post by a climate scientist, Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., who has over 370 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals to his name.

Any aspersions this casts on the AGU's objectivity and spirit of scientific inquiry are entirely earned.

Climate alarmists -- those who believe humankind is dramatically affecting the climate in a very harmful way -- have often censored contrary views (e.g., routinely deleted comments at the uber-alarmist blog Real Climate; the revelation in Climategate that alarmist scientists were prepared to "redefine what the peer-review literature is" or shut down academic journals if they published skeptics' papers; the decision by various publications and websites including Popular Science, the Los Angeles Times and Reddit to block comment postings by skeptics; among others).

Despite this, I did not expect my rather casual comment to the AGU blog to be censored. In it, I provided a link to a paper praised by the blog's author, Dan Satterfield. The blog post itself had encouraged people to read the paper, but a linking error prevented full access to the paper itself at a spot where such a link was advertised. I supplied one.

But in a move that proved fatal to my comment, I also included a link to comments by Dr. Pielke, Sr. questioning the methodology of the paper recommended by the AGU post.

I know this because Mr. Satterfield sent me an email highlighting the following from his blog's comment policy: "I do not publish links to junk science papers/sites. This is not a platform for you to publicize junk science."

Let us examine what constitutes "junk science" to the AGU and/or its representative.

Mr. Satterfield was promoting a 2010 paper, Anderegg et. al., 2010, "Expert Credibility in Climate Change," whose lead author was a graduate student, which attempted to claim scientists who are alarmist on global warming are more prominent than those who are not by counting the number of journal papers with the word "climate" in them, per scientist, that pop up in Google.

Dr. Pielke, Sr., who is not, as it happens, a skeptic of the theory that humans are having a strong impact on global climate (though he does believe the IPCC underestimates the impact on climate of humans' use of aerosols and land, which irritates some anti-CO2 activists), believed the Anderegg paper had weaknesses. He commented on this in a 2010 blog post and provided links to comments by other experts unconvinced of the strength of the Anderegg paper.

One of those, Science magazine reporter Eli Kintisch, writing on the American Association for Advancement of Science website, explained three criticisms of the paper's methodology:

        The study allowed for no nuance in the views of scientists. All scientists were lumped into one of two groups.

        The study limited its analysis to scientists who had signed public statements on climate science or participated in IPCC proceedings.

        The study conflated frequency of appearance in peer-reviewed publications with prominence.

The AGU blog didn't want its readers to know of these and other criticisms.


And it's not as if the AGU blog post itself was high-minded and limited only to discussions of peer-reviewed science.

        Its opening paragraph criticized anticipated commenters for linking to websites with unflattering pictures of Al Gore before they could even have read the post, let alone commented.

        It bizarrely claimed the fact that an NBC correspondent interviewed a non-skeptic political scientist instead of, presumably, a skeptic climate scientist to "balance" alarmists in a story was evidence for the catastrophic global warming theory.

        It said that interviewing anyone [emphasis added] about climate science who has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal is "lousy journalism, and the equivalent of doing a story about the Apollo Moon missions, and then giving the chem-trail believer down the street equal time to say the Moon landing was fake, and pro-wrestling is real!" Really? Anyone?

        And most significantly, it rudely and one-sidedly attacked a University of Colorado at Boulder professor (who is not a skeptic), Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. (coincidentally, the son of the scientist I linked to about the Anderegg study, but the two debates are unrelated otherwise and separated by about four years) for telling the Senate last year that extreme weather events have not increased in recent decades, a view that happens to be consistent with that of the IPCC, but also politically inconvenient for the White House, which attacked him. (For background on that not supplied by the AGU, go here for his story in the New Republic; go here for a review of the matter in the New York Times by Andrew Revkin (also not a skeptic).)

My blog comment was nothing special, nor was the blog post upon which I commented. But it is important to note how little it takes for an AGU blog to censor an opposing view, even about a study as unremarkable as one that counts the number of papers scientists study (aka, a study not even about hard science!).

The American Geophysical Union stands with a small clique of "approved" alarmists on global warming, and it wants to make sure you do, too.


Obama’s new budget will hamper energy job creation

President Obama just unveiled his FY2015 budget proposal.  His plan includes hefty new taxes on job creators. Much of this burden will fall on the energy industry, which has proven to be a particularly powerful engine of new employment in recent years.

Indeed, the oil and natural gas sector now supports 9.8 million jobs. Yet the Obama budget slaps it with $100 billion in new taxes over the next decade -- that's about 10 percent of all of the new tax revenue his package would generate.

In pushing for higher rates on proven job creators, President Obama is undermining his own State of the Union promise to provide government-based solutions to economic inequality.

The average oil and natural gas sector wage is about $12,000 above the national average. And these industry opportunities aren't exclusively the domain of highly educated specialists, like geologists and petrochemical engineers. In fact, most energy jobs are skilled blue collar, such as drill operators and construction specialists.

Job opportunities abound for women and minorities. A new study from IHS finds that the oil, natural gas and petrochemicals industries will generate up to 1.3 million new job opportunities by 2030 -- with almost 408,000 positions projected to be held by African American and Hispanic workers, while women will fill an estimated 185,000 industry jobs.

The domestic energy industry has already turned around the economic fortunes of some parts of America. North Dakota, for example, has recently become one of the largest energy producers in the United States. In the fourth quarter of last year, the state generated an astonishing one million barrels of oil a day.

As a result of its ongoing energy boom, North Dakota's per-capita income has jumped an astounding 114 percent since 2000, raising the state from 39th to 5th in average personal income. And its unemployment rate is now at a national low of 2.6 percent.

North Dakota shows how unleashing private energy entrepreneurs to develop our natural resources generates robust employment and widespread economic opportunity. Strapping those same firms with huge new taxes will drain them of the capital needed to finance such expeditions. And it will mute the profit potential of new ventures, reducing the incentive to take the risk in the first place.

Fortunately, there's still time for the administration to move away from policies that undermine job creation potential in the oil and natural gas sector. And there are obvious, pro-active steps officials could be taking to hasten energy sector growth and cultivate job growth.

For starters, the government needs to open the door for private investments to modernize the national energy infrastructure. The existing pipeline, storage, processing, and rail systems were designed at a time when the bulk of our domestic energy transportation involved moving imported crude and petroleum from the Gulf Coast toward the northern United States.

Thanks to the production surge in the Northeast and Canada, the national flow of energy shipments has effectively reversed since then. Crude oil shipments from the Gulf to the Midwest decreased 500,000 barrels per day over the last five years. Meanwhile, shipments running the opposite direction jumped from 50,000 to 380,000 barrels a day.

Clearly, our national energy infrastructure needs a redesign. And investment in infrastructure upgrades would generate massive economic gains. A newly released analysis from the IHS consulting group found that essential infrastructure improvements could, over the next decade, elicit up to $1.14 trillion in new private capital investment and support 1.15 million new jobs per year.

Public policymakers should also revisit decades-old restrictions on energy exports. A new International Energy Agency report warns that the growing volume of crude oil prevented from reaching international markets threatens to put the brakes on production growth. Exporting a portion of our abundant supplies to overseas allies would stimulate additional industry expansion here at home.

Of course, this administration's big concern when considering pro-energy policies is climate change. But the president needs to recognize that the oil and gas industry is an ally, not an enemy, in this fight.

The voluntary evolution of the energy sector toward natural gas has dramatically reduced greenhouse emissions. And the traditional energy sector has been investing heavily in low- and zero-carbon technologies. Indeed, one out of every six dollars going to green tech today comes from the oil and gas business.

As the president begins his campaign to promote his new budget, the oil and natural gas industry stands ready to work with anyone interested in harnessing our nation's vast energy resources to create jobs and grow the economy.


The world must adopt nuclear power to beat global warming, says U.N.

The world must switch from fossil fuels to nuclear power to beat global warming, a major United Nations report warns today.

Scientists claim governments need to ditch traditional sources of energy, such as coal and oil, to avoid a climate change catastrophe.

Instead, they must adopt nuclear power in a 'large-scale' move costing around £300billion a year.

The report, by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also highlights an urgent need for governments to switch to green energy sources, such as wind and solar power.

It states that additional spending on alternative energy is needed to keep the global temperature rise to within 3.6F (20C) by the end of the century, according to a leaked draft of the report obtained by The Sunday Telegraph.

Meanwhile, fossil fuels, which are damaging to economic growth, will need to be scaled back.

The move should see gas replace coal-fired power stations in upcoming years to reduce carbon emissions, before gas itself is eventually phased out too, says the report.

The 29-page document has already sparked concern over the cost of countering global warming.

Last night, senior Tory MPs warned governments about the risks of increasing funding for renewable energy sources, saying this would drastically raise household and other living costs.

Chris Heaton-Harris MP, who led a successful campaign to cut the consumer subsidy to wind farms, told the newspaper: 'This IPCC report is backward looking.

'We can be a lot greener, emit less carbon and produce cheaper energy if we switch to shale gas rather than ploughing our money into wind farms that plunge the poorest people into fuel poverty.'

However, others have claimed it would be much more expensive to continue using fossil fuels and risk sea-level rise, flooding, droughts and other impacts of global warming.

As well as a switch to nuclear power, scientists have also recommended that Western diets should become more sustainable and enviromentally friendly.

People in the richest countries should eat less food - and in particular, less meat, they said.

According to the report, the cost of the 'large-scale changes in the global energy system' will cost £90billion a year.

The U.N.'s expert panel on climate change spent the whole of yesterday putting together the document, which aims to help governments, industries and people take action to stop global warming from reaching dangerous levels.

Like many scientific studies, it uses a breakdown of emissions from low, lower-middle, upper-middle and high income countries.

It was the third of the IPCC's four-part assessment on climate change, its first since 2007.


Warmists reduced to criticizing Morano's wardrobe

Controversy. Confrontation. Facts.  Such words could be used to describe the past, exciting week for CFACT as they held their 2nd REAL Energy Speaker Series, featuring Marc Morano.

Morano, the founder and executive editor of, and noted TV commentator on such channels as FOX News, CNN, and The Blaze, was the featured speaker for two different New York campuses.

For two nights at Syracuse University and SUNY-Albany, Morano addressed large crowds to discuss the climate change narrative driving so much of our popular culture and policy. Morano focused on the growing number of contradictions within the rank-and-file of scientists and climate change activists, and how it has overshadowed much of the scientific evidence prevalent in those same circles.

First, on a Tuesday evening in the 100-seat Gifford Auditorium, the room was nearly filled with students and activists on both sides of the issue, eager to hear what Morano had to say.

Morano started his discussion with introductory videos of his past debates on television, then dipped into the myriad of quotes setting the stage for where the climate change debate stands today. He talked about how all of these ideas simply amount to “scientific crap.”

From there, Morano looked into all areas of the debate, from stagnant global temperatures, carbon-dioxide emissions, the geological record, what the UN-IPCC (The global warming division of the United Nations) has recently published, and where scientists have begun to “jump ship” from their previously held beliefs of human-induced global warming.

The most interesting point raised by Morano was that most people in the room hadn’t experienced “global warming” since they were infants.  Despite the dire warnings from alarmists, there has been no rise in the global mean temperature in the last 17.5 years.

Speaking on the issues of energy, and its potential alternatives, Morano noted that carbon-based energies are “the moral choice.” The REAL Energy, Not Green Energy campaign has centered its approach around these arguments, since tangible, ‘real’ forms of energy provide for a lifestyle that is clean, productive, and healthy. Other forms of energy touted by environmentalists, such as wind and solar simply cannot produce enough to serve as a viable alternative.

Quotes served as a driver for much of the lecture, from both those who openly claim the true nature behind the global warming narrative, to those who have rescinded their alarmist views. Although some would be quick to dismiss these as anecdotal, Morano noted how prominent some of names are. Many of the scientists and scholars he quoted throughout the presentation were previously global leaders of the climate change movement, such as those involved with the UN-IPCC.

At the end of the lecture, many of those staunchly opposed to even considering the Morano’s point-of-view took the opportunity to ask questions.

While some questions served to clarify certain points, most served as a platforms to denounce Morano and his “fancy” wardrobe.

“This suit cost $200,” quipped an incredulous Morano.

One noted environmentalist sought to yell at the Climate Depot founder for not supporting an economy solely run by green-energy alternatives. Of course, the question was asked in an air-conditioned and well-lit room, thanks to those very fossil fuels the student reviled, but Morano addressed the importance for technological innovations to ensure affordable, secure, and efficient energy solutions.

James Ward, the Chairman of CFACT at Syracuse, said of the evening, “Mr. Morano gave a very different take on the global warming movement. Instead of embracing it, he brought up logical questions that tore it apart. It’s wrong to correlate climate change with just one variable (CO2 emissions.) The earth is way too complex to simplify it like that.”

The following night at SUNY-Albany, Morano took to the stage to give a similar lecture to an audience that contained students, professors, and local community members who had heard him earlier on local talk shows.

Morano called for accountability of the many claims made by climate change activists and environmentalists that have proven untrue over time. Some of these claims include, as Morano noted in this report:

“We envision rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, freakish storms, hellish wildfires, and rising sea levels…food riots, mass starvation, state collapse, mass migrations, and conflicts of every sort, up to and including full-scale war, could prove even more disruptive and deadly…persistent drought and hunger will force millions of people to abandon their traditional lands and flee to the squalor of shantytowns.”

After finishing his talk, audience members had the opportunity to ask questions and it started right away with a in-depth discussion between Morano and a professor in the audience. He attempted to belittle Morano’s credibility and held up scandal plagued Michal Mann as the preferred voice on the topic.

The event concluded with several other questions on different areas of the climate change debate, as well as the viability of various energy sources such as coal, natural gas, and solar power.

Pat Moran, CFACT Chairman at Albany, thought that the event was a huge success. He said of the event, “Mr. Morano’s presentation challenged the established views of students and instructors, which made some nod their heads in agreement, while others tried to shout him down. We at UAlbany were very impressed with Mr. Morano’s unabashed critique of the global warming hysteria, and his ability to stand true to his principles under such rigorous questioning from UAlbany faculty and students.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


11 April, 2014

Fox News Covers Heartland Climate Change Work?

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has been in Washington, DC this week to release Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts.

We are really pleased to call your attention to coverage we received Wednesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier,” the Fox News Channel’s flagship 6 p.m. ET news program. Heartland President Joe Bast said, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

Baier’s show regularly beats its competition on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and HLN combined, by a substantial margin. This was the second day in a row Fox covered the release of Biological Impacts; Fox News’ Chicago correspondent, Mike Tobin, interviewed Joe for a segment that aired on Tuesday.

The Wednesday segment stands alone in fair coverage of the “other side” of the climate debate. It’s the kind of coverage every other network gives to the alarmists. Communications Director Jim Lakely's blog post describing the coverage is at Somewhat Reasonable.

Two particularly memorable lines from the Wednesday segment:

“A torrent of new data is poking very large holes in what the president has called the scientific consensus about global warming.”
and …

“Skeptics believe [alarmist] statements are demonstrably false. They point to observable data, not computer modeling, to prove their point.”

The 1,062-page Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts volume contains thousands of citations to peer-reviewed scientific literature, concludes rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels are causing “no net harm to the global environment or to human health and often finds the opposite: net benefits to plants, including important food crops, and to animals and human health.”

The full report, individual chapters, and a Summary for Policymakers can be downloaded in digital form (PDF) at the Climate Change Reconsidered Web site.

Via email

The Biblical Noah – the first recorded climate adaptationist?

So Noah had a problem. He foresaw a highly material change in the global climate coming, but what should he do about it? One strategy would be to attempt to prevent, or at least mitigate, the Flood. He a had a pretty good theory as to its cause – the general violence and wickedness of mankind. So if he could get everyone together and persuade them to be less violent and wicked, maybe that might do the trick? Obtaining agreement multilaterally could be difficult, so another option might be to be very and very visibly holy himself – a kind of unilateral mitigation – in the hope of shaming/encouraging everyone else to copy him. Cynicism about human nature spoke against that course, so a variant of this unilateral mitigation route might have been to try to be extra specially holy himself – so holy that his efforts, alone, might be enough to offset everyone else's wickedness. Sadly, Noah's share of the total human production of virtue/wickedness was rather small, so again this was unlikely to work.

An alternative strategy might have been denial. This "Creator" person claimed to be an expert on future weather patterns and that this Flood thing could be foreseen as following from some fairly simple principles regarding the consequences of wickedness and violence, but how reliable could any such prediction really be? Granted, the amount of rain did appear to have risen somewhat a few weeks back, but in more recent days  had stopped become more intense, achieving a plateau. Yes, yes – the plateau was at a level some might describe as "raining cats and dogs" but surely the key point isn't that the level of rainfall is at an all-time high; rather it is that it's stopped getting any worse? How do you explain that, eh? Anyway, someone that Noah's wife's best friend's cousin once bumped into by the well had explained to her in detail how such periods of intense rainfall are caused by giant Nephilim throwing rocks at clouds, and there seemed to be more Nephalim around than usual so that probably explained the whole thing. Furthermore, if everyone else was being wicked and violent Noah should probably join in – wouldn't want to miss out, now, would he?

Noah, however, didn't favour either of these strategies. He decided to believe the Flood was coming and adapt, building an ark and gathering animals two-by-two. He didn't pretend that was going to be cheap – a whole ark's-worth of gopher wood doesn't come for free. He didn't use up resources in a futile attempt to persuade the rest of the world to stop being wicked. He didn't boast of his own holiness "so at least when it comes I'll be able to tell my grandchildren I tried to prevent it." He didn't squander the food he'd need to feed his animals in a huge debauched feast so as to appear cool in front of the other wicked folk. He prepared. He adapted. He survived.

An interesting tale to reflect upon. Perhaps in doing so one might learn something…


Ice Cold Facts

The effects of man-made global warming are reaching epic proportions. Just how bad has it gotten? Consider this: The Great Lakes are still 52.9% ice-covered, which is 1,000% above the average. Dating back to 1980, no other year comes even close.

Worse, according to NOAA measurements, “Global Sea Ice Extent is 959,000 above the 1981-2010 mean. That is ranked 4th for the day. And that is 4.61% above 'normal.'”

Additionally, “Antarctic Sea Ice Extent is 1,403,000 above the 1981-2010 mean. That is ranked 1st for the day. And that is 23.74% above 'normal.'” It's also this young year's 30th daily record. Clearly, we've got work to do. Like stocking up on blankets.


Great Lakes cover

Report: CO2 Is Not a Pollutant, Provides ‘Beneficial Impacts’ to Planet

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but a naturally occurring chemical compound that benefits plants and thus, the planet and its inhabitants, according to a lengthy  report released Wednesday by the free-market Heartland Institute.

“Carbon dioxide is an aerial fertilizer that provides many beneficial impacts,” said Craig Idso, one of the lead authors of the report, when asked him to name the most salient finding of the 37 scientists from 12 countries who contributed to it.

“You can look at thousands of studies – real world data studies that have actually been conducted that demonstrate beyond any doubt that higher levels of CO2 are going to increase the productivity of plants,” Idso said.

“They’re real,” Idso said of the benefits of CO2. “They’re not imagined. They’re not projected. They’re real, and they’re occurring now.”

On December 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final regulation listing CO2 as one of the greenhouses gases that is considered a pollutant that “endangers public health.” The regulation is part of what the EPA says is required under the Clean Air Act.

The EPA relies heavily in its environmental assessments on the climate change reports produced by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which issued its fifth report in September 2013.

Joseph Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, said the IPCC report has been “largely discredited” by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change’s (NIPCC) “Climate Change Reconsidered II” series of reports, including a 1,000-page report on the physical science of climate change that was released in 2013.

Fred Singer, report co-author and an atmospheric and space physicist and climate change expert, said at the press conference that the models used by IPCC do not reflect the real-world data about the planet and its warming and cooling trends.

Idso provided dramatic examples of how CO2 impacts plants, showing images of small and underdeveloped plants that were exposed to a small amount of the compound compared with thriving plants with generous leaves and blossoms and expansive root systems.

“One of the overall important findings of our report is that atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant,” Idso said. “It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that offers many biosphereric benefits.

“Probably chiefly known among all of these benefits is that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 tend to increase the biomass and productivity of nearly all plants and ecosystems on earth,” Idso said.

Some of the other findings in the biological impacts report summary include:

 *  The ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth.

 *  Rising levels of CO2 are increasing agricultural productivity around the world, therefore increasing food security.

 *  Terrestrial ecosystems have thrived around the world where temperatures have warmed, including amphibians, birds, butterflies, other insects, reptiles and mammals.

 *  A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events.


Bishop Desmond Tutu compares climate skeptics to Apartheid practitioners

In an uninterrupted display of ignorance.  He thinks, for instance, that warming is going on when it in fact stopped 17 years ago

Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we are already feeling the effects.

This is why, no matter where you live, it is appalling that the US is debating whether to approve a massive pipeline transporting 830,000 barrels of the world's dirtiest oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Producing and transporting this quantity of oil, via the Keystone XL pipeline, could increase Canada's carbon emissions by over 30%.

Who can stop it? Well, we can, you and I. And it is not just that we can stop it, we have a responsibility to do so. It is a responsibility that begins with God commanding the first human inhabitants of the garden of Eden "to till it and keep it". To keep it; not to abuse it, not to destroy it.

Throughout my life I have believed that the only just response to injustice is what Mahatma Gandhi termed "passive resistance". During the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, using boycotts, divestment and sanctions, and supported by our friends overseas, we were not only able to apply economic pressure on the unjust state, but also serious moral pressure.

People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change. We can, for instance, boycott events, sports teams and media programming sponsored by fossil-fuel energy companies. We can demand that the advertisements of energy companies carry health warnings. We can encourage more of our universities and municipalities and cultural institutions to cut their ties to the fossil-fuel industry. We can organise car-free days and build broader societal awareness. We can ask our religious communities to speak out.

We can actively encourage energy companies to spend more of their resources on the development of sustainable energy products, and we can reward those companies that do so by using their products. We can press our governments to invest in renewable energy and stop subsidising fossil fuels. Where possible, we can install our own solar panels and water heaters.

We cannot necessarily bankrupt the fossil fuel industry. But we can take steps to reduce its political clout, and hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up the mess.

And the good news is that we don't have to start from scratch. Young people across the world have already begun to do something about it. The fossil fuel divestment campaign is the fastest growing corporate campaign of its kind in history.

Last month, the General Synod of the Church of England voted overwhelmingly to review its investment policy in respect of fossil fuel companies, with one bishop referring to climate change as "the great demon of our day". Already some colleges and pension funds have declared they want their investments to be congruent with their beliefs.


Antidemocratic Greens in Australia

Tony Abbott is the conservative Prime Minister of Australia

 It was called the March in March.   Abbott  was pilloried in abusive placards and righteous speeches, as the green left railed against Abbott's odious platform.

This week, Christine Milne praised that sentiment when she fronted the National Press Club. To be fair, it was a more sophisticated entreaty to voters to ‘‘make the WA election the turning of the tide; make it the defining moment where Tony Abbott’s radical, extreme agenda is stopped. Make it the moment, as [Greens senator] Scott Ludlam said, 'when we take our country back'.’’

While Milne’s call for action via the ballot box was perfectly defensible, stripped back, it asserted that the Greens speak for the majority and that Tony Abbott lacks legitimacy.

But where is the evidence given that this government has not even served out a single year of its three-year term nor handed down one budget?

It is not as if the government has done anything, excluding imperial titles, that can even be said to be outside its explicit mandate. Like it or not, Abbott's authority to repeal the carbon and mining taxes, rebalance the budget, and to stop the boats, could not have been clearer.

The March rallies so lauded by the Greens were presented as a protest against the Abbott government. But surely the real beef is with the Australian people who just six months prior had installed Abbott with a thumping 30-odd seat majority.

Such arguments fail to register it seems on both ends of the spectrum.

If ever there was an admission to having no empirical basis for a claim, it was Milne's evoking of the classic Australian movie, The Castle.

"The vibe of the nation right now is something you can't quite put your finger on but it's there, it's real, it's powerful, and it's building," she claimed.

It is beyond obvious to point out that the hapless lawyer in the movie had only resorted to "the vibe" because he lacked a real argument.

Yet some vibes are real. Such as the vibe of genuine concern, bordering on insurrection running through the Greens right now.

Unlike the former example, this one is based on empirical evidence including that the Green vote is on the wane, and that as a result, so too is Milne's grip on the leadership.

One need only look at the recent evidence such as the humiliating reversal suffered in her home state of Tasmania in the March state poll where it collapsed by almost 8 per cent statewide.

It followed a nation-wide drop of 3.3 per cent in the September federal poll.

The loss of another senator on Saturday could see a move on Milne within weeks with the two Victorians, Adam Bandt and Richard Di Natale, likely to step forward.

But even if Ludlam survives, as the late mail suggests he will, the word from inside the camp is that the Greens are actively weighing their options, with one figure noting that Bob Brown surrendered the leadership precisely because he could not guarantee serving out another six-year term as leader.

Milne's current term expires at the next election and her colleagues are already discussing succession. If Milne is looking for a vibe around the place, she might consider tuning into that one.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


10 April, 2014

Global solar dominance in sight as science trumps fossil fuels (??!!)

Now all they've got to do is get the sun to shine for 24 hours

Solar power has won the global argument. Photovoltaic energy is already so cheap that it competes with oil, diesel and liquefied natural gas in much of Asia without subsidies.

Roughly 29pc of electricity capacity added in America last year came from solar, rising to 100pc even in Massachusetts and Vermont. "More solar has been installed in the US in the past 18 months than in 30 years," says the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). California's subsidy pot is drying up but new solar has hardly missed a beat.

The technology is improving so fast - helped by the US military - that it has achieved a virtous circle. Michael Parker and Flora Chang, at Sanford Bernstein, say we entering a new order of "global energy deflation" that must ineluctably erode the viability of oil, gas and the fossil fuel nexus over time. In the 1980s solar development was stopped in its tracks by the slump in oil prices. By now it has surely crossed the threshold irreversibly.

The ratchet effect of energy deflation may be imperceptible at first since solar makes up just 0.17pc of the world's $5 trillion energy market, or 3pc of its electricity. The trend does not preclude cyclical oil booms along the way. Nor does it obviate the need for shale fracking as a stop-gap, for national security reasons or in Britain's case to curb a shocking current account deficit of 5.4pc of GDP.

But the technology momentum goes only one way. "Eventually solar will become so large that there will be consequences everywhere," they said. This remarkable overthrow of everthing we take for granted in world energy politics may occur within "the better part of a decade".

If the hypothesis is broadly correct, solar will slowly squeeze the revenues of petro-rentier regimes in Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, among others. Many already need oil prices near $100 a barrel to cover their welfare budgets and military spending. They will have to find a new business model, or fade into decline.

The Saudis are themselves betting on solar, investing more than $100bn in 41 gigawatts (GW) of capacity, enough to cover 30pc of their power needs by 2030 rather than burning fossil fuel needed for exports. Most of the Gulf states have comparable plans. That will mean more crude - ceteris paribus - washing into a deflating global energy market.

Clean Energy Trends says new solar installations overtook wind turbines worldwide last year with an extra 36.5GW. China alone accounted for a third. Wind is still ahead with 2.5 times old capacity but the "solar sorpasso" will be reached in 2021 as photovoltaic (PV) costs keep falling.

The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory says scientists can now capture 31.1pc of the sun's energy with a 111-V Solar Cell, a world record but soon to be beaten again no doubt. This will find its way briskly into routine use. Wind cannot keep pace. It is static by comparison, a regional niche at best.

A McKinsey study said the average cost of installed solar power in the US across all sectors has dropped to $2.59 from more than $6 a watt in 2010. It expects this fall to $2.30 by next year and $1.60 by 2020. This will put solar within "striking distance" of coal and gas, it said.

Solar cell prices have already collapsed so far that other "soft costs" now make up 64pc of residential solar installation in the US. Germany has shown that this too can be slashed, partly by sheer scale.

It is hard to keep up with the cascade of research papers emerging from brain-trusts in North America, Europe and Japan, so many brimming with optimism. The University of Buffalo has developed a nanoscale microchip able to capture a "rainbow" of wavelengths and absorb far more light. A team at Oxford is pioneering use of perovskite, an abundant material that is cheaper than silicon and produces 40pc more voltage.

One by one, the seemingly intractable obstacles are being conquered. Israel's Ecoppia has just begun using robots to clean the panels of its Ketura Sun park in the Negev desert without the use of water, until now a big constraint. It is beautifully simple. Soft microfibers sweep away 99pc of the dust each night with the help of airflows.

Professor Michael Aziz, at Harvard University, is developing a flow-battery with funding from the US Advanced Research Projects Agency over the next three years that promises to cut the cost of energy storage by two-thirds below the latest vanadium batteries used in Japan.

He said the technology gives us a "fighting chance" to overcome the curse of intermittency from wind and solar power, which both spike and drop off in bursts. "I foresee a future where we can vastly cut down on fossil fuel use."

Even thermal solar is coming of age, driven for now by use of molten salts to store heat and release power hours later. California opened the world's biggest solar thermal park in February in the Mojave desert - the Ivanpah project, co-owned by Google and BrightSource Energy - able to produce power for almost 100,000 homes by reflecting sunlight from 170,000 mirrors onto boilers that generate electricity from steam. Ivanpah still relies on subsidies but a new SunPower project in Chile will go naked, selling 70 megawatts into the spot market.

Deutsche Bank say there are already 19 regional markets around the world that have achieved "grid parity", meaning that PV solar panels can match or undercut local electricity prices without subsidy: California, Chile, Australia, Turkey, Israel, Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain and Greece, for residential power, as well as Mexico and China for industrial power.

This will spread as battery storage costs - often a spin-off from electric car ventures - keep dropping. Sanford Bernstein says it may not be long before home energy storage is cheap enough to lure households away from the grid en masse across the world.

Utilities that fail to adapt fast will face "disaster". Solar competes directly. Each year it is supplying a bigger chunk of peak power needs in the middle of the day when air conditioners and factories are both at full throttle. "Demand during what was one of the most profitable times of the day disappears," said the report. They cannot raise prices to claw back lost income. That would merely accelerate what they most fear. They are trapped.

Michael Liebreich, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, says we can already discern the moment of "peak fossil fuels" around 2030, the tipping point when the world starts using less coal, oil and gas in absolute terms, but because they cannot compete, not because they are running out.

This is a remarkable twist of history. Just six years ago we faced an oil shock with crude trading at $148. The rise of "Chindia" and the sudden inclusion of 2bn consumers into the affluent world seemed to be taxing resources to breaking point. Now we can imagine how China will fuel its future fleet of 400m vehicles. Many may be electric, charged by PV modules.

For Germany it is a bitter-sweet vindication. The country sank €100bn into feed-in tariffs or in solar companies that blazed the trail, did us all a favour, and mostly went bankrupt, displaced by copy-cat competitors in China. The Germans have the world's biggest solar infrastructure, but latecomers can now tap futuristic technology.

For Britain it offers a reprieve after 20 years of energy drift. Yet the possibility of global energy deflation raises a quandry: should the country lock into more nuclear power stations with strike-prices fixed for 35 years? Should it spend £100bn on offshore wind when imported LNG might be cheaper long hence?

For the world it portends a once-in-a-century upset of the geostrategic order. Sheikh Ahmed-Zaki Yamani, the veteran Saudi oil minister, saw the writing on the wall long ago. "Thirty years from now there will be a huge amount of oil - and no buyers. Oil will be left in the ground. The Stone Age came to an end, not because we had a lack of stones, and the oil age will come to an end not because we have a lack of oil," he told The Telegraph in 2000. Wise old owl.


School heads are breaking the law if they preach eco agenda, warns British Education Secretary

Headteachers who brainwash children with green propaganda are breaking the law, Michael Gove has suggested.

The Education Secretary has read ‘with concern’ a report which accused ‘activist’ teaching staff of trying to turn pupils into ‘foot soldiers of the green movement’.  It found the marks children were awarded in exams depended on  ‘parroting’ the green agenda. And many widely-used textbooks included inaccurate examples.

A spokesman for Mr Gove said: ‘The Secretary of State read this report with concern.  ‘Schools should not teach that a particular political or ideological point of view is right – indeed it is against the law for them to do so.’

The study, by a think-tank set up by former Tory Chancellor Lord Lawson, warned that ‘eco-activists’ in the education system were urging  children to use ‘pester power’ to ensure parents are forced to adopt lifestyle choices dictated in schools.

‘We ?nd instances of eco-activism being given a free rein within schools and at the events schools encourage their pupils to attend,’ it said.  ‘In every case of concern, the slant is on scares, on raising fears, followed by the promotion of detailed guidance on how pupils should live, as well as on what they should think.’

The Global Warming Policy Foundation report, by Andrew Montford and John Shade, described the teaching of climate science in British schools as ‘disturbing’.

Mr Montford said: ‘The brainwashing of our children for political ends is shameful. Those responsible for education in the UK need to take action and take it quickly.’

The report found that teaching on ‘sustainability’ and green issues pervaded the whole  curriculum, from French to religious education.

One RE exam asked children to ‘explain actions religious people might take to look after the planet’.

The marking scheme suggested answers such as: ‘avoid polluting the world’, ‘recycle’, ‘reduce carbon  footprint’  – and even ‘protest when necessary’ and ‘join action groups such as Greenpeace’.

The report found inaccurate statements in popular geography textbooks, such as one saying there had been an ‘increase in the number and intensity of tropical storms’.

Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is ‘low confidence’ that any increase has taken place. Many schools are showing films such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, even though the report says it contains inaccuracies.

And Education Scotland suggests schools show climate-change disaster movies such as The Day After Tomorrow – but no films critical of the green agenda.

Mr Gove’s spokesman added: ‘Ministers are clear that the new national curriculum must equip young people with the core knowledge they need to understand the weather, climate, the earth’s atmosphere, physical geography and the interaction between nature and the environment.

‘That means in both science and geography, pupils must learn the facts and processes which underpin public discussion of climate change. They must not be directed towards a particular campaigning agenda.’

Green campaigners rejected the report. Adam Dyster, parliamentary liaison officer at the UK Youth Climate Coalition, said: ‘The only time when brainwashing is an appropriate term is when the likes of the Global Warming Policy Foundation deny the scientific facts of climate change.’


Cut back on eating baked beans to tackle climate change

People should eat fewer baked beans to reduce flatulence which can contribute to global warming, a minister suggested today.   Fears were raised about the impact of ‘smelly emissions’ caused by Brits eating more beans than any other country in the world.

Climate change minister Lady Verma said it was an ‘important’ issue and urged the public to ‘moderate our behaviour’.

Concerns have previously been raised about the effect of methane emissions from cows on global warming.

But in the House of Lords today a Labour peer raised questions about the impact of human diet on emmisions.  Viscount Simon, 73, a Labour peer who has been a member of the House of Lords for more than 20 years, voiced his fears about the ‘smelly emissions’.

Lord Simon said: ‘In a programme some months ago on the BBC it was stated that this country has the largest production of baked beans and the largest consumption of baked beans in the world.’

He asked Lady Verma: ‘Could you say whether this affects the calculation of global warming by the Government as a result of the smelly emission resulting therefrom?’

Lady Verma described his question as ‘so different’ but she appeared to suggest that people should think twice about over-indulging in baked beans or any food which causes flatulence.

She added: ‘You do actually raise a very important point, which is we do need to moderate our behaviour.'

A study last December suggested the total value of baked beans sold in the previous year had fallen by £20.8 million to £339.3 million in the UK.

Lord Simon's grandfather Sir John Simon, a Liberal, was given a peerage in 1940 after serving as Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor.

A study this week recommended eating baked beans every day, to help significantly reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart diseases.

Wind and bloating were among the side effects of those eating the daily portion, although this subsided after a while, said lead researcher Dr John Sievenpiper from St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto.

Last month a survey found that tins of baked beans were the most popular item that Brits took with them when going on foreign holidays.

Lord Howell speaks up

The exchange over the impact of beans on global warming came as a senior Tory peer called on the government to stop trying to prevent climate change altogether.

George Osborne’s father-in-law Lord Howell of Guildford, a former Foreign Office minister, said a change in direction of energy policy was ‘overdue’.

The Tory peer said in the House of Lords: ‘Now may be time to consider switching our colossal expenditure in attempting mitigation to adaptation to what is widely believed by many of us to come in the way of more extreme weather.

‘It seems that our current mitigation efforts seem to be producing no vast improvement in carbon emissions - in fact an increase in our carbon footprint - burning more coal, increased fuel poverty, driving investment away from this country to elsewhere where power is cheaper, raising the prospect of blackouts and general environmental damage.’

At question time in the Lords he asked energy minister Baroness Verma: ‘Isn't it becoming very obvious that some change of direction in our climate and energy policy is overdue if we are to achieve our green goals?’

Lady Verma said the Government's policy was about ‘both adaptation and mitigation’.

Labour peer Baroness Worthington said: ‘On discovering a flood in a bathroom you would not make your priority turning your house into a swimming pool, you would turn the tap off.

‘That is precisely what we need to do and I think it is regrettable that we have some prominent members of the other side (Conservatives) who do not seem to accept it.’


Look who's criticizing Showtime for trying to scare people about global warming

The New York Times endorsing climate realism? Not exactly. They just think that trying to scare people about global warming doesn't work and other, more subtle methods must be used:

If you were looking for ways to increase public skepticism about global warming, you could hardly do better than the forthcoming nine-part series on climate change and natural disasters, starting this Sunday on Showtime. A trailer for “Years of Living Dangerously” is terrifying, replete with images of melting glaciers, raging wildfires and rampaging floods. “I don’t think scary is the right word,” intones one voice. “Dangerous, definitely.”

Showtime’s producers undoubtedly have the best of intentions. There are serious long-term risks associated with rising greenhouse gas emissions, ranging from ocean acidification to sea-level rise to decreasing agricultural output.

But there is every reason to believe that efforts to raise public concern about climate change by linking it to natural disasters will backfire. More than a decade’s worth of research suggests that fear-based appeals about climate change inspire denial, fatalism and polarization.

The Times mentions in passing that the IPCC doesn't believe that there is a connection between climate change and an increase in severity of natural disasters:

Since then, evidence that a fear-based approach backfires has grown stronger. A frequently cited 2009 study in the journal Science Communication summed up the scholarly consensus. “Although shocking, catastrophic, and large-scale representations of the impacts of climate change may well act as an initial hook for people’s attention and concern,” the researchers wrote, “they clearly do not motivate a sense of personal engagement with the issue and indeed may act to trigger barriers to engagement such as denial.” In a controlled laboratory experiment published in Psychological Science in 2010, researchers were able to use “dire messages” about global warming to increase skepticism about the problem.

Many climate advocates ignore these findings, arguing that they have an obligation to convey the alarming facts.

But claims linking the latest blizzard, drought or hurricane to global warming simply can’t be supported by the science. Our warming world is, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, increasing heat waves and intense precipitation in some places, and is likely to bring more extreme weather in the future. But the panel also said there is little evidence that this warming is increasing the loss of life or the economic costs of natural disasters. “Economic growth, including greater concentrations of people and wealth in periled areas and rising insurance penetration,” the climate panel noted, “is the most important driver of increasing losses.”

"Our warming world" is not warming at the moment, which may be contributing more to the skepticism about climate change than how scary global warming hysterics can make climate change sound or look. After experiencing one of the coldest, most brutal winters since records began to be kept, a majority of Americans remain unconvinced that the earth is warming. It hardly matters whether efforts to scare people, or more subtle methods are used, the climate change crowd is going to have to come up with better evidence than they are presenting now.


Obama’s “Government Motors” Doubles Down on Chevy Volt

Chevrolet’s firebrand electric-hybrid vehicle, the Chevy Volt, has so far seen a dramatically disappointing sales record. Government Motors, however, is prepared to shovel hundreds of millions of dollars into the continued production of one of America’s least favorite automobiles… Oh, and they’re also going to introduce a new version of the Volt, with a lower price point and significantly fewer options.

According to Reuters:

"Chevrolet has sold just 58,158 Volts since the car went on sale 39 months ago, despite price cuts and heavy discounting. In comparison, the best-selling Ford F-series pickup last month sold more than 70,000."

Wow… That almost makes Obamacare enrollments look like a rousing success. (Almost.) Of course, the two vehicles are drastically different – making the comparison is kinda like comparing apples to spontaneously-combusting oranges. According to sales figures, the biggest difference between the two vehicles seems to be that people actually like Ford pickups.

But let’s not let little business realities (like no one wanting to purchase a heavily subsidized, and overpriced, electric hybrid) get in the way of throwing some more money at the problem. Despite the fact that selling the Chevy Volt has proven to be more difficult than selling overpriced “brosurance” to “young invincibles”, GM is taking a page from Team Obama’s style of management: They decided to invest roughly $384 million dollars to expand production of a “new generation Volt”.

The “new and improved” model will, of course, be stunningly similar to the current model (ya know: the model that, apparently, nobody wants to purchase). According to Reuters:

"The standard Volt won't deviate dramatically from the current model, which is priced from just under $35,000 and has a driving range of up to 380 miles, according to Chevrolet."

Inexplicably, some people actually seem to think that continuing the production of GM’s embarrassment will yield different sales figures as time goes on. And, really, it’s a logical conclusion… “Doubling down” is what most businesses do with products that have failed to capture the imagination of consumers. Right?

For good measure, and to ensure that their poor-performing Volt rakes in a couple dozen extra sales each year, Chevy will also feature a “low cost” edition of the vehicle. The plan is likely to work (sarcasm font), because there’s nothing quite like shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for a liberal status symbol that doesn’t have electric windows. (Especially when a large chunk of the price of the vehicle is earmarked for the electric power supply.)

The low cost edition will have less than a 300 mile range, less equipment and undoubtedly fewer cup holders. (They could probably cut a few more costs by employing the rarely mentioned “Fred Flintstone” method of propulsion.) Oh… And it will still cost more than $30,000 for the privilege of getting behind its wheel. (A $7,500 tax credit didn’t do the trick… but shaving a few thousand off the price, at the expense of quality, is going to get sales rolling?)

To the untrained eye, the Volt’s sales figures pretty much resemble what the average person would consider “an unmitigated disaster”. Most businesses, after three years of abysmal sales, would sack the creative team responsible for pitching the idea, as well as the dreamy eyed managers who gave the disaster a “thumbs up”…

But, this is Government Motors. Results, apparently, don’t matter… Maybe GM can set up an online exchange for Volts if their “less-car-for-slightly-less-money” campaign doesn’t pan out. (Of course, with our current set of government leaders, I also wouldn’t rule-out a tax on all consumers who “opt out” of buying a Volt.)


The thirst for oil will continue

This week, Exxon Mobil (XOM) laid out the facts of oil and energy demands and felt confident enough to say all their reserves will be exploited. Despite fear-mongering about climate, population, income-inequality and desperate efforts to redistribute billions of dollars from rich nations to poor nations, the world's thirst for oil will matter more. In fact, the world's thirst for oil will be driven by prosperity.

The proposed policies portray nations that are on the cusp of rapid growth as feeble and inadequate, when they are anything but that. Not only should rich nations reject this rhetoric but so, too, those supposed victims whose growth would be snuffed out with new rules.

Exxon Mobil has taken information from the International Energy Agency on reaching the goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, below the 2005 level, by the year 2050, and the tally coming in at a cool $45 trillion. In other words; it simply isn't happening. Moreover, the UN report on climate change released last week comes to the conclusion that rich nations in Europe and the United States owe poor nations $100 billion a year to protect them from the ravages of climate change. That line of thinking, so incendiary and scuttlebutt was pulled from the 48-page summary of the report at the request of the United States.

Yet there have been plenty of quotes from officials involved in the push for global climate change regulations and policies.

"First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world's wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole." Ottmar Edenhofer

Be that as it may, it's clear that the hype over renewable sources displacing fossil fuels is a myth, but not for lack of effort. Wind seems dead, but solar has taken on a life of its own, and could soon stand without government help, which means there are investment opportunities. But the big news is that the world will need oil and gas for the foreseeable future. I really don't think many people understand just how much longer the demand for fossil fuels will grow. In addition to China and India, amazing economic growth will spark a surge in demand from several nations including:

Saudi Arabia
South Africa

By 2040 there will be 2.6 billion more people on the planet, and the global economy will grow by 130% according to data from Exxon Mobil. Oil and gas will meet 60% of energy demand driven by transportation. Natural gas will displace coal as number two source of energy driven by 90% increase in electricity demand. I do take issue with assumptions made by Exxon and IEA on nuclear if indeed Japan abandons it completely and France embarks on plans to cut its reliance by 50%.

The energy use table underscores the miracle of fossil fuels and evolution of mankind. First, coal powered the First Industrial Revolution, and then oil and gases energized the Second Industrial Revolution, although sadly 2 billion people still need biomass for energy to prepare their dinners.

(I know hipsters think cooking oil will be the fuel of the future, but it's a drag, takes a lot of time and effort and can't power industry. The rich Western biomass crowd is fooling itself in effort assuage a needless sense of guilt.)

The fracking miracle will take hold around the world, providing amazing opportunity for American ingenuity and know-how. In the meantime, the natural gas phenomenon has stalled for a lack of pipes and infrastructure and that must change immediately. The time to strike is now!



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


9 April, 2014

Climate 'consensus': Is carbon dioxide the new cholesterol?

As some readers here know, I also follow the medical literature and what the writer below says is spot on.  Moreover, that is not the only recent  example of a reversed consensus in the medical literature.  The wisdom on peanut allergy has also recently done a 180 degree turn, for instance -- JR

Imagine a public policy issue that could determine the course of millions of lives. Imagine the science concerning this issue was complex and confusing. Nonetheless, most scientists had reached agreement on certain aspects of it.

And imagine the Washington Post wrote an editorial stating, "Government agencies must constantly make recommendations on the basis of just this kind of incomplete but suggestive evidence, and there is a consensus on what to do."

That sounds like the current debate over climate change, doesn’t it? Nope. That editorial is from 1980. The issue was not levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere but levels of cholesterol in the diet.

In that case, the consensus was that the amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol in the diet are related to the levels of cholesterol in the blood and "that reducing the one will lower the other," the Post wrote.

That seemed to be the case at the time. But there were dissenters who claimed carbohydrates, particularly refined ones, were the more likely triggers for obesity and heart disease. That led the mainstream authorities to hold a "Consensus Conference" in 1984. The result was a national policy emphasizing low-fat diets as a means of combating obesity and heart disease.

Soon the market was inundated with low-fat foods. But they weren’t having the desired effect. By 2002, the cracks in the consensus were so evident that the New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy and well-researched article by noted science writer Gary Taubes headlined "What if it’s all been a big fat lie?"

"It used to be that even considering the possibility of the alternative hypothesis, let alone researching it, was tantamount to quackery by association," Taubes wrote. "Now a small but growing minority of establishment researchers have come to take seriously what the low-carb-diet doctors have been saying all along."

Last month, the prior consensus was turned on its head by a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. A meta-analysis of 76 studies and clinical trials showed no link between fat, even saturated fat, and increased heart-disease risk.

I discussed this yesterday with Meir Stampfer, who is a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Stampfer said the move to low-fat diets might have actually increased obesity and heart-disease risk. That’s because people tended to substitute refined carbohydrates for fat in their diets, Stampfer said.

"Basically what happens is the refined carbs are very rapidly absorbed," Stampfer said. "Blood sugar goes up very rapidly and insulin is secreted so it plummets again."

That rapid fluctuation leads to an increase in triglycerides, which in turn can lead to weight gain and atherosclerosis, he said. So is there a new consensus that "Butter is back" as one op-ed piece in the Times recently stated?

Nope, said Stampfer. He and his Harvard colleagues disagree with those who are promoting saturated fats from dairy and red meat. The Harvard crowd argues that people would be better off consuming more olive oil and seafood.

But that’s a healthy disagreement. As for that prior consensus, the consensus is that it did not hold up.

"This is complicated and the policymakers tried to make it simple," Stampfer concluded.  "But it’s better to be complicated and right than simplified and wrong."

It is indeed, and I would encourage my fellow journalists to keep that in mind in light of the highly touted "consensus" on the role of carbon dioxide in promoting global warming.

Climate science is infinitely more complicated than human physiology. Once all of the data are in, we may find that atmospheric carbon dioxide? actually has the effect predicted by physicist Freeman Dyson of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton. The 90-year-old Dyson, whom many consider to be the smartest guy on Earth, argues that far from harming the planet, atmospheric CO-2? may have a positive effect by increasing plant growth.

Perhaps you disagree. Fine, but you’re disagreeing with a guy who calculated the number of atoms in the sun when he was 5 years old and who’s been at the institute since Einstein was walking the grounds.

Science requires taking the long view, said Dyson when I called him the other day.  "Science of course is always correcting mistakes," he said. "That’s what it’s all about."

It is indeed. What it’s not about is consensus.  That’s for editorial writers.


Academics admit that Warmists exaggerate damage caused by Climate Change

Some writers have excoriated the Chinese writers of this paper for being crooks.  That entirely misses the point.  The writers were simply describing what they saw as the norm.  And the journal accepted that

Here is a link to the abstract of a peer-reviewed article in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. (You may be able to download the full article. I could, from my university computer.)

The abstract says, “It appears that news media and some pro-environmental organizations have the tendency to accentuate or even exaggerate the damage caused by climate change. ... We find that the information manipulation... induces more countries to participate in an IEA [International Environmental Agreement], which will eventually enhance global welfare.”

The article argues that by exaggerating the harmful effects of climate change, advocates can gain more support for government climate change policies.

The article says, “Linking climate change to extreme weather may be a powerful way to motivate people.” Referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, it says, “The IPCC has tended to over-generalize its research results and accentuate the negative side of climate change. Following its lead, the mainstream media has gone even further.”

Later, “ may be better for the countries to hold a pessimistic view of the climate problem, as it will induce more countries to participate in the IEA...” The paper then goes on to develop a mathematical model to demonstrate why this is the case.

The paper’s conclusion begins, “This article offers a rationale for the phenomenon of climate damage accentuation or exaggeration on the part of the international mainstream media or other pro-environmental organizations.” And then to show the bias of the authors, “Forming a binding IEA to curb climate change is a matter of urgency... When the media or pro-environmental organizations have private information on the damage caused by climate change, in equilibrium they may manipulate the information to increase pessimism regarding climate damage, even though the damage may not be that great. Consequently, more countries (with overpessimistic beliefs about climate damage) will be induced to participate in an IEA in this state, thereby leading to greater global welfare...”

The paper concludes, “This article further explores how the mass media may manipulate the information it privately has to influence behavior related to the environment ... this article introduces a novel mechanism, ‘information manipulation.’”

This article is noteworthy because it is published in a peer-reviewed academic journal. This is not right-wing political propaganda, and it is apparent from reading the article that the authors are sympathetic to the idea that more global action needs to be taken to combat what they believe are the negative effects of climate change.

The article is written by advocates of international environmental agreements who plainly state that climate scientists and the media exaggerate the negative effects of climate change, and explain why doing so helps further their goals.


New Report Reveals Green Brainwashing In UK Schools

Call For Inquiry Into Disturbing Teaching Materials

A new report published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation is calling for Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, to institute an official inquiry into the way environmentalism and in particular climate change are being taught in schools.

In the report, authors Andrew Montford and John Shade describe how environmentalism has come to permeate school curricula across the UK, featuring in an astonishing variety of subjects, from geography to religious education to modern languages. Passing examinations will now usually involve the ability to recite green mantras rather than understanding the subtle questions of science and economics involved.

The authors review in detail the climate change teaching materials currently used in British schools, with disturbing results. There is ample evidence of unscientific statements, manipulated graphs, and activist materials used in class and even found in textbooks.

The report also describes how activist teachers try to make children become the footsoldiers of the green movement, encouraging them to harass their schoolmates and pester their parents to bring about “behaviour change”.

The use of fear of climate change to alter children’s behaviour is also highlighted. This is undoubtedly having harmful consequences on children’s development and surveys indicate that fear of the future is widespread. The report quotes one child as saying:

“I worry about [global warming] because I don’t want to die.”

Author Andrew Montford says: “The brainwashing of our children for political ends is shameful. Those responsible for education in the UK need to take action and take it quickly”



by Professor Terence Kealy, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham

Politicians and political activists have always wanted to control the schools, for obvious reasons. St Francis Xavier of the Jesuits may or may not have said 'give me the child until he is seven and I'll give you the man' but too many politicians have wanted the child until he or she is seventeen, just to make sure.

In this impressive paper Andrew Montford and John Shade have shown how effectively eco-activism appears to have captured our schools' curriculums. It is of course true that the greenhouse effect is based on good physics, but even better physics recognises that the globe is a complex system and that many different effects - not just the greenhouse effect - will influence the climate. And since we cannot yet model the world's climate with confidence, we must be suspicious of the certainty with which eco-activists seek to influence the schools' curriculums.

Eco-activism is, as Montford and Shade have shown, only the most recent example of attempted curriculum-capture by political activists, so we need to construct institutions to protect the schools from such capture. Montford and Shade have invoked the horrible examples of education under the communist regimes of Eastern Europe or China, and in so doing they point the way to the only solid future - democracy.

Educational researchers such as EG West (Education and the State, 1965) and James Tooley (The Beautiful Tree, 2009) have shown how the nationalisation of the schools in England and Wales during the 19th century was a mistake, which neither increased the expenditure per pupil nor fostered social justice - it only handed the schools over to John Stuart Mill's 'dominant power in government.'

But the nationalisation of the schools is now effectively irreversible, so how can we protect the curriculum within it? One harbinger is provided by the UK Statistics Authority, which is funded by government but which reports not to a minister but directly to Parliament. Thus its independence is optimised. Perhaps we now need a Curriculum Authority, reporting to Parliament via a select committee, because by its nature a legislature can foster a wider range of views than can the executive branch of government.

In the meantime, let us echo the call from Montford and Shade for an independent review of our current climate curriculum, because if - as the title of their paper suggests - schools are indoctrinating rather than educating, we have a problem.

Via email

Perils of commercial beekeeping

Honeybees pollinate crops but endure stress, parasites and disease. Solutions are coming

Paul Driessen

One of America’s earliest food crops – almonds – is also one of the most important for commercial beekeepers. Almonds depend on bees for pollination, but the explosive growth of this bumper crop taxes the very honeybees the industry needs to thrive.

California’s Central Valley produces over 80% of the world’s almonds, valued at over $4 billion in 2012. The boom is poised to continue, with new food products and expanding overseas markets increasing demand to the point that no young almond trees are available for purchase until 2016.

Demand for almonds translates into demand for pollination. So every year commercial beekeepers transport some 60% of all US honeybees to California’s almond groves in February and March, when it’s still winter in most other states. It’s one of their biggest challenges.

For one thing, bee colonies, especially those from northern states, lack sufficient time to emerge from their heat-conserving winter clusters. Some beekeepers thus maintain 20,000 to 30,000 hives. Each one requires careful inspection for diseases and parasites – a meticulous, Herculean task on such a scale.

Complicating the situation, beekeepers are trying to work within a large-scale agricultural system, using an insect whose husbandry practices have changed little since the nineteenth century. The larger the commercial beekeeper’s stock, the harder it can be to tend them and recover from financial setbacks in the form of lost bees.

Almond growers will need 1.5 million hives this year, estimates Colorado beekeeper Lyle Johnston. “It takes almost all the commercial bees in the United States,” to pollinate the almond crop, he says. The payoff can amount to half an individual keeper’s yearly profit.

However, bees can come back from California “loaded with mites and every other disease you can think of,” beekeeper Ed Colby explains. That can often mean bee colony deaths. Last year, US beekeepers experienced an average 30% overwinter bee loss; some lost 10% to 15% of their hives, while others lost much more. It’s a normal cost of doing business, but it can be painful.

Last year’s rate was higher than normal, and higher than any keeper would want. But it was not the “bee-pocalypse” that some news stories claimed. The real story is that efforts to identify a single unifying cause for higher-than-usual losses have failed. Scientists are discovering that multiple issues affect bee health.

Urban, suburban and agricultural “development has reduced natural habitats, clearing out thousands of acres of clover and natural flowers,” a 60 Minutes investigative report observed. “Instead, bees are spending week after week on the road, feeding on a single crop, undernourished and overworked.”

The migration itself is stressful, notes Glenwood Springs, Colorado Post-Independent reporter Marilyn Gleason. “First, there’s the road trip, which isn’t exactly natural for bees, and may include freezing cold or scorching heat. Bees ship out of Colorado before the coldest weather, and drivers may drench hot, thirsty bees with water at the truck wash.”

The convergence in almond groves of so many commercial bees from all over the country creates a hotbed of viruses and pathogens that can spread to many hives. The varroa destructor mite carries at least 19 different bee viruses and diseases, causing major impacts on bee colonies. Parasitic phorid flies are another problem, and highly contagious infections also pose significant threats. The intestinal fungus nosema ceranae, for example, prevents bees from absorbing nutrition, resulting in starvation.

The tobacco ringspot virus was likewise linked recently to the highly publicized problem known as “colony collapse disorder.” CCD occurs when bees in a colony disappear, leaving behind only a queen and a few workers. The term originally lumped together a variety of such “disappearing” disorders recorded in different locales across hundreds of years, as far back as 950 AD in Ireland. Thankfully, as during past episodes, these unexplained incidents have declined in recent years and, despite all these challenges, overall US honeybee populations and the number of managed colonies have held steady for nearly 20 years.

These days, perhaps the biggest existential threat to bees is campaigns purporting to save them. Extreme-green groups like the Center for Food Safety and Pesticide Action Network of North America are blaming an innovative new class of pesticides called neonicotinoids for both over-winter bee losses and CCD.

Allied with several outspoken beekeepers, the activists are pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency, Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and government regulatory agencies to follow Europe’s lead – and ban neonics. Instead of protecting bees and beekeepers, however, their campaigns will likely cause greater harm – because they ignore the multiple threats that scientists have identified, and because a neonic ban will result in farmers using pesticides that are more toxic to bees.

The European Union’s political decision to suspend neonic use came because France’s new agriculture minister banned their use. That meant French farmers would be at a distinct disadvantage with the rest of Europe, if they were the only ones unable to use the pesticide, noted British environmental commentator Richard North. They could lose $278 million per season in lost yields and extra pesticide spraying.

So the French agricultural ministry sought an EU-wide ban on all neonicotinoids. After several votes and a misleading report on the science, the European Commission imposed a ban, over the objections of many other EU members, who note that the evidence clearly demonstrates the new pesticides are safe for bees.

Years-long field tests have found that real-world exposures have no observable effects on bee colonies. Other studies have highlighted other significant insect, fungal, human and other issues that, singly or collectively, could explain CCD. Having analyzed scores of 2007-2012 bee death incidents, Canadian bee experts concluded that “…very few of the serious bee kills involve neonicotinoid pesticides. Five times as many ‘major’ or ‘moderate’ pesticide-related bee kills were sourced to non-neonic chemicals.”

In Canada’s western provinces, almost 20 million acres of 100% neonic-treated canola is pollinated annually by honeybees and tiny alfalfa leaf-cutter bees. Both species thrive on the crop, demonstrating that neonics are not a problem. Large-scale field studies of honeybees at Canadian universities and a bumblebee field study by a UK government agency found no adverse effects on bees.

Last October, a team of industry scientists published a four-year study of the effects of repeated honeybee exposure to neonic-treated corn and rapeseed (canola) pollen and nectar under field conditions in several French provinces. The study found similar mortality, foraging behavior, colony strength and weight, brood development and food storage in colonies exposed to seed-treated crops and in unexposed control colonies. This also indicates low risk to bees.

At least two more major, recently completed university-run field research projects conducted under complex, costly scientific laboratory guidelines (“good lab practices”) are awaiting publication. All indications to date suggest that they too will find no observable adverse effects on bees at field-realistic exposures to neonicotinoids.

Meanwhile Project ApisM., a partnership of agro-businesses and beekeepers, has invested $2.5 million in research to enhance the health of honeybee colonies. Switzerland-based Syngenta has spent millions expanding bee habitats in Europe and North America, through Project Pollinator. Bayer has built bee health centers in Europe and the United States, and Monsanto’s Beeologics subsidiary is developing technology to fight varroa mites.

None of that matters to the anti-pesticide activists. They are using pressure tactics to make Canada and the United States copy the EU. That would be a huge mistake. Science, not politics, should prevail.

Via email

Doubts raised over IPCC draft backing carbon extraction

Many nations want a draft UN report to tone down prospects for sucking greenhouse gases from the air to help fix global warming, reckoning the technologies are risky, documents seen by Reuters show.

Government officials and scientists are meeting in Berlin this week to edit the report, which says time is running out to keep warming below an agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times.

The study, focused on solutions to climate change, is meant to guide almost 200 governments in preparing a U.N. pact due by the end of 2015 to curb rising emissions and help limit heat waves, floods, droughts and rising seas.

China, the European Union, Japan and Russia were among nations saying the draft, to be published on Sunday, should do more to stress uncertainties about technologies that the report says could be used to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and bury it below ground to limit warming.

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) "technologies are currently not available and would be associated with high risks and adverse side-effects," the German government said in a comment on the draft by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"There are no CDR technologies by now," Russia said. The technologies would go far beyond the traditional focus on cutting emissions from burning coal, oil or natural gas.

Several nations were especially sceptical about the draft's mention of stripping greenhouse gases from electricity-generating facilities burning biomass - wood or other plants - to bury them underground as a way to extract carbon from nature.

Plants soak up carbon as they grow and release it when they rot or burn. Chemicals can extract carbon from the exhaust fumes from burning crop waste, for instance, or from fermentation of corn to make ethanol.

Among projects, Archer Daniels Midland has a facility in Illinois to inject 333,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year into the ground from a factory producing ethanol from corn. Husky Energy in Canada produces carbon dioxide from ethanol for injection into oil wells.

Many nations said that the draft should do more to mention drawbacks of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), such as the amount of land needed to grow plants and risks that it would compete with food production.

Internal IPCC documents show that China said BECCS "bears great uncertainties". Japan said that "considerations of trade-offs with water, land and biodiversity are crucial to avoid adverse effects" with CDR technologies.

A sub-chapter of the report says that BECCS has the theoretical potential to extract as much as 10 billion tonnes a year of carbon dioxide from nature - roughly equivalent to China's carbon emissions - but would cost between $US60 ($64) and $US250 a tonne.

Other methods for extracting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere include simply planting trees or fertilising the oceans to promote the growth of algae, hoping that the tiny carbon-rich plants would fall to the seabed when they die.

Among other debates in Berlin on Tuesday, delegates said that Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, objected to a line in the report pointing out that fossil fuels were the overwhelming cause of rising emissions in the past decade.



The Methane Hoax Cranks Up


Having spent decades trying to convince everyone that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a "greenhouse gas" that was going to cause the Earth to heat up, the same environmental charlatans are now embarking on a campaign to do the same with methane. In the U.S. the first move was announced by the White House in late March.

The carbon dioxide hoax fell apart in the wake of a cooling cycle affecting the Earth that began around 1997 and continues to this day. Warming and cooling cycles are natural events and both are tied to the activity or lack of it of the Sun.  Humans have nothing to do with the climate other to enjoy or endure it.

Why methane? It has a lot to do with the development of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called "fracking", and the way it unlocks natural gas, aka methane, all of which portends an America that is energy independent, along with its huge reserves of coal and oil. If, of course, the government permits this to occur.

As we know, the Obama administration does not want that. It would mean more jobs, greater prosperity, and the ability to pay down the national debt, not to mention drive down the cost of electricity, gasoline, and everything else that depends on energy.

Despite the cooling cycle that is likely to last for many more years, Steve Hamburg, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was quoted by the Washington Post saying that "ounce for ounce, methane is 84 times as potent as a greenhouse gas over 20 years" compared to carbon dioxide. "More than a third of the warming that we'll see as a result of today's emissions over the next couple of decades comes from, essentially, methane. We need to remain focused on carbon dioxide emissions, but doing so is not enough."

Excuse me, but the Environmental Defense Fund and countless other Green advocacy groups have been focused on carbon dioxide for decades and the Earth is cooling, not warming. What part of this does Hamburg not understand?

James M. Taylor, the managing editor of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly published by The Heartland Institute, reported in January that "Natural gas fracking is not causing a spike in the U.S. methane emissions", citing Environmental Protection Agency data. "Methane emissions specific to natural gas are in a long-term decline, down ten percent since 1990 and down seven percent since 2007 when the fracking boom began."

The Washington Post, however, asserted that emission levels "are set to rise by 2030 as shale oil and shale gas production expands in the United States." Do you remember all those predictions about the increase of carbon dioxide emissions and how, in ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred years, the Earth would heat up?

This is not about methane, it is about finding a way to shut down fracking and the extraction of natural gas and oil in the same way the Obama administration's "war on coal" has caused the loss of over 150 coal-fired plants that until it began, were providing electricity. Reducing sources of electricity drives up its cost to everyone. As more natural gas came on line by 2013 it had become the second greatest source of U.S. electricity, but overall the amount of electricity produced was less than in 2007 before the war on coal began.

A natural component of the Earth, it has a number of sources, but one that has also caught the eye of government regulators involves cow flatulence and belching.

The White House has proposed cutting methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25% by 2020. The Environmental Protection Agency has been tracking cow farts since 2012 and now the dairy industry has to worry along with the oil and gas industry. In addition to the EPA, the Bureau of Land Management will be announcing "new standards this fall to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas production on public lands."

It's often best just to let the Greens speak for themselves, revealing their never-ending efforts to attack the energy industry that keeps our lights on, heats and cools our homes, and fuels our cars and trucks. "President Obama's plan to reduce climate-disrupting methane pollution is an important step in reining in an out of control industry exempt from too many public health protections," said Deborah Nardone, the director of the Sierra Club's Keeping Dirty Fuels in the Ground campaign.

"However," said Ms. Nardone, "even with the most rigorous methane controls in place, we will still fall short of what is needed to fight climate disruption if we do not reduce our reliance on these dirty fossil fuels."

What the heck is a climate disruption? A blizzard, a hurricane, a flood, tornadoes? None of these phenomena have anything to do with using fossil fuels. This is the kind of utter drivel we have all been hearing for decades.

It has nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with denying access and use of the greatest reserves of coal, oil and natural gas that exist in the greatest nation on Earth, the United States of America.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


8 April, 2014

The Little Ice Age Was The Coldest Period For 10000 Years

Jørgen Peder Steffensen is Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen and one of the world’s leading experts on ice cores. Using ice cores from sites in Greenland, he has been able to reconstruct temperatures there for the last 10000 years. So what are his conclusions?

* Temperatures in Greenland were about 1.5 C warmer 1000 years ago than now.

* It was perhaps 2.5 C warmer 4000 years ago.

* The period around 1875, at the lowest point of the Little Ice Age, marked the coldest point in the last 10,000 years.

* Other evidence from elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere confirms this picture.

His final comment is particularly telling :-

"I agree totally we have had a global temperature increase in the 20thC – but an increase from what? ..Probably an increase from the lowest point in the last 10,000 years.  We started to observe meteorology at the coldest point in the last 10,000 years."

And people are worried we have warmed up a bit since!


We have a new climate change consensus — and it's good news everyone

Climate change is now a question of adaptation. And it's not as frightening a question as you might think

Nigel Lawson was right after all. Ever since the Centre for Policy Studies lecture in 2006 that launched the former chancellor on his late career as a critic of global warming policy, Lord Lawson has been stressing the need to adapt to climate change, rather than throw public money at futile attempts to prevent it. Until now, the official line has been largely to ignore adaptation and focus instead on ‘mitigation’ — the misleading term for preventing carbon dioxide emissions.

That has now changed. The received wisdom on global warming, published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was updated this week. The newspapers were, as always, full of stories about scientists being even more certain of environmental Armageddon. But the document itself revealed a far more striking story: it emphasised, again and again, the need to adapt to climate change. Even in the main text of the press release that accompanied the report, the word ‘adaptation’ occurred ten times, the word ‘mitigation’ not at all.

The distinction is crucial. So far, the debate has followed a certain bovine logic: that global warming is happening, so we need to slow it down by hugely expensive decarbonisation strategies — green taxes, wind farms. And what good will this do? Is it possible to stop global warming in its tracks? Or would all these green policies be the equivalent of trying to blow away a hurricane? This question — just how much can be achieved by mitigation — is one not often addressed.

There is an alternative: accepting that the planet is warming, and seeing if we can adjust accordingly. Adaptation means investing in flood defences, so that airports such as Schiphol can continue to operate below existing (and future) sea level, and air conditioning, so that cities such as Houston and Singapore can continue to grow despite existing (and future) high temperatures. It means plant breeding, so that maize can be grown in a greater range of existing (and future) climates, better infrastructure, so that Mexico or India can survive existing (and future) cyclones, more world trade, so that Ethiopia can get grain from Australia during existing (and future) droughts.

Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for the Environment, in repeatedly emphasising the need to adapt to climate change in this way, has been something of a lone voice in the government. But he can now count on the support of the mighty IPCC, a United Nations body that employs hundreds of scientists to put together the scientific equivalent of a bible on the topic every six years or so. Whereas the last report had two pages on adaptation, this one has four chapters.

Professor Chris Field is the chairman of Working Group 2 of the IPCC, the part devoted to the effects of climate change rather than the cause. ‘The really big breakthrough in this report,’ he says, ‘is the new idea of thinking about managing climate change.’ His co-chair Vicente Barros adds: ‘Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future … adaptation can play a key role in decreasing these risks’. After so many years, the penny is beginning to drop.

In his book An Appeal to Reason, Lawson devoted a chapter to the importance of adaptation, in which he pointed out that the last IPCC report in 2007 specifically assumed that humans would not adapt. ‘Possible impacts,’ the report said, ‘do not take into account any changes or developments in adaptive capacity.’ That is to say, if the world gets warmer, sea levels rise and rainfall patterns change, farmers, developers and consumers will do absolutely nothing to change their habits over the course of an entire century. It is a ludicrous assumption.

But this assumption was central, Lawson pointed out, to the estimated future cost of climate change the IPCC reported. A notorious example was the report’s conclusion that, ‘assuming no adaptation’, crop yields might fall by 70 per cent by the end of the century — a conclusion based, a footnote revealed, on a single study of peanut farming in one part of India.

Lawson pointed out that adaptation had six obvious benefits as a strategy, which mitigation did not share. It required no international treaty, but would work if adopted unilaterally; it could be applied locally; it would produce results quickly; it could capture any benefits of warming while avoiding risks; it addressed existing problems that were merely exacerbated by warming; and it would bring benefits even if global warming proves to have been exaggerated.

Ask yourself, if you were a resident of the Somerset Levels, whether you would prefer a government policy of adapting to anything the weather might throw at you, whether it was exacerbated by climate change or not, or spending nearly £50 billion (by 2020) on low-carbon technologies that might in a few decades’ time, if adopted by the whole world, reduce the exacerbation of floods, but not the floods themselves.

It is remarkable how far this latest report moves towards Lawson’s position. Professor Field, who seems to be an eminently sensible chap, clearly strove to emphasise adaptation, if only because the chance of an international agreement on emissions looks ever less likely. If you go through the report chapter by chapter (not that many people seem to have bothered), amid the usual warnings of potential danger, there are many sensible, if jargon-filled, discussions of exactly the points Lawson made.

Chapter 17 concedes that ‘adaptation strategies … can yield welfare benefits even in the event of a constant climate, such as more efficient use of water and more robust crop varieties’. Chapter 20 even acknowledges that ‘in some cases mitigation may impede adaptation (e.g., reduced energy availability in countries with growing populations)’. A crucial point, this: that preventing the poor from getting access to cheap electricity from coal might make them more vulnerable to climate change. So green policies may compound the problem they seek to solve.

In short, there is a great deal in this report to like. It has, moreover, toned down the alarm considerably. Even the New Scientist magazine has noticed that the report ‘backs off from some of the predictions made in the previous report’ and despite the urgings of Ed Davey to sex up the summary during last week’s meeting in Yokohama, New Scientist noticed that ‘the report has even watered down many of the more confident predictions that appeared in the leaked drafts’.

For instance, references to ‘hundreds of millions’ of people being affected by rising sea levels were removed from the summary, as were statements about the impact of warmer temperatures on crops. The report bravely admits that invasive alien species are a far greater threat to species extinction than climate change itself. Even coral reefs, the report admits, are threatened mostly by pollution and overfishing, which might be exacerbated at the margin by climate change. So why don’t we have intergovernmental panels on invasive species and overfishing?

As these examples illustrate, perhaps most encouraging of all, the report firmly states that the impact of climate change will be small relative to other things that happen during this century: ‘For most economic sectors … changes in population, age structure, income, technology, relative prices, lifestyle, regulation and governance will be large relative to the impacts of climate change.’ So yes, the world is heating up. But in many ways, it will be a better world.

The report puts the global aggregate economic damage from climate change at less than 2.5 per cent of income by the latter years of the century. This is a far lower number than Lord Stern arrived at in his notorious report of 2006, and this is taking the bleak view that there will be a further 2.5?C rise from recent levels. This is the highest of nine loss estimates; the average is only 1.1 per cent.

And the IPCC is projecting two thirds more warming per increment of carbon dioxide than the best observationally based studies now suggest, so the warming the IPCC outlines is not even likely with the highest emissions assumption.

In other words, even if you pile pessimism upon pessimism, assuming relatively little decarbonisation, much global enrichment and higher climate ‘sensitivity’ than now looks plausible — leading to more rapid climate change — you still, on the worst estimate, hurt the world economy in a century by only about as much as it grows every year or two. Rather than inflict an awful economic toll, global warming would make our very rich descendants — who are likely to be maybe eight or nine times as rich as we are today, on global average — a bit less rich.

To avoid this little harm, we could go for adaptation — let poor people get as rich as possible and use their income to protect themselves and their natural surroundings against floods, storms, potential food shortages and loss of habitat. Or we could go for mitigation, getting the entire world to agree to give up the fossil fuels that provide us with 85 per cent of our energy. Or we could try both, which is what the IPCC now recommends.

But the one truly bonkers thing to do would be to go unilaterally into a policy of subsidising the rich to install technologies that drive up the cost of energy, desecrate the countryside, kill golden eagles, clear-cut swamp forests in North Carolina, turn grain into motor fuel, so driving up the price of food and killing people, and prevent poor people in Africa getting loans to build coal-fired, cheap power stations instead of inhaling smoke from wood fires cut from virgin forests.

All this we are doing in this country, with almost no prospect of cutting carbon emissions enough to affect the climate. That’s the very opposite of adaptation — preventing the economic growth that would enable us to adapt while failing to prevent any climate change.

The report is far from ideal (don’t worry, Professor Field, I know that endorsement from the likes of me would kill your career). As Rupert Darwall, author of The Age of Global Warming, has pointed out, it systematically ignores the benefits of climate change and makes the unsupported claim that crop yields have been negatively affected by climate change, its only evidence being recent spikes in crop prices — a big cause of which was climate policy, not climate change, in the shape of biofuels programmes that diverted 5 per cent of the world’s grain crop into fuel.

Did you gather from the press that the report warns of rising deaths from storms and droughts, falling crop yields, spreading diseases, and all the usual litany? Did you conclude from this that deaths from storms will increase, crop yields will fall, and diseases will kill more people? Oh, how naive can you get!

No, no, no — what they mean is that the continuing fall in deaths from storms, floods and disease may not be as steep as it would be without climate change, that the continuing rise in crop yields may not be as fast as it would be without climate change, and that the continuing retreat of malaria might not be as rapid as it would be without climate change. In other words, the world will probably heat up — but it’s not going to end. It’s going to be healthier and wealthier than ever before, just a tad less wealthy than it might otherwise have been. Assuming we do not adapt, that is.


"No sexing up here" says IPCC

The IPCC has issued a statement disputing some of the claims about the sexing up of the Summary for Policymakers made in the Mail on Sunday yesterday. This is the guts of it:

    "The Mail on Sunday also quotes some passages from the Working Group II Summary for Policymakers on migration and refugees, wars and conflicts, famine, and extreme weather, which it claims are “sexed up” from statements in the underlying report. In doing so it misleads the reader by distorting the carefully balanced language of the document.

    For instance, the Mail on Sunday quotes the Summary as saying climate change will ‘increase risks of violent conflicts’. In fact the Summary says that climate change can indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts by amplifying factors such as poverty and economic shocks. The Mail on Sunday says the Summary warns of negative impacts on crop yields, with warming responsible for lower yields of wheat, maize, soya and rice. In fact the Summary says that negative impacts of climate change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts, with wheat and maize yields negatively affected in many regions and effects on rice and soybean yields smaller in major production regions.

    The references to the underlying report cited by the Mail on Sunday in contrast to the Summary for Policymakers also give a completely misleading and distorted impression of the report through selective quotation. For instance the reference to “environmental migrants” is a sentence describing just one paper assessed in a chapter that cites over 500 papers – one of five chapters on which the statement in the Summary for Policymakers is based. A quoted sentence on the lack of a strong connection between warming and armed conflict is again taken from the description of just one paper in a chapter that assesses over 600 papers. A simple keyword search shows many references to publications and statements in the report showing the opposite conclusion, and supporting the statement in the Summary that “Climate change can indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence…”.

The points in the second paragraph seem to me to fall into the category of "distinctions without a difference". As for the third, I'm not sure why the number of papers cited in the chapter is of any relevance at all - the question is how many papers support the conclusion in the Summary for Policymakers and how many contradict it. Perhaps readers with the time to do so can investigate.

More pertinently, one has to wonder about the wisdom of the IPCC in incorporating woo like this in the report in the first place. [Woo is a term used among skeptical writers to describe pseudoscientific explanations}


Ben Pile has now responded. Having a bit more space to set out his case, I think he makes a very strong case that the Summary for Policymakers is sexed up and I think I see problems here for the reputation of the IPCC's press office:

    "The [IPCC's] implication here seems to be that there are lots of other papers, cited throughout the chapters, which support the SPM’s claims. If it’s true, it is the IPCC’s problem. I checked the SPM’s claims against the chapter references cited in the SPM. Moreover, if the evidence considered by the WGII is contradictory, the contradictory nature of the evidence should be reflected in the SPM. It wasn’t. We don’t need to think very deeply about why such an evaluation of the evidence was omitted.


The game is up for climate change believers

Charles Moore reviews The Age of Global Warming by Rupert Darwall (Quartet)

 Most of us pay some attention to the weather forecast. If it says it will rain in your area tomorrow, it probably will. But if it says the same for a month, let alone a year, later, it is much less likely to be right. There are too many imponderables.

The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction. Yet it is as a prediction that global warming (or, as we are now ordered to call it in the face of a stubbornly parky [Parky is Northern English slang for uncomfortably cold] 21st century, “global weirding”) has captured the political and bureaucratic elites. All the action plans, taxes, green levies, protocols and carbon-emitting flights to massive summit meetings, after all, are not because of what its supporters call “The Science”. Proper science studies what is – which is, in principle, knowable – and is consequently very cautious about the future – which isn’t. No, they are the result of a belief that something big and bad is going to hit us one of these days.

Some of the utterances of the warmists are preposterously specific. In March 2009, the Prince of Wales declared that the world had “only 100 months to avert irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse”. How could he possibly calculate such a thing? Similarly, in his 2006 report on the economic consequences of climate change, Sir Nicholas Stern wrote that, “If we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least five per cent of global GDP each year, now and forever.” To the extent that this sentence means anything, it is clearly wrong (how are we losing five per cent GDP “now”, before most of the bad things have happened? How can he put a percentage on “forever”?). It is charlatanry.

Like most of those on both sides of the debate, Rupert Darwall is not a scientist. He is a wonderfully lucid historian of intellectual and political movements, which is just the job to explain what has been inflicted on us over the past 30 years or so in the name of saving the planet.

The origins of warmism lie in a cocktail of ideas which includes anti-industrial nature worship, post-colonial guilt, a post-Enlightenment belief in scientists as a new priesthood of the truth, a hatred of population growth, a revulsion against the widespread increase in wealth and a belief in world government. It involves a fondness for predicting that energy supplies won’t last much longer (as early as 1909, the US National Conservation Commission reported to Congress that America’s natural gas would be gone in 25 years and its oil by the middle of the century), protest movements which involve dressing up and disappearing into woods (the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, the Mosleyite Blackshirts who believed in reafforestation) and a dislike of the human race (The Club of Rome’s work Mankind at the Turning-Point said: “The world has cancer and the cancer is man.”).

These beliefs began to take organised, international, political form in the 1970s. One of the greatest problems, however, was that the ecologists’ attacks on economic growth were unwelcome to the nations they most idolised – the poor ones. The eternal Green paradox is that the concept of the simple, natural life appeals only to countries with tons of money. By a brilliant stroke, the founding fathers developed the concept of “sustainable development”. This meant that poor countries would not have to restrain their own growth, but could force restraint upon the rich ones. This formula was propagated at the first global environmental conference in Stockholm in 1972.

The G7 Summit in Toronto in 1988 endorsed the theory of global warming. In the same year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up. The capture of the world’s elites was under way. Its high point was the Kyoto Summit in 1998, which enabled the entire world to yell at the United States for not signing up, while also exempting developing nations, such as China and India, from its rigours.

The final push, brilliantly described here by Darwall, was the Copenhagen Summit of 2009. Before it, a desperate Gordon Brown warned of “50 days to avoid catastrophe”, but the “catastrophe” came all the same. The warmists’ idea was that the global fight against carbon emissions would work only if the whole world signed up to it. Despite being ordered to by President Obama, who had just collected his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, the developing countries refused. The Left-wing dream that what used to be called the Third World would finally be emancipated from Western power had come true. The developing countries were perfectly happy for the West to have “the green crap”, but not to have it themselves. The Western goody-goodies were hoist by their own petard.

Since then, the international war against carbon totters on, because Western governments see their green policies, like zombie banks, as too big to fail. The EU, including Britain, continues to inflict expensive pain upon itself. Last week, the latest IPCC report made the usual warnings about climate change, but behind its rhetoric was a huge concession. The answer to the problems of climate change lay in adaptation, not in mitigation, it admitted. So the game is up.

Scientists, Rupert Darwall complains, have been too ready to embrace the “subjectivity” of the future, and too often have a “cultural aversion to learning from the past”. If they read this tremendous book they will see those lessons set out with painful clarity.


The freedom not to question climate change

The campaign to marginalize conservatives and their traditional values has many facets. Last week, we talked about the efforts in academia to restrict access to people whose beliefs are not in tune with modern liberalism, but that is just one small component of an ongoing multi-front war.

Today, let’s focus on climate change and the effort by the left to lull you into peaceful acquiescence of a world view that will allow “people smarter than you” to make massive changes in our economy in order to protect you from an impending crisis.
3677883 Navigator Travel

I know, I know, it sounds a lot like Obamacare, but the “climate change” campaign is even more insidious, dangerous and potentially world-altering. The goal of eliminating fossil fuels would inevitably reduce civilization to a thin veneer of culture over a primitive hunting-gathering society (Think “The Hunger Games”). So with such huge consequences, it would seem a reasonable request to have a debate about the validity of the science which demands such earth-shattering changes from society.

But free debate is the last thing that climate-change proponents want. Instead, they want everyone to accept “settled science” and move on to the “solution.”

Settled or not, by now everyone has their own either well-informed or less-informed opinions about climate change (formerly known as global warming until the earth stopped warming appreciably), but anyone who is being serious about the discussion has to admit two things — 1) the earth’s climate is certainly changing, and 2) we don’t know why.

The first point is a truism. The earth’s climate is changing now, in 2014, just like it has always been changing. Climate is a dynamic, not a static system. Ergo, climate change in itself does not prove anything.

The second dictum seems to be the sticking point: We don’t know why. True science should begin with an acknowledgment that all knowledge is amorphous and subject to change for reasons that may evade detection by us mere mortals, rather than solid and settled. Yes, we humans have devised very canny systems to describe approximations of the truth, but we do not know and are not capable of knowing THE truth.

Unfortunately, when science is viewed as a tool not for advancement of knowledge, but for the reform of human behavior, it is useful for certain scientists and their allies to promote the idea of solid-state, settled science in order to nudge people to adopt what they consider to be socially desirable behavior. It’s really not much different from the use of religion in primitive societies to scare people into toeing the line. If you question the “settled science” or “settled religion,” you run the risk of being called, in one case, a “denier,” and in the other case, a heretic.

Now, I imagine many reasonable people among my readers are, at this point, saying that surely I am exaggerating. After all, even though there is some controversy over global warming or climate change, surely there is room for both sides in the debate.

Not so quick, Copernicus! Just like there wasn’t room for both sides in the Middle Ages when we were debating whether the sun revolved around the earth or not, there is an ever-constricting circle of silent hell for so-called climate change “deniers” in our society. Don’t take it from me; consider the policy of the Los Angeles Times, which recently announced that it won’t publish letters that challenge the scientific orthodoxy that humans are causing climate change.

The argument by the Times’ opinion page editor, Paul Thornton, is that “these letters don’t make it into our pages” because “saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

That’s the beauty of orthodoxy. You don’t have to allow any  competing points of view to interfere with what you already know to be true. Thornton said he didn’t even need to think for himself; all he had to do was “rely on the experts.” Maybe not the same experts as those papists who lit Giordano Bruno at the stake and came perilously close to doing the same thing to Galileo Galilei, but experts who are just as afraid of dissent and debate.

Not surprisingly the condemnation of unorthodox points of view has a chilling effect on debate, scientific or otherwise. The church burned Bruno for just that purpose — to make of him an example, so that fellow scientists like Galileo would step back into line and say what everybody already knew was true — the earth is the center of the universe. Thank God that some people challenge the “experts” or else we would still be living in the Middle Ages today.

Or maybe we are. Lawrence Torcello, an assistant professor of philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, recently wrote an article at where he asked, “Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent?”

You already know the answer. If a conservative speaks out in opposition to liberal orthodoxy, he or she is immediately branded as foolish, corrupt or criminal. Neither truth nor untainted motives are mitigating factors. As Torcello sees it, being part of a well-funded campaign to explain the flaws of prevailing climate-change theory means you are criminally negligent because you are impeding the public’s ability to resist the allegedly horrific and deadly effects of climate change. Apparently, the freedom to resist a prevailing orthodoxy diminishes inversely to the level of risk imputed by the theory in dispute. Who knows, maybe the climate change theorists are right? Maybe there will be more deaths in coming years, but wouldn’t it be funny if the increased deaths were caused by burning at the stake all those climate deniers who are so dangerous?

Panic is the last refuge of an orthodoxy under attack. Adam Weinstein of took up Torcello’s torch, and carried it down the road apiece.

“Man-made climate change happens,” Weinstein insists. “Man-made climate change kills a lot of people. It’s going to kill a lot more. We have laws on the books to punish anyone whose lies contribute to people’s deaths. It’s time to punish the climate-change liars.”

He goes on with a genuine passion for chaos that is almost hypnotic:

“Attempts to deceive the public on climate change, and to consequently block any public policy to tackle it, contribute to roughly 150,000 deaths a year already,” Weinstein claims. “Those denialists should face jail. They should face fines. They should face lawsuits from the classes of people whose lives and livelihoods are most threatened by denialist tactics.”

Of course, both Weinstein and Torcello almost apologetically explain that they don’t want to lock up “the man on the street” who is just spouting “a socialist United Nations conspiracy” he read somewhere on the Internet. Weinstein dismisses that man — the man on the street — you and your neighbor — as “an idiot” not worth worrying about.

But, of course, they do worry. They worry enough to threaten to arrest you, or if not you, then the people who you rely on for an alternative viewpoint to the prevailing orthodoxy of climate doom. They worry enough to keep you out of the Los Angeles Times, and no doubt other liberal newspapers. They are worried, or they wouldn’t be trying to scare you with intimidation and insults.

Would they?


New paper studies Ordovician Ice Age, which occurred when CO2 was 11 times higher than the present

A paper published today in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology studies the timing of the onset of the late Ordovician ice age, which occurred when CO2 levels were more than 11 times higher than the present.

The late Ordovician ice age occurred around 450 million years ago, when temperatures plunged 10C from "greenhouse conditions" despite CO2 levels of around 4500 ppm in comparison to today's level of 400 ppm, demonstrating that CO2 is not the "control knob" of climate.

In fact, the entire geological record demonstrates a disconnect between temperature and CO2 levels, but excellent agreement with the change in cosmic rays, which is a proxy of solar activity.


Oxygen isotopes from Conodont Apatite of the midcontinent, us: implications for late ordovician climate evolution

Page C. Quinton


The major glaciation at the end of the Ordovician is associated with the 2nd largest mass extinction event of the Phanerozoic. Growth of Late Ordovician ice sheets requires a dramatic cooling from the ‘greenhouse’ conditions that prevailed for most of the Ordovician, but when and how fast this cooling occurred is controversial. The controversy is due in large part to a lack of good geochemical constraints on the temperature history of the Katian (453–445.2 Ma). To address this uncertainty, we measured phosphate ?18O values from 3 conodont species collected from sections in the midcontinent region of the United States that span an ~ 5.7 m.y. long interval covering most of the Katian.

Results reveal a statistically significant offset in ?18O values between some taxa and show up to 2‰ differences among samples. However, there are no apparent long-term trends within or between sections; rather, values fluctuate around a ? 18O mean of ~ 19‰ VSMOW. Our study provides the longest, relatively high resolution, species specific conodont record generated for this interval, and we found no evidence supporting progressive cooling during the Katian.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


7 April, 2014

Green 'smear campaign' against professor who dared to disown 'sexed up' UN climate dossier

The professor who refused to sign last week’s high-profile UN climate report because it was too ‘alarmist’, has told The Mail on Sunday he has become the victim of a smear campaign. 

Richard Tol claims he is fighting a sustained attack on his reputation by a key figure from a leading institution that researches the impact of global warming.

Prof Tol said: ‘This has all the characteristics of a smear campaign. It’s all about taking away my credibility as an expert.’

Prof Tol, from Sussex University, is a highly respected climate economist and one of two ‘co-ordinating lead authors’ of an important chapter in the 2,600-page report published last week by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

He has been widely criticised by green campaigners after he claimed that the much shorter ‘summary for policymakers’ – hammered out in all-night sessions between scientists and government officials over a week-long meeting in Yokohama, Japan – was overly ‘alarmist’.

In his view, the summary focused on ‘scare stories’ and suggestions the world faced ‘the four horsemen of the apocalypse’.

He said he did not want his name associated with it because he felt ‘uncomfortable’ with the way the  summary exaggerated the economic impact of global warming.

The source of the alleged smear campaign is Bob Ward, director of policy at the London School of Economics’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change.  [Ward has a first degree in geology only]

Mr Ward – neither an economist nor a climate expert – claimed on the institute’s website that he was waging ‘an ongoing struggle’ to force Prof Tol to correct ‘errors’ in his work.

Mr Ward had earlier sent an email  disparaging Prof Tol’s research to  several leading IPCC scientists and officials.

They included Prof Tol’s fellow co-ordinating lead author, Doug  Arent, director of America’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Professor Chris Field of Stanford  University, the overall chairman and editor of the IPCC report.

The email claimed that Prof Tol’s ‘antics’ were ‘likely to reflect badly on the IPCC  and his co-authors’. In response Professor Arent informed Mr Ward that the chapter he co-ordinated with Prof Tol  was ‘double and triple checked’.

He added that after Mr Ward – one of the IPCC’s registered ‘reviewers’ –  found a tiny, statistical error in an  earlier draft, it was revised.

On the website, Mr Ward said he spotted errors in three of Prof Tol’s papers in October and raised them in an email to him. But according to Mr Ward, Prof Tol ‘refused to give any undertaking to correct them’. In one email seen by this paper, Mr Ward admits the errors are ‘small’.  Mr Ward added that after further correspondence, Prof Tol ‘seemed determined not to correct his papers’.

Yet weeks before Mr Ward published his article, Prof Tol volunteered to correct a handful of highly technical, minor numerical mistakes. And almost a month before Mr Ward’s article appeared, a scientific journal had asked him to write his own article, saying what he found wrong with Prof Tol’s work.

Prof Tol said yesterday: ‘Ward claims I refused to correct errors, but it’s not true.’ He added that the errors made no difference to his conclusion that global warming of up to 2.5C may have a net beneficial impact on the world economy.

Ward admitted yesterday that the journals which published Tol’s papers told him weeks ago that he was prepared to correct some of his alleged errors, and that he had been asked to write a paper of his own.

He denied his actions were a smear campaign, insisting he was merely fulfilling his role as an IPCC reviewer and claiming that he still did not know which ‘errors’ Tol was prepared to correct. He said: ‘If Tol thinks I am engaged in a smear campaign because I have pointed out his errors he is redefining what a smear campaign means. It is his behaviour that is unreasonable.’

He said that Tol had called him an ‘attack dog’ in his own blog and that this was ‘abusive’.


A very strange "Summary"

According to Raj Pachauri, chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), its report last week was its most terrifying yet, portending famine, disease, extreme weather and wars, proving ‘no one on this planet is going to be untouched’.

But a Mail on Sunday analysis shows that the 47-page ‘summary for policymakers’ of a much more detailed 2,600-page document – ‘sexed up’ some of the key findings.

Its ‘alarmist’ spin led Professor Richard Tol to demand his name be removed from it.

Neither report covers the science of climate change, only possible impacts. Many of these, the full document admits, are difficult to forecast.

In any case, computer models say the world should already be warmer – as this newspaper has reported many times.

The strangest thing about the summary is the way it was produced. For seven days, about 200 people – 120 of them government officials, not scientists – sat in a hall in Yokohama, Japan, trying to hammer out a final draft reflecting the full text.

Big issues were not resolved until the final session, which started at 9.30pm and ended at 10am next day. Long before that, many delegates had left or fallen asleep. ‘Important decisions were made by a handful of countries which were still there, including the UK and US,’ says one source. ‘It’s no wonder the summary isn’t a true reflection of what the scientists wrote.’


Real cost of Climate McCarthyism, apart from big bills, is to free speech

At the heart of the current, poisoned debate about global warming lies a paradox. Thanks to the ‘pause’, the unexpected plateau in world surface temperatures which has now lasted for 17 years, the science is less ‘settled’ than it has been for years.

Yet, despite this uncertainty, those who use it to justify a range of potentially ruinous energy policies have become ever more extreme in their pronouncements. Their latest campaign is an attempt to silence anyone who disagrees.

This reached a new and baleful milestone last week, with a report from the Commons Science and Technology Committee saying BBC editors must obtain special ‘clearance’ before interviewing climate ‘sceptics’.

The committee’s chairman, Labour MP Andrew Miller, likened sceptics to the Monster Raving Loony Party, suggesting they should be allowed to express their views with similar frequency.

High profile commentators, including the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, often describe climate change sceptics as ‘deniers’, on a par with those who reject evidence of the Holocaust.

One Sunday columnist recently insisted the parallel was exact, because the evidence of global warming is as strong as that  for Auschwitz.

Academics who deviate from the perceived ‘correct’ line risk vilification. The most recent example is Professor Richard Tol of Sussex University, who had the temerity to remove his name from a UN climate report because he said it was ‘alarmist’.

Another is Prof Roger Pielke Jnr of Colorado. His ‘crime’ is to have published evidence that, so far, hurricanes have not become more frequent, while financial losses from extreme weather have not increased as a result of climate change. His reward has been an organised campaign demanding he be sacked.

The Breakthrough Institute – an influential, and very green – US think tank has described those who try to close down debate in this way as ‘climate McCarthyites’, after the infamous 1950s Senator who sought to root out Communists from American public life.

It is an increasingly apt analogy. Miller, Davey and their allies often cite a study showing that 97 per cent of academic papers dealing with climate say that human-induced  global warming is real.

But here is the thing: so do almost all of those attacked as ‘deniers’, including Lord Lawson, whose appearance on the Radio 4 Today show in February sparked the current furore over sceptics getting airtime.

Where they differ from the supposed mainstream is not over the existence of warming, but its speed, and how to deal with it.

Then, so do many scientists. The ‘pause’ means that the climate computer models, on which most forecasts are based, say the world should already be rather warmer than it is: in one expert’s words, they are ‘running too hot’.

Why is this? Many scientists are engaged in honest attempts to answer this question. Some suggest that the ‘climate sensitivity’ – a measure of how much the world will warm in response to a given increase in carbon dioxide – may be significantly lower than was widely believed only a few years ago.

Moreover, the response to rising CO2 adopted thus far palpably has not worked. The emissions cuts agreed by the EU and other countries at the 1997 Kyoto Treaty and imposed by our own Climate Change Act have made energy more expensive, and exported jobs and prosperity to countries such as China – which adds billions of watts of coal fired power to its grid each year. CO2 emissions have continued to rise.

The architects of such policies know they have failed, but they have no alternative except more of the same. Maybe it’s because their argument is weak that they resort to climate McCarthyism. The cost, apart from higher energy bills, is to democracy, and free speech.


How did the IPCC’s alarmism take everyone in for so long?

Climate scaremongers are still twisting the evidence over global warming

When future generations come to look back on the alarm over global warming that seized the world towards the end of the 20th century, much will puzzle them as to how such a scare could have arisen. They will wonder why there was such a panic over a 0.4 per cent rise in global temperatures between 1975 and 1998, when similar rises between 1860 and 1880 and 1910 and 1940 had given no cause for concern. They will see these modest rises as just part of a general warming that began at the start of the 19th century, as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age, when the Earth had grown cooler for 400 years.

They will be struck by the extent to which this scare relied on the projections of computer models, which then proved to be hopelessly wrong when, in the years after 1998, their predicted rise in temperature came virtually to a halt. But in particular they will be amazed by the almost religious reverence accorded to that strange body, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which by then will be recognised as having never really been a scientific body at all, but a political pressure group. It had been set up in the 1980s by a small band of politically persuasive scientists who had become fanatically committed to the belief that, because carbon dioxide levels were rising, global temperatures must inevitably follow; an assumption that the evidence would increasingly show was mistaken.

Five times between 1990 and 2014 the IPCC published three massive volumes of technical reports – another emerged last week – and each time we saw the same pattern. Each was supposedly based on thousands of scientific studies, many funded to find evidence to support the received view that man-made climate change was threatening the world with disaster – hurricanes, floods, droughts, melting ice, rising sea levels and the rest. But each time what caught the headlines was a brief “Summary for Policymakers”, carefully crafted by governments and a few committed scientists to hype up the scare by going much further than was justified by the thousands of pages in the technical reports themselves.

Each time it would emerge just how shamelessly these Summaries had distorted the actual evidence, picking out the scary bits, which themselves often turned out not to have been based on proper science at all. The most glaring example was the IPCC’s 2007 report, which hit the headlines with those wildly alarmist predictions that the Himalayan glaciers might all be gone by 2035; that global warming could halve African crop yields by 2050; that droughts would destroy 40 per cent of the Amazon rainforest. Not until 2010 did some of us manage to show that each of these predictions, and many more, came not from genuine scientific studies but from scaremongering propaganda produced by green activists and lobby groups (shown by one exhaustive analysis to make up nearly a third of all the IPCC’s sources).

Most of the particularly alarmist predictions came from a report by the IPCC’s Working Group II. This was concerned with assessing the impact on the world of those changes to the climate predicted by the equally flawed computer models relied on by Working Group I, which was charged with assessing the science of climate change. The technical report published last week was its sequel, also from Working Group II, and we can at once see, from its much more cautious treatment of the subjects that caused such trouble last time, that they knew they couldn’t afford any repeat of that disaster.

Looking at the Summary for Policymakers, however, we see how the scaremongers are still playing their same old game. On pages 12-14, for instance, they are still trying to whip up fears about extreme weather events, killer heatwaves, vanishing tropical islands, massive crop failures and so on, although little of this is justified by the report itself, and even less by the evidence of the real world, where these things are no more happening as predicted than the temperature rises predicted by their computer models.

This latest report has aroused markedly less excitement than did its hysterical predecessor in 2007. They have cried wolf once too often. The only people still being wholly taken in, it seems – apart from the usual suspects in the media – are all those mindless politicians still babbling on about how in Paris next year they are finally going to get that great global agreement which, if only we put up enough wind farms and taxes, will somehow enable us to stop the climate changing.

They can dream on. But alas, the rest of us must still pay the price for their dreams.


If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America?

Recently the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent out a “2014 Priority Issues Survey.” In addition to the obligatory Tea Party bashing: “help the Democrats protect the progress we have made from Tea Party radicals, deliver the positive changes America needs and help Democrats win a Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives!” and the fundraising requests to “help protect House Democrats against Republican attacks”—there is a section on energy.

Section VII, asks: “Which of the following will help America achieve energy independence?” It offers five options that do little to move America toward energy independence—which isn’t even a realistic goal given the fungible nature of liquid fuels. Additionally, most of the choices given on the DCCC survey actually increase energy costs for all Americans—serving as a hidden tax—but hurt those on the lower end of the socio-economic scale the most. The proposals hurt the very people the party purports to champion.

The survey asks respondents to “check all that apply.”

-Raising gas mileage standards for all new cars and trucks

This choice presumes that making a law requiring something will make it happen. Sorry, not even the Democrats have that kind of power. Even the current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standard of 54.5 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2025—finalized on August 28, 2012 and called “the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history”—will be tough to hit.

The CAFE standards mean that a carmaker's passenger vehicle fleet average must achieve 54.5 mpg. To meet that, and produce the big pick-up trucks and SUVs Americans like to drive, the manufacturers must also produce the little itty-bitty cars with mpg above 60 and the more expensive hybrids (not one of which was on the top ten best-seller list for 2013)—or have a loss leader like the Chevy Volt to help bring down the average.

Suggesting a forced raising of gas mileage standards implies that auto manufacturers are in collusion with oil companies and are intentionally producing gas guzzlers to force Americans into buying lots of gasoline.

With the price of gasoline wavering between $3-4.00 a gallon, most people are very conscious of their fuel expenditures. If it were technologically possible to build a cost-effective truck or SUV that had the size and safety Americans want and that got 50 mpg, that manufacturer would have the car-buying public beating a path to its door. Every car company would love to be the one to corner that market—but it is not easy, it probably won’t be possible, and it surely won’t be cheap.

When the new standards were introduced in November 2011, did an analysis of the potential impact: 6 Ways New CAFE Standards Could Affect You. The six points include cost and safety and highlights some concerns that are not obvious at first glance.

Achieving the higher mileage will require new technologies that include, according to Edmunds, “turbochargers and new generations of multispeed automatic transmissions to battery-electric powertrains.” The National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration and the Environmental Protection Agencyhave estimated that the average new car will cost $2,000 extra by 2025 because of the proposed new fuel-efficiency standards.

Additionally, new materials will have to be used, such as the proposed new Ford F-150 made with aluminum, which is predicted to add $1500 over steel to the cost of a new truck. Aluminum also complicates both the manufacturing and repair processes. Edmunds reports: “Insurance costs could rise, both because of the increased cost of cars and the anticipated hike in collision repair costs associated with the greater use of the plastics, lightweight alloys and aluminum necessary for lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles. (Plastics, lightweight alloys and aluminum are all more difficult than steel to repair.)”

Another concern is safety. “The use of weight-saving materials will not only affect repair costs but could make newer vehicles more susceptible to damage in collisions with older, heavier vehicles, especially SUVs and pickups. Their occupants could be at a safety disadvantage.”

One of the subtle consequences of high mileage vehicles is the probable increase in taxes. Edmunds points out that lower driving cost may increase wear-and-tear on the nation’s highway system as consumers drive more freely. “Declining gas sales mean a further decrease in already inadequate fuel-tax revenue used to pay for road and infrastructure repair and improvement. … As more untaxed alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas and electricity are used for transportation, fuel tax revenue falls even farther. All of this is likely to lead to calls for a road tax based on miles driven and not the type of fuel used.”

Instead of increasing costs by forcing a higher mpg, a free-market encourages manufacturers to produce the cars the customers want. The Wall Street Journal story on the Ford F-150s points out: “In 2004, as the auto market soared, Ford sold a record 939,511 F-series pickups. That amounted to 5.5% of the entire U.S. vehicle market. But four years later, gas prices rose above $4 a gallon, sales of pickups began tumbling.” Then, consumers wanted small cars with better mileage. I often quote an ad for Hyundai I once saw. As I recall, it said: “It’s not that complicated. If gas costs a lot of money, we’ll produce cars that use less of it.”

In response to an article in US News on the 5.45-mpg CAFE standard, a reader commented: “ALL CAFE regulations should be repealed. Let the market and fuel prices decide what vehicles are purchased. The federal government should not be forcing mileage standards down the throats of the automaker or the consumers. This is still America, right?”

-Develop Renewable Energy Sources

There is nothing inherently wrong with the idea renewable energy. However, the cost factor is one of the biggest problems. When I do radio interviews, people often call in and point out Germany’s renewable energy success story: “The share of renewable electricity in Germany rose from 6% to nearly 25% in only ten years.” While that may be true, it doesn’t address the results: “Rising energy costs are becoming a problem for more and more citizens in Germany. Just from 2008 to 2011 the share of energy-poor households in the Federal Republic jumped from 13.8 to 17 percent.”

Germany has been faced with a potential exodus of industry as a result of its high energy costs. For example, in February, BASF, the world’s biggest chemical maker by sales, announced that for the first time, it “will make the most of its capital investments outside Europe.” According to the Financial Times, Kurt Bock, BASF chief executive explained: “In Europe we have the most expensive energy and we are not prepared to exploit the energy resources we have, such as shale gas.”

Throughout America people are beginning to feel the escalating costs of the forced renewable energy utility companies are required to add as a result of Renewable Portfolio Standards that more than half of the states passed nearly a decade ago.

But the cost is not where I take issue with the DCCC’s inclusion of “Developing renewable energy sources” in its survey. The survey question is about achieving “energy independence.”

In preparation for writing this column, I posted this question on my Facebook page: If the goal is “energy independence,” what issues should be a priority in America? The first answer posted was: “Smart grid and fast ramp natural gas turbines.” Another offered: “High efficiency appliances and lights. I am a LED FAN!” Yet, another: “Solar, tidal, water.” Bzzzzzzt, all wrong answers.

All of the above suggestions are about electricity. The U.S. is already electricity independent. We have enough coal and uranium under our soil to provide for our electrical needs for the next several centuries. Add to that America’s newfound abundance of natural gas and we are set indefinitely. By the time we might run out of fuel for electricity, new technologies will have been developed based on something totally different, and, I believe, something that no one is even thinking about today.

Developing more “solar, tidal, water” or wind energy won’t “help America achieve energy independence.” Nor will a smart grid or natural gas turbines. High efficiency appliances or LED light bulbs won’t either.

-Encouraging consumer and industrial conservation

Consumers are already feeling the pinch of higher energy costs—both electricity and liquid fuels. When possible, people are restricting driving by taking a stay-cation rather than a traditional vacation. Many people who can afford the option are switching to more energy-efficient light bulbs.

As the BASF story above makes clear, most industry is energy intensive. In the story about the Ford F-150’s use of aluminum, the WSJ says that the new manufacturing process requires “powerful and electricity-hungry vacuums.” Industry cannot stay in business without profit. Therefore, in interest of preservation, energy conservation is virtually an instinct.

The cost of energy drives conservation.

Including this question in the survey is a red herring that would lead the respondent to think conservation is a big issue.

-Investing in energy efficient technology

When the word “investing” is used in reference to a government document or program, it always means spending taxpayer dollars. In a time of ongoing economic stress, we don’t need to borrow more money to spend it on something of questionable impact on energy independence.

Remember, much of the “efficiency” numbers bandied about refer to electricity, which has nothing to do with energy independence. states: “Every year, much of the energy the U.S. consumes is wasted through transmission, heat loss and inefficient technology…Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to … improve the competitiveness of our businesses and reduce energy costs for consumers. The Department of Energy is working with universities, businesses and the National Labs to develop new, energy-efficient technologies while boosting the efficiency of current technologies on the market.” Among the “solutions” presented on the page are “developing a more efficient air conditioner” and “a new smart sensor developed by NREL researchers that could help commercial buildings save on lighting and ventilation costs.” Nothing is offered that will actually impact energy independence.

-Increasing offshore drilling and oil exploration in wilderness areas

Respondents are discouraged from selecting the one item on the list that could actually lead to “energy independence” by the inclusion of the words “offshore” and “wilderness areas”—as if those are the only places drilling could take place.

Yes, we should increase exploration and drilling—and, while there are risks, it can be, and has been, done safely in offshore and wilderness areas. But there are vast resources available on federal lands that are either locked up or are under a de facto ban due to the slow-walking of drilling permits.

Instead of phrasing the choice “Increasing offshore drilling and oil exploration in wilderness areas,” if the goal is energy independence, the option should have read: “Release America’s vast energy resources by expediting permitting on federal lands.”


While the options on the DCCC survey, even if a respondent checked them all, will do little to “help America achieve energy independence,” the survey didn’t include any choices that could really make a difference in America’s reliance on oil from hostile sources.

Some selections that would indicate a true desire to see America freed from OPEC’s grip should include:

    -Approving the Keystone pipeline;

    -Revising the Endangered Species Act so that it isn’t used to block American Energy Development;

    -Encouraging the use of Compressed Natural Gas as a transportation fuel in passenger vehicles and commercial trucks;

    -Expediting permitting for exploration and drilling on federal lands;

    -Opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and

    -Cutting red tape and duplicative regulations to encourage development.

The fact that not one of these options that would truly make a difference was included belies the ideology of the Democrat Party. Its goals do not include energy independence. Instead it wants to continue the crony corruption that has become the hallmark of the Obama Administration as evidenced by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz’s April 2 announcement that: “the department would probably throw open the door for new applications for renewable energy project loan guarantees during the second quarter of this year.”

Like the Ukraine, until there is a change at the top, the U.S. will likely remain dependent on the whims of countries who want to use energy as a weapon of control. The goal should be energy freedom.


New paper finds sea surface temperatures were controlled by natural 60-year climate cycle during 20th century

A paper published today in Theoretical and Applied Climatology finds that the natural 60-year climate cycle explains both the abrupt warming shifts of sea surface temperatures in 1925/1926 and 1987/1988 [60 years apart], as well as the remaining temperature variability during the last century.

According to the authors, "warming of sea surface temperatures (SST) since 1900, did not occur smoothly and slowly, but with two rapid shifts in 1925/1926 and 1987/1988," but that "apart from these shifts, most of the remaining SST variability can be explained by the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)."

The authors find "the timing of these two SST shifts (the natural 60 year cycle ) corresponds well to the quasi-periodicity of many natural cycles, like that of the PDO, the global and Northern Hemisphere annual mean temperature, the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, the Southwest US Drought data, the length of day, the air surface temperature, the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and the change in the location of the centre of mass of the solar system" and that the characteristics of these two abrupt shifts are "frequently encountered in a large variety of natural systems."


Evidence for two abrupt warming events of SST in the last century

Authors: Varotsos, Costas et al.


We have recently suggested that the warming in the sea surface temperature (SST) since 1900, did not occur smoothly and slowly, but with two rapid shifts in 1925/1926 and 1987/1988, which are more obvious over the tropics and the northern midlatitudes. Apart from these shifts, most of the remaining SST variability can be explained by the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

Here, we provide evidence that the timing of these two SST shifts (around 60 years) corresponds well to the quasi-periodicity of many natural cycles, like that of the PDO, the global and Northern Hemisphere annual mean temperature, the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation, the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, the Southwest US Drought data, the length of day, the air surface temperature, the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and the change in the location of the centre of mass of the solar system.

In addition, we show that there exists a strong seasonal link between SST and ENSO over the tropics and the NH midlatitudes, which becomes stronger in autumn of the Northern Hemisphere.

Finally, we found that before and after each SST shift, the intrinsic properties of the SST time series obey stochastic dynamics, which is unaffected by the modulation of these two shifts. In particular, the SST fluctuations for the time period between the two SST shifts exhibit 1/f-type long-range correlations, which are frequently encountered in a large variety of natural systems. Our results have potential implications for future climate shifts and crossing tipping points due to an interaction of intrinsic climate cycles and anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


5 April, 2014

The IPCC's Latest Report Deliberately Excludes And Misrepresents Important Climate Science

This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is releasing its latest report, the “Working Group II Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report.” Like its past reports, this one predicts apocalyptic consequences if mankind fails to give the UN the power to tax and regulate fossil fuels and subsidize and mandate the use of alternative fuels. But happily, an international group of scientists I have been privileged to work with has conducted an independent review of IPCC’s past and new reports, along with the climate science they deliberately exclude or misrepresent.

Our group, called the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), was founded in 2003 by a distinguished atmospheric physicist, S. Fred Singer, and has produced five hefty reports to date, the latest being released today (March 31).

So how do the IPCC and NIPCC reports differ? The final draft of the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers identifies eight “reasons for concern” which media reports say will remain the focus of the final report. The NIPCC reports address each point too, also summarizing their authors’ positions in Summaries for Policymakers. This provides a convenient way to compare and contrast the reports’ findings.

Here’s what the reports say:

IPCC: “Risk of death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states, due to sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and storm surges.”

NIPCC: “Flood frequency and severity in many areas of the world were higher historically during the Little Ice Age and other cool eras than during the twentieth century. Climate change ranks well below other contributors, such as dikes and levee construction, to increased flooding.”

IPCC: “Risk of food insecurity linked to warming, drought, and precipitation variability, particularly for poorer populations.”

NIPCC: “There is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Farmers and others who depend on rural livelihoods for income are benefitting from rising agricultural productivity throughout the world, including in parts of Asia and Africa where the need for increased food supplies is most critical. Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels play a key role in the realization of such benefits.

IPCC: “Risk of severe harm for large urban populations due to inland flooding.”

NIPCC: “No changes in precipitation patterns, snow, monsoons, or river flows that might be considered harmful to human well-being or plants or wildlife have been observed that could be attributed to rising CO2 levels. What changes have been observed tend to be beneficial.”

IPCC: “Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.”

NIPCC: “Higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations benefit plant growth-promoting microorganisms that help land plants overcome drought conditions, a potentially negative aspect of future climate change. Continued atmospheric CO2 enrichment should prove to be a huge benefit to plants by directly enhancing their growth rates and water use efficiencies.”

IPCC: “Systemic risks due to extreme [weather] events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services.”

NIPCC: “There is no support for the model-based projection that precipitation in a warming world becomes more variable and intense. In fact, some observational data suggest just the opposite, and provide support for the proposition that precipitation responds more to cyclical variations in solar activity.”

IPCC: “Risk of loss of marine ecosystems and the services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic.”

NIPCC: “Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels do not pose a significant threat to aquatic life. Many aquatic species have shown considerable tolerance to temperatures and CO2 values predicted for the next few centuries, and many have demonstrated a likelihood of positive responses in empirical studies. Any projected adverse impacts of rising temperatures or declining seawater and freshwater pH levels (“acidification”) will be largely mitigated through phenotypic adaptation or evolution during the many decades to centuries it is expected to take for pH levels to fall.”

IPCC: “Risk of loss of terrestrial ecosystems and the services they provide for terrestrial livelihoods.”

NIPCC: “Terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Empirical data pertaining to numerous animal species, including amphibians, birds, butterflies, other insects, reptiles, and mammals, indicate global warming and its myriad ecological effects tend to foster the expansion and proliferation of animal habitats, ranges, and populations, or otherwise have no observable impacts one way or the other. Multiple lines of evidence indicate animal species are adapting, and in some cases evolving, to cope with climate change of the modern era.”

IPCC: “Risk of mortality, morbidity, and other harms during periods of extreme heat, particularly for vulnerable urban populations.”

NIPCC: “A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events. More lives are saved by global warming via the amelioration of cold-related deaths than those lost under excessive heat. Global warming will have a negligible influence on human morbidity and the spread of infectious diseases, a phenomenon observed in virtually all parts of the world.”

How could two teams of scientists come to such obviously contradictory conclusions on seemingly every point that matters in the debate over global warming? There are many reasons why scientists disagree, the subject, by the way, of an excellent book a couple years ago titled Wrong by David H. Freedman. A big reason is IPCC is producing what academics call “post-normal science” while NIPCC is producing old-fashioned “real science.”

What is a non-scientist to make of these dueling reports? Indeed, what is a scientist to make of this? Very few scientists are familiar with biology, geology, physics, oceanography, engineering, medicine, economics, and scores of other more specialized disciplines that were the basis for the claims summarized above.

It is frequently said of the global warming debate that it comes down to who you believe rather than what you know. Many climate scientists say they “believe in man-made global warming” even though their own research contradicts key points in the arguments advanced in support of that hypothesis. They say this because they believe the IPCC is telling the truth about findings outside their areas of expertise. Ditto influential science journals such as Nature and Science, which claim to speak on behalf of “climate science.”

The NIPCC reports were conceived and written to offer a way out of this conundrum. They are written in a style that laymen without special training can understand, provide explanations of how research was conducted and summarizing the actual findings, often quoting at length from original scholarly sources. Chapters often present research chronologically, in the order in which the studies were published, so readers can understand how the debate has changed over time.

The NIPCC reports are hefty – the first volume in the Climate Change Reconsidered series was 850 pages long, and the latest volume is more than 1,000 pages – but executive summaries and “key findings” at the beginning of each chapter make them easy to navigate and fascinating to browse. They are all available for free online at

How credible are the NIPCC reports?  Endorsements by prominent scientists, reviews, and citations in peer-reviewed journals appear at the Web site mentioned above. NIPCC reports are produced by scores of scientists from around the world (some 20 countries so far), cite thousands of peer-reviewed studies, and are themselves peer-reviewed. In June 2013, a division of the Chinese Academy of Sciences published a Chinese translation and condensed edition of the 2009 and 2011 volumes.

We know the authors of the IPCC’s reports have financial conflicts of interest, since the government bureaucracies that select them and the UN that oversees and edits the final reports stand to profit from public alarm over the possibility that global warming will be harmful. The authors of the NIPCC series have no such conflicts. The series is funded by three private family foundations without any financial interest in the outcome of the global warming debate. The publisher, The Heartland Institute, neither solicits nor receives any government or corporation funding for the Climate Change Reconsidered series. (It does receive some corporate funding for its other research and educational programs.)

So is man-made global warming a crisis? Don’t just wonder about it, understand it yourself. Read one or a few chapters of one of the NIPCC reports, and ask if what you read is logical, factual, and relevant to the debate. See if the UN or its many apologists take into account the science and evidence NIPCC summarizes, and then decide whether its predictions of “of death, injury, and disrupted livelihoods” is science or fiction.


New IPCC Report: Cost of Unchecked Man-Made Climate Change Likely Minimal

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just issued the "Summary for Policymakers" for its new report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. The report aims to sum up what is known about the likely impacts of future climate change, including more droughts, higher sea levels, greater risk of species extinction, and so forth. But what will these changes cost humanity in terms of economic output? Here is the relevant section from the Summary:

Global economic impacts from climate change are difficult to estimate.

Economic impact estimates completed over the past  20 years vary in their coverage of subsets of economic sectors and depend on a large number of assumptions, many of which are disputable, and many estimates do not account for catastrophic changes, tipping points, and many other factors. With these recognized limitations, the incomplete estimates of global annual economic losses for additional temperature increases of ~2°C are between 0.2 and 2.0% of income (emphasis added) (±1 standard deviation around the mean)(medium evidence, medium agreement). Losses are more likely than not to be greater, rather than smaller, than this range (limited evidence, high agreement). Additionally, there are large differences between and within countries. Losses accelerate with greater warming (limited evidence, high agreement), but few quantitative estimates have been completed for additional warming around 3°C or above. Estimates of the incremental economic impact of emitting carbon dioxide lie between a few dollars and several hundreds of dollars per tonne of carbon (robust evidence, medium agreement). Estimates vary strongly with the assumed damage function and discount rate.

Let's assume that the increase in future global average temperature is below 2°C. Gross world product (GWP) in 2012 was about $72 trillion. That divvied up between 7.2 billion people yields an average per capita income of around $10,000. Now assume that world economy grows at 2.5 percent annually over the next 85 years and world population reaches 10 billion. GWP in 2100 would be about $590 trillion and per capita GDP would $59,000. If climate change lowered income by 2 percent by 2100, that would mean GWP would be $578 trillion and per capita GWP would be $57,800. How much should people living now on $10,000 per year sacrifice so that people making six times more in 2100 have an extra $1,200 in income?

Now let's assume that the high climate change damage estimate promulgated in the Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change (2006) reduces incomes in 2100 by as much as 20 percent below what they would otherwise have been. Average income in 2100 would then be just $47,500—still nearly five times more than current global per capita income.

Over at The Telegraph, economist Andrew Lilico provides this interesting analysis:

The new report will apparently tell us that the global GDP costs of an expected global average temperature increase of 2.5  degrees Celsius over the 21st century will be between 0.2 and 2 per cent. To place that in context, the well-known Stern Review of 2006 estimated the costs as 5-20 per cent of GDP. Stern estimates the costs of his recommended policies for mitigating climate change at 2 per cent of GDP – and his estimates are widely regarded as relatively optimistic (others estimate mitigation costs as high as 10 per cent of global GDP). Achieving material mitigation, at a cost of 2 per cent and more of global GDP, would require international co-ordination that we have known since the failure of the Copenhagen conference on climate change simply was not going to happen. Even if it did happen, and were conducted optimally, it would mitigate only a fraction of the total rise, and might create its own risks.

And to add to all this, now we are told that the cost might be as low as 0.2 per cent of GDP. At a 2.4 per cent annual GDP growth rate, the global economy increases 0.2 per cent every month.

So the mitigation deal has become this: Accept enormous inconvenience, placing authoritarian control into the hands of global agencies, at huge costs that in some cases exceed 17 times the benefits even on the Government's own evaluation criteria, with a global cost of 2 per cent of GDP at the low end and the risk that the cost will be vastly greater, and do all of this for an entire century, and then maybe – just maybe – we might save between one and ten months of global GDP growth.

The IPCC Summary does additionally warn that warming higher than 2°C might shove the climate system over tipping points that would produce substantially more losses. The Summary asserts that "low-probability outcomes with large consequences, is central to understanding the benefits and tradeoffs of alternative risk management actions." The chance of total catastrophe warrants some action be taken to avoid it, but how much and at what cost?


Hysteria in Indiana

Don't look out the window

Keith Baugues is not a scientist, but that didn't stop him on a recent wintry day from expressing skepticism about global warming — something that is broadly accepted in the scientific community.

After weeks of heavy snow and freezing air, he had had enough. He took to a governmnent message board one day in February, complaining that his normal 45-minute commute had turned into a painful three-hour slog. "Anyone who says global warming is obviously suffering from frostbite," he wrote.

Baugues would later say he was only joking. But he wasn't just any government bureaucrat. Baugues is assistant commissioner in the Office of Air Quality in the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the man in charge of cleaning up Indiana's air.

In a state that traditionally ranks near the top for pollution and coal production — both of which are thought to contribute to global warming — his words rubbed his own employees the wrong way.

Reaction was swift, according to remarks posted to the message board reviewed by The Indianapolis Star. Several IDEM staff members wrote that the comment flew in the face of nearly unanimous scientific consensus and offended and embarrassed them.

"Either support consensus science or please keep your opinions to yourself. The rest of us are embarrassed by your unwillingness to accept what is happening," one worker wrote.

Another said that Baugues "should not speak on such matters until he is better informed." Then that person, who was not named, took pains to point out that recent extremes of cold weather were caused by warming global temperatures. That resulted in more water being absorbed into the atmosphere, pushing the arctic jet stream farther south.

"The fact that [Baugues] disparages the exact kind of science that disproves his statement only further illustrates how out of touch this administration is with the current environmental crisis facing not only Hoosiers, but the entire world," the person wrote.

Baugues studied engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute and has spent six years at IDEM and nine years with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

He previously was a project manager at Keramida, an engineering firm whose clients include power plants, mines, foundries, factories and oil and gas facilities.

In response to the outcry, Baugues wrote to his staff on March 19 trying to tamp down the outcry. But he stuck by his position. "I am a skeptic on global warming," he declared.

"It seems silly to be talking about global warming at a time when we were having extremely cold unseasonable weather," he wrote.

He said if staff members thought they had "important facts about global warming," he would be willing to discuss it during lunch hours.

Baugues declined to talk to The Indianapolis Star. A spokesman said Thursday that the initial comments were meant "to add levity and spur discussion of global warming." He said that under Baugues the state has attained compliance with federal mandates for air quality.

But some scientists and environmentalists note that Baugues' comments are at such odds with overwhelming scientific opinion that they wonder whether he is the right person to lead Indiana's efforts to regulate air polluters.

Dick Van Frank, a former member of the Indiana Air Pollution Control Board, was momentarily speechless when he heard of Baugues' comments. "Is he kidding? Is that a joke?"

Although January was unusually cold across much of the United States, it was actually the fourth-warmest January on record worldwide, said Lonnie G. Thompson, an Ohio State University professor of earth sciences who has researched the climate for more than 30 years.

"People tend to look out their back door and think that is an indication of what's happening on the planet, which of course it's not," Thompson said.

The Hoosier Environmental Council called Baugues' remarks disturbing. "Simply because there's really cold weather in one part of the world doesn't in any way undermine the scientific concerns that climate change is real," said Karen Ferarro, a lawyer with the organization.

Yet in Indiana, which ranks in the top 10 among states for coal production, Baugues is just the latest to express skepticism about global warming and climate change.

In February, Gov. Mike Pence appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" and said he wasn't sure that climate change was caused by human activities.

"We haven't seen a lot of warming lately," Pence said. "I remember back in the '70s, we were talking about the emerging ice age. We'll leave the scientific debate to the future."

A spokeswoman for Pence declined to comment on Baugues' remarks.


UN’s narrative of fear on climate change

In their latest report on climate change, officials at the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) once again fail to address important developments in climate science that conflict with their narrative of fear. (See: Threat from global warming heightened in latest U.N. report)

Specifically, the IPCC press release ignores: (1) the growing divergence between observed global temperatures and the computer model projections on which scary climate impact assessments depend, (2) 20 recent studies indicating that climate sensitivity (an estimate of how much warming results from a given increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations) is about 40 percent less than the mean estimate of IPCC models, and (3) studies indicating that the three main climate doomsday scenarios — ocean circulation shutdown, rapid ice sheet disintegration, runaway warming from melting frozen methane deposits — are scientifically implausible (for references, see pp. 23-26 of CEI’s comment letter on the social cost of carbon).

Worse, as usual, IPCC officials say nary a word about risks of carbon mitigation policies. Those include:

    The public health and welfare risks of carbon rationing schemes or taxes that raise business and energy costs.
The economic, fiscal, and energy security risks of anti-fracking climate policies that endanger the shale revolution.

    The economic development risks of coal power plant bans and other policies that limit poor countries’ access to affordable energy.

    The risks to international peace and stability of impeding developing country economic growth through carbon caps or taxes and carbon-tariff protectionism.

    The risks to scientific integrity when government is both chief funder of climate research and chief beneficiary of a “consensus” supporting more regulation and higher taxes.

    The risk to the democratic process when governments promote “consensus” climatology to justify bypassing legislatures and marginalizing opponents as “anti-science.”


Save the World! Go Vegan!

"It May Take a Global Vegetarian Movement to Combat Climate Change." That's the title of a National Journal article this week, but here's the real kicker, penned in the very first paragraph: "If we really want to cut down on global greenhouse emissions, we're going to have to do something about cow farts." Yes, cow farts. "That's the conclusion of a study published [Monday] in the journal Climatic Change," reports Brian Resnick, who added that the researchers are proposing less meaty diets and fewer livestock because it's the only "shot of reaching the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's global-warming mitigation goals."

According to the analysis, meat consumption will need to be reduced between 25% and 75% depending on the level of other fossil fuel-cutting measures. That's ironic -- the solution for saving mankind is now the regulation of ... nature? In other news: "Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters."


We'll curb the blight of the solar farm, say Tories: Britain vows to slow the spread of panels across countryside

The spread of large solar farms should be controlled so they do not become as unpopular as wind turbines, the Energy Minister said yesterday.

Greg Barker pledged that he would not allow solar power to ‘become the new onshore wind’.

He said he wanted a shift away from huge solar farms that blight the landscape, in favour of small panels on the roofs of homes, offices and schools.

Mr Barker said Britain’s rooftops should become mini power stations, as he announced a new solar strategy.

The plans include turning Government offices, factories, supermarkets and car parks into ‘solar hubs’.

His intervention comes after it emerged this week that the Prime Minister is planning to make a stand against onshore wind turbines before the next election.

A Conservative source said that Mr Cameron is ‘of one mind’ with the loudest opponents of onshore windfarms and is considering a cap on the number of new turbines.

Mr Barker said yesterday: ‘I do not want solar farms to become the new onshore wind.

‘Solar power enjoys huge popularity, so we have to be careful. I do not want to see unrestricted growth of solar farms in the British countryside.’

He added: ‘We have put ourselves among the world leaders on solar and this ambitious strategy will place us right at the cutting edge.

‘There is massive potential to turn our large buildings into power stations and we must seize the opportunity this offers to boost our economy as part of our long-term economic plan.

‘Solar not only benefits the environment, it will see British job creation and deliver the clean and reliable energy supplies the country needs at the lowest possible cost to consumers.’

There has been a huge expansion in the number of large solar projects. Two years ago there were 46 large-scale farms in Britain, but by the end of February this year there were 184 projects. An additional 194 projects have planning permission and are awaiting construction.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘We want to move the emphasis for growth away from large solar farms and instead focus on opening up the solar market for the UK’s estimated 250,000 hectares [600,000 acres] of south-facing commercial rooftops.’

The Solar Trade Association welcomed the announcement, saying it would strengthen the UK’s position in the ‘booming’ global solar market.

Chief executive Paul Barwell said: ‘Greg Barker has championed solar power specifically because he knows it has the greatest potential to empower millions of people across the UK with low-cost green energy. Solar will also provide thousands of good-quality local jobs.’

Tory plans to make a stand against onshore wind have been opposed by Lib Dems, including Mr Barker’s boss, Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

Mr Davey told Parliament on Thursday: ‘Onshore wind is ... the cheapest large-scale renewable technology, and I would not want to do anything to reduce its deployment.’



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


4 April, 2014

The Noah film is afloat with Greenie extremism

AMAZING. Hollywood just killed God, and almost no critic noticed how it quietly slipped a green human-hater in his place.

I never thought you could make a two-hour film about Noah and his ark without mentioning “God” even once, but director Darren Aronofsky has managed it in his $142 million epic, which opened last week.

His Noah, played by a muttering Russell Crowe, prays to a different deity, a much nastier one called “the creator” who seems to brood on global warming.

Hey, what a coincidence! So does Aronofsky, who last year declared, “climate change as an enemy of the people”. So does Crowe, tweeting in most unbiblical language: “F--- denial of climate change.”

And in their film, Noah, they give us their creator, a vegetarian who really does want to “f--- denial of climate change” and put filthy humans in their place so, as Crowe’s Noah rasps, “creation will be left alone — safe. Beautiful”.

As an agnostic, I should barely care which invisible being Crowe talks to, but this switcheroo is freaky.

I’m not pretending the God first described in the Old Testament 3500 years ago and worshipped since by Jews and then Christians was a softie.

He once got so fed up with man — those “corrupt” sinners “filled with violence” and not following “his way upon the Earth” — that he vowed to “bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh”.

But at least he still liked people enough to want some more after drowning the first lot.

So God didn’t just tell Noah to build an ark big enough to carry breeding pairs of every animal, but let him bring three wives for his three sons so they could “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth”.

They could even eat animals for strength: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you.”

Humans first, nature second.

But Aronofsky’s “creator” puts humans last. In Noah, we see a pre-flood planet which humans in coarse furs, carrying spears and living in huts, have improbably managed to utterly destroy with what we’re told is their “great industrial civilisation”.

Some of these polluters kill Noah’s saintly father for trying to stop them mining what he protests is “the creator’s land”, but Noah keeps the family tradition alive. “Noah was the first environmentalist,” Aronofsky has said.

Noah rebukes a son for plucking a flower and even kills men he finds hunting an animal.

So killing animal, bad. Killing men, not so. This is a deity with radically different priorities, and they don’t include man — not according to Noah.

In fact, one of God’s most famous lines in the Old Testament, telling us to “subdue” nature and “have dominion over ... every living thing”, is in Aronofsky’s film said by the chief villain, who even munches on one of Noah’s animals as he declares nature is “something you take dominion over, you subdue it”.

So what the Jewish and Christian God gives — Earth’s riches — Aronofsky’s “creator” takes away, telling Crowe-Noah he’ll send a flood to have “all life blotted out because of what man has done” — not to each other or him, but to nature. Meat-eaters must die.

As Crowe-Noah tells his family: “We have been chosen to save the innocent. The animals.” When the flood passes, there will be no men to “destroy the garden”.

Boy, this Noah and his creator hate humans. Crowe’s Noah, unlike the Bible’s, will take not one fertile female on the ark. His own wife is past child-bearing, and the only other woman on board, his eldest son’s wife, is thought barren. Noah even refuses to help his second son’s healthy girlfriend join them.

No breeders wanted.

This green hatred of humans is not in the Bible, but is in the gospels of the green religion’s most radical preachers, such as Sea Shepherd’s Paul Watson, who once called man “the AIDS of the earth”.

Take another real-life Crowe-Noah, Earth First! spokesman Dave Forman, who argued: “Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.”

Sarah Irving, from the Ethical Consumer magazine, even set an example, having herself sterilised because it was “the most environmentally friendly thing I could do in a warming world”.

What a poster child for Crowe-Noah’s ark of self-extincters!

Of course, there is one problem with an ark without one healthy human womb. Who, now, would be around to buy a ticket to Aronofsky’s movie?


FDA versus recycling

Beer brewers are objecting to a proposed federal rule that would make it harder for breweries to sell leftover grains as animal feed instead of throwing them away.

The Food and Drug Administration rule change would mean brewers would have to meet the same standards as livestock and pet-food manufacturers, imposing new sanitary handling procedures, record keeping and other food safety processes on brewers.

Beer makers complain that the new rules, if adopted, would force them to dump millions of tons of "spent grains," which are left over after barley, wheat and other grains are steeped in hot water.

Bear Republic brewmaster Rich Norgrove says the rules would be costly and force brewers to dump the grains, instead of the more sustainable practice of feeding them to livestock.

The Northern California brewery sells its spent grain to local ranches, which use it as an affordable food source for about 300 head of cattle, according to The Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

"Now the government wants to get involved," Cheryl LaFranchi, a Knight's Valley rancher, said. "What are they going to do with it? Put it in a landfill?"

The FDA says the rules stem from a new, broad modernization of the food safety system.

"This proposed regulation would help prevent foodborne illness in both animals and people," the agency said in the statement.

The FDA is collecting comment through Monday, and two of the beer industry's major trade groups have mobilized against the idea.

Chris Thorne of the Beer Institute said he believes once the FDA has all of the information, it will see the benefits of the current system of recycling the old grain.

“This regulation is onerous and expensive, but really it’s just unnecessary. There has never been a single reported negative incidence with spent grain," Thorne said in a statement.

The Colorado-based Brewers Association issued a statement last week calling proposal an "unwarranted burden for all brewers."

"Many of the more than 2,700 small and independent craft breweries that operate throughout the United States provide spent grain to local farms for use as animal feed," the group said. "The proposed FDA rules on animal feed could lead to significantly increased costs and disruption in the handling of spent grain."

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., on Monday urged the FDA to complete a risk assessment of the reuse of brewers' spent grains. He warned the proposal could force brewers to dispose of spent grains at landfills, forcing small breweries to incur an average cost of nearly $43 million per year.

"Colorado's craft brewers are leading the way forward for their industry, creating some of the world's most innovative beers and sustainability practices," Udall said in a statement. "The FDA needs to ensure our food supply remains safe, but its new proposed rule may unjustifiably hurt Colorado's brewers and farmers."

Santa Rosa rancher Jim Cunningham gets about 10 tons of used grain from the Lagunitas Brewery every day at about $100 per ton.

With drought and other factors pushing commercial feed prices more than three times higher than the brewery grain, he says the new rules would affect his bottom line.

"It might put us out of business if we couldn't get cheaper feed," Cunningham said.


EPA's "Killer" Ideology

A new inspector general's report covering the EPA is profoundly dismaying.

It states that the EPA has conducted tests on humans -- in many cases without fully disclosing all risks, even deathly ones -- in order to justify more onerous air regulations.

In some cases, consent forms for tests of pollutants (1) did not contain the information about the upper range of the pollutant exposure to which humans would be subjected; (2) nor did it offer information about the known increased of death even from short-term exposure for those already suffering from cardiovascular disease (p.21). Another group of studies failed to include language about the long-term cancer risk resulting from exposure to diesel exhaust, the substance being examined.

Perhaps this was simple negligence. But it raises an ugly specter: That someone at the EPA was so eager to get results that would justify more stringent air regulations that officials simply failed to warn subjects adequately -- including those most prone to the dramatic, adverse health consequences that could be used to advance the administration's agenda. After all, to make an environmentally-friendly omelet, perhaps you just have to break a few human eggs, right?


IPCC cries wolf on global warming, again

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the summary of its fifth report. Unsurprisingly, it still blames humans as the main driver of global warming — or, climate change, climate disruption, extreme weather; whichever term you prefer. It’s unsurprising that the IPCC, an organization founded to find a way to limit human influence on climate, would sound such an alarm. After all, if it was discovered that nature is the main driver of the changes in climate, the IPCC would be out of a job.

Of course, that won’t happen. After all, the science surrounding global warming is settled and there is a vast consensus. Since we are running out of time, we therefore need to act promptly, right?

Wrong. First of all, science can never be settled for it to be called so. It took 250 years until Einstein found faults in Newton’s theory of gravity. It took more than 150 years to find how humans evolved from apes through a DNA discovery. Even today, scientists can’t decide what caused the Black Death in Europe.

The same goes for the climate hysteria. Scientists can’t decide if it will cause more snow or less snow, record snowfalls or their total absence, if biodiversity will increase or decrease, if there will be fewer tornadoes or more, or even when the world will end if we don’t act.

In addition, human influence on climate is unlikely considering that several peer-reviewed temperature reconstructions from Turkey, Poland, Eastern Australia, Northern Scandinavia, the Central Mediterranean Sea, Tibet, the Pearl River Basin in China, Bolivia, Arctic and Eastern Siberia, Southern England, the Equatorial Pacific Ocean, Peru, Chile, Iceland, Antarctica, the Central Eastern Alps, British Columbia, Quebec, and the Southwestern US all confirm the IPCC findings from 1990 that the Medieval Warm Period between 1000 and 1350 AD was much warmer than today. In other words, Michael Mann’s hockey stick, which supposedly shows a dramatic increase in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution, is probably false.

Also, hurricanes have not increased in strength or number in the past 40 years. A closer look at data shows the same neutral trend since 1851; it may even go back 228 years. Furthermore, no hurricane of category three or above has made landfall in the U.S. since Wilma (October 24, 2005) — the longest stretch since 1900. The same thing goes for tornadoes since the 1950s; F3+ tornadoes are actually decreasing. Similarly, droughts are not on the rise in the U.S., despite exponential increase in CO2. California’s recent drought, for example, is not uncommon.

Polar bears are nowhere near extinction, as assessed by the Nunavut government and Inuit hunters in Northern Canada. Speaking of debunked myths, dozens of papers show that the sun drives climate, not CO2, and that petrochemical influence on climate has been blown out of proportion. Finally, the Arctic, while it may be melting more during summer time, refreezes so quickly that its May 1st extent hasn’t changed much since 1979. Also, the Antarctic ice has been expending since that same year.

Despite overwhelming evidence that the science is not settled, climate change fanatics keep hammering about that supposed 97 percent consensus among scientists. In reality, the supposed consensus is likely overblown. It’s either based on 2008 survey of only 79 climatologists or is actually closer to 0.3 percent when one analyzes a sample of scientific papers.

Climate fanatics’ insistence on a consensus to silence debate has some eerie traits of fascism. Indeed, only in fascist societies can authorities make sure dissenters are silenced by whatever way they see fit. And this is exactly what climate fanatics want; they systematically refuse to debate climate sceptics by snobbishly claiming they are not worthy of recognition. People like David Suzuki, Canada’s green pope, call for Inquisition-like censorship of skeptics. Professors like Lawrence Torcello want skeptics jailed for “criminal negligence.” Finally, Al Gore has no problem resorting to ad hominem attacks by calling skeptics “deniers” and by linking them to homophobes, racists, alcoholics, baby-eaters, etc.

Reasonable citizens should not lose any sleep over the IPCC’s latest report or scaremongering from climate fanatics. Their catastrophic predictions are simply a continuation of doomsday predictions Malthus started in the 19th century. And like Malthus, they have been utterly wrong, be it about agriculture, violence or the rising sea level. Climate hysteria is crumbling little by little, and like any fake science, it will collapse sooner or later.


Climate Activists Uncaged

Jonah Goldberg

Finally, someone has come up with a way to settle the debate over climate change: Put the people on the wrong side of the argument in cages.

A writer for the website Gawker recently penned a self-described "rant" on the pressing need to arrest, charge and imprison people who "deny" global warming. In fairness, Adam Weinstein doesn't want mass arrests. (Besides, in a country where only 44 percent of Americans say there is "solid evidence" of global warming and it's mostly due to human activity, you can't round up every dissenter.) Fact-checking scientists are spared. So is "the man on the street who thinks Rush Limbaugh is right. ... You all know that man. That man is an idiot. He is too stupid to do anything other than choke the earth's atmosphere a little more with his Mr. Pibb burps and his F-150's gassy exhaust."

But Weinstein's magnanimity ends there. Someone must pay. Weinstein suggests the government simply try the troublemakers and spokespeople. You know, the usual suspects. People like Limbaugh himself as well as ringleaders of political organizations and businesses that refuse to toe the line. "Those malcontents must be punished and stopped."

Weinstein says that this "is an argument that's just being discussed seriously in some circles." He credits Rochester Institute of Technology philosophy professor Lawrence Torcello for getting the ball rolling. Last month, Torcello argued that America should follow Italy's lead. In 2009, six seismologists were convicted of poorly communicating the risks of a major earthquake. When one struck, the scientists were sentenced to six years in jail for downplaying the risks. Torcello and Weinstein want a similar approach for climate change.

This is a great standard for free speech in America. Let's just agree that the First Amendment reads, "Nothing in this clause shall be considered binding if it contradicts legal practices in the Abruzzo region of Italy."

The truth is this isn't as new an outlook as Weinstein suggests. For instance, in 2009, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman insisted that "deniers" in Congress who opposed the Waxman-Markey climate change bill were committing "treason" while explaining their opposition on the House floor. (That same year, Krugman's fellow Timesman Thomas Friedman wrote that China's authoritarian system was preferable to ours, in part, because it lets "enlightened" leaders deal with climate change.)

"The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected," Krugman insisted. How fast the earth is changing is open to all kinds of debate, but short of an asteroid strike it won't change as fast as the global warming pessimists have claimed. For example, in 2008, Al Gore predicted that the North Pole ice cap would be ice-free by 2013. Arctic ice, which never came close to disappearing, has actually been making a bit of comeback lately.

Gore's prediction -- echoed by then-Sen. John Kerry and countless others -- was always ridiculous hyperbole. But even most serious, non-hyperbolic, computer-modeled predictions have overestimated the amount of warming we've experienced. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has had to retract several histrionic predictions, such as its erroneous prophecy that the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035.

Its new report, out on Monday, contains a new raft of dire prophecies requiring trillions in new spending. If I greet it with skepticism, shall I pack a toothbrush for my trip to jail?

Climate-change activists insist that in science, revisions are routine, and that such corrections prove the good faith of scientists. Even if that's true, one might still note that incentives are unhealthily arranged so that even well-intentioned researchers are encouraged to exaggerate the dangers of climate change and discouraged to criticize hyperbole. Moreover, were it not for the skeptics and deniers, many such corrections would never have been brought to light. (My own view is that man plays some role in warming, but the threat is overblown and the popular remedies range from trivial to unaffordable to ridiculous.)

The real problem is that political activists and many leading institutions, particularly in the news media and academia, are determined to demonize any kind of skepticism -- about the extent of the threat or the efficacy of proposed solutions -- as illegitimate idiocy.

That attitude is unscientific and undemocratic enough. But it sure beats calling for your opponents to be thrown in the gulag for disagreeing with you.


British wind farms were paid £8.7million to switch OFF their turbines last month because they generated too much electricity

Every day we're urged to be more and more energy conscious.

But it has been revealed that wind farms were paid £8.7 million to switch off last month because there wasn't enough demand for the energy they generated.

And the National Grid has been making the 'constraint payments' for years, with £32 million paid in the last year to keep the turbines powered down.

According to the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), the 'largest monthly amount paid for wind farms not to generate (£8.7 million)' was in March of this year.

The turbines were shut down because, during periods of increased electricity generation and low-peak usage, there is not enough demand for energy.

There is currently no adequate method to store the large amounts of energy they produce when it's not being used, so the turbines must be turned off.

The 'constraint payments' are made to operators of various wind farms to stop them generating the surplus electricity.

'Wind farm constraints are essentially caused by difficulties in exporting excess wind electricity generated in Scotland,' the REF states on their website.

'In March 2014 approximately 12 per cent of the potential wind power output of large Scottish grid connected wind farms had to be constrained off the system, thus incurring costs to the consumer in the form of constraint payments.'

But the REF suggests that the wind industry is 'attempting to conceal the scale of this market abuse, by claiming that wind power receives less in constraint payments than conventional generation.

'This is untrue, and fails to convey the significant distinction between payments to conventional generators to start generating, and additional payments to wind power to stop generating.'

According to the National Grid, however, these payments are required to cope with periods of increased demand.

'Constraint payments are made when there is congestion on the network,' a spokesperson for the National Grid tells MailOnline.

'It's a bit like with motorways, you get jams but you wouldn't necessarily build new motorways to eliminate the jams.

'So using wind constraint payments we're expecting that to work out as more cost-effective than building lots of new pylons and wires.

'Our job is to manage the electricity system minute by minute.

'We choose whatever generation is the cheapest to constrain at a given time to keep costs as low as possible.

'Constraint payments can be made for any number of reasons, including high winds or parts of the grid being out for maintenance or improvement work.'

The amount of constraint payments has increased considerably since March 2013 when they amounted to just £10,000.

The National Grid says this due to a number of factors including windier weather over the past year and more wind turbines coming online.

But they hope to reduce constraint payments by increasing the capabilities of the network in the next two years.

By 2016 they plan to complete the £1 billion Western Link project 'that will have more than double the capacity from Scotland to England from 2.2GW in 2010 to 5.8GW in 2016.'



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


3 April, 2014

How the Global Warming Scare Began

With John Coleman

Climate Anxious Children - can parents, and caring teachers, help correct the harm done by climate alarm materials??

"Collectively, anxiety conditions are the most common mental disorders in children. Moreover, they often persist throughout life, causing significant distress and interfering significantly with social life and achievement both during the child’s formative years and later in adulthood."

The quote is from a mental health researcher, Kathy Griffiths

There is considerable evidence that many children suffer from anxiety about climate change.  The plausibility of that seems obvious given the dreadful materials, in books , websites, and curricula aimed at children, and in some cases aimed at scaring them into being political activists.

Who will help children cope with climate alarmism, and help protect them from those who, wittingly or otherwise, are acting as recruiting sergeants? 

The best candidates are surely their parents, aided whenever possible by sympathetic teachers.

The pioneering book Facts, Not Fear by Sanera and Shaw, shows how easy it is to de-fuse so many eco-alarms, not just the climate one.  Their approach is simply one of helping children see the bigger picture, and not the narrow-minded, highly-selective view pushed at them by propagandists.

I stumbled across an illustration of this today, on the blog of a teacher in London.  His post is entitled

How Not to Teach Climate Change.  Here is an extract from it:

'Last week I substitute-taught a Year 5 class that was learning about climate change. One of our pre-planned activities was to continue making posters about “good gases and bad gases”. I immediately noted that every student had slapped carbon dioxide (CO2) in the “bad gas” column.

I quizzed the class, and discovered that they had been taught the following line of thinking.

 *   Carbon dioxide is a harmful and poisonous gas.

 *   Nearly all daily human activity – turning on lights, jumping in a car, using an electrical device etc. – creates carbon dioxide.

They had no idea of the following:

* Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a natural constituent of the atmosphere…

* Carbon dioxide is by far the most important (organic compound) for the sustainability of the biosphere (the whole of life on Earth).

* Without CO2 the life of photosynthetic organisms and animals would be impossible, given that CO2 provides the basis for the synthesis of organic compounds that provide nutrients for plants and animals.

Just think about that for a second.  Imagine you’re a naive child, and your teacher tells you that your every daily action creates poisonous gases that destroy the planet.

I was shocked, and quickly set the record straight by informing them that CO2 is actually essential for life on earth; it feeds plants, and it is a crucial ingredient in their, and in every other living creature’s, bodies. I added that scientists think it may be warming up our planet, but they’re still not 100% sure.*

These facts came much to their surprise and relief. '

[It was from his post that I obtained the link to the mental healthcare quote which I used earlier]

See how easy it was!  Here is a man who has compassion for the children, and enough knowledge to realise very quickly what a dangerously limited view they have of CO2.  A few simple facts seem to have helped dispel at least some of their fear.  Well done that man! 

This is one of the kinds of intervention suggested by Sanera and Shaw, and it seems to me that it could be accomplished by parents as well.  But first, those parents need to get themselves reasonably well-informed.  They will need to look beyond biased-outlets such as the BBC or most of the rest of the mass media, such as the UK's Guardian or Independent newspapers. 

A discussion-group that met regularly could invite expert speakers, and do online research to gather scientific results and informed opinions on any issue. 

Has your child been told that a polar bear will die unless you switch off your lights and stop using the car so often?  It won't take long to discover that the bears are doing quite well, and that nothing extraordinary has been happening to Arctic sea ice, which has long been known to be highly variable. 

Or that rising seas will swamp their coastal cities?  A quick check should show that there has been no great acceleration of the slow rise in sea levels which has been going on long before our CO2 could have had an impact, and that the plausible projected levels this century will readily be coped with.

It is not hard, but some persistence is required to sift through the torrents of alarmist-conformism that will be encountered.


Dealing with Climate Change: Prevention vs Adaptation

Suppose you believe, as many people do, that climate change due to anthropogenic CO2 is a serious problem. There are two different ways you might try to deal with it. One is by trying to keep it from happening, or at least to slow it. The other is by adapting to it. There are at least two respects in which the latter approach is superior to the former.

The first is that it avoids the public good problem. If the U.S. switches to more expensive sources of power in order to hold down CO2 output, any  benefit from reduced warming is shared with the rest of the world. It is unlikely to happen unless either the benefit is so much larger than the cost that it is worth doing for the U.S. share alone or many countries manage to coordinate their policies, despite the obvious temptation for each to free ride on the efforts of the others. Neither is impossible, both are difficult.

Adaptation does not face that problem. If Bangladesh deals with sea level rise by diking its coast, the benefit goes to Bangladesh, not to the U.S. or China. If a farmer deals with an increase in temperature by shifting to a crop better suited to the new conditions, he gets the benefit.

The second advantage of adaptation is that it affects only the negative consequences of climate change. While the public discussion often obscures the fact, there are positive consequences as well—indeed, it is not clear that the net effect is negative, especially at low levels of warming. Milder winters are, on the whole, a good thing. So are longer growing seasons. So is an expansion of the habitable area of the northern hemisphere, due to temperature contours shifting north. A reduction in warming eliminates the good consequences as well as the bad. Adaptation can target only the bad consequences.

Neither of these proves that adaptation is superior—that depends on the costs of adaptation, the costs imposed by warming, the benefits imposed by warming, the costs of reducing warming. But both are arguments in favor of adaptation.


Ukraine Crisis: Angela Merkel To Reconsider German ‘Energy Policy As A Whole’

Current tensions with Russia over Ukraine have turned the spotlight on Germany’s heavy dependence on Russian gas and are pushing Europe’s biggest economy to reconsider its entire energy policy.

It is currently Germany’s aim to be able to meet as much as 80 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2050.

The country is also committed to phasing out nuclear power completely over the next decade or so.

And gas — 35 percent of which Germany imports from Russia — should act as a good stop-gap until the country’s renewable capacity is fully in place.

But with the crisis over Ukraine and the threat of a tit-for-tat battle of sanctions, Germany may have to reconsider its energy policy.

Some, like the environmentalist Greens party, insist the country should step up its renewable drive while others insist that alternative sources of gas must be found.

Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Ukraine crisis would lead to “a new look at energy policy as a whole.”

Some people have interpreted this seemingly anodyne remark as a hidden call to reconsider Germany’s plans and targets for the energy transformation, formulated by Merkel herself three years ago.

Others suggest that the remarks — made in the presence of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper — could herald an about-face on the highly controversial technology of fracking.


The Ministry Of Truth Orders Crackdown On Climate Sceptics

Ministers who question the majority view among scientists about climate change should “shut up” and instead repeat the Government line on the issue, according to MPs.

The BBC should also give less airtime to climate sceptics and its editors should seek special clearance to interview them, according to the Commons Science and Technology Committee. Andrew Miller, the committee’s Labour chairman, said that appearances on radio and television by climate sceptics such as Lord Lawson of Blaby, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, should be accompanied by “health warnings”.

Mr Miller likened climate sceptics to the Monster Raving Loony Party and said that the BBC should limit interviews with them just as it restricted the coverage it gave to fringe political parties.

In a report published today, the committee criticises the BBC’s coverage of climate change, saying that its news programmes “continue to make mistakes in their coverage of climate science by giving opinions and scientific fact the same weight”.

The MPs say that the BBC should apply the same “stringent requirements” to interviewing climate sceptics as it applies to interviewing politicians. “For example, any proposal to invite politicians to contribute to non-political output must be referred to the Chief Adviser Politics. The BBC could benefit from applying a similarly stringent approach when interviewing non- experts on controversial scientific topics such as climate change,” the committee says.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Miller added that when Lord Lawson appeared, the BBC should make clear that his think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, questioned the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “At the very least, put a caption at the bottom of the screen: ‘the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s views are not accepted by 97 per cent of scientists’,” he said.

The committee’s report says that the Government is “failing to clearly and effectively communicate climate science to the public”. It concludes: “All Ministers should acquaint themselves with the science of climate change and then they, and their Departments, should reflect the Government approach in person, in media interviews and online by a presenting a clear and consistent message.”

Mr Miller named Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, as one of the ministers he believed had deviated from the Government line on climate change. Mr Paterson reportedly told a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference last year: “People get very emotional about this subject and I think we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries.”

Mr Miller said: “There are dissenting voices inside the Government machine . . . Frankly, the role of a minister is either to accept collective responsibility or shut up or leave. Climate change is such a hugely important public policy issue and therefore to have inconsistency from within Government is extremely dangerous territory.”

He said it was not acceptable to have “ministers who are not prepared to line up beside No 10 and say ‘yes, I accept climate change is real, we must do something about it’ .” He added: “Paterson is one example — he is ducking and diving on this.”

The committee also criticises the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraphfor placing “heavy reliance . . . on the ability of their readers to distinguish between fact and opinion on climate science”.

Responding to Mr Miller’s comments, Lord Lawson said: “I think it is appalling that a member of the House of Commons should want to shut down debate on this issue.”

A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC does its utmost to report on this complex subject as clearly as possible using our specialist journalists. While the vast bulk of our interviews are with climate scientists, as part of our commitment to impartiality it is important that dissenting voices are also heard.”


Buried in UN Report: $100 Billion More Needed to Adapt to ‘Global Warming’

 The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report estimates it will cost developed nations an additional $100 billion each year to help poorer countries adapt to the devastating effects of “unequivocal” global warming, including food shortages, infrastructure breakdown, and civil violence.

But that figure was deleted from the report’s executive summary after industrialized nations, including the United States, objected to the high price tag. (See IPCC Summary.pdf)

“The $100 billion figure, though included in the 2,500-page main report, was removed from a 48-page executive summary to be read by the world’s top political leaders,” the New York Times reported. “It was among the most significant changes made as the summary underwent final review during a dayslong editing session in Yokohama [Japan]” where it was released Monday.

The final figure is likely to be much higher, according to Chapter 17 (“Economics of Adaptation”) of the full IPCC report, entitled Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, which notes that “there is strong evidence of important omissions and shortcomings in data and methods rendering these estimates highly preliminary.”

The report goes on to say that the cost of adapting to global warming will most likely be far greater than the $1 billion a day spent to prevent it in 2012 by government and private entities worldwide.

“Comparison of the global cost estimates with the current level of adaptation funding shows the projected global needs to be orders of magnitude greater than the current investment levels, particularly in developing countries,” the IPCC report stated.

Noting that there are “biophysical limits to adaptation” to climate change, including “the inability to restore outdoor comfort under high temperatures,” the report adds that “the desirability of adaptation options will vary with time and climate change realization.”

But the adverse affects of global warming will be felt by everyone, the UN panel claims.

“Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change,” IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri said at a press conference Monday in Yokohama, where the panel’s latest report was released. “Without reductions in emissions,” he warned, the impacts of global warming “could get out of control.”

“With high levels of warming that result from continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions, risks will be challenging to manage, and even serious, sustained investments in adaptation will face limits,” said Chris Field, co-chair of the panel’s Working Group II, which predicted that “by 2100 for the high-emission scenario, the combination of high temperature and humidity in some areas for parts of the year is projected to compromise normal human activities, including growing food or working outdoors.”

Global warming will also “indirectly increase risks of violent conflicts in the form of civil war and inter-group violence by amplifying well-documented drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks,” the report maintains.

However, the IPCC’s ability to correctly predict future climactic conditions based on computer modeling is coming under increasing fire by scientists because of its inability to do so in the past.

For example, the panel’s widely-cited 2007 report, which was edited by Pachauri, predicted that Himalayan glaciers were in danger of disappearing by 2035 due to global warming. Pachauri's panel shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore that year, but he was forced to walk back the prediction in 2010, referring to the blunder as a “human error.”

And despite the panel’s insistence that the Earth is getting hotter, five different datasets show that there’s been no observable warming for 17 ½ years even as carbon dioxide levels have risen 12 percent, notes Christopher Monckton, who says “the discrepancy between prediction and observation continues to grow.”

On Monday, the same day the IPCC report was released, the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), whose membership includes 31,000 American scientists, released a paper that sharply contradicted the IPCC report and pointed out that a warmer Earth would actually be a good thing.

The report concluded:

“Atmospheric carbon dioxide is not a pollutant;  The ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth;

There is little or no risk of increasing food insecurity due to global warming or rising atmospheric CO2 levels;

Terrestrial ecosystems have thrived throughout the world as a result of warming temperatures and rising levels of atmospheric CO2;

Rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels do not pose a significant threat to aquatic life; and

A modest warming of the planet will result in a net reduction of human mortality from temperature-related events.”

On Feb. 25th, former Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore also testified before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Subcommittee on Oversight, telling members of Congress that contrary to the IPCC’s findings,“it is ‘extremely likely’ that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.”

“Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species.” Moore testified.

On the contrary,  he added, “there is ample reason to believe that a sharp cooling of the climate would bring disastrous results for human civilization."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


2 April, 2014

Leftist projection again

Hydrologist Fiona Johnson, the dear lady below, is upset that debate about climate change is uncivil.  So who is it who calls skeptics "deniers" (as in "holocaust deniers") and wants to lock them up?  FiFi had better start talking to her own colleagues. 

And she seems to be shocked that  "some people seem to believe that scientists can't be trusted."  Would that belief spring from "Mike's nature trick" or "hiding the decline"?  Would it spring from the chronic refusal by Warmists to make their raw data available? 

And her argumentation about the evidence for global warming is brainless. She says:  "For climate change, the evidence is clear that carbon dioxide and temperatures are increasing".  But that is not the question.  The question is whether CO2 is CAUSING significant warming.  It's called the "climate sensitivity" question, dear lady.   FiFi is either a fluffhead or a crook


Science is an exciting field to work in. There is a whole universe of problems out there waiting for someone to solve. But science doesn't exist in a vacuum.

For me, the most interesting part of being an engineer is using my research to help individuals, and society in general, make better decisions..

I would imagine the motivation is similar for the hundreds of scientists who spent months compiling the latest IPCC report released on Monday, and the thousands more who've spent their careers trying to understand the mechanisms of global warming, its timeframe and impacts.

The report has been well received by many, but for some people the report seems to be seen as a personal affront, written by a bunch of scientists solely for the purpose of destroying the world that they live in.

The reality is that the IPCC report is a document of careful language and moderated statements, approved by the governments of 195 countries.

When scientists work together to report results, our language is carefully calibrated, with the caveats and limitations of our work thought out and often explicitly discussed.

Science is a dialogue and our work is incremental – there is rarely a breakthrough paper.

We work together in teams and discuss, argue, revise and gradually make progress. This is a lifetime of work; a marathon, not a sprint.

There are many subtleties in any profession and we can't expect people outside of our individual fields to understand these. I don't expect to understand the legal arguments in a court of law or commercial deals. And it is unreasonable to expect that the measurement methods or the scientific process that I take for granted in my work are any more transparent to a lawyer.

At some point, though, unless we have unlimited time to become experts ourselves, we need to trust that the professionals in any field are good at what they do. That's what it means to be professional. But some people seem to believe that scientists can't be trusted.

Some level of scepticism is a good thing – no one should take all information at face value. But thinking that all scientists and engineers are wrong until proven otherwise does not give any credit for the amount of work that goes into my research, the IPCC reports and the work of all other scientists.

Interacting with the media brings another level of complication to the relationship between science and the community. Scientists are used to promoting their research at conferences, to peers and to funding authorities. But our incremental discoveries or improvements may not make for an interesting story for the daily media. Reporting timeframes, particularly in the digital age, are much quicker than the timelines that research operates on.

Information is more available than ever, but is the digital age improving the quality of the conversations? The anonymity of email and comments on websites and blogs means that people end up in a virtual shouting match where rarely anyone is listening properly.

I find it frustrating that the comments in social media and on forums degenerate in a fairly predictable way when it comes to so-called debates about human-induced climate change.

But we are having the wrong debate. For climate change, the evidence is clear that carbon dioxide and temperatures are increasing. Where is the interest in debating observations?

What is more interesting is when we have to make decisions that depend on the values that we hold as a community. Someone may value free markets, someone else may value the natural diversity of our coral reefs, whilst a third may value a large house on the beach. The debate that we need to have is how these values can co-exist or if they can't then how to prioritise them. But the current level of vitriol doesn't promote rational discussions.


Clouds on the solar horizon

Consumers considering installing solar panels on their rooftops have far more to think through than the initial decision to “go solar.”

They may search for the best price, only to discover, as customers in central Florida did, that after paying $20,000-40,000 for their systems, they are stuck with installations that may be unusable or unsafe. BlueChip Energy — which also operated as Advanced Solar Photonics (ASP) and SunHouse Solar — sold its systems at environmental festivals and home shows. Buyers thought they were getting a good deal and doing the right thing for the environment. Instead, they were duped.

A year ago, it was revealed that BlueChip Energy’s solar panels had counterfeit UL labels — this means that the panels may not comply with standard safety requirements established by the independent global certification company Underwriters Laboratory. The Orlando Sentinel reports: “UL testing assures that a product won’t catch fire, will conduct electricity properly and can withstand weather. Without such testing, no one is certain if the solar panels may fail.” Additionally, it states: “Without the safety testing, they shouldn’t be connected to the electric grid” — which leaves customers nervous about possible risks such as overheating. Other reports claim that BlueChip inflated the efficiency rates of its photovoltaic panels, which do not meet “65 percent of the company’s published performance ratings.”

In July 2013, BlueChip’s assets were sold off at pennies on the dollar and customers were left with rooftop solar packages that now have no warranty.

With the shakeout in the solar photovoltaic industry, bankruptcy is a key concern for buyers. No company equals no warranty.

Two of China’s biggest panel makers have failed. On March 20, 2013, Suntech, one of the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturers, filed bankruptcy. Earlier this month Shanghai Chaori Solar became China’s first domestic corporate bond default. The Wall Street Journal reports that another, Baoding Tainwei, has reported a second year of losses and investors are waiting to “see if officials will let it fail.”

Regarding Suntech’s bankruptcy, an industry report says the following about the warranties: “While Suntech has said that it was committed to maintaining the warranty obligations on its products following the bankruptcy, we are unsure if customers will be willing to take a risk considering the firm’s faltering financials.”

Last month, it was reported that solar panels can be “dangerous in an emergency.” Firefighters have been forced to stop fighting a fire due to electrocution concerns. The report quotes Northampton, MA, Fire Chief Brian Duggan as saying electrocution is not their only concern: “cutting through the roof for ventilation would also take a lot longer.” Springfield fire commissioner Joe Conant says: “nothing will stop them if there’s a life to be saved, but if it’s simply to save the structure, solar panels may keep them from going on the roof.

A Fox News story on the risk solar panels pose to fire-fighters states: “Two recent fires involving structures decked with solar panels have triggered complaints from fire chiefs and calls for new codes and regulations that reflect the dangers posed by the clean-energy devices. A two-alarm fire last week at a home in Piedmont, Calif., prompted Piedmont Fire Chief Warren McLaren to say the technology ‘absolutely’ made it harder on firefighters. Weeks earlier, in Delanco, NJ, more than 7,000 solar panels on the roof of a massive 300,000-square foot warehouse factored into Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt’s refusal to send his firefighters onto the roof of a Dietz & Watson facility.”

In part, due to the increased fire concerns, roof-top solar panels can increase the cost of homeowners insurance. A potential solar customer told me: “If you are thinking solar panels on the roof, check your home insurance. Ours would have added a costly rider to cover them and roof. That was another strike in our decision.”

Then, of course, there are new concerns about scam artists like the one in North Carolina who collected “money from victims under false pretense that he would buy and install solar panels in their residences.”

As if all of that wasn’t enough, a new potentially fraudulent scheme has just been exposed.

A recent report from the Arizona Republic, points to complaints the Arizona Corporation Commission — the state’s top utility regulator — is getting from Tucson customers of SolarCity Corporation. They claim: “the solar leasing company is misleading them regarding the state rules for hooking up a solar array.”

In essence, customers in Tucson are being told one thing by their utility, Tucson Electric Power (TEP), but something else by a private solar power company, SolarCity — the nation’s second largest solar electrical contractor. This has drawn the ire of Bob Stump, Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). “This is an issue of consumer protection and solar installer transparency,” Stump told the Arizona Republic.

Stump made his concerns clear in a March 12 letter to Lyndon Rive, SolarCity’s Chief Executive Officer: “I am concerned that you — as well as other solar providers — may be communicating with customers in a way that is both confusing and misleading and which deprives them of the balanced information they need in order to make informed decisions.”

The letter states: “Some customers … say that solar providers have told them that the rates, rules and regulations applicable to net metering are ‘grandfathered,’ thereby implying that the rates associated with net metering are not subject to change.” As a result, Stump says: “Customers are then surprised, disappointed, and angry to learn from TEP that this may not be the case.”

As a vocal advocate for responsible energy — which I define as energy that is efficient, effective and economical — I have closely followed what is happening with Arizona’s solar industry. There, when the ACC proposed a modification to the net-metering policies to make them more equitable to all utility customers, the solar industry mounted an aggressive PR campaign in attempt to block any changes. When the decision was made in November to add a monthly fee onto the utility bills of new solar customers to make them pay for using the power grid, I applauded the effort.

In light of this new issue, with a leading solar company misleading customers, it is time for the nation’s regulators to take a hard look at their states’ policies. Remember, this past summer, Georgia regulators voted for solar leasing such as SolarCity offers.

Pat Lyons, one of New Mexico’s Public Regulatory Commissioners, watched what happened in Arizona’s net metering battle. Upon learning about SolarCity’s potential deception, he was alarmed. “As solar leasing, like SolarCity pushes, moves into additional markets, regulators across the country need to be aware of the potential pitfalls and misrepresentations.”

It is vital that solar providers be held to the same high standard to which we hold our electric utilities and are made to answer tough questions about consumer protection, safety, and operation issues. Stump’s letter to SolarCity’s CEO asked for responses to his questions by March 31 and said he will “be placing this matter on a Commission open meeting agenda in the near future in order to discuss these important concerns with my fellow commissioners.”

It may be too late to protect some solar customers in Tucson, but there is still a chance to make sure others are treated fairly. If things don’t change, the dark clouds hovering over the industry will be raining on unsuspecting customers.


The Secret Anti-Global-Warming Machine

Hey! All you progressive Democrats out there? Whatever you've been doing to prevent global warming? Cut it out! Now! Hear me? It's spring for cripe sakes. It's supposed to be warming up - even around here in the Maine mountains - and it's not. There's more than two feet of snow on the ground out there and more coming! And it doesn't melt right away like it's supposed to this time of year either. All the skiers and snowmobilers are ready too, but it just keeps building up. People are getting tired of this, and I'm blaming you.

I've been looking back at the last five years since you took over down and I'm starting to catch on. You started off raising and spending all that "stimulus" money - a trillion dollars almost - and I can't see any economic stimulus going on at all! Where is it? Joe Biden kept telling us four years ago us that "Recovery Summer" was on its way. Well it never came! We're all still waiting out here. Now we're thinking summer itself isn't coming this year either, much any less economic recovery! Spring hasn't shown up and we're thinking summer won't either.

You said there were thousands of shovel ready jobs out there, and you were going to use that trillion dollars to build infrastructure like they did back in the Great Depression. Well where is it? You guys said Herbert Hoover was an idiot and you blamed him for the Great Depression, but at least he built the Hoover Dam! It's still there - still generating electricity - and it only took five years to finish. It's been that long since you raised and spent that trillion dollars, so what have you got to show for it? Nothing! Where did all the money go? We could have built lots of Hoover Dams.

And how about the Golden Gate Bridge? That was built with stimulus money during the Great Depression and it's still there too. It cost $35 million, and that would be over $500 million in today's money. We could have built over fifteen hundred Golden Gate Bridges with the money you guys spent on this "stimulus," but we don't see any bridges. We don't see anything!

You promised lots of green jobs too. Where are they? You spent billions on solar energy development, and windmill development, and battery development. How many of the companies you invested in are bankrupt? How come the cost of electricity keeps going up? Where did all that money go?

Like I said, I've been thinking about all this and my theory is that you didn't spend the money on economic stimulus at all. You didn't spend it on renewable energy either because those companies are gone - poof! It's looking to me like all that was a big smokescreen. I'm thinking you spent it all on some secret project to prevent global warming that you're not telling us about, and it's all gotten out of control! That's why it's so friggin' cold!

You really wanted to do it with your "Cap and Trade" bill, but it couldn't pass the Senate. You wanted to take over the energy industry like you took over the health care industry with Obamacare. So, what did you do instead? You took the trillion dollars for stimulus and you spent it all on a secret Anti-Global-Warming Machine and it's bringing on another ice age! I'll bet it's got a giant super-computer that has outsmarted its programmers. You had all your best computer geeks working on that instead of the Obamacare web site - and that's why it's so screwed up. You put all the geek wannabes to work on Obamacare and they were all morons!

Then you used the National Security Agency to spy on all our phone calls, all our emails, all our internet searches - so you could keep it all secret! The NSA didn't see the Benghazi  Attack coming, did it? That took you all by surprise, and you made up a story about some stupid internet video nobody ever saw, and you kept that story up for weeks! And the NSA obviously wasn't keeping an eye on Syria, was it! Obama said Assad was going to fall "any day now" and he's still in there! Hillary Clinton said she "reset" our relations with Russia, but you didn't see the Crimea invasion coming, did you? No! Because the NSA was so busy keeping the Giant Anti-Global Warming Machine secret, they didn't have time to spy on our enemies like they're supposed to. They're spying on us instead.

And last week you said you were pulling an all-nighter to discuss global warming. Hah! This time I believe you! You were trying to figure out how to get a handle on that machine, because if you don't, it's going to be like this right through 'til next winter!


Scaring the World about its Climate?

By Alan Caruba

Ever since the creation in 1988 of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it has engaged in the greatest hoax of modern times, releasing reports that predict climate-related catastrophes as if the climate has not been a completely natural and dynamic producer of events that affect our lives.

The IPCC was set up by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Program. It has enlisted thousands of scientists to contribute to its scare campaign, but as Joseph Bast, the president of The Heartland Institute, noted in a recent Forbes article regarding the vast difference in the assertions of the IPCC scientists and those of its puckishly named Nonintergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), “What is a non-scientist to make of these dueling reports? Indeed, what is a scientist to make of this?”

“Very few scientists are familiar with biology, geology, physics, oceanography, engineering, medicine, economics, and scores of other more specialized disciplines that were the basis of the claims…” The IPCC has depended on the ignorance of those scientists outside their particular disciplines and recruited them to be involved in the UN hoax. The rest of us look to them to provide guidance regarding issues involving the climate and, as a result, have been deliberately deceived.

The NIPCC, anticipating the latest IPCC addition to its climate scare campaign, has just issued a new addition to its “Climate Change Reconsidered” reports. The first volume was 850 pages long and the latest is more than 1,000 pages. It represents the findings of scores of scientists from around the world and thousands of peer-reviewed studies. At this point they represent some twenty nations.

I have been an advisor to The Heartland Institute for many years and have been exposing the climate change lies since the late 1980s. A science writer, I have benefited from the work of men like atmospheric physicist, S. Fred Singer, a founder of the NPCC who has overseen five reports debunking the IPCC since 2003.

The Heartland Institute has sponsored nine international conferences that have brought together many scientists and others in an effort to debunk the UN’s climate scare campaign.

I have always depended on the common sense of people to understand that humans have nothing to do with the climate except to endure and enjoy it. We don’t create it or influence it.

The global warming campaign is based on the Big Lie that carbon dioxide (CO2) traps the Sun’s heat and warms the Earth, but the fairly miniscule amount of CO2 in the atmosphere (0.038%) does not do that in a fashion that poses any threat. Indeed, it is the Sun that determines the Earth’s climate, depending where you happen to be on the Earth. Next to oxygen, CO2 is vital to all life on Earth as it is the “food” on which all vegetation depends. More CO2 is good. Less is not so good.

The IPCC has depended in part on the print and broadcast media to spread its Big Lie. It also depends on world leaders, few of whom have any background or serious knowledge of atmospheric science, to impose policies based on the Big Lie. These policies target the use of “fossil fuels”, oil, coal and natural gas, urging a reduction of their use. The world, however, utterly depends on them and, in addition to existing reserves, new reserves are found every year.

One reason the IPCC has been in a growing state of panic is a new, completely natural cooling cycle based on a reduction of solar radiation. As James M. Taylor, the managing editor of Heartland’s “Environment & Climate News”, pointed out recently, “Winter temperatures in the contiguous United States declined by more than a full degree Celsius (more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit) during the past twenty years.” He was citing National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. “The data contradicts assertions that human induced global warming is causing a rise in winter temperatures.”

In addition to the recent extremely cold winter, there have been others in 2000-2001 and 2009-2010. There will be more.

The IPCC report is full of claims about global warming, now called “climate change” since the world is obviously not warming. In March, Taylor rebutted an IPCC claim that crop production is falling, noting that global corn, rice, and wheat production have more than tripled since 1970. In recent years, the U.S. has set records for alfalfa, cotton, beans, sugar beets, canola, corn, flaxseed, hops, rice, sorghum, soybeans, sugarcane, sunflowers, peanuts, and wheat, to name just a few.

The Earth would benefit from more, not less, CO2 emissions, but the Obama administration has been engaged in imposing hundreds of new regulations aimed at reductions. It targets the development and expansion of our energy sector. The President has repeated the lies in his State of the Union speeches and we have a Secretary of State, John Kerry, who insists that climate change is the greatest threat to mankind and not the increase of nuclear weapons.

Every one of the Earth’s seven billion population are being subjected to the UN’s campaign of lies and every one of us needs to do whatever we can to bring about an end to the United Nations and reject the IPCC’s claims.


5 Ways Environmentalism Harms the Environment

Friends of the Earth, Earthwatch, Environmental Defense Fund, Green Cross International, The Climate Project, World Resources Institute, WWF, and of course the inevitable Greenpeace.

These are just some of the  environmental organizations that have for decades been pushing for – and in many cases outright lobbying for – ever more stringent environmental regulations to save the Earth and humanity from supposed catastrophe. Undoubtedly the majority of the people involved with these and other organizations are well-intentioned individuals that sincerely believe in their cause. That is not to say, however, that they are absolved from scrutiny as to the consequences of their (political) actions; you judge a tree by its fruits.

As it turns out, it can be quite convincingly argued that the very people and organizations purportedly fighting for protection of the environment are achieving much different outcomes, and one does not have to dig very deep at all to discover what those outcomes really are. As you read this, understand that this is not a ringing endorsement of a throw-away society, but rather an honest attempt at dissecting the arguments made for increasingly strict environmental policies and examining the results thereof.

1. Tilting the balance in favor of large corporations

“Green” regulations, like any and all forms of regulation, disproportionally hurt small and medium-sized businesses. After all, large (multinational) corporations have the financial resources and manpower that their smaller competitors lack to deal with the regulatory burden. As such each and every new law passed further threatens the very existence of mom-and-pop stores in your neighborhood. And unlike multinationals they don’t have the lobbying power to turn the regulatory tide, either. The result? Fewer local stores in your area, forcing you to drive farther away for your groceries. True, you will likely plan ahead to avoid having to go to the store every day, but that means you now need a car to transport all those groceries in. You might not have needed that car to begin with if you could just stop by your local grocer that’s now gone out of business.

2. Increasing pollution with “green” energy

Wind turbines don’t come falling from the sky. They require vast amounts of steel produced in steel mills and the fiber composite that make up the blades is manufactured in a chemical plant. Then there is the issue of rare earth metals (or rare earths), used in everything from electric car batteries to wind turbines to solar panels. Nearly all production today takes place in China, where both people and the environment suffer due to the hazardous and radioactive byproducts released in the process. Mines and processing plants are struggling to keep up with the demand artificially pushed up by governments in the form of tax incentives and massive subsidies.

3. Impoverishing people

Speaking of subsidies, one of the major recipients has been the “green jobs” industry. In an attempt to appeal to a broader audience, the argument is that specific policies would lead not only to a better environment, but also boost the economy through the creation of “good jobs”. Though the proponents of green jobs have yet to find agreement on what defines such a job, what has become clear is that the net effect on employment is actually negative. In the UK 3.7 jobs are lost for every green job while in Spain the ratio stands at 2.2 jobs lost per green job. Poof!

To make matters worse, prominent green jobs reports such as the UNEP report even go so far as to rail against high-productivity jobs lest they “pose the dual challenge of environmental impact and unemployment”[1]. Apparently the report’s authors are totally oblivious to the fact that increased productivity is what makes a society wealthier, and that the inefficient use of resources for the sake of “spreading the work” will inevitably make everyone poorer.

It goes without saying that poor people will naturally care less about the environment and more about where their next meal is going to come from. While rich people have the luxury of worrying about the environment, poor people do not. So the wealthier a society, the more likely it is to take good care of the environment.

4. Wasting resources mandating recycling

I know this is going to sound counterintuitive – as it did to me – but recycling does not always save energy or money. The latter makes sense considering the top-down approach that has dominated environmental initiatives; if there was any money in recycling, force would not have been necessary to bring it about. New York City’s recycling program, for instance, costs the taxpayer almost double what it would cost to just throw glass, metal, and plastic away.

Still, it would be one thing to spend all that taxpayer money on recycling if it actually saved resources. Unfortunately even that is not necessarily the case. Trees are planted and grown on tree farms specifically to make paper and as such do not contribute to deforestation. Other materials such as glass and aluminum can be effectively recycled, benefitting both the environment and the economy. However, businesses involved with the production of these materials have an inherent incentive to recycle anyway, so there is no need for regulatory requirements there.

5. Carbon taxes

Carbon taxes help funnel money into wind and solar power, which also come with environmental problems even in addition to the aforementioned. Solar thermal technology, for instance, consumes huge quantities of water – you know, the substance that is generally already lacking in areas where solar panels are the preferred “renewable energy” source (e.g. California, southern Spain).

Solar panel fields and wind farms are also very land-intensive, and wind farms negatively impact animals in the form of habitat loss and fragmentation. Besides, few people find wind turbines scattered over the countryside to be of benefit to the landscape. Some even suffer negative health effects that have been linked to living near a wind farm.

Finally, carbon taxes aggravate the aforementioned problems of favoring large over small businesses and impoverishing people.

Given these issues it would behoove environmentalists to consider the unintended consequences of their push for continued “climate action”, even aside from the debate over whether or not climate change is man-made to begin with. Having blind faith in politicians and special interest groups that try to greenwash their agenda to appeal to your sense of justice may not be the best strategy if you really care about the environment.


Trouble on the prairie: Feds call chicken ‘threatened,’ but what about the residents?

The specter of big government regulation has been cast over western Kansas, and opponents are fearing the worst.

Following the announcement Thursday that the lesser prairie-chicken has been reclassified as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, farmers, ranchers and advocates are warning the decision will have far-reaching effects for rural residents of the state.

“This is not a good result for agriculture in Kansas,” said Jim Sipes, Farm Bureau director for the southwest corner of the state. “It’s going to lead to a lot of restrictions on land use, and that’s going to lead to a lot of energy development issues.”

For cash-strapped rural counties in western Kansas, Sipes said, local governments rely heavily on the energy industry to provide a stable tax base. With added restrictions enacted by the listing, it will only increase pressure to raise property taxes.

Ken Klemm, a Sherman County rancher and president of the Kansas Natural Resources Coalition, sides with other opponents in arguing that it’s the lack of rainfall, not humanity’s encroachment, that has led to a decline in the lesser prairie-chicken’s population in recent years.

“The heavy hand of the Endangered Species Act will not make it rain,” Klemm told Kansas Watchdog.

Klem said the Range-wide Conservation Plan – a response from the five states covering the chicken’s habitat intended to pre-empt the ruling – could result in more than $2 billion in reduced property valuations. But Ron Kaufman, spokesman for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, says folks shouldn’t get worked up just yet.

“It is very premature to try and forecast what will happen with western Kansas,” Kaufman said.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public affairs specialist Lesli Gray reiterated to Kansas Watchdog that protections afforded under the “4(d) rule” will protect individuals who inadvertently kill the protected species as long as they’re enrolled in an approved conservation plan, like the RWCP. Gray noted, however, that the agency has yet to determine what it considers a successful recovery of the bird’s population.

“We’ll work with states and industry and other folks to develop that recovery plan,” Gray said.

But to opponents, even more infuriating is the rationale used to justify the decision. Both sides can agree on one thing: Lesser prairie-chicken numbers have been on the rise since 1997, though a recent drought has caused a significant dip. But the feds say that doesn’t go back far enough.

According to the official ruling released Thursday (caution: it’s a slog at 444 pages), USFWS officials are speculating on pre-European settlement population figures as cause for such concern.

“An examination of anecdotal information on historical numbers of lesser prairie-chickens indicates that numbers likely have declined from possibly millions of birds to current estimates of thousands of birds,” the decision stated.

How’s that for certainty?

Klemm said such a rationale is nothing short of ridiculous.  “If that’s what they’re going to use as a yardstick to judge species under the Endangered Species act, watch out,” he stated.

Klemm added that the KNRC will look to join any legal action taken against the federal government because of the decision.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


1 April, 2014

An apologetic tone this time

The latest IPCC report has got a lot of publicity wordwide.  In Australia, the most Leftist newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, had a real blast today with 3 articles derived from the UN report. 

What is notable, however, is the apologetic nature of the coverage.  They admit we have heard all this before and admit it is exaggerated.  They clearly have no hope of new converts to Warmism. 

One such article is given below and there is another one  here

In the lobby of the Sydney aquarium where the Australian launch of the UN’s latest climate change report was released on Monday is a terrifying great white shark.

The beast measures 7.5 metres long with a razor-toothed mouth so big it could easily swallow a human whole. It looks at least as big as the fibreglass monster used in the movie Jaws.

Thankfully, the aquarium shark is only a model. In real life, the biggest great white ever reliably measured was 6.4 metres. That’s still a whopper; the average mature specimen is four to five metres.

Why make a ridiculously outsized model for an aquarium? For effect, of course, to get the paying public in. Give ‘em a good scare.

Some of the authors of part of the latest climate report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have done something similar:

“In short, human-driven climate change poses a great threat, unprecedented in type and scale, to well-being, health and perhaps even to human survival.”

They might be able to argue the threat to well-being and health, but human survival? A temperature rise, even at the extreme end of projections, of four to five degrees Celsius, does not plausibly threaten homo sapiens with extinction.

The three scientists who wrote this summary for the website The Conversation are Anthony McMichael of ANU, and Colin Butler and Helen Berry of the University of Canberra. They contributed to the report’s chapter on health effects of climate change.

Presumably they’re trying to help the cause of addressing climate change, using outlandish fears to attract attention. More likely they will undermine it by scaremongering.

The two scientists who conducted the report’s Australian launch on Monday, both lead authors of the official IPCC report, would not defend the extinction claim.

One, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, of Queensland University’s Global Change Institute, politely described it as “extreme.”

A credible advocate of action, the Climate Institute’s John Connor, used the same word – “extreme” – when asked what he thought of the claim of the possible extinction of humanity.

Perhaps the three are frustrated by the pace of official action to limit carbon emissions. That’s understandable. The carbon concentration in the global atmosphere hit 400 parts per million last year, the highest in millions of years, according to ice core samples, and continues to rise at an average pace of two parts per million a year.

“We are on an inexorable march to 450 ppm and much higher levels” remarked a NASA scientist and program manager, Michael Gunson. “These were the targets for stabilisation suggested not too long ago. The world is quickening the rate of accumulation of CO2, and has shown no signs of slowing this down.”

The only serious way carbon output can be prudently managed is by the world’s governments.

Global government action has to catch up with change in the planet. But hysteria and exaggeration from concerned scientists won’t help. It will only damage their cause.

The three scaremongers undercut the work of the other scientists, the 309 lead authors and the other 433 contributing authors of Monday’s report.

The overall thrust of the IPCC report is credible and resists overreach.

It projects, for instance, that an extra two degrees of warming could lead to the loss of 2 per cent of global GDP, rather than the 5 per cent forecast by one of the earlier estimates, that of Britain’s Nicholas Stern.

And there’s certainly no need to exaggerate the dangers. The world is on a carbon trajectory for 4 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels.

This will pose “large risks to global and regional food security,” the IPCC warns, and “compromise normal human activities like growing food or working outdoors for some parts of the year.”

And it’s not all about the future; many effects are already upon us. In its annual report on world climate, the World Meteorological Organisation pointed to unusual weather events from Cairo’s first snowfall in a century to the widest US tornado on record.

Every continent, including Antarctica, saw some sort of record-breaking weather. The WMO said no single event could be attributed directly to climate change:

“But many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result” of man-made climate change, said the organisation’s secretary general, Michel Jarraud.

Its report included, for the first time, a separate sub-section on Australia. It pointed out that national 12-month temperature records were set for the periods ending in three consecutive months last year – in August, another in September, and a third October, topped off by a new record for the calendar year 2013.

These record Australian temperatures were notable because they occurred during a phase of the El Nina cycle that normally brings cooler conditions, not hotter.

Drawing on the work of Sophie Lewis and David Karoly of Melbourne University’s Centre of Excellence on Climate System Science, the report simulated conditions for 13,000 different climate years considering natural factors only.

They found Australia’s record hot 2013 would have been “virtually impossible without human contributions of heat-trapping gases, illustrating that some extreme events are becoming much more likely due to climate change.”

The world’s people need to know the science, so they can demand action from the world’s politicians. For scientists to scaremonger just gives recalcitrant politicians an easy way to laugh them off.

There’s no good reason to jump the shark.


A more cautious report

There is still great uncertainty about the impacts of climate change, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released today. So if we are to survive and prosper, rather than trying to fend off specific threats like cyclones, we must build flexible and resilient societies.

Today's report is the second of three instalments of the IPCC's fifth assessment of climate change. The first instalment, released last year, covered the physical science of climate change. It stated with increased certainty that climate change is happening, and that it is the result of humanity's greenhouse gas emissions. The new report focuses on the impacts of climate change and how to adapt to them. The third instalment, on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions, comes out in April.

The latest report backs off from some of the predictions made in the previous IPCC report, in 2007. During the final editing process, the authors also retreated from many of the more confident projections from the final draft, leaked last year. The IPCC now says it often cannot predict which specific impacts of climate change – such as droughts, storms or floods – will hit particular places.

Instead, the IPCC focuses on how people can adapt in the face of uncertainty, arguing that we must become resilient against diverse changes in the climate.

"The natural human tendency is to want things to be clear and simple," says the report's co-chair Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California. "And one of the messages that doesn't just come from the IPCC, it comes from history, is that the future doesn't ever turn out the way you think it will be." That means, Field adds, that "being prepared for a wide range of possible futures is just always smart".

Here New Scientist breaks down what is new in the report, and what it means for humanity's efforts to cope with a changing climate. A companion article, "How climate change will affect where you live", highlights some of the key impacts that different regions are facing.

What has changed in the new IPCC report?
In essence, the predictions are intentionally more vague. Much of the firmer language from the 2007 report about exactly what kind of weather to expect, and how changes will affect people, has been replaced with more cautious statements. The scale and timing of many regional impacts, and even the form of some, now appear uncertain.

For example, the 2007 report predicted that the intensity of cyclones over Asia would increase by 10 to 20 per cent. The new report makes no such claim. Similarly, the last report estimated that climate change would force up to a quarter of a billion Africans into water shortage by the end of this decade. The new report avoids using such firm numbers.

The report has even watered down many of the more confident predictions that appeared in the leaked drafts. References to "hundreds of millions" of people being affected by rising sea levels have been removed from the summary, as have statements about the impact of warmer temperatures on crops.

"I think it's gone back a bit," says Jean Palutikof of Griffith University in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, who worked on the 2007 report. "That may be a good thing. In the fourth [climate assessment] we tried to do things that weren't really possible and the fifth has sort of rebalanced the whole thing."

So do we know less than we did before?
Not really, says Andy Pitman of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. It is just more rigorous language. "Pointing to the sign of the change, rather than the precise magnitude of the change, is scientifically more defensible," he says.

We also know more about what we don't know, says David Karoly at the University of Melbourne. "There is now a better understanding of uncertainties in regional climate projections at decadal timescales."


British government's secret bid to make climate report more alarmist

British officials were last night accused of ‘political interference’ in a crucial report on international climate change.   The economic impact of global warming was ramped up in the final draft by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Shortly before authors wrote the final version, a British Government official passed scientists a note complaining about an earlier, more moderate draft.

The official, from Ed Davey’s Department for Energy and Climate Change, said the economic section of the report was at best an ‘under-estimate’ and at worst ‘completely meaningless’.

The final document, published today in Japan, increases the predicted economic impact of global warming.

Critics said the suggestion of political interference by the Coalition, which set out to be the ‘greenest government ever’, was alarming.

Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘It is always the same with climate change. If the facts don’t suit them, they change it to suit them.   ‘A Government official interfering with an independent scientific report is ridiculous. What you want?…?is what the independent scientific community thinks – not what people want them to say for their political purposes.’

The IPCC report is the first comprehensive analysis in seven years of the global consequences of climate change. It warns that the world is ‘ill-prepared’ and that the effects are ‘already occurring on all continents and across the oceans’.

Rising temperatures, droughts and heatwaves will threaten food supplies and human health, while hundreds of millions of people will be hit by coastal flooding, it finds.

The report, by more than 300 authors, informs policy decisions of governments around the world.

But one of its contributors has accused the IPCC of being too ‘alarmist’ – and demanded his name be withdrawn. Professor Richard Tol, an economist at the University of Sussex, said the drafts had been changed to make the findings more ‘apocalyptic’. He said colleagues ‘drifted too far to the alarmist side’ and were likening climate change to the ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse’.

His section of the report, based on 18 economic studies, predicted in early drafts that global warming of 2.5C would cut economic output by between 0.2 and 2 per cent a year – much less than previous estimates of up to 20 per cent.

But the final IPCC report labels his predictions ‘incomplete estimates’. It states: ‘Losses are more likely than not to be greater?…?than this range.’

Britain, among other nations, lobbied for this highly significant change. On Friday, before final drafting discussions, the British government submitted a note faulting the draft.

It said: ‘The quoted figures of 0.2 to 2 per cent of GDP [gross domestic product] are at best an under-estimate, and at worst completely meaningless.’

Other governments including Belgium, France and Norway also complained. But Chris Field, co-chair of the IPCC writers, last night dismissed criticism of the last-minute alteration and said the final report gave a ‘much clearer picture’.

Despite praising Professor Tol as a ‘wonderful scientist’, Professor Field of Stanford University, added: ‘There were a couple of meaningful errors in the way Richard had done his analysis.’

Mr Davey said: ‘The science has spoken?…?This evidence builds the case for early action?…?We cannot afford to wait.’ A DECC spokesman said climate change impacts could be ‘catastrophic’, adding: ‘These cannot be underestimated and the UK Government, as well as other countries, are seeking to make sure this is understood the world over.’

But Professor Gordon Hughes, an environmental economist at Edinburgh University, said: ‘The IPCC has been a political body ever since it started?…?this is political interference.


James Lovelock: environmentalism has become a religion

Scientist behind the Gaia hypothesis says environment movement does not pay enough attention to facts and he was too certain in the past about rising temperatures

The 94 year-old scientist, famous for his Gaia hypothesis that Earth is a self-regulating, single organism, also said that he had been too certain about the rate of global warming in his past book, that "it’s just as silly to be a [climate] denier as it is to be a believer” and that fracking and nuclear power should power the UK, not renewable sources such as windfarms.

Speaking to the Guardian for an interview ahead of a landmark UN climate science report on Monday on the impacts of climate change, Lovelock said of the warnings of climate catastrophe in his 2006 book, Revenge of Gaia: "I was a little too certain in that book. You just can’t tell what’s going to happen."

“It [the impact from climate change] could be terrible within a few years, though that’s very unlikely, or it could be hundreds of years before the climate becomes unbearable," he said.

Lovelock's comments appear to be at odds with dire forecasts from a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday, which leaked versions show will warn that even small temperature rises will bring "abrupt and irreversible changes" to natural systems, including Arctic sea ice and coral reefs.

Asked if his remarks would give ammunition to climate change sceptics, he said: "It’s just as silly to be a denier as it is to be a believer. You can’t be certain."

Talking about the environmental movement, Lovelock says: "It’s become a religion, and religions don’t worry too much about facts." The retired scientist, who worked at the Medical Research Council, describes himself as an "old-fashioned green."

Lovelock reiterated his support for fracking for shale gas, which has been strongly backed by David Cameron and the government but vigorously opposed by anti-fracking activists and local people at sites from Salford to Balcombe in West Sussex.

“The government is too frightened to use nuclear, renewables won’t work –because we don’t have enough sun – and we can’t go on burning coal because it produces so much CO2, so that leaves fracking. It produces only a fraction of the amount of CO2 that coal does, and will make Britain secure in energy for quite a few years. We don’t have much choice," he said.


94% of Electricity in 2013 Came from sources Greenies don't like: Reactors, Dams and Fossil Fuels

Ninety-four percent of the electricity generated in the United States in 2013 came from nuclear reactors, dams, and fossil fuels--including petroleum, natural gas, other gases, and coal--according to a new report from the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration.

Only 0.2 percent of U.S. electricity during the year came from solar-power sources, and another 4.1 percent came from wind power.

In total, the United States generated a net of 4,058,209 million kilowatthours of electricity in 2013. That was up slightly—0.26 percent--from the 4,047,765 million KWH generated in 2012. But it remained less than 4,156,745 million KWH generated in 2007, which remains the peak year for U.S. electricity generation.

Coal-fired electricity production, which rebounded last year after two years of decline, was the nation’s leading source of electricity in 2013. It produced 1,585,998 million KWH—up 4.8 percent from the 1,514,043 million KWH produced in 2012.

Coal-produced electricity in 2013 was still down 21.3 percent from its peak in 2007, when coal plants in the United States produced 2,016,456 million KWH.

In 2013, natural gas was the second greatest source of U.S. electricity, producing 1,113,665 million KWH. Nuclear power plants were the third largest source, producing 789,017 million KWH. And conventional hydroelectric power was the fourth greatest source, producing 269,136 million KWH hours.

Wood-burning electricity sources actually out-produced solar power. With wood generating 39,937 million KWH of electricity in 2013 and solar producing 9,252 million KWH.

Wind power was the fifth greatest source of electricity in the U.S.—following hyrdroelectric—generating 167,665 million KWH.

The combined output from all wind and solar power sources in the United States was 176,917 million KWH—or about 4.36 percent of the nation’s total supply.

The U.S. would have to multiply its present solar and wind power resources 26 times in order to produce the total volume of electricity generated in the country last year.


Ivy League Statistician Debunks NASA-Funded 'Socialism or Extinction' Study

A Cornell University statistician is debunking a study indirectly funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that “uses a predator-prey model of humans and nature” - with humans as “predators” and nature as “prey”-  to predict the collapse of human civilization unless it reaches a “sustainable equilibrium.”

After analyzing the collapses of advanced civilizations over the past 5,000 years, including the Roman Empire, the Mayans, and the Han Dynasty, the study concludes: “In order to reach a sustainable equilibrium in an unequal society, it is necessary to have policies that limit inequality and ensure birth rates remain below critical levels.” (See motesharrei-rivas-kalnay.pdf)

“Given economic stratification, collapse is very difficult to avoid and requires major policy changes, including major reductions in inequality and population growth rates,” authors Safa Motesharrei, Eugenia Kalnay, and Jorge Rivas say in the study, which was first reported by The Guardian.

The authors adapted a NASA-funded mathematical model on climate change to compare an Egalitarian society (“No-Elites”), an Equitable society (“Workers and Non-Workers with the same level of consumption”), and an Unequal society (“Elites and Commoners”) – the latter of which they say most closely reflects current conditions throughout the world.

They warn that societal collapse occurs when the Elites have “consumed too much," as measured in "eco-dollars," and the Commoner population starts dying off due to famine because their numbers exceed Nature’s “carrying capacity.”

“The results of our experiments…indicate that either one of the two features apparent in historical societal collapse – over-exploitation of natural resources and strong economic stratification – can independently result in a complete collapse,” the study noted, resulting in either a Type-L (“inequality-induced famine” which results in a “Disappearance of Labor”) or a Type-N (“depletion of natural resources” or “exhaustion of Nature”) collapse.

“This NASA-funded study makes case that future is socialism or extinction,” Derrick O’Keefe, a contributor to Ecosocialism Canada, summarized in a tweet.

But the study is fatally flawed, according to William “Matt” Briggs, a statistical consultant and adjunct professor of statistical science at Cornell University and author of Breaking the Law of Averages: Real Life Probability and Statistics in Plain English.

Using a predator-prey model, the “Human and Nature Dynamics” (HANDY) study “swaps the wolves for human beings and the deer for ‘Nature.’ Just how people prey on Nature is not too clear, especially since people are part of Nature,” writes Briggs in a stinging critique of the study.

Since “nothing empirical went into these equations,” the study’s doomsday conclusions “have no applicability whatsoever to humans,” Briggs told

“All of the flaws - when they give interpretations to all of those letters, the x’s, the c’s, the Greek letters that they have sprinkled throughout. Those interpretations are just pulled out of the sky, and have nothing to do with any real human society,” Briggs said.

The mathematical equations, he added, are "flawless as far as I can tell, the derivations, the sets of equations, all that kind of stuff. The problem is, all those symbols - they don’t mean anything.

“They attached meaning to those symbols. They said, ‘Well, let’s let this particular variable be Equality, and let this one be Elites, and let this one be Commoners,' and then they, you know, tweaked these parameters they have in the equation and give them various pictures. Now, I could have called them, you know, the number of banana exports and I don’t know, shipping traffic or anything, I mean.

“The math is fine, it’s the interpretation that’s on top of it. There’s nothing empirical that went into these equations, if you understand me. There’s no observations that went into [them], all right, let’s look at the actual state of equality, whatever that is, let's look at the actual sort of eco-dollars (I guess they call them, they never really quite define that), and let’s measure that somehow and then we’ll put these into an equation and then we'll model that reality.

"They did none of that kind of thing. They just developed a set of equations and then said, ‘This is the way reality should look.’ And of course, reality doesn’t look anything like that, as I tried to point out.”

In fact, Briggs says, real-world historical evidence points in the opposite direction. For example, he notes that being a “Commoner” now comes with a much higher risk factor for obesity in the U.S. and other developed nations, thanks to discoveries made by "Elites" of how to grow food more efficiently for a growing population.

"We used to call that progress," he told

And, he added, history also shows that socialist societies whose main goal is egalitarianism are actually more likely to collapse than their capitalistic counterparts:

“The HANDY model says Unequal societies must collapse. But which societies, say over the last century, in reality gave up their ghosts?” Briggs asks. “We must ignore those that collapsed because of war (such as the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Cambodia) or politics (e.g. Rhodesia, Czechoslovakia) because HANDY is silent on these important subjects. The remaining collapses were those societies which were Egalitarian (e.g. the Soviet Union, Cambodia again?)”

Nevertheless, he told, "no amount of failed forecasts is sufficient to talk these people out of the notion that disaster is right around the corner. It’s a matter of faith.”

According to the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center SESYNC, “Motesharrei received minor support from NASA to develop a coupled earth system model. Some of this funding was spent on the mathematical development of the HANDY model.”

But in a statement last week, the space agency distanced itself from the study:

“A soon-to-be published research paper, 'Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies' by Univeristy of Maryland researchers Safa Motesharrei and Eugenia Kalnay, and University of Minnesota's Jorge Rivas, was not solicited, directed or reviewed by NASA.

“It is an independent study by the university researchers utilizing research tools developed for a separate NASA activity. As is the case with all independent research, the views and conclusions in the paper are those of the authors alone. NASA does not endorse the paper or its conclusions."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


This site is in favour of things that ARE good for the environment. That the usual Greenie causes are good for the environment is however disputed.

Context for the minute average temperature change recorded: At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C. Even in the same place they can vary by nearly that much seasonally and as much as 30°C or more in a day. A minute rise in average temperature in that context is trivial if it is not meaningless altogether. Warmism is a money-grubbing racket, not science.

By John Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), writing from Brisbane, Australia.


"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" -- Karl Popper

"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman

"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."

Some advice from long ago for Warmists: "If ifs and ans were pots and pans,there'd be no room for tinkers". It's a nursery rhyme harking back to Middle English times when "an" could mean "if". Tinkers were semi-skilled itinerant workers who fixed holes and handles in pots and pans -- which were valuable household items for most of our history. Warmists are very big on "ifs", mays", "might" etc. But all sorts of things "may" happen, including global cooling

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)

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate" -- William of Occam

"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

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

“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


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.

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.


Climate is just 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

Here's how that "97% consensus" figure was arrived at

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.

Greenie antisemitism

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 appear 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

Every green plant around us is made out of carbon dioxide that the plant has grabbed out of the atmosphere. That the plant can get its carbon from such a trace gas is one of the miracles of life. It admittedly uses the huge power of the sun to accomplish such a vast filtrative task but the fact that a dumb plant can harness the power of the sun so effectively is also a wonder. We live on a rather improbable planet. If a science fiction writer elsewhere in the universe described a world like ours he might well be ridiculed for making up such an implausible tale.

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 great and fraudulent scare about lead

Green/Left denial of the facts explained: "Rejection lies in this, that when the light came into the world men preferred darkness to light; preferred it, because their doings were evil. Anyone who acts shamefully hates the light, will not come into the light, for fear that his doings will be found out. Whereas the man whose life is true comes to the light" John 3:19-21 (Knox)

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

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)

Index page for this site


"Tongue Tied"
"Dissecting Leftism" (Backup here)
"Australian Politics"
"Education Watch International"
"Political Correctness Watch"
"Greenie Watch"
"Food & Health Skeptic"
"Eye on Britain"
"Immigration Watch International" blog.


"Marx & Engels in their own words"
"A scripture blog"
"Some memoirs"
To be continued ....
Queensland Police -- A barrel with lots of bad apples
Australian Police News
Of Interest


"Leftists as Elitists"
Socialized Medicine
Western Heart
QANTAS -- A dying octopus
BRIAN LEITER (Ladderman)
Obama Watch
Obama Watch (2)
Dissecting Leftism -- Large font site
Michael Darby
The Kogarah Madhouse (St George Bank)
AGL -- A bumbling monster
Telstra/Bigpond follies
Optus bungling
Vodafrauds (vodafone)
Bank of Queensland blues

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here. Similar content can be more conveniently accessed via my subject-indexed list of short articles here or here (I rarely write long articles these days)

Main academic menu
Menu of recent writings
basic home page
Pictorial Home Page (Backup here).
Selected pictures from blogs (Backup here)
Another picture page (Best with broadband. Rarely updated)

Note: If the link to one of my articles is not working, the article concerned can generally be viewed by prefixing to the filename the following: